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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Hughes’

AOL’s CEO on Patch, Native Advertising and Why Journalism Won’t Die

This morning, media pros gathered at the Bryant Park Grill for the inaugural “Media Minds” breakfast, featuring Tim Armstrong, chairman and CEO of AOL, and Susan Lyne, the newly installed CEO of AOL’s brand group. Alex Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics & Public Policy at Harvard, moderated the event, which covered everything from women in leadership roles to the Time Inc. spinoff. While the panelists shared many insights, Armstrong’s comments on the future of content were heartening.

While the rise of digital has been blamed for the “death” of journalism, people are still voracious content consumers.  ”Technology changes a lot, but human behavior doesn’t change as much,” said Armstrong. “One of the things that’s most important to [humans] is trusting information.” He cited Google eye-tracking studies that show that, when people search, they immediately look at the URL after seeing a result to asses where the information came from. “Human beings want fast information from trusted sources… trusted brands of information, and I believe trusted brands of information come from powerful sources of people.” That means you, editors and journos. Read more

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Are We Stuck with Hashtags and Like Buttons?

The coverage on Nieman Journalism Lab yesterday of the Engaging News Project pretty much ruined my coffee break as I clicked through the research: there are few things I love more than seemingly wonky research about journalism and democracy. Especially when it’s put in action. Talia Stroud’s research shows, in the most simple explanation, that when you change the language, it can also change how people engage with your website. That should perk most of our ears up. If you want, you can already start making your readers ‘Respect’ stories instead of ‘Like’ them with a WordPress plug-in.

What you can’t make people do, according to her research, is actively seek out information that goes against their views, or their niche. That sounds like old news to me. We’re all in our own little ‘bubbles’ to use Bill Maher’s lingo. That’s bad for democracy, but good for online publishers. It also has something to do with why magazines have fared better in a digital landscape. Chris Hughes of The New Republic spoke to a lot of like-minded, nodding heads this week about how readers (users? can we agree on a terminology?) still look for ‘curated editorial experiences’ whether online or off. That’s something not easy to do with a daily news site, but the goal of most magazines — whether it’s the New Republic or Slate or Field and Stream. 

Apart from saving democracy from ourselves online, the Respect button has my head spinning for another reason. In terms of design and user experience, it’s hard for pubs to break out of the Web 2.0 standards whether it’s about asking readers to like things, comment, or use hashtags. I’m sure there are many strategists and design experts who haven’t slept considering the same things.  I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that everything starts to look the same, all the time. I don’t know for how much longer I even want to ‘like’, let alone ‘respect’ content online, although that’s the formula publications work with to determine all the numbers that make up their bottom line.

Maybe it’s the stormy weather on the East Coast that has me thinking too much about it — but what do you think? If we’ve moved past Web 2.0 and onto the semantic web, how does that affect how we’ll have to start thinking about reader engagement and page design? Is it just that we’ll  be able to better search our hashtags and generate more niche content to read? 

Eminent EICs Offer Advice to Aspiring Media Pros

Previously, we gathered some of the highlights of last night’s “Media Talk” panel at NYU. Here, we’ll bring you advice from all the panelists: James Bennet of The Atlantic, Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan, Chris Hughes of The New Republic and Jane Pratt of xoJane. The panel was moderated by David Carr, who asked the panelists to offer their advice for students who want to get into the media biz. Here are their edited responses:

Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan:

This business is all about ideas. If you have a good idea, I or one of my team, will hire you to write it. It can’t be a subject or topic you happen to be interested in, it has to be a genuine idea, you have to have a story. Read more

How to Keep the Comments Section Productive

(L to R) David Carr of  The New York Times, James Bennet of The Atlantic, Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan, Chris Hughes of The New Republic, Jane Pratt of xojane.com

Last night, eminent editors-in-chief gathered for a discussion at NYU’s annual “Media Talk” panel. The event was moderated by David Carr of The New York Times and the panelists included: James Bennet of The Atlantic, Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan, Chris Hughes of The New Republic and Jane Pratt of xojane.com. Among the discussion of the changing media biz was some helpful advice on how journalists and publishers can approach online commenters. We’ve gathered some of the highlights below: Read more