Tag Archives: Blogging
by Chris Roush
Sarah Lacy of PandoDaily.com reports that AOL is seeking bids for its two tech news sites, TechCrunch and Engadget.
“The asking price? A hefty $70 million to $100 million.
“AOL is hoping to make something off the drama of the past couple of years: $70 million would net the struggling Internet company about $10 million profit on what AOL originally paid for both TechCrunch and Engadget’s original parent Weblogs Inc. According to one source, AOL management has been seriously considering the move since early this year. The news also sheds light on why Arianna Huffington was so relaxed about relinquishing responsibility for the division last month, according to reports.
“Possibly acknowledging that finding a buyer might take time, the company will be evaluating the potential sale over the next six months to a year. That said, we’re told AOL management would prefer to move quicker if the right deal came in the door.
“Still, even with an extended timeline, $70 million may be a tough sell. While the brand recognition of both Engadget and TechCrunch remain strong, the revenue side of the AOL Tech business has been hit hard in recent months. TechCrunch has now lost almost all of its internal revenue generating team.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes about how one of the business magazine’s bloggers, Anthony Kosner, has seen his readership go from 40,000 to 400,000 a month.
Dvorkin writes, “Today, Anthony is a believer in our evolving model for incentive-based, entrepreneurial journalism. He uses words like ‘machine’ and ‘addictive’ to describe our publishing platform. In an email exchange after our video interview, he said: ‘What is so gratifying about the FORBES platform is that it rewards the quality of your content. Quantity, timing, relevance and engagement with social media help to make the most of that quality, and in some ways constitute that quality. But it’s much more than a numbers game. On FORBES you don’t have to shout or canoodle to get heard. You just have to write great headlines that are supported by great stories that are about subjects that people actually care about.’
“Our contributors, all hand-picked by our editors, need to have angles, or beats, that fall within one of our key topic channels. It’s largely their responsibility to attract and build an audience and engage with their community, or followers. I love to talk with contributors to see how they’re doing. Many are getting it, some remain a bit frustrated. Few have given up. Anthony writes about Web and app developers and the new products they bring to market. To be honest, I find it a little unfocused at times, but he’s certainly building an audience. Last month, he had more 400,000 unique visitors, up from the 40,000 he was struggling to maintain early on.
“What clicked for Anthony? ‘At the highest level, I think I was bitten with the challenge and made a commitment to myself to do more and better. So that made me really look at which posts were getting the most attention and try to understand what had legs and why.’ Anthony says that meant figuring out the intersection points of two dynamics: the news cycle and waves of social media.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Steve Rhode is using his personal finance experiences to cover the debt industry like no one else.
Rhode, 52, started GetoutofDebt.org in 2009, a blog that aggressively reports and investigates debt consolidation and debt advice businesses. From his home in the Raleigh area, he posts about five stories a day as well as answers questions from readers.
His site, which averages about 160,000 visitors and 320,000 page views per month, relies heavily on his experience from a personal bankruptcy more than 20 years ago and from running a non-profit organization called Myvesta that helped people with financial problems.
Rhode, who once wrote a personal finance column that was syndicated in more than 50 papers, says his site has no agenda or vendetta against the debt industry. He just wants consumers to have fair and balanced information.
“I write about something that I care deeply about and know well,” said Rhode in an interview Thursday. “It has to be something that you enjoy doing.”
Rhode sifts through dozens of tips each day to determine what he wants to cover. He collects legal documents from attorneys and through PACER, the online federal court system, and develops sources within companies. He also talks frequently to regulators across the country, primarily those in state attorney general offices.
At first, Rhode also sold advertising for his site, but he handed over that responsibility to Google Ads. While some readers complain that the companies advertising on his site are from the industry that he covers, Rhode says he now uses the ads as story ideas.
“The toughest thing is trying to find that balance,” said Rhode. “You’re serving the public and protecting consumers, but you also have to make an existence.”
His biggest current issue is litigation. A Texas attorney that was the subject of a story has sued him for $2.1 million in damages, claiming that Rhode has hurt his business. Rhode is defending himself aggressively.
“I developed a thick skin a long time ago,” said Rhode. “When you write about bad things, you have to know you can be the subject of an attack.”
Rhode appears frequently in other media — he has done Skype interviews this week with the Fox station in Tampa and a station in St. Louis — to discuss debt scams and issues. And unlike traditional journalists, he’s not afraid of alerting regulators to potential scams that he has uncovered.
Rhode declined to discuss his site’s finances, but he did say that he is making a living off the site, and he has one employee who helps him sift through tips and documents. But his site primarily focuses on the problems in personal finance, not balancing a checkbook and other softer personal finance topics.
