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Decoding Collaboration Part 1: Can or should news collaboration be forced?

July 24, 2013 in Blog, Community

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Jo Ellen Green Kaiser

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser is the executive director of The Media Consortium. Green-Kaiser’s rich background includes a BA from Yale, a PhD from the University of California, with an impressive body of work across numerous independent magazines; she is a leading figure in Jewish media and an expert on the Jewish social justice movement.

Journalism Accelerator

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, who leads The Media Consortium, has been going deep on collaboration in her work. Here she generously offers a number of insights, with this the first of her three part series:

News Collaborations:
Part I: What do we mean by the word “collaboration”?
Part II: How does collaboration create impact?
Part III: How can collaborations shape the future of journalism?

With collaboration at the center of the JA’s work, we’ve followed Media Shift’s Collaboration Central work with interest.  As well as others who are monitoring new models of collaboration emerging across the news and information spectrum.  Civic engagement “table” development methodology is part of the DNA that inspired the JA’s cross network emphasis (“beyond the usual suspects”). Inspired by wildly successful state organizing efforts, collaboration in this instance fueled by a philanthropic community where funders worked in partnership to build infrastructure to deliver commonly held objectives, leveraging the existing capabilities of civic organizations already existing in the marketplace. Taking out all partisan attachment (progressives were the architects of this infrastructure) – the simple genius of this: How to deploy the power of civic good networks around common aims – respectful of unique missions – to deliver the combined capabilities of unique specialization already creating small scale impact in the marketplace? (i.e. content delivery, craft, community conduit, social, business, technology, product development, topical expertise, etc.) Last year about this time the JA was looking at the combination of revenue and sustainability related to collaboration. Taking this a step further, we’re revisiting this asking others where they see the greatest impact around networked collaboration. As well as asking, what are the barriers slowing progress?

In this post, Jo Ellen explores new working definitions of collaboration and opportunities to consider for deeper impact, leveraging collaboration to unleash the combined power of networks in more intentional and strategic ways. Read the rest of this entry →

JA Better Practices: Sixth annual Free Press Media Reform conference inspires a rich social narrative

April 26, 2013 in Blog, Distribution

Hilary Niles weighs in at the "Building Better Media Policy Reporting from the Ground Up" strategy session in Denver, at the Media Reform conference. Credit: Lisa Skube

Journalism Accelerator

In early April, JA participated in the Media Reform event, as Josh Stearns, the Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director for Free Press, described it: “A conference of [hundreds] of grassroots media makers.” JA met and talked with dozens of organizers, journalists and policy experts, attended great panels, and had the additional opportunity to meet with a number of leaders such as Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, executive director of Media Consortium; Lark Corbeil and Kimberly Lavender of Public News Service; Dan Moulthrop and Jill Miller Zimon of The Civic Commons; Tom Glaisyer of the Democracy Fund; Journalism That Matters leaders Michelle Ferrier and Peggy Holman; and digital media expert and journalism veteran Steve Outing, in addition to many, many others paired with numerous inspiring hallway conversations.

Covering the event across social channels, the JA designed social coverage to convey the powerful ideas of the people who came to share, learn and compare notes. Building a narrative across social platforms opens up new strategic ways to participate in content, deepen connections and offer important context. Here’s an overview on different ways you might tap into social channels, to develop your own content stream, build a rich narrative, expand your network and bring more return for the investment. Read the rest of this entry →

JA How-To: Social tools you can use to grow your business

March 1, 2013 in Blog, Distribution

Nicole in the Tweet Nest

For JA's social expert Nicole Staudinger, monitoring social is a daily practice. Sharing our best practices with you, what tools do you think we should try?

Journalism Accelerator

2012 was a huge year for social. According to Folio’s Greg Levitt, 2013 is shaping up to be the first year that social media eclipses search as the leading source of referral traffic to publishers.” Social media management has become an essential super power to connect with audiences through content and to contextually appeal to readers.

A comment posted on JA by Christopher Sailus (of Sailus Mortgage) makes the point: “Utilizing Twitter to create a market audience can be wildly successful at a very low budget.” But considering most publisher or journalist’s existing work load, how can writing you’ve already produced efficiently build followers, promote deeper content and respond to the needs of your online community in a sustainable and strategic way?

