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Karen Fratti

Karen Fratti is a media and technology writer based in New York City. You can follow her at @karenfratti.

Everything You Haven’t Read About ‘Serial’

serialOn Thursday I wake up to a bunch of WhatsApp messages from my London-based friend. Turns out the career woes we Skyped about earlier in the week are moot — there’s a new episode of “Serial” to listen to.

I won’t go into what “Serial” is, because if you don’t know by now, where have you been? But will you be let down because of all the hype? No. If anything, you have around 8 hours to listen to. It will be like that one time you signed into Netflix and hit play on “Orange is the New Black.” See  you on Monday. As a radio junkie, I was waiting for “Serial,” I heard the teasers, I was ready for it. I didn’t know I would become obsessed or that I would be sending text messages across the Atlantic Ocean begging for no spoilers!

We posted this article from the Washington Post on our Facebook page, and Facebook notified us this morning that it’s been performing better than any of our other, original, posts this week. Thanks a lot guys. So I’m going to give you what you want on this frigid Friday morning. Read more

Making Sense of Social Media Metrics in the Newsroom

social-media-1There are so many ways to use and track social media success in the newsroom; it can make your head spin. In a recent report on The Media Briefing, writer Chris Sutcliffe outlines how to make sense of all those numbers, and what some of the best social media editors in the industry do. The whole piece is worth a long, hard read, but here are some of the main points.

1. You need to decide on a story by story basis what you want to achieve via social media. Sarah Marshall, social media director for the Wall Street Journal says:

Are you wanting to achieve clickthroughs, or are you wanting to give people a service? Now if you’re properly doing your job best, you’re giving people a service, you’re telling people what’s going on in Kobani at the moment, or what Turkey’s position is, you’re essentially giving them a service but not requiring them to click through either on Facebook or Twitter. But then as a news organisation you don’t get the hits.”

2. Newsrooms need to focus on what kinds of stories do well on various platforms and go from there. Do you create content specifically for a platform? Maybe. Or it could even be as simple as changing the way you write the headline on Facebook as opposed to Twitter.

3. You can use reader response as a way to edit the story. As long as you’re updating and letting readers know you’re updating (and not just erasing your mistakes and sneaking off), you should gauge a story’s success and make it better. If people are going to be looking, you might want to change that featured image. Or link to more content internally. It’s also a way to know what interests people, leading to better follow-ups and additional content, an interactive map of election districts if a gerrymandering story is performing well, for example.

The whole point is to use social media and analyze it. How does your newsroom use metrics to change the workflow?

Enter Your Work for Free in Smithsonian Photo Contest

Calling all photographers: the 12th annual Smithsonian Photo Contest deadline is coming up on November 28th. Have you entered yet? It’s free, so you should probably get on it.

Entries fall into six categories: The Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience, Altered Images, and Mobile Photos. There’s one grand prize of $2,500, then each category has its own winner at $500, and there is a Reader’s Choice award who will receive $500, too.

They will announce 60 finalists in February and after that will hold a month-long online vote for the Reader’s Choice Award. We’ll give you a heads up when you can vote. You can read more about the contest and the rules here. For inspiration, Smithsonian spokesperson Melissa Wiley shared some of her favorite entries so far:

Mashable Wins Election Night With #LegoSenate

The real winner of yesterday’s mid-term elections was Mashable, who tracked the Senate seats with a #LegoSenate. It’s exactly what it sounds like.

Election coverage is always rough, long, and hard to follow as you wait for organization after organization to confirm results. Turning to Vine and Legos is brilliant.

Someone buy the Mashable news team a beer.

Beegit Brings Content And Project Management Together With New Platform

BEEGITFINALCollaborative writing is hard to do. Former journalist Mike Cottrill understands that. Which is why he, along with co-founders JD Eaton and Kris Ciccarello, created Beegit (BEE-GET), a web based editor that’s also a project management platform. There are a lot of really great web editors and a lot of really great project management tools. But they never seem to work together. Says Cottrill:

The thing that messes up most projects ad deadlines is getting the content down. So we said, we can actually create a project management tool that has the content management system in it. Otherwise, you have to write in Google Docs, or god forbid, you write in word and track changes. So what is the project management tool doing for you?

Read more

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