Online Journalism

Mark Potts visit

March 29th, 2011 · Comments Off on Mark Potts visit

Mark Potts started out by stating that Wikipedia is a sort of new site. It’s useful because it’s built by the crowd and articles can be built instantly.

The Washington Post implemented Facebook to tell a story about a mother who gave birth and then got sick a couple months ago. Potts said this story was hard to tell without including the medium in which it happened.

Potts said Storify is the flavor of the month; but when it’s used, it needs transitions between bits. Otherwise the reader can get lost.

Potts said people who blog about their community do it out of passion not for the money. They want the pride of being recognized by their community. Bloggers have passion. You want people who care.

Computational journalism: the application of computation to the activities of journalism. Potts recommended Five Thirty Eight, a blog that excels at computational journalism and “is devoted to rigorous analysis of politics, polling, public affairs, sports, science and culture, largely through statistical means.” Nate Silver from being a zero to a top 20 blogger in six months.

Potts considers WikiLeaks journalism. Journalism isn’t necessarily about writing something, but disseminating information. Not affording the same protections to the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, as other journalists is damaging to journalism, according to Potts.

Tubeify is an example of a web site that excelled at data visualization by showing which songs were tops on the Billboard 100 throughout the years.

According to Potts, Twitter is worthless as a professional tool; it’s too much noise for him. RSS feeds are much more valuable to him. But Twitter is a must-use tool for professional journalists to increase publicity.

The most important tool in the last five years for journalists is the smartphone.

Potts says journalism is better than ever been before. The problem is the gutting of newsrooms, having fewer people to cover things. Those people are shifting to other places.

The river of news today is overwhelming, so people need to be their own filter of news.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Ch. 11 ‘Building a digital audience for news’

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

Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

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