Monday, March 08, 2010

University researchers call for "Habermassian convention" in magazine websites

If you've got past the headline above, welcome.

In fact, this post is really an elaborate way of linking to the Columbia Journalism Review's survey of magazines and their websites in the USA.

The findings are really worth looking at, at least in summary form, the standouts for me concerning:

The researchers found decision making on the website to be the single most important factor in how its website functions.
Most websites were staffed by people who primarily worked on the print editions, and less than a quarter of staff were hired with web experience (29 per cent).
Independent web editors were the only decision makers in the most profitable websites, and the higher a magazine’s circulation and monthly web traffic, the more likely it was to have an independent web editor making budget and content decisions.

The researchers found most magazines are not keeping pace with mobile display and interactivity technology.
Less than one in five are designed for smartphones and very few are formatted for e-book readers (4 per cent).
Again, web sites are more likely to have multiple display options when independent web editors are in charge of budget or content decisions.

Most editors said their website and their print magazine shared a common mission.
16 per cent of respondents said their Web site’s mission involved community-building with readers.
Interestingly, only 5 per cent mentioned new or unique content as integral to the site’s mission, with 96 per cent reporting the primary use of content from the print magazine online.

The conclusions are a bit lame, however, focusing on the need for codes of conduct, the adoption of aforementioned Habermassian conventions and why previous attempts to "standardise" blogs and social media have failed.

Umm ... has someone missed the rather large point here?

Read more for yourself:

Jurgen Habermas

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