Ben Huh, a former AAJA member and Northwestern University journalism grad, is founder and CEO of Seattle-basedÂ Cheezburger Network. He’s recently blogged about problems he sees with how news is presented online today, and ReadWriteWeb reports on a new news platform Huh is developing – The Moby Dick Project. Be sure to add your comments to the conversation!
AAJA Seattle members Sharon Chan and Karen Johnson are joining forces to hold a kickoff event for Hacks/Hackers Seattle on Nov. 11 at Havana in Capitol Hill.
Come out and show your support and learn about this interesting group!
There will be FREE food from Marination Mobile sponsored by Patch.com!
Hacks/Hackers is a group that was started by former AP bureau chief Burt Herman (now CEO of Storify), Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times, and Richard Gordon of Northwestern Universityâ€™s Medill School of Journalism.
Hacks/Hackers meetups have become common now at national journalism conventions, including at this year’s Investigative Reporters and Editors convention in Las Vegas. (We gathered at the hotel bar, of course.) The group has received sponsorship from the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge and has attracted journalists and technologists from all over the country. Former New York Times reporter and AAJA member Jenny 8. Lee is a key organizer for Hacks/Hackers now.
Hacks/Hackers chapters are forming one by one across the nation, and our own Sharon and Karen have taken the initiative to get the Seattle one off the ground.
Chan, who covers Microsoft for The Seattle Times (and finishing her term this year as AAJA National President), sent out this invitation:
If you’re a journalist who cares about technology and the future of media, you should come. If you’re a technologist who cares about journalism and the future of media, you should come. Journalists call themselves “hacks,” someone who can churn out words in any situation. Hackers use the digital equivalent of duct tape to whip out code. Hacker-journalists try and bridge the two worlds.
Hacks/Hackers Seattle will bring all these people together — those who are working to help people make sense of their world. It’s for hackers exploring technologies to filter and visualize information, and for journalists who use technology to find and tell stories. In the age of information overload, all their work has become even more crucial.
We aim to help members find inspiration and think in new directions, bringing together potential collaborators for projects and new ventures.
RSVP and get your free ticket at http://seattlehackshackers.eventbrite.com.
For more information about Hacks and Hackers check out http://hackshackers.com.
The event is in partnership with AAJA Seattle and the Western Washington Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Have you launched your own company recently? Do you have a story to share about your media company?
Our AAJA Seattle membership has many talents, and more and more of them are pursuing their passions as a business. These entrepreneurs are working day and night, seven days a week, to get their ventures off the ground and achieve profitability.
It’s time for them to be recognized for taking a risk and trying to create a new product, service or adventure they can call their own.
Let’s meet three of them.
Calvin Tang, AtlasOmega
Calvin founded social media news web site Newsvine.com in 2005. Two years later, MSNBC bought Newsvine for an undisclosed sum, marking its first acquisition ever. He continued to serve as chief operating officer of Newsvine for the next three years.
From 2005 to 2010, Newsvine grew to over 4 million users, 15 million monthly pageviews and came to power virtually all of interactive features across the MSNBC Digital Network family of brands, including properties such as the NBC Nightly News, TODAY Show and The Rachel Maddow Show.
He also is founder of the Northwest Dive Club, a passion that turned into his next career move.
Earlier this year Calvin left MSNBC to launch AtlasOmega.
Here’s how the site describes its value:
“As we enter the virtual age of ‘the real-time web,’ where stories are packaged into successfully smaller sound-byte sized units, repurposed and republished with little value added – AtlasOmega swims against that current, by producing original, feature quality stories and images about the wildest and least known parts of the world.”
“All of our explorers and adventurers spend enormous amounts of time and energy in the nitty-gritty details of preparation, equipment selection, technique and safety. Yet, these critical aspects are oftentimes never known by the person who enjoys the final result, be it an in-depth story about a pioneering expedition or a stunning set of images that bring to life a lesser known part of the world.”
“AtlasOmega tells the story behind the story, and sets out to answer the question, ‘How did they do that?'”
