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Journo-Inspired Beach Reads: What Are You Reading?

Lthe last magazineong weekends call for good reads. This summer I’ve already devoured two journo-inspired novels: Sarah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire and Michael Hastings’ The Last Magazine. 

You might have already read Brain on Fire, so forgive me for coming late to the party. It was on the NYT’s Bestseller List  in 2012 and it was just announced that Dakota Fanning and Charlize Theron will be starring in the film adaptation. It’s a compelling memoir chronicling Cahalan’s “month of madness,” while working as a reporter for the New York Post. While the book focuses on mental illness, there’s also little love letters to journalism and what’s its like to be a young reporter scattered throughout. Good prose and an honest voice.

Then, there’s the scathing look at the publishing industry and the state of mainstream journalism — fictionalized, of course, in Hastings’ posthumous novel The Last Magazine. It’s sort of Bonfire of the Vanities, but for journalists. It’s literary merits may be questionable, but the navel gazing and trying to find the real life inspiration for the characters makes it a perfect summer indulgence.

What are you reading? Any good non-fiction tips? Journo-inspired novels and memoirs? Keep us in the loop @10,000Words.

3 Symptoms of the Summer Newsroom Blues

summersky.jpgComing upon a three day weekend — and living through summer in general — it’s easy to make mistakes. We’re lucky, we can post and promote our stories from anywhere. Recently, I’ve seen some summer haze missteps. Don’t let this be you.

1) The post about a post that’s really a round up of other people’s posts.

Come on, guys. I know there is nothing to write about sometimes (I’ll wait for sarcastic comments about this post, too, it’s only fair), but did you really need content there, that badly? It wasn’t even noon yet and they had all but given up. Have another iced coffee and try again.

2) Overuse of social media cliches. 

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ICYMI. Winning the internet. Or worse, emojis. I’ve suffered from newsroom delirium. You stop caring, you think it’s funny, and let it rip. Once is allowed. Twice? Take a ten minute tanning break in the parking lot, come back, and try again. Ariana Huffington would approve. Read more

Get $75 OFF Book Promotion and Publicity Boot Camp

BookPRBootCampGet $75 OFF registration for MediabistroEDU’s brand new online boot camp, Book Promotion & Publicity Boot Camp with code SUN75! Hurry, this boot camp starts on July 10!

In this intensive boot camp starting July 10, you will learn the publicity skills needed to ensure a successful book launch using various promotional techniques. You will hear from publishing and public relation experts who will teach you step-by-step how to successfully launch your book campaign including how to create a social media kit, use social media to build your audience, interact with fans and other authors on panels, start your own email marketing newsletter and more! View the full agenda here.

Whether you’re an author who’s already working with a big publisher or are self-published, this interactive boot camp will teach you the best methods to launch a successful publicity campaign for your book. Hurry and register before July 7 to get $75 OFF with promo code SUN75. Register now!

Jonathan Geller of Boy Genius Report on the Keys to a Great Tech Site

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Jonathan Geller, president and editor-in-chief of Boy Genius Report (the mobile tech blog), has an intuitive knowledge of what his audience wants. As a result, Geller has been able to circumnavigate the music industry, the mobile tech scene and the blogosphere with ease.

After a spell of anonymity (when he was writing for Engadget and BGR), Geller outed himself in 2010, so the world finally knew who the Boy of Boy Genius Report actually was. Geller credits his early rise to his desire to take risks and his networking skills. Here, he talks about the keys to a great tech site:

Content, content, content. You’ve also got to have a great team. You have to know your audience. You need to have that instinct, to know what people want to read. Be authentic, be engaged and interact with your readers. Whether it’s on Twitter, on Facebook, whatever. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

For more from Geller, including his long-term goals for the site, read: So What Do You Do, Jonathan Geller, President and Editor-in-Chief of Boy Genius Report?

Which Tweet Wins? See If You Can You Out-Predict A Computer

If you work in social media, or any online media site really, for very long, you learn that it’s hard to predict which post or piece of content will go viral. That doesn’t stop people from trying.

The latest attempt? The New York Times has the details on a collaboration by three computer scientists who developed an algorithm that, with relative accuracy, can tell you which of two tweets to the same content by the same user will more likely be reshared. This is how those developers explain their project:

… [W]e take advantage of the surprising fact that there are many pairs of tweets containing the same url and written by the same user but employing different wording. Given such pairs, we ask: which version attracts more retweets? This turns out to be a more difficult task than predicting popular topics. Still, humans can answer this question better than chance (but far from perfectly), and the computational methods we develop can do better than an average human …

How is that possible? A huge body of data to pull from. In A/B tests, it predicts which tweet will be more popular correctly 67 percent of the time, compared to the 61 percent of tweets more likely to be retweeted that humans guess correctly, according to the NYT. Before you get too depressed, read the full article to see why your computer won’t be replacing you or your social community manager anytime soon.

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Then just for fun: The NYT’s The Upshot takes this idea one step farther and put together this fascinating 25 question gut check to see if YOU can beat their algorithm and predict with more success whether one tweet will go viral or one tweet will go silent.

It’s harder than it sounds! I got 15 vs. the computer’s 19. So what do you get?

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