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Google Exec to Murdoch: “There Is No Silver Bullet”
Josh Cohen is the Senior Business Product Manager at Google News, where he manages global product strategy, marketing, and publisher outreach. He was previously vice president of business development for Reuters Media and director of business development for SmartMoney.com.
Question: Has a hybrid model of free and paid content (with limited vs. full access) ever worked for publishers?
Josh Cohen: Sure. Well, I mean, I don't know the specific economics of it, but I think that The Wall Street Journal -- again I'll point to a News Corp property -- is a great example of -- you know, they are -- they do well in terms of traffic and their online advertising, and they also have a very healthy base of online subscribers. I think the challenge is -- again, going back to the idea the distribution model has changed -- you need to offer something of unique value to users if people are going to pay for it. Now, the Journal has great business reporting, things that you can't necessarily get anywhere else, the things that their readers rely on for -- from them -- as the source for this really crucial information, in this case information that makes them a lot of money. You see this as well with things like Bloomberg and Reuters that deliver directly to terminals and traders, information that people can profit from. Or again that they simply can't find anywhere else.
What will not work, I believe, on the Web is any sort of commodity information. I just don’t -- just personally, I don’t see that working on the Web, where before, if your competitive advantage was your means of distribution -- again using the Buffalo example -- I was the only place that you could get information on Buffalo, and now all that other information is a click away, and if it's all the same information, I think there are just too many sources out there, both traditional and new. But again, if as a source you have unique information that I can't get anywhere else, and the Journal, the FT, Consumer Reports -- all different examples of sites that have really valuable information for their end users -- I think there's a place for paid models.
Question: How would you advise Rupert Murdoch or other old-media executives to repackage their content successfully?
Josh Cohen: I mean, it really depends. There is no silver bullet for any and all news organizations, but it's -- and I admit it's somewhat vague to say, well, you know, what is uniquely valuable to your end users? But it's going to depend on -- you know, it can be local information -- so I'll keep using the Buffalo News example -- if this is the place where you have a community and information about Buffalo that I can't get anywhere else, great. But it doesn't have to be -- I mean, there's a lot of discussion about hyperlocal and, you know, the local advertising market, and so sure, local is one way to slice it. But it could just be -- you know, something else I've heard talked about is, you know, in New Jersey, all the pharmaceutical companies that are there. So maybe there's an opportunity -- sure, it can be New Jersey, but maybe it's also -- this is -- the area of interest there is pharmaceutical information.
Somebody at -- a person at Google named Bob Wyman who always sort of talks about this, and this sort of these different verticals that are there. So it's really about finding like what's the information I have, what's the talent set that I have? And it can be -- the content is obviously a big driver of it, but it's also the user experience too. Like how can I create an experience that people can't get anywhere else? So part of that can be community, part of that can be technology, so I mean, I think you're seeing this as well with different applications, whether it's the iPhone or android applications, they're things that people can't get anywhere else, which can be content, or it can be -- just means of how they interact with your content and information, how they interact with the rest of the users on your site.
Josh Cohen suggests how old media companies might successfully repackage their content, but warns that easy fixes are unlikely.
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>