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On the Links: Content Matters, Going “Viral,” and Out-Tweeting the Competition

OntheLinksThe New York Times reports on its website today that a hacker claims to have accessed internal documents from Twitter that indicate the company’s expected growth:  reaching 350 million users by 2011, and ultimately becoming the first Web service to claim a billion users.  And to think, your news director still doesn’t “get it.”

Here’s what I’d tell you if I was your coach:  forget out of touch managers and change-resistant reporters (remember all the bitching about going nonlinear?) and make sure you are actively participating in a platform that could quadruple in size by next year (to 100 million users, according to the hacker, identified as “Hacker Croll” (he’s always been reliable, hasn’t he?).

Need more incentive?

baGordon Borrell, writing on his Borrell Associates Blog, says follow the money:  Local Ads Moving to Social Networks. “We just did an assessment of advertising placed on social networking sites and were surprised to find that nearly 20% of all ad spending is by local businesses,” Borrell reports.  It total numbers, it’s not big.  But the trend is important.  In fact, Borrell says watch Facebook, where 74% of ad revenues are from local businesses.

kndx_fox26_bismarckTVNewsday Editor Harry Jessell’s been having some very interesting conversations of late, and this one is worth a look:  Save Stations with Programming, Retrans.  The interview, with John Tupper, owner of FOX affiliate KNDX-KXND/Minot-Bismarck, ND, makes the case that it’s not the economy killing stations, and it’s not even the internet.  Tupper, who’s chair of the FOX affiliate group, goes old-school:  It’s the Content, Stupid.

picture-4I recently signed on as a freelancer at The Daily Beast, and in addition to the appropriate tax forms and payment info, I received a one-sheet entitled, Tips for Going Viral.  Now, if you hit this site with any regularity, you know I’m all about the links and all about spreading content around.  The Beast’s advice is nothing new, but worth repeating:  link, link, link.  Add RSS feeds of your stories to your personal website.  Post links on Facebook.  And yes, use Twitter.

twitter-pic_1369969cSince by now I have hopefully convinced you TwitterResisters to abandon all hope and enter the world of tweets and mini-URLs, check out Patrick Thornton’s Leaderboard post on BeatBlogging.org.  The focus is on live tweeting, which Thornton describes, naturally, as “the cousin of live blogging.”  (You never did get to live blogging?  Oh, what am I going to do with you?)  If you need a brush-up on hashtags, retweets and embedded Twitter feeds, check out the post, and gain the wisdom of Tracie Mauriello at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Nick Martin at Heat City.

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On the Links: Content Matters, Going "Viral," and Out-Tweeting the Competition

OntheLinksThe New York Times reports on its website today that a hacker claims to have accessed internal documents from Twitter that indicate the company’s expected growth:  reaching 350 million users by 2011, and ultimately becoming the first Web service to claim a billion users.  And to think, your news director still doesn’t “get it.”

Here’s what I’d tell you if I was your coach:  forget out of touch managers and change-resistant reporters (remember all the bitching about going nonlinear?) and make sure you are actively participating in a platform that could quadruple in size by next year (to 100 million users, according to the hacker, identified as “Hacker Croll” (he’s always been reliable, hasn’t he?).

Need more incentive?

baGordon Borrell, writing on his Borrell Associates Blog, says follow the money:  Local Ads Moving to Social Networks. “We just did an assessment of advertising placed on social networking sites and were surprised to find that nearly 20% of all ad spending is by local businesses,” Borrell reports.  It total numbers, it’s not big.  But the trend is important.  In fact, Borrell says watch Facebook, where 74% of ad revenues are from local businesses.

kndx_fox26_bismarckTVNewsday Editor Harry Jessell’s been having some very interesting conversations of late, and this one is worth a look:  Save Stations with Programming, Retrans.  The interview, with John Tupper, owner of FOX affiliate KNDX-KXND/Minot-Bismarck, ND, makes the case that it’s not the economy killing stations, and it’s not even the internet.  Tupper, who’s chair of the FOX affiliate group, goes old-school:  It’s the Content, Stupid.

picture-4I recently signed on as a freelancer at The Daily Beast, and in addition to the appropriate tax forms and payment info, I received a one-sheet entitled, Tips for Going Viral.  Now, if you hit this site with any regularity, you know I’m all about the links and all about spreading content around.  The Beast’s advice is nothing new, but worth repeating:  link, link, link.  Add RSS feeds of your stories to your personal website.  Post links on Facebook.  And yes, use Twitter.

twitter-pic_1369969cSince by now I have hopefully convinced you TwitterResisters to abandon all hope and enter the world of tweets and mini-URLs, check out Patrick Thornton’s Leaderboard post on BeatBlogging.org.  The focus is on live tweeting, which Thornton describes, naturally, as “the cousin of live blogging.”  (You never did get to live blogging?  Oh, what am I going to do with you?)  If you need a brush-up on hashtags, retweets and embedded Twitter feeds, check out the post, and gain the wisdom of Tracie Mauriello at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Nick Martin at Heat City.

