Many of us online make fun of the Mainstream Media for their lack of understanding and willingness to engage online. We've seen bloggers hammer at their credibility. We've seen Craigslist eat away at their classifieds revenue. And even Google is going into the local advertising markets. I even know a few newsroom types that are actively encouraging their interns and newly minted interns to pursue other fields… or atleast look at their field in a new way. So seeing the New York Times innovate shows that a few are geting it.
If you haven't seen it, this week the New York Times released their first Facebook Application: New York Times News Quiz. The crew at ValleyWag (h/t to them) believes this is a shameless ploy
to get Facebook users to consider the NYT relevant again – which it probably is – but the benefits are also useful.
The first and most obvious point is that users will know more about current events past their own sphere of friends and contacts. Even for those few who get their news exclusively from friends, this highlights the days events, even if they've missed them via standard channels. Unfortunately, knowing is not the same as understanding, but you have to start somewhere…
The second point is a little more subtle but has a larger impact. This is one of the Old Media demonstrating tremendous courage to jump into this space. No, we don't know their numbers, uptake, or churn rates yet, but in the next few weeks, some of that will come to light and I'd put money on their online readership increasing.
In the next few weeks and months, you're going to see numerous organizations duplicate, expand, and even ridicule this effort. I would have expected Rupert Murdoch or one of his guys to come up with this – and they will for the recent WSJ purchase – but this is amazing for an Old Media company to come up with and actually implement an idea like this. I can't imagine the hoops that had to be jumped through on this one. Regardless of what you think of the NYT, they've taken a huge step here and should be applauded for it.
Since I've added the app, I've missed two questions… how are you doing?