Gap widens between top NZ news sites

Nielsen Top Websites General News Category Jan 2012

Latest data from Neilsen show that Stuff.co.nz/news has extended its lead in the General News category with growth of 29 per cent in the number of NZ-based average daily unique browsers when compared to the same category ranking a year ago.

The Wellington-based site, owned by Fairfax, now enjoys a lead of 48 per cent over long-time rival nzherald.co.nz, owned by APN.

Just six months ago, the margin between the top two sites was 25 per cent.

Stuff.co.nz/news has increased its New Zealand-based news visitors by more than ten per cent while nzherald.co.nz/news has lost almost seven per cent since August of last year.

Third-placed yahoo.co.nz/news is down slightly in the same period, while fourth-placed tvnz.co.nz/news and fifth-placed BBC (no URL cited) have both gained slightly.

All figures are based on NZ domestic traffic to the news sections of the various websites. They do not indicate total visitors or page views.

Mary Meeker’s internet trends for 2011

KPCB Internet Trends (2011)

As always, Mary Meeker’s analysis of internet stats makes fascinating reading. Her latest presentation occurred yesterday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Her graph in slide 42 shows that Google’s revenue has risen to almost the same as the revenue of all US newspapers combined. Of course, Google’s revenue has grown impressively, but newspaper revenue has fallen even more quickly.

And it’s interesting to see (slide 16) how the sale of Google Android phones has increased much more rapidly than the sale of iPhones.

Plagiarism at British newspaper, the Independent

UPDATE Sept 16, 2011: Finally, plagiarist Johann Hari gets sent for journalism training.

UPDATE June 29, 2011: Media Guardian reports more allegations of plagiarism by Hari.

Johann Hari of the Independent in Britain has been caught plagiarizing.

Except he says it’s not plagiarism because a) none of his interviewees has complained, and b) he thinks it makes for better reading.

Uh, right.

Top-of-mind websites in New Zealand

New Zealand website awareness

In response to the question "Please type up to 5 domain names that you have seen or heard of recently." Source: Colmar Brunton. Base: Weighted results representative of New Zealand's online population (n=1014)

Ask a New Zealander to name a website domain name, and here’s what you get.

Trademe.co.nz, the country’s most-visited website, is the domain most often mentioned by Kiwis, followed by facebook.com, google.com, stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz.

The information comes from the Colmar Brunton survey Internet Domain Names in New Zealand, commissioned by the New Zealand Domain Name Commission.

As such, it isn’t a fully random sample. Instead, the researchers chose half their respondents (n=508) to be people who own or manage a domain name, and the other half (n=506) to be those who do not own or manage a domain name.

Although the researchers do not comment on it in their summary, I’m guessing this over-represents domain owners/managers when compared with the population.

Nevertheless, the research does break out results for the two groups.

In the case of the chart above, the top 5 sites remain the same when only domain owners/managers are responding. For the non owner/managers, nzherald.co.nz drops to number six, being edged out by hotmail.com.

Among the other findings:

  • 15% of respondents didn’t know what a domain name was.
  • Most respondents felt there were already enough top-level domains available.
  • Two thirds of respondents would prefer to have a .nz domain for their website. (Or does this mean they would prefer to visit a site with a .nz domain? The wording of the research summary is ambiguous, so I am inferring a bit here.)
  • Domain owners/managers have higher acceptance of .com domains, but still prefer .nz
  • Slightly more than half of respondents liked the idea of having domains with no second level, as in mydomainname.nz. This is the system used in Canada and I suppose it might reduce confusion between .co.nz, .org.nz, .net.nz, etc. But I’d hate to contemplate another rush to stake out the new streamlined domains. Don’t we give the domain registrars enough money already?




News cafe connects journalists and readers

Tim Currie’s article at the Nieman Journalism Lab about the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe almost makes me wish I were back in the ‘peg. (I moved there 3 times in the 1970s and 1980s. Love the place but, sorry, the winters are too much to bear.)

One of the many great things about Winnipeg is the Free Press, an independently owned newspaper that isn’t afraid to try new ideas.

As Currie describes, the paper’s News Cafe offers a place for the online news team to work, a downtown location for reporters to meet with sources, and a place where Winnipeggers can drop in and discuss issues.

