4 quick tips for attracting — and keeping — mobile readers

So your news organization now gets the majority of its pageviews through mobile devices. Now what? At the Online News Association conference in Chicago, mobile bosses from The New York Times, CNN and BuzzFeed dispensed tips for boosting mobile growth. Here are four of them.

  1. Become a metric sleuth
    One evening earlier this year, CNN saw a confusing uptick in mobile traffic, said Etan Horowitz, senior mobile editor at CNN. The editors were puzzled. Why the sudden spike? Upon further investigation, they realized the pageviews weren’t caused by any stories posted to CNN’s mobile site. Instead, they came from a video of a scary-looking baby terrorizing New Yorkers that had been shared on CNN’s social media accounts.

    Sometimes, as in the case of the “Devil Baby,” traffic spikes are one-offs, caused by popular pieces of content.

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Friday, Sep. 26, 2014

How the NYT innovation report came to be

Amy O’Leary’s first thought when she heard The New York Times’ innovation report had been leaked was “Shit, I’m going to get fired.”

O’Leary, one of the report’s co-authors, told the Online News Association conference Friday evening she was at a journalism conference in Amsterdam on May 15 when her neighbor contacted her to say, “huh, Myles got ahold of your report.” Tanzer, a BuzzFeed media reporter, she said, had brought some KFC to her house the previous December, and had tweeted this:

“I thought, Oh shit, this is like a smoking gun,” O’Leary said. “Myles Tanzer and I had chicken together.”

The initial terror passed when the report, prepared for a small group of newsroom leaders, filtered out to the newsroom following Tanzer’s towering scoop.… Read more

Overfished National Park

Farewell, ballyhoo: Let us never write this word again

And now for the results of our pretty small, not-at-all scientific poll on the word that journalists shouldn’t write ever, never, ever again…


It means “talk or writing that is designed to get people excited or interested in something,” according to Merriam-Webster.com. It got the most votes in our poll (out of a total of 200). It’s also, apparently, a kind of fish. And it is still being used.

We included this poll with a story about words that journalists write but never really say. There are a lot more suggestions in this Storify of what we heard back from readers.… Read more


Bill Simmons: Diva or fall guy?

Good morning. Almost there. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. ESPN ombo: “Is anybody watching the baby?” Bill Simmons‘ “energy and creativity…can also morph into tunnel vision and self-absorption,” ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte writes. “What makes him always think something’s right just because he thinks it is?” (ESPN) | Josh Levin: “When Simmons said ‘I dare you,’ he was talking like a made man—someone who, on account of his popularity, reputation, and well-placed allies, could break the rules that ordinary people have to follow.” (Slate) | “Simmons was on solid ground when he called Goodell’s response ‘fucking bullshit.’ … But calling him a liar went over a line, because it draws a conclusion that we cannot draw.” (Poynter) | “At some point, ESPN’s commentators should also get to call one of the more powerful men in their industry a liar.” (The New Yorker)
  2. Moving day at The Indianapolis Star: “You can follow along with our move on social media at the hashtag #starevolving,” Cori Faklaris writes.
Read more

4 quick Twitter tips from Time, CNN, Mashable and NPR

Four social media experts offered tips from their experiences detecting news, reporting news, publishing news and engaging with audiences at a panel moderated by Twitter’s head of news, Vivian Schiller, at the Online News Association conference in Chicago. Here are four of them.

Get retweeted by telling people stuff they don’t know

Quiz time: Callie Schweitzer, director of digital innovation at Time, asked attendees to guess which of these two tweets received the most retweets:

Schweitzer said the second tweet gave people info that they didn’t already know, accounting for its success.… Read more


Shark-hunting for ‘Old Hitler’ reveals storytelling tips

When I arrived at the St. Petersburg Times in 1977, the first writer I bonded with was Jeff Klinkenberg. We were the same age. Our desks were side by side. We both had young families. Our oldest daughters became best friends. We played in a rock band together. You get the idea.

