[Webinar] How Newsrooms are Adapting to the Changing Digital Media Environment

As the digital age transforms how people find, consume, and share information, media outlets are being challenged to retool their newsrooms and evolve their coverage. Despite limited resources, news organizations are investing heavily on people and technology to deliver stories that satisfy audience appetites for rich visuals, mobile-friendly design, and up-to-the minute reporting.

The panelists include:

Ellyn Angelotti, senior faculty, the Poynter Institute 

Follow her on Twitter at @ellynangelotti 

Theodore Kim, mobile/tablet editor, the Washington Post Follow him on Twitter at @TheoTypes 

 

David Cohn, news editor, Circa 

Follow him on Twitter at @Digidave

Join us for what promises to be a fast-moving conversation on how today’s media is evolving as journalists adapt to a faster news cycle.

The panel discussion will cover:

  • The changing roles of journalists and bloggers
  • How news media are adapting news to new formats and mediums
  • Tips for how PR pros can provide more value to today’s news media

View the on-demand webinar

MEDIA News: Media Moves at CBS Evening News, The Onion, Huffington Post and More…

http://prnbloggers.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/agility-logo.png?w=127&h=125&h=125PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department makes thousands of updates to the  database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our Agility media targeting and distribution platform.  Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news from the research team.  Learn more about Agility media targeting here.

CBS Evening News CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley  (New York): Chip Colley (@ChipColley) is now the News Director @CBSEveningNews.

The Onion The Onion (Chicago, IL): The satirical online news outlet (@TheOnion) has named Cole Bolton Editor-in-Chief, replacing Will Tracy who recently left the outlet. Bolton most recently served as Head Writer.

Huffington Post Huffington Post (New York, NY): Emily Peck (@EmilyRPeck) was promoted from Business and Tech Editor to Executive Business Editor @HuffingtonPost.

The Weather Channel The Weather Channel (Atlanta, GA): Former WWLP-TV News Reporter Anaridis Rodriguez (@Anaridis) has left the station to join @weatherchannel as News Anchor for their new morning show @AMHQ.

ESPN ESPN (Bristol, CT): Beginning today, Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) will begin reporting for ESPN. She will be stationed in Washington, D.C.

FreedomCommunication Freedom Communications (Santa Ana, CA): Excelsior & La Prensa will be merging to create Freedom Communication’s (@FreedomComm) new newspaper, Unidos. Unidos is set to debut on Friday, March 21 and will be published weekly.

The Associated Press Associated Press – Chicago Bureau (Chicago, IL): Greg McCune (@gregamccune)  joins (@ap) as Desk Editor for the Midwest region, responsible for news coverage in 14 Midwest states from Midwest Editor for Reuters America Service.

Los Angeles Register Los Angeles Register (Los Angeles, CA): Freedom Communications has set April 16 as the launch date for the Los Angeles Register (@LARegisterNews). Ron Sylvester (@rsylvester) is the Editor.

Crain's Chicago Crain’s Chicago Business (Chicago, IL): Editor Cassie Walker Burke (@cassiechicago) is set to join the trade magazine (@CrainsChicago) as an Assistant Managing Editor from lifestyle pub Chicago Magazine (@ChicagoMag).

CNBC CNBC (New York, NY): “The Kudlow Report” will end production at the end of this month. Larry Kudlow (@larry_kudlow) will remain as a Senior Contributor @CNBC.

The Washington Times The Washington Times (Washington, DC): David Dadisman (@dcdadisman) is the new General Manager @WashTimes.

The New York Times The New York Times (New York, NY): Fashion Editor at the Financial Times Vanessa Friedman (@VVFriedman) has been tapped to become Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic. In addition, Alexandra Jacobs has been promoted to Fashion Critic and Fashion Features Writer.

Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal (New York, NY): Reporter Suzanne Vranica (@vranicawsj) has been promoted to Advertising and Marketing Industry Editor. Also happening @WSJ, Former Adweek Digital Editor Mike Shields (@digitalshields) has joined on as Senior Editor and Liz Heron (@lheron) has announced her departure from her role there as Emerging Media Editor.

