Online Journalism

Ch. 11 ‘Building a digital audience for news’

March 9th, 2011 · Comments Off on Ch. 11 ‘Building a digital audience for news’

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The traditional business model for journalism is in disarray.

That’s for damn sure true, with everyone having the ability to  write what they want on the Internet thanks to technology.

To increase an online audience, a journalist needs to:

  • Analyze what is published
  • Determine what readers like and don’t like
  • Do more of what readers like

Here are the fundamentals of building an online audience:

  • Tracking your content
  • Web analytics
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Effective headline writing for the Web
  • Distribution through social media

Track what you publish, such as blog posts, video stories per week, podcasts, Twitter and other social network posts and total stories per day.

Set benchmarks. Determine what you want to accomplish so you have something to measure against.

Track your audience. Use tools like Omniture and Google Analytics to measure who is viewing your stuff.

Determine what is going to be your key data. Typically it is going to be pageviews, visits vs. unique visitors, and engagement and referrers.

Understand SEO and use it to your benefit. Many news sites receive as much as one-third of their traffic from search engines, so it’s very important to get yourself near  or in the first 10 of results shown.

The best way to take advantage of SEO? Make sure your content is top-notch and link as much as possible as long as it’s relevant. Make good headlines better.

And above all else, use social media to push your stuff. Provide links of yourself on Twitter and Facebook. Contribute to blogs that deal with the same content as you. Put your name out there as much as possible.

Tags: Comm361 · social media · Student Blog Posts

Ch.3 ‘Crowd-powered collaboration’

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Ch.3 ‘Crowd-powered collaboration’

“The hunter-gatherer model of journalism is no long sufficient. Citizens can do their own hunting and gathering on the Internet. What they need is somebody to add value to that information by processing it–digesting it, organizing it, making it usable.” — Phil Meyer, author of “Precision Journalism”

Briggs starts out the third chapter of “Journalism Next” by writing about how today’s journalists are embracing technology more than ever and using information gathered from citizens to help them assemble their news.

What Briggs writes about reminds a lot about what Mandy Jenkins was talking about when she visited to speak about TBD. TBD uses tweets from people to learn about events and incidents that are happening around the area because TBD is limited to only 15 reporters who can be out on the streets. It also reminds me of Patch as they do the same thing where the editors allow people to e-mail them or tweet them with tips about what’s going on or what they would like to be covered.

The most interesting term I found from the chapter was pro-am journalism. This is the kind of journalism that allows people to publish directly to the same platform the journalists use to publish their news, which also reminds of what Patch does a little bit.

Briggs then goes into detail about crowdsourcing and why it is important for journalists. Crowdsourcing allows communities to focus on a specific project where they can outperform a small group of experienced journalists because they can employ more manpower.

Briggs then talks about invaluable links are to writing for online media. Just a few years ago, linking to the competition was pretty much forbidden, but now it is welcome and many online journalists use it to link to valuable information from other journalists. They do this in the hope that readers will come back to their website because they find that what they link to is credible.

Briggs’ final point is that these types of collaborative journalism aren’t going to go away. With the access to technology that we have now, people are more invested in what is going on right around the corner from them. With companies laying off journalists, media platforms are going to need contribution from ‘regular people’ now more than ever.

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Briggs Chapter 3

February 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Chapter 3

Have you ever heard the phrase, two heads are better than one?

Briggs moved on in “Journalism Next” to crowdsourcing. What is crowdsourcing? “It is a relatively new term, coined by Jeff Howe in a 2006 article for Wired News. Think of crowdsourcing like outsourcing, the term it spun off from. Crowdsourcing harnesses the sustained poer of community to improve a service or information base” -Mark Briggs.

Incase you are curious, here is the front cover of Howe’s book:

Popular crowdsourcing sites:

  1. Wikapedia
  2. Facebook
  3. InnoCentive
  4. Mechanical Turk

The concept is important because sites can receive thousands of contributions. Blogs can turn into news stations and the coverage these sites get would never have happened without crowdsourcing.

Mark Briggs went on to describe beatblogging. I found a really great site, ironically called BeatBlogging.Org, with an article written by Jay Rosen that does an outstanding job defining and elaborating on what a beatblog is, what they look for, and how people can help.

Links are also a huge way to help power the web. They build readership and viewers usually come back for more. Take Google for example!

Briggs ended the chapter off by lying explaining that newspapers still tap the power of a crowd and that print is still unbelievably a powerful tool. Maybe next edition of Journalism Next, Briggs will update Chapter 3.

Tags: Comm361 · newspapers · Student Blog Posts