On Tuesday, Klinkenberg took a buyout from what is now the Tampa Bay Times. His announcement on his Facebook page inspired more than 500 likes and almost 400 comments. These fervent expressions of admiration and respect from readers and other writers did not surprise me.

There is pride in knowing that a great newspaper could sustain the work of such a talented feature writer for almost four decades, especially one who is so identified with a place and a culture and the odd and interesting Floridians who have created it.… Read more

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P-1960 Debate

Today in media history: The first 1960 Kennedy/Nixon presidential debate

On September 26, 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon held the first televised debate in presidential campaign history. The program originated in Chicago and was carried by all of the major radio and TV networks. It was one of four debates. Howard K. Smith served as the moderator and questions came from Sander Vanocur, NBC News; Charles Warren, Mutual News; Stuart Novins, CBS News; and Bob Fleming, ABC News.

The PBS program, American Experience, described the first television debate.

Moderator Howard K. Smith began the debate with the following introduction:

“Good evening. The television and radio stations of the United States
and their affiliated stations are proud to provide facilities for a
discussion of issues in the current political campaign by the two
major candidates for the presidency.

Read more
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Thursday, Sep. 25, 2014

‘You have to look up, but you also have to look down’: Advice from women in leadership

Lady Leader Lightning Talks brought together a group of women (on a very small stage) at the Online News Association Conference in Chicago on Thursday. The women started by offering bits of advice to the men and women in the room. Here’s what they said.

Anna Holmes, editor of digital voices and storytelling, Fusion:

“The best piece of advice I ever got I actually gave to myself,” Holmes said. She doesn’t have voices in her head, “but I actually had a voice that said, ‘it’s OK to say no.’”

Liz Heron, news partnerships, Facebook:

“If something scares you, it’s probably worth doing.”

Also: “Always negotiate.”

Ann Marie Lipinski, Nieman Foundation for Journalism:

“What time and my daughter have taught me is how intensely and deeply gratifying the work can be, all the work.”

Say yes, she said, to leadership and new challenges.… Read more

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A new teddy bear memorial is cordoned off, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo., near the spot of where Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police office Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. The original teddy bear memorial was destroyed by fire earlier Tuesday morning. Ferguson police spokesman Devin James says the cause of the fire is under investigation. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Five things about covering Ferguson

A new teddy bear memorial is cordoned off, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo., near the spot of where Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police office Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. The original teddy bear memorial was destroyed by fire earlier Tuesday morning. Ferguson police spokesman Devin James says the cause of the fire is under investigation. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

David Carson didn’t expect the story in Ferguson to last. Carson, a photojournalist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, thought news of the death of a local teenager would end the day it started.

It didn’t, of course, and a month and a half after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, the story continues. On Thursday morning, while people gathered to listen to a panel of journalists talk about Ferguson at the Online News Association Conference in Chicago, news spread that Ferguson’s police chief had issued an apology to Brown’s family.… Read more


The ‘One-Page Magazine’ is toast

Good morning from Chicago, where the Poynter dot org crew is attending the 2014 Online News Association Conference. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. ESPN benches Bill Simmons: The talking head and Grantland boss said on a podcast that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was a “liar” and “has no integrity whatsoever.” ESPN has removed the podcast. (NYT) | Richard Deitsch: “ESPN management is looking to become more decisive with suspensions when its employees go off the rails.” (SI)
  2. Forbes zaps contributor after stupid article: Bill Frezza‘s article “Drunk Female Guests Are the Gravest Threat To Fraternities” “was removed from Forbes.com almost immediately after he published it,” a Forbes spox tells Philip Caulfield. “Mr. Frezza is no longer a contributor to Forbes.com.” Frezza: “I stand by every word I wrote.” (NYDN) | Jessica Roy: “Only when we tackle the menace of drunk girls, who are absolutely getting themselves drunk while the sober brothers lock themselves in their rooms and study, can the fraternity system be restored to its rightful glory.” (NY Mag)
  3. NPR kills Robert Krulwich’s blog: “I can’t pretend.
Read more
P-Publick Occurrences

Today in media history: First colonial newspaper published in 1690

On September 25, 1690, the first colonial newspaper in America,
Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, was published.
Although some English newspapers and single-page broadsides had been
available to read before, this was the first true multi-page colonial newspaper.
However, it was suppressed after its first edition. The British governor forced publisher Benjamin Harris and printer Richard Pierce to close down the newspaper for “reflections of a very high nature” and for failing to obtain a correct printing license. Harris hoped to publish the Boston newspaper every month, but his September 25th edition remained the only issue printed.

