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Is your blog in this PR database of 1.3 million blogs?

Press officers have long relied on databases of journalists in order to approach them for stories. PRs are now increasingly targeting bloggers, recognising their reach. One start-up has seized on this trend, creating GroupHigh, “a research engine” which crawls 1.3 million blogs in real-time.

Launched in April 2011 in Boulder, Colorado, the software allows PRs to search by keyword, location and blog traffic.

Listed in the Next Web’s top 20 social media tools of 2011, GroupHigh gets a ringing endorsement.

13. GroupHigh.com – If you haven’t tried GroupHigh yet, the next sentence might encourage you to do so. Ready? GroupHigh.com is the best blogger outreach research and engagement tool on the planet. The latest update (version three) makes it even easier for you to discover the most relevant blogs by keyword, style and receptiveness. Brilliant.

PRs who pay for access can ask the database for “a list of every mum blog out there”, co-founder of the start-up Bill Brennan told Journalism.co.uk. You can then ask the software to “tell me the ones that have written about baby formula or home schooling in the last year”.

When I tested the software and searched for “UK bloggers”, left-leaning political blog Liberal Conspiracy was listed at number one (see screen shot below).

The location search works by “triangulation”: crawling the blog, its Facebook page and Twitter feed, Brennan explained.

Users can also filter by page rank, Facebook shares or Twitter followers and export the data to Excel.

Version three of the software lists blogs not bloggers, Brennan said.

We’ll probably add contacts for individual bloggers at each blog as part of version four.

GroupHigh is the co-founders’ second start-up. Their first foray was recipe search engine Recipe Bridge, which they sold to an Australian ad network.

Confident in their ability to build software to crawl the web and realising “it’s difficult to make money [from] advertising”, the pair “started to tap into the blogosphere”, Bill Brennan said, noting a changing trend within the PR industry.

It seemed like blog outreach was really becoming a staple of campaigns for their clients.

Brennan added that PRs were finding the big bloggers, such as TechCrunch, but “they were not tapping in to what we call the ‘magic middle'” of less well-known blogs.

The cost of using the software is likely to preclude bloggers from satisfying their curiosity and checking if their site is crawled. An annual GroupHigh licence for PRs costs $3,000 (£1,926), plus $1,000 (£642) for each additional user.

Below is a video demo of how GroupHigh works.

GroupHigh 3 Video Overview from Andy Theimer on Vimeo.

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Nieman: Blogs, SEO chief and Facebook comments result in traffic increase for LA Times

August 16th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Traffic

The Los Angeles Times is experiencing an increasing amount of traffic, which Nieman Journalism Lab is attributing to engaging with its audience using its blogs.

In March the site had more than 160 million pageviews; in May it was 189 million, bucking the downward trend of many other major US sites. The Nieman report states:

That doesn’t mean the LA Times is going to lap the New York Times or the Huffington Post when it comes to reader counts. But the numbers are still impressive, and more so when you consider the secret sauce at the heart of it all: a full embrace of blogging that adds voice in some corners, emphasises timeliness in others, and has opened new doors for reader engagement. On latimes.com, news is getting the blog treatment and blogs are getting the news treatment. “Most of our blogs are reported stories,” said Jimmy Orr, managing editor/online for the Times. “What we’re seeing is big increases in our blogs, and that’s where a lot of the breaking news is.

The post goes on to explain some other changes at the LA Times, too. The site has recently added an SEO chief, “who works on the copy desk to optimise headlines” resulting in a “65 per cent rise in traffic from search and a 41 per cent jump in traffic from Google as compared to this time last year”.

Another move by the LA Times is to make the site more social by adding Facebook comments to around 50 per cent of articles, a move that has resulted in a 450 per cent increase in referrals from Facebook, according to Nieman’s post.

It also plans to expand its use of Facebook as a commenting system because of encouraging results it’s seen so far. The goal is a virtuous circle: A bigger community leads to more traffic leads to more impact for the Times’ journalism.

It is worth reading the full post on the LA Times’ traffic report which lists examples of the LA Times blogs, including LA Now, “which looks like a blog, but is actually a driver for breaking news”.

 

 

 

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Tricks and tips for journalism and editorial job hunting online – an update

April 29th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Jobs, Journalism

Journalism lecturer Andy Dickinson (@digidickinson) has now updated his recent SlideShare and blog post on how to find editorial jobs online, which we featured on this blog last week, to include a more detailed transcript of his talk.

His blog post this week contains lots of handy tips for the dedicated journalism jobseeker, so if you are in the market for a new job, check it out.

Meanwhile, here at Journalism.co.uk, we have produced a new page explaining how to get the most out of our own jobs board, including six step-by-step videos taking you through the jobseeker registration process and various alert systems. Here are the benefits, all of which are free:

  • ability to save jobs you have searched for and liked for later;
  • ability to upload and store your CV;
  • ability to apply online and save your applications for future re-use/modification;
  • ability to register a personal statement so that our can advertisers can find you using our CV match service;
  • ability to receive job opportunities by daily email;
  • ability to create customised RSS feeds based on your own search criteria.

I would urge you to take a few minutes to sign up, even if you are not necessarily looking to make a move now. You never know what opportunity might coming knocking on your door.

Finally, if you are on the other side of the fence and looking to recruit editorial staff, please read why you should advertise your vacancies on Journalism.co.uk here, and register to post your jobs here.

Recruitment advertising helps fund our free content, so if you like what we do this is one great way to support us!