Caroline Li, EarthWalkers
Caroline is founder of social media travel web site Earthwalkersmag.com and its print edition, Earthwalkers Magazine. She is also vice president of events for AAJA Seattle, freelances stories and works for TD Wang Advertising Group, a full-service marketing agency that helps companies reach the Asian-American market.
Here’s what Caroline says about her venture:
“I started Earthwalkers because of my love for journalism, travel and international issues. It’s also my answer/vision to next generation journalism.”
“Earthwalkers Magazine and the Earthwalker Community were created so that travelers could make the most out of their travel experiences and continue learning when not traveling. Earthwalkersâ€™ mission is to educate and inform readers about the world through in-depth features and first person stories from the Earthwalker Community. We’re not only building a network for travelers, but a magazine that writers and local bloggers can call their own.”
“The website is a hybrid of user generated content and social network where members are encouraged to share their appreciation for travel by sharing their stories, joining groups and being available to other like-minded travelers around the world.”
“The content on the Earthwalkers website and in the print edition is written by members of the social network. Most stories are written by Earthwalkers that are local bloggers and travel writers while more in-depth features are written by freelance journalists and our Common Language Project team.”
“Through our travels and the people we meet, we hope to unravel the wonders, the forgotten, the shadows, the beauty and the truth about our world. We believe that the world is about more than trade negotiations, poverty and luxury vacationing, but full of people just like you and me that are celebrating, surfing or struggling through life – because in the end, we are all just passing through.”
Who does Caroline expect will use her site?
Journalists & Bloggers: Earthwalkers Magazine is a platform that bloggers, journalists and travelers can use to promote their writing, photography and video. Your user profile is your writing resume/history with Earthwalkers. Writers also have the opportunity to be published in the print edition of Earthwalkers, receive paid writing assignments, and join our Earthwalkers core reporting team on stories around the world.
Like-minded Travelers: So you’re an Earthwalker. You’re going to visit another country but you don’t know anyone there. You don’t want to do the typical toursist thing while you’re there. Get on Earthwalkers, search for other Earthwalkers around the world and connect with them to get insights, advice or even plan to meet up.
The Curious Learner: Just browsing? The stories on Earthwalkers are insightful, informative and inspiring. Regardless if you are traveling or not, it’s important to be informed about world issues.
Christine Chen, Chen Communications
Christine is founder of Chen Communications and frequently requested moderator of business and community events.
Christine is an 18-year veteran of broadcast journalism, launching shows on FOX and PBS in Seattle. She launched her marketing consulting group in January 2007 and has built an impressive list of clients in a relatively short time, including Microsoft. She was a speaker at the 2010 AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles.
“It’s more important than ever to tell an engaging story, define relevance and pick the right places to share that story,” according to her site.
Christine is in great demand as a moderator of community events. In October 2009, she moderated TechFlash LIVE: Women in Tech, an event that brought together a who’s who of women in technology.
And this past August, Christine moderated the Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network Event on the Eastside, an event that drew more than 300 people. The panelists included Kirk Nelson, Washington President of Qwest Communications; Bob Donegan, President of Ivarâ€™s; and Anne Fennessy, Partner at Cocker Fennessy.
Christine says her marketing communications consulting firm specializes in connecting companies and communities for business through strategic thinking, messaging and outreach.
The firm offers these consulting services:
* product and service key messaging/positioning
* presentations and media training
* content production for web, print and video
* social media messaging/strategy/tactics
* traditional PR strategy/pitching.
What differentiates her firm from other PR/MarCom consultants?
According to Chen, her firm “fuses traditional and new media approaches at a senior level, with an editorial eye and unique perspective on branding. Practical experience and tactical execution power a virtual team that is called on for projects, as needed, keeping overhead down and passing the savings on to the client. We are able to work with C-level executives as well as larger teams, as an outsourced service provider or as integrative team members.”
She’s also the creator of the blog xboxbride, which catalogs what happens when a non-video gamer weds an avid video gamer.
I’d like to have AAJA Seattle host a workshop in the not-too-distant future on entrepreneurship.
We led the way in January 2009 by holding the Choppy Waters workshop at the University of Washington in association with its Communication department.
If you would like to become more involved in new experiments in journalism, you can!
