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Angela Washeck

Angela Washeck is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas. She is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a journalism minor. Angela serves as an Editorial Assistant at PBS MediaShift and is a contributor to Paste Magazine and TexasMonthly.com. She was previously an intern at TV newsmagazine "Dan Rather Reports." Her work has been republished on Editor and Publisher, the American Press Institute and more. When Angela is not busy writing for MediaBistro, you can find her watching “How I Met Your Mother” reruns, watching Aggie football and attending indie/folk concerts in Dallas. Follow her tweets @angelawasheck.

From the Tow Center: Research Indicates Video News Is Always Growing, Changing

TowCenterColumbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism is producing some important research on upcoming trends in online media, like news video, sensor journalism and longform.

Its most recently released report, “Video Now: The Form, Cost, and Effect of Video Journalism,” highlights the video strategies of popular digitally native publishers like Mashable and NowThis News, longform outfits including Vice Media and Frontline PBS, and legacy papers like the Washington Post and the Chicago Sun-Times, over a five-month period. More than 50 newsrooms were examined during the research for this paper.

Study facilitator and assistant professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, Duy Linh Tu set out to answer three main questions:

  • How do news organizations define video?
  • How do they produce video?
  • What is their return on investment? (ROI)

Now for what Linh Tu found: metrics across newsrooms aren’t very reliable. Typical measurements like plays and page views “are inconsistently measured across organizations,” so the report features mostly editor interviews rather than sheer numbers. The answer to digital video is that there is no answer — at least not now. Publishers are finding it difficult to capitalize on this new medium while bringing in the advertising support they need to produce quality content. In other words, there isn’t a ton of data out there on video ROI that inspires trust in marketers with limited budgets.

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Longreads Joins Forces With Automattic, Owner of WordPress

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 1.36.20 PMDuring the month of its five-year anniversary, Longreads was bought by Autommatic, the web development company best known for its ownership of WordPress (also Gravatar and Polldaddy, for the nerdiest types).

Longreads, started by former journalist and longform journalism enthusiast Mark Armstrong in 2009, announced April 9 it was joining forces with Autommatic in order to expand its impact and better equip itself to share the best longform (1,500+ words) work on the web.

“The world cannot live on 140 characters alone,” Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said to Bloomberg Businessweek. “Longreads embodies a lot of what we really value with Automattic and WordPress.”

This move makes total sense. WordPress.com is the “largest and most influential publishing ecosystem in the world,” as Armstrong wrote, and its content management system powers the work of big news brands like NYPost.com and Quartz, and lesser known yet immensely talented freelance writers. Longreads is constantly looking for great journalism to share, while competing against sites like Byliner, and Automattic’s WordPress offers writers a place where their journalism can live. So, it’s a win-win situation. And, in a SXSW talk last year, Mullenweg said WordPress was looking for a way to delve deeper into — and monetize — longform journalism, as what became known as the longform “renaissance” had really started to take shape.

 


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Vox.com and News Flash Cards: What Do You Think?

Vox-MediaFinally Ezra Klein‘s Vox.com has debuted, and the Internet has spoken. Of course, the former Wonkblogger and Washington Post resident celebrity’s move away from legacy media to, essentially a startup, was big news, so anyone interested in new media is watching closely.

Vox Media has been known in recent years for its success in online publishing — because they’re digitally native, they’ve been able to pioneer the art of creating cool-looking “verticals,” relying on a combination CEO and Chairman Jim Bankoff often champions: top-notch talent and the best possible technology.

The seventh of Vox’s properties behind The Verge, Polygon, Eater, SB Nation, Racked and Curbed, Vox.com is a slight departure from the company’s typical paradigm; instead of focusing on sports or food (SB Nation and Eater, respectively), its role is to report and analyze general news. Klein, several of his Post colleagues and other reporters, totaling a 20-person team, were brought in to do explanatory journalism. That is, to provide ongoing resources for understanding the concepts behind news stories, whether they’re politically, financially  or culturally focused.

Which brings us to “Vox Cards,” a sort of digital index card akin to how you studied for college exams. The cards take big topics like the Affordable Care Act, Bitcoin, global warming, immigration reform and my favorite — “Congressional dysfunction” — and break them down into 20 or so simple questions and answers that hopefully help readers understand the why it matters aspect of the news. Vox Cards are linked to in articles, which include “highlighted” words. Basically, Vox Cards help you digest the “vegetables” of current events in a slideshow form.

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Watch the 15th International Symposium on Online Journalism Live

2014isojdateThere are few occasions when the world’s greatest minds in journalism gather to discuss, brainstorm and learn with and from each other, and the annual International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) is certainly one of those occasions.

The 15th iteration of the meeting is this upcoming weekend, April 4-5 at the University of Texas-Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art, and the ISOJ schedule promises some great information and top speakers from all over the world including media execs, writers and academics.

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Lone Star State for ISOJ (some of you just returned from SXSW 2014, right?). You can tune in to the event’s livestream here on Friday and Saturday, where the ISOJ will be broadcast in English and Spanish. Read more

The Big Roundtable’s Social Media Experiment

The BRT wants the stories it publishes to be "surprising" and ambitious - and for them to be read widely.

The BRT wants the stories it publishes to be “surprising” and ambitious – and for them to be read widely, of course.

Longform startup The Big Roundtable (BRT) recently commissioned three college students to put its assumptions about social sharing to the test.

The challenge? Taking one story, one month and whatever techniques they could think of (legal, of course), the three undergraduates were tasked with the challenge of racking up the most unique page views.

Said BRT Founder Michael Shapiro on the pub’s blog, ”The contest was inspired by this simple, painful realization about the patterns in our traffic: there are none.”

Having struggled with pegging what makes people click — and how to get them to a place where they’re able to find stories — BRT noted high traffic numbers when its pieces were linked in other publications’ stories, but acknowledged that stories they thought would take the Internet by storm didn’t turn the results they anticipated. They wanted some answers.

BRT, led by Shapiro, editor Mike Hoyt and publisher Anna Hiatt, was formed in mid-2013, and is based on the idea that writers should be directly connected to, and supported by, their readers. Backed initially by a successful Kickstarter campaign, BRT has since been publishing quality longform (5,000+ words) pieces, some with media partners like Buzzfeed and Longreads, enabling authors to be paid via reader donation. Additionally, a “reader’s circle” receives 1,000 word samples of potential BRT content, so it’s not just the editorial team making calls on what gets read.

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