For thoughtful, explanatory stories, yes. But the battle for who wins the user’s attention is shifting to new fronts.Read More
At least 12,000 bowl-bound travelers will pause in Mountain View, the designated transfer station for moving ticket holders from train or car to light rail and bus for the final few miles. They'd be doing themselves a disservice if they didn't stop and walk around a while.Read More
OK that's too much punning and metaphorization but hey it's my blog.
I posted a link to the Texas constitutional amendments that are up for a vote, and people immediately began discussing why anyone should care about them, which are the the most important ones and why. I dropped in topics a few times throughout the day, from the election to the launch of the Texas Tribune to some local economic news. I included links to our stories. People discussed each item as they came in.
There is potential here.
The annual awards that identify the most innnovative digital journalism conferred on The Gray Lady a some big-ticket bling. the Batten Award for Innovation. NYT scooped up the $10,000 first prize for six "striking entries:"
Represent, which helps city residents keep tabs on their elected officials, culling information from dozens of sources into a Facebook-style activity feed. Document Reader, which allows documents to be posted online in a clean interface that allows searching, bookmarking, comments and annotations. Custom Times, a prototype for personalized Times news reports that seamlessly transition across print, Web, mobile, television and even the car. Debate Analysis Tool, a replicable tool that allowed users to watch the 2008 presidential debates and speeches on demand with a searchable transcript scrolling simultaneously alongside. Living with Less, engaging audio and video portraits of peoples’ lives that have been upended by the recession. One Word, a replicable tool that asked users on Election Day to share “What One Word Describes Your Current State of Mind?“
I'm not surprised. The Times started investing in digital innovators a couple years back and it's been obvious for months that they've hit their stride. As I noted earlier this year, they figured out how to cut through the technical and bureaucratic limitations that big newspapers are famous for and proved that the MSM can do digital right.
Yahoo!, which is the primary reason a host of newspapers formed an entity known as the Newspaper Consortium a few years back, is making some moves that analysts rightly indicate should cause the newspapers some indigestion.
They've struck a deal with AT&T to use the phone company's local sales force to sell ads on Yahoo's ad platform known as APT. That platform was built with the papers and designed so papers could sell behaviorally-targeted ads to local customers on their sites and on Yahoo as well. What happens when AT&T releases its thousands of sales people start to make local sales calls too?
Ken Doctor, at Outsell Insights has some excellent perspective (you have to register but it's worth it):
Outsell believes the week's developments should simply serve as a strong reminder to newspaper companies about nature of partnering in the digital world. Today's partner may be tomorrow's competitor, and vice versa. That means corporate development and business development need to be strengthened, ongoing high-level efforts to find, manage, measure, optimize, and sometimes replace the many web alliances that are key to success.
The Online Journalism Awards include about $30,000 in prizes and the entry deadline is at the end of this month. They're among the top digital awards in the world.
You should check out the categories, because there is something for every digital journalist, from the small, solo practitioner to awards just right for television, including "Online Video Journalism" and "Multimedia Feature Presentation." Also, for those folks working in startups there is an award for technical innovation in the service of digital journalism.
Importantly, they will be announced at the Online News Association's annual conference, which this year will be in San Francisco from Oct. 1-3. So for those in the Bay Area, it's a unique opportunity. (I'm on the board of the organization and chairman of the awards committee -- full disclosure. I lobbied hard three years ago to get the conference to SF, so I'd love to see everyone there. But it is the one journalism conference that sells out these days.)
This isn't news.
The long-term, secular decline of newspapers has run headlong into the current recession and accelerated the loss of reporters. The Pew Research Center determined that about 5,900 journalism jobs went away in 2008, and by the end of this year, the job loss since 2001 could top 14,000, or one quarter of the pre-911 newspaper newsroom workforce.
Regardless of how you feel about newspapers, the evisceration of the fourth estate is a lamentable development. Our founding fathers knew well the value of independent oversight of our public and private institutions. That's why they enshrined freedom of the press in the constitution. As Thomas Jefferson said,
The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
So here is your chance to help support "the latter."
The Online News Assocaition, of which I am a board member, has launched its Support A Journalist campaign. With your contribution of as little as $10, this program will send journalists to our 2009 conference for networking and training in digital journalism.
It will also go towards the 2009 Challenge Fund for Journalism, a project of the Ford Foundation, Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, McCormick Foundation and John S. & James L. Knight Foundation. Your donation helps ONA better serve our membership by counting toward our fundraising goal during 2009, ONA’s 10th year. We must raise $90,000 from individual donors in tax-deductible contributions by Aug. 1.
Please help. Please support a journalist.
Poynter's Bill Mitchell reports on a new seven-nation study that looked at paying for content online. The good news is researchers found that Americans are willing to spend 68% of what they spend for news offline. The bad news is the general news we produce isn't what they're willing to pony up for:
With general news likely to remain a commodity for the foreseeable future, that suggests the strongest potential for payment lies in "specialized, targeted and relevant" content that's usually quite expensive to produce.
Actually, that's not a bad bargain. The general news isn't as much fun to do as the tough, relevant and specialized stuff.
Belgian journalist Roland Legrand has some good tips on leveraging all those accounts you've probably set up on various social media platforms so you're not just wasting your time. I recommend a clickthrough.
To get the full benefit of social networks, journalists have to be do more than just sign up; they have to be engaged and active within their networks. And that means they need to carefully think about what image they want to project of themselves, to a group of watchers that might include both personal friends and business colleagues.
A news company in the Czech Republic is getting in to the coffee shop business, in order to attract people to its journalists who will be working nearby. As the New York Times explains:
The newsrooms-cum-cafes are part of a new venture in so-called hyperlocal journalism, which aims to reconnect newspapers with readers and advertisers by focusing on neighborhood concerns at a neighborhood level: think garbage collection schedules, not Group of 7 diplomacy.
Our neighborsgo staff has been doing that in their own way for some time. They've scheduled meet and greets in area Starbucks. Some have been so popular Starbucks asked them to move elsewhere. (What? Not enough $4 lattes sold?)
You might have thought that our industry would have understood this intuitively. After all, journalists know that to cover a community effecitvely, you have to be in that community. You have to live and breathe it. It's old-school, beat coverage.
But hyperlocal hysteria was a digital wave: Use the inexpensive, unlimited canvas of digital publishing to create virtual town squares; bring together citizen content with reporter-generated content and have everyone talk about it together.
Now we're realizing that if you stop there, you may not achieve your goal of helping the community connect or reap good journalism either. Backfence failed because there wasn't anyone to orchestrate the online communities that formed, and maybe because those communities didn't feel enough sense of place just interacting in a virtual landscape. Barista has prospered because there are reporters leading the Montclair, N.J. blog's community.
Our own Dallas Independent School District beatblog has helped coalesce the community of people here intensely interested in the city's schools due to the real-world oureach of our lead reporters, who have engaged sources and citizens directly in conversation day in and day out, online and off.
We're launching a host of new community blogs at The Dallas Morning News now, along with an intensive reporting effort in these communities. Here's hoping we marry our understanding of social media and shoe leather more effectively; perhaps by setting up our blog shop in the corner booth at the cafe.