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  • clarehiler 4:46 pm on April 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Journalism, ,   

    Original Research: Are Journalists Not Doing Enough? 

    As a part of our original research we have surveyed non-journalists about their social media use. We asked those surveyed, what would make them use social media more? Overwhelmingly they answered, “if I was getting better information.”
    What does this say about how we as journalists are using social media? Are we not putting enough content online? Are our social media skills not sharp enough to engage our viewers and readers?

    What do you think?

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  • clarehiler 2:41 pm on April 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Journalism, , , ,   

    Why Social Media Reinvigorates the Market for Quality Journalism
    Read the full article here: http://mashable.com/2011/04/12/social-journalism-quality/

    Social media has created a human filter for quality content. The social web, like the old water cooler, favors conversations around news and even in-depth journalism that may not otherwise receive the exposure it deserves. Recent analysis of the most-tweeted stories from The Daily iPad app revealed that users shared more hard news stories over gossip and opinion pieces.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean these are the stories most people are reading. The gossip articles (or “fluff” pieces) often out-perform news items in pageviews, often because that is what people are searching for. But the tide may be changing.

    The incentive to share quality content is simple: A person may be more likely to read gossip, but they may share a news piece to shape their followers’ perception of them. They may even view it as a public service. I tend to believe it’s usually the former rather than the more altruistic latter. As a result, news organizations producing quality journalism are being rewarded with accelerated growth in social referral traffic — in some cases, growing at a much faster pace than search referrals. More notably, social media is enabling the citizenry to be active participants in producing journalism by giving them platforms to publish to the social audience. This has made journalism more efficient and, in many ways, enhanced the quality of storytelling.

    Searching for Quality

    The social filter for content has been around for a long time on the web, but prior to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it was conducted more privately via email messages or impersonal recommendations from a search algorithm.

    The public perception was a non-factor, and users were more likely to share softer stories or those based on utility. There was a trust factor between the sharer and the recipient. Before, you were just sharing that funny cat video with your trusted circle. With social media, that circle has now become more of an open field.

    So what about search? Search engines like Google fueled an explosion of “so-so” content, but it has also fueled an explosion of quality content, said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land. The idea was that quality content would get linked to most. But when media organizations and writers began to better understand how the search algorithms ranked content, they started to create content “optimized” for search results by inter-linking content on their sites or monitoring search trends and filling the coverage with sub-par content to capitalize on search traffic, Sullivan said. And so we saw the explosion of content farms and a race for unique visitors to appease the advertising gods.

    The Human Quality Vote

    For true quality, sometimes it takes a human touch. Social media acts as a human filter and signal for the best content across the web. A “Like,” a tweet or a LinkedIn share often serves as a human vote of approval. “We have depended far too long on looking at links as an idea of what people are voting on,” Sullivan said.

    But links have been devalued over time because they have been sold, he added. For search algorithms, a link is a key component of where the piece of content ranks in search results. But because people began to sell links, they became less valuable over time, Sullivan said.

    He said social links and shares are more trusted because the structure of social networks provides an easy way to recommend content to a network. That network consists of people you trust and are more likely to click on a link shared by a friend than a stranger. However, because these recommendations are more public than before, there’s an incentive to recommend quality content.

    A More Valuable Reader?

    It’s not easy to compare social to search because the behaviors and demands from a user are completely different. A user goes to search with an immediate need to find a specific piece of information and discovery is secondary. With social sites, users are consuming content in a leisurely and social state. Discovery takes the front seat.

    This may explain the difference between referral traffic from search vs. social. In a recent analysis of Mashable‘s social and traffic data, I found that Facebook and Twitter visitors spent 29% more time on Mashable.com and viewed 20% more pages than visitors arriving via search engines. This may suggest a more engaged or exploratory reader, at least in terms of how much time they spend reading the content.

    At The Washington Post and other media organizations (including Mashable), referral traffic from social sites — particularly Facebook and Twitter — are outpacing the growth of referrals from search, said Raju Narisetti, managing editor at the Post. Though Narisetti wouldn’t quantify the growth, he noted that on a given day, 5% to 8% of referral traffic to the Post comes from social media.

    So what kind of content is bringing them to the Post? Breaking news, quality analysis, offbeat features and quality photo galleries and videos. Similar to search, social presents challenges in attracting an audience. Factors such as the time of day and frequency of distribution on a social channel can affect how successful the Post is in engaging readers, Narisetti said. But the Post hasn’t had to change its content strategy to attract more social referrals.

