Archives for category: Making Money

Cute kitten by Brett Jordan on Flickr
No, no. It’s not entirely about cuteness. Though it does help.

Upworthy shares its great advice below.

Adorable kitten photo via Brett Jordan/Flickr

A tipster to my blog discovered an easy way to get around the Press+ paywall, which recently launched on the Lancaster Online obits page: Turn off JavaScript.

I tested this on several browsers yesterday, and sure enough. It works.

LancasterOnline has not yet responded to my inquiry, but this morning, David Brauer of MinnPost received a reply. Basically, LancasterOnline is not worried. Obit readers and the tech savvy do not meet in their Venn diagram of online readership, they say.

While this may be true, anyone who plans to use Press+ to make money should be aware of the easy methods for circumventing the tool that’s meant to bring in extra revenue and take into account what kind of hit their profit plans could take, should people get the hang of changing a setting or applying a script.

Linda Tischler, who covers design stories for Fast Company magazine, posts 10 tips on how to sell your story idea.

The list is mostly pet peeves, which freelancers must pay attention to. But there are also two excellent guidelines on what to do:

Offer me something nobody’s had before. The quickest way to catch my eye is to give me a chance to be first to report something cool. Editors, a very competitive bunch, love that. Give me some catnip to dangle before them.

Do pitch me something that advances the conversation. What are the big issues designers will be grappling with in the next few years? Who are the brightest young talents? Who has solved an intractable problem in a particularly innovative way? What trends are you picking up as you talk to clients? Why should I care about what you’re pitching me?

Read the rest of Linda Tischler’s post, “How to Pitch Me.”

For more pitch guidance, read my post, how to pitch a multimedia story to MSNBC.com.

Photo: Steve Rhodes/Flickr

News is the stuff we put around the advertising.
— Quoted by so many people in news and advertising no one remembers who said it first

Yesterday a group of journalists of varying experience and expertise got together to do something about advertising. That’s right: News people were proposing ideas for making money.

The one-day sprint, Revenue 2.0, took a “less chat, more splat” approach to revenue solutions for mobile, classified ads, ads for small- and medium-sized business, and display ads used (or not) on the homepage.

The classified ads proposal is up on the #rev2oh site.

Notes from the other teams will be posted tomorrow morning. From what SND President Matt Mansfield tells me, the concepts-oriented document I wrote on behalf of the homepage and display ads team will go up on SND Update with mockups from team members Kristen Novak and David Kordalski.

Meanwhile, read the thoughtful day-after post by Patrick Cooper and the #rev2oh tweet archive.

Someone once said the first rule of blogging is to do it regularly. The second is not to begin with an apology if you go silent without a heads up.

Screw the rules.

The Times of South Africa Newsroom by Gregor Rohrig

For the last few weeks, I’ve been asking a lot of people how news organizations can do a better job of providing and being a conduit for information and discussion while making enough money to sustain a business.

That last part is probably the most difficult question to answer. Most recently, media consultant Michael Rosenblum urged media companies to come up with a new business model for the realities of today.

Apparently, media CEOs were stymied. But there are examples out there:

David Cohn has proposed community-funded reporting and runs Spot.us, the live test. ProPublica uses the non-profit model to pay for investigative reporting. The Guardian in Britain is set up as a public trust.

So I ask you: what should we be doing to ensure there will be money to pay for the labor-intensive craft of news gathering?

Leave a comment below or send me your ideas. If the CEOs don’t know where to start, maybe we, the online collective can show the way.

I’ve been talking with people in social media, information visualization, grassroots reporting and news companies. I’ve wanted to talk with media buyers as well, but don’t have contacts. Do you?

Not related, but possibly useful to you: Thanks to the organizers of Capitolbeat, I was a conference panelist on a session about online fact checking with UNC assistant professor Andy Bechtel and staff reporter Taft Wireback of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. (You’ll find the links on my Delicious page.)

