×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Blogs Are Eating Tech Media Alive

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the wagging-the-dog dept.

The Media 247

Heinz writes with an article in Forbes on how advertising in tech media is drying up and going — where else? — into specialist blogs and Google. "Silicon Valley is booming again. But if you work in tech media, there's blood on the floor. Take Red Herring. It hung onto its offices after getting the eviction notice earlier this month. But gossip site Valleywag is breaking story after story not just on its beat — but about its woes. Meanwhile, bigger publications are hurting too: Time Warner's Business 2.0 saw ad pages drop 21.8% through March from the same period a year ago; PC Magazine's editor in chief walked out the door after ad pages fell 38.8% over the same period; and one-time online powerhouse CNET is reporting growing losses even as the companies it covers flourish. It may be happening in tech first, but there's no reason the same thing won't happen, eventually, in every media niche."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

247 comments

They waste money on editors (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884875)

Look at Slashdot, they don't need no stinkin' editors.

Re:They waste money on editors (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885007)

It's not a matter of editors eating up all their money as it is that that they have a reputation for spanning their articles over 3 or 4 times as many pages as they should in a blatant attempt to get more 'clickthroughs' or 'eyeballs' or whatever they call it. If they used ads responsibly and had legitimate content, maybe people would think twice about either turning off their ad-blocking software or clicking on an ad or two. I know I would.

--
QuantumG seems like a guy who is bitter he isn't in the same position.

Re:They waste money on editors (5, Informative)

BillyBlaze (746775) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885265)

Multiple pages are annoying, yes, but the biggest problem is the lack of links. When talking about technology, there's usually a relevant web site. Blogs will link to it, maybe adding some commentary of their own. But most journalism is written with the intent that you'll learn everything you want to know from the article itself, or other articles from the same source. Unfortunately I'm not sitting on a bench in the park in 1960 reading a newspaper, I'm on the internet, and if your site won't link to more information about the subject at hand, I'll go somewhere that will. And I don't just mean links to related stories - I want links to other sites. I know it's scary, but don't worry, if your story is interesting, I'll open it in another tab, and I'll continue ignoring your ads when I close it.

Re:They waste money on editors (5, Interesting)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885379)

That might be part of it, but I think the main reason tech journalism is failing is because so much of tech journalism is really third rate regurgitation of company press releases. Journalism on the whole has been failing the public, but I think tech journalism has been on the leading edge of that failure.

More broadly, mass media on the whole sucks. And now that it's possible for anyone to produce media, the suck monopoly is broken. There are a lot of sucky tech blogs out there, just like there's lots of bad video on you tube and crappy bands competing for attention on MySpace. Why buy mass media crap or read mass media crap when there is all this other crap? The mainstream can't compete with this inundation of crap, at least not without offering a quality product. And what are the chances of that?

Re:They waste money on editors (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885477)

man, that's bullcrap.

Re:They waste money on editors (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885579)

Nice response. I like how you took the time to refute his argument. With skills like that, you must be a journalism major?

Anyone remember BYTE ? HELL, CMP can rot in HELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885709)



Cmp bought it (along with many other CompTech mags). Dismantled it. Then left the shit on the floor. I hate CMP Media. I hope CMP rots in Hell.

Re:They waste money on editors (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885877)

While I agree with almost everything that has been said by posters in this thread, no-one has yet commented on the round that was lethal. Most tech news sites are indeed full of ad-ridden republished press releases edited by people who are technically incompetent. Most tech blogs are indeed full of poorly written "commentary" with no original research. However, with so many blogs around, there are bound to be a few really good ones, which do offer thoughtful commentary, deep understanding of the issues covered, previously hard-to-find information, and/or original research.

Such blogs also tend to link to other worthwhile source material by their nature. In addition, blogs typically support comments, or more usefully full-blown web forums, mailing lists or Usenet groups. The combination means informed people can share knowledge and ideas once the scene has been set by the good bloggers, and I imagine that most discerning geeks, having found a few such blogs as starting points, simply have no need to bother with the numerous low-quality sites any more. I know I don't...

Re:They waste money on editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885889)

Most Tech Websites (Enthusiast) are lucky to get any advertising other than Google Ads, which, because of the number of these sites just puts the value of tech links at such a low price that its hard to make any real money on advertising.

I run my own tech site and I've all but given up on advertising. I have it as an additional help to offset the costs, but it is far from enough. So many people block ads to begin with that the chances of them even seeing the ads on my site is pathetically low as is. That and most Technically Able people have learned to ignore anything the size of an advertisement. Why do you see the big publishers going to full page entry ads, and other annoying as hell ads? Its because they know your not paying any attention!

Its a catch 22 as far as technology websites go. We all want to read the greatest sites with the latest hardware/software reviews and columns, but we rarely consider supporting them. And of course if we don't support them, then either they do unethical things such as product placements and reviews for cash, or they just suck it up and loose money.

Not blogs, but forums (5, Insightful)

m0nkyman (7101) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884889)

Anytime I want to research something now, I go to the appropriate forum. There are serious experts available at pretty much all of them. e.g: Want to learn about cellphones: HowardForums.com. Want to find out about military firearms: ar15.com . There's a site for everything.

Blogs are great for some stuff, but forums are just killing the tech magazines, and the special interest stuff.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19884895)

... want to find out about last week's news: slashdot.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (-1, Offtopic)

packeteer (566398) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885431)

want porn? www.redtube.com

Re:Not blogs, but forums (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885513)

Score:3, Insightful
Only on slashdot.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (4, Insightful)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885079)

I can agree with this. I rarely visit blogs for anything, but will often consult forums for just about everything. Tech support-type stuff is particularly well-suited to the forum/newsgroup format. This is especially true if you have a question you can't find a pre-existing answer for. Just the other day I had a non-trial question about Ruby On Rails, so I went over to RailsForum [railsforum.com] and had an answer within a few hours. So forums do have specific advantages over both blogs and traditional media.

Perhaps the biggest advantage for blogs over traditional tech magazines would be product reviews, in my opinion. An online reviewer with dozens of user-posted comments is more reliable than a single possibly advertiser-paid reviewer.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885089)

Exactly, want to get got girls? fastseduction.com

Re:Not blogs, but forums (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885175)

Want to get a wife? Try Russian mail order brides.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (4, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885263)

Blogs are great for some stuff, but forums are just killing the tech magazines, and the special interest stuff.