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Dispatch from the Frontlines: Ann Nyberg

n1086603983_8700I’m fairly certain one of the following two things is true:  either Ann Nyberg never sleeps, or she has a staff of Twitterers, Facebookers and emailers who scan the world’s news second by second, sifting for journalism and new media gold and then immediately firing links off to her followers with short notes like “this is worth a look.”

Invariably, the things Ann Nyberg finds “worth a look” truly are.  And in a Seesmic Desktop world of nonstop shortened links flooding column after column, that’s really saying something.  Ann’s one of the smart people I’ve found through blogging and Twittering, and we share an interest–a passion, really–for answering that question:  “what next?”

When somebody answers that question, if it’s not Ann herself, she’ll be standing very closeby, and count on it–she’ll be the first to Tweet the rest of us the answer.

DISPATCH FROM THE FRONTLINES:  Ann Nyberg, Main Anchor, WTNH-TV, New Haven

Okay so here goes, my first blog post for Mark Joyella, God I hope this is coherent. I, along with his new wife, Tiffanie, happen to think Mark is brilliant at trying to figure out what is next for news, media, content, whatever it’s going to be called for the foreseeable future. Mark allowed me into his life thru Facebook…what a tool that is turning out to be.

As TV news, under its current model began to collapse in earnest last fall, I started following Mark’s LocalNewser blog and was immediately plugged in to what he was trying to achieve. Mark was, is trying to make headway into a changing world and stay viable and true to the field he loves. Unlike so many who have spent their lives telling stories, Mark “quit” his job at his Miami, Florida TV station to marry the woman of his dreams. So smart, on Mark’s part–personal satisfaction comes first, always first.

Ike:  The Rainmaker

Ike: The Rainmaker

I’m a television News Anchor Reporter for WTNH-TV…I’ve been in the business for 30 years, my career has taken me from Indiana, to Oklahoma, to Connecticut. Yep, I was raised in Indiana but was actually born in San Angelo, Texas in a quonset hut for God’s sake on Goodfellow Air Force Base. During the time of my birth there In January of 1957, President Eisenhower came to call on the Air Force Base during a severe drought in West Texas…shortly after he left it began to rain….not sure if he hovered over my crib…but perhaps that was the beginning of my “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” kind of attitude.

At any rate…figuring out what’s next…right, that’s where I was. As I watched Mark online, in my own head I felt this huge push to do something, anything, to figure out how to help all the marvelous media types in print and TV and others lying on the side of the road, as I described it…laid off just wanting to put pen to paper or mic to hand. A vast amount of writers, gone silent, couldn’t stand that notion, never will. I have said, if news doesn’t thrive in this country we could be looking at a “police state.” Though that  sounds rather out-on-a-limb…it happens…slowly…but it happens. Local stories aren’t told, corruption rears its head, you know the drill. Iran.

So, what to do, my first notion was to start a think tank…bring together journalists to talk about how to fix this…just get the conversation going. Facebook allowed me to do that, to contact people I didn’t even know and say,”hey, let’s start talking.” It worked because others were feeling the same way. For lack of a better name, but one that I thought sounded fun, WTNH-TV Sports Director, Noah Finz, suggested “Let’s Get This Party Started.”

Since I’m rather an “Auntie Mame” sort, that title was splendid I thought, and so with that title I sought out members. After mulling my idea over a bit I decided, in this new world, that the group needed to be fuller, more diverse, richer, more minds from other disciplines to obtain as many ideas as possible. Once again I reached out on Facebook and hit others with my idea. Our brain trust is now, journalists, an author, an architect, techies, an events planner, marketing specialists, entrepreneurs, a banker etc…no, no candlestick maker yet…but who knows.

n70260352195_4239

This is in no way reinventing the wheel…but it’s a start at really pushing the envelope for ourselves individually and as a group…we are loyal to each other–that is part of the mission. Banding together like this feels like there is a safety net for all of us, perhaps an extended family.  After a first meeting, our Yale architect said…I think we should call this group “Navigating Change” …and so we are now “Navigating Change, Media Think Tank.” You will find us on a fan page on Facebook under that name. We have a logo now too.

We have had a second meeting and a third is now being planned. Who knows how many titles we may have, but we have started something in this very democratic group to make a difference and navigate change for who knows how many.

Stay tuned.

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And Now, at the Risk of Sounding Insane, Let Me Say It: All is Well

Yes, It Does Look Bad.  No, We're Not Doomed.

