Tribune publisher: the kids will come around to newspapers

Lynne Marek, writing about an interview with Chicago Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin:

Holding the paper up, he said: “I could be wrong, but I don't think that this entirely goes away. I think there's enough about it—the experience that's sufficiently different with both the advertising and the editorial. I mean, how do you do that online?” He answers his own question later: “That's really hard to do online or on a phone."


He said he expects young people, like his 20-something sons, will continue to gravitate to newspapers, even print editions. As they move into adulthood and begin to care more about settling into a community, they'll turn to a newspaper, as generations of Americans before them have, he predicts.

As Re/code points out, The Chicago Tribune's stock has lost half of its value in the last six months, and is about to enter a round of layoffs.

But yeah, print media is totally fine. Nothing to worry about here.

On ad blocking

The results of The Verge's reader poll on ad blockers is rather amusing.

Also, I tried reading this but then my head exploded.

I've been thinking a lot about ad blockers, and while my feelings are conflicted, I will say this: I'm glad that my sidebar ad is such a small percentage of my income — compared to the native advertising on this site and in my podcasts — that if you block it, it won't make a big difference in my checkbook each month. I wouldn't want to be a tech publication built on display ads with a poll running like The Verge's.

Viticci's iOS 9 review

Federico Viticci:

In many cultures, the number "10" evokes a sense of growth and accomplishment, a complete circle that starts anew, both similar and different from what came before. In Apple's case, the company has a sweet spot for the 10 numerology: Mac OS was reborn under the X banner, and it gained a second life once another 10 was in sight.

What happens before a dramatic change is particularly interesting to observe. With the major milestone of iOS 10 on track for next year, what does iOS 9 say about Apple's relationship with its mobile OS today?

After two years of visual and functional changes, is iOS 9 a calm moment of introspection or a hazardous leap toward new technologies?

Can it be both?

I'm going to pay Ticci the highest nerd-journalism compliment I can: this iOS review is Siracusian not only in length, but in detail, care and humor. Go read this.

Club MacStories

My good friend Federico Viticci has just announced something pretty great:

Since 2009, MacStories has delivered quality articles for the Apple community with a focus on depth, accuracy, and personal stories. We've written thousands of detailed app reviews. We've covered news with facts and opinions. We've shared stories on how technology is changing our lives.

Now, we're ready for the next step. Today, I'm thrilled to introduce Club MacStories.

Club MacStories isn't a paywall; it is a way to support Ticci and his team and gain access to extra content. I know they've been working on this for a long time, and I think they've nailed what a membership model should look like. I signed up instantly.

A year of Six Colors

Jason Snell:

It’s a big week this week. In many ways, the biggest week on the Apple calendar, with the annual fall iPhone event scheduled for Wednesday.

For me it’s a milestone in a few other ways, too. This week marks a year since I left IDG, and it’s also week 52 of the existence of this site. Next week will be the first anniversary of Six Colors.

Jason is working on ways for "readers the ability to support the site," which is great. I can't wait to pitch in to help support one of my favorite sites.

Vox Media acquiring Re/code

Sydney Ember at The New York Times, with some big news in the tech journalism world:

ReCode, the news website led by the veteran journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, is being acquired by Vox Media, a deal that reflects the turmoil among digital organizations focused on covering the tech industry.

The all-stock deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, would give ReCode access to a wider audience, something it has struggled to build since Mr. Mossberg and Ms. Swisher split off from The Wall Street Journal about a year and a half ago. Both plan to stay with ReCode after the merger.

Here's a bit from the announcement post on Re/code:

We plan as well to collaborate where appropriate with Vox Media’s current and very successful tech news site, The Verge. While the two sites occasionally overlap, we have focused on the business of tech, while The Verge has focused on covering tech from a lifestyle perspective.

Makes sense to me.

On Verizon's acquisition of AOL

This morning, news broke that Verizon is purchasing AOL. Here's Peter Kafka:

Earlier this year, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said there was no truth to reports that he was selling his company to Verizon. It’s a different story now: The telco is buying the Internet publisher and subscription service for $4.4 billion.

Verizon, which will pay $50 a share for AOL, says the deal will help its “wireless video and OTT (over-the-top video) strategy.” Verizon says the transaction should close this summer.