So while blogs are eating tech media alive, forums prefer to have tech media medium rare topped with firewire sauce, with a side of tarballs and microchips, washed down with a glass of wine... or something like that.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885987)

...washed down with a glass of wine... or something like that.
Wine? Cool aid! And you forgot to mention the Microsoft brand chocolate FUD.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (0, Flamebait)

D4MO (78537) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885361)

Thank you. Now I know where to go so that I can remotely discharge my firearms.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (5, Interesting)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885385)

There needs to be a forums forum, where I can go to find which forums are authoritative on a given subject.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (0, Offtopic)

buzlink (576426) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885397)

Know of any other good forums, or have a list of good forums?

Thanks

Re:Not blogs, but forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885503)

JREF Forum [randi.org] - Skeptical discussion.
mma.tv [www.mma.tv] - Mixed martial arts.

Re:Not blogs, but forums (1)

mistralol (987952) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885713)


A lot of people rate forums as very high. I would agree that they are a useful for information and various communities. But it really just was a reinvention of the wheel. What use a forum when newsgroups would have worked perfectly fine! So instead of firing up your own newsreader now you need to track 72 different logins for lots of different forums and it take ages to get back to forums and check if people have posted / responded to things or to find information.

I find them useful as a last resort for information. But they just take toooo long to read.

Good (4, Interesting)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884907)

If, and I hate to use this term, new media has taught me one thing it's that any press but a journal is horrible for science and technology. Time and time again some reporter is sent out to cover pseudoscience, or thinly disguised ads, as if it was actual technological or scientific news. I'm convinced that watered down reporting, writing to a level that should be insulting to a middle school student, is one of the main causes for the publics ignorance and rejection of science. The public isn't stupid, and they know that the watered down analogies to the library of congress are bullshit. I'm only hoping that the websites that also speak to the public at a five year olds level will follow after and people will will find themselves presented with the actual facts of the matter again.

Re:Good (3, Interesting)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885373)

I'm sorry, but the public *is* stupid. The sooner one wake's up to it, well the more miserable one is.
Regardless, there is room for non-journal coverage of "STEM." Popular Mechanics? Awful. Popular Science?
Pretty bad. New Scientist? Not Bad. Scientific American? Good. There are also things like Invention &
Technology. While I've not subscribed in recent years, last I checked it did a pretty good job at telling
stories of STS.

STEM=Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (apparently the latest buzz-acronym in education)
STS =Science, Technology & Society.

Re:Good (3, Funny)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885921)

STEM?

That's terrible! The government will probably confuse it with STEM cells and cut off funding.

Re:Good (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#19886071)

It does not really matter whether the public is or is not stupid, all that matters is how many minutes and hours a day any person has to peruse any kind of Internet content.

Tech forums are not getting eaten alive by blogs or forums, they are getting eaten alive by blogs and forums and media streams and by the shear volume of content now available across a whole range of web sites.

Another big development is computer tech is all becoming a bit much of a yawn, a decade or more ago the changes in computer tech were really dramatic with enormous improvements in performance and capability, nowadays it is all refinements with the only really interesting part being the OS wars and Linux development and you get most of that from slashdot, M$ and which ever distribution home site.

Plus there is enormous competition from each tech site and they are just spreading their reader base thin across a wide choice. All that you will see happen is the large portals that offer a wide range of content will start to dominate again and the old world media companies will start gaining market share as they improve and broaden their net offerings.

As for google, is just gets lot's of 10 to 15 second clicks, not to mention http://mrl.nyu.edu/~dhowe/TrackMeNot/ [nyu.edu] which further inflates meaningless clicks, search is neither hear nor there, it is really just cheap entry level marketing. Companies are still adjusting to a global market and a global audience and global choice.

Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19884913)

I've had it enough with mainstream media who are incompetent when they're not being corrupt.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884963)

Damn, somebody said "Good" first. I was gonna.

I write for a (non-tech) magazine. From the time I finish an article, email it to them and have it show up at my door in the magazine it's about 4 months. And scarcely anything in the magazine cannot be found on the net or an answer can be found to any question the magazine might answer.

Print media is dying. That's news?

They sure look purdy on my bookshelf though.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885031)

And scarcely anything in the magazine cannot be found on the net or an answer can be found to any question the magazine might answer.

I know that when I did tech support at least, almost everything I didn't know from experience was found within five minutes on google. I don't have any problems with profiting from laziness, but at that point it was basically profiting from the equivalent of illiteracy. And that really left a bad taste in my mouth.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885041)

And scarcely anything in the magazine cannot be found on the net or an answer can be found to any question the magazine might answer.
Difficulty... parsing... statement...

And when they pretend to be bloggers too (3, Insightful)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884919)

I think the funniest part is when the tech media starts publishing most of their articles on the "weblogs" section of their site. Like InformationWeek's 2 recent lamentable and much trashed articles about GPLv3.

Re:And when they pretend to be bloggers too (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885009)

Is it just me or is Wired terrible at doing this? I feel that half the news I get from their RSS feed link back to their blog network. Wired are not the only ones, I agree with what you say, but they seem to be a big offender here.

Re:And when they pretend to be bloggers too (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885271)

Is it just me or is Wired terrible

See. You could just have stopped right there.

This won't decrease the amount of advertising (4, Insightful)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884945)

As much as I hate advertising, this is probably a bad sign. Companies won't do less advertising - it works too well, but at least on CNET we know where (most of?) the ads are. Who is sponsoring this or that tech blog? We've already seen "scandals" like that, although blogs are mostly not journalism. It is probably a lot cheaper and effective to buy out a few blogs and get consistent long term shilling than it is to buy recognizable ads on a bigger site. It has consistently been safe to predict that in the future we will be subject to more and more marketing that is more pervasive and less recognizable than ever before. It never seems to end.

Re:This won't decrease the amount of advertising (2, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885055)

When you find these people who have no integrity, sell out and lie to the public, find out where they live and smash their brains out with a blunt object.

There's nothing wrong with this culture that a few good old biblical stoning parties wouldn't fix.

Re:This won't decrease the amount of advertising (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885501)

"smash their brains out with a blunt object."

-
"No, no, no. Don't be mean. Don't be mean. Remember, no matter where you go.... your brains are still here"

Re:This won't decrease the amount of advertising (1)

EvilAlphonso (809413) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885861)

I love your idea, but you'd then have a definite lack of candidates for the next elections.

