Tag Archives: digital media

Cheezburger Network’s Ben Huh asks why we consume news like it’s 1899

Posted on by sbhatt

Ben Huh, a former AAJA member and Northwestern University journalism grad, is founder and CEO of Seattle-based Cheezburger Network. He’s recently blogged about problems he sees with how news is presented online today, and ReadWriteWeb reports on a new news platform Huh is developing – The Moby Dick Project. Be sure to add your comments to the conversation!

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JOBS: Multimedia Editor, The Oregonian

Calling all photographers, videographers and multimedia producers! There’s a rare job opening at The Oregonian in Portland and what a job!

Thanks to the Mediastorm blog for posting the job.

Here’s the posting:

The Oregonian is looking for a multimedia editor to join their team of award-winning journalists.

This editor’s responsibilities will be newsroom-wide. The new Visuals team member will:

* Edit multimedia projects quickly, accurately and to the highest journalistic standards.
* Add variety and strength to our daily multimedia production — increasing the tools for reporters and photographers and broadening the expectations for viewers.
* Continue the ongoing training of reporters, photographers and editors in video technique, technical problem solving and story-telling skills.
* Serve as an advocate for multimedia projects as editorial proposals are presented.

The chosen candidate will assist with helping to focus and better implement our newsroom-wide multimedia strategy. That will include editing and coordinating everything from clip video to highly produced multimedia projects. A special emphasis will include the continuing evolution of our photo department from a focus on the still image to one that embraces multimedia daily.

Applicants must have proficiency with Final Cut Pro and DSLR cameras. Working experience in Photoshop, Motion, Soundtrack and Aperture is also a requirement. And it’s preferred to have experience with HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Flash. In addition, this person should have a grasp of all social media best practices.

Interested parties should apply electronically by sending their material to:

Randy Cox,
Director of Visual Journalism
rcox@oregonian.com

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Sea Beez meetup: Best practices in journalism

Posted on by sbhatt

The “Sea Beez” ethnic media project is holding a roundtable on best practices in journalism from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 23 at KOMO’s Fisher Plaza.

In May, AAJA Seattle and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ) co-hosted the launch party for the Sea Beez project, which aims to build the capacity of Puget Sound area ethnic media and empower them to strengthen their business and journalism practices.

Julie Pham, managing editor of Northwest Vietnamese News, directs the project. Pham invites AAJA and SABJ members to the event on Sept. 23. The project’s website is seabeez.com.

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Missed the 2010 AAJA National Convention? Here’s a taste.

Couldn’t make it to Los Angeles to attend the AAJA Convention? Or didn’t have a chance to attend all the sessions (or all the ones you wanted to attend were at the same time)?

No problem. Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can get a taste of the convention experience long after it’s over.

#AAJA Tweets — What the Hashtag has a transcript of all the tweets made during the convention.

Web tools and Social media — One of the convention highlights were several presentations from Robert Hernandez, a professor at the University of Southern California (and former senior news producer and director of development at The Seattle Times). Check out his handy site for interesting web tools as well as his Intermediate Social Media presentation (done with Justin Osofsky of the Facebook Development Network) .  And here’s a great takeaway made by Hernandez during his presentations: “You are a lazy journalist if you only use social media. You are a lazy journalist if you don’t use social media.”

Presentation bits and pieces. Sacramento-based multimedia journalist Cody Kitaura has a great post that includes a variety of audio, quotes and links from several convention presentations.

AAJA Voices. The student multi-platform project was a great success thanks to great professional mentors and top notch leadership from AAJA Seattle’s own Marian Liu. The site is chock full of video, photos and stories from the convention and around LA. Don’t know where to start? Check out this video by three-time Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship winner Peter Sessum on the convention experience of AAJA Seattle student member Katelin Chow. (And it’s worth noting that Peter practices what he preaches about social media — he was among the top 10 tweeters during the convention!)

Got photos? Share and check out convention photos on the AAJA Seattle Facebook Group or on AAJA Seattle’s Flickr page. (There is also a link to the Flickr page on the right side of the webpage.)

Finally, it’s never too early to think about next year. The next AAJA National Convention will be in Detroit on Aug. 10-13, 2011. Check out the video below.

2011 AAJA National Convention Heads to Detroit from Annabelle Udo on Vimeo.

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Mobile apps: A source of real revenue for news orgs?

Posted on by sbhatt

On Thursday night, I attended a panel discussion on mobile advertising put on by TiE-Seattle, a not-for-profit group dedicated to fostering and supporting entrepreneurship. TiE-Seattle is part of a global network born in the early 1990s when Silicon Valley entrepreneurs of South Asian heritage decided to hold regular meetups.

The panel discussion certainly had some noteworthy speakers, but more on that later.

First, the WHY.

As in, why might mobile advertising be an important subject for journalists, especially those in print media, to think about?

Even if more people than ever are consuming what journalists create, the revenue that pays for the people, the equipment and the overhead is shrinking. (It’s no surprise publishers like the New York Times are planning to erect paywalls for their content starting next year.)

