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4 Career Tips for the Online World

The transition from print to digital has brought layoffs, budget cuts and general woes to newsrooms across the country. But the flurry of change also brings new opportunity.

In Mediabistro’s latest AvantGuild feature, seasoned journo Ben Goldstein recapped his own resume and shared some valuable tips for writers in the online world. For example…

If you’re not fending off job offers, you’re doing something wrong.

To give yourself some leverage, start networking and learning new skills while you’re still employed. ”Classes and workshops related to your profession are great places to meet people,” said Charles Purdy, senior editor of Monster.com. “The teachers are often experts who are still working in the field, and the other students and attendees will be professionals like you. And, of course, there’s the side benefit of learning something new.”

Read more in 4 Lessons for Writing in the Digital Age. [subscription required]

The Daily Meal’s Winning Recipe

The Daily Meal recently hit 5 million unique visitors monthly—not bad for a site that officially launched in December 2010. In fact, its traffic places it as the #8 food website.

What’s the secret? According to Folio and Daily Meal CEO Jim Spanfeller, the secret is massive amounts of content—up to 120 stories a day.

Folio says that The Daily Meal is following a “strategy of going wide as well as deep with the content…while The Daily Meal features recipe content, it also goes big on content about industry news, entertaining and epicurian travel, for example.” The site’s traffic goals are 10 million uniques by the end of the year and ultimately to 20 million.

That may be why Spanfeller Media Group has just launched its second site: The Active Times, for fitness enthusiasts. “There are lots of sites out there, but none of them have any scale,” Spanfeller told Folio earlier this summer. “And none of them have what we’re trying to do, which is go broad and deep.”

Spanfeller Media Group plans to launch even more verticals at an unspecified time in the future, so for people hoping to move into this space over the next year, it wouldn’t be a bad company to watch.

Newsday To Hire 25 For New Digital Products

Cablevision’s Newsday will hire 25 editors, reporters, and digital content specialists for a new website and apps serving New York’s Westchester county.

Diane Goldie, previously a local media editor at Newsday and editor-in-chief of AMNewYork for four years, has been tapped to manage the new products.

“Newsday is the indispensable source of information for Long Islanders. Now, through this initiative and by harnessing the strengths of News 12, MSG Varsity and amNewYork, Newsday will become the premier digital information choice for Westchester County residents,” Cablevision president Tad Smith said in a memo obtained by MediaWire.

MediaWire has the email to apply for the jobs, though it sounds like they’re being opened up to internal applicants only at first and anyone can apply.

Gawker Gets A New Editor

Gawker editor-in-chief Remy Stern is stepping down, and Gawker is replacing him with Deadspin’s AJ Daulerio.

Daulerio had been looking for outside opportunities before the promotion, the New York Observer reports. “The site was basically at the place where I was going to want it to be,” he told the Observer, so he had been ready to move on.

Stern will be consulting for Gawker Media and helping with “new editorial initiatives,” according to a memo from Gawker Media publisher Nick Denton.

“It’s not as if Gawker in crisis,” the memo also said. “But we need to release the full potential of the site’s excellent roster of writers — and fill out the team with new hires. AJ has proven himself as both developer and recruiter of editorial talent. That’s what the site needs right now. Hence the switch.”

Daulerio’s spot at Deadspin will be filled by deputy editor Tommy Craggs.

Major Layoffs At Michigan Papers As Owner Transforms To Digital-First

Booth Newspapers and MLive.com (the website for all eight of Booth’s papers) have restructured into a digital-first company, MLive Media Group, serving eight cities in Michigan.

That’s great!

The restructuring is resulting in the loss of 550 jobs across the state.

That’s…not great.

“We’ve been clear since the moment we announced the launch of the MLive Media Group that we’d be a smaller company as a result of the transition,” MLive Media Group President Dan Gaydou said.

The 550 people who have received layoff notices make up just under half of MLive’s Michigan workforce, Gaydou said, but “this is not representative of the actual number of employees who will or will not continue with one of the new companies. All of these employees are eligible to apply for new jobs within the MLive Media Group and Advance Central Services Michigan, and we have and will continue to encourage them to do so.”

The biggest cuts were at the Grand Rapids Press, where 146 people received layoff notices; 91 at The Flint Journal; 77 at The Kalamazoo Gazette; and on and on.

NewsBeast’s Lost $30 Million Last Year…Will Staff Cuts Follow?

The Daily Beast might be on track to be profitable this year, but the Newsweek part of the NewsBeast combo isn’t looking as good: Newsweek is estimated to have lost $20 million this year. So getting the combined Newsbeast into profitability by 2013, which owner Barry Diller says is possible, will be a “daunting” task, says Adweek’s Lucia Moses.

