Tag Archives: New technology
by Chris Roush
Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor and executive editor for online Alan Murray sent out the following staff promotion on Thursday:
I’m happy to announce that Andy Regal will be taking over as head of our in-depth video production unit, formerly headed by Shawn Bender.
Andy will oversee a growing team of skilled video package producers — including deputy editor Jill Kirschenbaum; Jason Bellini, who is returning to us from CNBC; Andy Jordan; Araby Williams; Linda Blake; Jarrard Cole; and Evan Simon. He also will continue to work with Lee Hawkins on his “business of celebrity” interviews, and oversee various other video projects. The task of the in-depth group, simply put, will be to create great video from our best journalism, for viewing across a rapidly-growing family of partners and channels. Andy & team will be seeking opportunities to team up with reporters on various projects, so please take their calls — or reach out to them, if you have ideas for compelling video.
Andy has served as an executive producer at CNBC and MSNBC. He was part of the launch team at Court TV and was VP of original programming in charge of developing new programming and overseeing long form content. He was also VP of original programming at College Sports Television which was sold to CBS, and most recently a founding member of Big Lead Sports, a digital sports media company, serving as EVP of programming and content. Big Lead Sports was sold to Gannett earlier this year. He has been working with us as a consultant since early May, and will report directly to me.
The video programming team headed by deputy editor Beckey Bright will report to Julie Iannuzzi, executive director of video. Joanne Po remains executive producer, live video.
by Chris Roush
Janelle Harris of MediaBistro.com interviewed David Ho, mobile and tablets editor at The Wall Street Journal, about how the business newspaper distributes and displays its content in new media formats.
Hers is an excerpt:
The WSJ was one of the first major newspapers to develop an iPad app, and it was met with both cheers and jeers. What did that process teach you about what people want in a technology?
The best technology is invisible. It doesn’t call attention to itself. It doesn’t get in the way of the experience. It just works. That’s why books and newspapers are great tech. I like to think of a newspaper — the actual paper kind — as a highly refined and still very effective mobile news technology. And that has lessons for mobile today if you think about where and when and how people consume news. People like technology that’s clean, simple and intuitive.
Not everyone agrees with this, but I also think people should have options. One of the reasons people like our app is that there are many ways to navigate and explore the news. There are distinct styles for reading news and a good app allows for that. But my number one rule for mobile and tablets is do not annoy. It’s so easy to piss people off on a mobile device, and the threshold for what people will put up with before they move on is very low. You know all the technology that’s supposed to make our lives easier, but winds up making things more complicated and frustrating? That’s what you have to fight against.
Read more here.
The public nature of Twitter lends to a two-way conversation that allows reporters to source stories and connect with their audience, said Forbes Media LLC science and medicine reporter Mathew Herper in a conference call for contributing blog writers Thursday.
“It’s like a cocktail party in a bar where everyone is shouting,” Herper said in the conference call from New York. “Twitter is a great way to meet colleagues, competitors and sources.”
The ability to have a public conversation on Twitter also helps to draw in an audience interested in a reporter’s beat and allows a journalist to raise his or her profile by tweeting links to articles.
Herper, however, warned that the main point of Twitter is for engaging in conversation and sourcing, and that it doesn’t generate as much traffic to stories as other social media platforms, such as Facebook. While journalists should talk to people they want to get to know, they also shouldn’t dominate the conversation or ask for retweets and follows.
“You can find industry groups on Twitter and have really technical conversations in short format,” Herper said. “Anyone can follow and join in. It has a ‘free-for-all’ brawl feeling that you can’t get through any other medium.”
Herper said that he has written entire articles where he did almost all of his sourcing on Twitter.
“I’ve quoted from tweets directly, and without asking,” Herper said. “But only from sources that I know.”
When asked about potentially exposing sources through Twitter conversations, Herper said that most of is sources are not a secret, and that if he planned to talk to a source off the record, he would never do this via social media. Most often said that these sorts of conversations happen via phone, he said.
