Netpage – Integrating Print and Digital

Print media is dead and it’s all about digital, right? Newspapers and magazines may as well pack up shop and leave way for the millions of blogs, websites and social networking pages that are receiving more engagement, readership and, best of all, cost nothing.

If you engaged me in this debate a month ago, I would have understood your point of view. Statistics show readership of print publications have declined, with a preference for their digital counterparts. Popular magazine titles have taken to Instagram and Facebook in an attempt to capture their reader’s engagement on every media platform. Journalist’s have become ‘celebrities’ in their own right, with thousands of social media followers liking their posts, sharing their content and engaging in conversation. The main question I have to ask here is are these activities converting into sales, or does engagement simply stop when followers log out or turn off their phones? (Also, what are the advertisers getting out of this activity?)

Netpage is set to change all of this. Pacific Magazines has recently signed an exclusive deal with the mobile application that claims to turn every page of your magazine into an interactive experience.

Quite a big claim if you ask me.

However, on downloading Netpage and having a ‘play’ with some Pacific Magazine titles, I am convinced this is not the end of the print era – in fact, it’s the beginning of a new, integrated print/digital era that is more exciting than anything I’ve seen in this space before (pick up this month’s Better Homes and Gardens or Marie Claire to see for yourself).

So what makes Netpage different to the old QR code? How does Netpage work?

On downloading the Netpage application to your phone, you are able to ‘scan’ any page of a Netpage-integrated publication, and ‘clip’ the page into your phone, providing you with a number of options:

  • ‘Share’ the image via social media – pin it to your Pinterest board, Tweet it to your followers or share it on Instagram
  • Distribute the clipping via email or text
  • Save the image for inspiration when you are next shopping/planning an event/wondering what to cook for dinner

What’s interesting about Netpage is it does not simply stop at image sharing. The real benefit of Netpage is in the interactivity it provides when scanning ‘Netpage’ articles or advertisements throughout the magazine.

When an advertisement or article highlights the ‘Netpage’ logo, on scanning the page, the page ‘comes to life’.

A great example of this is the September Issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. On scanning the cover (an amazing chocolate cake) you are giving the following options:

  • Watch how to make the cake yourself
  • Purchase any of the cutlery on the cover through their various stockist websites
  • Subscribe to the magazine at the click of a button

This is before you have even opened the magazine.

The E-commerce component of Netpage is what excites me most. Love the dress in the magazine you’re reading and don’t have time to head to the shops? If it’s a Netpage feature, simply scan the dress and it will direct you to purchase it online there and then.

Advertisers are now given the opportunity to engage readers like never before, by directing them straight to an ecommerce site. While QR codes did this in the past, their lack of engagement (read more about that here) was because the everyday consumer didn’t know what a QR code was or how to use it.

The beauty of Netpage is that its simple interface is familiar to the everyday consumer. It’s easy to scan an image and follow the prompts. The added bonus that you can share it on social media is another drawcard.

With Netpage, readers are given more of a reason to purchase their favourite magazines because of the ease of integration with their favourite digital platforms and the extra incentives they will benefit from.

And if that’s not exciting, then call me a QR code.

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes

 

Media and Politics

With a looming election and faltering economy, newspapers in Australia are rife with exasperate, dramatic headlines, instilling fear and negativity into the households of Australia.

On Monday August 5, the first day of election campaigning, Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph ran a front-page article with the headline “Finally you now have the chance to KICK THIS MOB OUT” accompanied by a picture of Kevin Rudd.

This now infamous moment in Australian political journalism has lead to an outcry of opinion pieces quick to blame Murdoch, the journalists involved, News Limited, and the list goes on.

While it is the media’s job to portray news and current affairs consistently and factually to the public, lately the line has become blurred between what is fact and what is opinion.

The Journalism Code of Ethics states that Australian journalists must:

1. Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.

2. Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.

Log on to your online newspaper of choice and readers are confronted with the question – is Murdoch abusing his power by clearly influencing the content of his News Limited publications?

Some say yes, Murdoch’s control of over 65% of all newspaper circulation in Australia is a gross abuse of power, and should not be allowed – particularly with an election in the wings and an obvious political agenda on the cards.

However others fairly state that in a democratic country, readers are free and able to make up their own minds. Do we really believe everything the media presents us?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts – do you think the above is an abuse of the media’s power, or do you take everything you read with a grain of salt?

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes

 

 

Why exclamation overuse is a marketing crime.

Before reading this post, please watch this quick Seinfeld clip, which sums up my exclamation point views entirely.

There is nothing more cringe-worthy to me than an advertisement or piece of marketing material with an overuse of exclamation points.

The exclamation point says a number of things to me:

  • The writer lacks creativity, inspiration or both and is attempting to make something that lacks excitement, exciting
  • The writer has a limited vocabulary, and instead has resorted to punctuation abuse rather than creative and interesting copy
  • The writer shouldn’t be a writer

I have an exclamation point rule. When reviewing an email, status update or report, I cull a minimum of three exclamation points. (Let’s be honest, if there are three or more exclamation points in your email, status update or report, you need to question what you’re writing.)

Too often I see businesses committing the act of inappropriate, unnecessary exclamation in marketing documents including brochures, flyers and so help me God, annual reports.

Like this one:

To the writers of the world, please, control your exclamation overuse. And that doesn’t mean resorting to capitalising words, it just means saving the exclamation points for births and surprise party invitations.

