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Journalism Under Attack

journalist post picMost journalists can agree that the profession has for years now been under financial attack by way of newsroom layoffs, the decline of newspapers/ad revenues and media consolidation, among other factors.

But now, both around the world and across the nation, journalists have been coming under increasing physical attack from a combination of hostile governments, overly militarized police forces and international terror organizations. Read more

HuffPo Will Never Hire You

fergusonfellowshipI would begin by ranting about new lows in paying journalists, but the events in Ferguson are already so gut wrenching on their own that it would be a bit dramatic.

That doesn’t mean that crowdfunding a journo is ok. Today, The Huffington Post announced that it is going to allow local resident Mariah Stewart to train with their staffer Ryan Reilly to:

…cover the ongoing story of Ferguson, tracking the federal investigation into the killing of Michael Brown and reporting on the empaneled grand jury. She’ll monitor the activity of the local and county police forces once the national spotlight dims, and will learn the intricacies of public records requests in an effort to divine the funding sources and uses of military gear in the county.

They’re calling it the Ferguson Fellowship and it will all be done through Beacon. Is this a good idea? It’s certainly true that the best images and live reporting from what I’ve come to think of as the seventh level of hell, has come from residents on the ground.

fergusonfellowship2

But, but. Why can’t they just hire another reporter? Because while I’m all about empowering and training and teaching young journalists (and it’s nice that she’s a woman), I also know a lot of people who paid large universities (like Ms. Stewart) to learn the craft and could sure as heck use a job this fall. Mariah could probably use a salary with benefits and some paid sick and vacation days, too. The Beacon campaign only goes through if it reaches $40,000. I am curious about how that is paid out to her? Or just to HuffPo? Do they throw Reilly a little tip for his troubles?

For some reason, if it were the local Ferguson paper saying “hey, we’re broke and need to hire someone to help continue good coverage” I would be more interested. That The Huffington Post can’t spare $40,000 a year for a reporter makes this freelancer want to curl up into a ball and listen to the new Taylor Swift album, a sure a sign as any that the world is coming to an end.

And then, some rewards for donating. For $2,000 you can get a shout out from the HuffPo Twitter account. Seriously.

What do you think about the Fellowship? Let us know @10,000Words.

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.”

TimeInc Read more

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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