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Donya Blaze

Vox Media’s Jim Bankoff: Longform Journalism Can’t Exist ‘In a Vacuum’

Jim BankoffWe’ve written here on 10,000 Words about the great things Vox Media is doing with longform journalism. In Mediabistro’s latest So What Do You Do interview, the company’s CEO, Jim Bankoff, talked more about his strategy for longform and how publishers can make bonafide, meaty content enjoyable for consumers — and advertisers.

“Looking at longform in a vacuum as a standalone is the wrong thing to do. I would imagine that if you had a media brand that is solely focused on publishing 5,000-word stories with beautiful proprietary photographs and highly-produced videos, it would be a tough thing to make that economically sustainable,” he said. “ We have serious investors and we run a serious business, but we believe the key to growing those margins is making sure that we have quality, engaging products. We can allocate investment across a variety of different endeavors, whether it’s longform, shortform or video. It’s the mix that consumers appreciate.”

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, Jim Bankoff, CEO of Vox Media?

ag_logo_medium.gifThe full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Freelancers Everywhere Welcome to Pitch San Antonio

San Antonio may have a bunch of local pubs, but San Antonio Magazine bills itself as being the ‘premier magazine’ of the city. “Our [magazine] definitely stands out as being the most comprehensive,” said editor-in-chief Rebecca Fontenot. After being bought out by Open Sky Media in the summer of 2011, the book underwent a major overhaul that changed the logo and freshened up the content, 60 to 75 percent of which is freelance-written. The best part is, you don’t have to live in the area to pitch.

“It’s not necessary that freelancers be in San Antonio, but,” said Fontenot, “a familiarity with the city is important.”

For example, an out-of-state home and garden writer can localize an article on new home construction by interviewing a San Antonio-based builder who is following national trends in his design.

For more info, read How To Pitch: San Antonio Magazine. [subscription required]

Lucky‘s Brandon Holley on the Key to Moving Up: ‘Steady Input Without Being Annoying’

Brandon Holley held editor positions at Time Out and GQ, helped launch Elle Girl and headed Yahoo! Shine before taking the helm at Lucky in 2011. And, she says, if you want to snag a top spot on a magazine masthead, you need to be a vocal and proactive voice for the brand.

“I think people make a mistake when they wanna climb the masthead, and they assume the editor-in-chief should pay attention to them. And, now that I’m on the other side of the desk, I love people who come to me,” Holley said in our Media Beat interview.

Holley explained that she succeeded at GQ by giving “steady input without being annoying” to editor-in-chief Art Cooper. “I wasn’t kissing ass, but I would write memos to him and say, ‘I think this section could use this,’ and ‘I think we should start a new section that’s this’… I’m a huge fan of memo writing.”

Part 2: Brandon Holley Calls Fashion Blogging ‘Most Exciting Thing to Happen in Publishing in Decades’
Part 3: Lucky’s Brandon Holley Talks Photoshop and Fashion

8 Places to Find Your Next Story

magnifyingphoto.jpgSearching for the next big story to pitch? Your source of inspiration might be right on your website.

“We always reach out to commenters,” said Meghan Keane, editorial director for women’s sites, including Crushable and Blisstree. Keane’s writers and editors often ask commenters to tell stories in their own unique way, either by writing it themselves or telling it to a staff writer.

“We want to reach out to people who will make stories interesting,” she added.

And remember to scope out the boards for sites you don’t write for, too. Often, the readers themselves will reveal the hidden angle from an article, what a sports reporter should have really asked an athlete, or the biggest WTF moment of the latest season of True Blood. Question forums like Quora and LinkedIn Groups can also shed insight into what’s on everyone’s minds. Keep digging and digging until you find a subject so deliciously niche that your editor just can’t say no.

Get seven more sources of inspiration in 8 Places to Find Your Next Story.

ag_logo_medium.gifThis article is one of several features exclusively available to AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, you can register for as little as $55 a year and get access to these articles, discounts on seminars and workshops, and more.

Pinterest Tips for Writers and News Orgs

pinterestpagearticle1.jpgWhile Pinterest has clearly struck a chord with the masses, what exactly are you supposed to do once you get there? Is just a bunch of photos enough, or are there some real strategies for Pinterest success?

In its latest AvantGuild feature, Mediabistro spoke with some early adopters to find out the hallmarks of the best Pinterest pages. While we’ve already discussed here on 10,000 Words how great the Pinterest pages of Newsweek Daily Beast and Wall Street Journal are, some of the other strategies journos are using may surprise you. For example:

Tip No. 3:  Use #hashtags and keywords

Much like on Twitter, tagging your pins with trending hashtags or keywords will help you to find new followers. Searching for other pins and boards using hashtags will also help you find similar brands on Pinterest, so you can follow them, repin their content or just check in on the competition.

Take Brazen Careerist’s Gen Y Guide. Click on #college, and voila! You’re now in a stream of similar content for students and recent grads. So, if your beat is food, go one step further on your boards by labeling photos with #cooking or #recipes as necessary. Just don’t overdo it. The simpler your pins, the more likely your users are to share them.

Get more strategies and examples in 6 Keys to a Great Pinterest Page.

ag_logo_medium.gifThis article is one of several features exclusively available to AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, you can register for as little as $55 a year and get access to these articles, discounts on seminars and workshops, and more.