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So What Do You Do, Anne-Marie O’Neill, General Manager of Mom.me?

Anne-Marie-O'Neil-articleAnne-Marie O’Neill has worked for some of the biggest names in print media. Originally from Australia, O’Neill was recruited to work at People in the United States after an early career in newspapers. After eight successful years at the celebrity glossy, she moved on to shelter mag Real Simple. During her tenure there, the pub added more than 1 million readers and was No. 1 in circulation growth in its competitive set.

After 15 years on the East Coast, O’Neill realized she needed a change. With her husband and twin boys, O’Neill made the move out West to Los Angeles, where she helped launch Mom.me. She’s currently general manager of the site, which has a distribution partnership with AOL and averages 5 million monthly uniques. Here, O’Neill talks about celebrity news, how she handles the work-life balance and the importance of old-school journalism. Read more

How Should Publishers Assign Value to Writers?

SIAmong all the highly complicated questions media companies are grappling with, Time Inc. is still in a seriously unique transitional period. But when Gawker reported that the publisher — more specifically, Sports Illustrated magazine — scores its editorial writers based on how much they benefit the respective magazine’s advertiser relationships, it was a bit hard for me to feel sorry for them.

To be fair, that’s not the only thing they’re applying a numerical value to. “Quality of Writing,” “Impact of Stories/Newsworthiness,” “Productivity/Tenacity,” “Audience/Traffic,” “Video,” “Social” and “Enthusiasm/Approach to Work” are all categories that appear on the writers’ scorecards. But “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship” is still there.

Wrote Gawker watchdog reporter Hamilton Nolan:

“(Time Inc. provided this document to the Newspaper Guild, which represents some of their employees, and the union provided it to us.)  These editorial employees were all ranked in this way, with their scores ranging from 2 to 10.”

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SEO and Other Terms to Know for Digital Media Success

As print publications continue to close shop or move content entirely to the Web, more and more writers and editors will need to adapt to the digital landscape. And with this new environment comes a new language every online journalist should know.

At the top of the list is SEO or search engine optimization. No doubt you’ve heard of it. ”SEO… determines rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo searches,” said Brande Victorian, deputy editor of MadameNoire.com. She added:

It’s sort of this game of picking out keywords that are going to make the content that you write show up in these searches so that you’re getting more page views than anyone else.

Once you have your keywords (another important term) determined, the next step is to incorporate them in your headline, dek and body copy — in a cohesive, natural way. Forcing keywords into your copy won’t fool Google — and does a disservice to your readers.

For more vital words digital journalists should know, read: 7 Terms Every Digital Media Journalist Should Know.

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Last Call for Inquirer-Based Kickstarter Project, With Even Better Rewards

nobosspinIs it just me or does it feel like everything in the news this week is a little bit out of control? In the name of a lazy transition, that’s probably how Will Steacy felt as he started to photograph the newsroom of the Philadelphia Inquirer to document all the changes it, too, was undergoing. The result? You can see for yourself here. It’s not exactly a cheerful distraction, but it’s a gorgeous portrait of how our practice has changed over the years.

There’s just over 24 hours left to donate to his Kickstarter and fund his tribute to journalism, evolving newsrooms, and the power of some good images. Our favorite part? The rewards for donating; you will get a copy of the book and newspaper, Deadline, with most donations, but for $100, you can also write your own obit in 140 characters or less to be featured in the book. Or get a  ”No Boss Shall Rule This Town” pin for $10. For bigger bucks, you can get historic back-issues of the Inky, as I grew up calling it, or a piece of brick from the “Wedding Cake,” the Elverson Building where the paper was housed from 1925 until a move down the street in 2012. For $2,500? You can spend a night at the printing press with Steacy as it goes to press.

He’s already reached his goal, but it’s a noble cause. And it’s better than dumping a bucket of ice on your head.

Can Netflix-Style Personalization Help Your News Org’s Homepage?

Dynamic_Yield_LogoThis week, Dynamic Yield announced a new personalization feature to it’s “automated real-time customization engine.” It’s a mouthful, but it could mean new things for your homepage.

Using automated A/B testing, the software helps your website offer a super personalized experience for a user based on their habits and clicks on past visits. CEO and co-founder Liad Agmon says that it helps editors solve the problem of deciding what they want users to see (like Vox’s vegetables) and what users usually click on.

Homepages shouldn’t be generic, because the user that comes to a site via a shared link on Facebook is very different from the one who arrives at the homepage through the url, he notes. Why shouldn’t you cater to them? If you know that one user reads long features, but another is just watching your video content, you can also adjust paywalls to be more fair and more attractive to users.

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