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Sustaining Hyperlocal News: An Approach to Studying Local Business Markets

February 24, 2012 in Experiments, Resources, Revenue

The ‘money problem’ for news organizations has remained unsolved for decades, and even more so for hyperlocal news organizations. Though our latest how-to guide, “Sustaining Hyperlocal News,” attempts to show and encourage hyperlocal publishers to conduct proper research and explore multiple revenue opportunities, it is by no means an ultimate solution…

It’s really like learning to ride a bicycle – I can write a comprehensive book about riding a bicycle… I can go into details about the physics of momentum, the mechanics of human brain and the function of balance. But at the end of the day, reading this book simply won’t guarantee success when you pedal away for the very first time. In fact, I bet you will fall several times before you get it right.

With that said, I think there is an aspect to this money problem that is similar to riding a bicycle. You can read our cookbook many times over, but when it’s time for you to make that sales pitch, you need to be a skilled salesperson and not an academic (this is why in our cookbook, we also recommend hiring a full-time salesperson).

There is definitely an artistic aspect to the process of creating revenue, just like writing the content is an art in itself. There are few guides that touch on the technical part of writing, but you will ultimately develop your own unique tone and style. In the same manner, I believe that you will develop relationships with your hyperlocal audience and business owners over time in your own unique way.” Source: Local Fourth

Reporters’ Lab: Tools, Techniques & Research for Public Affairs Reporting

February 24, 2012 in Craft, Resources, Technology

Every day, government offices from the local police department to the federal Department of Energy generate artifacts that could become vital elements in investigative and other original journalism. Even when reporters can pry those records from agency warehouses and hard drives, the stories are still hidden in hours of videos, stacks of forms and gigabytes of data housed in unfriendly formats.

More troubling, the full-time reporters who ply their trade in city halls and statehouses are disappearing,  A 2011 study by the Federal Communications Commission documented the decline of local watchdog reporting and described a resulting ‘shift in the balance of power — away from citizens, toward powerful institutions.’

Our goal at the Reporters’ Lab can be stated quite simply: Narrow the power gap by arming on-the-ground reporters with the tools, methods and techniques used by their sources and those working in better-funded disciplines. We want to build the infrastructure that will empower journalists — no matter where they are, what they cover or what job title they carry — by reducing the cost and difficulty of finding, understanding and documenting stories of public interest.” Source: Reporters’ Lab

NTEN and M+R Strategic Services Annual Benchmark Study

September 15, 2011 in Resources, Revenue, Technology

“The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study is the first of its kind to look at the effectiveness of major American nonprofits using the Internet to raise money and influence public policy. Nonprofits can use this study to measure and compare their online performance to other organizations.

The study provides a snapshot of key metrics and benchmarks for nonprofit online communications, including email fundraising and advocacy. To develop these metrics, M+R Strategic Services analyzed data from three sources: (a) nonprofit study partners, 15 key national nonprofits in the environmental, civil/legal rights-based, and international aid sectors, which had substantial online communications and marketing programs; (b) aggregate data from Convio, GetActive Software, and Kintera, major providers of online communications tools for nonprofits; and (c) an online survey of the broader nonprofit community with 85 respondents.

Most data came from drilling down into hundreds of email messages sent by the 15 study partners to their email list members over 2 years—from September 2003 to September 2005. We coded statistics for these messages by nonprofit type (environmental, rights-based, or international aid) and then sorted them into message-type categories (including advocacy, fundraising, e-news, and other).

The study has chapters on return on investment, email messaging, email list growth, email list composition, online advocacy, and online fund-raising. One of the study’s most revealing chapters—with regard to measuring the quality and effectiveness of announcements to nonprofit organizations’ email subscriber lists—is on email messaging metrics.” Source: Harvard Family Research Project

Carnival of Journalism

September 3, 2011 in Community, Education, Experiments, Resources

We are a group of bloggers who enjoy writing about journalism and related topics. Once a month we get together and write about the same topic chosen by a different host each time. For those unfamiliar with blog carnivals check out Wikipedia’s definition.

Collectively we have numerous years experience in blogging and a decent amount of knowledge about the subject matter (or so we hope).

In its current incantation the Carnival is made possible with support from the Reynolds Journalism Institute. The first four months of this “carnival” will discuss topics leading up to a conference at RJI organized by David Cohn made possible by the Knight Foundation.” SourceCarnival of Journalism

Twitter’s Official Page for Journalists

August 22, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Resources, Technology

Today in an e-mail from Twitter’s PR team, the company introduced Twitter for Newsrooms (#TfN), a compelling resource akin to Facebook for Journalists that will help optimize the platform’s reporting potential. The guide contains four sections, #report, #engage, #publish and #extra, each with a variety of best practices geared towards streamlining Twitter reporting and making Twitter a more efficient journalism tool. While much of the information won’t ring fresh for reporters already knee-deep in social media sourcing, it’s a comprehensive and helpful resource for journalists of all levels hoping to gain some insight into Twitter’s potential for journalists. So what does the new guide include?

#Report “A suite of search tools that allow you and your colleagues to search as much as you need to.”

#EngageExamples of journalists using Twitter to improve the way they connect with audiences, share news and, through it all, build deeper and broader communities.”

#Publish Tools that enable you to “connect tweets to actions.”

#Extra Helpful links to Twitter blogs, Twitter in other languages and a variety of other resources.” SourceMediabistro