Tag: Blogging

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Generating Pageviews is Nothing Like Selling Newspapers

Responding to my post “Stop Paying Bloggers and Journalists for Pageviews“, someone asked me: “What’s the difference between pageviews and selling papers?” I answered: “They aren’t anything alike”, which garnered response: “Certainly the journalists who cause people to buy papers are kept around. So isn’t a PV like selling a paper?”

“Nothing like it”, I answered. Of course, the questioner asked “Why?” The answer could be a 20-point list, at the least. But I rat-tat-tatted some explanation, which I recap here. The comparison is the traditional news organization versus the typical blog. I may add to the list over time but start with five items. 

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Journalists, Don’t Mess with #TheDress

There is something important that every news gatherer should learn from the “Is that dress white and gold or blue and black?” debate. Simply stated: Perception is everything. Truth is an illusion.

Yesterday, two memes raged across the Internet—one because of the llama chase in Arizona, the other about the color of a dress. If I correctly understand the timeline, about which I could be mistaken: User Swiked posted the above cropped picture to Tumblr with question: “Guys please help me—is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out”. Obviously, those colors are strikingly different. 

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Today’s Brutal Bias Assault Against Android Wear is Shameful

Oh my. Canalys reports half-year 2014 Android Wear smartwatch shipments of 720,000 units, and the Apple-loving free press categorizes the number failure. Meanwhile, the analyst firm boasts that “All eyes are now on Apple, which will reveal further details about the Apple Watch prior to its release in April”. Not mine. Are yours?

Over at Wall Street Journal, Rolfe Winkler begins his hatchet piece with: “It’s been a slow start for Google’s smartwatches”. The search and information giant doesn’t sell any of the devices, developing the underlying platform. Nitpicking aside, he ridiculously writes: “Apple sold roughly 114 million iPhones over the same period. That means Apple sold almost as many iPhones each day as makers of Android smartwaches sold over the six months”. Oh yeah? That comparison matters how?

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credit: Roger H. Goun

Responsible Journalism Cheat Sheet

Several themes consistently recur in my posts about good journalism. They’re spread out over about five years of posting, and it’s unrealistic to expect anyone to read everything to find them. So for your benefit, and even my own, I pull together some quick tips that every news gatherer should strongly consider adopting as part of his or her daily routine.

News reporting isn’t a profession but a lifestyle. Ethics you adopt shape it—and you. 

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Empower Your Readers

Evergreen articles are rarely as good as James Kendrick’s ZDNet analysis “Corporate layoffs: Prepare your BYOD smartphone for the worst“, which reminds what good, longer-form, long-lasting journalism is supposed to be: Informative and useful to readers in the intended audience.

In contrast, the trend among bloggers is to write a question in the headline that someone might ask in search. While the information in the post can be useful, the intended audience is the search engine, not people. Consider this example from Gizmodo today: “Why Do Radio Signals Travel Farther at Night Than in the Day?” The topic marginally fits Gizmodo’s target tech audience, which I presume is likely to know the answer. The story is republished from site Today I Found Out, where there are more reader-useful graphics. James’ story informs and educates, while the Giz post is more like a non-curated Wikipedia entry. 

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Good God, Gawker, You Had Me at ‘Hi, There’

Nick Denton’s little publishing empire often doesn’t get the credit deserved. Among the new media ops, click-whores like Business Insider, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post grab the spotlight. But their granddaddy, Gawker Media, knows better 13 years since its founding—literally three lifetimes as measured in online publishing. Forget dog years. Denton’s shop is ancient, and it thrives by reincarnating in place. The Gawker in 2015 bears little resemblance to the circa 2002—Hell, even 2013. That’s a good thing.

What I always liked about the new media property: Application of newspaper-like editorial ethics for getting scopes, sourcing stories, and producing original content to online news gathering. All the while writing is current and cantankerous, and editors experiment with different design, content production, and stylistic strategies. Stated differently: Gawker is the best of print tabloid journalism applied to online publishing. Bottom-feeding aggregators that imitate the tabloid headline style, and dong so grope pageviews, are piss-poor imitations. 