Newsweek is using some non-confidence-inspiring tactics in an effort to shore up readership: providing what are known as post-expiration copies, or grace copies, for example. That means that the magazine has been sending issues to people whose subscriptions have lapsed, a tactic magazines use when they’re having trouble reaching their promised circulation. But in a June report, nearly 5 percent of Newsweek’s subscriptions were grace copies, a number media buyers say is far too high. Meanwhile, print circulation is down despite the cost of those subscriptions being deeply discounted.

Traffic online is down, too. In short, it’s not looking good for NewsBeast. But if the company can’t increase revenue, it’s going to have to cut costs. Moses estimates that saving the money Tina Brown needs will require cutting half the staff. Yikes.

News Guild Ends HuffPost Boycott

The National Writers Union and the Newspaper Guild-CWA are ending their boycott of the Huffington Post, which was launched in March and asked writers to stop writing for free on Arianna’s site.

As may be painfully clear by looking at the Huffington Post, not many writers withheld their work. (Although some of them did launch HuffingtonPostUnionofBloggers, which had the distinction of also not paying writers for their work, but without a CEO who could sell the property to AOL for millions. We’ve reached out to HPUB to find out what will happen to the site now.)Update: Despite a statement on HPUB saying that the site is affiliated with the same chapter of the National Writers Union that had been leading the boycott, HPUB was and is not related to the boycott. More TK…

At any rate, the NWU announced today it is ending the boycott—Romenesko has the press release—and the Newspaper Guild published a similar announcement Thursday.

We have asked, from the beginning, that Arianna Huffington and her staff meet with us to discuss the need for a model that compensates journalists for their efforts. Such meetings have now taken place, and the company has publicly pledged to work with us to resolve our differences.
We are pleased to see HuffPost leaders stating so clearly the importance of paid journalism, not only to our society as a whole, but to their own business model.
Now that we’ve opened a dialog with HuffPost, it makes sense to us to set aside the boycott as we attempt to work together and move forward. There is no single, clear cut answer to what constitutes an acceptable unpaid op/ed piece, when casual commentary crosses the line into researched analysis, or when a discussion about ideas becomes an “assignment.” These issues will need to be monitored and reassessed continually, and we think that can best happen by building a constructive relationship with HuffPost. However you feel about the Huffington Post, they are clearly a major player in emerging models of online journalism.

The end to the boycott does not affect the lawsuit led by Jonathan Tasini, the Newspaper Guild said. That suit is still ongoing.

The Daily Is 75% Short On Readers

iPad newspaper The Daily is averaging 120,000 readers a week, or less than a quarter of what the company needs to be profitable, reports Bloomberg.

And since that 120,000 figure includes not just paying subscribers but also users trying out the two-week free trial, the number of people paying to read The Daily could be even fewer, Bloomberg says.

Daily owner Rupert Murdoch said earlier this year that half a million subscribers would be the “paper’s” break-even point. With the product soon to be available on Android, subscriber numbers might get a boost, but may still not reach 500,000.

The Daily’s advertising rates may not be helping, either: Bloomberg reports that the “paper” is asking for $1000 CPM, or several times the rate for many high-end publications.

Bloomberg points out that other newspapers with a circulation of 120,000 include The Blade in Toledo and the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, NY.

Time.com Strategy: Look Beyond The Core Brand

Time.com is focusing more on news niches and the strategy is paying off, PaidContent reports.

Newly-launched verticals like Techland, Swampland (for politics), Battleland (military), Moneyland, and more have only subtle Time branding but are part of what is driving a 12 percent increase in the site’s digital revenues. According to internal Time metrics, PaidContent says, vertical visits are 40 percent of Time.com total site visits.

Before the end of the year, Time will add up to four new blogs to its roster of nine existing ones, which contribute up to 200 posts per day. Look for new blogs (and possibly openings) on opinion, entertainment, society/family, and criminal justice. Openings are not posted right now but if they were they would probably be here.

E.W. Scripps Reorganizes All Digital Teams

The E. W. Scripps Co has merged its paper and TV digital teams “under one umbrella” in order to make it easier to launch new digital products and services, the company announced yesterday.

Scripps has 13 daily newspapers and 10 TV stations; the digital heads at each of those stations now reports to Adam Symson, the company’s new chief digital officer. Symson, pictured, according to the company press release, started life as a TV journalist, and has bounced around within Scripps corporate headquarters since 2003, first as investigative reports director, ultimately vice president of interactive for the company’s TV division.

Scripps president and CEO Rich Boehne added: “This new structure will result in better products, faster development, more efficiencies and improved financial performance while staying true to the Scripps mission of building value through enterprise journalism and public service.”

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