Twitter is “more public than a public square,” Herper reminded the contributing writers during the call.
“Tweets are public unless someone has them locked,” Herper said. “And even then, I would assume that they are public because people can easily retweet them.”
Journalists also should remember that because tweets are 140 characters or less, they can more easily cross the line into being misunderstood, and minor disagreements can appear to be major fights.
To avoid getting into these kinds of situations, Herper advised Forbes contributors to stay on subject, and to know that subject well.
Raising your journalistic profile via Twitter
While Twitter can be used to share links of stories that journalists have written themselves, this often isn’t the best way to engage an audience on Twitter and attract a following, Herper said.
“Twitter doesn’t share a story well for days. That’s not what it’s for,” Herper said.
Because tweeting links doesn’t generate as much traffic as other social media, the best way to use it is for topical conversations and engaging with followers on a personal basis.
Herper recommended finding groups of people that interest you and begin conversations by following them. Engaging with and meeting new sources in this way help to drive new story ideas.
“You can maximize traffic from Twitter by being in the conversation with people who are interested in your stuff,” Herper said.
Retweeting stories that are interesting to a journalists but not necessarily their own can help to increase their following.
“I don’t think worrying about what time you should tweet or tweeting about trending topics is a good way to use twitter. It’s okay to tweet at a time when people don’t tend to be listening as much, and then again in the morning,” Herper said. “If you repeat yourself a little, people don’t tend to mind as much on Twitter.”
And if all else fails?
“Get Justin Bieber to retweet your story. That’s the most clicks on a story I’ve ever gotten from Twitter.”
by Chris Roush
Available for Journal digital subscribers by desktop and as a web app saved to smartphones, the stream brings together the expertise of the Journal’s network of business reporters across the globe.
Anchoring the stream are posts from the new Corporate Intelligence blog, which covers the businesses, industries and companies big and small that are shaping our times. Peering inside board rooms and across industry ecosystems, Corporate Intelligence will produce market-moving news, and analyze, in real-time, what business changes mean for investors, customers, and employees.
“We’re speeding up the highest-quality content of The Wall Street Journal, and we’re delivering it in the way more people are reading today—on their smartphones,” said Dennis K. Berman, the Journal’s Marketplace editor, in a statement.
In conjunction with the Journal’s worldwide reporting staff, the stream and blog will be edited and written by Tom Gara, who recently joined the Journal from the Financial Times, with assistance from Joseph B. White, a Journal reporter based in Detroit who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of management turmoil at General Motors.
In my (long ago) days as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, I used to keep a monster steel rotary contact file next to my telephone.
It was my lifeblood. In it were contained the names and contact information for the vast majority of my sources. Often, on my source cards, I also noted spouses and kids’ names; perhaps a birth date or anniversary; even a favorite restaurant or bar where my contacts liked to hang out.
I kept personal contact cards in my rotary file as well. Family. Friends. Restaurants (takeout and especially delivery numbers).
No one – and I mean no one – got to peek into my contact file. For truth, if some public relations or corporate communications executive had been able to study it, s/he would have learned more about me and who had my ear than I would ever be willing to publicly disclose.
And then came Twitter.
While communications executives already follow legions of journalists who have Twitter accounts, the vast majority of journalists simply use the social networking service as a headline service for stories that they or their colleagues have reported.
My NewsBios research colleagues and I do pay attention to what the journalists we track post on Twitter. It is a convenient one-stop method of knowing who is reporting what. And some journalists, especially the younger ones, feel at liberty to share their personal lives, opinions and sense of humor with their followers. That’s a nice bonus when we’re hunting for insights that wouldn’t otherwise surface in their news stories or in their official bios.
But for me and my NewsBios team, who aim to ascertain the rarely seen influences that impact how a journalist reports and how an individual journalist’s personal experiences and biases integrate into their professional lives, nothing beats a thorough analysis of whom the journalists follow on Twitter.