Armstrong, who left the top sales job at Google to run AOL in 2009, will stay on to run the business after the deal closes, Verizon says.

$4.4 billion for video advertising tech seems ... bold. Clearly Verizon is trying to generate income in markets beyond the ones it exists in as an ISP.

Honestly, I don't care to much about this. I've been a paying Verizon customer for years, and while all ISPs are creepy, I can deal with Verizon's shenanigans.

However, what AOL is best know for, at least in our circles, are properties like Autoblog, TUAW, TechCrunch and Engadget. That's where this purchase gets interesting, and possibly troubling.

I've gotten to know several people at these sites over the years, and they are all good people. My concerns aren't with the people reporting, but with the business situation these properties have been thrusted into with this acquisition.

While it has since shuttered the site, Verizon made headlines last year trying to blur the lines between tech coverage and corporate messaging.

As I wrote then, there's a clear difference between running ads to pay for content and having news be shaped by a parent organization.

Of course, having corporate ownership isn't anything new. In his editorial about the purchase, Verge boss Nilay Patel writes:

Full disclosure: I used to work at Engadget, as did many of The Verge's founders; we left AOL to start this site. I never felt any editorial pressure at AOL, but huge corporate news like this would frequently leave us spinning without real answers for months at a time. And Comcast Ventures is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge's parent company, but it should be abundantly clear that we have complete editorial independence from that relationship.

However, it's possible that these blogs don't end up as part of Verizon's empire. Here's Kafka again:

One scenario we’ve heard is that Verizon intends to spin out some or all of its content operations, like HuffPo, with a third partner, perhaps German publisher Axel Springer.

In an interview with Re/code, Armstrong didn’t address that scenario directly, though he seemed to leave the door open. “We’ve spoken to partners about content and scaling,” he said. “Obviously we’ve seen a lot of interest in the content brands we have. So over the course of the summer, stay tuned.”

Kara Swisher reports that the Huffington Post at least may be spun off as part of the deal.

Late today, Tim Armstrong spoke on this very topic:

TechCrunch is not getting sold off. There will be editorial independence. And from a distribution and resource standpoint, it’s probably the most exciting deal we could have done.

The interview this is pulled from is an interesting look at the acquisition, but I'm sure it won't be the last word on the marriage of Verizon and AOL. This one will be interesting to watch for a while.

Apple updates its App Store Marketing Guidelines

Apple has updated its guidelines for marketing App Store apps. There are some real gems concerning Apple Watch:

  • Always use the name Apple Watch in singular form. Do not use plural form. Do not make Apple Watch possessive. Never say Apple Watches or Apple Watch's. Modifiers such as model, device, or collection can be plural or possessive.
  • Do not use the article the before Apple Watch.
  • When referring to Apple Watch collections, use the terms Apple Watch collection, Apple Watch Sport collection, and Apple Watch Edition collection. After the first mention of a collection in copy, subsequent references can say simply Sport collection or Edition collection.
  • Custom photography and video of Apple Watch are not permitted.

Apple Watch is awkward to talk about, much less write about. Apple's removal of articles before their product names isn't anything new, but the whole collection business is a new world of hurt.

Gary Allen, on the end of ifo Apple Store

In a post titled "My Work Here is Done:"

So, I’m doing to focus on my family and friends, drop the demands of writing and get back to what it was before—just fun. I won’t be writing new stories, but will attempt to keep up with some of the list-type material on this Web site for reference.

I'll miss Gary's insight into Apple, as well as his obsessive love of detail. Over the years, we have traded emails several times, and he's always been very kind and very helpful. Best of luck, friend.

AOL shuttering TUAW

The Verge's Micah Singleton:

There goes another one. AOL is shutting down The Unofficial Apple Weblog, better known as TUAW, sources familiar with the situation tell The Verge. The company — which is also shutting down its gaming site Joystiq — is in the midst of a major reorganization, and is cutting back on media properties it deems as underperforming. TUAW’s run comes to an end on February 2nd.

AOL is spiraling, and there are about to be another round of Apple writers on the job market because of it. I've got friends caught up in this. Sad day.