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Posts Tagged ‘reader engagement’

Knight Foundation Grants $3.89M to Build Open Source Platform for Engaging with Readers

knight2-262x193Yesterday, the Knight-Mozilla Open News initiative announced that it will lead a collaboration among Mozilla, the New York Times, and the Washington Post to create a new platform. With $3.89 million in funding, they’ll work together on a platform that will allow readers and users to upload pictures, videos, and other media for news outlets to use. From the release:

This open-source community platform will allow news organizations to connect with audiences beyond the comments section, deepening opportunities for engagement. Through the platform, readers will be able to submit pictures, links and other media; track discussions; and manage their contributions and online identities. Publishers will then be able to collect and use this content for other forms of storytelling and to spark ongoing discussions by providing readers with targeted content and notifications.

It’s sort of an unusual partnership, but it could turn out to be very fruitful. Instead of shying away from the internet, the projects seems to capture the essence of all things digital and all things journo: it’s open sourced so other outlets can use it, allows for management of data and verification, and treats readers as equal partners in news gathering. If that’s not what the digital publishing industry needs right now, I don’t know what is. The platform will also have a new sort of commenting system where users can highlighting system for journalists to better interact with readers. Instead of banning comments, they plan to make them more useful. Dan Sinker, the head of the Knight-Mozilla Open News Initiative writes on his blog:

Finally, this is a project that has the opportunity not only to improve community engagement in journalism, but to strengthen the web itself. Technologies likeBackbone.jsD3, and Django have all been forged and tested in the demanding environment of the newsroom, and then gone on to transform the way people build on the web. We don’t know that there’s a Backbone lurking inside this project, but we’re sure as hell going to find out.

Here’s to seeing what happens.

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Your App is a “Walkie-Talkie” and You Need to Start Using It Like One

docwalkietalkieAs news publishers talk about ‘unbolting’ their digital enterprises and newsrooms work on being more mobile in the name of more engaged with their audiences, it’s hard to imagine what that eventually looks like. To start, it might be helpful not to change our actual news products but focus on new ways of using what we have.

Investing in baby steps, if you will.

That’s what the guys behind the software seem to think anyway. Mag+ is the ‘content publishing ecosystem’ and software behind many of the newspaper and magazine apps you might read — New York Magazine, The Atlantic Weekly, Bloomberg Markets, Chicago Sun-Times, Popular Science, and The Next Web to name a few.

They’ve also just released an upgrade to their software that mirrors some general trends in news publishing. Mike Haney, co-founder and creative director for Mag+, says that the upgrade focused on redesigning the storefront and better sorting, so users know what they have when they want it. They’ve also partnered with eMagazine Insight, so publishers can track the effectiveness of in-app links and banners and hone their marketing campaigns. Most interesting for a mobile newsroom is the take on push notifications and alert channels. Another partner, Appboy, brings custom segemented messaging to Mag+ apps. From their release:

In addition to issues, the app can deliver custom push notifications, promotions, cross app promotions, in-app notifications and news feed items that can be specifically targeted to users based on what they’ve done in the app. Combined with a built-in feedback tool, these features make the platform a more effective communications tool and opens it for a broader range of uses.

It’s just one step in looking at the app as a multi-channeled tool to build better engagement with readers. Haney explains:

We talk about being a content hub. Its not about just designing your issue and pushing it out, but it’s about creating a relationship with your consumer. It’s like a walkie-talkie — you have one in your pocket and they have the other one, and you have the ability to reach out and talk to them and give them control about what they get from you. Read more

New Web Pub Focuses on ‘American Renewal’ and Compelling Readers to Act

NationSwellIf you’re looking for something other than cute animals or faux civil rights controverseries to inspire you on the internet, it’s arrived. It’s called NationSwell, a new media company that focuses on good things. Forget if it bleeds, it leads; NationSwell’s headlines are about non-profits conquering food deserts, environmental iniatives, health policy and innovation, and eduation.

It’s like the 2008 Obama campaign met Henry Blodget. The site is a mix of aggregated and original reporting by a team of seasoned freelance writers, led by founder Greg Behrman and managing editor Cathy Sharick, formerly of Time.com.

And some stories, although it’s still in beta, are connected to direct ways to take action, whether it be donating to the cause or tweeting a representative associated with the issue. Unlike other media companies focused on “things that matter,” like Upworthy — NationSwell wants readers to do more than just hit a share button. With recent trends and successes in crowdfunding, social entrepreneurship, and viral content, it’s not a bad business model.

You can follow them @nationswell.

NY Post Reporter on How to Create a Successful Blog: ‘Consistency’

JozenCummings

Jozen Cummings likes to call himself a professional ‘date-maker’ and that’s an accurate description for his career as of late. Cummings is the dating reporter for the New York Post‘s Meet Market column, and he runs the blog ‘Until I Get Married,’ where he shares the ups and downs of bachelorhood.

Cummings, whose writing has appeared everywhere from Essence to The New York Times Magazine, had no dating-related clips to show for himself when he initially went in for the interview at the Post. But he did have his personal blog on the topic, which helped him land the gig.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Cummings talks about setting up blind dates, his writing process and how to cultivate a following on your blog:

Now that you’ve been kind of accidentally intentional with your blog’s success, what advice would you give up-and-coming bloggers to optimize their blog’s popularity? 

I think the most important thing is to find a schedule and be as consistent as possible with it because that’s the thing that people need in order to engage — consistency. It’s more important that you publish your post on the same day every week than it is for you to write five different times five days a week. Do it once a week for four weeks at the same time and then the fifth week, have a post ready, but don’t post. Give it a day. And I guarantee there will be somebody who you didn’t know was reading who will hit you up and say, “Yo, where’s my post?”

For more advice and what it’s like to be a dating reporter, read: So What Do You Do, Jozen Cummings, Blogger And Dating Columnist For The New York Post?

– Aneya Fernando

Response: No Comments, No Problem

Be QuietI would like to claim responsibility for Popular Science removing its comment section, but I am sure it had little do with my rant a few weeks ago.

That said, I was thrilled to read their post that ‘in the name of science,’ they’ve turned their comments off.

John Kroll writes in this blog post that there is no good reason to turn off the comments. In fact, he says turning them off is lazy and has little to do with science, and much to do with the bottom line.

Maybe it did have to do with the bottom line, but let’s take a look at some of his points: Read more

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