Tag Archives: blogging

“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

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

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?
Continue reading