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site management

The Guardian Already Has An In-House Tool for “Attention Analytics.” Do You?

orphanWhile Upworthy was busy writing their “down with the pageview” manifesto yesterday, it turns out that the Guardian’s been using attention analytics it since an in-house hack day, when web architect Graham Tackley and digital audience manager Chris Moran decided that they wanted to see real time data to help manage the SEO for The Guardian’s ”400 pieces of content” a day, according to this piece by Ciara Byrne on Fast Company.

Here’s how it evolved from a took on one man’s desktop, to a newsroom-wide tool called Orphan, according to Byrne’s piece:

[Tackley] tailed the logs on to a couple of servers, pushed it to a messaging queue, and created a Scala Play Framework app to consume and display the data on a dashboard…Word got around and more and more Guardian employees started to use Tackley’s dashboard, now named Ophan. Tackley decided to upgrade it to capture the Guardian’s entire click stream, which generates between 15 million and 25 million events a day and store the data for seven days. This meant moving from his desktop to Amazon Web Services…A JavaScript hidden pixel on the website now records every event instead of retrieving it from the logs and places it in a message queue. Since there were now too many events to hold in-memory, an app called Serf takes the message queue, extracts what was needed, and inserts it into an ElasticSearch cluster. The dashboard asks the same questions of ElasticSearch, a real-time search and analytics engine, that it had previously posed to the in-memory event list

There are a few lessons to be gleaned from this: Read more

Locable Network Targets Entrepreneurial Journalists

locable pic 2Locable, a growing network of 45-plus local community news-oriented websites, is hoping to succeed where other hyperlocal operations have faltered.

The company, started five years ago as an MBA research project out of the University of Washington, differentiates itself from similar hyperlocal operations, such as Patch, by providing a turnkey program for both established and new, owner-operated media entrepreneurs. Read more

Would You Let ‘Tablet Experts’ Handle Your Mobile Redesign?

logoIf PadSquad, a New York City based mobile advertising startup, has anything to say about it, 2014 will be all about tablets and native advertising for independent media companies. Dan Meehan, founder and CEO, explains that his company “sits between online publishers and advertisers.”

While large publishers like the New York Times, who’s redesign was actually more desktop-y than expected, have their own developers and sales teams to optimize the mobile experience for both users and advertisers, Meehan says that his company’s focus is on “the next tier of publishers, who have a large audience, and quality content, but rely on third parties to sell their inventory. We focus on categories — men’s lifestyle, sports, entertainment and are looking to power that long tail of independent media companies.” Currently, this means sites like GoldenGlobes.com, TheDailyBanter.com, and GadgetReview.com.

PadSquad provides its services free to publishers — they migrate the desktop content to responsive mobile sites. They make their money from the advertisers, Meehan says. “We handle everything on the backend and we work with national brand advertisers and facilitate campaigns across all the pubs that we power and then we share that revenue with the publishers.” Read more

Ebyline Launches WordPress Plugin To Pay Freelancers

ebylineEbyline, a platform that connects publishers and freelancers, has recently added a WordPress plug-in to their built in payment system.

Allen Narcisse, co-founder and COO, explains how simple it is:

The idea is that you use WordPress because you want to manage your CMS and all of your authors are organized within WordPress. It brings some of the best part of our services into it. Either the author or an admin can authorize the payment and the payment just goes to the freelancer. And then by going into our platform later, you can get a bigger picture of what you’ve spent over time.  Read more

Should We Be Archiving Everything?

rookiefreelancing1This Poynter post about Patch removing content from its sites has had me bothered all week. It just doesn’t sit right and raises a lot of questions about what we do with all of our content if things really go south.

The problem, for me anyway, is maybe that we’re calling it content. I know that, technically, it is. And if you call it content, it makes it easier to erase. Because all content does is take up space, and when that space is no longer serving its purpose — bringing in eyes, and clicks, and some sort of advertising money — you clear it out, like doing the dishes after Thanksgiving. The house is a wreck, you clean it up, and it’s like it never happened by the time you call it a night.

But if you start calling it journalism — which it is — it’s a little more tricky. Andrew Beaujon links in that Poynter post to an essay on Medium about trying to archive his work from TBD.com when it shut its doors and asks if deleting content ever affects anyone besides those who work there. I think it does. Sure, you might not need to go back and  read every news article about, say, a government shutdown, but news like that should be saved. Not just for reference or history’s sake, but because a lot of times, good journalism is also teaching or telling you about something new. It’s a resource. Not just a portfolio.

Then again, I save everything. But it’s not like it’s stacks of Sunday editions. Am I being sentimental?

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