Granted, this is more art than science. For any single given journalist, reading too much into whom they are tracking on Twitter can be misleading.
But when you look at trends across dozens, even hundreds of journalists – as we do monthly – what emerges is a reasonably accurate picture of the private side of these public reporters, editors and anchors. Kind of like having the opportunity to browse through a journalist’s contacts file.
Here are the 10 most common personal “tells” we spot when scrutinizing who it is that journalists follow on Twitter:
- Corporate executives at the companies the journalist covers, as well as the analysts, trade groups and university professors who opine on these companies. Tell: These may not be the journalist’s absolute closest contacts, but they’re highly likely to be among the reporter’s best sources. [If your executives aren’t included here, why not?]
- A journalist who tracks some of his/her news competitors – same beat, but not all of his/her competitors. Tell: These are the rival reporters who the journalist worries about being scooped by the most. If you place a story with one of these “other” reporters, this journalist will surely take note of it.
- A journalist who follows account executives at public relations firms. Two Tells: 1.) The journalist values PR professionals more than most of his/her peers, some of who are outright hostile to the PR industry. 2.) The specific PR executives who the journalist follows have a higher placement “batting average” with the journalist than do others. [Again, if your agency isn’t listed here, why not?]
- A journalist who selectively follows the accounts of other reporters and editors at the same news organization. Tell: These follows are members of the journalist’s inner circle. The journalist either reports to these Twitter account holders, works right alongside them, or has become personal friends with them. These account holders have disproportionate influence with this journalist.
- Twitter account members with the same family name. Tell: Not only have you identified a spouse, sibling, parent or child, you’ve found one that the journalist is still close to. Examine these people’s Twitter accounts for additional clues into the journalist’s background and non-newsroom influences.
- A journalist, who is not a political reporter, who follows the campaign accounts of either President Obama or Mitt Romney, but not both. Tell: The journalist’s candidate-of-choice this November.
- A journalist who follows: Huffington Post, MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman and/or Ed Schultz, but none of the Twitter accounts listed in No. 8 (next). Tell: Leans to the political left.
- A journalist who follows: Fox News, The Drudge Report, Breitbart.com, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michele Malkin and/or James Taranto, but none of the Twitter accounts listed in No. 7 (above). Tell: Leans to the political right.
- Inexplicable Twitter account holders, especially nonprofit groups that serve communities of those who have chronic illnesses or advocate on behalf of lesser-known causes. Tell: Chances are good that the journalist or a close family member has been touched by this illness or has ties to the cause.
- Local restaurants, bars, art galleries, retail outlets and salons. Tell: Take a close look at the journalist’s Twitter photo. You’re likely to spot the journalist on a recurring basis at these venues, located close either to where the journalist works or lives.
by Chris Roush
Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes about how delivering business news content in a variety of ways can help publications.
Dvorkin writes, “Journalism in the digital era requires disruptive business models. Dispensing with satellite transmission and truck delivery in favor of wi-fi on planes may be part of it. So is finding a scalable model for publishing quality content that satisfies the voracious appetite of digital news consumers. Then you have to match the cost of producing it with what marketers are willing to pay. Most traditional media companies still struggle with century-old, bureaucratic editorial processes better suited for older technology. Many romantically cling to high-cost newsrooms built for a different economic and advertising climates.
“FORBES has spent two years reinventing timeworn news systems for today’s technology. We’ve had solid success. That doesn’t prevent many fitful nights, largely because I know we must think even harder to keep up with the speed at which consumers are shifting to mobile. And if we need to do that, so do marketers and their ad agencies. Here’s a look at the state of play:
“The Growing Mobile Audience: In the good-problem-to-have department, our mobile audience is racing ahead — onsite and offsite. On Forbes.com, 25% of our 33 million monthly users (Omniture) access the site with smartphones and tablets. In August, mobile visits were up 200% from a year earlier. Perhaps most telling, Facebook visits from consumers using its mobile app soared 1,000% in the same period. Offsite, we attracted an audience on Flipboard last month that was up 400% from a year ago, rivaling our FORBES magazine subscription base. Driven by Android adoption, our flips were up 38% from the prior month, at 22 per reader.”
