Tag Archives: Websites
by Chris Roush
Colleen DeBaise is a journalist and author covering entrepreneurship.
She is currently the director of digital media at The Story Exchange, a nonprofit media organization devoted to covering women business owners, and a contributor to The New York Times. Her book, “The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook,” was published in 2010.
Prior to her current roles, DeBaise was the small business editor at The Journal, and has served as an editor at Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek and SmartMoney. She has been interviewed as a small business expert on television and radio, including MSNBC, Fox Business Network, CNBC, CBS and NPR.
Before covering small business, DeBaise spent many years writing about white-collar crime as lead court reporter for Dow Jones Newswires. She also wrote a personal finance column. In 2005, she was the winner of the Newswomen’s Club of New York’s Front Page award for specialized writing.
DeBaise has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.
DeBaise spoke by telephone Wednesday about The Story Exchange and coverage of women in business. What follows is an edited transcript.
TBN: How did The Story Exchange get started?
CD: I have been with The Story Exchange since September. It started a little over two years ago. The two co-founders are women, Victoria Wang and Sue Williams. Victoria lives in Boston and is a retired banking executive. Sue is in New York and is a documentary filmmaker. Victoria’s experience was in banking for many years, so she wanted to provide a resource for women out there who want to start and run their own businesses. She came up with the idea and talked to Sue about it. They both concocted this idea of providing mentoring about entrepreneurship while also giving them guidance.
So they decided to put these documentaries on a website. It started as a video project, and it has evolved into a start-up, nonprofit media site.
TBN: How did you get interested?
I was looking to do something different. I had been a journalist for a long time, and I was feeling run down by the demands of modern journalism today, especially working in the online world. I had considered leaving journalism. This was in August, and I happened to stumble across the fact that The Story Exchange was looking for an editor of the site. It seemed so tailor made for me. For the past seven years, I have been covering small business and entrepreneurship, and I have written about a lot of women entrepreneurs.
CD: As far as we can tell, women business owners, and people who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs. That is who our target audience is. Most of our readers come in from the United States, but we do have an international following. The country that comes in the most is India. We have written a few articles now about India, so that could be why.
TBN: Where do you find your story ideas?
CD: The same way any journalist does. We go to events. We go to a lot of conferences for women business owners, things of that nature. We meet people there. For some of my articles, I use services such as ProfNet, so I hear about women business owners that way too.
Another resource that we have, one of the things we do in addition to producing articles, is that we have an ongoing research project with Babson College called the 1,000 Stories Project. Once we are done, we are going to analyze the data about women entrepreneurs. So on our site, we ask women to submit their start up stories. Because of that project, we hear a lot about women owners that way.
TBN: How is the content distributed to other media outlets?
CD: One of the things that Victoria and Sue and now me have as a goal is to change the media narrative. We find that the stories about women business owners are lost or not touched upon at all. That is our reason to be. We want to tell the story of women business owners. So by producing these videos and articles we can. Ideally, we want partners to get more exposure. Mainstream media partners. Partners like women’s organizations that might have sites as well. Our big partner is the New York Times. (Editor’s note: Another is The Huffington Post.)
With the Times, what originally happened is that it does pretty extensive small business news, and it produces a lot of small business content. A year ago, one of its bloggers happened to write a profile of a small business owner who we had done a video about. So the Times did an update blog post embedding the video with one of their stories. That is how it all began.
When I came on board, we really pursued this because it seemed like a perfect fit. So in October we entered into a more formal relationship. We do a series of videos with accompanying videos about women business owners, and we provide them to the Times. How we have done it so far, for December for instance, we rolled out profiles of five different female entrepreneurs, one a week. And we started up again in February with another series of five. The last one was posted today.
TBN: What is your opinion of mainstream business media and how it covers women business owners?
