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Three Things I’m Thankful For This Year, Web Journalism Edition

Last year, the contributors to 10,000 Words wrote a short post about what we were thankful for. My contribution? Blackbird Pie, Twitter’s tool that allows you to embed tweets.

This year, I thought I would go a little bit more in depth, by sharing with you three relatively different things in Web journalism that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday. And by the way, it goes without saying that all of us owe you—or readers—a huge debt of gratitude. You keep coming back for more, and keep offering us very nice compliments!

So, without further ado, here are (among) the three things I’m thankful in Web journalism this year.

1. Apple’s iOS Newsstand

When iOS 5 was released earlier this fall, among the new features was Newsstand, which is Apple’s new way to deliver newspaper and magazine content to devices. The expectations were very high, and despite tons of blog posts floating around on how to push Newsstand into a folder (and all but hiding it), numbers have been very encouraging. A new study out shows that apps that have migrated to Newsstand have seen sales that are 2.5 to 10 percent higher than their previous levels. I’m still not saying that Newsstand will save journalism, but wow, those are some great numbers.

2. Storify

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise. To say Storify has had an excellent year would be an understatement. The tool exited beta, and underwent a redesign, both of the physical tools we’ve come to known as well as its homepage. Since last year, Storify has gone from being a niche tool that j-school students and social media editors would experiment with to a ubiquitous piece of the online journalism landscape. And on a personal note, it’s a tool that I love to use. The icing on the cake: Burt Herman, the c0-founder and CEO of Storify, was elected to the Online News Association board of directors.

3. Facebook Subscriptions

This one is probably a little more surprising, especially because it’s a tool that I personally have had limited success with. But seeing an opportunity, given how many people are on Facebook, as well as how much time people spend on Facebook, this was a smart move, and a radical departure from Facebook’s roots. Instead of having people maintain two personalities (a profile and a page), why can’t they just maintain one? For some early adopters, their audience skyrocketed, and now they find themselves with a Facebook audience that is much bigger than their audience on Twitter. This is leading people to do more public updates on Facebook, and rethink how they use it—in a good way. The only problem I have is that building an audience here is a lot trickier than with Twitter.

So there you have it, three tools I’m thankful for. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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