Read more here.
by Liz Hester
Panel discussions at the fall Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in New York touched on topics ranging from how to increase revenue and audiences to social media best practices.
Nearly everyone agreed that the best way to attract and retain audiences was to produce quality content and deliver value. Sitting on the panel were Josh Tyrangiel, editor of Bloomberg Businessweek; Nik Deogun, senior vice president and editor of business news at CNBC; and Gary Silverman, U.S. News editor at the Financial Times.
“People don’t read out of obligation anymore,” Tyrangiel said. “You want to use everything you’ve got to impress people that you care.”
It’s important for business organizations to smartly explain business news, especially complicated stories, Deogun said. Journalists are paid to analyze events and present balanced facts.
The conversation turned to advertising and placement online. Tyrangiel said his vision was for fewer ads on the page and higher quality views for advertisers. He said companies need to consider building more customized ads in order to better engage audiences.
On the social media front, all of those on the panel talked about how to engage people in the conversation, especially on their mobile devices. Bloomberg created a specific social media policy and trained every reporter on it. Everyone agreed that social media created another important way to reach an audience and integration into current platforms would happen more quickly.
Journalists and public relations executives discussed the best way to work with each other in one of the day’s later panels. Author and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin and Vanity Fair contributor Bethany McLean were joined by Bill Hensel of Invesco, Ben Deutsch, vice president of public relations at Coca-Cola; Herbert Winokur, CEO of Capricon Holdings, and Stephen Labaton, former New York Times reporter and partner at RLM Finsbury.
Much of the conversation was about the state of distrust between companies and the financial media. Labaton said the level of cynicism had increased, partly due to the rise of some journalists as pundits. Since the line is being blurred between reporting fact and analysis, it can lead to a lack of access or mistrust.
Some of the mistrust comes into play when companies try to front-run stories or keep reporters from breaking news. All on the panel agreed that it is important to establish a relationship. Over time, that’s what helps public relations people make the case to their executives for talking to reporters about stories or sitting down for interviews.
Panelists also discussed the recent controversy over quote approvals. Deutsch said that he would never ask for approvals, but appreciated it when reporters would review what was said for accuracy.
Sorkin said the real reason for quote approval was to limit what was published. Television is always on the record, while those who ask to do interviews on background and review quotes are trying to limit what is published.
McLean said she had real sympathy for executives who have no incentive to speak on the record. She said she would rather have the conversation and not use any of the information on the record than not know what the interviewee thought.
Several of the public relations executives also agreed companies were struggling to find the right way to use social media. Blogs and other tools should be additive to the coverage and not try to front-run stories reporters bring to them.
Most of those on the panel agreed that there should be a shift back to more dialogue and openness on the part of both companies and journalists. While the adversarial relationship was built into the relationship, both sides agreed people should listen and remain open to having a conversation.
by Chris Roush
The business media use Twitter as a promotional tool and are not building an online community, according to research presented Friday by two Virginia Commonwealth University professors.
Vivian Medina-Messner and Marcus Messner found that the top business media outlets need to use Twitter as an online social network, not just another publication platform. “More attention needs to be paid to community building — use of hashtags, handles, retweets,” the wrote.
Their research was presented Friday at the 11th annual “Convergence and Society” conference at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. The conference, which is organized by the USC College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, this year is focused on business journalism.
The professors studied tweets, retweets, headline tweets, Twitter handle use, hashtag and link use by media and frequency of retweets by audience for nine major business media outlets between July and September. The business media outlets were the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times business section, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg, Fortune, Businessweek and The Economist.
Of those media Twitter accounts, The Economist has the most followers with more than 2.3 million, while Fox Business has the least with 105,000. However, Bloomberg News uses Twitter the most, while Fox Business uses it the least.