CD: There is a lot of coverage of entrepreneurship by mainstream media. But what you tend to see is a lot of coverage about fast-growth tech companies with a lot of buzz with products that we all use. Naturally, you tend to get a lot of coverage of these companies out of Silicon Valley, and a lot of them are led by white guys. I can see how it happens. They are growing like mad and hiring a lot of people.
What our thought in all of this is that because those fast-growth high-tech start-ups are getting the lion’s share of coverage, the ones started by women are not getting the media attention. If you look at the research by American Express, you will see that women-owned businesses since the recession have added more jobs to the economy than male-owned businesses. But you don’t hear about that. These small businesses are having a huge impact. What we are trying to do is tell the stories of these women-owned businesses and trying to show what all of these women are accomplishing.
TBN: How do you measure success?
CD: The traditional measurements. We’re trying to get as much exposure as possible. Our numbers are quite small when we publish stories on our site. But when our articles and videos get picked up by the New York Times, our exposure is significantly made broader.
We’ve been using social media a lot. It is a great tool when you have a small, no-name site when you want to gain a following. So we tweet and Facebook all of our stories, all of our videos, and all of our blog posts. We are gradually getting a following.
And we are growing. We just hired an assistant editor this past week, and we have a new person coming in to help with video production. It is great to feel like we’re evolving and growing.
TBN: Anything else?
We want to provide a role model to other women, which is why we were thinking video when we first started. We wanted to show how a woman is successfully starting and running a business.
by Chris Roush
Blodget writes, “At Business Insider, our goal is to create value for our readers and clients, not to protect a legacy business, so we charge native digital prices. We also encourage clients to use our “private exchange” to target their advertising in real time, which offers an even more efficient buying option. And we create custom native advertising solutions for our major clients, allowing them to reach our readers — the next generation of business leaders — more effectively and efficiently than they can on other professional news sites. Our clients see such value in our solutions, in fact, that, in contrast to USA Today’s concern, the ad revenue we are generating per reader is actually rising.
“In short, the pressure on ad prices at traditional news organizations is good news for our clients and us. We are also much better at serving digital readers than many traditional news organizations, so we can thrive on these “digital dimes. We also have a successful subscription business, which we and our members are very excited about (which USA Today did not mention).
“So, we agree with USA Today about the trend of declining digital ad prices at traditional news sites. For the sake of us and our clients, we hope this trend continues.”
by Chris Roush
Janet Stites is the editor and publisher of ChinaBusinessKnowledge.com, which covers China-based companies whose shares are trading in the United States.
With the news that China-based Alibaba plans to trade in the States, her site is likely to become more popular in the coming months.
Stites has a 25-year history as a business, technology and science journalist. She has been a business columnist for The New York Times, was founding publisher and editor of PHONE+ Magazine in the late 1980s, co-founder and CEO of AlleyCat News magazine, the first editorial director of Jupiter Communications in the mid-1990s and a freelance writer.
She has been a feature writer for OMNI Magazine and written for other various national publications such as Fortune Small Business, Self Magazine, and Portfolio magazine. As well, for 15 years, she was a contributing writer for the The Bulletin of the Santa Fe Institute, interviewing world-renowned scientists, such as John Holland, Murray Gell-Mann, Tom Ray, Stephen Langton and Beniot Mandelbrot.
She graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications with a degree in magazine journalism and received her M.F.A. in fiction writing from UNC-Greensboro. She lives in New York City with her son, Sam.
Stites spoke about her website with Talking Biz News by email. What follows is an edited conversation.
TBN: How did you get the idea for China Business Knowledge?
JS: After I had to fold my magazine, AlleyCat News, in the fall of 2001, the journalism market was at a standstill. I started doing some marketing and consulting work. I also launched an online journal to track executives working in start-ups on the East Coast called Talent Pool News [East]. The goal was to eventually use the site as a marketing tool to provide recruiting services to venture funds seeking execs for the companies they funded (as, unlike, the west coast, it is not so easy to find executive talent for start-ups on the east coast).
