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blogging

Does WaPo‘s “Know More” Blog Represent the New Journalism?

knowmoreThis week The Washington Post launched a blog that aims to wise you up and make it easier for you to share your new knowledge, too.

Know More” is a new Web space hosted by WaPo and maintained by the popular Wonkblog’s Ezra Klein and reporter Dylan Matthews with the expectation that a visually-strong display of both impactful and relatively inconsequential news could create a viral effect, especially on the social Web.

You’ve got two choices once you click on the image, graph or tweet that tickles your fancy: “No More” or “Know More.” If you do indeed want to learn more about that particular topic, you’re led to various sources on the Web (some WaPo, many others not) that provide deeper context for the tile that originally interested you.

There’s no rhyme or reason for the way these tiles are arranged. A Grumpy Cat blurb is next to a photo explaining the exorbitant costs of putting people in prisons, and a link leading to a song about Target sits above a fascinating graphic breaking down how a U.S. debt default would affect other countries, pensions, social security, etc. The key for Know More — Klein told Gigaom‘s Laura Hazard Owen — is that they’ve created a place where it’s easier to pluck one image or a single compelling quotation from an overarching story and use it as a lede or headline that wouldn’t work on a traditional news site. This way, the team at Know More can try to determine what it is that makes people want to learn more about a topic and then present that tidbit first.

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Introducing Columbia Visuals, A Viz Journalist’s New Best Friend

columbiaIf a picture is worth a thousand words, then a blog covering all aspects of photography is pretty much priceless.

At least that’s what the Digital Media department at Columbia Journalism School is aiming for with its new project, Columbia Visuals. This new blog is meant to give advice for all visual journalists an online home. Basically anything that affects your career as a photographer or videographer — everything from copyright information and inspiration for great storytelling to practical tips on how to cover high-stress events like protests, for example — is fair game for Columbia Visuals.

Yesterday I spoke with Abbey Adkison, the Digital Media Coordinator at the NYC-based, storied journalism school (where she is also an assistant adjunct professor) about the blog, which just had its official launch Sept. 16.

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Are Personal Essays the Future of Digital Journalism?

personalessaysPersonal essays have never been more popular online. Sarah Hepola, Salon.com’s personal essay editor, thinks she knows why: “People have always been drawn to personal narratives. It’s one of the fundamentals of storytelling: Through your story, I better understand my own. As human beings, we like to see others fail and hurt and triumph.”

It’s not just random blogs that publish these confessional articles anymore. Digital (and some traditional) news sites are getting in on it too. Salon is a perfect example of such a site. Since its inception in 1995, it has gained a reputation for being a reputable source of information about news, politics, pop culture and everything in between. But it’s that ‘in between’ category that, in recent months, has really gotten the public’s (and the Internet’s) attention. Personal essays now garner hundreds of comments a piece. Controversial topics (and click bait headlines) have become the norm. And it’s not just Salon — outlets like The Daily Beast, Time and Slate all use similar tactics in the race for traffic. Read more

How the Chicago Sun-Times Photographer Layoff Created Two Unique Blogs

rahm front pageThe Chicago Sun-Times has been without its 28 full-time photographers for roughly four months now, after announcing a shift toward more video content and an all-freelance photography department.

The day after the layoffs were made public, former Sun-Times columnist and current Time Out Chicago media columnist Robert Feder broadcasted on Facebook that the struggling paper planned to train its reporters on “iPhone photography basics” to avoid any lack of visual content. There were protests. Some readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions.

So the question is… how are things in the photography department at the paper these days? Well, over the last couple of months, two photojournalists started blogs to chronicle life after the layoffs.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Blogging

Blogs. Once a platform for chronicling the banalities of daily life have now become legitimate sources of information. Not only that – some have become profitable, won a Pulitzer and led to book deals [sub req'd], (this blog included). Think you’ve got the next big idea for a blog? Willing to put in the hours to generate content and build up a readership? Good. However, keep in mind that just because a blog rakes in a lot of traffic doesn’t mean advertisers will be easy to come by, or that a book deal will land in your lap. In the latest Mediabistro feature, Blair Koenig, author of the viral blog STFU, Parents, shares what she’s learned from building a site that gets 1.5 to 2 million hits a month:

If you’re in the beginning stages of starting your blog, there are several things you can do now to avoid difficulty down the line.

  • Create brand consistency by registering your blog’s name as a domain name and on social media. Koenig admits, “I totally dropped the ball at one point and noticed someone had started an “STFU Parents” YouTube channel… I could never get it back; I didn’t even try.”
  • Once you have a social media presence, drive traffic to your site by updating posts on Facebook, Twitter or whichever other sites are appropriate for your blog. Koenig scours the Internet daily for interesting parenting-related stories, and updates her STFU, Parents Facebook page with links and photos.
  • Establish consistency with posting. You don’t have to post every day if you don’t have the time, but choose a posting schedule, perhaps once a week, and stick to it religiously. If your readership looks forward to one post a day, and suddenly you drop it down to one a month, you may lose your audience.

For more tips and advice on blogging, read What You Need to Know About Writing for Blogs.

The 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.

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