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Google’s New Site Is A One-Stop-Shop for Journalists, Newsrooms

Google Media Tools, a new site from the search giant, is a resource for everyone in the newsroom: journalists, researchers, social media managers, publishers and developers. The site combines all of Google’s tools that could be of use to a news organization, providing a central hub for media outlets. The site is split into the following sections:

GoogleMediaTools

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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

Your Tweets Are Not Your Own And You Will Get Fired For Them

I’m shocked that public figures are still getting fired for what they say and do on the internet. Especially people who work in media. Sure, Pax Dickinson, brogrammer extraordinaire, was just CTO over at Business Insider, but this is a publication for the internet and of the internet. Someone there should have told him to put a sock in it — just blocking him is not enough for a news pub.

Gannett’s social media policy was posted on Romenesko yesterday. Perhaps they were shocked, too, and thought it was time for a refresher. Read it. Basically, anything you post can and will be held against you. I think that’s fair policy for media people. The rub for us is that while it’s all held against you, you don’t have the right to remain silent, either.

Like probably having to work weekends and holidays, the lack of delineation between our personal and professional digital selves is part of the job. It’s about being your own brand. From the Gannett policy:

Remember that social networks are forms of public expression and should be used for strategic reasons to enhance your journalism, engage your community of followers, enlighten your news outlet’s audience, and promote your news organization’s brand in a positive way. Like other forms of public expression – attending political demonstrations, voicing opinions on a talk show, making political campaign contributions – they are subject to the limitations that are placed on newsroom employees through the Principles of Ethical Conduct. These are designed to maintain credibility with the reader.

Putting “all tweets are my own” or some spin on that in might help you if you need to make a case for being fired for something you said, but it doesn’t protect you. So use the characters to make your bio more interesting. Especially if you’re employed by a news publication, your tweets are not yours. They belong to the digital strategy and marketing team. Don’t you know that nothing is proprietary on the interwebs?

FOIA Machine Helps Journalists File Information Requests

We all know what a headache it is to file Freedom of Information Act requests to governing bodies. Wired calls this tedious practice that reporters endure “government hell.”

The whole process is a time-suck: crafting the request letter in such a way that it will be read and actually considered, figuring out where in the bureaucracy to send the document in the first place and finally, waiting on a response – which will more than likely be a big fat “no,” for one reason or another. Or, if it’s a “yes,” it takes months or longer, and by the time you’ve received a response, you’ve moved on with your life.

Some people pay big bucks for any substantial amount of information from government agencies (usually 100 pages or more). Despite its necessary function, FOIA can be a real inconvenience, but the information that can be gleaned from a successful FOIA request is invaluable to reporting and more importantly, operating as a watchdog for those with the most power.

To aid with the method of asking for non-classified docs, specifically for the purpose of accountability reporting, the Center for Investigative Reporting has launched what they call the FOIA Machine, a mechanism for automating and organizing the process of requesting public records.

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Native Advertising is Not the Future

The Online Publisher’s Association released a study on native advertising this week that pretty much validates everything we (or I, at least) thought about native campaigns  for news publications these days.

1) Native Advertising is Not the Future

OPA President Pam Horan spoke with me over the phone and says that what the study really surfaced is that native advertising “is really an outgrowth of the custom and integrated marketing that OPA publishers have been leveraging for years.” The thing is that now marketers are coming to publishers, the experts in content creation, for the “skills, content assets, infrastructure that are necessary to create effective native solutions.”

Based on their survey of publishers, the study reveals that native solutions aren’t for every publication, or for every campaign. “There’s a place for it, but I don’t think we’re moving away from banner advertising…publishers know their audiences better than anyone and they know what’s going to drive engagement.” Horan says.

Lesson: If you’re publication is going native — you probably need a really good team in the newsroom to help create and oversee the process.

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