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Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

margie-fark

I’m a little behind the curve on reading this one, but that’s what happens when you buy super discounted books from the Orange County Public Library Friends of the Library bookstore.

This book was published in 2007. FARK began, as Drew Curtis writes, in 1999.

I sat down at the Relax Grill at Lake Eola with my boyfriend right after buying this book for a dollar and began what would be a few days of introspective thought on what it is I do for a living.

Curtis, blatantly puts it straight. News editors aren’t doing journalism, they’re doing whatever it takes to get a page view. Bleh.

On and on, Curtis writes about what “isn’t news” –  “unpaid placement masquerading as news,” the “out-of-context celebrity comment,” and “seasonal articles,” just to name a few chapters of the book.

After the first chapter, I kept a sheet of notebook paper as a bookmark to collect any revelations I had – and well, there was a big one.

What is news, if it’s not what’s going on in our daily/everyday lives?

In journalism school, wherever that happened to be for you (for me it was the University of Nebraska at Omaha), one of the first things they teach is News Values.

The ones I was able to remember off hand: Timeliness, proximity, conflict, prominence, strange/sex

The ones I had to look up: Frequency, Impact, human interest.

I argue that even when I worked at at FOX station and we had an American Idol viewer panel in our 10 o’clock newscast, that was news.

We are documenting what goes on in our daily lives. And for a lot of people, not everyone, American Idol is a concern worth hearing about. (This was back in 2008-2009, LOL)

The ballpark that has strange promotions to get people to attend, an example in the book, is worth covering, in my opinion. It should be covered because people should know what is going on in their community.

Curtis spent 200-plus pages talking about what isn’t news and making fun of it. The last chapter, called “Epilogue: What should Mass Media be doing instead?” was about 16 pages and I feel like Curtis side-stepped the question.

*Spoiler Alert*

He came to the conclusion that stories have a focus to draw people in and click on it. “Everyone claims to want real news, but no one really does. The great unwashed masses want the titillation Mass Media provides,” Curtis wrote.

Isn’t that the truth? I know with social media, particularly Twitter, I have 140 characters to find the one element that will make a reader say, “What?” and move the cursor over the link and physically push down on the link to my news station’s website. I have to be very convincing.

In a sub-heading called “The Future of Mass Media” (which I guess is really now?), Curtis gets it right:

“Local video is the one thing local TV can do better than anyone else. Local TV should be beefing up its Web site offerings…”

This, in the words of Chris Traeger on NBC’s Parks and Recreation “literally” made me go DUH!

I love raw video. I can remember the first time I put raw video on the website of the station I was working for. I was the weekend assignment editor at FOX 42 in Omaha. Santa was flown by helicopter to the children’s hospital and we had video of him arriving. It was super cute. I had to have the director run it through the board so the encoder could capture the video and  I could clip it in the CMS. What fun those days were!

Overall, the book was a great read and I honestly now consider with most any headline I write if FARK would make fun of it.

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While online news outlets are busy feeding off the “Jedi mind meld” gaffe President Obama made today, I feel like I am recovering from a news “mind meld” courtesy Poynter’s Al Tompkins.

From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday, I sucked in as much as could in the short time period he presented to two different groups at the news station I work for.

Here are my takeaways:

  • Make your headlines a promise and then deliver on that promise in the story.
  • Use the cutline! Tell the viewer what they don’t know. It is one of the first places that readers look at, according to Poynter eye-track studies.
  • “When I show you the little person affected, you start connecting with it,” Tompkins said. He was showing us USA Today’s interactive feature on Ghost Factories.
  • Linking to additional resources is good. Expanding your stories with the info in those additional resources is GREAT!
  • Start the day knowing at least 3 big things for the day’s coverage.
  • Acclimate your viewers to make it a habit to share their pictures/video with you <user generated content.
  • Make “the web” a way for users to experience the story.
  • Write how you talk. Duh!
  • Raise your right hand and take this oath: I will never cut and paste from a TV news script.

On top of all the great information, Mr. Tompkins signed my copy of “Aim for the Heart.” That book I credit for helping me get past my fear of ‘gasp’ writing.

Thanks, Mr. Tompkins!

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I’ll get straight to the point.

For planned coverage of big events like the State of the Union, I think its time for social media editors to expand what they do.  Simply quoting the SOTU speech via “live tweeting” is not enough.

You will give your online viewer more value in preparing extra content relevant to what is taking place already in front of them.

The effort put into live tweeting is wasted on something like the SOTU when there are other sources of the same exact information. Ex. @whitehouse.

Work smarter.  The Pew Research Center (@pewresearch) had the right idea.

When President Barack Obama spoke on immigration, the Pew Research Center tweeted, “Obama raises #immigration: our study found Illegal population in US has declined since 2007 peak #SOTU.

They did this throughout the speech!

I know the newsroom is not always the most conducive to planning ahead, but make it a point to prepare and you’ll see your effort pay off.

Your SOTU live chat will be rich with content driving people to your website!

By the Numbers (some neat stats from Twitter and Google!):

@gov: 1.36 million total #SOTU-related Tweets from 9:10 pm ET (President’s entrance) to 10:44 pm ET (end of #GOPResponse). Was 767k in 2012.

@gov: Most-tweeted #SOTU moment: Middle class opportunity and minimum wage at 9:52p ET = ~24,000 Tweets per minute.

@gov: Second most-tweeted #SOTU moment: Call for vote on gun legislation at 10:12pm ET = ~23,700 Tweets per minute.

@gov: Tweets-per-minute peak during #GOPResponse to #SOTU: ~9,200 TPM at 10:43 pm ET, following @MarcoRubio‘s sip of water.

@gov: Second-most-tweeted moment of #GOPResponse to #SOTU = @MarcoRubio on Republicans not “protecting millionaires;” about 8k TPM at 10:33p ET.

@googlepolitics: Rising @google search terms from 9:25 – 9:55 PM: 1) Minimum Wage 2) Violence Against Women Act 3) Paycheck Fairness Act 4) Al Franken #sotu

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The NEW webmaster

Newsrooms have an extra person in the room that I think some operations are not using to their fullest potential and only now are learning the right kind of person to fill the position. I’m talking about the webmaster, or as it’s being called now the web producer, Internet director, web manager or a plethora of other names. This position also extends beyond to the sales and promotions department.
It used to be critical that this person be an HTML expert. That is no longer the case thanks to content management systems.
The webmaster needs to be someone that is fully involved in the news gathering process and then some – always thinking ahead to how the story can be advanced even further on the web and drive across platforms ( web, on-air, social media and mobile).
This is the person that should be educating coworkers and making the always hungry monster that is the web easier to feed.
Below are a few strategies for doing just that:

News
i. Participate in daily operation to drive story development and contribution to all screens.
ii. Daily email to the newsroom with most popular stories, web initiatives and positive feedback to the news team.
iii. Work closely with Assignment Editor to update site with stories in progress and updates from the field.
Sales
i. Participate in weekly meeting to develop sponsorable initiatives and other sales opportunities
ii. Work closely with New Media AE to create more sales initiatives and opportunities
iii. Traffic online ad campaigns
iv. Set up contest entry pages

Next update, “All in a day” – Strategies for content on your stations website! (including breaking news and weather)

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