Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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

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

NERVOUS EDITORS, PART 3: HOW LONG WILL BLOGGERS TRADE CONTENT FOR EXPOSURE?

Over my last two posts, I have answered five of the most common questions I get from editors curious or nervous about incorporating bloggers in their newspapers and websites. Three posts ago, I answered questions about risking hard-won credibility. Two posts ago, I addressed fears of losing control of content, and the differences between professional journalists and reporters. And in my last post, I talked about the limits to reader involvement, and the fear of bloggers enabling publishers to cut staff.

The sixth and last question, about bloggers’ willingness to trade content for exposure, is one I get from editors and bloggers alike. Here are my thoughts on that subject:

6. Are you sure that community bloggers will be willing to produce their content for free in the future, as they mostly do now? How will it affect newspaper economics if these bloggers ask for a payment? Continue reading

REASSURANCE FOR EDITORS NERVOUS ABOUT USING BLOGS IN THEIR PAPERS & WEBSITES

Editors are worried about publishing local bloggers in their web pages. I answer their concerns below. (Photo by Tom Carmony, on Flickr/CC)

I just returned from Vienna, Austria where I spoke to the International Newsmedia Marketing Association’s Europe Outlook 2009 Conference about using local bloggers to enhance their reach, relevance and revenue.

Olivier Bonsart, Director Délégué of Ouest-France leads a song at INMA 2008 Europe conference in Vienna.

Olivier Bonsart, Director Délégué of Ouest-France, leads a song at INMA 2008 Europe conference in Vienna. (Photo by Knallgrau; courtesy INMA)

(By the way: Those folks know how to drink! Unlike too many of my American editorial friends who drink to get morose — not a long trip — and stupid, these people drank to have fun. We started with a traditional “Heuriger Dinner” at 8 and were still going strong at 2, taking turns singing drinking songs from each country. With more than 20 countries in attendance, we provided quite a musical buffet at the restaurant, on the bus back to the hotel and in the hotel bar! I’m looking for good American, especially Boston, drinking songs if anyone has suggestions!)

The audience — publishers, editors and marketing directors from more than 20 countries — were very interested in adding local bloggers to their content mix. I have already heard from newspapers in Hungary, England, India, France, Sweden, Belgium, and Poland about how to go about integrating user-generated content in their publications’ websites and print products.

The questions and concerns were the same that I hear when I speak to American editors: What about our hard-earned credibility? How can I trust writers I don’t know? Isn’t there a difference between professional journalists and bloggers? Is there a limit to reader involvement? Couldn’t this just be a publisher trick to cut staff? And, how long will bloggers be willing to do this for free? Continue reading

BRINGING BLOGGERS INTO YOUR NEWSPAPER MAKES YOUR PAPER “OUR PAPER” FOR READERS

How many newspaper readers feel a personal connection with their metro daily newspaper? How many think of the paper as “our newspaper” or “my newspaper”?

Nobody I know.

Readers see their metro paper as “their” newspaper, a publication reflecting the interests, opinions, and work of other people not remotely connected to the them and their lives.

Not BostonNOW.

When BostonNOW was up and running (I was the editor-in-chief), we had 3,900 local bloggers posting to their blogs on our site (which, sadly, closed after a year in business when the investors ran out of money in April).

Our bloggers, and their friends, families and business connections, considered BostonNOW “our paper.” And it truly was. The website AND the paper carried their work, and the work of people like them.
Continue reading