FOX Deportes Fox Deportes (New York, NY): Carlos Sánchez has been named General Manager of Fox Deportes (@FOXDeportes)

GOVERNING Governing (Washington, DC): Former Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser (@mayorfunk) takes the reins as Publisher @GOVERNING.

CQ Roll Call CQ Weekly (Washington, DC): Benton Ives (bives@cqrollcall.com) is now the Editor-in-Chief. And David Ellis is the new Vice President of News @CQRollCall.

Houston Chronicle The Houston Chronicle (Houston, TX): Former Austin Statesman (@statesman) Reporter/Blogger, Mike Ward (@ChronicleMike), has joined @HoustonChron.

News & Record News & Record (Greensboro, NC): Steven Doyle has been named Managing Editor @newsandrecord. He arrives from The Sentinel-News in KY and starts this week.

Star Tribune Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN): Suki Dardarian (@SukiDardarian) has been named Senior Managing Editor and Vice President at the paper, starting in April. She was previously with the Seattle Times.

Chicago Sun-Times (Chicago, IL): Sports Reporter Tina Akouris (@takouris) and longtime Journalist Dave Hoekstra (@DaveHoekstra66) are no longer with the paper (@SunTimes).

Chicago Reader Chicago Reader (Chicago, IL): Senior Editor Jake Malooley (@JakeMalooley) has joined the alternative weekly newspaper (@Chicago_Reader) as Managing Editor from @TimeOutChicago. Deputy Editor Sam Worley recently left the pub.

The Greenville News The Greenville News (Greenville, SC): Long-time newsman William Fox has been named Managing Editor of The News (@GreenvilleNews). He replaces veteran Managing Editor Chris Weston.

Essence Magazine Essence Magazine (New York, NY): Essence Magazine (@essencemag) welcomes back Pamela Edwards Christiani as Beauty and Style Director. Also, Charreah Jackson (@Charreah) moves from Associate Editor to Relationships Editor.

The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT): After nearly three decades with the paper, Political Editor Rick Green (@CTConfidential) has said good-bye.

Law360 Law360 (New York, NY): Kaitlyn Kiernan (@kaitlyn_Kiernan) moves from Options Reporter for The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) and Dow Jones Newswires to Private Equity Reporter @Law360.

REDBOOK Redbook Magazine (New York, NY): Julia Malacoff (@jmalacoff) announced her departure from her role as Assistant Fashion Editor at Redbook (@redbookmag).

GQ Magazine (New York, NY): Andrew Richdale (@therichdale) has left his Associate Editor position @GQMagazine.

60 Minutes 60 Minutes- CBS (New York, NY): CBS News announced come Fall 2014, Bill Whitaker (@billwhitakerCBS) will move to New York as a Correspondent on 60 Minutes (@60minutes).

CBS (New York, NY): Investigative Correspondent Sheryl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) has resigned.

Digiday Digiday (New York, NY): Former Adweek (@Adweek) Senior Editor Lucia Moses (@lmoses) joins @Digiday and will assume the same role.

Business Insider Business Insider (New York, NY): Madeline Stone (@MadelineLStone) was promoted from Intern to Tech Lifestyle Reporter @businessinsider.

VANITY FAIR Vanity Fair (New York, NY): Mark Rozzo is moving from Executive Editor at Town & Country (@TandCmag) to Deputy Editor @VanityFair.

InStyle InStyle (New York, NY): InStyle (@InStyle) welcomes Nika Vagner (@Niksterr) as Social Media Editor. She was formerly at Entertainment Weekly (@EW).

Mashable Mashable (New York, NY): Former New York Times (@nytimes) Senior Editor Jonathan Ellis (@jonathanellis) will join @mashable as Managing Editor March 31st.

NBC (New York, NY): Longtime National Correspondent Jamie Gangel (@JamieGangel) has left after 31 years.

Washington Post The Washington Post (Washington, DC): Arelis Hernandez (@ahernandez_OS) is returning to the Post after a stint at The Orlando Sentinel to be a Prince George’s County Reporter.

