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May 24 2011


Follow, Follow, Tweet Tweet (realities of microblogging)

Microblogs like Twitter are a great vehicle to help organize political demonstrations in countries run by corrupt governments (and an effective way to spread misinformation), but how can nonprofit organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), libraries, government programs, and other mission-based organizations really use microblogs to promote their work, increase attendance at an event, get donations or mobilize or support volunteers?

I've updated my resource on Microblogs and Nonprofits yet again, this time adding much more information about live microblog/live tweet events. This is a primer based in reality - you won't find a panting endorsement about how you will raise millions of dollars via Twitter or Facebook or any other technology-tool. Rather, this resource is, I hope, a no-nonsense, anti-fluff, anti-hype, practical list to help nonprofits, NGOs and other community-focused initiatives explore microblogging and use it effectively with volunteers, event attendees and others they are trying to reach and engage.

Being able to work online is now an essential and much-sought-after skill in the work place, no matter what your job at a nonprofit, NGO, government agency, etc. This isn't the domain of just your marketing department anymore: program staff, those that work with volunteers, and anyone that works with the public or with clients at a mission-based organization has a role in using online tools on behalf of mission-based organizations. This updated resource is just one of many pages on my site meant to help those at mission-based organizations who want to enhance their online skills quickly.

Remember: content is still king. Be thoughtful and be strategic about whatever communication tool you use, even the flavor of the month.

May 12 2010


Columbia Journalism Review: Can the new non-profits last?

Columbia Journalism Review has an insightful feature up on the United States’ burgeoning non-profit journalism industry. Writer Jill Drew looks at the unusual practices that separate organisations like California Watch from traditional newsrooms, and whether the philanthropic donations and other smaller revenue streams on which they rely can sustain the groundbreaking work being done.

The editors agreed; this was big. But then the conversation veered in a direction unfamiliar to traditional newsrooms. Instead of planning how to get the story published before word of it leaked, the excited editors started throwing out ideas for how they could share Johnson’s reporting with a large array of competitive news outlets across the state and around the country. No one would get a scoop; rather, every outlet would run the story at around the same time, customized to resonate with its audience, be they newspaper subscribers, Web readers, television viewers, or radio listeners.

Full story at this link…

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November 19 2009


Next Steps: What We Heard, What We Need

At the end of our New Business Models for (Local) News Conference last week we asked a question we’ve been asking since our first go-round three years ago: What’s next? What do we, as practitioners of journalism, need to do to help sustain journalism in this new age?

It seems there is still a simple two-word answer: More training.

Sure, responses were all over the map (the full list is posted below the jump) and I’ll get to some of those in a moment. But, the most common request at root is for more help understanding our new media environment.

Some of the independent, hyperlocal startups (dare I call them bloggers?) in the audience said they could use help with everything from basic research and editing practices to selling and analyzing ads to understanding business finance. They also want to build a stronger indy-web community that, at a minimum, would be a forum to share best and worst practices.

The churched journalists in the room asked for some of the same instruction: editing for the web, learning the basics of graphics, and web literacy (tweeting, texting and blogging). But, like the indy’s, the guys inside established media organizations need help with the business side (see Jeff’s post on getting “theah from heah”).

Folks want to see programs for bringing business students into media management (much as we tried to do last summer). A few more suggestions:
- Future conferences organized around specific revenue opportunities – some people also want to have a conference organized around verticals and niche sites.
- Research into what kinds of advertising small businesses need.
- Strategies for making that advertising more valuable.
- Looking at what impact greater bandwidth and mobile devices will have on journalism and advertising.

One veteran journalist told me someone should create a not-for-profit, possibly based in a university, that offers free business consulting services to journalism startups. He said the consultancy could cultivate a thousand test cases for our business models – a much better approach, he says, than getting funding for a lab to test them out in one area (which was another suggestion from the panel).

Finally, here are two of my favorites: training for small communities that have lost their papers and a conference aimed at media in Africa and other parts of the world. It is important to keep these areas, so often left out of the conversation, in our minds.

As I said, there are a lot more topics below the fold. We’ll be doing more work on some or most of these suggestions in the coming weeks and months. Do you have more? Send them along!

New Business Models for News Next Steps:

How do we get a cooperative relationship? Or not?

More help from the Schools for “Bloggers”–
- Equipment
- Training
o How to sell
o Style, editorial, quality
o Research
o Video
o Trending
o Analytics
o Biz Finance
o Marketing
o Mistakes /best and worst practices
o Relationships

Training / Education for the Pros in the newsroom:
Content programming
Networking – building the network
Simple graphics, basics
Editing for the web
Web literacy – sms, tweeting, blogging, etc.

Transparency – read more watchdogs from the community
- Press government to make data available in a usable format

Map out a route for an existing newspaper to reinvent itself into the New News Organization – with specific steps

Get business school students to learn media management

Partnerships in technology, databases

Big media guys need quality/reliability scores for bloggers

Way to spread listservs

Making clickthrus more trackable, making ads more valuable for the advertisers


Making comments rateable

Assignment desk
Better aggregation tools

Advertising (how to make it more valuable for the local advertiser):
- Offering a suite of services to local businesses (consulting, optimization)
- Standardization
- For schools or others: more research on what local businesses need

Selling Data –

A way to maintain newsinnovation momentum throughout the year

Hack-a-thon – developers and journos collaborate to see what results.

Community building among sites – a Blogger meetup?

Targeted conferences around specific revenue categories – B2B, etc.

Success stories

More on social media

A lab to test the assumption in the newsinnovation model

Access to capital – a meet up of investors and journos.

More on web metrics, and what happens as we shift to mobile and streams from web pages

Mentoring program – for communities that have lost heir papers

Best practices / less tech more content

Impact of improved bandwidth and improved smartphones

Conference on media in Africa & other parts of the world

November 11 2009


Livestream: NewBiz Conference

Our third annual summit on the future of news is getting started. Today it’s all about local. We’ll be tweeting all day, too. Hit us up with questions and comments, the hashtag is #newbiz. Conference details and schedule are here. And, here’s the livestream for your viewing pleasure:

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