iPad Only

Exciting new stuff has happened since I finished my thesis. And that’s the shit part as well; as soon as you hand in your thesis on new media, it’s outdated.

Nevertheless, one of the most interesting things I came across lately is TRVLzine, a travel magazine made exclusively for the iPad. Although Richard Branson claims to be making the first exclusive Ipad magazine ever, it is actually done by two Dutchies.

The founders of TRVLzine a major advantage of the iPad for publishing; avoiding printing and distribution costs. By circumventing this, costs are cut and authors profit from this. As I have already researched, it isn’t easy to make money as a travel journalist (see my blog ‘How do Travel journalists actually make money?’). Costs of researching and writing travel stories are very high and payment isn’t big at all. This is also why so much travel journalism is sponsored. Writing, publishing and selling stories only for the iPad is a great new opportunity for travel writers.

Combine this with the fact that travel journalism becomes so much more attractive with beautiful pictures and illustrations and it’s not surprising that travel writing is on the frontline in developing iPad applications. What’s good for consumers is that you purchase per single article, so you don’t have to read about Marrakech or Cape Town when you’re going to Shanghai. And something else; it’s for free! But who knows how long it will stay that way…

Still without iPad myself I can’t judge what it looks like on full screen, but the previews look promising (and quite arty actually :-)). Interesting to see how this initiative will develop and how many more Ipad Only magazine’s will appear… Maybe a good reason to finally get one myself 😉

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So now what?

Graduation, the big black hole…  What have I been doing since handing in my thesis? Well I certainly haven’t been chilling in that big black hole, I have been busy as hell avoiding it!

September 2010 I started working as an editor at Mediamatic Travel. Mediawhat?? Mediamatic Travel is an online DIY – travel agency, focusing on underground arts & culture scenes in cities that are not so obvious to visit. Think of Dakar, Tbilisi or Nicosia. Not really places that attract huge herds of tourists. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything interesting to see. On the contrary, these cities have a thriving contemporary art scene that really is worth visiting. However, it is not always easy for these scenes to survive in countries that sometimes suffer from dictatorship, war or poverty. By giving them an online platform, we support these cities and exposure is given to artists and art projects there.
Being an editor basically means keeping up the website, making sure is kind and pretty to its visitors. I update documents and pages, edit contributions, persuade people to write travel stories and occasionally write editorials myself. Besides that I am very busy attracting new guides and so far I have recruited 6 guides in Cologne, Dakar, Bratislava, Buenos Aires, Skopje & Istanbul. Furthermore, we want to attract more people to the website. A Facebook-page was created which sped up traffic to the website and we’re busy spreading the leftover Mediamatic Travel glossy’s from last year. Interestingly, this travel network can’t do without some help of old media. There’s the paper travel glossy’s, which we’ve printed ourselves. But attention given to Mediamatic Travel by TV (3 Op Reis), magazines (LIV) and newspapers (The Frankfurter Rundschau, no I’m not kidding!), really helped drive interest and traffic to the network. As if people only believe it’s real, when a website is on print…

Unfortunately, I can’t stay forever at the non-profit network that Mediamatic Travel is. So I have joined the 100.000+ just-graduated & desperate job-seekers. Luckily for me, this puddle has only been a temporary resort for me. As from February I will start my new job as a City Content Manger for youropi.com ! Youropi.com is a travel website mainly focused on city information, and that is where I come in. I’ll be producing and editing content about various cities in Europe, updating information, photographing and keeping everything up-to-date. So far, I have enjoyed three very good interviews with the team at Youropi and I am very excited to start. This small, but thriving young company really seems like the right step to make. More on Youropi.com will follow once I have started there, but if you’re planning a city trip soon then take a look on Youropi.com. You’ll easily find the information you’re looking for, select, create a PDF and print your custom made travel guide. All the blessing of online media (convergence, selectivity and real-time information) come together here.

 

Oh and yes, of course I have planned a trip! Before I start at Youropi is is Bali & Borneo in January. More on that in coming blogposts.

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Graduated


As from October the 21st, I may call myself Master of Arts in Media, Culture & Society 🙂

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A very abstract ehhm, Abstract.

