Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shortlist for project topics!

These are the topics you can choose to form project groups around. There are 20 topics in the list below and 54 students taking the course (excluding the executive group). I expect 12 groups to come out of this process (with 4 or 5 members in each group). Go here to specify what your 1st, 2nd and 3rd hand choice for project topics is!

DO NOTE: It is possible to form two project groups around the same topic if there is overwhelming interest in a specific topic. These two groups would initially have to work together to carve out two different and separate directions in which to take your respective projects.

Do also note that the topics below are only to be seen as starting points - the project groups can develop, change and bend the descriptions below in the direction you think is interesting as well as pick up aspects of topics that were left behind during the two brainstorming seminars.


1. The future of journalism (and journalists)
With so much free content available on the Internet, how is it possible to "protect good journalism", quality articles (content), and uphold journalistic standards? Will current developments make many journalists redundant? Will journaists be outcompeted (outbid) by unpaid amateurs (blogs) and technological innovations (Pocket, Instapaper, Flipboard etc.) that “de-commoditize” texts and great (and not-so-great) content? Will journalists go from stable jobs and freelancing to having to be jack-of-all-trades with multiple income streams.

2. The future of interactive dynamic advertising
Digital magazines can encompass interactive, dynamic content; hyperlinks and clickable ads, audio or video clips. Anders Malmsten mentioned several ways that advertising could be developed on digital platforms. Perhaps advertisements in your magazines from last year could be changed retroactively, or a company could by time slots for ads in magazines (whole-page ads being displayed only between 7-9 in the morning, or only before the concert but not after)?

·      3. The future of magazines is Spotify! 
What would a Spotified solution for magazines look like?

·      4. The future of radically new revenue sources
Perhaps the magazine publisher will have to find totally new sources of revenue; create events (meet the journalists), pop-up stores in shopping malls (Teen Vogue), apps (“The closet”, Teen Vogue), appology (an anthology-in-an-app with carefully selected texts from an archive spanning decades of great writing in The New Yorker). These examples all come from Olle Lidboms’s lecture.

5. Children's and youths' reading habits/relationship to magazines
What is the relationship to physical (and digital) magazines of those that are, say, a decade younger than you are? What is the state of comics and childrens' magazines (Donald Duck, Kamratposten) today? How do they engage and interact with their readers? What can be discerned about the future by talking to the people who produce today's youth-oriented magazines and those who will be your age a decade from now?

6. The future of paper magazines
Many students prefer paper to digital magazines (for aesthetic, sensory, health, overview etc. reasons; strained eyes, the smell of a new magazine, “sometimes it is very relaxing to take a break from the world of buttons, screens and displays”). So what is the future of paper magazines? Niche luxury product for the rich? Given away for free in the subway? Independently produced local hobby projects (think Composite K and beyond – anyone can do a magazine today!)? Other?

·      7. The future of magazine distribution. 
Distributions of paper magazines is a bottleneck and a large part of the edition comes back in the form of returns.  Can the distributions chain be digital, the magazine available in a newsstand (but digital) and the content be loaded (temporarily?) onto a reader?

·      8. The future of reading is discussions! 
The relative importance of learning about a topic through reading “defining texts” decreases and the activity of discussing and debating topics increases. The text (a result of a journalist’s craftwork) itself is not the end point but just the beginning; consuming facts is replaced by discussions and debate with knowledgeable people. Magazines are replaced by a multitude of peoples’ voices (democracy) and expert rule (meritocracy).

9. Business models for monetizing leechers
The big challenge; how can magazines “squeeze” money out of all the (digital) “leechers” who want to read for free without paying? What constitutes "value" to people? How much are people willing to pay for content/magazines on paper or for digital content/channels? Who is willing to pay (how much) and who isn't? What do we know already today and what are the trends and implications for the future of magazines? Are there clear difference between genres (womens' vs mens' magazines, gardening vs home improvement vs cooking vs ...)? If so, why and what does this mean (for the future)?
·      10. The future of reading 
Deep reading of longer, in-depth articles on particular subjects is replaced by browsing a zillion headlines to keep track of breaking news in your areas of interests and following up the browsing with reading a selected few texts. While these behaviors to some extent are an effect of previous changes in technology and business models, what are the implications of such new behaviors on technology, revenue and business models? (This question can be repeated for all topics relating to behavior below!)