Photo: The (South Africa) Times newsroom by Gregor Rohrig/Flickr

Search giant Google announced Project 10 to the 100th today. If you thought the money for the Knight News Challenge was big, this could be even bigger.

Project 10 to the 100th is a $10 million grant to fund up to five ideas that will “change the world by helping as many people as possible.”

They’re looking for proposals in eight categories, including some in which news-related projects would fit very well: community, education, and the catch-all, “everything else.”

As Google prides itself on encouraging creativity, the company has only the broadest of evaluation criteria:

Reach: How many people would this idea affect?
Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?
Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?
Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?
Longevity: How long will the idea’s impact last?

Proposals are due Oct. 20, and I’d encourage people interested in furthering and reshaping the mission of news to apply. Public voting begins Jan. 27.

Most freelancers will tell you when it comes to deciding who to write for, choose magazines. The pay better. And there’s something nice about seeing your name, your photos, your work on glossy — or if it’s a “green” publication, matte — textweight stock.

They’ll also tell you it’s good to develop relationships with editors. After all, getting assignments is as much about who you know as it is about your story idea.

But what if you’ve never pitched before? Writer’s Market and Writer’s Digest are two sources for beginners’ guidance. Freelance Success has morphed into a dynamic community of newish and experienced guns for hire. And MediaBistro’s popular writing classes provide in-person and online experience with feedback from working professionals.

There’s a lot you can learn online as well. Jason Tanz is posting a step-by-step article about landing a profile of “Adaptation” screenwriter Charlie Kaufman in Wired magazine. If you’re curious about the pitch process, check it out.

And to show you how quickly word spreads online, check out the Google search.

Photo by Sarah Sosiak/Flickr

The news business, and it is a business, is getting squeezed. There are those who think “big J” journalism is a waste of effort and resources at a time when we can count exactly how many people spend time reading the stories, watching the videos, and clicking around on our interactive features.

Strapped for cash, the easy answer is to do things that drive traffic: produce more photo galleries; publish more “gotchas,” celebrity and entertainment news; follow and there by feed controversy; play up drama and conflict.

Does that mean that the fundamental mission of journalism — to find answers to incisive questions; to explore and reveal the world around us; to gather and check facts and report back; to challenge authority — ought to be left in the wings while we make enough money to get us past this rough patch?

Tim Robbins, actor, director and activist, had a few things to say about that during the National Association of Broadcasters conference, which closed last week.

Maybe we the public don’t need the things Robbins is talking about, but clearly, the numbers show us it’s what people are paying attention to. On the other hand, in surveys and day-to-day conversation, people say they want something better than what’s on offer.

So I ask: As a member of the public — not as a journalist — what kinds of stories do you seek out? How do you spend your time when you’re not working on news? And if you’re not in the media business, what do you spend your time looking for, reading and watching? And what aren’t you finding that you’d like to find?

Senior editors at the Los Angeles Times met earlier this week to decide in three days what three years will hold in store.

Kevin Roderick at L.A. Observed posted an email from Editor in Chief Russ Stanton that outlines the roadmap cooked up during the conference.

Though the proof will be in the execution, it looks like the Times is laying the right path for becoming a new kind of media organization. The question, of course, is will these changes bring in badly needed revenue?

Those who blog conscientiously know this already, but it’s worth bringing up this excellent post from Mindy McAdams.

Today, OC Register science columnist Gary Robbins spoke at a panel about blogging during the Future of Science Journalism Symposium.

In addition to writing about things his local audience can actually see and experience for themselves, Robbins times his Sciencedude posts to have the most impact:

The idea that “people will find it” is a vestige of the old journalism, Robbins said — no, they won’t find it, unless you play it correctly.

Therefore, it pays to know your metrics. Any site that doesn’t let its producers see Web traffic is wasting opportunities to tailor its content for maximum traffic, which translates, of course, into money. Think about that.

(via Teaching Online Journalism)