Archive for September, 2008

Survey of Journalism Want Ads

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

I can’t wait to read the results of this study by Serena Carpenter at Arizona State University.

I’m particularly interested to see whether there’s a disconnect between the words that hiring managers use in their postings and the words that journalists themselves use to describe online news jobs. Also, job postings are an important “leading indicator” of changing duties and skills in the industry. My survey describes the present state of affairs, and it doesn’t do a good job predicting what the future will be or what hiring managers WANT the future to be.

Murrow: The First Blogger

Friday, September 19th, 2008

For more than a year, I’ve been holding up Dan Froomkin’s Nieman Watchdog article about I.F. Stone as a great first stop for journalism students who are trying to understand what I mean when I say that thorough, accurate reporting and “voice” need to co-exist in their writing if they want to be successful journalistic bloggers.

But at a faculty picnic tonight, my colleague Dave Cupp inadvertently gave me another old-media model — Edward R. Murrow.

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The Challenge: ROI at the Story Level

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Disaggregation of traditional news sources such as the daily newspaper is one of the most disruptive forces in journalism right now. And there was more evidence of it’s impact in yesterday’s layoffs at McClatchy Interactive.

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Newsroom-Classroom Panel at ONA: A Bridge to Nowhere?

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

As yesterday’s Online News Association conference panel about collaboration between universities and newsrooms drew to a close, it was becoming clear that intellectual transactions were just waiting to be made, that a new marketplace must be created. The room had decided that the news biz did indeed have problems and that the academy just might be stocked with the resources needed to solve them.

The only thing standing in the way of better collaboration had been the difficulty so far in matching the problems with the resources. We would need to create a Match.com of journalism innovation, I said, where newsroom leaders could submit RFPs and where educators could post the research and technical resources of their students.

So with 10 minutes left in the panel, I whipped open a Word document and projected it on the screen at the front of the room. I was ready to start brainstorming right there and begin making a quick list of research questions and innovation projects. Oh, the excitement of a panel discussion that would be more than just talk! The bridges that would be built!

But then we hit just one small snag. Of the hundred or so people in the room, about 90 percent were from the classroom. Somehow, on an otherwise unremarkable Friday afternoon in Washington, the Statler conference room at the Capital Hilton had transformed in to an ivory tower. We had built a bridge to nowhere.

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Reporting From the Online News Association Conference

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Tomorrow morning I’m headed to the ONA conference in Washington, D.C. I will blog and Twitter on occasion as news warrants and technology allows.

Also, on Friday at 2:30 p.m. I will be moderating a panel about the possibilities and challenges of newsroom-classroom partnerships.

Full coverage of the conference is here. UNC-Chapel Hill junior Alex Kowalski is one of the student journalists staffing the event.

‘Think Romanesko When He Was 20′

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Collegerag.net is a site launched yesterday by two UNC-Chapel Hill journalism students, Sara Gregory and Andrew Dunn.

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At Small Paper, Breaking News Boosts Audience

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

The Pilot in Southern Pines, N.C., is small by circulation but not by ambition. In the September newsletter for the N.C. Press Association, president Rick Thames notes that the paper, which circulates 14,584 copies three times a week, boosted the number of daily unique visitors to its Web site from 5,000 to 5,700 in six weeks. How? By posting more stuff more often.

The lesson, Thames writes: “The more you post, the higher your numbers will climb.”

Yes, and there’s a good reason for that.

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More on the N.C. Online News Audience

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

UPDATE: Since my original post, I’ve received some new information from Dan Barkin, The News & Observer’s senior editor for online, about traffic to newsobserver.com. He — and others today — have pointed out that audience counts really depend on how you define your market. Statewide audience really doesn’t matter to ad buyers. Agreed, but I think it does matter in terms of editorial impact on issues of public affairs.

In an e-mail, Barkin said that “Some recent Media Audit numbers showed that WRAL.com reaches 51% of Triangle adults. Newsobserver.com (net of all of our sites) reaches 41.5% of Triangle adults.”

He said newsobserver.com reached about 50 percent more people in July and August of this year than the same months last year, but he also noted that page views had jumped only about 15 percent in those two months.

Original Post (12:55 p.m.):

Following up on my interview that aired earlier this morning on WUNC radio, I just got off the phone with Matt Tatham, the director of media relations for Hitwise. His company provided the data for the WUNC story, and I wanted to know more.

And, once again, the care that needs to be taken when talking about online audience numbers becomes apparent. According to Hitwise, WRAL clobbered The News & Observer online during August, but I think the clobbering was done in a manner that is slightly different than the one emphasized in the story.

As they say on Marketplace, let’s do the numbers …

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What Drives Local News Traffic

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

In an interview with WUNC radio this morning, I share some anecdotal information I’ve received from my visits to online news operations at the papers in Asheville, Fayetteville, Gastonia, Greensboro, Raleigh, Shelby, and Wilmington. The four things that are really driving page views at local and regional papers are:

  1. crime
  2. weather
  3. traffic
  4. high school sports

The full audio of the report is here. Leroy Towns comments here. More TK on this subject.

Don’t Forget to Report the Web

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Most often, when I’m talking with folks about online journalism the conversation centers around online publishing. But a quick hit last Friday in The News & Observer’s Under the Dome blog reminds us not to forget about using the Web as a reporting tool. David Ingram used LinkedIn to research a former Wachovia lobbyist, and found a misleading profile of the lobbyist. And, of course, there’s the New York Daily News’ recent use of MySpace to cover the story about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy.

Here’s a quick rundown of some prominent social networking and user-generated content sites and how to research them.

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