AAJA Seattle participates in Journalism That Matters, which meets once a month to discuss current startup ideas in the region and to support their leaders. If you’d like to participate in JTM, please email me at sbhatt[at]seattletimes.com.
The “Sea Beez” ethnic media project is holding a roundtable on best practices in journalism from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 23 at KOMO’s Fisher Plaza.
In May, AAJA Seattle and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ) co-hosted the launch party for the Sea Beez project, which aims to build the capacity of Puget Sound area ethnic media and empower them to strengthen their business and journalism practices.
Julie Pham, managing editor of Northwest Vietnamese News, directs the project. Pham invites AAJA and SABJ members to the event on Sept. 23. The project’s website is seabeez.com.
Just days after attending a panel discussion on mobile advertising, I spotted a blog post on Poynter about news organizations hiring people to develop strategy for delivering news on mobile devices. Apparently, the Orlando Sentinel, CNN.com and Philly.com have each dedicated resources to paying attention to their presence on cell phones – particularly smartphones like the iPhone – with an eye toward capturing more traffic and eventually ad revenue.
And if you know how to develop mobile apps, well… let’s just say you’ve got full employment for the foreseeable future. Gannett and News Corp. are looking for mobile app developers, while The Washington Post is searching for someone with the right chops to be their new mobile product manager.
The folks in the Poynter blog post have some interesting points about the mobile platform. For years now, newspaper editors have talked about how their journalism is “platform agnostic,” which means they don’t define themselves by how they distribute their content. The leading news organizations have been cultivating their skill at leveraging the unique strengths of those platforms on big breaking news stories. The web story has immediacy, virtually infinite flexibility for updates and crowdsourcing, and viral distribution. Print has the weight of that first draft of history, lovingly composed page designs, and longer, in-depth reportage for those who make the time to appreciate it.
I love this quote:
“Having a mobile manager has helped everyone realize how we have to treat content differently on the platform,” said Roger Simmons, director of content/East Coast for Tribune Interactive. “I love the fact that at any given time the top stories on the newspaper front page, website and mobile site might all be different — all tailored to the needs and expectations of our readers.”
The next platform – mobile – offers newspapers a second chance to avoid the mistake they made with the web, according to Ken Doctor, the author ofÂ Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get. The prevailing norm on mobile is one of paying for useful content, unlike the web browser.
“For local newspapers, this is the biggest opportunity in a decade for a do-over,” Doctor said at the ASNE convention this year.
And just the other day, the chief marketing officer of Unilever told an audience at the International Advertising Festival that the Number 2 advertiser worldwide plans to double spending on digital marketing this year. The company spent only 4 percent of its $864 million in measured media last year on Internet spending, according to an article in Advertising Age. But the company is rapidly moving to shift its marketing spend to be proportionate to the amount of time people spend with digital media.
So you do the math: How much time do you spend consuming content on your television? at your PC? on your iPhone?
On Thursday night, I attended a panel discussion on mobile advertising put on by TiE-Seattle, a not-for-profit group dedicated to fostering and supporting entrepreneurship. TiE-Seattle is part of a global network born in the early 1990s when Silicon Valley entrepreneurs of South Asian heritage decided to hold regular meetups.
The panel discussion certainly had some noteworthy speakers, but more on that later.
First, the WHY.
As in, why might mobile advertising be an important subject for journalists, especially those in print media, to think about?
Even if more people than ever are consuming what journalists create, the revenue that pays for the people, the equipment and the overhead is shrinking. (It’s no surprise publishers like the New York Times are planning to erect paywalls for their content starting next year.)
I thought newspapers might be stabilizing in 2010 after two terrible years, but the former media executive and bearish pundit Alan Mutter recently raised alarms again that the newspaper industry is still in trouble, having missed out on the recovery in advertising spending in the first quarter of 2010. His chart says it all: “Newspaper and magazine [ad] sales in the first quarter dropped respectively 9.7% and 3.9% at the same time television expenditures advanced 10.5%, Internet rose 7.5% and radio gained 6.0%.”
