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Hacks and Hackers New Executive Director is Planning for Growth

hackshackers post picFor the uninitiated, the Hacks and Hackers Network is an international, grassroots organization of journalists and technologists who use technology to visualize information and find and tell stories.

Since the group’s first meeting five years ago, in a bar in San Francisco, more than 80 communities worldwide now boast a Hacks and Hackers group.

In an effort to continue that growth, Jeanne Brooks, the group’s first-ever executive director, has come up with a plan to help the global journalism and technology group bolster its numbers as well as its impact.

Brooks, who is supported by a 2014-2015 fellowship from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, wrote on her blog, “At the outset, my aim is to create a roadmap for not only sustainability but for scaling the impact of the network.”

She added that while a global network of volunteer leaders has helped grow the movement, using various methods to organize and nurture local communities, a more comprehensive strategy is now needed to encourage new growth. Read more

Shareaholic Talks New Features and Digital Advertising

shareaholicIf you publish content and no one shares it, does it even matter anymore? Not really. Shareaholic is a “content amplification platform” built around that idea. Launched in 2009, they’ve recently launched some new features for publishers and advertisers. Marketing manager Danny Wong filled me on some of the details.

What’s new?

Our revenue generating tools come in three forms at the moment: Promoted ContentAffiliate Links, and Post-Share Ads.These are all simple and easy ways to drive revenue which, fortunately, do not substitute other ad offerings. Instead, they supplement existing monetization opportunities. For example, anyone can insert Promoted Content while still running display ads. Our affiliate links don’t override existing affiliate set-ups. Instead, we append affiliate tracking codes to URLs that aren’t currently being monetized. Post-share ads are a neat opportunity to drive revenue from your most engaged readers because they’ve completed the action of sharing your article. This is especially engaging for readers that may already be blind to banner ads. Our revenue tools round out the logical Shareaholic experience for users. Originally, our tools aimed to help amplify and market your content (with Social Buttons that encouraged users to share your content, with Related Posts which surface relevant content recommendations to keep readers on-site longer, and with Analytics which allow publishers to gain valuable insights about their audience to, then, produce content that’ll consistently outperform.)

Who’s writing the native ads? 

Advertisers. We provide specs around character limitations and image quality but, ultimately, they drive the creative. That said, we do provide guidance around best practices to ensure readers will actually appreciate the ad, publishers will feel it’s inline with their site’s brand, and advertisers get the ROI they deserve from the campaign. We also make it a point to reject campaigns that do not meet our quality standards to ensure the reader and publisher experiences are not compromised.

Many major publishers have become their own creative agencies. Are there outlets that are better served than others with your product?  

For the longest time, we’ve catered to the well underserved market of independent publishers. These outlets benefit the most from our tools because they may not have massive marketing or sales teams. In fact, some publishers have built their business to suit their personal lifestyles, and they may not be experts in sourcing advertising deals or in promoting their content. Nonetheless, they have super strong and loyal readerships that brands would die to get in front of. Then there’s Shareaholic, a platform that bridges these formerly distant parties. This helps advertisers reach targeted audiences at scale (vs piecemeal) and publishers that want to monetize their content without the headache of account management, sales, etc.   Read more

This User-Generated Magazine Wants to Pay Contributors

storybyThis week, StoryBy officially launched as the first peer-generated, crowd-sourced, forum-based “magazine” that also aims to share its revenue with contributors.

The platform was spawned out of frustration with what CEO Olavi Toivainen calls “old style” forums: hard to search, difficult to follow and to contribute to. StoryBy is focused on making reading an immersive experience, which will benefit users and brands. Organized by topics, or what they call “zones,” users can write their own articles. Right now, lifestyle topics like home, travel, and entertainment populate the site.

In addition to creatine a reading experience using an algorithm that ranks entries by popularity, Toivainen is focused on making the site easy to use and personalizing the experience. “The ranking order is driving the experience,” Toivainen says.

For readers, there’s no obligatory log-in, so you can create your adventure within the site without the algorithm. Contributors do need to log in. But once you write an article on a topic, that’s it. Their platform categorizes and tags it for you. Like Quora, StoryBy is founded on the belief that everyone is an expert on something.  Read more

Will Reuters’ Digital TV Service Appeal to the Masses?

reuterstvComing early next year is a digital-only service fit for mobile consumers called Reuters.TV, reported AdAge. The news broadcasts, available initially on iPhones and iPads and due in early 2015, are to be personalized depending on who’s watching and what he/she prefers in terms of length and news interests. Edited segments served to the viewer may also vary according to the consumer’s location in the country, thanks to an algorithmic approach from Reuters.

This step for the news company indicates what we have seen play out consistently in the past few years — TV news doesn’t have the audience or appeal it did during the pre-digital era. While mobile devices have made a way for TV shows to spread in popularity, increase engagement and earn big ad dollars, the television news industry hasn’t been able to translate success from the small screen to the even smaller screen.

As Isaac Showman, who will be the managing director of Reuters.TV, told AdAge, the desired audience for the service is “educated professionals between the ages of 27 and 47, many of whom have stopped watching traditional TV.”

Read more

Knight Survey: High School Students Support First Amendment More Than Adults

photo courtesy CHSTV, via Poynter.org

photo courtesy CHSTV, via Poynter.org

High School students, who rank among the heaviest users of digital media, support First Amendment freedoms more than adults, for the first time in more than a decade, according to a recent survey by the Knight Foundation.
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