Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy's Media Impact

The reports/projections are coming in -
  • Pivotal Research Group's Brian Wieser suggests Sandy's disruption of electronic media will cost the industry around $500 million in ad make-goods. His revised forecast for 2012's growth in ad revenues - 0%.  That's despite a revised forecast of $3 billion in political advertising.
  • General Sentiment argues that added social media use linked to Sandy will generate an additional $80 million in ad revenues ($60 million for Twitter, $12 million for news media sites, and the rest generated by other social media platforms.  For comparison, last year's Hurricane Irene generated about $18 million in added revenues.
  • The FCC indicated that Sandy toppled or otherwise disabled a quarter of cell phone towers in the Northeast U.S.  Given the infrastructure disruption, the FCC noted that more towers will drop out of the grid as backup generators run out of fuel or damaged electronics fail.
  • Sandy interrupted newspaper printing in New Jersey and hampered distribution of what newspapers could get printed, flooded online media group Gawker's web servers, the Huffington Post to go dark for a morning before it moved to Tumblr (joining myriad other Gawker and local media websites), forced the AP to move its offices and operations, and knocked a number of AM radio stations off the air, according to a NY Times story.  Many newsrooms went virtual, asking their reporters and editors to work from home. In anticipation of delivery problems, both the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal temporarily suspended the paywalls for their online editions.
 Meanwhile, there's an interesting post at on the changes in news and reporting displayed in covering Hurricane Sandy.  Steven Rosenbaum argues that while he watched media coverage of the storm, he was struck by the speed, volume, and value of news coverage.  And the contributions by "citizen journalists" -
local news anchors scrolling through tweets to pull out and ad lib real-time neighborhood reports, the sheer numbers of photos and videos dumped unfiltered onto the Web (from both the public and news organizations), local officials webcasting updates on the storm and their responses - as well as the rapid collection, curation, and archiving of Sandy-related content.
  The ‘‘ effort, for example, already has more than seven thousand videos - organized, categorized, and searchable.  Rosenbaum ended the post with his thoughts:
So, the question is – does this replace professional journalism? Far from it. UGC Newsgathering adds sources, POV, and reach.  But it also adds noise, and inaccuracy, and fakes. Tons of fake photoshop images. Tons of false reports about water on the floor of the stock exchange, or other rumors amplified by the speed of the social web.
  So, going forward, we need the power and voice of UGC news, as well as the curatorial tools and fact checking chops of working Journalists to help us filter signal from noise.
  Welcome to the new world of media.  Where the volume is massive,  and the filters are human. It’s a new way to think of news,  but it’s the way we’re going to in the future.

Sources -   Superstorm Throws Sand In Face Of Ad Economy, Reduces '12 Ad Growth to Zero, MediaDailyNews
Lost Media Revenue For Sandy: $500 Million, MediaDailyNews
Sandy Took Out 25% Of Cell Towers, MediaDailyNews
Storm Sends News Media Scrambling, NY Times
Media. The Storm. And How Sandy Changes Reporting

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