Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, December 24, 2021

With the traditional news media withering away at a frighteningly accelerated pace, it’s now fair to ask what will happen to the Web if its source material for content disappears.

One solution would be for print publications to go back to an aggressively print-only format:

Writing in The New York Observer, John Koblin pointed out that when Forbes, Portfolio and Fortune went through recent retrenchments, the Web staffs were hit the hardest. That may be just an old print reflex, but there is a rational argument to be made that the part of the apparatus that has a working business model, declining or not, should receive the resources.

At a time when Web entrepreneurs like Nick Denton of Gawker Media are predicting a 40 percent decline in Web display advertising, it’s probably not a great time to be indexing into the Web either.

And there are signs that the free ride for consumers may be coming to an end. I started getting notices to renew my subscription to The Wall Street Journal and its Web site and waited, as I have in the past, for the deeply discounted offer. It never came. And according to company statements in October, paid subscriptions for The Journal’s Web site were up more than 7 percent from a year ago.

What would this mean for online information sources? The quantity of newscopy probably won’t decrease, as an active enough audience and userbase would abhor a vacuum. But calling a scraped-together content well that doesn’t draw from original in-depth reporting “newscopy” might be an exaggeration — it would be even more of an echo-chamber than it already is.

It’s amazing to me how relatively easy it is to restrict online dissemination if the publisher doesn’t put it on the Web in the first place. I’ve subscribed to plenty of publications that would provide only partial online mirror editions, and it’s true: If it’s not already digitized, the public is too lazy to transcribe it by hand onto the Web. That’s bad as far as widening the scope of that information — the now-common “if it’s not online, then it doesn’t exist” syndrome — but it’s also good in terms of exclusivity.

I guess we’ll find out how the online space copes in 2009. There’s bound to be an economic rebound of some degree by mid-year, so maybe the blogs, ezines and forums will find a viable way stay lively.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/24/2008 01:52pm
Category: Business, Internet, Media
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Just recently, I was engaged in a research assignment that took me back to familiar territory: Demographic information on the State of Florida. The tracking of which was, prior to my re-relocation to New York, my job.

Specifically, over the past few days, I was looking at the facts and figures concerning South Florida, which is formally defined as the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan statistical area (MSA). It’s easily the biggest region in Florida, which is saying something for a State that boasts 20 distinct MSAs.

It’s been a while since I’ve gandered at the Sunshine State’s data clusters, so I was surprised to find the southeastern corner of the State labeled with Pompano Beach. The way I remember it, as of only a couple of years ago, the designator for the South Florida megalopolis was “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach”, basically incorporating the three counties (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach) that comprise the area. But now, the northern limit of the metro’s center of gravity has retrenched back south to Pompano, giving the Broward city a promotion of sorts.

I’m not sure why this happened. The MSA still includes Palm Beach; I would have first guessed that the change came with the city of West Palm Beach and environs having broken off into a separate MSA, but that’s not the case. And if the decade-old pattern of growth is holding, the population migrations are continuing to snake northward up the Broward-Palm Beach-Martin counties coast. If anything, I’d have thought the city-center designator would be moving in the same direction, not back south toward Miami.

I’m sure there’s an answer in some media/demographer statistical guide somewhere, but I’m not going to hunt for it. I’ll just have to get used to saying “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano” instead of the old “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm”. Assuming it ever comes up for me again.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/24/2008 12:35pm
Category: Business, Florida Livin', Society
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As much as I despise wintry weather, there is one perk: The fun I get from knocking down overgrown icicles from the rooftop eaves.

Nothing like watching those earthbound missiles shatter spectacularly on the ground (yes, making sure there was nothing or no one nearby to errantly hit). Thanks to their proximity just beyond arm’s-length, I needed to make use of my trusty hockey stick to reach down and over to dislodge the icy hangers. No real skill involved, and I was surprised by how little tapping was required to break them off, considering how huge some were (more than a foot long, and about half as thick). I was a little disappointed — I was hoping to better practice my wicked wrist-shot technique.

Note that I was positioned above the potential ice-bombs, so there was no danger of them dropping on me. Which puts me one-up on this driveway-level, shovel-swinging idiot.

Not only that, but if I keep up this fun, I could parlay it into a seasonal sideline profession (in Russia):

After two people got killed by falling icicles in Moscow, the district administrators called in the spelunkers and mountaineers. Whenever I walk by a tall building and see a professionally equipped guy knocking down the icicles, it’s probably somebody I know.

I’m sure my hockey-stick method would trump anything those rock-crawlers can do. And if it doesn’t work out, I can sell my twig and pads to some Kontinental Hockey League scrub.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/24/2008 10:47am
Category: Hockey, Weather
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