Re:This won't decrease the amount of advertising (3, Interesting)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885085)

But isn't this the problem already? I'd feel more sorry for the tech magazines if they weren't so full of long-term-shilling themselves. Most articles are thinly-disguised paid advertisements. Advertisers are leaving the big magazines because we are - I don't bother reading them any more. Or if I do read them, I also want a feedback site to go with it. Slashdot might not be the place to get advice about life insurance, but if a tech writer is spreading FUD or throwing bad statistics around, the lovely folks here will warn me.

It happens with old tech too (2, Interesting)

wheelgun (178700) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885103)

I read through 3/4ths of a website about traditional Japanese swords before I realized it was nothing but a shill for a line of Chinese reproductions sold by the website author. What's funny is that a lot of the information was legitimate. I probably would've bought one of his products if I hadn't felt like I had been conned.

Re:This won't decrease the amount of advertising (1)

The13thMonkey (1105729) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885403)

By their very nature, visitors to tech sites are more tech-savy than your average surfer. Thus there's a high chance that they've got ad and script blocking extensions installed in Firefox and don't even see the ads to start with.

It's nothing to do with blogs stealing their revenue and everything to do with consumers getting sick of having to wade through animated gifs and flash just to read an article. The less technical sites will start to suffer from this phenomenon too once your average Joe wakes up to the fact that ads can be blocked.

If they'd be more subtle in their advertising (text-only, relevant links a la AdWords that you might actually want to click on) then we could all turn off our blockers and they'd start making money again.

Re:This won't decrease the amount of advertising (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885527)

If they'd be more subtle in their advertising (text-only, relevant links a la AdWords that you might actually want to click on) then we could all turn off our blockers and they'd start making money again.

Once, I would have agreed with you. And I still think an unobtrusive text sidebar a la Google's will work in the long run. But AdWords? They worked at first, I even liked them as unobtrusive... Right up until many pages (and the "tech journalist" sites seem like some of the worst offenders here) started looking like little colored minefields of mouseover popups, where one wrong twitch of the mouse ends up hiding half of the visible content (I say "content" rather than "page" because these same sites seem to prefer thick ad-laden sidebars on both sides, leaving the actual content to only the middle third of the actual page... Get that, ads covering other ads!).

Unfortunately, short of turning off Javascript (which I once advocated but today you really can't use even the most basic of sites without it), AdWords seem nearly unblockable. Sometimes the "printable" form of the page gives some relief, but even then you often get every other paragraph interlaced with a half-printed-page banner.

Re:This won't decrease the amount of advertising (3, Informative)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885711)

Unfortunately, short of turning off Javascript (which I once advocated but today you really can't use even the most basic of sites without it), AdWords seem nearly unblockable. Sometimes the "printable" form of the page gives some relief, but even then you often get every other paragraph interlaced with a half-printed-page banner.

Block "*googlesyndication.com*" and "*google-analytics.com*" to get rid of 99% of AdWord ads.

Re:This won't decrease the amount of advertising (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885757)

Oops, forgot about the CSS to block the ads in their search results. If your browser supports using a custom stylesheet, add this to it:

*[cellspacing="0"][cellpadding="0"][width="25%"] [align="right"][bgcolor="#ffffff"][border="0"][cla ss="ra"]
{
display: none !important;
width: 0pt !important;
height: 0pt !important;
background: white !important;
margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0pt !important;
padding: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0pt !important;
}

Yeah, blogs are great. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19884955)

Everybody with a blog is the world's foremost expert in whatever it is they're interested in today.

It doesn't matter whether you're a hardened and experienced veteran of the industry (any industry), or a 14-year-old who has read some magazine articles and chatted with 1337 d00dz. Fame will be yours.

Oh wait, what's that? Not even your mom will read your blog? Ah well, just keep "publishing" anyway. The whole Universe wants to hear about your Theory of Rap, or how that one girl in Biology class is hot and you just know she's gonna notice you this year.

Yep, blogs are the way of the future.

Re:Yeah, blogs are great. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885751)

Don't say this on Slashdot, even if it's absolutely true. This is the place where loserboy nerds masturbate in their own feces, fling shit around and babble about how much they're important and how everybody should listen to them.

They need to compensate for all the beating-ups they have been subjected to. Their arms still hurt from being twisted. Their heads ache from being smashed against locker doors. They still have bloodshot eyes, from being stuck into unflushed toilet bowls and held there for minutes.

Just imagine their plight. At night they patherically try to live out their loserboy fantasies by publishing irrelevant ramblings on their pityful blogs, by day they are bullied, tormented, beaten up, forced to eat dog excrements in front of their whole class, and then the video of them, running crying and bawling along the school hallways without their pants appears on YouTube.

They offer so little (4, Interesting)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884965)

What do CNET and Business 2.0 offer beyond smart alec FUD columnists and advertiser-friendly reviews?

It was sad to see most of the serious newspapers dry up, leaving nothing but wire fed papers that write to a 4th grade reading level.

It was sad to see local radio stations dry up, leaving nothing but Clear Channel fed recordings from Texas.

However, I have few tears for crappy magazines and their equally vapid online "portals" that never offered much in the first place.

The real issue is that we've sold off the Fourth Estate to advertisers, and we have very little real journalism left. We're all fed our news from the same ~5 mega corps who own everything. We are not informed because we gave up our media to capitalism, which works well as a way to price widgets, but is not really very good at providing truth. It only knows how to provide marketing spin.

Bloggers could provide some respite, but the Internet provides little in terms of a reputation system. Anyone can shout down unpopular truths, and any group can astroturf their marketing messages. Few people who follow Digg or Reddit links verify the credibility of sources they visit.

We've traded our serious tradition of journalism for a cheap bit of daily entertainment from who knows where and a media buffet prepared by a market driven media.

The fact that the least fit portions of our capitalist replacement for journalism are struggling to survive should be expected. The fact that our media is being run like a free market is the real story.

RoughlyDrafted Magazine [roughlydrafted.com]

Re:They offer so little (2)

sgant (178166) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885109)

I have to agree with this. I basically stopped reading computer magazines after Byte Magazine went belly-up. All the others that were left were exactly has you describe them. Open up a PC world lately? It's 90% ads...which actually turn into about 99% ads when you read the actual articles.