AFAR Media Afar Magazine (San Francisco, CA): Andrew Richdale (@therichdale) joins Afar (@AFARMedia) as a Senior Editor. Andrew was previously with GQ.

CNET CNET (San Francisco, CA): Ashley Esqueda (@ashleyesqueda) joins @cnet as a Senior Editor and Host.

Fit Pregnancy Natural Health Mag Fit Pregnancy/Natural Health (Woodland Hills, CA): Catherine Peridis (@Catperidis) joins Fit Pregnancy (@fitpregnancy) and @_NaturalHealth as Fashion Editor.

refinery29 Refinery29 (http://www.refinery29.com): Erin Fitzpatrick (@erin_fitz09) was promoted to Los Angeles Editorial Assistant (@refinery29).

LasVegasSun The Sunday (Henderson, NV):  This is a new free weekly publication edited by Delen Goldberg (@DelenGoldberg) which was launched by Greenspun Media Group and the Las Vegas Sun. The publication was recently launched in the Las Vegas Metro area and covers news, current events and lifestyle.

MEDIAware’s full weekly version can be found at:www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/medi…

PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department provides daily updates on Twitter (twitter.com/PRNmedia).

Detailed outlet and contact information is available at Agility (agility.prnewswire.com).

When a Campaign Goes Viral: #AmtrakResidency Garners 21,000 Mentions in Six Days

Amtrak has opened up a new can of worms, and it appears the fish are biting.

By now, you’ve likely heard of the #AmtrakResidency program the company plans to offer writers.

In case you missed this story, it began Dec. 23 on the PEN America site.  Author Alexander Chee casually mentioned his favorite place to write was on the train. He said he wished “Amtrak had residencies for writers.”

That’s all it took.  The conversation landed on Twitter, and Amtrak captured it.

In fact, #AmtrakResidency garnered 21,000 mentions in just six days. To put that into perspective, Amtrak typically sees 25,000 to 30,000 mentions within a 90-day period. Also as a result, Amtrak’s Twitter following grew 10 percent.

“Every brand is looking for the next viral campaign,” said Julia Quinn, Amtrak director of social media and head of the #AmtrakResidency program. “This was born through social media. The number of people who raised their hands to participate was huge. It would be writing powered by Amtrak, and hopefully it will be an inspirational experience to get their creative juices flowing.”

Amtrak has been working fast to formalize the program: What it will look like, who gets to ride, and how writers are selected.

But Amtrak recognizes that while it’s uniquely cut out to do something special here, it must tread lightly in these waters. Officials there don’t want to cause ethical conflicts between a journalist and his/her employer or cross pay-for-play lines. To that end, there’s no required number of tweets or shares about Amtrak and no contract to participate.

Any mentions of Amtrak quite literally will come from organic buzz, turning this opportunity into an advocacy program for the brand.

“This is a program that could become a staple at Amtrak,” Quinn said. “We’ll monitor as we go. The sky’s the limit right now, but we don’t want to get lost in the excitement. We want to make sure we’re still making good decisions for our brand.”

Coincidentally, as #AmtrakResidency carved its conversation into Twitter, Amtrak already was planning its first-ever #AmtrakLive event, hosting more than 30 digital leaders and innovators to live tweet and blog on the Texas Eagle from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas in early this month. Social media influencers shared updates via Twitter and Instagram.

Christine Cube is a media relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. Follow her @cpcube or give her a shout on PR Newswire’s Google+.

Content We Love: GoBankingRates.com Goes Off Without a Pitch

ContentWeLove

Click to view the entire press release from GoBankingRates.com

Click to view the entire press release from GoBankingRates.com

The digital age has enabled content creators to become content distributors in their own right by engaging on social platforms. But in the mix of today’s owned, earned, and paid media environment, social channels can be limiting in their ability to reach beyond their followers and garner attention from new audiences. Over the holidays, GoBankingRates.com issued a press release to share the findings of a study they conducted on leading retailers titled “Stores with the Best and Worst Return Policies.” The release- which the company told us they did not pitch in advance- generated excellent media coverage on major outlets such as Good Morning America and ABC News.

