Media Websites Looking for New Revenue Sources

        The New York Times article “Media Websites Battle Faltering Ad Revenue and Traffic” focuses on how online media sites are having trouble making enough revenue from classical means of advertising. The author points to decreasing site traffic and increasing use of mobile apps rather than websites as the main sources of this issue.

In general I think the article is well-organized and concise. There is strength in the number of different media websites that the author considers in the article, which helps to highlight that decreasing revenue is affecting a lot of large companies. Additionally, the quotes are well used. I especially liked the quote that is used for the kicker, which says, “How do I monetize?” he asked. “Still not clear.” This shows that while a lot of options are being considered, and are detailed throughout the article, nothing has stood out as the solution.

          However, I think the story lacks an appeal to a general audience, although I believe it is written for one. It focuses on media websites and the need to find alternative sources of revenue, but never addresses the “what ifs” in the case that they don’t find an alternative. Does this mean they would go out of business? Does this mean that people will have to start paying for use of these websites? By not addressing these questions, the article loses relatability and intrigue. Do you think it could benefit from a more publicly focused angle? Or, do you think the article is meant for only those whose business relates to advertising or media sites? Please comment what you think about the readability, relatedness, structure, and target audience of this article.


About Genevieve

I am a senior at the University of Michigan studying Public Policy with a focus in Public Health

7 Responses to “Media Websites Looking for New Revenue Sources”

  1. I was happy you chose this article because I read it myself last week, specifically due to my interest in journalism. I can’t be sure that a general audience would not read it, but I do think it lack an appeal to the “Why does this matter to me?” part.

    The article has a strong lede, but the nut graph itself only points out that media websites are failing, without addressing how this could affect other. The author isn’t necessarily arguing that they will all go out of business, but how the industry is very unstable so the survival of media websites is not certain.

    If Herrman really focused on how consumers might have to start paying, that is what matters to the general public. Instead, he just glided around the key issue that would bring a bigger focus.

  2. The article’s duty is to inform the audience of the story, not necessarily present solutions to the problem. There were many vague, open-ended answers to the problem because that’s the information that Herrman could collect. It’s a complex situation, but most of the solutions entailed either video production or partnering with websites such as Facebook to increase revenues. I think he didn’t address those questions of if they would go out of business, requiring people pay to access to website, etc., because he didn’t have the answers and didn’t want to report fabricated information.

    This article was well-stuctured in that it had a lot of examples of websites losing money, which made the issue seem widespread and giving it a sense of urgency. It is difficult to create a nut graph for this type of story because the information presented seems only to apply to the media companies and the advertising corporations. However, the sentence, “The sheer speed with which Facebook, Twitter, Google and Snapchat have come to dominate the landscape has taken publishers by surprise,” makes the article relevant to an audience outside of the media websites because it shows how powerful these companies have gotten in such a short period of time. This could affect other advertising companies and corporations that work with them. It also shows how prominent social media is in our lives, apart from the communication aspect.

  3. Overall, I think this article was well written and highly organized. What it lacked, as you mentioned, was an appeal to a more general audience. As someone with little stake in online advertisements, I found this article to be a bit dull. Still, I don’t think that people with a large stake in online advertisements would gain much from reading this article, since those people would already be informed of the issue. I also agree that there were a lot of hypotheticals used in this article, but I think that may have been intended—I think this article wants to get a general audience thinking about the future of online advertisements. The article isn’t really meant to provide alternatives for the advertisers. Ultimately, the target audience was unclear and that was this article’s downfall.

    While I agree that this article was easy to read and understand, I do find myself wondering who could benefit from the content of this article, if anyone. Did anyone feel like they really connected to this article?

  4. I think this article’s lede attempted to appeal to a more general audience by discussing the layoffs and budget cuts happening at media companies, as these are issues all people can usually sympathize with. However, given that this article was published in the business section of the New York Times, I don’t think this article was truly written for a general audience. I think it may be geared more towards readers with a business background or those who have an interest (possibly a financial interest) in online advertisements and online media platforms.

    I thought the quotes Herrman included were powerful. I loved the quote from Liam Corcoran explaining how publishers are asking him for solutions. Corcoran says, “It’s a doctor’s office.” I thought this was an effective use of an analogy. As powerful as some of these quotes were though, I felt they were unbalanced. The “juicy” quotes were only coming from representatives from the media companies, while quotes from social media representatives like Mark Zuckerberg were much more straight forward and factual. Did anyone else feel like the article was a slightly unbalanced in this regard?

  5. I really enjoyed the article since it touched on some of the most pervasive issues in journalism today like how do journalists get people to read their work, through what media are these works spread and what does monetization look like today. I wish the article had gone more in-depth into the technicalities of how Facebook plans to contain users to the site. I also would have liked to better understand Facebook’s algorithms. I remember reading an article awhile back about how Facebook’s shifting algorithms have caused some clickbait sites, such as Upworthy, to lose a lot of traffic. The article leaves me wondering how news organizations cope with a shifting media landscape. This isn’t a bad thing per se but I would’ve liked some resources on how to learn more about the topic.

    I think this article also presented a lost chance to incorporate the multimedia technology that the author is discussion; specifically, I’m thinking of the chatbot software. I’m not sure how accessible the technology is but it would have been interesting to embed a way for the reader to engage with the chatbot.

  6. This is such an important issue in regards to the future of journalism. Newspapers and other news publications need to make money in order to continue producing good journalism. This is a really great article about the news industry’s struggle to make money online, especially because it is the primary means of how many people get their news today. It is interesting to watch the industry try to evolve to prosper online. Sometimes this is good and drives new and innovative content, but journalists must also be wary of the possibility of the degradation of journalism. It is hard to produce independent and non biased journalism when making money becomes the primary goal.

    This is another great video by John Oliver about the state of the news business.

  7. Oops, sorry. Here is the John Oliver video I mentioned:

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