Here on JA, we’ve gathered a treasure trove of free tools that we typically use daily for social monitoring, listening and response. These tools, when used consistently, are invaluable in improving our ability to be responsive to the targeted messages we share and receive, by optimizing (and integrating) the use of our social channels. This is the first, in what will be a series of posts over the year, to share what we’re learning to help you unleash the power of social to deepen your success. Read the rest of this entry →

Tools of Change Conference

February 1, 2013 in Resources, Revenue

The options outside [the ebook publishing] ecosystems or closed networks have been few. But now we are beginning to see the emergence of a third network that imposes fewer constraints on its participants. It is difficult to put a name to this ecosystem because its leadership is distributed, but it has now begun to draw into its orbit such organizations as O’Reilly Media, Pearson, Barnes & Noble, and Microsoft. It is the nature of this network that it can bring in more and more participants because the ecosystem itself is designed not to be controlled by a single authority but to permit, even to evangelize for, as broad a participation as possible. …

“Several years ago O’Reilly Media came up with the idea for a subscription-based e-book service for computer books. The O’Reilly organization approached the market leader in technical books, Pearson, and the two companies created a joint venture called Safari. Safari now includes the technical publications of most computer-book publishers in the U.S. The CEO of Safari is Andrew Savikas, a former O’Reilly executive.” Source: Joseph Esposito, The Scholarly Kitchen

INSP News Service

February 1, 2013 in Community, Resources

The INSP News Service is one of our key member services. It provides editorial support to street papers – to build their capacity and increase their sales – so that tens of thousands of homeless vendors can earn a living and improve their lives.

“The INSP News Service provides free content and translation to street papers. It circulates content from within the network and external media partners. It also adds value to street papers by using INSP’s unique position to create exclusive content. INSP journalists detect and report on global trends relating to homelessness and social justice, and secure support from high profile contributors.” Source: International Network of Street Papers

Although the INSP’s affiliate publications reach an estimated 32 million readers every year, the organization certainly can’t pretend to have the clout or circulation of, say, AOL-Time Warner or Rupert Murdoch’s fittingly named News Corporation. But those aren’t the arenas in which the INSP is trying to compete. Through their diverse network of more than 90 “street papers” (ranging from down-to-the-basics, black-and-white newspapers to photograph-chocked, full-color magazines), INSP’s member affiliates (with assistance from the integral Street News Service) are busy covering news, cultural and political terrain in 38 countries.” Source: Silja J.A. Talvi, In These Times

JA Resource Q&A: A social strategy of “purpose and intention”

October 22, 2012 in Blog, Community, Distribution

socialnewsdesk
Former journalist Kimberly Wilson started SocialNewsDesk to tailor social media management to the quirks of a newsroom. She wanted to solve three problems she saw in newsrooms social media management: organization, security and setting goals. 

Journalism Accelerator

What are the biggest challenges for news organizations juggling multiple social media platforms? In the ever-changing, character-limited continuum of Twitter and Facebook, what ways can you most effectively build your business, organize your system, engage your audience with information that is useful to them, maintain internal confidentiality and synchronize the work of your team?

To understand how deliberate systematization can optimize your social media presence on a large or small scale, we invited SocialNewsDesk founder Kimberly Wilson and social media curator Cynthia Parkhill to share their expertise and experience. It’s part of our regular series of live conversations showcasing resources that offer support to the journalism community.  Read the rest of this entry →

JA How-to: A four-step guerrilla guide to social listening

June 4, 2012 in Blog, Craft, Technology

Social Media Signals

Investing time exploring social listening tools can help tune your business strategy, connecting the dots for greater profitability AND deeper audience connections. Image: Intersection Consulting

Journalism Accelerator

Have you been keeping up with all the hype around “social monitoring” software? There are scores of tools out there that promise to deliver a secret treasure map of insight and intel: how to decode the value of your products by “listening” to your audience “talk” about them across social channels.

Here at the JA, we have been evaluating social listening tools for our own work. This post offers a summary of what we’ve found, for you to consider as you size up methods for deeper knowledge of and engagement with your audience. We’ll tell you a little bit about how each tool works, and share a framework so you can consider how social listening may advance your success. Our goal with this list isn’t to cite everything that’s available, but to present a comprehensive range of options we think may be most useful in your work.

