Social networking attracts virtually all US youth

A couple of highlights from US research reported yesterday at Advertising Age:

A whopping 96% of online tweens and teens connect to a social network at least once a week, according to a study and white paper being released today from Alloy Media & Marketing, a youth-oriented marketing firm. And nearly half engaged with a brand in the space in the past month.

and

The study asked about traditional media habits and found social networking is approaching parity with TV time among 9- to 17-year-olds. And when kids are multitasking, they’re four times more likely to pay closer attention to whatever they’re doing online than to whatever they’re watching on the tube.

Interesting, although I’d like to see some details of the study [strangely, there’s no mention of it on the Alloy website], particularly with respect to its socio-economic and geographic span.

News chief Burman to leave CBC

The editor-in-chief of English-language news at the CBC, Tony Burman, has resigned and will leave the corporation July 13.

Burman has been with the the public broadcaster for almost 35 years, and for the past seven has overseen English news on radio, television and CBC.ca.

He told staff he was leaving because he had done the job long enough:

…my own work pattern has been to seek change every three-to-five years. And I have — as many of you know — worked hard to ensure this approach is common in different parts of our operation. I have always felt that an openness to change and renewal is at the core of the best journalism. In the end, I have to listen to my own words.

At age 59 retirement isn’t unusual, but those inclined to read the tea leaves will be scrutinizing this passage from Burman’s farewell note in an attempt to work out whether his departure is entirely voluntary:

Since so much of my life has been connected with the CBC, I obviously have mixed emotions about this, but mostly I have feelings of elation. And – can I say it? – liberation.

Only three weeks ago, Burman announced on CBC.ca that he was expanding his weekly media “letter” into a blog.

Why do that, and trumpet the fact, three weeks before resigning and barely six weeks before walking out the CBC door for the last time? It’s odd, to say the least.

And is he leaving the media industry entirely?

I really look forward to directing my energy, my enthusiasm and my ideas to new projects.

Answer: who knows?

Burman was in the news recently over his decision not to show pictures of the gun-brandishing Virginia Tech killer on the CBC’s television and web services — a decision contrary to that taken by most major North American news organizations.

CBC says “a search for Burman’s replacement will begin immediately, while his current deputy, Esther Enkin, will serve as acting editor-in-chief.”

> Tony Burman’s announcement to CBC staff

> Official announcement on CBC.ca

> Recent departures from CBC: Sue Gardner and Yann Pacquet.

NY Times covers local news with new blog

At a time when national and international news is available just about everywhere online [including on portal sites, webmail services and news aggregators], in-depth local coverage is being recognized as a key competitive advantage for newspaper websites.

Even the New York Times, one of the strongest news “brands” globally, is emphasizing local news online. The paper today launched the City Room blog, with content provided by more than seventy Times journalists assigned to New York City and the metropolitan area.

The emphasis here will be on reporting, not punditry or snarky commentary. The blog will feature news-maker interviews, documents, web resources, photos, videos and other multimedia, as well as updates and follow-ups on the day’s news.

But the most important feature, we hope, will be the reader discussions…

…When we look around the web, we see people in their separate corners, divided by ideology, by neighborhood, by their obsessions. Our obsession is New York City, and we hope New Yorkers will gather here in good faith for civil discussion about the issues and problems of the day.

Commenting is moderated. There’s also an extensive blogroll, including links to rival news organizations.

You’ll be pleased to know that access to the City Room blog does not require a Times Select subscription.

New CBC Radio front page a standout

CBC Radio front page

CBC.ca has launched a new front page design, plus new section fronts for Radio [pictured above] and Sports.

All three front pages, like the CBC News front which was redesigned a while ago, are built to the now-common 1024-pixel width.

Story pages and the CBC TV front page remain at 800-pixels wide, however, so are looking old-fashioned in comparison.

My favourite redesigned page is the Radio front. It’s stylish, but functional too: the all-important “listen live” information is at the top of the page, and it includes the current programs for each time zone.

My only gripe about the Radio front is the use of reversed text. I’m surprised the CBC would use grey text on a black background. Readability sacrificed for style?

The “main” front page at CBC.ca is designed to promote the network’s shows, but you can easily skip it to go directly to the section you want.

> Executive Director of Digital Programming Steve Billinger explains the key changes.

> CBC blogger Tod Maffin likes the new look for his beloved CBC Radio

> The readers’ views are – as usual – mixed.

Top New Zealand news sites

Top New Zealand news sites

The latest traffic summary from Nielsen NetRatings New Zealand ranks the country’s top news sites last month, including TV3 which makes a strong first appearance in the Top Five at number three.

That will be a bit of good news for the new majority owners of TV3 parent CanWest MediaWorks. Ironbridge Capital now holds a 70 per cent stake in the business, which it purchased from Canadian company CanWest Global Communications. Ironbridge is currently attempting to buy the remaining shares in CanWest MediaWorks, which are held by institutional and private investors.

The arrival of TV3 in the Top Five knocks the NewsTalk ZB radio site off the list. TV3 is also positioned ahead of rival broadcaster TVNZ’s online news service.

It should be noted, however, that the data reflect only traffic to the News sections of the sites [excluding sections such as Business, Sport, Entertainment and Lifestyle] .

As well, the rankings are based on unique visitors from within New Zealand only, which may be fewer than half of total visitors for some sites [e.g. nzherald].

<< April’s Top Five

Top 50 web properties in US – May 2007

Top 50 US web properties - May 2007

Some US traffic trends from comScore’s report for last month:

Summer movie season kickoff heats up web traffic in May

The launch of summer movie season saw traffic increase to several movie-related sites over the month. The tickets category gained 12 per cent versus April to 40.8 million visitors, buoyed by strong growth at MovieTickets.com (up 55 per cent to 5 million visitors) and Fandango.com (up 50 per cent to 7 million visitors). The retail movies category experienced a 7 per cent increase to 27.6 million visitors, while movie social networking site Flixster.com saw its traffic surge 65 per cent to 4.5 million visitors.

Political sites get boost from the debates

With both Republican and Democratic presidential debates swinging into action, the politics category saw a 17 per cent increase to 9 million visitors in May, making it the top-gaining category overall for the month. Traffic to Politico.com, which sponsored the Republican Presidential debate on May 3, jumped 162 per cent for the month to 648,000 visitors, while MoveOn.org’s traffic surged 246 per cent to 689,000 visitors due in large part to an online petition against gas price increases. Several presidential candidate websites also saw their traffic increase, led by BarackObama.com (up 13 per cent to 298,000 visitors) and HillaryClinton.com (up 3 per cent to 217,000 visitors).