    “While we have aggressive goals for our social team, the goals are based off [the] Post‘s unique content rather than trying to rethink our content to get more social referrals,” Narisetti said. Instead, the Post is focusing on making it easy for social media users to interact with content via Network News and other integrations.

    Social Media Optimization

    From linking standards to meta tags, news organizations have been working for years to improve their content’s search engine optimization (SEO). Now we’re seeing the rise of social media optimization. Sree Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, said news organizations will need to get into the “SMO game.” But that doesn’t mean gaming the system. “They should look for ways to make their content more social to take advantage of the new ways in which readers, viewers, [and] consumers think,” Sreenivasan said.

    This means, among other things, providing easy ways to engage content using social media and having reporters take part in conversations on the social web. It means having the entire organization think in “social terms” — not just broadcasting materials out, but participating in the social ecosystem.

    In many ways, social media makes it harder to “game” for the purpose of simply driving lots of traffic to a story that may not be of high quality. Social media’s effect on quality isn’t quite as systematic as search has been. Mathilde Piard, social media manager at Cox Media digital, said social media is having a positive effect on content.

    “I’d rather editorial decisions be driven by what editors and reporters think people will read and be moved to share, rather than by keywords,” Piard said. With the latter, she said, you end up with content such as, “What Time Does the Superbowl Start At?”

    Social Search

    The tide may turn with developments like Google’s recent updates to its algorithm, which favors original reporting, and its recent launch of +1. The +1 product adds a social recommendation layer across Google Search results.

    When you’re searching for a specific piece of content, you can see the results that your friends have recommended. The integration brings the social filter into search, while staying true to Google’s core product: search. It also creates a social identity for users. After all, what you recommend using +1 can be seen on your Google Profile.

    Though +1 isn’t a social network, it is certainly a big step toward building one. But perhaps most important is its implications for quality. The number of +1s on a story link affects its placement in search results.

    This essentially applies the social incentive to share or recommend quality content to search results and gives Google a good potential footing in remaining the dominant referrer to content sites.

    Social Content

    Content creation is one of the missing links and perhaps the cosmic difference between search and social. Search points to content that has been made, while social enables users to create content on the platform itself. How the two affect the quality of journalism are fundamentally different. Sure, social does a big amount of pointing itself, which enables news sites to grab referred traffic. But the people formerly known as the audience are also creating videos, status updates, tweets, photos and more.

    “Curation helps cut through that noise to find the most relevant voice, amplifying the media that helps inform and enlighten.”

    • Burt Herman, Storify

    Burt Herman knows this all too well. It’s the reason why he launched Storify, a site that enables you to easily curate social content into one contextualized story. Herman said that social media improves the quality of content because it is content.

    Social media has revolutionized content creation, which is now a collaborative process with readers who contribute and verify it. Though social media makes content publishing easy for everyone, it can also be overwhelming, Herman said.

    “Curation helps cut through that noise to find the most relevant voice, amplifying the media that helps inform and enlighten,” he said.

    Journalists have always “curated” content by grabbing pieces of information and contextualizing it into a story. The difference is that social media now provides efficiency in getting that information, often through first-hand sources who are micropublishing to their social profiles. This social journalism has spawned other content curation companies like Storyful, Curated.by and ScribbleLive.

    “We now have many more voices who can be included in stories,” Herman said. “This means that what we read is richer and gives more information to the reader.”

     
  • clarehiler 1:01 am on April 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Journalism,   

    Facebook for Journalists: More Work Than Twitter, but With a Bigger Payout 

    Here is an article from InsiderFacebook.com.

    Check out the full article here.

    Last week, Facebook launched a Page called Journalists on Facebook in an effort to encourage the news community to use the site’s Page feature as a distribution and research tool. Historically, Twitter has been more popular with journalists. thanks to its focus on link sharing, the additional distribution they can get thanks to the ease of retweeting, and the fact that it launched before Facebook Pages. But withFacebook sporting as many as 10 times more active users, journalists should still be focused on mastering the social network, even if takes more work than just tweeting copy and pasted URLs.

    Twitter is Quick and Simple

    Twitter and Facebook offer different advantages to journalists. Twitter’s short-form nature means journalists aren’t expected to do much more than tweet the headlines and links to their articles, unless they also want to engage in discussion. Twitter’s public nature discourages low quality replies, so journalists don’t have to slog through thousands of comments the way they might on Facebook. It’s also easy to measure impact and success, even if inaccurately, by counting retweets.

