FINDING THE “WORLD’S BEST BLOGGERS” PROJECT AT GLOBALPOST.COM

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I want to introduce you to a very exciting project I am working on as the Director of Global Blog Development for a cool new organization called GlobalPost.com.

It will be the first online-only world news service, and will launch in January with 70 correspondents in 53 countries “to satisfy a growing need for independent, reliable, insightful and up-to-the-minute coverage and analysis of news in every region of the world.”

A pioneer in the development of 24-hour local cable news, former New England Cable News President and founder Phil Balboni came up with the idea with another New England legend, Charlie Sennott, the former veteran Boston Globe foreign correspondent. They have an awesome video about their mission on their home page. Go take a look: <a href=http://www.globalnewsenterprises.com/>

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I approached them over the summer about adding hundreds of local bloggers from around the world to GlobalPost’s corps of correspondents. While the correspondents are great, they can only be in one place at one time. Bloggers are everywhere. And they are very, very local. 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

ANSWERS TO EDITORS WORRIED ABOUT PUBLISHING LOCAL BLOGGERS, PART 2

Editors are not publishing reader blogs on their main website (if at all) and not at all in their print products because of concerns over credibility, professionalism, accuracy, etc. I answer those concerns below and in the previous post. (Photo by cayusa on flickr, CC)

In my last post (“Doubting Thomases“), I began answering the questions of editors who are nervous about publishing local bloggers in their websites and print products.

Prior to my speech Oct. 2 in Vienna, Austria at the International Newsmedia Marketing Association’s Europe 2008 conference, the organizers posed the questions they’d been getting from editors concerned about the use of user-generated content.

In my last post, I answered the first question, “Don’t third-party content providers threaten our hard-earned credibilty?”

Here are questions #2 and #3:

2. Editors are responsible for what they publish. How can they take responsibility for authors and content they know nothing about?
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DOUBTING THOMASES: TOO MANY NEWSPAPER EDITORS STILL QUESTION THE VALUE OF BLOGS

Newspaper editors mimic these monkeys when it comes to incorporating local bloggers in their print and Web pages. (Photo by by Demi Sourire/CC)

Newspaper editors mimic these monkeys when it comes to incorporating local bloggers in their print and Web pages. (Photo by by Demi Sourire/CC)

Even as Technorati is releasing its 2008 State of the Blogosphere report documenting the fact that 346 million people world-wide read blogs, that 184 million people world-wide have started a blog, and that there are almost a million blog posts a day, there are still doubters.

If blogging weren’t such an information creation and disbursement tsunami, I could shrug off editors who shrug off bloggers.

But bloggers represent one very powerful solution to the circulation/readership problems faced by newspapers. And editors ignore them at their peril.
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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.
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THE POWER OF LOCAL BLOGS IN A NEWSPAPER

The cover slide of the presentation about blogs and newspapers I gave to the national Brazilian newspaper association in August, 2008

The cover slide of the presentation about blogs and newspapers I gave to the national Brazilian newspaper association in August, 2008. Click on the picture to see the high-quality version. (Warning: It is a 21-minute presentation with six embedded video interviews.)

I’m back.

I spent most of August preparing for a big speech at the national Brazil newspaper association’s annual convention about how bloggers can build a newspaper’s circulation, web traffic, and revenue. It took a lot of time gathering data, doing video interviews, editing, creating, etc. (see show above).

My daughter and I at Newport, RI.

My daughter and I at Newport, RI.

Full disclosure: I also spent a wonderful ten days on a work-free vacation on Buzzard’s Bay with my wife and two daughters surfing real waves, not the Web (Melissa and I with our boards on the left)!

Speaking at the Brazil national newspaper conference.

I presented the slide show with six embedded videos in Sao Paulo in late August. You can view it here (medium quality, and it might not work on Firefox) and here (high-quality). More thoughts on the incredibly healthy Brazilian newspaper industry later…
If you don’t want to sit through all 21 minutes of the show, I am going to publish pieces of it here in my blog all week. Each interviewee, in particular, makes a compelling case for newspapers to include local bloggers in the print and online products in a significant way.
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