Auto and retail advertising historically have been important sources of newspaper ad revenue, so it’s disturbing to hear that even as auto and retail sales rose in the first quarter, spending on newspaper advertising for these verticals plunged. Clearly, some big car advertisers (i.e. Ford, Mercedes) are testing other ways to deliver ad impressions to potential customers.
Motor Trend magazine earlier this year launched an iPhone app with Mercedes-Benz sponsorship. According to an article in eMarketer, the iPhone app was part of an integrated marketing campaign in which Mercedes wanted to convey the message that the E-Class represents the next generation of Mercedes-Benz design and technology.
Advertisers like Mercedes-Benz are eager to deliver their messages to the booming number of mobile customers. Get the stats here.
Publishers are branding themselves too with apps. The alternate weeklies in Seattle, The Stranger and Seattle Weekly, have happy hour apps.
The question is can newspapers, most of which have weak engineering capacity and change-resistant cultures, come up with apps compelling enough to make the upfront development costs payoff? The Miami Herald’s iPhone app for baseball fans has been a hit. My own employer, The Seattle Times, has an iPhone app.
The challenge for media organizations is not simply migrating their content to mobile devices (just as they migrated it to the web), but leveraging the unique strengths of mobile for content AND advertising.
Mobile devices offer multiple “sensors” — such as location (GPS), touch, balance (accelerometer), visual (camera) and aural (mic). Unlike PCs, mobile offers advertisers a unique end-user; most of us don’t lend out our cell phones. All of these factors create interest for advertisers, who want to deliver a message to a specific audience that is going to stand out and be memorable in today’s information glut.
That brings us back to the TiE-Seattle event on Thursday night.
TiE-Seattle’s panel was composed of marketing and business types:
- Mario Ribera, who leads Microsoft’s mobile advertising and search monetization business in North Ameria
- Larry Jordan, director of the mobile web (web2go) for T-Mobile
- Bill Bryant, a venture partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, an early stage venture capital firm, and
- Robert Mumford, senior director of business development for Amdocs Interactive Product Business Unit.
(Interestingly, the panel moderator, Kevin Keating, was a former journalist for the Spokane Spokesman-Review and is now founding partner of Lucid Communications, a strategic marketing firm based in Seattle. Keating opened the discussion by noting that research firm Garnter forecasts mobile advertising will reach $1.6 billion this year.)
Google and Apple are staking claims to mobile advertising by controlling the platforms that serve up mobile ads.
“It’ll lend a lot of credibility to the space,” Jordan said.
Similarly, Ribera views 2010 as the first year that mobile is seriously considered part of the marketing mix. Two-thirds of the campaigns his group is doing now, he said, are “integrated media buys,” with ads deployed on three marketing channels — mobile, web and keyword search.
Publishers, take note: The CPMs for mobile ads are higher than banner ads on websites, Ribera tells me.
But Bryan is skeptical of claims that mobile will eat the lunch of television, the dominant media for brand awareness advertising. (Think Super Bowl.) “Advertising is not an infinitely large bucket of money,” he said.
There’s consensus that mobile is gaining advertiser interest by delivering targeted messages through text messages (SMS), keyword search, and interactive apps.
But marketers are learning that user behavior is not the same on the mobile screen as it is on a PC. Mobile users have more urgent demands for information when it comes to search.
For example, Ribera noted, most mobile users of the Bing search engine complete their task within an hour or a day, whereas most PC users take up to a week. Mobile search keywords tend to be more conversational and abbreviated than PC search keywords.
(I love the fact that audience members added their knowledge to the discussion: C.N. Chiu, a consultant for MobileWebGo in Portland, Ore., said Spanish-speaking users are six times more likely than native English speakers to use mobile search.)
What does all this mean for news organizations and journalists? Based on what I learned from these speakers, here’s a few thoughts.
1. News organizations should charge for their apps, but they should be sure the apps do more than simply copy what is delivered on the PC screen. Get creative and offer something that’s entertaining, educational or utilitarian. Give the user a satisfying experience. This is not unrealistic as mobile payment use is growing. (If it’s a sponsored app, then obviously the news organization wants to make it a free download to maximize its distribution.)
2. Text messaging still has the greatest reach on mobile devices, but location-based services are the hot new thing. (Uh, Foursquare, anyone?) Could news organizations license to location-based services their news stories about a location, so urban explorers can not only find deals on shoes but also learn more about that neighborhood?
3. There’s great demand for quality video on mobile devices but a whole host of technical issues need to be worked out. But once those issues are worked out (and it won’t be long), inventory will sell out quickly. The new iPhone takes 720p high-def video and the $5 iMovie app turns the device into a video editor. Start to build mobile video into your multimedia workflow so you’ll be in a position to sell ads with them. Think Webiscenes, not Webisodes.
4. Because mobile users’ information needs are typically more urgent, certain kinds of content will be a better fit for the mobile device: Movie and restaurant reviews, breaking news alerts and sports stats. But news apps, because they must be downloaded by the user, involve intention and thus can also be designed to appeal to a niche editorial interest — and carry higher advertising rates.
Please add your comments! And contact us at email@example.com if you have ideas for speakers for our next Innovation Salon, which will focus on monetizing digital news content.
AAJA student member Peter Sessum, a three-time recipient of Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship who writes for The Daily, documented the event and wrote up 10 Twitter lessons he learned at our AAJA Seattle’s first Innovation Salon:
1. Be yourself. While Twitter can be used for business, it is expression of who you are. Relationships with customers can be built if your Twitter has that personal touch. Better to be loved, or hated, for who you are than to be invisible.
2. Donâ€™t retweet compliments. It comes off as self indulgent and will get you deleted from Becky Selengutâ€™s feed. It is enough that all of the senderâ€™s followers can read it, all of your followers donâ€™t need to as well. Simply reply a thank you and move on.
3. Be mindful of which account you are using. For the professional Twitter, posting a personal Tweet, or replying to a friend, from a business account reflects on the business. Remember to log out and log back in from your personal account.
4. Deleting posts. Recent news proves that deleting can be just as troublesome as the original post. Twitter is in real time and instant gratification. There is a feeling of urgency to post right away or retweet before there is a gap in the posting. In a professional setting, take a moment before posting. It will get read, might as well have it right.
5. Misspellings. Make a correction and move on. Do not be too critical of anotherâ€™s mistakes; it will happen to you too someday.
6. Inflection is lost when typing. A public forum is not the place to give someone new a taste of your sense of humor.
7. Do not argue over twitter. A healthy exchange of ideas is good, shouting matches are not. In online fights there are no winners, only losers.
8. We are all connected in the Twittersphere. Retweets are a good way to link people you donâ€™t know with people you donâ€™t know. Selengutâ€™s beautifully convoluted story that linked up strangers illustrates how to help one another. As a result, you may end up with jam.
9. There is still room for improvement on Twitter. Creative people will find new ways to utilize twitter at 140 words at a time. Limitations do not stifle imagination, they inspire innovation.
10. Most importantly, know when to unplug. Despite all the â€œconnectionsâ€ on Facebook and Twitter, it isnâ€™t real interaction. Sit down with friends and family without phones and computers. Have some real connections, there will be plenty of time to Tweet about it later.
From left to right: Karen Johnson, managing editor of SeattleMag.com; food writer Matthew Amster-Burton; PR-pro Hsiao-Ching Chou; and chef Becky Selengut.
AAJA Seattle held its first Innovation Salon on May 25 at TASTE Restaurant at Seattle Art Museum.
These salons are aimed at getting journalists outside their comfort zones. By hearing from innovators in marketing, media, technology and other fields outside traditional media, journalists can learn about innovative concepts, integrate this thinking into their own work and become innovation leaders in their organizations.
Our first salon, not surprisingly, focused on the culture of Twitter and how various users wield it to have conversations, cultivate sources and disseminate their messages – all of them outside traditional newsrooms.
The stylish downtown restaurant, between the foodie suppliers at Pike Place Market and the social-media startups in Pioneer Square, was the perfect setting for journalists, foodie bloggers, marketing executives and tech analysts to gather for an evening of stimulating conversation.
