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Archives: February 2014

Digital Publishing Gets A Little Smarter (and Better Looking) With Matter’s 2nd Round of Startups

matterdemodayThis week, Matter’s second round of start-ups took over New York City for a demo day at WNYC’s Greene Space. All of the companies spent the past 100 days in a work space in San Francisco, working with mentors and each other, to bring their ideas to fruition.

All the start-ups are focused on innovating in the media industry and a few specifically are targeting digital publishing. Contextly was the ‘oddball’ of the group, according to co-founder Ryan Singel, because they already had a bit of a foothold in the market. Forget Outbrain and recommended content recommendation faux pas (ever found a right wing article linked to on a liberal leaning news site? It happens.), Contextly’s algorithms help you find better content, micro-manage it as much as possible, and focuses on building reader engagement and community on your site. Says Singel: Read more

Mediabistro Course

Travel Writing

Travel WritingStarting September 23, learn how to turn your travel stories into published essays and articles! Taught by a former Vanity Fair staff writer, James Sturz will teach you how to report, interview, and find sources, discover story ideas and pitch them successfully, and understand what travel editors look for in a story. Register now!

The Biggest Challenges Facing Publications Today

Mediabistro talked to Mashable’s executive editor and chief content officer Jim Roberts and The Wall Street Journal‘s emerging media editor Liz Heron at Social Media Week in New York. WSJ hosted a panel at the event, which focused on the effects of social and mobile on journalism.

For Heron, the biggest challenge is the new competition that publications face from social networks. “Our friends in Silicon Valley are creating so many engaging experiences that are competing with us [for] people’s time and interest,” she said. “It’s also an opportunity… We can be a part of that revolution instead of being cut out by it.”

“One of [Mashable's] challenges/opportunities, is taking a lot of the traffic that we get from social channels and keeping them,” said Roberts. “I think all of us in the news/information world face that challenge in one way or another.”

For more, check out our sister site, SocialTimes.

Vidahlia Press, Pubsoft Partner Up for Prison Writing Contest

vidahlia press pic postDigital publishing software maker Pubsoft has teamed up with independent publisher Vidahlia Press to show that inmates can use their creativity for more than just making license plates.

Pubsoft, which is touting the partnership as its entry into the nonprofit sector, recently announced that its software will help promote a unique prison writing contest, dubbed INK, sponsored by Vidahlia Press. The contest, which will feature categories including Poetry, Fiction and Graphic Novel is open to anyone who has served time within the last year. Read more

Need Data For a Story? You Can Now Buy It From ProPublica

logo-printJournalists writing about health, business and transportation issues can now purchase extensive data sets from independent, nonprofit reporting outfit ProPublica via its Data Store.

Launched Feb. 26, the store allows news organizations and individual reporters to “shop” for research that ProPublica has either been given access to by the federal government through FOI requests, or data resources gathered by ProPublica’s internal team. The site is launching the experiment to see whether the store might add a unique revenue stream to ProPublica.

Let’s say you need some figures on mortality rates along with cause-of-death data: ProPublica will link you directly to the data they have found from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for free (they’re linking from their site to ensure you’re getting the most current numbers). The same goes for data on nursing home deficiencies and documented oil/gas pipeline incidents, which ProPublica also provides links to.

But for the datasets that the investigative journalism provider has collected as a “result of significant expenditures of time and effort,” ProPublica will impose a one-time fee: $200 for journalists and $2,000 for academic researchers.

Read more

Nothing to See Here: What’s With the Buzz About The Atlantic and Deseret News Collaborating?

atlanticdeseretcollabBy now, you’ve probably read about the ‘odd couple‘ collaboration between The Atlantic and Deseret News. If not, I’ll sum up the buzz: a Mormon owned metro daily and the monthly magazine owned by a rich guy teamed up for a four part series on the changing role of fatherhood in the country. Or, the less interesting version: two print institutions (both share mid-19th century birthdays), revitalizing themselves and succeeding in the digital landscape teamed up to do good journalism.

Yawn, right? I chatted with Paul Edwards, editor of the Deseret News, and tried to get him to dish about the ‘nitty gritty’ of putting the series together and the perils of collaborating with a publication that was geographically and ideologically different from your own.

He says:

 We all sat around a conference table at The Atlantic in D.C. for the better part of a day with whiteboards and sandwiches and talked about ‘what are the issues surrounding family stability’ and went from there to assign stories.

And get this — they used Word documents:

We each had different content management systems so we just decided at that level that is was easier to pass along Word documents and track changes…on our side, things got passed around quite a bit, for various reasons. Allison Pond edited the series, and I had a gentleman named Drew Clark work on it for a little bit. It was really between Eleanor Barkhorn, at the Atlantic and I, and that was the primary relationship back and forth. It largely stayed in house until we were essentially passing along pretty completed drafts.

No tussles? No fighting amongst parties or cliques? Read more

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