Upworthy launches freelancer program

Earlier this year, Upworthy announced it was hiring New York Times Deputy Editor Amy O’Leary to be its editorial director, part of a broader effort by the viral news site to produce more original work.

O’Leary, widely regarded as a digital innovator at The Times, wrote at the time that her departure stemmed from a desire to “make sure the most impactful ideas reach real people” and cited an ambition to merge traditional storytelling methods with the power of metrics for maximum results.

On Wednesday, Upworthy took another step in its mission to move past its legacy as a curator of the Web and become a hub for original content. Starting this week, the digital startup is accepting submissions from freelancers who pitch stories that are “surprising, have a visual element, and are both meaningful and shareable.”

Reached by email, O’Leary said the freelancer program is aimed at broadening Upworthy’s field of vision to include stories the outlet might not have otherwise discovered. Read more


Career Beat: Clark Gilbert leaves Deseret News

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Clark Gilbert will be president of BYU-Idaho. Previously, he was CEO of Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media. (Poynter)
  • Peter Kendall will be managing editor at the Chicago Tribune. Previously, he was deputy managing editor there. Colin McMahon will be associate editor at the Chicago Tribune. Previously, he was cross media editor there. Joycelyn Winnecke will be president of Tribune Content Agency. Previously, she was associate editor of the Chicago Tribune. (Poynter)
  • Tanzina Vega will be the Bronx courthouse reporter at The New York Times. Previously, she was a race reporter there. (Poynter)
  • John Reiss is now executive producer at “Meet the Press.” Previously, he was acting executive producer there.
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NYT’s Amy O’Leary will be Upworthy’s editorial director

New York Times digital deputy editor Amy O’Leary will be the new editorial director for Upworthy, the viral news curator announced Tuesday.

In her new position, O’Leary will be the top editorial staffer, responsible for overseeing the creation and dissemination of Upworthy’s brand of shareable content. She replaces founding editorial director Sara Critchfield, who left in 2014 to work as a media strategist and consultant. O’Leary will report to Upworthy co-founder Peter Koechley.

In a blog post accompanying the announcement, O’Leary said she’s leaving The New York Times because of Upworthy’s potential to harness the power of social media to shed light on important stories:

Today, I don’t think even the most talented journalist can be content to say that important stories are just ones people should read or view.

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Times of India publisher to staffers: Give us your social media passwords if you’re posting news

mediawiremorningHey, it’s Tuesday. Media stories coming your way!

  1. Strict, strange social-media policy at Times of India: Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd staffers have been told not to post news stories from their personal social media accounts; instead, they must create company-authorized accounts, according to Quartz India. Even weirder: the company — which publishes The Times of India and The Economic Times — “will possess log-in credentials to such accounts and will be free to post any material to the account without journalists’ knowledge,” Sruthijith KK reports. (Quartz India) | Quartz-related: How often should a site launch a redesign, like Quartz just did? Mario Garcia: “The answer varies, and there is a basic principle I follow: redesign (and/or rethink) when you need it.” (Garcia Media)
  2. NYT’s controversial Michael Brown profile: New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan writes that calling Michael Brown “no angel” in a profile of the 18-year-old killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was “a blunder.” (Public Editor’s Journal) | Times national editor Alison Mitchell told Erik Wemple that the phrase derived from the story’s lead, which told an anecdote about Brown seeing a vision of an angel.
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Should publishers be taking better advantage of evergreen content in their archives?

For most publishers, less than 10 percent of June page views came from traffic to evergreen articles — stories that were more than three days old by Parse.ly’s definition.

Among the publishers included in the analytics company’s data: Upworthy, Conde Nast properties, The Atlantic properties, Fox News, The New York Post, Mashable, Slate, Business Insider, The Daily Beast, The Next Web and The New Republic.

Nearly half of the publishers see less than 5 percent of their web traffic attributed to content that is more than three days old, according to Parse.ly:


Unsurprisingly, Parse.ly found that topic-specific sites generally received a higher percentage of traffic from evergreen stories than breaking-news sites did. Upworthy doesn’t include timestamps in its stories, and many of Slate’s pieces are less time-sensitive than stories from The New York Post or Fox News and thus more likely to have a long shelf life of shareability. Read more

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch is not giving up, the BBC cuts hundreds of jobs

mediawiremorningGood morning. Let’s do this. Read more


Survey: Readers feel deceived by branded content

Here’s our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day, and from Kristen Hare, a world roundup):

At Nieman Lab, Alberto Cairo takes data journalism sites Vox and FiveThirtyEight to task for “worrying cracks that may undermine their own core principles.”

— Two-thirds of respondents to a survey by Contently “said they felt deceived when they realized an article or video was sponsored by a brand,” Erin Griffith writes at Fortune. And most readers don’t even understand what “sponsored content” means.

— Speaking of branded content and native ads, Upworthy claims many of its branded posts outperform editorial posts. Ben Young, CEO of Nudge, tells Digiday’s Ricardo Bilton that it makes sense that native ads “you’ve been working on for two weeks” would perform better than daily content. Read more

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Upworthy releases ‘attention minutes’ code; Sports Illustrated to relaunch website

Here’s our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day):

Upworthy has released sample code for its “attention minutes” system of measuring engagement. “We actually use attention minutes as a core company goal,” Ed Urgola, Upworthy’s head of marketing, tells Fiona Lowenstein at CJR.

This week, Sports Illustrated becomes the latest Time Inc. magazine to undergo a website refreshing to be more mobile- and video-friendly, Emma Bazilian writes in Adweek. Poynter covered the redesigns of Time and Fortune and Money earlier this year.

Online news and politics videos are watched to the end 43 percent of the time, according to a Coull analysis of 12 million video plays. Read more


The Day in Digital: Inside the New York Times CMS and the impending Amazon phone

Content management systems are so in this season. Luke Vnenchak has a fascinating look inside Scoop, The New York Times’s “homegrown digital and (soon-to-be) print CMS.”

Jeff Bezos is expected to announce an Amazon smartphone today. How can the company compete with Apple, Android and Samsung? Quartz’s Dan Frommer has some thoughts on the strategy.

The Atlantic’s in good shape, for lots of reasons. Here’s another one, from a Jeff Sonderman tweet during American Press Institute’s summit on video:

Media critics weren’t critical enough of Aaron Kushner’s print-centric strategy at the Orange County Register, Clay Shirky writes, helping to poison the minds of young people who need to understand that print is in a death spiral from which it can’t recover. Read more

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As reporters get measured, why even BuzzFeed, Upworthy aren’t beholden to numbers

Audience-based accountability can be scary for reporters, especially if it’s based on imperfect page-view metrics that don’t account for the fact that what’s journalistically important isn’t always what’s popular.

So how do we acknowledge the fact that our journalism exists to be read even as we remain suspicious of purely readership-based assessments of our work? Here’s how Rick Edmonds put it in his recap of the Newspaper Association of America’s mediaXchange conference in Denver last week:

I don’t think anyone is saying that data science will fully replace “gut” calls on what to cover and play prominently. But as leading practice on digital-only sites shows, hard real-time evidence of how stories perform is both a valuable supplement to old-timey news judgment and a check on bad choices.

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