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#Podcast: Writing the rules of native advertising

October 25th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Podcast
Image by Thinkstock

Image by Thinkstock

Native advertising is one of the buzzwords of 2013.

Brands keen to get the attention of readers are sponsoring content on news sites, and publishers enthusiastic to explore new revenue streams are trying it out.

Forbes, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, the Guardian and Wall Street Journal have all gone native. Meanwhile businesses, from Benetton to Google, are becoming publishers of branded journalism.

In this podcast we explore the guidelines proposed by AOL UK and the Huffington Post, ideas from News Corporation, and those put forward by a journalist who has spent the past year researching branded journalism.

We discuss the opportunities and risks of native advertising with:

  • Raju Narisetti, senior vice-president and deputy head of strategy at News Corporation
  • Carla Buzasi, editor-in-chief, Huffington Post UK
  • Ebele Wybenga, journalist and author of The Editorial Age

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

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How important are ‘tweet’ and ‘like’ buttons to news publishers?

 

A conversation was sparked on the effect of social media sharing buttons by the designer Oliver Reichenstein on his blog informationArchitects. In the post titled Sweep the Sleaze he writes:

But do these buttons work? It’s hard to say. What we know for sure is that these magic buttons promote their own brands — and that they tend to make you look a little desperate. Not too desperate, just a little bit.

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If you provide excellent content, social media users will take the time to read and talk about it in their networks. That’s what you really want. You don’t want a cheap thumbs up, you want your readers to talk about your content with their own voice.

The Tweet and Like buttons, followed by their lesser rivals Google’s +1 and LinkedIn share buttons are now ubiquitous on news websites. Visitors to the Huffington Post in January 2008 would have been given the option to share an article via Digg, Reddit and Delicious. Now they are given up to 20 ways to share an article just via Facebook alone. Users are certainly being bombarded by myriad sharing options, they are not always that pretty and Reichenstein is approaching the issue as a minimalist designer.

But is Reichenstein right?

Joshua Benton at Nieman Journalism Lab did a little digging into the effectiveness of the Tweet button for a variety of news publishers. Using a Ruby script written by Luigi Montanez , Benton analysed the last 1000 tweets from 37 news sites to find the percentage of tweets emanating from the site’s Tweet button.

The analysis comes with a few caveats so it’s well worth reading the full article but the take-away is that people are using the Tweet button. Of the news sites analysed most had 15 to 30 per cent of their Twitter shares come via their Tweet buttons. Importantly, they act as a starting point to get content onto Twitter and can lead to further retweets or modified retweets.

Facebook Likes are a different story. They are far less visible on another user’s news feeds, especially after Facebook changed the amount of output its Social News feed spits out.

At least one publisher has found positives to removing the Facebook Like button from their site, claiming it increased referrals from Facebook:

Jeff Sonderman writing at Poynter hypothesises there is a strange tension created by having a sharing button on news articles:

One argument in favor of sharing buttons is the psychological phenomenon of “social proof,” where a person entering a new environment tends to conform to the behavior demonstrated by others. How does that apply? The tally of previous shares on a given article could offer social proof to the next reader that it is indeed worth reading and sharing — “just look at all these other people who already have!”

But in this case, social proof is not the only force at work. We also know that many people share content because it makes them look smart and well-informed. Part of that is being among the first to have shared it, and thus not sharing something that’s already well-circulated. In this way, a sharing button could limit the potential spread of your best content.

These buttons are being used but news publishers need to think about how they are being used and how engaged the users of them are. Sonderman thinks Reichenstein gets close to the mark when he states:

If you’re unknown, social media buttons make you look like a dog waiting for the crumbs from the table … That button that says “2 retweets” will be read as: “This is not so great, but please read it anyway? Please?”

If you’re known and your text is not that great the sleaze buttons can look greedy and unfair (yes, people are jealous). “1280 retweets and you want more?—Meh, I think you got enough attention for this piece of junk.”

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#followjourn – @samuelluckhurst Samuel Luckhurst/sports reporter

March 16th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

Who? Samuel Luckhurst

Where? Samuel is UK sports reporter for the Huffington Post and it was announced this week that he will be heading up its new sports section

Twitter? @samuelluckhurst

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips, we are recommending journalists to follow online too. Recommended journalists can be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to Rachel at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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Arianna Huffington: ‘Enormous opportunities’ for online video channel

February 7th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia

The Huffington Post has announced the launch of a new online video channel this summer, at a conference to coincide with the site’s first anniversary under AOL ownership.

The HuffPost Streaming Network will launch this summer and feature original programming and debates, produced from studios in New York and Los Angeles. Editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington said the project would launch with 12 hours of daily programming and would eventually go to 24 hours.

Beet.tv’s Andy Plesser spoke to Huffington at the press conference.

She said:

It’s going to be really produced, not in any way thrown together.

The opportunities are enormous from the point of view of advertising. More and more of our readers want to consume video. It is completely interactive.

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Huffington Post UK launches tool for greater debate around news stories

Huffington Post UK has launched The Gauge, a new platform which invites debate around the biggest news story of the day on the Post’s new UK website while harnessing the power of social networks.

The tool also works to produce a visualisation of the results, giving a quick snapshot of the overall standpoint of the online community on any given topic.

Users are invited to “agree” or “disagree” with a daily proposition, and thereafter they’re invited to elaborate. It only takes a second or two to weigh in, and users can post more detailed responses on Twitter and Facebook.

The tool will also help to connect users to the site’s bloggers, through the ability to agree or disagree with their views and click through to see all the posts written by the individual. Users can also submit ideas for their own blog through The Gauge.

Editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post UK, Carla Buzasi, will be speaking at news:rewired – connected journalism on 6 October as part of the “bringing the outside in” panel. On the day Carla will be discussing the site’s strategy for drawing in content from outside its own four walls and how this is then integrated into its own output.

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#jpod in depth: Huffington Post lands in the UK

July 8th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Podcast

In this week’s podcast, we take a look at the launch of the Huffington Post UK, which went live on Wednesday. