Come spend a year at Harvard! Deadline for int’l applications for Nieman Fellowships approaching

While you may know the Nieman name through this website, our primary project for over 70 years has been the Nieman Fellowships, the oldest journalism fellowship in the world. Every fall, around two dozen talented journalists from around the world come to Harvard for a year of study in the field of their choice — anything that will make them better journalists upon their return to their career.

Some study classic journalism-influencing subjects like economics, history, or government; some dive deep into a particular topic area they’ve worked in before. Others want to study the kinds of Lab-like subjects that will influence journalism’s future: revenue models at Harvard Business School, digital media at the Berkman Center, nonprofit structures at the Hauser Center, online media law at Harvard Law School. (And if Harvard isn’t enough, Nieman Fellows can also attend classes down Mass Ave at MIT.)

We’re starting the process of picking the 74th class of Nieman Fellows, who will come to Harvard next fall, in August 2011. So if you’re a talented journalist, it might be time for you to think about applying.

Each Nieman class is roughly half American, half from the rest of the world. And the matter is most pressing for prospective international fellows, since the deadline for your application is December 15. (American applicants have until January 31.)

You can read the eligibility requirements and the details of how to apply. But the key elements include two short essays (one a personal statement, the other an outline of what you plan to study), some samples of your work, and four letters of recommendation. If you get started now, internationals, you’ve still got time! (South African, Canadian, and South Korean journalists have their own special application processes; follow the links here.)

I’m happy to answer any questions from applicants, particularly any Lab readers from digital background who’d like to come to Harvard. (I was a Nieman Fellow, Class of ‘08.) There’s no age requirement, and the experience requirement is minimal (five years as a working journalist). The goal of the Nieman Fellowships is to improve journalism by unleashing journalists on a great university; if you think you could be one of those journalists, I encourage you to apply.

“An art brand”: Gawker Artists looks at the image beyond the display ad

Five years ago, Chris Batty, until this week Gawker’s vice president of sales and marketing, was looking to fill un-purchased ad space on the site. He wanted to forgo the “horrendous creative” of ad networks that litter sites with penny stocks and would keep his sales teams pushing buttons instead of building relationships. Batty sought something prettier, more intimate, more unique for the company’s growing real estate. At the time, he was living with a woman who worked for Christie’s Auction House, and he prodded her to find artists to fill the empty space. She didn’t act on Batty’s inspiration, but he did — bringing images of artists’ work to stand alongside Gawker’s blog posts.

The result was a workaround that gave Gawker full control over its pages’ aesthetics. Born as a stopgap to complement blog posts, Gawker Artists is now taking on an unexpected life of its own — it became a standalone site in 2006 — in large part by thinking of art not merely as a pretty placeholder for text but as something that could survive on its own. Something that could be modeled and monetized. “Gawker Artists is an art brand rather than an editorial brand,” Gawker Media’s director of marketing, Erin Pettigrew, points out. That’s a major distinction in an industry that uses the word “art” as shorthand for photos, infographics, cartoons, and any other visual.

G.A. curators — working with more than 1,400 artists with 35,000 images — tailor and export work to media partners like Elle, Curbed, and The Atlantic. They hang pieces at Gawker’s notoriously bit-focused office, and are in talks to curate work for the headquarters of another high-profile startup. G.A. organizes sponsored exhibitions and events and collaborates with brands on creative projects. Soon, it will launch an art shop that sells limited-edition prints.

It’s an experiment that suggests the power of looking beyond text in journalism’s business models. As Ivan Askwith, director of strategy at Big Spaceship and a founding member of MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium, puts it: “Let go of the idea that content needs to be created in a certain medium.”

“A good karma project” is a good business proposition

In hindsight, Batty says he would have found a simpler solution for the ad space. Networks are more versatile now, and Gawker can collapse un-purchased space, folding the pixels away and making them disappear. That would have been a shame, though, for Jonathan Fasulo, a photographer who shows on artists.gawker.com. A company that builds websites for photogs found Fasulo there, liked his work, and is giving him a free site for two years. Berlin-based Winston Torr started exhibiting on G.A. earlier in 2010 — and within a week of signing on, his Facebook fan page jumped from 175 to 275 followers. That was followed up with a phone call from the curator of a new Berlin gallery, who wants Torr for a show.

Gawker doesn’t represent artists, but it provides free profiles and exposure. “We both want to communicate with as big an audience as possible,” says Liz Dimmitt, drawing a comparison between artists and journalism companies. Liz and her 24-year-old sister, Genevieve, curate Gawker Artists, visiting studios and taking submissions.

Right now, G.A. is a corporate art program: It’s not charged with generating revenue, producing traffic, or breaking news. The site is an endearingly calm space among Gawker’s tumultuous, often cheeky media properties. “We are sort of a good karma project,” says Liz, who interned with JP Morgan Chase’s corporate art program seven years ago and joined G.A. in 2006. Genevieve, fresh out of Savannah College of Art and Design, says, “I didn’t really know what Gawker was,” but adds that it’s “kind of genius for them to be placing art in their ad space.”

That genius is not just about G.A.’s use of ad space; it’s also about their construction of an entirely new community (in this case, artists) that builds an entirely new resource (in this case, art) that is entirely monetizable: exhibits, art-based events, prints, etc. Some of the most promising media organizations are bringing their business models offline: Mashable inaugurated Social Media Day; Vice invited its merry band of hipsters to watch Eastbound and Down; the Economist holds business summits; Vogue brings out the fashionistas; GQ opened a restaurant division; Wired pops up its SoHo store; Tyler Brule’s traveling journalism operation, Monocle, has an office that publishes in the back and sells products in the front. What makes G.A.’s model work is that they move offline by harnessing community-generated content online.

Gawker Media (and Art House)

Since Gawker differentiates between a Torr painting and, say, a picture of Putin, the company can use each resources in different ways. One way they do that is to spread their new resources to visually-based websites. Each month, the Dimmitt sisters cycle new content through Gawker Media properties, and G.A. offers to share the code with anyone who wants it (simply fill out a form with preferred display sizes). More than 200 sites — many of them those of Gawker Artists — feature Gawker’s art on their blogs and Flickr and Etsy profiles. Digital Americana, a literary and culture mag made strictly for the iPad, exhibits Gawker Artists as a footer banner on its site.

For bigger journalism outfits (like Curbed, Elle, and The Atlantic), the Dimmitts hand-curate. Curbed, a real estate-focused network, features art from thematically-related artists in the top-right corner of its site and as banner ads to break up blog posts. General Manager Josh Albertson trusts the Dimmitts to pick images that fit, and if you check out Curbed, there’s a pleasant mix of architectural work co-branded as the “Gawker Artists Curbed collection.” Even though Albertson looks forward to the day when Gawker Artists content is replaced by paying clients, “we’d rather be running this than 25-cent weight-loss CPM ads,” he says. Gawker curates these collections for free, but along the way, they’re building their second brand — and curators are getting to know their community for the time when bigger projects come along.

Gawker Artists also brings a three-dimensional sensibility to Gawker Media sites. Not Avatar 3D, but events, exhibitions, community. “I think Gawker has been somewhat of a pioneer in that respect,” says Erin Smolinski, media planning manager for Diesel USA. As part of Diesel’s Be Stupid campaign earlier this year, she spent $30,000 with Gawker Media, a buy that included run-of-site banners, custom roadblocks, co-branded posts, and a contest moderated by James Frey. Click-throughs were through the roof — 3.8 percent on custom builds, almost five times the industry average — and Diesel’s first-ever online campaign garnered Gawker up to $7 CPMs.

Simultaneously, Gawker Artists was curating its NSFW (“Not Safe For Work”) show featuring artist Justine Lai’s “presidents” series (somewhat SFW). Account exec Meredith Katz told Smolinski about the event, and Diesel put $5,000 of the buy to sponsor NSFW. “I liked the way it made our plan robust,” she says. Smolinski, who partnered with Gawker for its Silent Rave — a dance party with headphones (really) — says NSFW was “a little more intimate and brave” than the rave. It made the campaign resonate more, and Diesel got to wrap party guests in a room full of branded information.

This summer, the Dimmitts helped build an event with $10,000 from smartwater, a Glaceau (Coca-Cola) brand. Artist Ryan Brennan created a multimedia installation that synchronized with music and played well against the setting sun. Infinitely more engaging than a display ad, “the event creates a lot of value, no doubt about that,” says Clotaire Rapaille, author of Culture Code. He likes the fluid nature of Gawker’s creation. “Water is only good when it is in movement. Smartwater is ‘being’ movement, being alive and being in the moment. That reinforces your brand in people’s mind.” Not bad for community-generated content. “I’m actually shocked that more people haven’t done what we’re doing,” Liz says.

Image — “Rapture,” by Robyn Alatorre — courtesy Gawker Artists.

Links on Twitter: Jim Brady on leaving TBD, Times of London’s subscription gap and missing the coupon craze

You BLEW IT! Or so it seems local media missed out on the coupon craze and more online ads http://nie.mn/i24chW »

Times of London says it’s going to make up the gap in lost revenue from subscribers soon http://nie.mn/fuqSa2 »

Curious about the tablet talk at today’s INMA media transformation conference? Poynter’s @dKiesow is liveblogging http://nie.mn/dJDzCY »

@CJR talks with Ethan Zuckerman about the implications of Amazon dumping WikiLeaks http://nie.mn/ffaNlF »

Jim Brady talks about leaving TBD and the rift over innovation and reporting at Allbritton http://nie.mn/fJ0Atk »

Gawker’s redesign: “River on one side, party on the other” http://nie.mn/hEbC8J »

Just call them The Super: Google buys NYC office building, tenants include Sprint, Barnes & Noble and Spotify http://nie.mn/dOCsHq »

Could Google be updating its digital copyright rules because Viacom is appealing the YouTube case? http://nie.mn/fpETRu »

Will Apple unveil a subscription model with the release of News Corp’s The Daily on iPad? http://nie.mn/fEMT0v »

Popular on Twitter: WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks and Jim Brady

  • Julian Assange answers your questions
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  • WikiLeaks mirror
  • Q and A with Jim Brady about TBD.com, hyperlocal and what’s next
  • WikiLeaks mirror
  • Wikileaks challenges journalists: Whose side are you on?
  • Hyperlocal and working with legacy brands: former TBD boss Jim Brady
  • INMA Transformation of Media Summit: Bundling, or how and when to get readers to pay for content

    It was early in the morning when John Paton, CEO of of the Journal Register Company, had a curious statement for the assembled audience at the INMA Transformation of Media Summit Thursday here in Cambridge.

    “For god’s sake, stop listening to newspaper people,” Paton told the audience. The audience filled with newspaper people.

    He went on to say “we” have had 15 years to figure out the Internet and “we’re no good at this, folks. We’re no good at all.” His solution? Listening to the digital folks, as well as the audience, to find solutions to help better connect with readers and jumpstart declining revenues.

    Awkward in a room of news executives from the U.S. and around the globe? Perhaps. But the theme of the first day of the INMA conference (in which the Nieman Foundation had a small hosting hand) was based around the idea of “extracting new value from content,” and the talks were wide ranging in their discussions of experimentation with business models, monetizing existing content, and reaching out to new audiences. While the theme of day one was pulling new value out of content, the discussion seemed to come back frequently to the idea of bundled subscriptions, offering content across new platforms as a vehicle to gain an audience and potentially generate new revenue.

    It’s something Paton is familiar with, telling the audience that the Journal Register’s digital revenue went from “negligible” less than a year ago to 11 percent of ad revenue in November. Paton credited it to developing new revenue streams online in areas like videos, expanding from 13 revenue streams to 60.

    In one of the more lively (and funny) conversations of the day, media columnists Peter Kafka of All Things Digital, and David Carr of The New York Times, found themselves in the position of talking about their respective parent companies plans for paid content — the Times’ plan for a metered site next month and News Corp.’s iPad product, The Daily.

    “The web is the problem, because we all jointly agreed — and there are exceptions in this room and elsewhere — that the price of our content is nothing,” Carr said.

    While both NYTimes.com and WSJ.com have a future in paid content (and also, in the case of WSJ.com, a past), both Kafka and Carr said readers should still have a level of free access, be it metered or as “samples.” Carr said he believes the future is customized tiers of subscriptions, where readers can choose between a mix of mobile devices, print, news alerts, the web, and a super-reader level “where Frank Rich will come to your house and have coffee with you,” he joked.

    Kafka suggested one way forward is similar to what All Things Digital does with its series of conferences and events, a type of access that goes beyond stories and an alternate revenue stream to subscriptions and advertising.

    Speaking more strictly about online content, Klas Uden, vice president of circulation marketing for Dow Jones, said “it’s not just about charging for content, but providing valuable content and understand what consumer needs are.” Uden was a member of a panel on what works and doesn’t in paid content. Uden said some of the strength of The Wall Street Journal’s model came from combining print and digital subscriptions early on, which changed customer behavior to expect paying for content but also to receive content across different platforms. Now, as the Journal expands its mobile and tablet apps, Uden said 50 percent of Wall Street Journal’s digital revenue growth comes from new devices.

    Andrée Gosselin O’Meara, director of business development for The Globe and Mail in Toronto, described a similar situation, as the Globe’s biggest areas of growth are in mobile apps. The Globe and Mail offers a Kindle edition, Kobobooks edition, Globe2go app, and traditional iPhone and iPad apps; in October they served 20.5 million pageviews across all mobile devices (14 percent of all digital page views). Within 24 months, they expect to have more pageviews on mobile than on the website, she said. Gosselin O’Meara said the idea of being “device agnostic” is the key to success in gaining new readers, and potentially, subscribers.

    “If people want to read their newspaper on a very basic device like the e-reader in black and white with out any picture, let them,” she said. “Let the customer choose. Let them read you however they like.”

    Why WikiLeaks’ latest document dump makes everyone in journalism — and the public — a winner

    For some, WikiLeaks’ recent dump of diplomatic cables seems to make an excellent case for why traditional journalism still matters. Others, however, suggest that the widespread condemnation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a sign of a toothless legacy media that can’t do its own work — and a triumph for new forms of journalism.

    The truth is, though, that everyone here is a winner — traditional media and non-traditional journalism and, most importantly, the public.

    Much of this conversation has come out of a discussion about the comparison between the Pentagon Papers’ combined 7,000 pages of documents and WikiLeaks’ 251,000 or so diplomatic cables. And as Mediaite summed up in an excellent post after this summer’s WikiLeaked release of AfPak documents, that comparison is both fair to make and overly simplistic. One thing is clear, though: The web has changed the nature of the debate when it comes to the release of secret documents.

    In that, we need to remember that the ultimate concern, as Bill Keller has noted, is the distribution of information to the public. But boasting over who matters more in achieving that end, legacy media or non-, doesn’t get us very far.* Both camps are making excellent points.

    Here are a few reasons why traditional media proved it still matters to the discussion.

    1. Traditional journalists get to show the value that comes from parsing through complicated details — and now, from investing in resources that make that information visually appealing.

    In sorting through the WikiLeak-ed cables, traditional journalists generally took the time to shape and create a story that made sense — by putting together complicated diplomatic cables that only a select few in the public would be able to decode with the same comprehensive sweep. The resulting narratives were built on a legacy of the kind of reporting that comes from a detailed understanding of the history and tensions chronicled in the cables; they drew on the expertise of multiple reporters who understand how the leaked cables fit into a larger story.

    And, on the visual side, perhaps more interesting than ever before are the terrific graphics that teams at Der Spiegel, The New York Times, and The Guardian, among the big three to receive the cables, have been able to put together to illustrate the cables’ information. The human resources required to produce those visuals — from programmers to multimedia producers — likely could not be replicated at the same scale with the same complexity — and within the same time frame — by non-legacy journalists.

    2. Traditional journalists get to show their power in setting the news agenda.

    As WikiLeaks itself makes clear in its Cablegate FAQ, the outfit chose to collaborate with the selected mainstream media organizations because:

    Wikileaks makes to a promise to its sources: that will obtain the maximum possible impact for their release [sic]. Doing this requires journalists and researchers to spend extensive periods of time scrutinising the material.

    The established partners chosen were among the few with the resources necessary to spend many weeks ahead of publication making a start on their analysis.

    “Maximum possible impact” means journalists parsing the data, yes — but in the end, it also means that people will pay attention to the data that gets sorted because it’s in the mainstream news. The outlets selected reach tremendous numbers of people, including the halls of power. Their reach is the source of their impact.

    3. Traditional journalism demonstrates the importance of a relationship with power

    Unlike the citizen journalist, for example, The New York Times was able to talk to the Obama administration about the cables and, essentially, negotiate about the content of the cables it would release. Similarly, the newspapers were able to get comment for their reporting from those in power. Regardless of what you might say about the dependency of news organizations on official sources, this access to power is something that the average citizen combing through cables simply doesn’t have. And that access adds to our understanding of the impact of these cables.

    But, then: Whatever we call WikiLeaks – news source, news provider, content host, whistle-blower, enemy of the state — the outfit also makes a case for the relevance of non-traditional forms of news. Here’s why:

    1. WikiLeaks shows the power of one person to change the conversation in a way never before possible.

    Though Pfc. Bradley Manning has been charged with leaking unauthorized, classified information to WikiLeaks, his alleged distribution of sensitive material demonstrates the power of one person to change the conversation. Why is he different from Daniel Ellsberg? For one thing, the Pentagon Papers were entered into the Congressional record for publication — for filtering — while the cables are available, in raw form, to anyone who cares to examine them. WikiLeaks has created an instantly accessible record for people around the world to have a look at for themselves.

    When the Times published excerpts of the Pentagon Papers, they were unveiled, according to John T. Correll of Air Force Magazine, in a manner that was both underwhelming and nearly impossible to read. Quotes Time magazine, he describes “six pages of deliberately low-key prose and column after gray column of official cables, memorandums, and position papers.” And then: “The mass of material seemed to repel readers and even other newsmen. Nearly a day went by before the networks and wire services took note.”

    Eventually, only 134 of the documents were published, nowhere near the total 7,000 documents available for potential distribution (though the Times did come out with a book shortly after, which featured many more of those documents). WikiLeaks, thanks to the web, makes the spread of information — again, provided by one person — possible in ways never before possible.

    2. WikiLeaks reinforces the importance of establishing a trove of documents so anyone can make their own interpretations.

    In positioning itself as a middle ground between press and whistle-blower, WikiLeaks itself makes the documents it’s gathered available on its own site, with just bare-bones commentary. The Guardian, too, makes it possible to download the basic data (without body text, though) for yourself. This is a sign of a renewed commitment to transparency from news organizations. And furthermore, and most importantly, WikiLeaks demonstrates its belief in the value of everyday people enjoying access to information. If the broad goal is ultimately to inform the public, there is no better way to achieve that than to give people a combination of all the information available and the guided commentary of mainstream news.

    3. WikiLeaks shows the power of collaboration between mainstream news and non-legacy forms of news content, production, and distribution

    Imagine this: Look at what happens when mainstream news and whatever we want to call WikiLeaks work together. The forces are not in opposition but are united with a common goal — again, informing the public — and the result is that mainstream news can do what it does best thanks to the help of the information WikiLeaks provides. (But, of course, it couldn’t do it without WikiLeaks.) This is a moment of glory for all those who talk about crowdsourcing, user-generated content, and the like. Perhaps this is the ultimate form of users helping to create and shape the news. And the result is a better-informed public.

    The takeaway here: Everyone in journalism — from its practitioners to its recipients — emerges from this data drop as a winner.

    *We deleted a line originally in this sentence; see Jay’s note in the comments.

    This Week in Review: Making sense of WikiLeaks, a Daily tablet paper, and Gawker leaves blogging behind

    [Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week's top stories about the future of news and the debates that grew up around them. —Josh]

    We’re covering two weeks instead of the usual one in this review, so there’s a ton to pack in here. I’ll try to zip through it a little more quickly than usual.

    What to make of WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks made its third big document drop since this summer this week, releasing about 250,000 confidential diplomatic cables. Here’s coverage by The New York TimesThe GuardianDer Spiegel, and a roundup by The Columbia Journalism Review. Time talked to WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange about the leak, and Forbes published an interview and long piece about Assange’s next target — corporate America.

    As for the leak itself, The Guardian detailed the documents’ path from the alleged leaker, U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, to Assange, to a Guardian reporter. Yahoo’s Michael Calderone looked at The Times’ editorial process with the cables, including the revelation that they got them from The Guardian, not WikiLeaks. The Wall Street Journal and CNN both declined to sign agreements with WikiLeaks to see the documents in advance, and The Journal examined news orgs’ decisions on whether or not to publish. The Times explained its own publishing decision, then (quite eloquently) responded to readers’ objections.

    The reaction against WikiLeaks was quicker and harsher than those following each of its last two leaks. Before the documents were released, its site was the victim of a denial of service attack, the U.S. and British governments issued pre-emptive condemnations, and senators called for WikiLeaks to be prosecuted. After the release, the Obama administration said it was indeed pursuing a criminal investigation, Interpol revealed it has put out a call for Assange’s arrest (ostensibly for his rape accusations), and Amazon booted WikiLeaks from its servers under pressure from U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman.

