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Some Politico followup…

September 13, 2011

In the end, Politico did launch on Jan. 22 in print (40 pages!)  and on the Web.

VandeHei and Harris were on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric to analyze the SOTU speech.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, launched a redesigned political site on the Web a few days earlier.

Politico is still getting plenty of buzz more than four years later. Mike Allen, their premier name reporter, was featured in a New York Times Magazine profile in April 2010. His early morning e-mail blast is considered a must-read in D.C. In fall 2008, during the heat of the presidential campaign, the news outlet signed an ad and content sharing plan with other publications (including the Denver Post). The publication is also considered a sweatshop by some, with heavy turnover this year, especially among those younger workers. The news site continues to add big names to its banner.

Politico’s ability to tap an ad market is influencing others in DC. The National Journal is seeking to compete on the Web, with many high-profile hires.

In February 2011, Politco launched PoliticoPro, a $2,500-a-year premium service. In August, Politico announced it was making as much money online as in print – a rarity.

Allbritton Communications dove deeper into the online game, launching TBD.com, an online news site for D.C. and its metro area, in August 2010. But in February, TBD laid off much of its staff, a few months after its launching editor left.

Sunday reads

August 28, 2011

A fun illustration from the editor of Good magazine on her personal blog.

What made Steve Jobs successful? This writer says disruptive innovators question, experiment, observe, associate and network. Read it – they don’t mean what you might think with some of these words. And media analyst David Carr writes about Jobs, too.

And, hey, even Burning Man has its business issues.

Interesting Times column – “The Start-Up of You

July 14, 2011

In the future, everyone will have to think like an entrepreneur, columnist Tom Friedman says.

Career-related links

May 10, 2011

i’ve mentioned this Clay Shirky blog post in the past titled “A Rant About Women.” It’s worth reading no matter what your gender. He also has another post this week on the changing environment of media.

Then there’s the Steve Jobs e-mail battle with a student.

Here’s one resource for job interview preparation, and here’s another.

Click here and you can find an array of links to advice on branding oneself.

(originally published 11/10/10)

Links 10/19/10

May 10, 2011

NPR ran a piece on journalism education Monday morning. It focuses heavily on Southern Cal’s school, but is pretty interesting…

Frank offers a few links on being a successful blogger, essential news media tumblrs from Mashable and a negative perspective on local newspapers.

Also, this piece on what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Content farms

May 10, 2011

This is a bit different than the content producers i wrote about last week, though Aol.com might drift into this category a bit sometimes.

i label content farms as sites that are seeking stories, video, etc. that will respond to popular search terms. The content will be evergreen to some extent. These organizations depend on freelancers, folks willing to work for clicks, basically, being paid based on page views.

Associated Content was founded in Denver and purchased by Yahoo earlier this year.

Demand Media offers up written and video content and has partnerships with Livestrong, Trails.com and others.

Examiner would prefer not to be called a content farm, according to this MediaShift piece. Still, they employ freelance “examiners” and get paid based on pageviews.

Yahoo’s purchase of Associate Content was a huge deal earlier this year, and helped establish Yahoo as more of a news/content producer. Demand has been criticized for being a, well, content farm, but it’s a profitable model. Examiner is also based in Denver.

You could probably pick up a bit of cash from such places. A bit. They’re making more, selling advertising and sharing their content with others.

(originally published 10/9/10)

New media models and segmentation

May 10, 2011

Following up on Wednesday’s lecture and last week’s Poynter article, i wanted to post some info and links on new media models and their audiences. This is the first of two posts, i’ll do the other next week.

In terms of new media models, this post focuses on content production models, which to me means sites that create original content. Next week, i’ll look at content delivery, which i’d define as how the content is, well, delivered – via an aggregator, a fancily designed RSS feed, an application, etc. Others might look at things differently, but this is how i view a lot of these new entities.

Rafat Ali talked a lot about scale in the Poynter article, and historically most media has aimed at a large scale, or broad audience. Some of the early online only publications aimed – and still aim – at a relatively broad market. Examples: Salon, Slate and, more recently, Huffington Post. These folks are making their money from ads, sometimes subscriptions and, in my opinion for the Huffington Post, using mostly free content.

Then there’s Gawker, which achieves scale to a certain extent through a network of blogs including the sports blog Deadspin, Jezebel for young women, and Kotaku for gamers. Some of the sites in this network originally were independent. Kotaku, for instance, was started by a Rocky Mountain News cops reporter who was really into gaming. He eventually became an expert on the subject and left newspapers to write full time about games. And Gawker bought his blog and still pays him and others who write for the site.

But as Ali pointed out, it’s difficult to achieve scale – or attract a broad enough audience – with most Web content. Note that he made money through advertising, specialty services, conferences and that he eventually sold his sites to The Guardian, a London newspaper with a great Web presence, a well-established reputation and a solid existing audience for its print product.

The hyperlocal is focused on a much smaller slice/segment – as it says, a specific locality. Oakland Local is one example, West Seattle Blog, operated by a married couple, is another, and Voice of San Diego is yet another. The first and third are nonprofits, i’d say the Seattle example is low-profit – they’re able to pay themselves with the advertising.

Aol.com is getting into the hyperlocal market through its Patch sites, like this one in Montclair, N.J. They’re certainly hiring content producers at a fast rate, but this is also as much about content delivery in terms of a cookie-cutter format and targeting high-income neighborhoods.

Then there are a range of niche blogs aimed at small markets spread across geographic boundaries – some of them are journalistic, some not so much.

One of my faves is Wonkette, a political gossip/snark blog started by Ana Marie Cox. She sold the blog to Gawker at one point, wrote a novel based on one of the most sordid posts there and has become a celebrity blogger/writer, doing work for Time Magazine and others. Gawker eventually ditched Wonkette, selling it back to the people writing for it. It’s pretty popular.

DailyKos is another popular political blog populated by progressives/liberals. it’s really a community site – most anyone can post – but founder Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zuniga. He’s become a celebrity via his blog, which sells advertising. He’s started other blog networks (on baseball, for instance) and has written books based on the popularity of DailyKos.

Mommy blogs serve a popular niche, both because there’s clearly a yearning for community (keep in mind, this is one of the basic purposes of journalism, building community) among young mothers. And there’s a desire among companies supplying products to reach this demographic.

The Dooce (note the copyright on the name!) is one of the earliest and most popular of these blogs, which really reads like a personal diary in many ways. But there’s plenty of traffic, thus plenty of advertising, and the writer got book deals out of it. Another example: The Bloggess. i only follow her on twitter, ’cause 140 words of hilarity is all that’s needed.

Of course, the celebrity niche is another popular one. Take a look at Perez Hilton, some kid from Miami who became his own brand. TMZ.com is a somewhat different deal, run by a former cops reporter and lawyer to get the legal scoop on celebs in L.A.’s “thirty-mile zone.”

i could go on and on with examples of successful journalism sites (TalkingPointsMemo, anyone?) and blogs that differentiate themselves because the person running them is highly skilled at what they do, identified a specialty they’re enthusiastic about and has developed a devoted audience. There are many, many, many more who tried and failed.

(originally published 9/30/10)