Yes, It Does Look Bad. No, We're Not Doomed.


It’s going to be okay. One way or another, we will all be fine. Take a moment and let that sink in.

Now, sure, yes. Spend a day in a newsroom–TV or newspaper, doesn’t matter–and you’ll find most people are just not in the “it’s okay” mode right now. The news at the top of nytimes.com at this moment? “G.M. Notifying 1,100 Dealers That They Will Be Dropped.” That’s 1,100 fewer sources of revenue for local television stations across the country, and not exactly the gust of desperately needed fresh air the sales folk were lighting candles and praying for. And yet, today, I insist, it will be okay.

Ariane de Bonvoisin’s new book, “The First 30 Days,” suggests that times of change happen–because we either make the change or, in local news these days, it’s made for us. And yeah, that’s scary. When P. Kim Bui was laid off last year, she feared for more than just her career: “When I got laid off, my whole world crashed. Journalism was and is my life. This is what I was meant to do and all of a sudden, I had someone telling me I could no longer work.”  And she’s not the only one, not by a long shot.  I received a lot of supportive feedback for my recent post about the loss of a my journalist’s identity and the fear that I might never get it back.

Ariane de Bonvoisin:  "The First 30 Days"

Ariane de Bonvoisin: "The First 30 Days"

Ariane de Bonvoisin argues “life is on our side,” and that if you can get through the first 30 days, you can not only survive, but thrive. “The first few days and weeks are often the hardest, most emotional time. It’s when we have the most questions, emotions, doubts and fears, and when decisions need to be made. This is also the time when we are most in need of direction, information and support.”

Direction, information, and support rarely comes in the pile of paperwork HR hands you on your way out the door.  It can come in the form of loving support from friends and family, and with the help of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it can come from social media connections and networking. There is power in talking and brainstorming.  It can also come more directly from a coach.

Coaching, in this case, does not mean picking up the phone, calling your agent and bitching about the lack of leads, the loss of work, and the generally sucky state of the business.  And it’s not necessarily surfing the couch at your therapist’s office.

It can be refreshing a resume that’s looking a little too, well, 1999.  Deborah Brown-Volkman, a coach to senior corporate executives, says “no one is going to give you a chance to explain yourself. If you want a job, it’s up to you to prove that you can do it. Your resume is your proof.” And if you’re trying to translate a reporter’s skill set to a new line of work, like PR or social media, re-writing your resume to make your case will be critical.  A little professional help couldn’t hurt.

As Brian Curtis at KXAS/Dallas reported this month, an executive coach can help you reinvent yourself by developing a personal brand beyond the “guy/girl from the news” and, as Curtis writes, “understanding who you are and what you need.”

Julia Stewart

Julia Stewart

A coach can help you leap from what you know–to what you never thought possible. As coach Julia Stewart puts it: “your skills are just as valuable as ever – maybe more so – the need for your skills is just showing up differently.”  Stewart says the trick in coaching laid off journalists is getting past the past–and to the future.  “I might shift the conversation away from what’s being lost to what you really want. That’s usually where the opportunities are and there are probably more opportunities than ever for journalists.  Or I might ask, what do you see as the biggest problem that the media has and how could you help fix it? Or what does the world/your
community/your family/etc need most and how could you help with that?  After the big questions, you can narrow down to actual opportunities and that’s where it gets fun.”

Maybe it’s the dream you put off–and off–because you couldn’t break away from what always seemed like a pretty decent gig: bigshot TV reporter or anchor or news director.  “But I’m Channel 7’s…” Well, now you’re not.  So what are you? Maybe it’s time to get back to that crazy dream.  What was it?

P. Kim Bui:  Loss, then a New Direction

P. Kim Bui: Loss, then a New Direction

For P. Kim Bui, it was a move onto the internet, though she made the move without the help of a coach.  “I write a lot about feeling lost in my own journals and I wonder if having someone to help me think things through would help. It definitely would have helped with my initial panic and depression.”  Those feelings, coaches like Stewart say, are absolutely part of the process:  “Self image can be the biggest hurdle and it can take some time to get over it. It’s not unusual to feel grief over something like this, although it may show up as anger or depression.”

I had a chance the other day to spend some time with a Coney Island sword swallower and fire eater. Not a personal or professional coach by any stretch. But she helped me see something nonetheless.  If I sat down–by myself–and tried to think my way from reporting local news to eating fire, I’d never get it done.  I could read a thousand books on the process and the history and the economic upside, but when it got down to the nitty gritty–the you know, eating-the-fire part, well, that might’ve been a problem.  As it was, I needed the one-on-one stop-thinking-and-just-give-it-a-try motivation to actually light that thing and put the flame in my mouth. The result:  euphoria.