    WikiLeaks’ actions left many journalists and media observers divided: An Economist blogger accused WikiLeaks of degenerating into gossip, and Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger called them enemies of the American people. Assange and WikiLeaks had their defenders, too: Slate’s Jack Shafer praised them for puncturing “the prerogative of secrecy,” and another Economist blogger made a similar argument. The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins noted that “the job of the media is not to protect power from embarrassment.” Meanwhile, Northeastern j-prof Dan Kennedy wrestled with the balance between transparency and secrecy.

    Others’ primary concern was not value judgments, but classification. Is WikiLeaks espionage? Journalism? Radically open government? Or, as Lab contributor C.W. Anderson argued, is it a facilitator of real-time history documentation? NYU j-prof Jay Rosen hashed out his thoughts on WikiLeaks as a stateless news organization on video, concluding, “The watchdog press died, and what we have is WikiLeaks instead.” Paul Balcerak wondered why WikiLeaks gets so much more attention than the press’s own reporting.

    If you really want to spend the weekend pondering the meaning of WikiLeaks, it’s best to start with two posts: Some incisive questions by Salon’s Dan Gillmor, and a brilliant post by Aaron Bady sifting through Assange’s own words to determine his motivations behind WikiLeaks’ radical transparency.

    Rupert’s big tablet splash: We’ve heard bits and pieces about Rupert Murdoch’s planned tablet-based national news publication, but we got the first substantive report on the subject two weeks ago from Women’s Wear Daily. Among the key details: It’s going by The Daily, it has a staff of 100, it’ll cost 99 cents a week, and it’ll come out once a day. The New York Observer gave us some more information about the publication’s design (it’s text-first and will be published overnight, but apparently looks pretty cool). Other tidbits: John Gruber at Daring Fireball heard that it’ll pioneer a new app subscription API from Apple, and New York’s Gabriel Snyder said it will have a centrist editorial outlook.

    The reasons why this project is getting so much pre-launch attention seem pretty readily evident: Murdoch, original tablet news org, iPad news subscriptions, you know the rest. As The Columbia Journalism Review noted, what’s new about this publication is that it won’t even have a website. The initial response from the media-watching world was predominantly negative, with skepticism coming from The New York Times’ David Carr, Gawker’s Ryan Tate, Scott Rosenberg, Sam Diaz of ZDNet, GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram, Fast Company’s Kit Eaton, The Guardian’s Emily Bell, and paidContent’s Andrew Wallenstein.

    Many of those critics made similar points, so here’s a roundup of the main ones: 1) It’s trying to impose slow print-think onto the speed-oriented world of mobile media (this is Rosenberg’s main point); 2) The fact that it won’t have inbound or outbound links means it can’t share in the virality that makes news on the Web work; 3) The folks on board don’t exactly seem like the tech revolutionaries they might need to be (Wallenstein’s main point); and 4) How many people are actually going to pay for this, and can it really cover The Daily’s costs? (Carr’s main objection)

    Several of those people also noted a few factors in Murdoch’s favor: Carr argued that people will be more likely to pay for news in an app world than on the web, and both Tate and Eaton noted that Apple’s Steve Jobs (who is reported to be tied to the project) is a pretty powerful guy with a history of success in ventures like these. We got a few good suggestions for Murdoch’s project, too: TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld said to make it local, real-time, and social; Frederic Filloux wanted it speedy, simple, beyond Apple, and with adjustable pricing; and at paidContent, Nic Newman wanted to see a mixture of free and paid content.

    Designing apps for tablets and mobile media: Murdoch isn’t the only one with a big new tablet app to unveil: Yahoo’s Joe Pompeo summarized two others — mini-magazines called Nomad Editions and a new iPad magazine by Virgin called Project. Of those, Project, announced Tuesday, got a bit more attention. PaidContent had some details about its video cover and “living magazine” mindset, and All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka pointed out the magazine’s rather intimidating instruction page, though David Carr told NPR it’s still pretty magazine-like.

    Also in the process of launching: Next Issue Media, a joint venture by several magazine magnates, will launch its digital newsstand early next year and gave some details to MediaWeek, and Swedish publisher Bonnier, whose Mag+ everyone loved, is expanding into News+. Meanwhile, the Financial Times’ iPad app is doing well, but The Guardian’s Dan Sabbagh remained skeptical that most newspapers’ iPad apps will be able to stand out among the sea of more enjoyable apps.

