Author Archives: naudiajawad

Are pageviews dead?

Companies say pageviews are dead, but we use them every single day.

Pageviews are useful because everyone can measure them, but a consequence of them is mugshot galleries and BuzzFeed listicles. These are eamples of juking the stats to drive more pageviews.

We are all stats jukers in that we promote our content in different ways every day. So making real sense of our pageviews involves controlling for promotion when judging performance.

Things that did well consistently at The New York Times:
– things on the home page (but there is a point of diminishing returns when it’s left on the homepage for a long period of time.)
-things shared by The Times’ main social media accounts
– local content, as opposed to wire articles
– magazine, opinion, science and fashion articles, but they get a great deal of promotion (business, U.S., world news and sports stories received almost no promotion but their pageviews did fairly well despite that)

It’s interesting to note and important to be aware of how much our decision on where to put articles and how we promote them affects their pageviews.

The next step should be how to make this actionable. Figure out what does well and how we promote it (note: correlation doesn’t equal causation!) and go from there with a plan.

– Naudia Jawad, The Commercial Appeal

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Breaking news drills

First of all, why don’t most news organizations do this as a rule?

You never know when your newsroom finds itself responsible for covering a large, breaking event.

Rick Hancock of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that in their drill, they built a scenario, gave reporters a heads up at the beginning of the week to let them know something was coming, and sent them out to a scene to cover their “news.”

Things to look at:

  • What to do if the site went down (Do you go straight to social media?)
  • How to handle when/if to take down the paywall
  • How reporters communicate with the newsroom
  • Who’s verifying information/who’s curating it
  • Who you’re talking to in public safety, getting verified information from them
  • Where people are positioned in the newsroom to get the information out as quickly/accurately as possible
  • The best way to get
  • What if reporters don’t have cell coverage (In the event of a natural disaster, this is super applicable.)
  • What to do if your wi-fi goes down
  • When to tweet scanner traffic (Just kidding, the answer to that one is never.)
  • The human toll of covering events, especially when they hit close to home for reporters

Do breaking news drills for your organization. Create as many scenarios as you can. Have contingency plans. Be prepared.

– Naudia Jawad, The Commercial Appeal

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Tools and tips from UGC Gold panel

Some tools discussed during the Crowdsourcing the Experts for UGC Gold panel:

Verification Junkie: Verification tools and background info

Advanced Search on Twitter:

Geofeedia (premium):

Social Mention:

Tips from the panelists and the audience:

Get it right!

Talk to people how you would talk to them in person.

Ask yourself “Would I answer that publicly?”

Think about things your audience is passionate about.

Tell users you need help, because you do.

Search for swear words in the case of breaking news, as people will often swear on social media when shocked/surprised/upset.

Be human, and be skeptical, but not overly skeptical.

Be ready to let the audience shape the story.

Structure your callouts using specific questions and let people know what to expect from their efforts.

And remember, sometimes social isn’t the tool to use to get what you want. Something to ponder.

Tap into existing crowds and communities, but also be ready to grow a community and then ask them for help.

Pay attention and interact on slow news days, so when news breaks, people come to you.

– Naudia Jawad, The Commercial Appeal

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Breaking news and the Boston Marathon bombing

Some really great things out of the Breaking News: Real-Time Takeaways From the Boston Marathon Bombing Coverage panel:

Social media played a huge role in the aftermath of the bombing.

The good:

  • It became a backup for when email systems crashed.
  • It was used to announce press conferences and get out accurate information.
  • It was a good source of tips.

The bad:

  • Police had to spend a large amount of time correcting misinformation and became a “distraction.”
  • The impact of all the misinformation flowing freely cause anxiety.
  • Medical officials saw it as being unreliable and noisy.

In the aftermath of a tragedy of that caliber, the community needs a few things:

  • To know if people are safe and to let others know they’re safe
  • To know how to stay safe
  • To know how to help others (think Red Cross efforts)
  • To get the information pushed directly to their mobile devices
  • Context, a summary, scale and timeliness
  • Clarification: So much misinformation gets spread as news breaks and in the chaos of such events, so when misinformation gets out there, we need to pull it back and correct it.

We really should reach out to our local police, fire departments and try to figure out a plan for what we’ll do in case something happens in our areas.

– Naudia Jawad, The Commercial Appeal

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Real talk: Moving beyond CMS hate

Hate your CMS? You’re not alone.

During the Mobile and Breaking News: New Challenges for News Information Visualizations session, Sergio Goldenberg, digital media researcher at Georgia Tech said:

“CMSes are the worst thing that has happened to news.”

Unsurprisingly (or surprisingly, if you’ve never been in a newsroom), this got a round of applause and it was tweeted. And retweeted. And then retweeted some more.

And with all those retweets came a reflection.

We’ve all been there: swearing at the CMSes in which we work and getting frustrated because it just won’t do what we want. And it’s okay. It’d be amazing if we all had CMSes that did exactly what we wanted to do all the time, but that’s just not where most of us are.

That’s where good ol’ elbow grease comes into play. And where playing comes into play.

Learn new things. Explore new tools. Check out the competition. Ask what others are doing to tell similar stories. Ask what you could be doing to tell your stories.

CMSes were developed to serve certain purposes, and news organizations’ needs change at a pace quicker than most of them allow.

Do what you can with your CMS and find ways to work around its constraints. Use the opportunity to branch out, not only on your own, but with others – and find new ways to get your story to users in the best way possible.

– Naudia Jawad, The Commercial Appeal

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