The problem is editorial, not structural (4, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884979)

The reason these ads are moving to the blogs is because the readership is at the blogs. The reason the readership is there is because bloggers are picking apart opinion pieces throughout the editorial world and reshaping them by arguing against their positions. Thus, readership is fleeing commercial journalism because the commercial rags aren't offering what readers want.

What do readers want? These days, a little fucking truth would help. I think we're all sick of the clear commercial bias inherent in all these supposed tech reviews and bullshit 'secretly sponsored opinion'. The same is happening in professional news. TV and cable news viewership is down. WAY DOWN. Why is that? Because they don't offer news.

When these 'tech journals' hire a few more reporters and start publishing real news, you'll see their readers and advertisers follow right back. Because, frankly, the blog-0-sphere offers no substantial news reporting either.

Re:The problem is editorial, not structural (2, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885275)

The reason the readership is there is because bloggers are picking apart opinion pieces throughout the editorial world and reshaping them by arguing against their positions. [...] frankly, the blog-0-sphere offers no substantial news reporting either.

I like how you went circle there arguing against your own position. Is this how bloggers do?

And let me tell you why why the masses won't get back to magazines even they got great tech reviews: because they're not free, and Internet is chock full of free information, you can research and read information for mere seconds that you can't fit in years worth of magazine issues.

Tech magazines will just move online in the end. The real loser are the industrial printing service businesses. They'll still be printing some flyers, brochures and books. But periodic printed press is doomed in mid-term.

Bullshit (5, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885475)

Yours is a reasonable opinion, but at the same time a little unfair. Take Slashdot, for example. Everybody is always complaining about the lack of editorial quality, yadda yadda yadda. But very few people recognize the fact that Slashdot doesn't break any news.

Slashdot is really a glorified blog. It aggregates news sources from all over, stories that its members think are interesting. But without the original sources that generate these stories -- media outlets who pay writers to produce stories -- outlets like Slashdot disappear.

You claim that readers want "a little fucking truth." Fair enough. But, by definition, Slashdot isn't in a position to generate anything but "a little fucking opinion." And you can't hate on it for doing so. That's what it's here for.

I spent three years as a senior editor at InfoWorld, and I certainly have a lot of criticisms to offer about the tech trade media industry. But I can say, with absolute certainty, that when trade media outlets like InfoWorld disappear you will all be sorry.

It goes against almost every fiber of my cynical being to say this, but your subject heading is full of shit. The problem is one hundred percent structural, zero percent editorial.

There has never been a tech reporter who has picked his baggy-eyed head up off a table and blurted out, "You know what? We need to do more stories about the iPhone." Not one. Editors might think that a 300-story onslaught about the iPhone sounds like a good idea, but only because we have people breathing down our necks, too -- people who are beholden to bullshit metrics like hit counts, which look a whole like hard statistics, but are infinitely less reliable than the reader surveys that they used to conduct on newspaper readers.

The good tech reporters who have stuck with this industry know what they're talking about. They write the stories that blogs like Slashdot link to. They might get it wrong from time to time -- fine. You're all there to call them on it. But they're still providing a valuable service.

What's really wrong with this industry is the same thing that's wrong with every industry -- the willingness to suck cock for money. If you're putting out a blog, and somebody offers you an opportunity to make a lot of money -- money, you gloatingly think, that won't be spent on a mainstream tech media outlet -- shame on you. The only reason that company was able to buy a story is because you sold it to them. Hope you brushed your teeth afterward.

You can pull a statistic out your ass that says the readership is all going to blogs. Fine. But can you really blame the management of the media outlets when they hear something like that? The answer is predictable: More blogs.

Blogs on blogs on blogs. It's great! Blogs don't cost us anything and readers trust blogs more than they do reporters, so screw the reporters' salaries and let's hire more bloggers. The answer is more corporate blogs. And folks like you eat it up.

Yeah, you heard me right. Is the media industry going to shit? Corporate media is on the blame list, for sure. But first on the list is you. Have you ever written your Congressman? Probably not. But even if you have, it's probably futile to ask that you write to your favorite media outlets and ask -- even beg -- them to cover real news, and not just fluff pieces and fake stories.

Media outlets cover bullshit because the metrics tell them that bullshit is what people want, plain and simple.

Hell, the only reason that I still read Slashdot (check out my user ID) is because the demographic of the stories is so narrow that I can guarantee that 5/6 of the stories posted are about something I'm at least slightly interested in. I bet that's not true for half the Slashdot readers, though.

Yes, the world of media is going to shit. Yes, I hate it. Damned if I can do anything about it on my own, though.

Re:Bullshit (3, Informative)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885863)

Slashdot is really a glorified blog. It aggregates news sources from all over, stories that its members think are interesting. But without the original sources that generate these stories -- media outlets who pay writers to produce stories -- outlets like Slashdot disappear.

No, Slashdot is a glorified discussion forum. The discussion topics (news) is user submitted (albiet with editor assistance) and user moderated - it's not some random cat on the net spouting off about whatever and pining for attention, it's a large audience of participants interacting with each other. As long as the topics are relevant to the geek audience, I don't think it would much matter where they come from... indeed many links have been to purely amateur sources and projects as opposed to professional media.

Re:Bullshit (1)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 6 years ago | (#19886003)

Is there really all that big a difference between a dicussion forum and a blog? Sure the discussion forum might be moderated (as we do collectively here) and sure the blog might have a single "thread starter", but the end effect is not so different. It is opinions and opinions about opinions.

blogs are just shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19884985)

99.999999999% of blogs do nothing but spam ads and storys on /. and clog the fuck out of my google searches. they contribute nothing but useless opinions. i doubt blogs are what's killing the media, it's more likely the media themselfs. they don't anyone to kick their ass's. all my information comes from forums and online chat channels where i can talk to real pro's.

My niche publishing market is safe (1)

waynemcdougall (631415) | more than 6 years ago | (#19884993)

Latex for fun [maxomatic.net] . New book now out.

No way the interwebs will take THAT away from me.

ads, not articles (3, Insightful)

witte (681163) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885013)

This highlights that their primary business is not writing and selling tech articles to readers, but selling advertisement space.

