Online Journalism

Chapter 11 — Building a Digital Audience for News

March 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 11 — Building a Digital Audience for News

“Journalism needs to find new benefits from new marketing strategies and measurement tactics.”

Briggs’ last chapter in JournalismNext focuses in on “the fundamentals of building an audience online”:

  • Tracking one’s content
  • Web analysts
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Effective headline writing for the Web
  • Distribution through social media

Our author begins by pointing out that “management consultants will tell you that ‘what gets measured gets changed,’” but that “in recent years some have also said ‘what gets measured gets done.’”

As a result, “newsrooms now track and measure everything they do.”

Tracking everything that one publishes (and setting benchmarks on a case-by-case basis) is crucial, but tracking one’s audience (using Web analytics softwares such as Google Analytics.

Briggs then dives into the main functions of SEO for journalists:

  • Spiders and robots
  • Indexing
  • Queries

When writing effective headlines:

  • Make sure to write it for both online readers — readers and robots
  • Make good headlines better by improving keywords, trying to use more conversational language and not being afraid to inject a little attitude

Overall, in this last chapter, I took out a lot of information that I felt should be remembered as well as information that I found interesting (SEO functions).

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Ch. 7 ‘Making Audio Journalism Visible’

March 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Ch. 7 ‘Making Audio Journalism Visible’

When you view a news story online, you typically expect to see either pictures or video accompanying the story. But you don’t typically find audio accompanying those stories.

“Somehow audio has been considered the ‘invisible’ medium,” said Karin Hogh, a podcast expert. “However, if done right, audio can be as powerful in journalism as written articles or even TV and video.”

NPR's Sound Reporting

I think the reason for this is that people are more willing to take time to watch a video or look at photos than listen to audio, because when you listen to audio you have the ability to do something else, and then your focus isn’t 100 percent on the audio.

Here’s why audio journalism is important, according to Hogh:

  • Presence: Being on the scene can bring readers to the story.
  • Emotions: Tone, expressions, etc can enhance the story.
  • Atmosphere: Natural sound helps pull the listener closer to the scene.

Most audio journalism has these basic ingredients:

  • Interviews and voice-overs
  • Natural or environmental sound
  • Imported sound clips, including music

Here’s NPR’s Guide to Audio Journalism and Production.

Here’s how audio can be used:

  • Recording interviews
  • Doing voice-overs

“Audio journalism is important because it is the dominant form of information distribution on The Next Big Thing in Journalism: mobile journalism,” said Jim Stovall, author of JPROF.

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Chapter 10 — Managing News as a Conversation

March 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 10 — Managing News as a Conversation

“The socialization of news is clearly the right direction for journalism,” begins Briggs in his tenth chapter of JournalismNext.

This chapter explores the idea of news being a conversation, rather than “a lecture,” and how conversing through social networking can add to one’s story.

“Three areas of evolution suggest a brighter future for comments on news stories:

  • The technology is getting better
  • Newsrooms are accepting more responsibility
  • The commenters are expecting more from each other.”

When commenting on the necessity to make news a conversation (rather than a lecture), Briggs acknowledges that “while the primary motivation for offering social tools on news sites [is] to stay technologically relevant, the reward goes beyond giving the audience a chance to play, too.”

Briggs even throws in some statistics about social bookmarking and advertising, given by a Bivings Group report which can be found here.

Some other major benefits Briggs mentions for news being a conversation include:

  • Providing transparency on the reporting process
  • Enable an immediate feedback loop
  • Spread awareness of news coverage through word-of-mouth marketing

Overall, although one always runs the risk of “potential headaches [from] offensive anonymous posts,” by including user/reader interactivity, “the benefit earned through a constructive and collaborative relationship between journalists and their audience is well worth the effort.

Briggs also discusses how to build and manage an online community through making news participatory and collaborating with one’s community. Then, he explains how to keep conversations accurate and ethical by setting guidelines for participants, monitoring offensive posts, knowing one’s legal responsibilities and correcting errors.

“Social media, used correctly, connects journalists and reporters to people and information.”

This may be the first chapter in which I couldn’t agree more with every point raised.

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Audio Journalism-Chapter 7 Mark Briggs

March 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Audio Journalism-Chapter 7 Mark Briggs

Podcasts used to be an unknown feature on iTunes, but has now escalated into one of the most powerful tools an online journalist can use. Briggs explains how you can create full-featured segments that imitate radio episodes and post them on your blog for your followers.

  • Audio Journalism is the next big thing for journalism because it lets you add layers to any story . The editing can be as complicated as you want it to be. Audio can help you build a multidimensional  story by:
  1. Presence: The reporter can bring the reader to the scene, and the simple fact of being there boosts credibility.
  2. Emotions: The tone of your voice, along with your pauses and intonations, can enhance the story.
  3. Atmosphere: The natural sound from the scene pulls the reader in closer.
  • Podcasts are pre-recorded audio program that is posted to a website. While they are time consuming, as you should update regularly, it’s great for building an audience on a particular subject.
  • NPR or National Public Radio is the biggest online audio journalism site today, and its success comes from the reporters. They bring familiarity and engage their listeners.

*Lots of major news sites are jumping on the audio clip bandwagon: CNN, BBC, Fox News and The New York Times.

*Want tips on starting a podcast? Click HERE.

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‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 7 Summary

March 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off on ‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 7 Summary

Audio journalism from Edward R. Murrow. 1945.   Sounds are a bit like smells. Just like a scent can transport you to your childhood, so can a certain sound transport you to another place. In Chapter 6 of “JournalismNext” Mark Briggs argues that as a reporting tool, audio deserves another look. “Audio journalism is about [...]

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