I thought newspapers might be stabilizing in 2010 after two terrible years, but the former media executive and bearish pundit Alan Mutter recently raised alarms again that the newspaper industry is still in trouble, having missed out on the recovery in advertising spending in the first quarter of 2010. His chart says it all: “Newspaper and magazine [ad] sales in the first quarter dropped respectively 9.7% and 3.9% at the same time television expenditures advanced 10.5%, Internet rose 7.5% and radio gained 6.0%.”

Auto and retail advertising historically have been important sources of newspaper ad revenue, so it’s disturbing to hear that even as auto and retail sales rose in the first quarter, spending on newspaper advertising for these verticals plunged. Clearly, some big car advertisers (i.e. Ford, Mercedes) are testing other ways to deliver ad impressions to potential customers.

Motor Trend magazine earlier this year launched an iPhone app with Mercedes-Benz sponsorship. According to an article in eMarketer, the iPhone app was part of an integrated marketing campaign in which Mercedes wanted to convey the message that the E-Class represents the next generation of Mercedes-Benz design and technology.

Advertisers like Mercedes-Benz are eager to deliver their messages to the booming number of mobile customers. Get the stats here.

Publishers are branding themselves too with apps. The alternate weeklies in Seattle, The Stranger and Seattle Weekly, have happy hour apps.

The question is can newspapers, most of which have weak engineering capacity and change-resistant cultures, come up with apps compelling enough to make the upfront development costs payoff? The Miami Herald’s iPhone app for baseball fans has been a hit. My own employer, The Seattle Times, has an iPhone app.

The challenge for media organizations is not simply migrating their content to mobile devices (just as they migrated it to the web), but leveraging the unique strengths of mobile for content AND advertising.

Mobile devices offer multiple “sensors” — such as location (GPS), touch, balance (accelerometer), visual (camera) and aural (mic). Unlike PCs, mobile offers advertisers a unique end-user; most of us don’t lend out our cell phones. All of these factors create interest for advertisers, who want to deliver a message to a specific audience that is going to stand out and be memorable in today’s information glut.

That brings us back to the TiE-Seattle event on Thursday night.

TiE-Seattle’s panel was composed of marketing and business types:

(Interestingly, the panel moderator, Kevin Keating, was a former journalist for the Spokane Spokesman-Review and is now founding partner of Lucid Communications, a strategic marketing firm based in Seattle. Keating opened the discussion by noting that research firm Garnter forecasts mobile advertising will reach $1.6 billion this year.)

Google and Apple are staking claims to mobile advertising by controlling the platforms that serve up mobile ads.

“It’ll lend a lot of credibility to the space,” Jordan said.

Similarly, Ribera views 2010 as the first year that mobile is seriously considered part of the marketing mix. Two-thirds of the campaigns his group is doing now, he said, are “integrated media buys,” with ads deployed on three marketing channels — mobile, web and keyword search.

Publishers, take note: The CPMs for mobile ads are higher than banner ads on websites, Ribera tells me.

But Bryan is skeptical of claims that mobile will eat the lunch of television, the dominant media for brand awareness advertising. (Think Super Bowl.) “Advertising is not an infinitely large bucket of money,” he said.

There’s consensus that mobile is gaining advertiser interest by delivering targeted messages through text messages (SMS), keyword search, and interactive apps.

But marketers are learning that user behavior is not the same on the mobile screen as it is on a PC. Mobile users have more urgent demands for information when it comes to search.

For example, Ribera noted, most mobile users of the Bing search engine complete their task within an hour or a day, whereas most PC users take up to a week. Mobile search keywords tend to be more conversational and abbreviated than PC search keywords.

(I love the fact that audience members added their knowledge to the discussion: C.N. Chiu, a consultant for MobileWebGo in Portland, Ore., said Spanish-speaking users are six times more likely than native English speakers to use mobile search.)

What does all this mean for news organizations and journalists? Based on what I learned from these speakers, here’s a few thoughts.

1. News organizations should charge for their apps, but they should be sure the apps do more than simply copy what is delivered on the PC screen. Get creative and offer something that’s entertaining, educational or utilitarian. Give the user a satisfying experience. This is not unrealistic as mobile payment use is growing. (If it’s a sponsored app, then obviously the news organization wants to make it a free download to maximize its distribution.)

2. Text messaging still has the greatest reach on mobile devices, but location-based services are the hot new thing. (Uh, Foursquare, anyone?) Could news organizations license to location-based services their news stories about a location, so urban explorers can not only find deals on shoes but also learn more about that neighborhood?

3. There’s great demand for quality video on mobile devices but a whole host of technical issues need to be worked out. But once those issues are worked out (and it won’t be long), inventory will sell out quickly. The new iPhone takes 720p high-def video and the $5 iMovie app turns the device into a video editor. Start to build mobile video into your multimedia workflow so you’ll be in a position to sell ads with them. Think Webiscenes, not Webisodes.

4. Because mobile users’ information needs are typically more urgent, certain kinds of content will be a better fit for the mobile device: Movie and restaurant reviews, breaking news alerts and sports stats. But news apps, because they must be downloaded by the user, involve intention and thus can also be designed to appeal to a niche editorial interest — and carry higher advertising rates.

Please add your comments! And contact us at aajaseattle@gmail.com if you have ideas for speakers for our next Innovation Salon, which will focus on monetizing digital news content.

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