It’s a return to the city core for the Free Press, which moved to the suburbs 20 years ago to gain space and reduce costs. Now, it has re-established a foothold in the heart of the city.

The News Cafe is much less imposing than the old building on Carlton Street (which also housed a radio station where I used to work). But I like the way it opens the Free Press to the public and enables a conversation about what’s important in the city.

I’ll bet it brings journalists and the general public closer together than the grand and imposing old newspaper building ever did.




International news organizations ignore Canadian tragedy

NDP leader Jack Layton

Jack Layton. Picture: NDP

I’m surprised and disappointed that at least two major international news organisations still have not reported the death yesterday of Jack Layton, leader of Canada’s official opposition.

More than 36 hours after Mr Layton’s untimely death at the age of 61, searching the websites of CNN and Al Jazeera English turns up nothing. (Screenshots here and here.)

And if the websites don’t have it, then I’d be surprised if the TV channels mentioned it at all.

Mr Layton died just three months after leading the New Democratic Party to a record-breaking result, including a virtual sweep of seats in Quebec. During the cross-country campaign, he looked to have made a remarkable recovery from prostate cancer. Then last month, looking gaunt, he announced that he had another form of cancer and would be stepping aside while undergoing treatment.

His family announced his death Monday morning, Toronto time, shocking the nation and triggering a public outpouring of grief.

Regardless of one’s political views, I think it is fair to call this a Canadian tragedy. Mr Layton was widely respected as a man of integrity, optimism and goodwill. His party has been responsible for some of the most cherished Canadian institutions, including pensions and universal health care. The NDP was to be a vital counterweight to the majority Conservative government in the new Parliament.

I’m not surprised that Fox News ignored his death. But the indifference of bona fide news services CNN and Al Jazeera only compounds this tragedy.

Yes, the events in Tripoli deserved top billing. But CNN had plenty of room for Ms Kardashian and endless football reports.

Here in New Zealand both TV newscasts led with bloated coverage of rugby, before moving on to the war in Libya. But that was no surprise, I’m sad to say. Some things never change.

Read Jack Layton’s remarkable letter to Canadians, written just two days before he died.

Video of Rick Mercer visiting Jack Layton at his eco-home




Stuff.co.nz extends lead in NZ-based visitors

Nielsen NZ NetRatings 2011-07

The news section of Fairfax’s stuff.co.nz news website extended its lead over the news section at APN’s nzherald.co.nz in July, according to data released today by Nielsen.

Yahooxtra.co.nz was in third place.

Average daily unique visitors at stuff.co.nz were 16.4 per cent higher in July than in January.

All figures are based on NZ domestic traffic to the news sections of the various websites.




NY Times movie Page One a snooze

I was looking forward to seeing Page One – Inside the New York Times but I found it mostly dull and disappointing.

The fly-on-the-wall conversations between journalists seemed vague and even the daily story meetings lacked passion and urgency.

And what I really wanted to know – how the Times plans to survive in a digital age – was never really addressed. There was one scene where the Media Desk editor told a reporter “Don’t put that on the web yet.” In this case it was probably a good call (the story needed further work) but I was left wondering how, or if, the digital operation was integrated into the Times’ strategy and culture.

Times media reporter David Carr steals the show, with his intense, sardonic style, and staunch devotion to the paper. And his colleague Brian Stelter shows what the Times can do when it embraces tools such as Twitter.

Overall though, the tone was lethargic and uninspiring. I actually heard two people in the audience snoring.




On being a king of curation

Once upon a time I was a reporter, then an editor. Now I’m a curator, part of a growing industry that tries to help people find their way through the flood of news and information.

Today, I got my 15 minutes of fame, when Steve Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation, bestowed his “Curation King” award on me for the work I do at Eqentia, curating services such as the Future of News among many others. Thanks Steve!

Apparently wearing the crown to work is optional.

Interestingly, the sort of work we do at Eqentia – aggregating, filtering and disseminating news – is very similar to what Steve does with video through his new company magnify.net. In my spare time, I use magnify.net to manage a video page for the Ontario Science Centre Amateur Radio Club.