Fair and unbiased reporting (1)

Frantactical Fruke (226841) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885021)

I stopped reading computer mags back in early 1999 when one of the CDNET rags compared the latest Netware release to the features Microsoft was promising to include in Windows 2000 the next year. A news source that is less trustworthy than Usenet simply does not deserve to live. And frankly, if I can get three drug-addled Usenet trolls to endorse a product, I'm more likely to buy it than on the recommendation of PC Magazine.

"Upside" went bust, too. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885033)

A few years ago, Upside magazine went bust. Since I own Downside [downside.com] , I looked into buying their domain, but the assets of Upside were eventually acquired by another tech publishing firm. The article didn't mention Upside, although they mentioned The Industry Standard and Business 2.0, which also tanked.

We also lost Silicon Valley's newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News. It's been purchased by an outfit that runs cheesy suburban throwaways, and is being brought down to that level. It's still published, but nobody cares.

And Murdoch is buying the Wall Street Journal. Soon, there will be very few information sources that actually go out and dig out news.

I blame the slick interfaces... (1)

Pionus (1128701) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885105)

Tech media sites try to appear fun and hip, and people don't want flashy gimmicks when they just want answers. Just look at Cnet, unless you focus on it, it looks like a gigantic mess of text and banner ads. If Tech Media wants to make a comeback, they need to show clear and concise communication, and throw out the distracting crap that they litter the site with. Cnet would be much more popular if it just had a design similar to Slashdot's.

Obligatory (4, Interesting)

adolf (21054) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885113)

I, for one, welcome our blog-spewing overlords!

No, wait -- that's not what I mean at all. In fact, I mourn the loss of proper technical journalism in the world. Nobody bothers actually reviewing a product, or rendering an original opinion anymore.

Instead, we get twelve pages of ads, with only sixteen paragraphs of whitewash [wikipedia.org] , er, ahem, content spread amongst them.

I miss seeing reviews produced by competent and well-qualified people about things other than the latest 7800GTX repack. Just try to find useful comparison information on printers, monitors, keyboards, or even simple mice. These products are the human interface for the machine and are therefore among the most important facets of it, but unless it's twice as expensive as it should be and is intended for a child's gaming rig then there will be no reviews of it in the blogs.

There's a thousand disparate e-commerce reviews to wade through, sure, but at least they're typically honest. Blog entries (if you can find one related) all lack any semblance of depth or integrity.

The dead-tree derivatives like C|Net and the remains of Ziff-Davis aren't any better these days, as they flail about trying to copy their blog competitor's attention-deficit formatting and lack of editorial oversight, managing only to add more misery to their already inevitable death.

Absolutely nobody ever bothers setting up repeatable tests for comparative measurement of anything in this century unless it can be done in the form of a Quake benchmark. And even then, products offering 1-2% gain for the low-low price of $200 more than everything else in the review are proclaimed to be the "clear winner" by some spineless high-school kid who is afraid to write a bad review for fear that XFX or MSI or whoever will turn off the free hardware spigot in retaliation.

The fact that I find Amazon and Newegg customer reviews by the clueless masses to be some of the most meaningful and useful information available makes me feel like we've lost something important. It's probably gone forever.

I, for one, am not very happy about it.

Re:Obligatory (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885321)

Sure, the mainstream tech media were good at one time for reviews of products like printers and displays, but that time passed a long time before the independent sites started to take hold.

Ever since the mainstream media sold out to their sponsors, and maintaining a friendly image to truly clueless users, they've been absolutely worthless. In essence, as long as we're talking about product reviews, they've been worthless for many yeas now. Also, go find a review that actually lays out and documents its testing procedure.

The mainstream media brought about its own death. The indie/blog community does a good job of reviewing gaming hardware, although I do agree that for general purpose reviews, it sort of stinks (with small exceptions for sites like Ars Technica and DansData)

Re:Obligatory (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885465)

And I am not happy wading through page after page of web search results with nothing but hits to crappy half-page-per-entry blogs. Adding -blog to the search terms doesn't help much either. I want my web-consisting-of-web-pages back (you know, the kind that you spend a few days polishing before you add to your website)?)

Maybe it's bad reporting (2, Interesting)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885141)

Whenever I run across a cnet page or similar tech news site (slashdot link, google search) I'm always disappointed. Usually everything they have to say could have fit in a paragraph but it's padded with out of context quotes and general fluff. It never tells me the interesting technical details I might want to know (say like kerneltrap summaries or wikipedia articles) nor does it present any well reasoned opinions that I might want to consider. Frankly the content is just so poor it's better to flail around until you run into the blog or other site that actually has something useful to say.

The problem with sites like cnet is that they can't decide who their audience is. If they want to pitch their writing to the general public then they probably should stick with reviewing the iPhone and stay far away from stories about Linus's comments on the GPL3 or the latest groklaw controversy but the mainstream media has that pretty well covered. On the other hand if they want to appeal to people who are more informed about this stuff then dumbing it down and spending the whole time giving context just won't work.

Maybe the problem is they hired journalism majors with a bit of tech knowledge rather than tech guys who can write reasonably. That's the right strategy for the NYT tech section not cnet. I dunno.

Re:Maybe it's bad reporting (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885229)

Maybe the problem is they hired journalism majors with a bit of tech knowledge rather than tech guys who can write reasonably. That's the right strategy for the NYT tech section not cnet. I dunno.

It's not the right strategy for either. What they want is people who are both tech geeks 'and' journalism majors. I'd say it doesn't work at all for the new york times, at least in the science angle I'm familiar with. They usually have writeups by people who display an amazing ignorance of science, and it winds up not only being worthless to both parties, but I'd even argue decremental to society as a whole when it continues to degrade public opinion of science. 90% or more of the time their articles will just wind up with a laugh from the general public in a "Oh scientists tell us this food is bad now, they just don't understand the world in the way our family homeopath does." way. Bad science reporting, whether from ignorance of writing or science, is worse than nothing at all. The problem is that people who can both write well, and know what they're reporting on, cost more money than a journalism major who'll believe any story he's fed about perpetual motion machines.

The problem with (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885147)

most of the so called tech media simply is, that it is not tech media it is more business magazines with articles in between which are close on the border of rewritten ads. There are exceptions like the Sigs magazines or Dr. Dobbs but those wont get into problems anyway, the magazines like WindowsXXX Magazine and something alike are the ones getting problems. If I want to read ads I am not going to pay for it. All I can say is, bring serious content then the readers wont run away.