However, nearly 45 percent of all business media tweets are simply headlines, and 99.8 percent simply link to internal links. Only one out of every six business media tweet uses a hashtag, and only one out of every eight is a retweet.
Fortune magazine retweets (one-third of all of its tweets during the study time) the most, while The Economist does no retweeting. Fox Business Network uses hashtags the most, with more than half of its tweets having hashtags. It also tweets headlines the least of all of the business media.
On average, readers of The Economist Twitter feed retweet the most, or about 126 retweets per tweet, while followers of The Wall Street Journal Twitter feed retweet the least, with an average of 3.6 retweets per tweet.
Medina-Messner and Messner suggest that in-depth interviews with social media editors and reporters at business media could help better understand why some business news organizations use Twitter more than others.
by Liz Hester
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers fall conference began in New York on Thursday with two lively panel discussions — but only after everyone had a couple of drinks at the opening reception sponsored by the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University.
The first panel, “How Social is Changing the Media,” featured Martin Wolk, executive business editor, NBC News Digital; Lewis Dvorkin, chief product officer, Forbes Media; and Emily Friedlander Peck, managing editor, business, The Huffington Post.
Wolk kicked off the discussion by outlining NBC’s evolving strategy. One interesting tidbit: It gets about half its traffic on breaking news from mobile devices. NBC is active already on Facebook and Twitter, and is looking at Pinterest and Instagram as other places to increase its presence.
DVorkin, who is credited with reinventing Forbes digital which now relies heavily contributor content, said it is looking to reinvent the newsroom processes and build a sustainable model for journalism. His sites are “banking on the individual as a brand” as well as for each person to be accountable and accurate.
Forbes contributors can see how many people are reading and commenting on their posts every 15 minutes. They also have tools to integrate with social media. The idea is to create a new model that’s profitable and lucrative for the writers involved.
The Huffington Post web site also has constant feedback, enabling editors to shift resources according to reader response, Friedlander Peck said. She admitted that many people in the newsroom were “obsessed” with the data, but the site also pushed stories it thinks are important. It’s this balance of giving the audience what they want and also pushing stories that should be told that makes the site successful.
Friedlander Peck gave the example of David Wood’s stories on soldiers returning from war weren’t the most read, she said, but he ended up winning a Pulitzer since The Huffington Post continued to run and promote them.
Forbes has built a new concept in newsroom that includes data analysis and audience development, Dvorkin said. Top editors meet weekly to go over what readers are responding to and push stories through social media. A representative from the ad sales team is in the newsroom to help fulfill campaigns for spiking news.
“We want to produce relevant content. We only know it’s relevant if we look at the numbers and see where it’s going,” Dvorkin said. “Our expertise is content. What we’re trying to do is be good technology integrators.”
Forbes contributors are contractually required to respond to reader comments, helping drive the conversations. And they view all content the same – journalists, marketers, contributors – and it dynamically flows through the site. They’re also paid for building a loyal audience, so a contributor is paid more for return clicks.
At the Huffington Post, Peck said that contributor content looks different than staff content, but that it may be hard for readers to tell the difference. Staff reporters are more closely edited, while bloggers don’t receive the same level of editing.
For some in traditional newsrooms, the notion of having ad salespeople and markets contributing to a site may be controversial. But audience driven content is helping both sites sell ads and increase readership.
by Chris Roush
Crain’s Chicago Business will release an iPad application next month, furthering the publication’s efforts to put its digital strategy first while maintaining a “strong” print product, announced publisher David Snyder.
“He noted that the need to focus on the publication’s digital strategy comes at a ‘very challenging time in publishing.’ Print advertising and subscription revenue has been dropping over the past decade across the industry as both advertisers and readers shift to a broader range of online publications, blogs and other sites.
“Mr. Snyder, who became publisher in 2010 after rising through the publication’s ranks, also noted that Crain’s Chicago Business in June launched an metered pay system online, which prompts readers to register or subscribe after they view a certain number of articles a month.”
Read more here.