BLOG MATCHMAKER: CREATING SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN INFORMATION COMPANIES AND WRITERS

One of the best newspaper industry analysts and practitioners, Ken Doctor, has just published a book, “Newsonomics,” and created a companion website. He asked me to answer some questions about bloggers, the news industry, and how I help bring the two together. Here’s a link to the piece.

In a nutshell, he asked if I was a “blog wrangler.” I told him “blog wranglers” just grab as many bloggers as possible and dump them into blog ghettos on newspaper websites with little regard to organization or quality.

By contrast, as a “blog matchmaker,” I deeply search, carefully analyze, thoroughly vet, and then personally invite only the very best bloggers in a niche to partner with a news or information website to the benefit of both parties.

Read the entire piece on Ken’s new Newsonomics site. And let me know what you think.

“CHICAGO NOW” EDITORS MAKE LIKE EARLY ROCKET SCIENTISTS AND MISFIRE WITH BLOGS

ChicagoNOW editors make blog aggregation look like U.S. rocket science in the Sputnik era (Flickr photo by numberstumper/CC)

ChicagoNOW editors make blog aggregation look like early U.S. rocket science: Misfires (Flickr pic: numberstumper/CC)

Blog aggregation is not rocket science.

It does, however, require common sense.

And common sense would seem to scream: “STOP! DON’T DO IT” if someone suggested creating a stand-alone website made up of a bunch of largely anonymous writers with no organizing principle other than that the writers are all largely anonymous and all from Chicago.

But that’s what the Chicago Tribune’s highly touted “ChicagoNOW” is doing. No categories (well, there’s “recent posts”). Virtually no promotion on the Tribune site. No promotion in the print version of the Trib. No helpful editorial decisions indicating that a couple of blogs that day are really excellent. Continue reading

UNORGANIZED USER-GENERATED CONTENT DUMPED IN A BLOGGER GHETTO IS NONSENSE

"Hey, honey, I've got a great idea for Friday night! Whaddya say we go home and read some generic user-generated blogs tonight?! Sound like fun?" (Flickr photo by larryfishkorn/CC/With permissions)

"Hey, honey, I've got a great idea for Friday night! Whaddya say we go home and read some generic user-generated blogs tonight?! Sound like fun?" (Flickr photo by larryfishkorn/CC/With permissions)

HIGH-QUALITY NON-STAFF BLOGS SHOULD RUN IN THE WEBSITE (AND PAPER) SECTION PERTAINING TO THEIR TOPIC.

When was the last time your colleagues said they were heading out for a wild weekend of reading generic user-generated blogs?

Never, right?

No one (in their right mind) reads blogs just because some other reader wrote them.

And yet, that’s what editors must think because they keep putting ALL reader-written blogs together on one big web page (ghetto), whether those bloggers are writing about knitting or martial arts or kitty cats or Jesus. How fascinating. How compelling. Continue reading

WHY CAN’T NEWSPAPERS FIGURE OUT HOW TO INCORPORATE QUALITY LOCAL BLOGGERS?

Le Monde's website integrates high-quality non-staff blogs like this one.

Le Monde's website integrates high-quality non-staff blogs like this one.

In my last post, I looked at the failures of newspapers who are trying to do the right thing (incorporate high-quality local bloggers) but failing because they are either opening the doors to everyone (it’s fun but mostly nonsense), they are putting the bloggers in a blogger “ghetto” all by themselves (as if readers were interested in reading any blog), or they are turning their blogger aggregation operations over to an outside company — for example, in the case of the Des Moines paper, to Pluck (note: Chris Snider pointed out in his comments that the Register is doing good work elsewhere on their site; more on that soon).

It’s not like there aren’t great examples of successful blog aggregation staring newspapers right in the face.

The Huffington Post came into Chicago and stole great local bloggers who otherwise might have appeared in the Tribune and driven traffic to the paper's website instead of the interloping HuffPo.

The Huffington Post came into Chicago and stole great local bloggers who otherwise might have appeared in the Tribune and driven traffic to the paper's website instead of the interloping HuffPo.

By embarrassingly stark contrast to clueless newspapers, the Huffington Post came into Chicago and stole the very best local bloggers from under the Chicago Tribune’s nose. HuffPo gave those bloggers an enviably simple and attractive HuffPo URL on one of the most popular sites in the world (e.g., http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-jones, and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-cusack). Continue reading

CAN HIGH-QUALITY BLOGGERS HELP RESCUE NEWSPAPERS?

Dodo Bird silhouette(The INNOVATIONS IN NEWSPAPERS 2009 World Report is out and I have a piece in it called, “Can Top-Quality Local Bloggers Help Rescue Newspapers.” I republish it here for those who have not seen the report. It can be ordered here. This is the first of two parts.)

No one knows what the Dodo bird sounded like. But it might have sounded a lot like the bleating of today’s newspaper editors: “Never change, never change, never change!”

The Dodo bird was fatally fearless of its predators and could not evolve fast enough to survive in a changing environment. By the late 1600s, it was gone.

Wake-up call to newspapers: Don’t be dodos! It’s not too late to evolve. But time is running out. And here’s a tip: When it comes to information, people want great content.

They do not really care if the content has been created by the newspaper’s own reporters. Readers simply want the BEST content available. Continue reading

Nine minutes that could help save your newspaper: How local bloggers can add content, revenue, reach

When I spoke at the International Newsmedia Marketing Association “The Newspaper Outlook Experience” conference in Vienna, Austria last fall, I was interviewed by Artur Karda, multimedia reporter at Media Regionalne, for the Forum4Editors report on the conference.

This is a shot taken during my presentation at the INMA Europe "Outlook" conference in Vienna, Oct. 2008

This is a shot taken during my presentation at the INMA Europe "Outlook" conference in Vienna, Oct. 2008

Artur e-mailed the video to me recently. In it, he poses all the questions I hear from newspaper publishers and editors, and gets it all into a tight 9-minute piece.

I’m putting it up so everyone can hear, in one concise presentation, all the editorial, advertising and traffic arguments for incorporating high-quality local bloggers into newspaper print and online products.

GlobalPost launches with hundreds of global blogs

globalpost-home-page

With the recent launch of GlobalPost, high-quality bloggers are being given positions of prominence for the first time on a major news media website, starting with promotion on the home page. Hundreds of top-notch bloggers from 41 countries around the world also appear on the region pages (e.g., Europe), the country pages (e.g., South Africa), and pages of their very own (e.g., Iraq Pundit, South Africa Rocks, Mexico Woods, The Soul of Japan, etc.).

"An Indian Muslim's Blog" on GlobalPost.com

"An Indian Muslim's Blog" on GlobalPost.com

GlobalPost, where I am the Global Blog Coordinator on a consulting basis, recognized that there is a lot of terrific content being created around the world by excellent writers who are experts in their field or who are simply well-informed or passionate about a subject or country. That on-the-ground, grassroots-level reporting adds to the professional work of our correspondents in each country, giving GlobalPost readers a complete picture of life, events, trends, and peculiarities in each of dozens of countries worldwide. Continue reading