Tag Archives: newspapers

The Holiday Scoop is a big success!


[Organizers and emcees kick it at The Holiday Scoop, an all-Seattle media party to raise money for the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship on Dec. 17, 2010 at Nectar: Sharon Chan, Seattle Times technology reporter; David Boardman, Seattle Times executive editor; Candace Heckman, senior editor at Nyhus Communications; Bill Radke, KIRO FM Radio host and Lori Matsukawa, KING 5 anchor. Photo by Erika Schultz]

By Sharon Pian Chan and Candace Heckman
AAJA National President and National Treasurer

Journalists packed the house at The Holiday Scoop, the first all-Seattle media party for broadcast, radio and online journalists on Friday, Dec. 17.

More than 200 people broke out their holiday finest for the party at Nectar, a nightclub in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, representing current and former journalists from more than 40 news outlets in the Puget Sound.

005Scoop[Seattle Times executive editor David Boardman skewers Seattle media in a poem at The Holiday Scoop, which he help organize. Photo by Erika Schultz]

The highlight of the night? Seattle Times executive editor David Boardman’s version of “Twas the Night before Christmas” skewering local media, LOLcats and newsmakers. If you missed it, it will live on only in our memories.

003Scoop[Emcees Bill Radke and Lori Matsukawa deliver a poem about Seattle “snowmageddon.” Photo by Erika Schultz]

Emcees Lori Matsukawa of KING5 and Bill Radke of KIRO FM Radio opened the event, exchanging some very special holiday gifts with each other (also for our memories). They also recognized newsrooms that won national awards this year: The Seattle Times (Pulitzer Prize), Puget Sound Business Journal (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Knight-Risser Prize), KIRO FM Radio (RTDNA), KOMO TV (RTDNA), MSNBC.com (ONA) and West Seattle Blog (ONA).

The event benefited AAJA Seattle’s Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship, a 24-year program that has awarded more than 100 scholarships to student journalists. NJC scholarship winners Rachel Solomon and Peter Sessum volunteered at the event. Other former winners also showed up: Seattle Times religion reporter Janet Tu and Seattle Magazine online managing editor Karen

006Scoop[Seattle Times reporter Dominic Gates (center) and Sports Press NW soccer reporter Stanley Holmes were among the 200 journalists who attended at The Holiday Scoop, an all-Seattle media party to raise money for the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship. Photo by Erika Schultz.]

Here are all the newsrooms represented: 710 ESPN Seattle, AOL FanHouse, AOLNews, Associated Press, CBS Interactive, Crosscut, Intersect, InvestigateWest, KBCS 91.3 FM Radio, KING TV, KIRO Radio, KIRO TV, KUOW/NPR, Maple Leaf Life, MSN Money, MSNBC.com, My Green Lake, Neighborlogs, Northwest Vietnamese News, Puget Sound Business Journal, Q13 FOX, Ravenna Blog, Renton Reporter, Patch.com, Reuters, Roosevelt Neighborhood Blog, Seattle Bride, Seattle Business, Seattle magazine, Seattle PostGlobe, Seattle Weekly, Seattlepi.com, Sportspress Northwest, The Associated Press, The Daily (Everett) Herald, The (UW) Daily, The Seattle Times, The (Tacoma) News Tribune, Three Sheets Northwest, USA Today online, Xconomy, Northwest Asian Weekly.

The masterminds behind the event were David Boardman, AAJA National Treasurer Candace Heckman and AAJA National President Sharon Chan. See you next year? Maybe.

If you have feedback for the event, send it to candaceheckman@gmail.com or schan@seattletimes.com.

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Nov. 1 deadline approaches for 2011 summer internships

Want to work next summer at The Seattle Times or The Boston Globe?

Nov. 1 is the deadline!

The Seattle Times offers paid summer internships in reporting, copy editing, photojournalism, design and multimedia to outstanding students pursuing a career in journalism. For 10 weeks, interns work on varied assignments. They attend weekly training sessions given by members of a Pulitzer-Prize winning staff. Interns receive a skill-development plan and a staff mentor to support them in achieving it.