When I announced the recruiting initiative, an industry friend brought me into a consulting gig to help a Chinese financial services firm. The firm had a dozen Chinese companies trading on the U.S. markets (at that point, on the OTC). They wanted us to find financial exes to “shadow” their CFOs, as well as to recruit western executives to sit on the boards of the companies. They saw my media background and also asked me to do some public relations.
We had a good run for four months. Then Lehman went bankrupt. The firm went belly-up.
Journalism was still dead, even worse, as was everything else. So after a year of walking around in a fog and doing too much volunteering, I decided to tap what I had learned about the sector of China-based/U.S. listed companies and launched CBK in August 2009. Essentially, I put up the first version of my site over a weekend.
TBN: What business stories do you cover?
JS: The bulk of what I cover can fall under the header of “Market Moves,” including uplistings, IPOs, buyouts/Going private mergers. But I also cover executive and director resignations and appointments and SEC news, such as insider trading investigations or outright fraud.
I use my “Publisher’s Notes” column for each edition to editorialize or talk about broader issues going on in the sector, the global economy or China. It is sent by email, with “headlines” and a link to the latest news on the site.
My site also has sources of information for investors, such as a list of most of the China companies trading on the U.S. markets, organized by exchange. I include a link to each company’s website and QuoteMedia data. For another example, I am currently compiling a list of companies which have gone private or are in the process and a list of “dark” stocks (mostly on the OTC Pink or Grey markets). All this is behind the pay wall.
I also write “Special Reports” on pivotal topics. I would like to do more, but the news rains down on my every day and it is hard to find time to do longer pieces. In fact, one thing I cannot do is report quarterly numbers or numbers from annual reports. It is not possible for me to do a thorough job, so I don’t do it at all.
Right now I am only covering about 60 percent of what I would like to do with CBK. It is somewhat crippling, like a football player only being able to run the up to the five-yard line and then someone yells STOP!
TBN: How do you get your story ideas?
JS: Since public companies must disclose information which can “move” their stocks, the news is easy to gather through press releases. I keep it simple, but add context. For instance, if a company’s announces the resignation of its CFO, I will include other pertinent info they may have left out, like that the company has lost three CFOs in 18 months (a big red flag for investors), or something of that ilk.
For larger stories, I stick with topics which are current to the market. I had hoped to do more company profiles, but it is difficult to find the time bandwidth.
TBN: Who are your reader?
JS: CBK is geared for investors, whether individual or institutional. But, of course, just like any trade magazines many executives from professional services firms read it — lawyers, accountants — China-centric associations and institutions, and analysts. Also, just people interested in the China market, even if they are not going to invest in China-based/U.S. listed companies.
by Chris Roush
Quartz, the business and financial news site from The Atlantic, is planning an Indian site to launch later this year, reports Joe Pompeo of Capital New York.
Pompeo writes, “Capital has learned that Quartz is preparing an India channel to launch this spring or summer, possibly around the time of the country’s national elections in April and May. The site’s parent company, Atlantic Media, is expected to announce the project, which we’re told will consist of larger, India-specific features, as early as this week.
“A Quartz spokesperson confirmed the plans but wasn’t able to offer any further details other than to say there will be journalists devoted to the channel full time and that they are still deciding on a name. The spokesperson could not confirm whether or not there will be a local media partner but did say there will be a ‘major sponsor’ at launch.
“The move reflects a growing interest among Western outlets in the Indian media market.
“The New York Times has been publishing its India Ink blog since 2011. The Huffington Post recently announced plans to add India to its growing stable of international editions. And The Guardian is contemplating an Indian operation as well, according to a source with knowledge of its plans. (A Guardian rep said it was too early to comment on the specifics of its future international expansion plans, but chief executive Andrew Miller hinted at an India play last fall.)”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Michael Wolff of USA Today examines the value of Business Insider.