Surprise to _anyone_? (1)

jadin (65295) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885159)

You'd think they'd learn from other media such as music and movies. You either adapt to the internet and reform your business model to include it, or you suffer the consequences.

Seriously, wake up and smell the javascript.

The next story submission reads (3, Funny)

Thakandar2 (260848) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885183)

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday July 17, @02:00AM
from the advertising-in-tech-media-is-drying-up dept.

CmdrTaco writes with articles from various specialist blogs covering the closing of Slashdot and its affiliates, due to the large decrease in ad revenue that has moved on to real blogs with commentary consisting of real substance and editorial content, instead of Soviet Russia, Netcraft, All your base, you must be new here, natalie portman, and other internet memes. Users will have two weeks to burn all their Karma, and subscribers will be priveledged to know that their remaining subscriptions will pay for the editors' unemployment.

> slashdot, memes, karmaburning, yes, no, wontsomeonethinkofthechildren (tagging beta)

Scary Trend (3, Insightful)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885239)

I think the trend of print media succumbing to the "blogosphere" makes some sense for tech media like those discussed in TFA but I don't like where it's heading when it comes to the standard news print media.

I read articles in the New York Times and other major newspapers with a warm and fuzzy notion that the journalist that wrote the piece - even if not totally unbiased - has done some honest, well-funded research and has some authority on the topic at hand. If the news print media were to vanish and be replaced by endless streams of blogs filled with non-objective opinions I think we'd really be sunk.

Maybe a few major newspapers could continue to pull in enough online ad revenue to fund the kinds of journalism they can now, but many small market papers could not. We would then be stuck with an ever-shrinking pool of objective reporters giving us our news, and an exponentially growing pool of acid tongued, uninformed opinion spewers. Not to mention the fact that online crossword puzzles just aren't the same...

It's called RSS. (5, Insightful)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885267)

RSS helps sites by attracting busy people like me who don't have time to surf a dozen sites to find an interesting article. But at the same time it's killing them, because people like me surgically link in to read an article and then close the tab immediately, never so much as considering looking at other features of their site. (It probably doesn't help that I use adblock and overlay all Flash content with control buttons, but that's beside the point.)

I skim approximately three mainstream news sources, a handful of blogs and a few independent news sites for RSS headlines that catch my attention. I spend the rest of my online time reading select forums that are mostly inhabited by people who present what I believe to be intelligent/interesting discourse (yes, believe it or not, that *does* include Slashdot from time to time).

Guess how much time I spend surfing random links and going page to page within a site using their fancy ajax navigation elements? I don't know what the percentage is, but pretty close to zero. 40 page article about Nvidia's latest Geforce gizmo? Skip to conclusion, then go to three of their competitors' sites to see if they concur. There's just too much damn noise and information out there to do it any other way. I use RSS, del.icio.us and a few simple techniques to reduce the web into my own personal CliffsNotes. If I'm representative of any significant segment of the population, then no wonder mainstream news sites are hurting.

Re:It's called RSS. (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885635)

I blame the 'mainstream news' for their sites failing. This isn't just web-based, but tv and radio as well. For years I've heard people complaining about the degrading usefulness of the news due to it's decreasing truthfulness and content.

When a random person on the net can provide more interesting and useful information than an entire channel dedicated to that concept, it's no wonder that they are failing.

On the other hand, there are blogs that have turned into news sites, such as Slashdot. Kotaku clearly thinks it's a news site, and Joystiq seems to as well, but they look an awful lot like blogs to me. So where do you draw the line? Do they have to be owned by a big media company to be called a 'news site', or is it enough to simply claim they are a news site? I would think the latter, really.

So the issue is not that the blogs are getting all the advertising, it's that the smaller news sites are getting it, and the big sites are trying to fight back by whining. Instead, they should work on being GOOD reporters, and giving us facts instead of spin. Maybe then we'd care what they have to say again.

A real tech magazine (4, Informative)

slashbart (316113) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885357)

Circuit Cellar [circuitcellar.com] is doing fine, and has been doing fine for decades. It's the low to zero information content magazines that'll go away. Well, good riddance.

The funny thing is that its founder Steve Ciarcia [wikipedia.org] left then market leader Byte Magazine, because it was turning into an advertorial marketing rag. Guess which magazine no longer exists :-)

Depends on where you are (2, Insightful)

harmonica (29841) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885377)

I don't think that trend is as strong in other parts of the world as it is in the US. Print media are for the most part losing readers and ad clients, but enterprises are rather conservative when it comes to ads online. Talking about Germany, I think we're at least five years behind. Online ad budgets are negligible compared to what is being done in the US. Unfortunately I don't have the latest number, I'm sure we're catching up.

Besides, I'd like to stress the importance of printed media. We still have a couple of good magazines and I'd hate to lose them because supposedly one print magazine can be replaced with a dozen mediocre websites. (PC Professionell, certainly one of the better ones, was recently discontinued while crap like Computerbild is doing fine.) It doesn't really matter whether the end product of good journalism is being published on dead wood or online, but good journalism costs money which you can't make online (yet). At least in some parts of the world.

Well duh! (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885387)

I mean, the money has so completely destroyed tech media by turning into basically eternal corporate advertising. Even the little actual tech substance that was left has been rapidly drying up.

When was the last time you found out something new in a Ziff-Davis magazine? 1982?

They don't cover beryl and Ubuntu much, so there's nothing there interesting to read. I like blogs and youtube about stuff, though because it's not just advertising it's interesting and relevant.

This a widespread problem. (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885409)

Welcome to the crisis.

Print and other traditional media are dying. Hell, even the coherent article is dying. Trouble is, What if you like to read material in that format? Plenty of mags have already bit the dust, and many more have been reduced to unreadable pap ("Games for Windows" is nowhere near the calibre of "Computer Gaming World" in 1990). And while some of bigger circulation giants seem to be holding up well, Like "Rolling Stone" and "Playboy" I worry even about their long term viability. At the very least, where is Rolling Stone going to recruit writers, or Gods of Rock help us, editors in 20, even 10 years? What's going to be left but the incoherent ramblings of Scruffy McBlogger and Ahab al Troll?

Filters will evolve (1)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885427)

To be honest, I stopped reading computer magazines because of the sort of irrelevant ramblings that often appeared in them. While everyone can write a blog, ultimately only the ones that have any worth will be relevant, just as in printed media. Yes, it will come back to reputation.

