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Blogging’s Evolution: Blogs Now Homes For High-Quality Photos, Content

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the rise and decline of blogs over the past few years but it’s interesting to see how blogs have changed.

Where once they were places for quick updates (because they allowed you to make changes to content without rebuilding your whole site), they’re now homes to long, thoughtful pieces (because social media is now the home of quick updates).

A Photo Editor points out on his blog that this new care taken with blog posts extends to images too. Example? Mashable is hiring a photo editor “to help take its on-site images to the next level.” A blog hiring a photo editor. This is a far cry from blogging’s beginnings where blog owners were entrepreneurial, jack-of-all-trade powerhouses, doing the writing, photography (or stock image sourcing), and backend management all themselves.

By the way if you want to apply for the Mashable position, it’s posted here.

Is Shake Up Coming to MSNBC.com?

As reports indicate NBCUniversal is in talks to buy Microsoft Corporation’s 50 percent stake in MSNBC.com, what does this mean for media folks who work on the site?

Adweek indicated it’s “not clear at the moment” what will happen to MSNBC.com employees.

Initially the site was launched as a joint venture between NBC and Microsoft but in 2005, NBC bought most of Microsoft’s stake in MSNBC. In 2007, NBC fully owned MSNBC but the site hasn’t been fully taken over by the peacock network.

Considering NBC hasn’t previously taken over Microsoft’s portion of MSNBC.com, it’s still technically a joint venture and reflects content from NBC News and Today, but also includes more generic news content.

One possible outcome, according to the piece, is launching a separate NBC News site and then MSNBC.com’s content would more fully reflect its television shows. Plus, if a deal is reached perhaps personalities Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews will have a stronger Web presence. If so, perhaps the so-called shake up at the site would reflect the need for more opportunities and therefore, more content taken from the shows.

An In-Depth Review Of Pressfolios, The Newest Portfolio Site For Journalists

Earlier this week, sister blog 10,000 Words wrote about a brand-new site that allows journalists to easily gather their clips in one place without any fuss, without having to know the first thing about coding, and without any design knowledge.

I got an invite code to check Pressfolios out (it’s currently in closed beta, but co-founder Marc Samson tells me that people aren’t having to wait too long to get their invite codes).

Here’s how it works (with help from Pressfolios’ own Tumblr).

After signing up, you can add stories simply by pasting their URLs into the site.

The site automatically determines the headline, news outlet, and image associated with the story. Ok, sometimes it gets the news outlet wrong. But it takes about five seconds to manually edit it. It also seemed to get the wrong photo or no photo for most of the stories I uploaded. But changing the photo is surprisingly easy–I did it in about three clicks without leaving the site. (I imagined I’d have to click on the article, download the image to my hard drive, and re-upload it to Pressfolios. Luckily, this isn’t the case.)

The site doesn’t yet get the date from the story, which is unfortunate, because it has to be manually entered each time. I assume this is on Pressfolio’s punch list of things to fix before the site goes into open beta.

Once you’ve added a few stories you can arrange them:

And you can tag them, which will create separate tabs on your main Portfolio page. You can also create an About page (which is also showing its beta-ness in that some of the fields that you can fill in on your profile don’t actually display anywhere on the public-facing site).

Here’s what it looks like when you’re done:


Neat, yeah?

If you’re logged in, you can also download a PDF of each clip from your Dashboard, a handy option.

So here’s what the site can’t do yet. It can’t batch-import clips. Freelance marketplace Contently, believe it or not, will find what it thinks are all of your clips from a given site in one go. (Contently’s mission is not to provide journalist portfolios–that’s just a side benefit of membership there–so it may not be surprising that for now, the visual appeal of Contently’s portfolios is a bit lacking.)

You also can’t change the layout of the portfolio. Everyone’s looks the same: square images, white background, etc. It doesn’t hurt that this is an attractive look, but design is one of the improvements Samson notes his company is working on. I’d like to see an array of pre-designed templates for users to choose from, as well as the option to change the colors of said templates. Best might be something that presented more text–though humans are a visual species, I suspect editors really do want to read a prospective journalist’s clips, not just look at how pretty they are.

So, okay, Pressfolios is clearly still a beta product.

BUT. With all that said. The old way of making a portfolio site sucked. Either you just pasted text links, as do most of my freelance colleagues, or you had to manually cut and paste headlines, blurbs, links, and possibly images. I’m not gonna lie. It didn’t take forever, even if you knew no HTML. But it wasn’t fun either.

If Pressfolios rockets out of beta with these minor issues fixed, it might not change the world. But it will make a lot of journalists’ lives easier. And isn’t that good enough?

Pressfolios is currently free; once out of beta, the core features will remain free, Samson says. Go sign up for an invite code and try it out for yourself.

It Takes A Village To Run A Time.com Blog

A large crowd gathers [at Madison Square Garden?] during the 1933 New York Dressmakers Strike.  A sign in the background reads: "...Makers Union ILGWU."

Jim Romenesko notes that Time has launched a new sports blog, Keeping Score. Columnist Sean Gregory will helm it, but assisting him, according to the memo, will be:

  • Contributing writers Ishaan Tharoor, Hannah Beech, Nick Carbone, Bobby Ghosh, Tony Karon, Adam Sorensen, Glen Levy, Alice Park, Feifei Sun, Nate Rawlings, Josh Sanburn, Tim Morrison and Bill Saporito
  • Project boss Shanta Speller
  • Developer Micah Ernst
  • Assistants/producers (their actual titles are unclear in the memo) Katie Rooney and Christine Lim
  • Photo assistant Jared Miller
  • Editor Megan Friedman
  • Producer Nick Carbone (who will also be writing)
  • and top editor Daniel Eisenberg.

