Archive for the 'blogging' Category

A plug

February 27, 2008

I meant to do this last month, but please visit Life In A Bubble, the blog of a fellow former Minnesotan trying to break into journalism here in DC. I met Jessica at a women-only career seminar and totally understand how hard it is to do what she’s doing. So in the name of chicks supporting other chicks, check her out (even if you’re not a chick). Ta-da!

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Comments redux

February 22, 2008

Continuing the comments discussion from yesterday, Mindy McAdams’ 6 Tips for Comments on Stories and J-blogs says more than I ever could about comments. This is a great series of tips.

Put the rules where everyone will see them. Check out Michelle Ferrier’s clever illustrated explanation of why this works.

Make the registration process and form as short as possible. I favor the kind of form that asks for exactly three things: A username, a password, and my e-mail address. The e-mail address will save me if I forget my username and password 12 years from now (I registered at The New York Times Web site in 1995). Some folks feel strongly that you should require real names. But if you’re asking for more than six pieces of information, in my opinion, you’re asking for TOO MUCH.

Make sure to scroll down and read about Daily Kos’s solution to trolls. :)

On ego searching, and why it matters

February 21, 2008

Great post last week from Growing Your News Website about journalists responding to conversations that involve them, even when these conversations are taking place not on the MSM dot-com that employs them.

Great example: Erie Media-Go-Round mentions the Erie Times-News probably every other day. But ETN reporters never join the conversation. Sure, in this particular example the “conversation” might be a little, well, woolly–but ignoring commenters won’t make them go away. You know how someone will be swearing at the computerized IVR (“Say ‘billing’ if you have a question about your bill. Did you say ‘B&DSYH$#@?’ Say ‘yes’ to proceed”) and then suddenly become mollified when they hear a real person on the line? Comments on blogs work a little like that, too. Rail all you want at the Erie reporter because he’s not going to read this!…Then you totally freak them out by posting a polite (yet non-troll-feeding) response, and then maybe, in a perfect world, they’ll realize that you aren’t a pigheaded chumswilling a**hole and that maybe your words have some merit to them.

Anyway.

What Steve has to say is that basically it’s important to respond outside of your own news website–to refute incorrect information, to say “thanks” to someone who wrote something nice about you, to show you care about your community, and to build your brand. (Gloomy aside: Most newspapers are still struggling, for myriad reasons, to get reporters to respond to comments on THEIR OWN sites, so this idea may still be in “pipe dream” stages.) And what I didn’t know is that it’s incredibly easy to find out where these conversations are happening.

Every journalist should be using “ego trackers,” which are simply accounts that track articles and blog items that mention your name. I use Google Alerts and have it track my name; it delivers both news articles and blog items where I show up. There are plenty of websites that you can search on your name (Google Blogsearch, Technorati, Google News, Topix, etc.).

I just set up an alert for myself and was pleasantly surprised to find that an article I was sure was killed was actually live at Common Ground. How’s that for instant gratification? Plus, even though nobody’s written anything nasty about me yet, I’ll be prepared when it happens.

For journos and webheads: Growing Your News Website

February 20, 2008

Last week I learned that the Watertown (NY) Daily Times, despite putting all its content online for free, is losing out to a competitor, NewZJunky.com. Howard Owens, awesome blogger and journalist, wrote “Never before have I seen a newspaper.com get trounced in its own market by any competitor — not even a TV station. NewsJunky.com has twice the traffic, and is growing faster, than the local daily’s news site.” [Source] And this is despite the fact that all NewZJunky has is a terrible (really) layout, and links to obits, public records, the police blotter, etc. So, if this is the future of journalism on the Internet, count me out. Ugh.

Enter Growing Your News Website, a blog launched last week by Steve Outing (media pioneer and E&P columnist). The idea is that every day, Steve or a guest blogger will post one tip–not news, but tips that can be implemented–for making money or increasing traffic on a news web site.

I’ve already added it to my blogroll. Wouldn’t it be great if this site took off?

Got rights?

February 13, 2008

Despite being a mother of zero, today I’m blogging over at Freelance Parent. If “first North American Serial Rights” sounds like a phrase out of your nightmares, or if you’ve never thought about who owns your words, I suggest you head over.