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Should We Be Nicer to PR People?

newsweek_premailsThis week, Newsweek published the diary of a journalist who read and replied to every PR email that came through his inbox for a week.  I clicked on that headline like the sucker I am, though I am usually against* “I Did X For A Week” pieces that seem to be coming more and more popular. From talking to strangers to doing your kids homework, they usually scroll a few digital pages (click! click!), are formatted journal-style to make them easy to read, and often include just the right amount of snark and existential anxiety that make them easy to finish, comment on, and share. They’re digital publishing stunts.

But, anyway, could you imagine replying to every PR email you received?

I’m just a lowly blogger. I don’t know that it would actually set me two or three hours behind each day to answer all the emails and invites I get. Maybe half of an hour. But I still get a lot of them, and usually ones that make no sense to me. Why is it that so many PR emails are so wrong?

Assumption 1) Because PR is actually a skill that too many people think they have. And too many startups or party planners or grad students with a cool Kickstarter idea are just hijacking friends or broke college grads to do it. Sometimes even when a pitch is just remotely related to something I write about, if it’s well done, I’ll consider it for a minute. Good PR is sort of like porn, hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

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BBC Pop Up Launches in Colorado

bbcpopupPop-up food trucks, fashion boutiques, flea markets. Now, there are pop-up newsrooms, too, thanks to BBC Pop Up. A truly mobile newsroom, BBC has sent a small crew of video journalists to travel around North America for six months to embed themselves in a place and dig around for good stories.

For their first stop, the team is in Boulder, Colo., where they’ve been since last week. Here’s their first dispatch on how residents have dealt with the aftermath of the Jamestown floods:

Mathew Danzico, of the Pop Up team and BBC’s Video Innovation Lab, says the project is about “empowering residents to tell their stories.” The team is posted together in a house and working out of a co-working space in the area. Since arriving, they’ve held town hall meetings to announce their presence, meet with residents and pick their brains about what to cover. They’re also holding journalism workshops at local universities.   Read more

Boston Globe Launches Catholic-Themed News Site

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 5.57.16 PMThe Globe is covering a new beat, and it’s not another Boston sports team. Nieman Lab’s Justin Ellis reported last week that the paper had launched a niche micro-site called “Crux,” focusing only on aspects of the Catholic faith, including lifestyle news and how the Pope and the Church handle political issues. Not only will the Globe Media-owned-and-run site feature Vatican news, it has also been designed to post quizzes and digestible chunks of content made for social sharing, Ellis found in his reporting.

It’s an interesting concept from a publication that has reported aggressively on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and an idea worth noting for newspapers that have long maintained a religion “beat” but never expanded the issues to a separate platform. The Globe‘s experiment begs the question of whether other big newsrooms should follow suit. With religion being just as much a part of many readers’ daily lives as sports, technology and food are, why shouldn’t the topic — or furthermore, a specific denomination — get its own vertical?

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Journos React to News of a Filtered Twitter

twitterToday, Twitter made it clear that they are going to start filtering your timeline in a Facebook-like fashion. Or not, depending on who you read. If the tech industry is trying to delight us, this is not the way. At least for the media-minded who use Twitter for ideas, reporting, and, well, everything. Here are some takes from journalists on the rumors:

 

And some good ideas from Zeynep Tufekci:

 

What do you think about filtering the feed? Let us know @10,000Words.

Back to School Links: 3 Pieces New (and Old) Journos Should Wrap Their Heads Around

adrevenueIt’s back to school season, which means there will be a lot of journalism students sitting around debating how to best make money doing it. We just can’t stop wondering or examining how it’s all changed. The discussion isn’t just happening in ivory towers, either. In the past week, current journos and editors at large have been pondering it as well:.

  • David Plotz took to to his Twitter feed to tweet out all of the options. Then, he did the right thing and just compiled them into this post on Slate.  What’s interesting is how 2014 compares to 1998. He could only think of five good ways to raise money — banner ads, being the biggest earner. Now? With membership models like Slate’s Plus, podcasts and conferences, things are just more complicated, but hardly as bleak. 

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