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Should I Kickstarter?

Warning: One word repeatedly used in this post will offend some people. I’m not one of them, and presumably neither is the main audience for what I propose.

Since August 2014, after acquiring domain journalism.wtf, I have pondered but not acted on launching a site that spotlights the worst—and occasionally the best—online news gathering. The question: Is there really a market for such a thing, and one that would assure financial sustainability? You can help me decide whether to proceed, and I anticipate most responses will come via social networks rather than comments on my personal site. 

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I finally say Ello, But Worry It’s Goodbye

I posted to Ello tonight. Finally. I registered three months ago and then did nothing. The text of my first post hints a little bit why not then but more why now. Thomas Hawk convinced me to try, in a ditty he posted yesterday.

Because I’m anal, the text that follows has embedded links, which isn’t their original formatting. Otherwise, the content is as it appears on Ello, which longevity I still have some doubts about. If the site ever goes tits up, the post is preserved here. With that introduction: 

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Headline and Location Matter More Than You Think

Today I conducted an unexpected experiment when posting the same news analysis (except for outward links) to two different sites. My story responded to a lawsuit against Apple, alleging consumer harm from there being less available capacity to users than stated storage. Meaning: 16GB isn’t, because iOS 8 and preinstalled apps consume space. Funny thing: Day before seeing news about the legal filing, I nearly posted an analysis praising the company for offering double to four-times more storage than competitors give.

So I combined my response to the lawsuit with the concept; they fit. I wrote the story here but published it first to BetaNews. Difference in response to the same story posted two different places is startling. 

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You Could Study Journalism, or Learn as Much Watching These Five Films

If you gather and report news and would like a New Year’s resolution, consider this: Put your audience first by building trust. The how depends much on the type of journalism you practice: Advocacy, contextual. conversational, data, immersive, or process, but hopefully not mob, or a combination of them. You could seek the method in a book, like my Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers. But do you really want to take your work home and read? Movie marathon is better. Grab the popcorn and Bunch-a-Crunch.

Any—and ideally all—of these films are a great way to shake the ethical cage as 2015 starts. Wikipedia lists 188 entries in category “films about journalists“, and I choose just five that combined convey lessons about responsible and irresponsible news reporting. They are textbooks anyone writing news should study; presented alphabetically. 

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I Hear No Evil in Beats Music Exclusives

Someone save me from the nonsense. My BetaNews colleague Brian Fagioli’s “Apple’s rumored iTunes and Beats Music ‘Exclusives’ plan is potentially evil” is top-placed story at the site today. I messaged the day editor (who hasn’t yet replied and may still be off for the holiday): “If it racks up any significant amount of pageviews, I am changing professions. The number of comments is disturbing enough”. Should you want me to stop writing for BN, and some readers do, by all means click, click, click Brian’s commentary.

I have two fundamental problems with the post: Sourcing and its point. Brian refers to New York Post story “Beats Music lining up talent for exclusive releases“. I tell reporters: “Write what you know to be true”, which can’t be when sourcing someone else’s news gathering. For the record: I trust the newspaper’s general reporting accuracy, so Brian stands more solid than if quoting a blog. That said, he and I write for BetaNews not BetaBlog. See my four-and-a-half year-old analysis “The Difference Between Blogging and Journalism” for a primer on why one isn’t the other. 

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Self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.com?

That’s the question I asked over Black Friday weekend 2014. But searching online for comparisons brought little meaningful results. So I answer here, for others posing the same question, based on my experience.

We all make mistakes, but whoever really admits them? I do today. Simply stated: On December 1, I migrated my two sites—Five Minutes with Joe and Bunny Bows Pressfrom shared self-hosted WP to WordPress.com. I now regret the decision, returning to hosted WordPress 14 days later.