    Facebook on the other hand, requires journalists to craft compelling updates that stand out against the social content produced by their audience’s friends. Images, captions, and context have to be selected. Though comments to Page stories are also public, they’re not as visible as @ replies to a user’s own friends, leading large publications to receive hundreds of comments per post. While journalists want this engagement, many are too busy to actually wade through the comments and respond.

    On Twitter, the line between personal and professional is easy to blur. A fledgling journalist can begin by tweeting out their articles amongst their more friendly updates, and slowly focus more on news coverage as they gain news-seeking followers outside their social circle. This transition is more difficult on Facebook. At some point, journalists have to start a Facebook Page from scratch with zero fans, or sacrifice their personal profile by turning it into a Page and converting their friends into fans using Facebook’s new profile to Page migration tool.

    There’s an air of mystery to the news feed that might be discouraging journalists. With Twitter, if you tweet it, it will appear in a follower’s stream. But on Facebook, a journalist’s updates might not make it into the Top News feed, requiring users to actively sift through their Most Recent feed to find a journalist’s updates.

    Twitter also had a head start, launching in July 2006 about a year before Facebook Pages, with top news outlets creating Twitter accounts in February and March of 2008. Facebook’s personal profiles have been able to publish status updates since around the time that Twitter launched  in 2006, but journalists could only accumulate up to 5,000 friends. This allowed Twitter to set the tone of shortform news distribution, while Pages have instead been framed as something that businesses and journalists have had to adapt to.

    The Power of Facebook’s Rich Content Posts and Applications

    Facebook Pages holds great potential for journalists, though. Pages can post rich content such as photos or videos content with previews appearing in-line. The images and captions that appear beside posted links give users just enough information that they know they want to click through. Highly interactive posts, such as those using the new Questions product, can engage users while simultaneously securing additional distribution for a journalist’s posts.

    Journalists can start their own Pages, as Facebook’s new initiative encourages, but even greater power is available from using a single Page to represent an entire news organization, as Facebook has been promoting with its Facebook + Media Page since last July. Pages are designed to facilitate multiple admins, unlike Twitter accounts, and aggregating fans to a single Page helps cross-promote the work of all of a news outlet’s reporters and build a fan community.

    The use of applications by journalists, something widely unexplored, could help them forge deeper bonds with users. They can collect email addresses to expand the breadth of channels through which they can content them. Many apps, designed especially for Pages, can also pull demographic and interest data, helping journalists gain insights about who their audience is. Liking a journalist’s Page creates a link back to that Page in a user’s news feed and profile, driving Likes from a fan’s network much more effectively than Twitter’s follower lists.

    Larger publications willing to spend to increase their reach can use highly targeted Facebook ads to gain Likes, while Twitter’s”Promoted Tweets” doesn’t have self-serve tool, and doesn’t provide the same level of granular targeting.

    While Twitter is a natural distribution channel for news, it’s not necessarily the most effective, nor does it have the widest reach. Most major publications still have more Twitter followers than Facebook fans, but that could change with time. While Facebook might require journalists to learn a new skill set and apply some effort, there is great long term value to be gained from an investment in building an audience on Facebook.

     

     
  • clarehiler 4:17 pm on April 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Journalism,   

    Have you looked at the new Journalists On Facebook page?
    Check it out here: http://www.facebook.com/journalist

    Seems like a great tool to get ideas, connect, and share. Do you think it will work?

     
  • clarehiler 6:13 pm on March 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: engage, Journalism, , non journalists, ,   

    Today we are posting our non-journalist survey. This is a survey that we will be e-mailing and tweeting out for people who are not in the journalism industry to take. It is our hope that this survey will give us a better idea of how to serve the public vis social media, and how to get more people to engage in social media because of news outlets.

    Please take the time to send it to a few friends if possible: http://svy.mk/dUnDUX

     
  • clarehiler 3:41 am on March 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Journalism,   

    Take a look at this article Twitter at Five: Bringing out the worst in journalists http://bit.ly/dKBDNp

     
  • clarehiler 10:01 pm on March 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Journalism, OJR,   

    It’s time for journalists to promote a better ‘Twitter style?’ Check out the argument here: http://bit.ly/hr3Vvd

     
  • clarehiler 12:56 am on March 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Journalism, State Of The News Media, The Pew Project For Excellence In Journalism   

    The Pew Project For Excellence In Journalism released The State Of The News Media 2011 today, read it here: http://stateofthemedia.org/

     
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