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Archives: March 2012

Tool of the Day: Knight Lab Releases Free, Easy Interactive Timeline

Newsrooms seem to have forgotten about a simple, tried-and-true form of storytelling: the timeline.

We inundate our readers with infographics and Storifies of the news. They are the cool, new kids on the block who are supposed to encourage audience engagement. There’s nothing wrong with these new ways of telling in stories — in fact, I love them. But the only time we hear about timelines nowadays is when it is preceded by the word “Facebook.”

Enter the Knight News Innovation Lab‘s newest tool, “Timeline.” It’s a free, open source tool created by former New York Times staffer and current Medill faculty member Zach Wise. With Timeline, users can tell stories via an attractive, easy-to-use timeline that incorporates the latest tweets, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, and even Google Maps. Read more

How To Create A Useful Staff Twitter Directory For Your Newsroom

With the advent of Twitter lists back in 2009, we thought we’d ditch the concept of listing out people to follow on a page on a website –or at least that’s what I thought. But since Twitter lists aren’t natively emeddable or easily discoverable, many news organizations still find themselves putting together their own staff directories to point to various reporters/editors on social media. But beyond being useful for the readers, it can actually provide incentive for those in the newsroom who aren’t actively using Twitter when they see a public-facing list and see their colleagues getting more followers from that list. Below are some tips and sources of inspiration from other news org Twitter directories.

  • Break up all individuals into various sections, so if people are only interested in food or sports, they can only follow the relevant people from your organization. If you want to get really fancy, use filtering options (see the Google and Reuters examples below)
  • Only include Twitter handles for people who actually tweet well and regularly. Don’t include the people who have just signed up, not uploaded an avatar or maybe tweeted once or twice last spring. That’s not valuable to anyone.
  • Show more than just names and handles in your directory. Grab avatars, descriptions and follower counts.
  • Feature top users or most-followed users, depending on your audience (see the NY Times and MuckRack examples below)
  • If you include a Twitter “follow” button, people can follow your staff from the directory, rather than clicking through each individual Twitter page and finding a follow button. Lower the barrier to entry. Read more

Make The Band Of Writers at Filter

Sometimes pitching feels like auditioning for a seat in the high school cafeteria. Only the popular kids get the good bylines, right?

Not true at Filter. These  editors say all you have to do to break in is love good music and introduce yourself through email. Yep, that’s it.

“Be creative and show us who you are,” said  Pat McGuire, the editor-in-chief. “You have to understand that there are so many people seeking similar positions that you have to make yourself stand out a little bit.”

McGuire added one piece of advice on getting your foot in Filter‘s door. “I have a sense of humor; everybody at Filter does. So entertain us. Make us remember you — without being unprofessional.”

To find out what to do once you have McGuire’s attention, check out How To Pitch: Filter.

 

Deborah Norville: My First Big Break


In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we talk to “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville. Now everyone knows her as the face of the syndicated CBS news program, but before she got her shot nationally, she started in Georgia, working at CBS affiliate WAGA. As for her break, it came before she even graduated from college, and involved a little bit of luck, and former President Jimmy Carter.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Paid Content Model to Expand in Europe

“What we are trying to do is set up the biggest paid content experiment of all,” said Tomáš Bella, CEO of Piano Media. Addressing The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit on Wednesday, Bella talked about the mindset of the company as one that looks beyond the dualism of paid vs. unpaid—a mindset that seems to be paying off. The system allows readers to pay for access to a group of participating publishers. So far, the experiment has yielded promising results in the smaller markets of Slovakia and Slovenia: people are more likely to pay for this sort of inclusive paywall as opposed to paying for individual ones. The payment system has had no negative impact on traffic, and surprisingly, people even paid for content that was already free. “It is definitely not the articles we are selling,” said Bella, “we are selling peace of mind.” He likened it to the cable TV model of paying for a lot of channels, where most subscribers don’t watch most of the channels. Read more

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