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Archives: August 2012

Cover Startups at VentureBeat

Are you tech-startup-savvy? Well, if you can also crank out breaking news about the biz quickly, VentureBeat might like to assign you stories. And, lucky for you, many freelancers become regular contributors after showing their skills.

“We don’t want to keep people in freelancer limbo for too long,” said national editor Devindra Hardawar. “We like to take care of our writers.”

The site currently syndicates content to Reuters, The Christian Science Monitor and Business Insider, among others. It also gives some pretty generous traffic bonuses. So, if you’re interested in seeing your byline land on the site, check out some more tips from Mediabistro’s How To Pitch: VentureBeat. [AvantGuild subscription required]

Mediabistro Course

Get a Literary Agent

Get a Literary AgentWork with a publishing consultant to find the right agent for your book and write a query that will get the deal done! Starting December 3, learn the best methods for finding a literary agent, how to choose the right agent for your book, the etiquette of seeking literary representation, and how to stand out among the numerous queries agents receive daily. Register now!

Knight News Challenge On Mobile Now Accepting Apps

Last week, we discussed 5 statistics that make mobile platforms worth paying attention to for journalists.

Now, the application process is finally open for the third and final round of the Knight News Challenge, this time focused on mobile. That makes it time to put your talent where the future is, or at least put yourself and your mobile idea out there for a share of the $5 million prize money. That’s free money to make your idea happen.

Remember, the purpose of these challenges — previously this year they focused around the themes of Data and Networks — is to encourage innovation in the news gathering and reporting business. How could your phone or tablet make that happen? How would you make the revenue part of that awesome idea work? Those are a few of the questions to address in the application. But really, the application is easy — just like the best mobile apps should be — and consists of just eight questions about your idea, how much it would cost, what’s already done and who you are/who you know who’ll help you succeed.

The application process opened today, Aug. 29, and runs through Sept. 10. Sounds like a good use of the Labor Day weekend (in the U.S. at least this is a holiday, but the News Challenge is open to anyone, anywhere). For more background, read the FAQ.

You can follow along on the ideas submitted so far on the News Challenge Tumblr. That’s also where the application form is. For more background, read about this challenge here.

Winners will be announced in early 2013. The winners from the second round, on Data, are expected to be named in mid-September.

Good luck!

Improve Watchdog Journalism Skills With Sunlight Foundation Free Training

Feeling nostalgic for back-to-school lately as your Twitter feed and Facebook wall fill up with posts about first days and weeks of classes?

Journalists already on the job, both recent grads and lifers, don’t have to feel left out. Here’s a chance to bone up on your data analysis skills, learn more about tracking congress, and learn other skills to make you a better reporter and investigator. Best of all: The training is tailored specifically to journalists, including to their budget — which is to say, it’s free.

The Sunlight Foundation launched a series of online training courses, known collectively as Sunlight Academy, this month to help reporters better master their craft, with a heavy focus on watchdog tools and tips. They also have several politics related modules that can help track the presidential and other election campaigns as we head into the last few months before November.
Read more

Washington Post Covers Conventions Using ‘Live Grid’

In a step away from the traditional topic landing page, The Washington Post is using a layout called “The Grid” to collect the latest coverage around the Republican National Convention.

The Grid features, as you may have guessed, a grid of content that includes a stream of articles, listing of events, tweets, photos and video. When you first land on the grid, you see editor’s picks, but you can filter down by news organization, politician, delegate and content type. There’s a live listing of latest headlines and a chat  component for readers to weigh in. At certain times, they were also streaming live events using a YouTube live player. Read more

‘When a user lands on a page, you have three to five seconds to make your impression’

Even the best print writer may have trouble in the digital world where content competes with tweets and memes. In Mediabistro’s latest AvantGuild article, journo Ben Goldstein writes that the biggest thing he’s learned about the digital space is that brevity does count.

“When a user lands on a page, you have three to five seconds to make your impression and convince them to stay,” explained Rob Weatherhead, head of digital operations of MediaCom. “So make your content easily view-able in length, and sign-post it with sub-headings and bullets, so that readers can understand the key points you are making. Long, wordy paragraphs and a lack of sections can turn people off. Readers need to pick out the key topics and be enticed to read more.”

To read more, check out 4 Lessons for Writing in the Digital Age.

ag_logo_medium.gifThis article is an exclusive feature for Mediabistro 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.

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