Internships are open to sophomores, juniors, seniors or graduate students attending a four-year college or university. Applicants must have a demonstrated commitment to print and online journalism. At least one previous internship at a daily news organization is preferred, and multimedia experience is a plus.

Go to The Seattle Times website for instructions on how to apply.

The Boston Globe gives 10 interns the opportunity to work as reporters, as well as photographer, designer or copy editor.

The 12-week program places reporter-interns in our Metro, Business, Living/Arts, and Sports departments; the photo intern shoots stills and video for all sections, the design intern creates sections fronts and information graphics for print and online, and the copy editing intern works on local, national, foreign and business copy.

The Globe provides guidance and direction, as well as a writing coach dedicated to the interns. Globe interns produce every day and finely polish their journalism skills over the summer.

To apply go to The Boston Globe’s website.

EDIT: In addition, the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund also has a Nov. 1 deadline for its internship program. The program offers internships in copy editing and business reporting. Along with a 10-week paid internship at media outlets around the country, Dow Jones Newspaper Fund participants also receive pre-internship training and a $1,000 scholarship.

The program is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students.

For more information and tips on applying go here.

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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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Q&A with Mei-Mei Chan, new publisher of The News-Press

Posted on by sbhatt

AAJA Seattle members took Mei-Mei Chan out for a farewell breakfast on March 23, 2010.

Mei-Mei Chan, vice president of advertising at The Seattle Times and former National AAJA Vice President, has been named president and publisher of The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., effective March 29. Mei-Mei has been vice president of advertising at The Seattle Times since 2004. She succeeds Carol Hudler, who was named president and publisher of The Tennessean in Nashville late last year.

Read The News-Press story about Mei-Mei being named its next publisher.

As many of you know, Mei-Mei started as a reporter in 1981 in Illinois, became an editor at USA Today, and served as executive editor of the Post Register in Idaho Falls, Idaho. In 1997, she switched to the business side of newspapers, becoming head of circulation at The Seattle Times. She was instrumental in The Times’ conversion to a morning circulation and was named Sales Executive of the Year for large newspapers by the Newspaper Association of America in 2003.

Read more about her career path on the AAJA National website. You can also read the National Association of Multicultural Media Executives’ Q&A with Mei-Mei in 2003.

AAJA Seattle chapter president Sanjay Bhatt did a short Q&A with Mei-Mei on March 23.

Q: Why did you move from the news side to the advertising side and how was that transition?
A: I wanted to keep growing, contributing and being challenged… and [Seattle Times Publisher] Frank Blethen gave me the opportunity to do so! I became head of the Circulation department in 1997, then head of Advertising in 2005. I loved applying my journalistic skills to learning new disciplines, probing and diagnosing core issues, and identifying patterns among the chaos. Certainly there have been many a news day when I missed being in the intense creative frying pan cooking up a fabulous story!

Q: How do you keep yourself inspired and hopeful during these hard times?
A: I’ve had the privilege of working with incredibly talented, dedicated teams. Their creativity and courage on behalf of The Seattle Times energizes me and everyone around us. There are many successes to celebrate nearly every day, reinforcing that we are on the right path to excellence. And, my family remains my most important foundation.

Q: As you’ve progressed in your career, what’s enabled you to keep a balance with family life?
A: When I work, I work very, very efficiently and intently. When I’m home, I’m intent on the family. Or I try really, really hard to be! Of course the two intersect and overlap and push and pull on each other. You have to be clear on your priorities, and on what’s most important to you at the end of the day. You want to encourage your family to remind you of those priorities. And one of the unique attractions about The Seattle Times is that it embraces the strength of families.

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Farewell, P-I

Athima Chansanchai

Athima Chansanchai was a reporter with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer until the newspaper published its last edition March 17, 2009. She is currently working on freelance and consulting assignments. She is a graduate of AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program and serves as a representative of the AAJA Seattle Chapter on the National Advisory Board.

