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The Comment Discussion Continues: APME Editors Say Comments Are Here to Stay

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 1.14.01 PMA writeup that surfaced yesterday from The Spokesman-Review‘s Gary Graham revealed some new perspectives from newspaper editors involved in the Associated Press Media Editors (APME) organization.

Graham is an APME board member and reported some of the following noteworthy results depicting what editors and journalists really think about the often-lambasted comment section. You may be surprised at the results of the Sounding Board survey, which included 101 responses:

  • 94 percent said they “consistently allow comment” sections on their websites. According to Graham, many “believe allowing comments is important to encourage community discussions in a public forum.” Still, some cited complaints such as incivility, off-topic and ill-informed comments, and negativity as reasons comment sections can be frustrating.
  • 71 percent said it is unlikely that they would ever ban online commenting on their websites
  • 11 percent said they would never ban online commenting on their websites
  • Nine percent said it is “very likely” they will ban all comments
  • A few respondents reported that they have taken the time to ban individual commenters who either dominate conversation or are consistently uncivil in the comment section
  • 14 percent said they find a “great deal of value” in their comment section
  • 46 percent of the news organizations that responded allow anonymous comments
  • 38 percent of the news organizations require commenters to identify themselves by first and last name

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Grandparents.com Seeks Freelance Pitches on Modern Grandparenting

Grandparents.com is a site for the modern grandparent. Its readers are interested in traveling, staying healthy and, of course, finding fun things to do with the grandkids. After all, explains editor-in-chief Ellen Breslau, the average age of a grandparent today is only 52. So freelancers interested in pitching the site should steer clear of stories on hearing aids or assisted living.

Instead, Breslau says she wants “more health stories and smart takes on financial matters, such as estate planning or the best part-time jobs for baby boomers.” You should also note:

Articles typically average 500 words and include one to two expert sources. Slide shows are another popular format on the website and should be made up of quick, easily digestible tips. The tone is conversational — “as if your best friend or neighbor were speaking to you,” says Breslau.

For more details on what to pitch the site, read: How to Pitch: Grandparents.com.

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‘Bellingcat’ Kickstarter Campaign Seeks to Unite Investigative Citizen Journalists

BellingcatCitizen journalism is more prevalent than ever with the upsurge in social media platforms. Now that so much information is available at our fingertips, it seems that reporters — both formally trained and novice — are even hungrier for accurate news.

A crowdfunding campaign by a man named Eliot Higgins has the goal of bringing together citizen journalists who are curious about hard news issues through an open-source website. His vision is for contributors all over the world to continue coverage of “Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Jihadists, Shia armed groups, the UK phone hacking scandal, police corruption, and more,” he wrote on Kickstarter.

Bellingcat, as he calls it, is based on the idea that citizen journalists have the power to do much of the investigation that traditional media outlets do. YouTube and Reddit are just two hugely important tools that anyone who values verification and getting to the bottom of a news story can use, and it’s totally open-sourced. Social media does the same thing, Higgins wrote on his Kickstarter page.

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Friday Roundup: The Week in Journalism

huffpostAPtweet.jpgIf anyone complained about dog days of summer in the newsroom, this week you got what you wished for. Here are some highlights in all of the chaos that was the news this week:

1) You can’t win if you’re covering Gaza. John Stewart illustrated this best in a skit on Monday night. And the New York Observer called out the New York Times for what it thinks is biased coverage of recent events. The ‘paper of record’ doesn’t think it’s doing anything wrong. What about you? How have you been staying objective — or have you decided to ditch that effort?

BREAKING: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash lands in Eindhoven.

— The Associated Press (@AP) July 23, 2014

2) A lot of us need to read slower and learn AP style. On Tuesday, the AP tweeted about a plane carrying the victims of flight MH17. AP style is “crash-landed,” anyway, but a lot of us journos need to slow down. It was like we were waiting to start a fight with them. Read more

Reddit Launches Live Blogging Platform

reddilive.jpgReddit has officially launched RedditLive, a new feature where anyone on the platform can create their own live blog via a subreddit. The feature has been in beta for a few months but now anyone can get at it and live blog at will.

Are we still in a place where this means journos will whine about professionalism, ethics, and recall the mob mentality surrounding some reddit threads and news events? Probably. If so, it’s probably time to shed the pretense. Reporting needs to be mobile, live, and transparent. RedditLive doesn’t have to be a publisher, though that’s technically what it is, but could be a really good source for you in the newsroom. Although, someone is live-blogging their midnight snack.

I think that reddit is sort of a self-cleaning machine. There’s a lot of noise over there, and that’s a good thing. When something is wrong or missing, people notice. It’s like the “eyes on the street” effect for the web. Read more

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