Uh…..PHEW!

CNN Buying Mashable For $200M?

Felix Salmon reported late yesterday from SXSW that “a little bird” told him CNN would be purchasing Mashable for $200 million, with an announcement scheduled for Tuesday.

It’s “entirely plausible,” he says. The acquisition makes sense, because it has the “same kind of consumer focus that CNN does. It’s not aimed for the tech insiders, it’s aimed at the masses.”

PaidContent’s Staci Kramer says, though, “not so fast.”

“A source familiar with the situation describes the report of a deal as a rumor and tells paidContent no announcement is scheduled…While I wouldn’t be surprised to see CNN wind up with Mashable, I don’t see Turner paying $200 million—or even coming close—for it.”

‘Deep’ Layoffs Coming To Yahoo; PR, Marketing Among Targets

The Wall Street Journal (and AllThingsD) is confirming the rumors that Yahoo plans to lay off thousands of people as soon as the end of March.

PR and marketing, “research, marginal businesses and weaker regional efforts are among those considered as potential targets.”

The company employs more than 14,000 employees plus software contractors; a source told Kara Swisher that each unit would need to show significant savings or a “clear path” to revenue growth. “It’s going to be deep,” that source said.

Final numbers have yet to be announced. A Yahoo spokesman would only email the following statement: “Our leadership is engaged in a process that will generate significant strategic change at Yahoo, but final decisions have not yet been made at this point. Beyond that, we will not comment.”

Tista Games CEO Needs Writers

Badly, it seems.

While this sort of stilted, all-caps exchange would have captivated gamers in the ’90s, today’s gamers demand more sophisticated storylines and dialogue. Tista Games, the self-styled “HBO of Games” (because of the company’s episodic products, a brilliant concept) says it’s seeking writers who can create “long storylines and depth of character. We’re going to have a need for writers to come in and give us content that we can then package into a game.”

See the full MediabistroTV interview below.

Your Individual Brand Versus Your Newsroom

Poynter has a thoughtful piece up about what happens when a journalist’s brand clashes with a newsroom’s social media policy.

Example: CNN’s Roland Martin, whose homophobic Super Bowl tweets got him a suspension; Britain’s Sky News, which recently forbade its journalists from retweeting competitors (are you serious??), and many more.

Sometimes a newsroom is right to clamp down on a journalist (like in the case of CNN’s suspension of Martin), and sometimes a newsroom’s social media policy is just crazy (i.e. Sky news)

Another example is this post from social media editor Matthew Keys, who lasted only eight months at KGO-TV, owned by Disney-ABC. He was hired, he writes, due in part to his social media savvy, yet his bosses took issue with his use of social media. “There were several behind-closed-door discussions and back-and-forth emails about my Twitter methods, the sort of language I’d use in certain tweets, the frequency at which tweets went out and whether or not it was acceptable to mention or tweet competitors….I think the bureaucracy, mixed with stagnant progression on the perception of social media at Disney-ABC, led to a decline in influence by way of my personal brand on Twitter. That was definitely disappointing, as I had hoped it would be perceived as a benefit to the company and the station, not as a disturbance….In the end, we perceived things differently, and it just didn’t work out.” He talks a lot about Klout, but we’ll overlook that as this is definitely a post worth reading.

NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik tries to strike a balance in his Tweets: he follows the same guidelines he would if he were giving a speech in public. A personality, not an ideologue.

As journalists with personal brands (and personality) are more valuable to a news organization, it’d be wise for any news organization to embrace social media and put policies in place that leave breathing room for reporters and others to express themselves. But as digital media professor Sree Sreenivasan told Poynter, it’s still true that the best way to build a personal brand is “by knocking it out of the park at work every day.”

AOL To Lay Off Hundreds?

Sarah Lacy at PandoDaily is reporting that AOL is planning to lay off hundreds of employees next week.

Some cuts “will undoubtably come from the bloated Patch division, but not all,” she said.

Business Insider has a slightly different story: their source said that AOL is indeed planning to lay off some people, but not nearly as many as hundreds, and that the cuts will come from the West Coast team that works on products like About.me, Editions (“the app for when you cr*p“) and other products that don’t drive traffic to the Huffington Post.

We’ll see next week, we s’pose.

Without Staff, TechCrunch’s Traffic Plummets

TechCrunch’s traffic is down 35 percent from a year ago, paidContent reports, and it’s probably due to the mass exodus of talent following founder Michael Arrington’s highly visible departure.

The “trickle” of high-profile departures “became a flood this year” (the latest to leave is Jason Kincaid) and TechCrunch is now “gutted of nearly all its talent.”

There are still more than 30 staffers listed on the site’s masthead, but traffic is, indeed, down, and Techmeme has said that the site is sliding down its leaderboard.

But bully for AOL for trying, PaidContent says. “Keep in mind that TechCrunch’s $25 million price tag amounted to a cheap investment for a major media company seeking to acquire a gloss of tech cachet. The purchase doesn’t appear to have had any significant effect on AOL’s bottom line. While AOL doesn’t break out TechCrunch in its financial reporting – and didn’t speak about the tech blog in its last earnings call—AOL’s share price has been flying high. Meanwhile, AOL recently reported ongoing traffic growth at the Huffington Post Group (which it bought for 10 times the price of TechCrunch) and annual company-wide revenues of $2.2 billion for 2011.”

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