    A couple more smart thoughts on mobile media: PaidContent founder Rafat Ali talked about designing for touchscreens, and Poynter’s Damon Kiesow argued that smartphones are fundamentally a mobile device, while the iPad is a leisure device, so their apps can’t be imposed onto each other: “To fully serve and engage an audience, an app needs to target one distinctive strength — either location or leisure — and make the content and experience fit that use.”

    Gawker grows beyond the blog: In advance of its coming overhaul early next year, Gawker head Nick Denton wrote a manifesto explaining why the network of sites is going beyond the blog format (his post at the previous link is in the sites’ new design). Denton said he’s discovered the new formula for online media success: Not so much Gawker’s former trademark snarky meta-analysis, but a few huge juicy scoops accompanied by a steady stream of aggregation, all with a visual bent. He extended the model to include advertising and branding as well.

    Reuters’ Felix Salmon responded with a meticulous analysis of Gawker’s new direction, noting that while Denton was the first person to make blogging into “a large-scale commercial venture,” he’s now aggressively dumping blogging’s defining reverse-chronological format. Ron Mwangaguhunga of eMedia Vitals compared Gawker’s new model with a TV business model, and Anil Dash said that while Gawker is still a blog, it’s borrowing Twitter’s design that emphasizes both content and the stream of news. “By allowing that flow to continue regardless of which particular piece of embedded content has caught your eye, Gawker and Twitter are just showing the vibrancy and resilience of the format.” Terry Heaton didn’t like the change, arguing that it’s a statement that Denton doesn’t trust his readers enough to find their way to the best material.

    Why Twitter matters: Speaking of Twitter, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger offered a stirring defense of Twitter’s meaning for journalism as part of a lecture on the state of the Fourth Estate. His list of 15 reasons Twitter matters covers most everything: Reporting, conversation, aggregation, search, marketing, authority, writing. Likewise, GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram argued that Twitter’s real cultural power “could well be that it is the simplest, the easiest and arguably one of the most efficient forms of mass publishing — or at least micro-publishing — ever invented.”

    Later, Ingram took Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s apparently off-the-cuff statement that Twitter could develop a news network as an opportunity to think about how news orgs could filter Twitter into a usable crowdsourced newswire. And MediaBistro talked with Canada’s National Post to get a sense of how one major newspaper uses Twitter.

    Business-model developments and discussion: A few notes on the ever-evolving paid-content front: At least two more news organizations are using the Press+ system of Steve Brill’s Journalism Online for their online revenue goals — ProPublica, which is using it to solicit donations online, and Oklahoma State’s Daily O’Collegian, which will charge outside-the-area readers. Over at The Guardian, Cory Doctorow examined The Times of London’s paywall numbers, and CrunchGear’s Devin Coldewey thought out loud about a possible online paid-content system.

    Meanwhile, British journalist Kevin Anderson wrote a post arguing that value-added journalism has to be developed with specific revenue streams in mind. Howard Owens of The Batavian countered that would-be entrepreneurial journalists need to focus more on basic local events journalism than “adding value” or analytical journalism, and TBD’s Steve Buttry tried to bring the two perspectives together.

    Reading roundup: Here’s what else you should see this week, in the quickest-hit form I can give it to you:

    — A British court upheld a stipulation that news organizations can charge paid online news monitoring agencies for using their content. The Telegraph, TechCrunch Europe, and the Press Gazette explain why it’s bad news for aggregators.

    — No less an authority than World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee joined the chorus of people extolling the value of data journalism during a panel. A somewhat related debate broke out when Mark Luckie opined on the myths about digital journalism skills. Journalist Andy Boyle disputed Luckie’s claims about what new-media skills journalists need (and don’t need) to know, and j-prof Mindy McAdams and journalist Brian Manzullo chimed in. Anthony DeBarros and Robert Hernandez turned the discussion toward data journalism, with Hernandez asserting that programming doesn’t replace the story. That got Michelle Minkoff kind of riled up.

    — The New York Times ran an article looking at the ways technology is creating increased distractions for young people, which was met by smart rebuttals by Duke prof Cathy Davidson and the Lab’s own Megan Garber.

    — Also at the Lab: USC prof Henry Jenkins on his concept of “spreadable” media.

    — Mashable’s Vadim Lavrusik wrote a great roundup of what’s going on at the intersection of investigative journalism and social media.

    — Finally, if you’re looking for a single document to answer the question, “How should newspapers adapt to this new media environment?” you can’t do much better than John Paton’s presentation on how he’s turned around the Journal Register Co. It’s brilliant.