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes.

The evolution of language on digital media platforms

The title of this blog post makes it sound like you’re about to read an essay reminiscent of a University media studies assessment – fear not reader, I would never put you through such torture.

What this post is going to explore is the evolution of language (as in how we speak and what we write) as technology evolves.

I’ll give you an example. Today it’s all about brevity. As in “This pic is totes amaze babe, you should defs wear that more ofts.” (Ofts stands for often. I made that one up.)

Today we are cutting words in half and adding an ‘s’ on the end. To be honest, I don’t have much of a problem with this. Give it a year, and we will probably cringe when someone says totes, the way we do now when someone types “nomnomnom” on a food post (or is that just me?)

Flash back to the dawn of the Internet and instant messaging (yes, even before the MSN days) and emoticons were taking the written world by storm. Who would have thought adding a semi-colon and a closed bracket at the end of a sentence would insinuate a flirtation? But now, we don’t bat an eyelid (or should I say, comma!)

From emoticons, language evolved into acronyms. LOL. BRB. ROFL. It was all about the speed of a message – conveying something at the click of your fingers. In fact, it still is! With this in mind, we saw the replacement of words with letters, numbers and sometimes the combination of both. See became ‘c’. You became ‘u’. Mate – m8. U c where I’m going with this?

(That being said, some people got a little too excited about the ‘replacement rule’, resorting to crazy written antics like replacing an ‘s’ with a ‘z’. This doesn’t abbreviate anything, so why oh why do we accept ‘thankz’ as ‘thanks’? I’m sorry, I digress…)

Linguist John McWhorter goes into much more detail in a brilliant TED Talks video exploring ‘texting’ as a language in itself. He refers to what we’re doing as ‘fingered speech’ or ‘writing like we speak’. The best news? He doesn’t see this as a bad thing.

In fact, he goes so far as to say that, when being able to use casual speech via texting and online, as well as writing full, proper sentences in appropriate situations (like work or school) we are practicing bi-dialectal skills, and are even expanding our linguistic repertoire.

How totes amaze is that?

(N.B: This makes no exception for those that use ‘his’ instead of ‘he’s’.)

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes.

The power of social media in Turkey.

In a recent blog post, we discussed the current state of the journalism industry in Australia, whereby freedom of press was being challenged and comprised. A current talking point regarding freedom of the press surrounds the state of the media in Turkey.

Stemming from a peaceful protest in Istanbul’s Gezi park and the police brutality that occurred as a result of the protest, locals were shocked that there was absolutely no media that covered the event.

In the meantime the protest multiplied and suddenly it was no longer about the demolition of the park, it was a protest against the government and police brutality. Riot police arrived and set fire to tents, used water cannons and tear gas. The people of Turkey responded in kind. Police placed jammers to prevent internet connection around the square, ensuring 3G networks were blocked for people in the area. Two people died and thousands more were injured. Still, there was silence from the media.

While the rest of the world rushed to Taksim Square to broadcast the events, Turskish television was showing cooking shows and broadcasting news updates on “Miss Turkey”. Turskish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a complete media blackout of the event. In fact, this isn’t the first time press freedom has been comprised in Turkey. Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed their concerns for their lack of freedom of press. It is only now that the rest of the world is seeing how repressed the citizens of Turkey are.

Even with no local media coverage, thousands of people showed up to protest. Many Turkish citizens took to social media to spread word of what was happening. Social media became a vital organisational and informational tool. People took to Facebook and Twitter, and set up blogs to document the protest. The hashtags #direngezipark1 and #occupygezi went completely viral on the Twitterverse. According to a study from New York University, on 1 June there were more than 3,000 tweets about the protest every minute – 90% coming from Turkey itself.

Erdogan expressed his frustration with not being able to control the backlash on social media by stating “right now, of course, there is a curse called Twitter…all forms of lies are there,”. Ironically, Erdogan has more than 2.7 million followers on Twitter. Somebody should have told him that when you try and silence the people, they will shout louder…especially on Twitter.

Contributor:

Sarah Brown, Account Coordinator for Stolen Quotes.

Freedom of Press

Under the Journalism Code of Ethics set by the Journalists Union in Australia, there is one code above all that journalists view as most sacred “Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.”

This code has been challenged consistently over time and still remains a topic of interest in the industry. Journalist protection has often been comprised by what appears to be overriding public interest, such as law enforcement, national security or commercial confidentiality.

We’ve seen journalists so adamant in protecting the confidentiality of their sources that they have served prison time. One of the most famous cases was in 1972 a reporter for the Los Angeles Times spent six weeks in gaol for refusing to identify confidential sources in an article he wrote during the Charles Manson murder trial.

Even today Fairfax’s Adele Ferguson, the author of the book about mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, is being taken to court by Rinehart in an attempt to force Ferguson to name her sources.

The impact this will have on the industry is massive. The quality and quantity of great stories could drop considerably if people stopped coming forward with information in fear of having their identity revealed. Consequently, journalists wouldn’t be able to report on important stories that the public deserve to know.

We love the exciting world of journalism that challenges governments, people and corporations, reporting on stories that confront us and test what we already know and believe. We respect and fully support journalists who act ethically and responsibility and wish them nothing but luck and support during this challenging time.

Contributor:

Sarah Brown, Account Coordinator for Stolen Quotes.