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Bill Keller the Latest to Shift From Legacy Media to Startup Venture

icD_OFBpLately, it’s looking like legacy publishers are having a difficult time hanging onto some of their most prized journalists.

Glenn Greenwald (The Guardian) and Ezra Klein (Washington Post) recently made big splashes in the news with their jumps away from “big media” cushions and pursuit of smaller ventures, and now Bill Keller of the New York Times is doing it.

Keller and the new criminal justice reporting project to which he’s transferring announced Feb. 9 that the Times alum would take the helm as editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project starting March 1.

“It’s a chance to build something from scratch, which I’ve never done before … and to use all the tools that digital technology offers journalists in terms of ways to investigate and to present on a subject that really matters personally,” Keller told Times reporter Ravi Somaiya.

Read more

Journalists Reading Mean Reader Comments (Video)

It’s been done by celebrities, but any journalist who’s ever been published online knows cruel commentary from the masses isn’t reserved for the famous.

sharetheloveValentine-webkindThe Indianapolis Star newspaper wants to change the tenor of conversation, and recorded several of its journalists this week reading some of the comments users have left on their articles, columns and editorial cartoons. They’re using the mean things people say as a tool to encourage readers near and far to #ShareTheLove this year with a social media campaign to accompany the video.

Among their requests for visitors to #ShareTheLove?

Diffuse one unkind person today. Go to the comments on any story on IndyStar.com, or on social media — or anywhere online — and give someone a compliment. Tell them you love their hair in their profile photo. Or that you wish they have a wonderful day. Or, simply, tell them to #ShareTheLove. Celebrate the love while diffusing the hate.

To be honest, a lot of those comments were tame compared to what I’ve seen on their site and read about my own work. But they’re still mean. From “It’s going to cost the Star some subscribers AND Facebook followers” to “I know a really good stylist and photographer if you’re interested in upgrading your professional image,” it’s clear they were meant to be mean and succeeded. My favorite of the readers, who range from online editors to news columnists to the Publisher, was columnist Leslie Bailey — who previously wrote about the mean things people say — when she read the two-word comment that sort of sums up most of the comments on the Web: “You’re Dumb.”

If nothing else, I’m glad to see these professionals taking the “criticism” that’s anything but constructive or critical thinking in stride. Keep on keeping on, and oh yeah, share the love!

Questionable Comments Put AOL CEO Back on Defensive

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong

It seems that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong just can’t keep his foot out of his mouth–even when the company has good news to report.

The good news should have been that AOL’s fourth quarter earnings showed the company’s best growth in a decade, thanks in part to recent efforts to cut costs and streamline operations.

But, instead, that good news was overshadowed by yet another in a string of missteps by Armstrong, who seems to need a remedial course in PR. Read more

Kierna Mayo, Editorial Director of Ebony.com, on How She Handles Internet Trolls

kierna-mayo_articleKierna Mayo began her formidable career in magazines, helping to create one of the most memorable pubs of the ’90s for the hip-hop generation, Honey. After working at Essence Girl and CosmoGirl, Mayo dipped her toes in the digital pool while working for Tyra Banks’ Tyra.com, and she was hooked.

Mayo is currently the editorial director of Ebony.com, which recently received a major makeover. In the “Digital Media” week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, Mayo talks about reinventing websites, the keys to boosting traffic and how she deals with Internet trolls:

Trolls are a drag. They, first of all, and probably most importantly, divert the healthy conversation, dialogue and constructive criticism. The potential for people to be heard gets eclipsed by trolls and that, of course, is their intention. You just kind of have to exist in the world with them, keep your content above the fray and encourage your audience not to be intimidated because the brilliant ideas and thoughts that come out in community often inform editorial decisions. But I would be remiss if I wasn’t truthful about the fact that you think about how people respond to things as you create. I try not to let that kind of negative energy or intention take us off our path. There have been personal attacks on virtually all of us on the site. It’s part of the job. The democracy that digital media offers all of us comes with some really damning qualities.

To hear more from Mayo, including how The Daily Beast influenced her redesign, read: So What Do You Do, Kierna Mayo, Editorial Director of Ebony.com.

Time Inc. CCO’s Biggest Concerns for the Industry: Serious and Local Journalism

MediaMindsNorman Pearlstine has quite the resume. Having worked at The Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, Time Inc. and Bloomberg, the man who started out as a staff reporter was recently named chief content officer at Time Inc. In conversation with Alex S. Jones of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics & Public Policy, Pearlstine explained his main concerns for the media industry in the digital age:

“I’m not that concerned about whether media companies will be able to develop a profitable model,” he said. “It’s a question of whether those same companies will want to pursue the kind of journalism that is important to our country.”

He praised the work of ProPublica, but said that the non-profit approach, which can work for some outlets, cannot be the only approach to sustaining quality journalism. Read more

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