Click to view the video of GoBankingRates.com featured on Good Morning America

Click to view the video of GoBankingRates.com featured on Good Morning America

The brand used a PR-savvy combination of engaging, informative content with the power of press releases to raise awareness of their message and build credibility, and the results they experienced are a testament to the fact that press releases are still highly regarded sources of information for both journalists and consumers.  For these reasons, GoBankingRates.com’s story is the subject of this week’s Content We Love.

In addition to a strong story and excellent timing, several notable elements of this press release made it optimal for earning media coverage:

  • Visual assets stop the eye and grab the reader’s attention against a sea of text. Most press releases don’t contain a visual element, which allows this company to differentiate their message against competitors and increase visibility.
  • The copy is stripped of corporate jargon and supplies readers with just the facts. In just 46 characters, the direct and to-the-point headline provides readers with a complete context of what the story is about and encourages them to read on and share on social channels.
  • Bullet points break down the results in an easily digestible format.
  • A call to action links to a blog post that drives traffic back to the company website.
Assets from the GoBankingRates.com press release are republished in a Fox News article

Assets from the GoBankingRates.com press release are republished in a Fox News article

GoBankingRates.com shared a story so valuable to their audience that all it needed was distribution to propel it forward. As evidenced by their impressive media coverage, even though distribution comes in a variety of formats today, journalists still look to press releases as a source of trustworthy information and creative story ideas. But it’s not about what a single platform can do for your message; it’s about how integrating distribution in all its forms to promote truly interesting content can drive an ongoing conversation and maximizes visibility for your brand. The exposure that GoBankingRates.com generated through original media coverage firmly positioned the company as a thought-leader in personal finance. Kudos to GoBankingRates.com on a job well done!

GravatarAuthor Shannon Ramlochan is the Content Marketing Coordinator at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch

Trend ID Algorithms: What Communicators Need to Know

During the height of the Occupy Wall St. movement, some speculated censors were at work, because the related hashtag didn't trend.

During the height of the Occupy Wall St. movement, some speculated censors were at work, because the related hashtag didn’t trend.

Trend ID algorithms - such as the one powering trends on Twitter - reward spikes,  which is why Occupy didn't stand a chance against a Kardashian wedding.

Trend ID algorithms – such as the one powering trends on Twitter – reward spikes, which is why Occupy (the cobalt blue line, with consistent levels over time) didn’t stand a chance against a Kardashian wedding (purple line), Steve Jobs (yellow) or a popular hashtag used by individual tweeters (grey.)

You may not realize it, but much of what you see online is determined by the algorithms that power search engines and social networks.  Designed to surface the information that is most compelling, and likely to get you to read the article/view the video/take the survey – and then share it with your friends – algorithms are doing more than serving information.  They are shaping journalism and arguably, having a negative impact on democracy, according to Heidi McBride, a senior member of the faculty of the Poynter Institute and Gilad Lotan, chief data scientist for Betaworks, during the discussion they lead at South by Southwest.

“Trend identification algorithms are all over the web,” Lotan stated. “We have to think about the power they encode, and that is the power to draw attention.”

Learn more about how the digital evolution has impacted newsrooms and journalism by viewing our on-demand webinar, “The Evolution of Media: How Newsrooms are Adapting to the Ever-Changing Digital Environment.”

On web sites everywhere, data scientists are using algorithms to find and display content that is likely to draw readers and inspire social sharing (thus drawing more readers.)  These numbers have an economic impact – after all,  Google, Facebook, CNN and the New York Times are all add-supported, and more visitors to their web sites (and visitors who stay longer) equal more ad impressions, and thus, more dollars.

In building the trend ID algorithms, data scientists are looking for trends away from the norm.

“We look for spikes, things out of the ordinary, outliers,” noted Lotan. “And activities around celebs spike much more dramatically than other conversations.”

There’s a self-reinforcing effect as the journalism companies respond to the algorithms, as the algorithms have an economic effect on the journalistic companies, effectively steering news coverage.