For example, a recent story on the site uncovered a mortgage modifier company that was claiming in its solicitations to be from a local teachers union. Rhode also recently reported about a debt reduction program that claimed it was from Houston, but was actually located in Fiji with its owner in Thailand and had not registered to do business.
“My entire business philosophy,” says Rhode, “is that if you do a good job, then good things will happen to you.”
by Chris Roush
Roger Friedman, the head of the blogging network at The Motley Fool, sent out the following e-mail to its bloggers on Friday:
Browsing our not-so-greatest hits, we noticed that a large majority of our errors come in posts that discuss biotech and pharmaceutical companies. It turns out that it’s not so easy to understand the science, the medicine, the business, the government interactions, and the investing component. Additionally, especially with smaller companies that might only have a couple drugs in the pipeline for whom success hinges on a binary event (yes, it’s approved, or no, it’s not), it’s even more critical than usual that we get our posts right.
Therefore, we’re requesting that you hold off writing about these companies unless you have a background or experience in the field. We encourage everyone to operate — as bloggers and as investors — within their circles of competence. We generally prefer not to tell you what you can and can’t write about, but we can’t leave ourselves open to such a large opportunity for error.
And now, a note from blog reviewer Mike Finarelli:
Given our passion for in-depth stock research at the Fool, we would love to see our bloggers develop and convey an understanding of company fundamentals in much the same way. So, we’re challenging all of you to improve upon your already high-quality research and writing. We believe we have seen very insightful commentary thus far, but we think you can do even better!
In general, we would like to see everyone dive deeper into fundamental, business-oriented analysis. For instance, what really gets us excited is the in-depth discussions on competitive strengths and sustainable advantages. Anyone can report various financial metrics, but not everyone can break down an industry’s competitive landscape, or dissect significant changes in financial statements. These latter items are much more valuable to your readers, not to mention they are the source of content that will help you to continually earn the coveted Editor’s Choice designation.
Initially, this may seem like a daunting way to approach each article, but rest assured the rewards will come through greater viewership, positive feedback, and personal branding within the Blog Network. In addition, your expanded effort can result in higher pay or even the prospect of an exclusive writing contract with Fool.com!
by Chris Roush
The Atlantic, which earlier this year hired away Kevin Delaney from The Wall Street Journal to start a business news website, has disclosed that the site will focus on business news for a global audience.
In an online posting looking for staffers to help launch the site, The Atlantic states:
We need journalists, developers, designers, and advertising salespeople. Some job openings are listed below, and we’ll be adding more soon, including specific openings for reporting gigs. But in general, we are looking for reporters and editors who…
- know business: you have a background in business journalism, have worked in the business world, or otherwise know your way around capital;
- have a sense of the world: you have, ideally, lived outside the United States and, in any event, care as much about Hong Kong and São Paulo as you do about New York;
- work fast: you know that, on the Web, the deadline is almost always now;
- obsess: you can sense an important story and, when you do, pursue it with zeal;
- are nerdy: you take a numerate approach to reporting and appreciate — or, better yet, can create — a good chart or other data visualization;
- think creatively: you are eager to approach the job of reporting in new ways and bring creative, new ideas to our newsroom;
- write for the Web: you recognize that digital journalism is written in prose, data, visuals, and code, and you’re eager to pick up new skills while on the job.
If that sounds like you, please get in touch with Kevin.
Read more here, including how to apply for specific positions.
by Chris Roush
Linette Lopez, Rob Wile and Simone Foxman of Business Insider have compiled a list of the 101 best finance people to follow on Twitter, and a number of them are business journalists.
The list includes:
Chris Adams, the markets editor for The Financial Times. “Knows what’s happening in the market as fast as anyone.”
Charles Gasparino, senior correspondent at Fox Business Network. “Love him or hate him, the man is a newsbreaker.”
John Carney, senior editor and blogger, CNBC.com. “Helps keeps world’s leading business network real.”
Matina Stevis, Dow Jones Newswires Eurozone reporter. “Dow Jones reporter Tweeting the crisis in the Eurozone. Live from Brussels.”
Katie Martin, Rob Passarella, and Bradley Davis, the Dow Jones forex team. “You’ll barely need your WSJ subscription if you follow them. ”
by Chris Roush
Francesco Guerrera, the money & investing editor at The Wall Street Journal, made the following staff announcement on Friday:
We are delighted to announce that Paul Vigna will join our MarketBeat blog from next week. Working with Steven Russolillo, who has done an amazing job as the sole blogger for several months, and under the expert guidance of Stephen Grocer, our Blogs Editor, Paul will add depth and breadth to our coverage, bolstering what is already one of the most popular blogs in the Wall Street Journal’s universe, read by traders, Wall Streeters and individual investors alike.
