Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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TileMill lesson

My final session of the conference was a lesson in the free TileMill software from MapBox. It was like the third major mapping revelation in the three days I was here, building on what I had already learned about Google’s maps engine and Fusion tables.

The lesson from the session is all transcribed here:

On that page are other links, including a Google Drive script that helps with geocoding plain addresses and sources of shape files for map outlines.

What remains to be practiced and learned in this level of mapping complexity is the available styling options.

–Phil Tenser, KMGH

Being a Digital Media Host

Being a Digital Media Host

A Storify of the key points (at least IMO) from ONA13 panel on being a digital media host. “Learn how to build community and engage users while shining a spotlight on the most important news of the day.”

Wendi C. Thomas, metro columnist at 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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The Drone Journalism Lab made a short midway presentation called “How you too can be shut down by the Federal Government!”

Professor explained FAA issues that keeps drones from flying for journalism.

His link:

Also, there’s a must read in the last IRE magazine about same subject and maybe by the same professor (but I’m not sure until I find a copy online)

Bring Your Social Game to the Pro Level

Burt Herman – Vice President of Editorial, Livefyre (Storify)
@burtherman |

He says:

Did you know? Storify has a plug-in on Chrome.

Announced today: If you’re a verified site (like NPR), Twitter creates “Related Headlines” to show where else that tweet got linked.

GIF: Google has a “gif” in API to search for animated GIFs! You can drag and embed into stories.

BTW: Yes, Storify has merged with Livefyre but… Storify is still free.

Hey, I know that logo! SHWire D.C. Intern’s tweets on the big screen as part of Herman’s presentation

Meghan Peters – Strategic Partnerships, Journalists, Facebook
@petersmeg |

She says:

819M global monthly users

14:29 minutes spent on mobile monthly

FB drives 2X the traffic of Twitter. (What does this mean for Scripps, since you can’t access our premium content via SM unless you’re a digital subscriber? Are we cool with missing out on this traffic/opportunity to lure subscribers?)

Best content: personal, expresses identity, is visual.

57% more traffic on breaking news when you use hashtag #breaking

Seeing more journos getting good engagement via longer FB posts/commentary in status update and/or notes.

Graph search is EVERYTHING: search photos, video, good way to crowdsource, etc.

Wendi C. Thomas, metro columnist, 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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Is data the chicken or the egg of a story?

I asked that silly question about half way through the Civic data discussion. Here are my notes on the discussion, with twitter handles of the speakers.

Is data the chicken or egg of a story?
@elisewho Better mining communities to find what questions are being asked
@antheaws But could it get too localized?
@danmelton suggests a solution is to compare data to elsewhere, add context – common j practice.
Elise suggests “beautiful visualizations” show context well
@saraschnadt hopes literacy of a meta view will evolve and grow
Elise says NPR is wary about bad charts and bad graphs. Reminds me of USAToday chart of the day
Dan says consumers are “me centric” but that empowers readers to take more action with the data we provide
Elise says her best stories come from questions
Anthea says she looks for data-driven stories, but to me those seem predictable
Sara says censusreporter project is about both, finding questions to ask and answering those that exist


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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Together again for the first time

Scripps folks are gathering at ONA. Naudia, Phil, Kim are ready to become breaking news  gurus in this first session.