Re:Filters will evolve (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885961)

Personally, I stopped reading computer magazines when I knew for a fact that the articles in areas where I was well-informed were Just Plain Wrong, or at least presenting an over-simplified, naive explanation. How, then, could I trust that I was being properly informed about those subjects I did not already know about?

Well, that and the fact that by the time the comparison reviews and ad mini-brochures were printed, all the prices were so out-of-date that you might make a completely different decision anyway.

Who reads computer magazines anyway? (1)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885411)

This has mystified me for ages. A monthly magazine can be something like three months out of date by the time it's published. It's not the Wireds and Red Herrings of the world that suffer from this so, but Computer World and PC User and such, who have to plan ahead for their reviews and for the component sales ads, who must have to make a prediction on how much they will have to charge in two months for volatile items such as memory. Either that or they are wasting their money on two page adverts which have been superceded by their websites.
I can only think that they must be there for the kind of CEO who still has his email printed off by his secretary every morning and who dictates replies on a dictaphone, but who still thinks that he needs to be on the cutting edge.

Blogs and the media food chain. (1)

jb523 (220004) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885473)

I have no problem with this in principle, except for the fact that the blogs aren't often much of a source of original media output. For the most part, they are part of the digestive process, and so much of what we get through blogs comes through them from the original media in the first place, so as the original media degrades, so will the value of what comes through those blogs. This will give more strength to those blogs that do provide original research (e.g., http://dpreview.com/ [dpreview.com] a halfway point between blog and tech media), but as good reporting and good analysis is expensive, they will have to avoid suffering the same problems as the original tech media they are supplanting as they work their way down the food chain (here I think of blogs as being "higher" on the food chain in that they consume the text media and we consume them. They are essentially sitting between us and the tech media, which is sitting between us and the tech industry).

Just like sushi (2, Insightful)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885483)

but with more fiber!

Seriously, though, at what point will ABC/CBS/NBC start running prime time news headlines ripped from /.?

How many reports/blogs have we seen in the past few years are wildly inaccurate, just wrong, or completely blown out of all proportion? Astroturfing, bought studies, fanboyism.

I'm guessing that the blogs are so popular:

1) People go to blogs where they get to read stuff that agrees with their own ideas/attitudes

2) People don't want to spend time to read anything substantive (ie, RTFA)

3) Ok, this one is good- narrow focus on a subject that you want to learn about

4) We shall totally refrain from the topic of political blogs.

5) Main stream media can be/will be/usually are behind in reporting things that have been mentioned on blogs. Supposedly, main stream media does fact checking, plus camera shots, background, live shots, etc. With a blog, you can pretty much just type anything you want with no reprecussions (with the usual caveats)

I know that mainstream media is abhorrent now, but at least (again, supposedly) they do some background into seek before splashing the "bad news" over anyones' walls.

Cheers

Too many ads? (1)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885489)

I know why I stopped reading "tech media". Because each article is at least 10 pages long, and 90% of each page is ads. Get it through your heads. The internet does not require pages. Just shove all the info onto one page. A banner up top I can handle, one down the side I guess. Don't clutter our screen with ads and minimal content, and then whine when we stop reading.

Seems to be the same story everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19885499)

Rags are losing ad revenue as they are losing readers.
They are losing readers because their content is shoddy as it is mostly about getting more advertisement hence corporate appeasement oriented.
So in wooing advertisers and making them happy tech mags lost readers... Bottomline they forgot their core business.
Ads may bring revenue, but ads come only when magazines sell. And magazines sell only on the back of good content. Ads are peripherals - they don't sell magazines. Content does.
If your magazine dishes a product the company will still advertise in your magazine as long as its circulation is high. Ads are not about good rep, its abt visibility.
Its the same with music or tv or movies... content has gone weak and so have sales.
People will not pay unless you give them good content. Corporate media houses seem to have forgotten this. They keep trying to sell what they want to sell instead of going out and finding out what people want to buy.
Movies and stories may paint people as drones that accept whatever is thrown at them, reality is far more different. People are not drones and they have limits to what shit they take.
a person maybe smart and people foolish, but people becomes persons when it comes to giving away money.

Banner Ads and Consumer product search (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885661)

The article mentions that advertisers are moving from tech news advertising to search keyword advertising.

I've said it all along; "don't pollute the page with in your face cover the article advertisig" The flashing blinking text covering beeping roaring advertisements are the reason I pulled Flash out of one system by the roots. Now flashblock tames down intrusive advertising. When reading an article on an RIAA court case, I have no intrest in the new Dodge Pickup. It's a wasted advertisement.

When I am shopping for a product, be there in the yellow pages, the search engine (revelant results only) and other proper locations. If I want your product, I'll find you.

Just tonight I was searching for alarm monitoring. I was able to compare prices (varied widely) features (varied widely) and was able to narrow my search for the type of monitoring I needed (online latchkey monitoring by user + pages of events to my pager).

A banner ad for some cheezy X10 cam as a security solution just doesn't cut it anymore.

The downside is the online publications take a hit. Bummer.

I hope that editors are here to stay (3, Insightful)

drozofil (1112491) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885685)

Only tech news is so fragile that it can be conveyed by blogs. For other subjects (international analysis, arts, music, politic), most subjects treated are not really news. It might be for some readers but it's not the point. The editorial policies are what makes the content worth reading. Automatic RSS aggregators poorly replaces editors.

Personally, I find that even if I can customize to a point the content I get from the net, I got the huge problem of being spectator of what already interests me. I still have the curiosity to look out for new things that could interest me. My bookmarks or my subscribed feeds do a poor job for bringing me new sites (have you noticed how many blogs never change their subject and then die out of exhaustion ?).

Until there is a GoogleBot ready for handling the way I discover relevant intellectual information, I will need some human piece of advice. That's why journalists always were for I think. That's why they would stay. That started without an audience, I don't think audience is that relevant for journalism.

I read some comment saying that "paper press is dead". It's not. At least I seriously hope so. The ad-driven papers are suffering, I hope they will suffer more and more. Ad-free media has a price, pay for it if you can! Don't you think that ad-driven news will abuse you again, and again, and again, and again ... until the last drop of ink on earth will have been spent on attempting to make you buy something you didn't even think about before; on feeding you altered news; on conveying lies in the sole purpose of the interest of something or someone or some people that is not you, nor your family, nor your friends or anyone else for that matter ?