The Power of Coaching:  a Journalist Learns to Eat Fire

The Power of Coaching: a Journalist Learns to Eat Fire

I did it twice more. The rush came in part from doing something I would have–on my own–thought my way out of trying.  My coach, covered in tattoos and ever so patient, showed me I had a talent inside I never knew was there.

We’re all going through massive change.  We will find our new paths.  Some of us will even create the new model of local news and become very, very rich. Others will just hit the jackpot by discovering ourselves. Whatever:  All is well.

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Filed under layoffs, Local News 2.0

Just Saying No to Social Media? That Could Hurt Your Local News Career

Need one more piece of evidence that knowing social media’s increasingly part of being in the media?  Well, Twitter-resister, listen up:  “Learn to organize and socialize,” writes Deborah Potter on her Advancing the Story blog.  Potter argues in a shrinking pool of local TV news jobs, people who have multimedia skills have the edge, no matter how good your walk-and-talk liveshots are:  “In the digital journalism context, it means knowing how to organize information from a variety of sources and how to push information out via social media, from Digg to Twitter and beyond.”

The Poynter Institute’s Joe Grimm says with so many experienced journalists competing for fewer and fewer jobs, the folks doing the hiring want that “something extra,” and the newsers who have it get the gigs:  “Increasingly, recruiters are looking for that X factor, X being for extra. What can you do in addition to your base skills? Can you make a slideshow, gather audio, shoot video? Can you help us grow?”

Mike Elgan:  Loves Twitter, Hates "Bad TV News"

Mike Elgan: Loves Twitter, Hates "Bad TV News"

And then there’s Mike Elgan’s argument:  social media, more and more, does news better than old media do:  “Almost every day, I take a break or two from my PC, where I’m constantly monitoring social media, and I check out CNN, MSNBC, and Fox news or, if it’s the right time of day, the network news on ABC, CBS and NBC. I’m always appalled by what I see on TV news. It’s pathetic.”

Elgan says local and cable newsers are trying social media, but not in ways that take advantage of the immediacy and power of the emerging social media platforms.  It’s worth a read.  And one more argument to at least go and get on Twitter.  With the other guy Twittering his brains out making connections and finding stories, you’re truly hurting yourself by sitting on the sidelines.

But hey.  Use your best judgment.

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Twitter Resisters of the Local News World, Sit Down. Breathe. Read This.

Don't Panic. Be Like Capt. Sully.

There’s a sense in local newsrooms around the country that the economy’s so bad and jobs are so vulnerable that “now’s not the time to try new things!” This stubborn, panic-fueled sense of shock reminds me of the refreshing calm that radiated from US Airways Capt. Sully Sullenberger in his gripping 60 Minutes interview. It all happened in 90 seconds. The mighty bird that just can’t be simply knocked out of the sky, suddenly was, and the crew had two options–soil themselves or try something new.

It sounds a lot like local news managers and GMs. The bird that was so strong–the local affiliate that reliably printed money since the dawn of time–is suddenly falling out of the sky at an alarming rate. Passengers are screaming “we’re all going to die” back there, and it feels like a lot of managers are just staring at the cockpit controls repeating a mantra: “the car dealers will advertise again…the car dealers will advertise again.” But even when they do, things will have changed. The financial model, the way consumers get their info, it’s all changing, mighty bird or no mighty bird.

Some are trying new things. In DC, Lane Michelsen and Patrick O’Brien are crafting an Information Center out of what was one of the most old-school of old-school stations, WUSA. Reporters provide for multiple platforms, Channel 9 hits its followers with Tweets, and you get the sense these guys stay at work late thinking, “what else? what are we not thinking of?”

Steve Safran/Media Reinvent

Steve Safran/Media Reinvent

So for those of you who still aren’t even sure about Facebook (don’t get me started, In mentioning to a friend that my engagement pictures were up on Facebook, and he should have a look, he told me he didn’t have time for Facebook, couldn’t I just show him the pictures? Huh? Like I carry them around in a paper envelope like it’s 1978?) and for those of you who twitter at the mere mention of Twitter, Steve Safran at AR&D has assembled a gentle, it-won’t-get-in-your-eyes-Mommy-loves-you post on “10 things to try right now that are cheap or free.” He writes: “Here are ten things you can implement in your newsroom right now, cheap or free, that will improve workflow, Website performance or both.”

What’s the harm in just reading it? So sit down, take a breath. Take another. And click the link. Oh, sorry. You know the words that have lines underneath them? If you put your cursor (the think on the screen that moves around when you touch the mouse) over those words and click, you see the article. It’s like magic! Anyway, click through and read. And don’t freak when you see that Twitter is idea number 1: “Get several staffers on this.”

A good, sensible read. You might learn something.

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