GalleyCat FishbowlNY FishbowlDC UnBeige MediaJobsDaily SocialTimes AllFacebook AllTwitter LostRemote TVNewser TVSpy AgencySpy PRNewser

Archives: August 2013

Should We Do Away With the Comment Section?

Once upon a time, I believed comment sections were content, too. And on some sites, I liked to read them. But now, Gawker is putting native advertisements in them and I think we should just do away with them. Yes, just get rid of the comment section.

It’s actually a very interesting move. Gawker sites have a huge, vocal following. There’s no reason they shouldn’t monetize that by putting Bill Nye in the Gizmodo comments.

There are actually very few online pubs and blogs that have good comment sections. Most online comments are not useful and often just plain old mean. I cheered when the Huffington Post announced it was no longer letting users comment anonymously. But if you take away the anonymity, maybe it’s best just to do away with them all together. It’s becoming more and more of a hassle — create an account, sign up for the newsletter, add an avatar — to comment anyway.

I used to believe that comment sections were a sign that the internet (back when it was called ‘the net’)was democratic  and a place for the open exchange of ideas. But now it’s about fighting with a troll about politics, or writing tangents to news stories that you should just post to a blog. You know, be productive, ‘own what you think.’

I feel like the comment sections should be the most authentic part of the webpage. But if even they are sponsored and –coming soon, right? — focused on going viral? Get rid of them altogether.

If you have something to say in response to a story or want to laud a writer – take it to Twitter. Write an email. Get your own blog. Just don’t do it in the comments.

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101

Freelancing 101Learn how to manage a top-notch freelancing career! Starting December 1, you'll hear from our expert speakers on the best practices for launching a freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. Register now!

The New New South Publishes Longform From Below Mason-Dixon Line

Longform journalism has become surprisingly trendy and profitable in a rather short amount of time.

The age in which we find ourselves — with virtually unlimited access to the digital space, an abundance of devices on which to consume our stories, the sheer prevalence of lengthy nonfiction narratives and the platforms that host them — could be described as a renaissance. The phrase “a golden age” has been tossed around quite a bit in association with today’s journalism/reporting, but whether those two terms belong together has yet to be determined.

While we’re navigating the murky waters of longform reporting and how to monetize it sustainably, you might check out what The New New South (NNS) is doing. A brand new venture focusing on longform multimedia journalism, the NNS thinks the Southern states so rich with stories to tell that they’re going to release long pieces of nonfiction to readers looking specifically for stories about the South and from the South. Read more

HootSuite University Moving into J-School Classrooms

It’s back to school time and the debate about how to teach journalism is already underway. As academics debate the ‘teaching hospital model’ and hackathons, there’s some real time relief for professors at the 101 level– and it’s coming from a brand. HootSuite, the social media management system, has long offered certification programs and paid pro-package ‘educate yourself’ content. Now, they’re moving into higher education.

Launched in 2011,  HootSuite University has already partnered with over 350 universties, including NYU, Syracuse, and Columbia. The program is more than just product training, though that’s included. There’s also a tailored curriculum for journalism and communications professors, which covers topics from the easy stuff like maintaining a social media presence and best practices to story tracking and analytics.

Lesson objectives cover a variety of topics from “How to Live Tweet an Event With Integrity” and “Compare Social Media Analytics with Site Traffic Using Google Analytics. The curriculum follows the “Read, Watch, Do” format, so professors have an archive of articles, videos, and examples to share with students and suggestions for homework assignments like setting up a Tumblr blog and tracking it, or revising a Twitter bio. Professors can follow the curriculum rigorously, or just use it as inspiration. Dr. William Ward, a professor at at the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse, uses HootSuite’s program to make more time for other things, he told me via email: 

I integrate HootSuite into the curriculum of all my courses because it frees me up to focus on higher level strategic concepts. Students receive recognized, industry leading professional credentials that give them a competitive advantage in the job arena.

Read more

How to Get The Most Out of Your Expert Interview

Whether you’re new to the journalism trade or just introverted, interviewing can be a daunting task – especially when you’re on deadline. In the latest Mediabistro feature, veteran writers give tips on how you can get the most out of your interviews, and what tools to use in the process. Though we have all sorts of technology to help us nowadays with recording and transcribing, there are some skills that will always be necessary in the art of interviewing:

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If your expert uses an unfamiliar term or draws an analogy that doesn’t make sense, ask her to expound. If you don’t understand something your expert says, your readership may not, either — and your job as a writer is often to boil down complicated or abstract ideas into practical information.

Freelance writer Rachel Heston-Davis admits she learned this after trial and error. She emphasizes the importance of asking an expert to reiterate because “you will not be able to figure something out from context later.” She adds that having misinformation in your article, or a lack of information, reflects poorly on both you as a writer and your interviewed expert. Getting clarification in an interview “really is better than the [expert] looking at your article and feeling like you didn’t understand what you’re writing about.”

For more on interviewing skills and tools, read Get the Most Out of Your Interview With an Expert.

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.

A New Crowdfunding Platform Lets You Host and Customize Your Project

These days, it’s almost a shock whenever startups, no matter their goal, aren’t somehow associated with a crowdfunding website.

Between Indiegogo, Crowdfunder, Kickstarter and others, various journalism projects and tech companies would have never materialized if it weren’t for the generosity of others and online platforms that have made it fairly foolproof to contribute and receive donations.

But as it turns out, Crowdtilt, a Web-based crowdsourcing effort, wants to make it even easier for people (and by people I mean journalists) to manage the funds they raise for their endeavors.

Crowdtilt has launched a public version of its spinoff Crowdhoster, a site that allows users to host and easily manage their own campaigns.

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>