Re:I hope that editors are here to stay (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885817)

Until there is a GoogleBot ready for handling the way I discover relevant intellectual information, I will need some human piece of advice. That's why journalists always were for I think. That's why they would stay. That started without an audience, I don't think audience is that relevant for journalism
Actually, there is. Google gives recommendations on which pages you want to visit. It's available from the "Web History" link, which in turn provides an "Interesting items" link. Alternativly, you can add the Interesting items to your Google homepage - in either case, "Free registration required", and it requires you to at least search for information online (or simply view if you have the toolbar installed).

Stumbleupon [stumbleupon.com] came earlier, and it does require you to "seed" your general insterests - however, it will provide relevant sites that you may be interested in.

As they are both automated systems, they are prone to quirks - for example, they may sometimes provide a link to a site that isn't really that good (e.g. a site that attributes known Quayleisms to GWB.) But in any case, those sites are a start on trying to find something new.

The wrong advertisers (1)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885745)

I haven't read magazines for over a decade except for individual articles pointed to by RSS.
This was because of three reasons:
1) Magazines were always late, you read about it somewhere else first;
2) Magazines don't have the best people. The best people are out there doing it, not reporting about it;
3) Their advertisers are equal to the subjects of their articles.

This all combined means I can read on dead tree or C|NET the not-so-critical article about Foo, by someone who has less expert knowledge about the subject, just after we finished discussing it on blogs or fora and moved on to the next subject. Yeah this is great.

Because of 2) I don't think there is much one can do about it, if you'd wish to. There are always better experts elsewhere. But if they want to try to salvage some, perhaps they should start by targeting other advertisers. Writing about Foo and wanting ad money from Foo doesn't combine well. But tech readers don't only spend money on tech stuff. For example, they have to shave, and many have to shave more regularly too. Seek Gillette, not Logitech or Novell, as advertisers. Then maybe we can start to trust them.
To fix 2, if it's possible, they should try to become respectable aggregators of expert content by buying articles from them, where ever they are, instead of having an inner circle of writers, employees or freelance, who are economical depending on them, and thus are no experts, or they would have had "real" jobs. The guy who wrote that excellent insightful comment on the tivo forum should write an article, not some guy in an office who just finished his latest ipod review. This could be interesting for both sides, as the forum guy now makes a buck of his content and moreover his piece has much more eyeballs and a wider audience (if things work out).

Barely a surprise (2, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#19885763)

In the UK PC magazines have been closing in recent years at a fiendish rate although blogs or forums have just sped up something that was already happening.
Magazines go through cycles. When something new comes out or is changing in popularity, magazines flourish as people try to learn as much as possible about a subject. Then once things get to a point where said item is either so easy to use, you don't need help or becomes so mainstream people just accept the state of the art as is and don't bother investigating further.
The result is sales fall, ad revenue falls and the market consolidates and we're seeing that now in the IT press.
Previous victims include HiFi magazines - huge in the 70's and 80's when you could read all about fine tuning turntables, building concrete speaker stands and all that good stuff. Then CD and reasonably OK stuff for cheap came out and suddenly only real HiFi nuts cared - for most people an all-in-one set up was good enough. In the UK HiFi magazines went from a dozen and a half titles to 2 or 3 thin efforts.
Further back, we were awash with Microwave magazines, freezer magazines and so on. Once people became confortable with the products, they stopped buying them.
Most editors I've worked with since about 2000 reckoned IT mags in print were dead or about to be and it's surpring they've lasted as long as they have. You want reviews? Why wait a month - get it online the day it comes out. Help? Tutorials? it's all here for free on the web. The only real difference is the quality. Some websites go in to far more detail on a product than a magazine would ever bother but equally, general editorial tends to be better in a magazine where an editor has tidied up bad prose or woolly thinking.

OH NO! OH NO! (1)

Elsan (914644) | more than 6 years ago | (#19886009)

OH NOES! The market is evolving!!1 Customers are asking for different stuff and stuff!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!1111

Lacking interest (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 6 years ago | (#19886019)

Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I think the most basic reason is a lack of interest.

If I go to the local newstand, I'll see about 10 magazines containing PC-related drivel, 1 magazine containing MacOS related items, and about 4-5 Linux-related publications. Now, I'm a Linux and perhaps even to a degree, a MacOS user, so the PC-related magazines hold no interest, but I doubt I would like them anyway (they're the thickest but also the most content-sparse). None of the magazines except Linux Journal holds anything of interest for me, and even then -- its hardly interesting anymore. The content is simply obsolete by the time it hits print. I hardly ever see anything new, surprising, or otherwise containing value. Perhaps I'd like to review the IEEE journals again, I haven't seen them since my university years.

When I go to the newstand, I now pickup The Economist and, for lighter reading pleasures, Newsweek. Perhaps to people more closely following such events these too are obsolete, but they are a great suppliment to my daily reading of the BBC's RSS feed.

For technical knowledge, I've begun to simply glance over slashdot's rss feed, dive deeper into the subjects I'm already familiar with, and look for feedback from my users. The users tend to keep up on their own interests, and I get reports from them on whats the popular thing today. If my users mention something of particular interest, I'll research it or (if its of questionable interest) get someone to research it for me.

Then again, I might be in a minority -- perhaps there really is a strong market for these more trivial publications. Other than those I already own, I can rarely find technical books for sale at local outlets for which I hold an interest. For technical books, I've instead moved to looking at Amazon, pre-owned, and university bookstores where I can more easily find materials for my research (such as books on lambda calculus, set theory, writing compilers, x86 assembler, etc)

hey stupid market analysts: (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#19886033)

the people who read tech media are smart enough to block ads!

there, I just did your expensive study for free!

journalism is not technical (1)

smithcl8 (738234) | more than 6 years ago | (#19886049)

The distinction between the traditional sites and the blogs is the level of skill of the people writing the articles. If I'm looking for a well-written piece on a new product I've never seen or some comparisons between products, I'm going to hit the trade rags. If I'm actually using the product, though, there isn't a "journalist" in the world with the skills to help me use it right.

Similarly, if I want to know how to attract the hottest young ladies, I'll ask my 20-year-old cousin. If I want real sex advice, though, I'd ask my 45-year-old uncle driving the VW love van. That old fart may be banging the same chicks he's been banging for 15 years, but he's a pro at it!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...