Lotan reminded us that algorithms are created by humans, and thus may reflect their creators’ biases or preferences.  Additionally, he noted that algorithms can be selectively manipulated, citing as a case in point changes Twitter made when Justin Beiber was constantly trending, causing user complaints. The team changed the algo, making it more difficult for Beiber to trend.  Another example of selective algorithm manipulation happens on the search engine side of the house, such as when Google penalized JC Penney for poor SEO practices by dropping the Penney website to the bottom of the rankings heap.

What’s needed, McBride and Lotan posited, is more public understanding of how these algorithms work, and more transparency from the companies employing them.

“The companies that control our attention to so without any transparency,” McBride stated. “We build our understanding of ourselves and the world around us through the stories we tell, and if algorithms only reinforce certain types of stories, it reduces our understanding of ourselves and our communities.”

The session did offer one important tactical take-away for brands.  Stories take hold fast and algorithms reinforce this.  If a problematic story is gathering steam, swift response is absolutely essential. The more quickly you can correct information, the more quickly the entire news democracy can reference that information as the topic trends.  But if you miss the gap, your message will be left by the wayside. Click to register for the our free webinar on March 20 at 1:00 ET.

Click to register for the our free on-demand webinar 

You can also read more from this session on The Guardian’s extensive recap.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the ebook  New School Press Release TacticsFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

4 Best Practices for Distributing a Global Press Release

Brand Marketer Summit

Your boss comes into your office and says that the major new product release you’ve been working on for the past month now needs to be sent all over the world.  “Global” is what he says before walking out the door and into a meeting, leaving you in a panicked frenzy of where t0 even begin. These four tips can help you reduce your anxiety when distributing a global press release:

Decide on the specific countries or regions you wish to target

The first step is to determine exactly what your boss means by “Global.”  Unless this is truly breaking news and you have a large budget, sending it to every country on the planet isn’t likely what he meant.  You’ll need to pin down the countries that are most important to your company, your client, or your news. If you don’t know which countries to target, check with your marketing department.  Mirroring their efforts is usually a good idea.

If they come back to you with general regions, such as “Europe” or “Asia,” it’s best to try to pin it down a bit more.  Western Europe?  Scandinavia?  The EU? What about Eastern Europe?  Do the same for all regions where you received generalities until you have a target list of countries or mini-regions.  This will help you keep your costs down, and your boss happy.

Modify your release to create localized versions

Sending one release to all markets globally sounds like the easiest way to go – one release to run up the corporate approval chain – but that is not always the best way to get your news to generate quality earned media.  Having tailored versions targeted at specific countries, regions, or mini-regions is your best bet if you’re measuring results by the number of clips your receive. I usually counsel clients to prepare a few different versions of the news release, clearly marked for the destination, and send them up the approval chain at the same time.

You don’t have to make too many changes to see a tangible difference in your results.  Modify the release in the headline, subhead, first paragraph, any bullet points or quotes, and make sure the changes are specific to the target area.  For example, “XYZ Inc. announces a new chip designed to regulate power in ________” as a headline.  Insert country, region or mini-region in the space. The quote can be completely localized in each version, and frankly, works best that way.

If you have a local contact, be sure to list that person first on the release destined for that country or region.  It will increase your chance of getting a journalist call if there are any questions, or if a follow-up interview is requested.

Provide accurate translations

Once you have your list of countries, you will need to translate the copy into those respective languages or adjust certain phrases to accommodate specific markets. Look to see if you have translation capability in your local offices that will help you keep your costs down.   If you don’t have those resources, or your local teams don’t have time, be sure to ask if they want to see the translations you’ll have done to further localize.

Translations take about 1-2 business days per 800 words of your release, so plan accordingly when working on your timeline.  If you have requested to approve the translations prior to sending out, please add time for your internal approval chain to the processing time.