Wolff writes, “But the actual meaning and value of large digital audiences remain unclear. Only a small percentage of Business Insider’s traffic actually seeks it out and regards it as a worthy destination and a source with particular brand authority. Most other readers land on a Business Insider article because of search-engine results, or because of an engaging — tabloid-style — headline in a Facebook feed and other social-media promotions, which generate 30% of Business Insider’s traffic.
“In 2013, BI made more than $19 million, most of it selling this traffic to advertisers. It said it was profitable in the fourth quarter (usually a good quarter) and that it won’t be profitable in 2014.
“It has to produce lots of content — quantity tending to trump quality — to realize these traffic goals. But Business Insider is seeking to be not just a content mill (a site that uses bulk amounts of low-level content to attract mass traffic) but also a significant new brand, which adds costs. It has hired, if not quite a seasoned staff, young journalists with at least a bit of experience: about 70 of them now, costing upwards of $15 million a year. Overhead and other traffic-acquisition costs push expenditures well past $19 million. In other words, it costs more to get traffic than what you can sell it for.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
A computer screen in the Business Insider lobby tracks how many visitors are on its website at all times of the day, and where they are coming from.
It peers down at the unused ping-pong table. I ask a staffer if she’d like to play a game, and she says I’d probably win in a tone that implies that she rarely plays. (Two male staffers engage in a game shortly thereafter that ends in a 21-18 score and a few expletives.)
Joe Weisenthal, the site’s executive editor, admits that he hasn’t played since the summer of 2011.
“I used to play all the time, but [staffer Jay Yarow] always beat me,” said Weisenthal. “In the summer of 2011, I played constantly. I’m so rusty that I would be too embarrassed to play here. The people who play a lot have gotten so much better than me.”
Business Insider is one of the new entries in business journalism. It’s part of a number of websites changing how business and economics news is being delivered.
In the past month, Business Insider has announced a new round of financing and plans to expand into the Great Britain market. That should happen in the third quarter of this year with the hiring of about a dozen staffers in London.
“That is really exciting to me,” said Weisenthal in an interview Wednesday at Business Insider’s office in Manhattan. “I just think there is an opportunity to bring our style of coverage to that market. I think we should do very well. And I like the idea that now that we have an office in San Francisco and then in London, we can be a true 24-hour news operation.”
Business Insider’s editorial staff is currently less than 100, much less than the business journalism behemoths of Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, which employ thousands. But on Wednesday afternoon, it was busy breaking the Herbalife investigation story along with its larger competitors.
Weisenthal sits in the middle of the newsroom, shouting to reporters and tweeting constantly. On this day, he is wearing a black baseball cap, which one staffer says helps him focus. (Editor in chief Henry Blodget, who was traveling on Wednesday, also sits in the newsroom.)
Business Insider has recently expanded into writing longer-form stories as well. Weisenthal says it has no plans to expand its coverage areas. Instead, it wants to provide more depth to its current beats.
“In tech, there is an opportunity to go deeper into the companies we cover, such as Microsoft, Google and Apple,” he said. “You could theoretically have a person devoted to each one. We could certainly do more with markets and economics. We now have two retail reporters, and at one point we had no one devoted to retail.”
Weisenthal is also pleased with the site’s burgeoning video operation, which recently produced a story about the Dos Equis commercial “most interesting man in the world.”
“The video team is doing fun stuff that could not be adequately written about,” said Weisenthal. “Hearing him talk in a voice outside the commercial, I don’t think there’s anyway it could have been captured in a story.”
Coming is more graphics and more data, as well more from Business Insider’s paid research operation.
Which means less time for Weisenthal to improve on his ping-pong game.
“We need a new game,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind air hockey. But that might be too loud.”
by Chris Roush
Bankrate.com is looking for an enthusiastic journalist to work with its editorial desk on data-driven projects. Applicants must be skilled storytellers who are capable of quickly finding and analyzing data. The data journalist will join a two-person statistics team that works in all phases of story development. The stats team pitches its own ideas for the website while working with reporters and editors on other projects.