She submitted the following essay to AAJA national within days after the P-I closed.

The death of my newspaper, the death of my mother

We put the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to rest a week ago. The newspaper managed to survive for 146 years. I am mourning the loss along with my 170 or so colleagues who also worked there, and the city we served.

I have known for months this would probably happen. As a Buddhist, I was raised to believe nothing lasts forever.

Now that the end has come, I am grappling with the challenge of rebuilding my life without something that was dear to me.

I moved across country four years ago to work at the P-I and I loved every moment of it — almost. I was encouraged to be creative in my writing, to be dogged in my reporting, and to find new ways to use technology to reach readers. This was a writer’s paper. I became a blogger.

The death of a newspaper is hardly the same as the death of a person. But as I reflect on my experience at the P-I and the emotions it brings out in me, I find myself drawing on some of the final lessons my mother taught me last year before she lost her last battle with cancer.

In some ways, I see parallels between these two losses. From the time of her final prognosis to her death, it was about two months. From the time Hearst announced the sale of the P-I to the last print edition, it was about two months.

But in many ways, the P-I – like my mom – will always be with me.

My mother taught me the value of diversity and working at places like the P-I reinforced that value. The paper employed nearly 20 journalists of color, including two national officers of the Asian American Journalists Association. I am one of them. It was a place that treated people well — like family. I heard about how P-I management welcomed back employees who had gone out on strike. Later as an active Newspaper Guild member and a member of two negotiating teams, I saw first hand how civility ruled in the outcome of contract and severance talks.

The P-I was a place where I felt appreciated.

It took me a while to find a workplace where I was as comfortable as I was at the P-I. I went to high school in Florida and I earned a degree in history and East Asian studies from Oberlin College, and a master’s degree at Stanford University. I left California without a job. I found one in New York, where I worked at the Village Voice. A couple years later, I moved to Baltimore, where I became a reporter at The Baltimore Sun. I was there for 5 years, and left to come to the P-I in 2005. I worked first on the news side before finding a home in features.

Until the P-I closed, I was invested in its success, and the success of Seattle. I hope for the best for my colleagues who remain with seattlepi.comam and I am still invested in the city’s success. I bought my first home here — a home my mother thought suited me. She also liked that I was so much closer to her home in northern California.

In October, my mother died.

My mom, a physician and lifelong newspaper reader who subscribed to three daily newspapers, imbedded in me the value of being informed by fair and accurate coverage. This would be an ongoing theme in my life, especially with the mission of AAJA. She gave me my curious nature and passed on her appreciation for public service and good writing — even though English was not her first language. She also instilled in me drive and determination — especially when it came to the nobility of purpose in a profession. It was interesting that she as a healer and I as a journalist would both hold high the ideals of comforting the afflicted.

Taking care of her in her last 2 months of her life I did things I never did before: I learned how to test blood sugar and inject insulin, administered several medications on a schedule and re-taught my mother how to swallow water. It was painful for me and my family to watch her wither away.

It was painful watching the P-I die too.

And now I’m doing other things I never thought I’d have to do, like applying for unemployment and counseling colleagues and friends who haven’t had to submit a resume in decades.

At the same time, when my mom died, there was – as there is now with the end of the P-I — a sense of relief, liberation and release after months, then days, of uncertainty.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss my mom. I had to learn to live without her.

But she taught me not to be afraid of the unknown. She taught me to believe in myself. Caring for her those last two months of her life taught me that the best parts of her will always live on in me, that nothing can take those memories away. She gave me her thoughts in scrapbooks she made, stories she told, e-mails and letters. The P-I’s family and training stays with me the same way: in stories and meetings, in writing coaching sessions and the freedom of writing features that took me all over Seattle. Nothing can take those experiences — or friendships — away from me.

I will have to learn to live without my P-I, too, but thanks to my mom, I know it too will live on in me and my former co-workers.

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