• Media Picks #8 – Killing comments, the real value of paywalls and tips from the experts

    Media Hack Media Picks Media Picks #8 – Killing comments, the real value of paywalls and tips from the experts
    Media Picks #8 – Killing comments, the real value of paywalls and tips from the experts

    Media Picks

    Media Picks #8 – Killing comments, the real value of paywalls and tips from the experts

    Posted By Alastair Otter

    Media Picks #8 – 6 February 2015
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    It’s Friday, so why don’t we start this week’s email newsletter with a story about … email newsletters:

    Email newsletters: mixing the old and the new in the news world 

    News on digital platforms may feel like a revolution, says Ken Doctor, but a lot of the underlying behaviours — by readers and by publishers — date back to an earlier era. And they’re proving effective.

    Guardian digital chief: Killing off comments ‘a monumental mistake’
    The Guardian’s executive editor for digital has described the trend among some news sites of switching off reader comments as a “monumental mistake” – saying user interaction is a “huge resource we are largely ignoring”. Delivering the opening keynote at the news:rewired conference, in London this morning, Aron Pilhofer said sites such as Buzzfeed and Upworthy were “quite frankly eating our lunch” – and news organisations need to do much more in the areas of community engagement and user analytics.

    +    Why I’ve found that online communities on media sites always seem doomed to fail

    Hip chat: how top publishers are using Snapchat
    If you’re more than a couple of decades old you probably have no idea what Snapchat is and why it is so popular. And if you have heard of it and you have tried it you might still not know why it is so popular. And yet Snapchat is the “next big thing”, particularly among millenials and big news organisations are starting to use the platform to reach this younger audience.

    Real paywall value may lie in the data​
    At first, publishers built paywalls to keep revenue from leaking away. As it turns out, they may be much more valuable for the data they’ve helped to collect.

    Why “above the fold” still matters, even in digital
    What appears at the top of the page vs. what’s hidden will always influence the user experience — regardless of screen size. The average difference in how users treat info above verus below the fold is 84%.

    Ben Thompson’s Social/Communications Map
    $200,000 a year from blogging? Who says the blog is dead? 
    Ben Thompson is busy building a pretty decent business with his blog. A one-man operation, Thompson has more than 2,000 subscribers paying him $100 a year for his business and tech insights. So who better to respond to the post-Andrew Sullivan “blogging is dead” meme? In a fascinating breakdown of the business of blogging Thompson argues for the robust health of blogs.

    How to produce value and revenue with digital video
    More than 62 billion videos were viewed online in December 2014. Digital video has become a market imperative — something every publisher must understand and do well, regardless of one’s history.

    How Ta-Nehisi Coates built the best comment section on the internet—and why it can’t last
    Ta-Nehisi Coates started blogging for The Atlantic on August 4, 2008. His first post was titled “Sullivan… McArdle… Fallows… Coates???” and it laid down his terms from the start: “My only rule, really, is simple,” he wrote. “Don’t be a jerk to people you disagree with.”

    How newsrooms should cover ‘the hashtag election’
    Election coverage thrives off data journalism, and for the next election we have access to more data than ever before. But Alberto Nardelli, data editor at the Guardian, cautioned that “just having lots of numbers and figures is not necessarily a good thing.”

    Follow the money and you’ll find the future of news
    Emily Bell and James Harding are thinking challenging thoughts about the media. But the bottom line is still the bottom line

    Live events: Some of the best current ideas for better funding of journalism
    “Are there solutions to this dilemma of how news coverage will be funded in the future? Let’s hope so, since if there are some “magic bullets” around already, they haven’t become apparent.” – Steve Outing summarises his online brainstorming session looking for new and better funding models for news media.

    5 Must-try apps for newsgathering & publishing
    When more than 50 percent of your audience says it accesses news on mobile, it’s time to listen up. Especially, when almost a quarter of them say they get news via a cellphone or tablet. However, not all journalists and newsrooms have embraced the importance and benefits of mobile devices.

    +   Journalism tools the experts recommend
    30 journalism experts and digital wizards to choose their 3 best tools in their field of expertise. Great execution and loads of good ideas.

    How the BBC’s Ebola WhatsApp service is battling virus and finding great stories
    With the Ebola crisis growing quickly, how could the BBC distribute public health information to people in West Africa, so they could receive it directly on their mobile phones? WhatsApp, of course.

    Until next week

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    Written by Alastair Otter

    Data visualisation & design, journalist, hacker.


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