- Locate, analyze and explain financial data for Bankrate’s vast online audience.
- Develop contacts within public and private agencies that act as gatekeepers for financial statistics, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve, Census, RealtyTrac, etc.
- Work closely with Bankrate.com’s editorial team. Help them troubleshoot any issues with statistics.
- Conceive and assist in building interactive maps and calculators.
- Identify relevant Bankrate content for new products, partner needs and breaking news.
- Strong ability with Excel spreadsheets.
- Knack for finding story ideas and trends within the data.
- Experience with turning statistics into maps, charts and calculators.
- 2-3 years of reporting or editing experience.
- Understanding of SEO and Social Media.
- Enthusiasm and a penchant for acquiring new skills.
Please submit resumes and recent clips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Chris Roush
Craig Wessel, the publisher of the Portland Business Journal, writes about the paper’s 30th anniversary and how its business journalism has changed.
Wessel writes, “We had a different brand of reporter. They were trained to understand business, not demonize it. We engaged with the local business community with an understanding and respect for just how difficult it is to create a business, to grow a business, to be responsible for the livelihood of employees and, no doubt, to also hold business accountable to their responsibility to the community that supports them.
“That respect was returned and those beginnings have led to what I believe today is a relationship between our paper and the business community that is now very rare in the media industry: A relationship based on mutual trust, respect, and value.
“The things that made being a part of the startup team 30 years ago so special to me are the same things that have made the last 13 years, after coming back to Portland as publisher of the paper, the best years of my career. We have the position and the opportunity to continue to redefine how local journalism and business publishing succeeds in an explosive media landscape.
“In stark contrast to the gloomy reports about the decline of traditional media, our regional executive audience has grown more than tenfold in the last four years. We continue to publish our flagship paper every week to more than 55,000 regional executive readers. In fact, we have grown circulation for that product nine of the last 12 years (the recession was nobody’s friend). In addition, we’re now a 24/7 business news organization generating 1.3 million page views per month on the Portland Business Journal website.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
The ideal candidate will have a strong background in social media and innovative audience development efforts but a traditional sense of news judgment, a strict adherence to Reuters Trust Principles and understanding of global news.
- Managing Reuters’ editorial social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+
- Working with vendors around live blogging software and other services
- Organize newsroom-wide efforts around live-blogging breaking news and events
- Be a key player in setting and maintaining Reuters’ editorial standards around social media
- Developing specific audience development plans around targeted areas of coverage
- Engaging Reuters editorial staff globally to participate effectively in social media promotion of their stories
- Be a presence in professional organizations
by Chris Roush
Ricard Bilton of Digiday reports that BuzzFeed has hired hired Wall Street Journal data reporter and programmer Jeremy Singer-Vine, who helped produce the Journal’s data-heavy ‘What They Know’ digital privacy series and its investigation into nuclear processing and storage facilities.
Bilton reports, “His role at BuzzFeed will be to dig into similarly dense data sets to find the kinds of stories that would otherwise go untold.
“The hire is a piece of a trend, putting BuzzFeed in lockstep with publications like Vocativ and Ezra Klein’s ‘Project X,’ both of which are also playing up the importance of data journalism in their editorial.
“Since hiring editor-in-chief Ben Smith from Politico in late 2011, BuzzFeed has expanded its politics, technology, and foreign affairs teams to become a serious news organization of over 130 people. It’s also hired six investigative reporters, including Aram Roston, who won two Emmys for his work at NBC News.
“‘Since [BuzzFeed's] been around for seven years and doing journalism for two, people’s perceptions lag behind reality. There are still people not aware of the full depth of our journalistic enterprise,’ said Mark Schoofs, head of BuzzFeed’s investigative unit. ‘But their numbers are dwindling every day.’”
Read more here.