Tag: original content

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My Cat Wants to Know: What’s Your Problem with DPReview, Amazon?

Amazon’s decision to shutter (absolutely no pun intended) photography site DPReview demonstrates why I recommend that creators own their content whenever possible. Speaking from personal experience, I bleed for the hardworking editors, reviewers, and writers (among other staffers) whose body of work may soon be whisked away.

Seven years ago, I discovered that during a publishing system upgrade, CNET expunged my byline from my thousands of stories written for the site. In a separate incident, the analyst firm I had worked for merged with another and all my online musings vanished. What I consider to be the most valuable, posted to the Apple Watch and Microsoft Watch blogs between 2006-09, disappeared from the web in 2010. You wouldn’t know I had written anything professionally online for the 10 years 1999-2009. All was deleted when publishers decided to scrub the sites (or in the case of CNET modernize).

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Photo Credit: Julia Folsom

Hehe, This is How You Report About the Consumer Electronics Show

Engadget features editor Joseph Volpe buries the lede, so I fix it for him by posting over at my new project, Frak That!, headline: “Steve Jobs calls Apple Watch a ‘Joke’“. Oh, the clickbait accusations will fly from some, and the Apple Faithful will fling rotten fruit for my irreverence, but the post fits the site’s core editorial principle of pointing out the absurd—in this case the otherwise lack of original reporting about the Consumer Electronics Show, to which the somewhat oddball Engadget story affronts.

Joseph rises above the CES 2016 public relations cluster-fuck to write something really original. He consulted a “higher source” to get the lowdown on the year ahead in tech: Las Vegas psychics. Brilliant! And it’s something I actually read in all the dribble designed to self-flagellate corporate egos. 

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Valleywag May Be Gone, But Its Spirit Lives On

I follow few bylines. Matt Taibbi tops the short list, which also includes Gawker writers Sam Biddle and John Cook. I read them for their biting style and searing sarcasm. But one of the vehicles for their content is gone, and I should have seen the end approaching.

The New Year left behind Valleywag, the snarky insider rag that over the course of 9 years shamelessly scorched Silicon Valley’s power elite. But no more. On December 31st, John posted “R.I.P. Valleywag, 2006-2015“.

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter VII

Nearly a month has passed still the last installment of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers. I have been overwhelmingly busy with other projects, which is no excuse. My apologies, please. Over the next couple of Sundays, I will serialize the remaining few chapters before releasing the tome into the public domain.

This chapter, like most of the others in Section 3, is vital to your success, which means rising above the endless sea of sameness. You must be original, and produce original content that finds and builds audience. Today’s chapter gives varied examples of news organizations doing just that. 

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapters I and II

Serialization of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, resumes following a three-week hiatus. Two sections behind us, we come to the final one. What came before: Foreward; Section 1, Chapters I and IIIII and IVV and VI; Section 2, Chapters I, II, III, IV, and V.

The book published in Spring 2014, and all information herein was current then and nearly all of it is still relevant today. The first two sections build up to the third, and I strongly encourage you start at the beginning and read through the previous 10 chapters plus one before continuing. 

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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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Black Friday’s Best Deal is Original Content

Matt Burns’ “The Black Friday Survival Guide” is original content as it should be: Clever, funny, provocative, and unique. This piece of craftsmanship, posted yesterday to TechCrunch, stands apart from the dribble that all looks alike, because it is—lazy aggregators copying news someone else reports, or too often similarly regurgitates. Puke is gross. Let’s not remake and rebake as dinner.

His piece of brilliance evokes the classic survival guide recast to the urban landscape, where dangerous predators roam shopping malls huntings deals and around whom anyone with even 10 meters distance risks being collateral damage. The safest place to be on Black Friday is somewhere else. But if you must go out, Matt has your back. 

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HuffPo is all Headline, no Original Content

This story exemplifies why, as a journalist , I’m no big Huffington Post fan. The large-font headline takes up the space above the fold. Surely there is a hard-hitting news story behind. Right? Nope.

The five-paragraph story, while carrying a Huffington Post byline, culls from other reports, CNBC and New York Post on the page, with links as sourcing to other HuffPo stories that also largely or wholly depend on other news services (Reuters is one).