There are a number of ways publishers might apply social listening techniques. Some are simple, some more complex. To help guide the build of our service model, we subscribed to and tested the capabilities of one social listening industry leader, Radian6, over the past eight months. While it appears to satisfy major corporate brands like Pepsi, UPS, and Dell, it didn’t do as well helping the JA achieve its objectives, which are less about brand loyalty and more about tracking emerging trends.

So we began to explore other options. If you’re considering the offerings of the big kids on the block (such as Radian6, Crimson Hexagon, Lithium, Simplify360, or Alterian), know specifically what you want out of it before you go in. Also, don’t let budget stop you from experimenting. If you’re on a shoestring with little time to spare, you may find some tools you need in these free or low-cost alternatives.

Our best success in both choosing tools and getting a good outcome from social listening came from having a clear plan going in. Outlining your community and business requirements early on focuses your search for a social listening solution that provides the best fit for both budget and bandwidth. Know what you want to achieve before you start trying tools, and know how much time you have to invest in the effort. Going in with an idea of what you hope to learn sets up the experiment for a greater return on the effort.

There are four basic steps to successful social listening: discovery, analysis, management and integration. We list tools that can help with each element below. Read the rest of this entry →

Niche news publishing: “No one shoe fits all.”

February 29, 2012 in Blog, Craft, Experiments, Revenue

Journalism Accelerator

Little shoe big foot -- Journalism Accelerator Forum

Image credit: Lars Christensen - Fotolia

Go deep, not wide, in content and audience. That’s my quick overall takeaway from today, Day Two of our forum on sustainable journalism. Today’s conversation focused on particular opportunities for niche sites.

Let’s start with this question, and a thanks to the Oregonian News Network’s Cornelius Swart for posing it:

Who if any have done or understood the demographics of their audience before they launched their projects. Of those out there in the niche world, who has done a media audit since they launched? Are people just pricing products and seeing if they take off? Do people have a sense of audience/customer base in terms of income and consumer habits/values?”

That’s still open to answer on the forum threadBased on comments throughout the conversation, niche news sites have particular opportunities to build tight relationships with their audiences – and that is key to bringing in revenue. Rusty Coats put it this way: To monetize deep content, own the master narrative.

That is, become the voice of authority (through your coverage, of course) on a subject matter – and work diligently to hone that subject matter so that it isn’t too horizontal. Deep coverage is vertical. Readers and underwriters appreciate the focus – and that helps weed out who is NOT your audience or underwriter community.” Read the rest of this entry →

Block by Block

February 24, 2012 in Community, Experiments, Resources

Block by Block is a network for online pioneers who are creating sustainable models to provide community, neighborhood and local niche news.

With support from The Patterson Foundation, Block by Block is working with publishers and editors of independent local start ups, both for-profit and nonprofit. We want to help them share what they are learning and what they are struggling with, and to provide resources such as community management, training, mentoring and networking.” Source: Block by Block

CJR’s Guide to Online News Startups

February 24, 2012 in Community, Resources

The News Frontier Database is a searchable, living, and ongoing documentation of digital news outlets across the country. Featuring originally reported profiles and extensive data sets on each outlet, the NFDB is a tool for those who study or pursue online journalism, a window into that world for the uninitiated, and, like any journalistic product, a means by which to shed light on an important topic. We plan to build the NFDB into the most comprehensive resource of its kind.” Source: CJR’s Guide to Online News Startups

 

“‘Before we launched the database there was no comprehensive resource documenting the many online-only news sites, both national and local, that have emerged in recent years. It’s a big, highly diverse world — overwhelmingly so — and we wanted to help people get a sense of what’s out there. We’re not comprehensive yet in terms of the sheer number of sites we’ve documented — that will come — but we are comprehensive in the amount of data we collect on every site we profile.

Another major reason was that there’s a lot of talk about online news and online news business models, but very little reporting on how online news sites actually function — and that’s especially true for local news sites. We wanted our contribution to that conversation to be more fact-based, more rigorous.

We felt that news readers could use this type of resource to discover new sources of information, and we wanted people in the field of online journalism to have a resource through which they could look at what other sites were doing around the country and compare, contrast, do research, get ideas, hear war stories, etc.’” Source: 10,000 Words