Poynter.org Image

Here is some background from Encyclopedia of American Literature /
Facts On File about Benjamin Harris and Publick Occurrences:

“….Harris established a bookselling and printing shop and maintained
a coffee shop, possibly at the same location, which became known as
the London Coffee-House.

Read more

Wednesday, Sep. 24, 2014

Keyboard Key

Words journalists write that no one ever says

There are words that fit comfortably in news reports but feel alien in your mouth. Have you ever asked a coworker to stop glowering at you? Told your boss you were trying to foment comments? Complained about readers firing salvos at you?

Identifying such words is by no means a new concept — Jim Romenesko solicited them from readers in 2012, and Charles Portis wrote about a woman who started every transitional paragraph with “moreover.” Robert Hutton wrote a British-English-centric book about the problem: “Romps, Tots and Boffins: The Strange Language of News.”

Kristen Hare’s Wednesday-morning Twitter call for suggestions of such words unearthed those examples, as well as many suggestions. Some fell too neatly into the category of peeves — flee, for some reason, came up a lot.… Read more


Knight Foundation announces new journalism division

Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation will split its journalism and media innovation division into two separate teams, adding a vice president for journalism, the nonprofit announced Wednesday.

Under the new structure, the media innovation division will administer programs such as the Knight News Challenge and the Knight Prototype Fund, John Bracken, vice president of the new media innovation division, said in a phone interview. The journalism division will focus on leading transformational change in newsrooms. The two divisions will divvy up the current combined grantmaking budget, though the specific breakdown hasn’t been determined yet. This budget varies from year to year depending on a variety of factors including the performance of the stock market.

Knight announced a slew of promotions in concert with the reorganization. Bracken was formerly director of media innovation.… Read more


Baquet changes NYT masthead: ‘our newsroom must be more nimble’

The New York Times

New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet made changes to the publication’s masthead today, promoting four people to the post of deputy executive editor and eliminating the position of managing editor.

Susan Chira will be in charge of the news report, Ravi Somaiya reports. Janet Elder “will manage talent, operations and budget.” Matt Purdy will run investigations and enterprise. Ian Fisher’s in charge of digital operations. Tom Bodkin is creative director. And three other editors got promotions: Joseph Kahn is assistant editor for international; Steve Duenes is assistant editor, and NYT Now editor Clifford J. Levy is an associate editor.

Joe Pompeo reported these changes were coming last Thursday.

Here’s Baquet’s note to staff:

As I thought about the kind of leadership The New York Times will need in these next crucial two or three years —as we grow our digital muscles while maintaining our commitment to the majesty of print — it became clear that our traditional masthead structure no longer works.

Read more
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Mashable headquarters. (Image courtesy Mashable)

Mashable, too, heads to Europe

Mashable headquarters. (Image courtesy Mashable)

Ask Mashable Executive Editor Jim Roberts about his plans for the future and he says — with tongue planted firmly in cheek — that he’s looking to achieve “global domination.”

That may seem ambitious for the top editor of a news organization that until this year had not expanded outside the U.S, but Roberts is serious when it comes to growing the site’s international audience.

On Tuesday, the company announced it would open a London office in October, naming former WorldIrish.com editorial director Blathnaid Healy its U.K. editor.

“I think we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can hope to see in terms of building a global audience,” Roberts said in a phone interview. “The subjects that we focus on really do have global appeal, whether it’s climate coverage or technology news or the latest in digital culture, viral content, memes — these are things that don’t necessarily adhere to geographic and physical boundaries.”

Roberts’ claims aren’t just talk.… Read more

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