Useful reading:

Job application tips

How to prepare a killer CV

How to prepare for that crucial interview

How to make the most out of work experience

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Channel 4 News covers Iraq inquiry with anonymous blogger

November 24th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Channel 4 News has launched a new blog to offer blow-by-blow coverage of the inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war – with a focus on deeper analysis of the proceedings which have started this week.

The blog will be written anonymously by ‘a Channel 4 News reporter with a deep interest and thorough knowledge of intelligence and security matters’, according to a press release.

The reporter will also tweet updates from @iraqinquiryblog.

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Bloggertariat vs Commentariat – who’s winning? (does it matter?)

Last night Journalism.co.uk picked up its laptop and notepad, and sat on the fence. Sitting in the audience of the Editorial Intelligence/Edelman/Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism ‘Commentariat vs Bloggertariat, Who is winning?’ event typing away definitely had me branded as a ‘blogger’ by some of the established comment writers in the row in front, who seemed to throw a glance every time liveblogging was mentioned.

Blogger/reporter/observer – it was a night of arbitrary definitions – some of which were fortunately challenged by the panel of:

Martin Bright, New Deal of the Mind founder and Spectator blogger

Mick Fealty, political blogger at Slugger O’Toole and the Telegraph’s Brassneck blog

Iain Dale, Iain Dale’s diary

David Aaronovitch, comment writer for The Times

Anne Spackman, comment editor for The Times

‘versus’
Before attending the event I had some reservations about setting up bloggers/blogs vs comment writers/comment – so it was good to see this artificial opposition challenged by both panel and audience.

“They are part of the same thing – it is part of the same continuum. I think it’s an artificial distinction,” said Bright.

But there are new rules and etiquette that blogging, and the technology which powers it, have introduced, which are shaping the future of comment.

“Bloggers have been able to hold traditional commentariat to account. That gets an instant reaction from the commentariat because they’re not used to be held to accountable in this way,” explained Dale.

“When you do comment quickly you do make mistakes and you have to hold your hands up.”

And if the future of journalism and the business of publishing is online, bloggers are the pathfinders, added Fealty:

“We’ve changed the behaviour of a commentariat. It isn’t bloggers that have ripped the revenue out of the big newsgatherers – it’s Google,” he said.

“Online bloggers have started a party that is irresistible to the commentariat. Spreadability is the new currency. To do that you need a personal audience as a blogger.

“They [the commentariat] are better writers, but there are many more of us than there are of them (…) We’re getting stories from the little people, not the big people that the commentariat are. The people we talk to aren’t always the best behaved witnesses.

“We’re not obliged to fit in with someone else’s brand. Bloggers are brand builders, the new brand online (…) is us speaking directly from the gut.”

Anonymity and NightJack
Last night’s event was timely given the debate over the Times decision to out anonymous policeman blogger NightJack – despite a punchy start from Iain Dale, neither Spackman nor Aaronovitch would be drawn on the issue.

However, Spackman did say she agreed with Jeff Jarvis that social media sites were breaking down anonymity.

Aaronovitch went further saying he could see previously ‘anonymous’ political sources in comment writing being unmasked and suggested that this was a necessary development.

Bright agreed and said he hoped this would happen ‘organically': “It is changing, but at the moment it isn’t changing fast enough.”

For journalists using social and new media sources, transparency is needed, added Aaronovitch: “There are synergies there (…) I use bloggers as sources of information I wouldn’t otherwise get. There’s a form of democratisation there. It’s unreliable democratisation – I don’t really know what I’m getting or who I’m getting it from.”

Twitter challenge and shaping the future
The commentariat has been with us for 25 years, but how the shape of the ‘bloggertariat’ will shift in the same time is almost unpredictable, he added.

“I absolutely love what the new media has created (…) the possibilities it has created for me and everyone else.

“We couldn’t even imagine two years ago that there’d be a form of 140 characters and we had no idea how it would apply itself to situations like Iran.

“‘Commentariat vs bloggertariat’ suggests a settled contention that we know where everybody is and everybody’s going.”

Indeed the rise of Twitter was agreed to be a somewhat unforeseen challenge to the dominance of blogging over traditional comment.

“I’ve yet to read a great classic blog post. I think it’s getting close with Twitter. Every now and then you do read a fantastic tweet,” said Bright.

But, commenting on yesterday’s launch of the UK Investigations Fund, Bright said he was concerned that developments and the future of neither the bloggertariat or commentariat would accommodate investigative journalism.

UPDATE – you can now download Editorial Intelligence’s podcast of the event.

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‘Nibby’ blogs transmit basic information, nice and tersely

‘Nibs’ have always been low down in the news pecking order. But what about giving main news a nib format?

Biggest doesn’t always have to be best, as the Shortformblog and Big Fat Story prove: both sites pages show current news very briefly and clearly laid out.

Reduced to headlines, quotes, facts or photos, these nibs always transmit the main information about current events. Nevertheless, links to sources or extended articles give users the opportunity to read more about the topics.

Musebin is another proof for the theory that brief doesn’t have to mean bad. Users give one-line music news and reviews about the up-to-date LPs.

But don’t necessarily assume that short is quicker to produce: it’s worth a bit of time investment to design short and useable news formats.

(Hat tip Medienlese)

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OJB: Why people stop blogging

December 16th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Social media and blogging

Paul Bradshaw’s theory on why people stop blogging: ‘They do not become part of an online community’.

“There is a moment at which the momentum of starting a blog fades, and a new momentum – the regular input of community – is needed to continue,” he says.

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