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Archives: November 2012

A Refresher On The ‘Agile Manifesto’ For Newsrooms

There’s a lot the journalism industry can learn from startups, but if I could pick one thing that newsrooms should mimic, it’d be the adoption of an agile development process.

The basic tenant of agile software development is that progress can be made iteratively and incrementally, based on two week cycles. Even if your newsroom doesn’t have a development team, the concepts around agile development can be applied to any news or technology project.

The principles guiding agile are captured in the “Agile Manifesto — ideas that can and should apply, even if you’re not a tech company or startup. I’m not the first to write about this — it’s a concept that has been covered over and over again. Read more about “Agile Storytelling: The Brian Boyer Way” for how and why newsrooms should be more like open-source software developers. Journalism.co.uk has also written extensively about agile and deadline-driven development for newsrooms.

Below is a refresher on the four principles of the agile manifesto that could radically change how newsrooms approach projects and planning.  Read more

Mediabistro Course

Personal Essay Writing

Personal Essay WritingStarting October 28, work with a published journalist to draft, edit, and sell your first-person essays! Jessica Olien will help you to workshop your writing so that it's ready to pitch to editors. You'll learn how to tell your personal story, self-edit you work to assess voice, style, and tone, and sell your essays for publication. Register now!

Freelancers Everywhere Welcome to Pitch San Antonio

San Antonio may have a bunch of local pubs, but San Antonio Magazine bills itself as being the ‘premier magazine’ of the city. “Our [magazine] definitely stands out as being the most comprehensive,” said editor-in-chief Rebecca Fontenot. After being bought out by Open Sky Media in the summer of 2011, the book underwent a major overhaul that changed the logo and freshened up the content, 60 to 75 percent of which is freelance-written. The best part is, you don’t have to live in the area to pitch.

“It’s not necessary that freelancers be in San Antonio, but,” said Fontenot, “a familiarity with the city is important.”

For example, an out-of-state home and garden writer can localize an article on new home construction by interviewing a San Antonio-based builder who is following national trends in his design.

For more info, read How To Pitch: San Antonio Magazine. [subscription required]

Users Still Like to Copy and Paste When Sharing Content

If you’re in a news organization, and you have a hand in any discussions about social media strategy, I can almost guarantee that you’ve chatted about share tools. Regardless of whether you’ve discussed the type of share tool package you’re using or where the buttons reside on a page, the discussion has happened.

According to an Adweek story, which shared information from Tynt—a company that tracks copy and paste content from roughly 600,000 publishers’ sites and reviews 30 billion data points each month—users are still very fond of using the old-fashioned Ctrl-C  and Ctrl-V keyboard shortcuts when sharing content.

Read more

USA Today Publisher: Paper Not “Unique Enough” For Paywall

Despite paywalls popping up across other national newspapers and on smaller regional papers, including those owned by Gannett, Larry Kramer, the president and publisher of Gannett’s flagship USA Today, said today not to expect his paper to follow suit anytime soon. His explanation? The product isn’t “unique enough” at this point to charge for it.

The Wrap has some additional background on his comments and the conversation today during Business Insider’s Ignition conference, but here’s the gist from Fishbowl New York:

“I don’t want to charge [online] for USA Today right now, I don’t think it is the right thing to do, and there is so much national news out there,” Kramer said. “I think we would lose more than we would gain.”

Kramer also talked about efforts he has taken to change the business and culture of the Gannett paper since taking over as publisher in May.

“The best of our work had been in the newspaper, and I had to change the structure of the staff so they were producing for the digital platform first, and then the newspaper,” Kramer said.

It’s an interesting and refreshingly honest appraisal of the type of content its staff produces for the site, which had 262 million page views in May 2011, according to USAToday.com presskit (that number likely has grown in the past year and a half, though I don’t know how the recent redesign affected readership/page view counts). As Kramer said in his conversation, local news outlets take the advantage in this because they produce original news you can’t get elsewhere or no one else is covering.

YOUR TURN: Do you see a time when it could be viable for USA Today to charge for web access? What would it take to get you to pay?

A Trend to Watch: ‘Reader-Aware’ and ‘Responsive Content’

Right now we’re focused on responsive design. Perhaps after that comes responsive content.

If you’re a reader of Nieman Reports, you’ll remember the cover story from early this fall, “Breaking News: Mastering the Art of Disruptive Innovation in Journalism.” Nieman Fellow David Skok along with James Allworth co-wrote the piece with Clay Christensen, one of Harvard’s brilliant and popular business faculty.

One of Christensen’s main areas of academic focus is the concept of disruptive innovation and competition in business; this widely-shared article applied Christensen’s analysis – which has helped revitalize numerous businesses before his years academia – to the news industry, where an understood problem is figuring out how to survive and how to thrive.

Read more

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