The event was co-sponsored by AAJA Seattle, TASTE Restaurant and Seattle Magazine. About 40 people attended the event, which was designed to be small to encourage meaningful conversations and networking.
After chowing down on delicious appetizers prepared by TASTE chef Craig Hetherington, the audience heard from a panel moderated by Karen Johnson, online managing editor of SeattleMag.com.
Shoutouts to Johnson, online managing editor of SeattleMag.com, for organizing the panel and venue; chapter treasurer Nicole Tsong for providing support; and volunteer Jillian Dinnie, who sold tickets and collected money for AAJA Seattle at the door.
Want to learn more? Read AAJA student member Peter Sessum’s post on 10 things he learned about Twitter etiquette from the salon.
On Wednesday evening, a new ethnic media web project held its launch party at The Seattle Times.
The project is led by AAJA member Julie Pham, who is managing editor of the family-owned Northwest Vietnamese News.
Sea Beez has its seed funding from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and represents the newest “hive”Â for New America Media, the nation’s first and largest collaboration of 2,000 ethnic media organizations reaching 51 million adults. The NOLA Beez launched in January. The other hubs are LA BeezÂ and San Jose Beez. LA Beez isÂ part of aÂ New America Media’s Digital Divide initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation.
About 80 people attended the event.Â They included ethnic media executives:
The evening began with networking and attendees admiring The Seattle Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning stories. Thanks to AAJA student member Peter Sessum for shooting photos.
The evening gave AAJA student members, like Andrew Doughman, a chance to practice networking and connect with editors looking for freelance contributors.
During the presentations, Julie explained the overall goals of the Sea Beez project.
Sandy Close told the audience that all of the “hives” have a Queen Bee, looking at Julie with a smile. Great work to all involved!
sbhatt Events AAJA Seattle, Beky Selengut, digital media, diversity, eating, Events, Features, foodies, Hsiao-Ching Chou, innovation, innovation salon, Karen Johnson, Matathew Amster-Burton, Members, networking, newmedia, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Magazine, socialmedia, TASTE Restaurant, tweeting, Twitter, web 2.0
AAJA Seattle’s 2010 INNOVATION SALONS:
Join us for a lively evening of food, drinks, networking and twitterific conversation at TASTE Restaurant at the Seattle Art Museum.
â€œEATING WHILE TWEETING: SOCIAL MEDIA LESSONS FROM SEATTLEâ€™S FOODERATIâ€
For AAJA Seattleâ€™s inaugural Innovation Salon series, we bring together a group of the cityâ€™s hungriest tweeters: PR-pro Hsiao-Ching Chou, food writer Matthew Amster-Burton and chef Becky Selengut.
Journalists, businesses owners and just about anyone else with a message is scrambling to carve a presence in emerging social media markets. This panel represents a micro-community that adopted social media and pushed its boundaries since before it was cool.
Moderated by Karen Johnson, Seattle magazine online managing editor, this intimate salon will focus less on the Twitter basics and more on the broad lessons, stories and musings from a foodie community that has embraced, and in turn, been transformed through social media
Event: â€œEating while tweeting: Social media lessons from Seattle’s fooderatiâ€
When: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Where: TASTE Restaurant at Seattle Art Museum, 1300 FIrst Ave., Downtown
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $25/$20 for AAJA Seattle members (includes appetizers provided by TASTE)
Buy tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/112278
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
â€¢ Matthew Amster-Burton Food writer and author of Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Fatherâ€™s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater
â€¢ Hsiao-Ching Chou Partner and social media director at Suzuki+Chou Communimedia, writer and former food editor at the Seattle P-I
â€¢ Becky Selengut Chef and co-author of The Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook
Taste Restaurant at Seattle Art Museum
The Asian American Journalists Association-Seattle chapter is a local, non-profit professional and organization. Since 1985, the chapter has provided scholarships for students, professional development for journalists and service to the community in the Pacific Northwest. For more info on AAJA Seattle visit: www.aajaseattle.org
(Images courtesy of CIO.com, Flickr Creative Commons: photos by The Mooncake Box, smcgee, highway.skylines. Graphic by Hot Chai Media)