Coordinate your distribution times  

Sending to all regions of the world simultateously isn’t a good idea.  Because of that whole ’round world’ thing, someone important  is going to be asleep and miss your news.   You can target the timing for simultaneous distribution in Europe, Middle East and Africa at the same time as the Americas (if you don’t mind a very early distribution time), but Asia will need to wait until later on in the day, when they get in.  You don’t need to change your dateline for the Asian release if you don’t wish – it should only slightly affect your results, if at all.

Distributing a global press release doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. It essentially all comes down to targeting your news specifically to each country and paying close attention to cultural distinctions and time zones of each region.

Interested in learning more about sharing your news around the world? View the on-demand webinar, “Thriving in a Mobile Driven World” and learn how to format your press releases to reach the global audiences who are increasingly relying on mobile devices to consume information.

Register here

Author Colleen Pizarev is PR Newswire’s Vice President of Communications Strategies in International Services. 

Beat the Clock: Investigative Reporting In the Digital Age

 

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports and Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated swapped  war stories at SXSW this year.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports and Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated swapped war stories at SXSW this year.

 

What has changed about investigative reporting in today’s fast-moving, socially-fueled digital environment?  To hear Charles Robinson (@charlesrobinson) a senior investigative reporter for Yahoo! Sports, and Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel), a senior writer for Sports Illustrated tell it, the answer is, “Just about everything.”

The two hosted a discussion titled “Investigative Reporting in the Digital Age,” at South By Southwest, drawing a packed house.

The day the news cycle changed 

Thamel set the tone, telling about a stint at a Dallas-based freelancer in the early 2000’s during which he acted as a stringer for the New York Times, pursuing a story about a missing Baylor basketball player that quickly turned into a story of murder.   In the days after the story broke, there were no new developments, and he had his nose to the grindstone, pursuing people who knew the player and suspect.  Progress was slow, until he got a call one day from the Times, telling him that the Dallas Morning News was reporting a significant development.  Thamel pushed back, saying he had read that paper cover to cover, and there was no story.

It turns out, the Dallas Morning News published the breaking news development on their web site.

“What!?!  They put it out there on the web before the paper!?”  Thamel recalls saying.

“It blew my mind,” he told the audience. “That was the first time the news cycle changed.

The two agreed that digital media has increased the clock speed of the news cycle, and the competition for not just stories, but for details.

“You ‘re not alone in your reporting,” said Robinson. “ Eveyone is out there digging.”

Deep background & social media 

Robinson told an entirely different tale, about the utility of social media in investigations.  He was on the cusp of breaking what would have been a blockbuster story about a high-ranking person in NCAA basketball placing bets on their school.   But to be absolutely certain of the identity of the person captured on video placing bets, they needed to see some more casual pictures of her – everything they had were polished head shots showing the woman in professional attire.

On her son’s Facebook page, they found current photos with which they were able to confirm the identity of the person on the video — she was the official’s sister.  The women looked uncannily alike, however, the reporting team noticed subtle differences between the two sisters in the casual images on Facebook.   The person on the video was the sister. There was no story, after all.

“Literally, in one day a story was born and it died – all because of what we can do digitally,” said Robinson. “Digital journalism saves you money, and it can save your [behind.]”

Social media is a tool, not a primary source

Ultimately, the mechanics of investigative journalism haven’t changed – the reporter develops a list of people, and talks to him.  However, social media provides a treasure trove of information for reporters and very helpful both as a starter tool for an investigation, as well as for background

Data mining through social media has added a ton of value for investigative journalism, Robinson noted, significantly shortening the time needed to build a story

“You can come to understand who people are,” Robinson told us in describing how he uses social media to get a sense for the people he’s researching.  “They will tell you who they are, their likes and dislikes, where they’ve worked, what they were doing – it gives you a sense of who the being is.  It gives you a head start that you didn’t have 10 years ago.”

Learn more about how the digital evolution has impacted newsrooms and journalism on our upcoming webinar, “The Evolution of Media: Howe Newsrooms are Adapting to the Ever-Changing Digital Environment.” 

Click to register for the our free webinar on March 20 at 1:00 ET.

Click to register for the our free webinar on March 20 at 1:00 ET.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of  the ebook  New School Press Release TacticsFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.