Paul has been a writer and editor for Market Talk on Dow Jones Newswires since 2005, and was instrumental in developing its tone and voice. Prior to that, he was an assistant news editor on the enterprise desk, and before that was a copy editor on the spot news desk. He started at Dow Jones in 1997.
He is, of course, also a video star on WSJ.com, hosting his morning show and appearing on several others. In his new role, Paul will continue to host the show and will work with Steve, Stephen and the production teams to better integrate its content with MarketBeat.
Paul got his start in journalism career as a reporter, editor and photographer at the Verona-Cedar Grove Times, from 1991 to 1997. He graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut with a BA in English in 1990. He received the New Jersey Press Association awards in 1997 for feature writing and photography.
Please join us in welcoming Paul to our team.
by Chris Roush
Chandra Johnson Greene of the Stamford Patch reports that a libel lawsuit against freelance business journalist Teri Buhl and CNBC.com writer John Carney is headed to a judge in May.
Greene writes, “According to the suit, filed in January in state Superior Court in Stamford, Mitchell Vazquez is seeking $15,000 in monetary damages and $100,000 in punitive damages from Teri Buhl and the New York-based television network.
“The suit alleges Buhl posted a story on her blog in December containing ‘false and defamatory’ statements. The post, dated Dec. 30, 2011, and updated on Jan. 5, accused Vazquez of violating orders given by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission following an investigation into his company’s trading practices between 1999 and 2001. In addition, Buhl wrote that Vazquez might have traded under his girlfriend Pamela Mercedes Chiesi’s name in 2009 to get around the CFTC’s orders and ‘[lied] to… clients about the value of some derivative contracts’ while serving as a trader for Bankers Trust in 1996.
“Also according to the complaint, John Carney, a senior editor at NBC Universal-owned CNBC.com, published an online article on Jan. 6 urging readers to read Buhl’s post about Vazquez and provided a hyperlink to her site. ‘I don’t want to steal Buhl’s thunder, so click on her report for the big reveal,’ Carney wrote.
“Carney did not respond to a request for comment.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Orange County Register real estate reporter Jeff Collins interviewed the paper’s Jon Lansner about celebrating six years of blogging about real estate in California and two years of the paper’s Sunday real estate section.
Here is an excerpt:
Jon: When people felt like they were losing thousands of dollars a day in equity, they had a massive reason to dial in. The story line — and homeownership — is a little duller now.
Jeff: How did the print Real Estate section come about?
Jon: We wanted to find a way to highlight what we were doing for our online audience in print. And we believed the traditional Sunday business section had run its course. So a bold trade — and I think my bosses took a big risk — was made to create a news-driven Real Estate section out of what was the old Business section.
The remaining space was used to give the great Wall Street Journal content we’ve had for year higher visibility. I’m biased, but I think it turned out well.
Jeff: How has the Sunday print section influenced what you do online?
Jon: I don’t think the audience cares about the sausage making, so I’ll just hope they see both the beauty of real-time news online and a bit more thoughtful Sunday coverage.
The Register wants to be the go-to source for real estate information in Orange County. The more places we can put that information only enhances our position as the information leader.
Jeff: What do readers care about when it comes to real estate coverage?
Jon: On one hand, it’s personal: “How much is my home worth?” or “What are rents doing?” So interest may vary based on a reader’s own life cycle.
On the other hand, real estate love is sports-like: Real estate in Orange County has a cult-like following, so I think there’s a broader interest in the ups and downs. Especially in the glamorous high end. That “aspirational” slice of the interest never varies.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
All Things Digital launched Monday an expansion and redesign of the site’s reviews section, All Things Reviewed.
Building on the consumer technology reviews by AllThingsD co-executive editor and Wall Street Journal personal technology columnist Walt Mossberg and Journal reporter Katie Boehret, the section features enhanced navigation, a brighter interface, and improved graphics. Boehret will edit the section.
In addition, the first member of AllThingsD’s new reviews team is Lauren Goode, formerly a reporter with The Journal and former co-host of the Journal’s daily “Digits” technology show.
Goode will be joined in coming months by additional reviewers, who collectively will produce multiple reviews per week. AllThingsD marked the site’s expansion during the weekend with an event at SXSW in Austin.
The expansion of AllThingsD follows a year of growth and success for the franchise: The site has hired five new reporters over the past year.
New D conferences were introduced, including the first international event, AsiaD in Hong Kong; D: Dive Into Media, featuring top media industry leaders and influencers; and the upcoming second edition of D: Dive Into Mobile.
AllThingsD Co-Executive Editor Kara Swisher was awarded a Gerald Loeb Award for Blogging in 2011, and both Swisher and Mossberg were also named to Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment and the Powers That Be” list, and one of five “Essential Blogs” by Time.com.