Like other sectors in the print industry, publishers of paper travel guidebooks have recently experienced competition from other travel information sources, such as free travel websites. In order to keep up with competition, publishing houses in the Anglo-Saxon world have launched various new media products themselves, next to paper travel guidebooks. It is researched in my master thesis how active their counterparts in the Dutch language area are in the field of new media products.
The approach of my master thesis is of qualitative research; previous academic research and theory are explored in the first two chapters, after which practical research in the form of interviews and content analysis of travel guidebooks is presented. Three important aspects have sprung from previous research and theory; publishers, new media and content. The main research question is focused on these three aspects; How is travel information being shaped in the travel publication industry in response to the rise of new media tools?
The majority of travel information by publishing houses is still disseminated through old media; paper travel guidebooks. New media products such as; smart phone applications, websites, e- books and GPS- navigation are seen as potential products for publishing houses to tap into, but overall most publishing houses are restrained by inadequate budgets to innovate further. Nevertheless, some new media products were already launched by publishing houses. Important elements in these products are participatory culture, convergence and collective intelligence. All publishing houses recognize that these aspects are very important in order to survive in a changing media landscape. Also, they hope that by making a reliable pre-selection of travel information in their products, they play into the aspects of ‘paradox of choice’, ‘paradox of productivity’ and brand- names, which could attract consumers. Finally, new media products are also of influence on old media. Changes in design and content of paper travel guidebooks were found in the case studies and can be ascribed to e-literature and (new) media literacies.
Whilst current new media activities of Dutch publishing houses are still limited, there is a definite urgency to innovate in new media products. An initiative that might make the transition towards new media products profitable for publishing houses is the cooperation with other parties. At the moment Dutch publishing houses purchase guidebook content from foreign publishers, after which it is translated and adapted to local needs. This successful practice could well be exported to new media products, as is already happening on a small scale at the moment.

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A Summer of Silence

Last blogpost dated June 15th and promised the handing in of a first draft. Well, in case you’re still wondering, that did happen. I handed the thing in, got it back and then spend the rest of my summer with my thesis. He sort of became a summer-love which I slowly grew tired off, but my thesis never really picked up my signals on this and he just wouldn’t leave me…

The first draft wasn’t good enough by far, even I can see that now, so I felt like I owed my thesis summer-love something better. I wanted to devote my sharpest new media-eye to this fella so I stopped working on my blog, who was my lover on the side. I figured my thesis summer-love would probably become better if I was writing ON it, instead of ABOUT it. I abandoned my blog-lover for my thesis summer-love, but I just can’t seem to let go of my part-time blog-love. So here I am again, all yours.

My thesis summer-love swallowed me in whole and I didn’t even travel this summer. Can you believe it? I write and research travel guides, but I can’t use them myself??? I can’t say it was a pleasant experience, but breaking up with my thesis summer-love proved to be the right thing to do in the end.

On september the 17th salvation was there; Payal delivered me the news that I passed and never had anything to do with my thesis anymore! My summer of silence with my thesis summer-love was finally over! Of course I celebrated that night, and I won’t go into details but it involved dancing on my living room table and extensive cuddling with flat-mates.

Though I am sooo over my thesis, there might be some people still interested in him. So a summary will follow here soon, so will other blosposts. Because other than my thesis summer-love, I don’t plan on letting my blog-lover go, he’s just too much fun to do that…

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A first draft

Working in Open Office Draw slows down my computer dramatically. While waiting for the program to make the changes I ordered, browsing the internet is a nice distraction from the highly stressful event that’s called ‘the first draft’. In the past two weeks I have been working almost every day to get as much done before the first draft is due next monday.The last blog entry was two weeks ago and in these weeks I didn’t really feel like touching my computer when I decide that it has been enough at the end of the day. So while Open Office was doing its work I surfed through some websites I read to keep updated on all the action around old and new media. ‘Broadcasters consider iPad for print’, ‘Twitter and TomTom make GPS-pact’, ‘Time magazine launches new iPad app’ are all things that should interest me. But instead of reading these articles with interest, I keep thinking ‘Oh god, still have to do the references in chapter 2’ or ‘Why hasn’t that publisher mailed me back? I need her answers!’.

Oh, how I now wish that I didn’t spend so much time just being lazy in march and april. With less than a week to go, I still have to finish about 5 pages of content analysis and write my whole conclusion & discussion. I know I can manage this in 6 days, but reading on facebook how other people have finished already is not encouraging. But I know I am a person who prefers final sprints and I know (or I hope?) that I will pass the finish line on time, like I did so many other times before.

The motivation is there; a day to the Efteling, a weekend in Germany, Thijs returning from Nepal, a possible trip to Paris, a fantastic internship awaiting me in september and possibly a large trip to Asia in january after the internship… Better get back to work.

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The Times are a changing… and are you gonna pay for it?

The Times, renowned British newspaper and popular website, is gonna make you pay for their online content. Which is a shame, because it is one of the best newspaper websites around and one that I use a lot when searching for articles in my master’s course. However, you can access the content for free one month, as a try-out period. Other changes on site are the blocking of Google news and the impossibility of making anonymous comments. The editors claim that they want a ‘real relationship’ with their audience, whatever that may be.

Paying for content… They want us to do it, but we ain’t gonna. Or are we?

Last week I had an interview at Unieboek, the publisher of travel guidebooks such as Capitool and Marco Polo. They have launched the website On Track, on which you can download walking tracks with GPS coordinates. The first one is for free, after that a subscription of €14,99 provides you with unlimited amounts of tracks. When I asked the publisher about this website, she was very happy to say that they have sold around 14.000 subscriptions in just over a year.

And after the successful launch of Spotify this month, I wonder; are we really that reluctant to pay for online content? Or are the times really changing? What do you think?

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