11. A magazine for all senses
Three senses can be stimulated by paper, but not by digital media (computer, tablet or smartphone screens); taste, smell and touch. It is also possible to distribute (small) physical objects in a paper magazine. How could extravagant magazines capitalize on this with samples of materials and fabrics (fashion magazines), smell or taste (cooking magazines), small in deodorant ads, seeds (garden magazines) or a joint (High times)?

12. The future of paid digital content
Some newspapers (Financial Times, New York Times) and news services (Bloomberg) successfully sells their digital content to readers. What can be learned from these "market leaders"? Who pays today and what are they prepared to pay for? What are the implications for tomorrow? Is it/will it be possible to charge (more) per article, per issue or for a digital subscription?

13. Upping the revenue from digital channels
We have heard that going from print to digital is like changing dollars (print advertising revenue) to cents (digital advertising revenue). How publishers change digital cents into dimes (10¢) or quarters (25¢)? What are people willing to pay for? How much advertising compared to editorial content are people willing to put up with if advertising has to take up the slack from absent revenue from consumers? Are there other incomes to be made in digital channels? Can magazines have sponsors (like old American TV shows)? Is it possible to charge people (a little) for forwarding or showing their friends what to read?

·      14. An audience of one. 
Nifty apps like Pocket, Instapaper, Flipboard in combination with services like Reddit, Buzzfeed, discussion forums and social media platforms make it possible to earmark and later integrate and present texts that come from a variety of different sources into a nicely formatted, advertisement-free experience on your smartphone. Is the future of the magazine an infinitely personalized and customized magazine that is different for each (brands and magazine titles are replaced by My Magazine)? What are the implications for…XXX. Or could a publisher potentially have all the information about user/reader behavior and be able to customize and sell a magazine to you and the masses? 

15. Social recommendations
Would it be possible to create a magazine that dynamically polls different people so that you get to read what your friends seem to be reading at the moment, what famous people read right now (starlets or members of the Swedish academy), the most popular articles right now, the fastest rising articles etc.? Think of different recommendation systems (Amazon: "people who like this book has also bought the following books:").

16. Usability issues
An in-depth examination of usability issues in print and different digital channels (tablets, e-readers, web). Portability, reliability, batteries, sunlight, image/font quality, searchability, "commentability" etc.

17. Magazines and identity
We subscribe to and read magazines not just for the content, but also as identity markers. I'm the kind of person who reads X, I'm the kind of person who have magazines X, Y and Z on my coffee table (to impress, so that people can appreciate my exquisite taste, to indicate topics I like to discuss etc.). And it's not just the covers, it's also the contents; I'm the kind of person who is updated on futuristic implications of technology (because I read Wired magazine) or about this autumn's fashion (because I read Elle magazine) or about the next version of iPad (because I read Macworld). Magazines say something about who you are - or about who you want to be. How can this function be incorporated into tablet and digital channels?

18. Hybrid magazines
Is there a space for paper magazines with digital features/multimedia/augmented reality content that works together with a smartphone (QR codes, RFID chips etc.)? 

19. Non-text magazines
Do magazines of the future have to mean static paper or text-based reading on a computer screen? How about "video magazines" (see crane.tv) with short 3-minute videos introducing people, shops, trends etc. Would it be possible to develop video magazines in fields such as economy or politics? Perhaps the videos link to further (text) material? Could it be possible to create "podcast/audio magazines"?

20. The future of collecting
What is the future of collecting and collections? Authentic student quote: "I used to collect my past PC gamer magazines, I have over ten years' worth of magazines and sometimes it was fun to go back and read some old articles again". What need does collecting (must have all magazines!) satisfy and what is the future of collecting? A must-do for a group formed around this topic is to interview collectors. And what about scrapbooking, and tearing out an article from a magazine to save it? Why do we do those things and how can we continue to fulfill the same needs when magazines go digital?

No comments:

Post a Comment