I haven’t made a post all week on this blog, and while I was in Chicago, I wasn’t really keeping up with news. Now, back to business. There were a couple of good articles in NY Times this week.
Woman to Woman, Online – talked about the rise in female hosted blogs and blogs of interest to women. From the article, ‘Sites aimed primarily at women, from “mommy blogs” to makeup and fashion sites, grew 35 percent last year — faster than every other category on the Web except politics, according to comScore, an Internet traffic measurement company.” Wow, that’s a broad range of topics, mommies, makeup, fashion. The article addresses the importance of women as household decision makers.
Even more interesting, “Although men are heavy users of the Web, they tend not to visit sites explicitly aimed at them. AOL’s Living channel for women had 16.1 million unique visitors in June, while its Asylum site, a top men’s destination online, had only 3.3 million. ComScore does not even track men’s sites as a category.” I dealt with men’s and women’s sites in my dissertation. Interesting that men are considered mainstream, while women are a niche. The article continues to talk about iVillage and other early women’s sites having struggled in the early days because advertisers of products like cars and tech were more comfortable with online advertising earlier. Because women don’t use cars and technology, right?
Now, the meat of the article, buried on page 2, “To the disappointment of some women who want sites that focus on serious issues like politics, advertisers are not interested in every kind of content. They gravitate to the tried-and-true topics of women’s magazines: fashion, beauty, celebrities and love life.” We are getting the same thing that we have with women’s print media, a pink collar ghetto. It talks about certain sites giving hard news a try for women, then failing. Part of this responsibility belongs to women, not demanding better content targeted at them. Part of it has to do with how we perceive and value certain topics.
I like that the article uses Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com as an example. She’s basically a mommy blogger, but does so with humor and irreverence, gets lots of eyeballs.
Another article in NY Times talks about the reduction of staff at news bureaus around the country and globe. It discusses how news organizations are becoming more efficient by placing digital journalists as single reporters, rather than having news bureaus of teams. The article refers to it as a “one-man band.” So, let’s forget the gender implications of that for now and move on… I think the concept is great, if they can get basically the same quality with fewer people. Technology has improved our ability to do that. Cameras don’t need to weigh a ton any more, and editing video is relatively simple. I think there is still a need for specialization on some stories, but for most stories, a single journalist should be able to handle it. The lone journalist should also be able to leverage centralized resources efficiently, if they need an interactive graphic or a other media that might require a certain expertise or that they do not have the time to compile. From the article, ““Technology is allowing us to pare down to that one person who can deliver the product,” said Ms. Lane of CNN.” Take heed students. You want to be that “one person.”
And, from Social Media Today, a good post entitled, “10 Step Beginners Guide To Blogging.”
The fall semester starts on Aug. 27th. Looking forward to two Web design courses (grad and undergrad). In Sept., I head to DC for the Online News Assocation conference, hopefully to pick up some Ruby on Rails skills and learn to make a Facebook app.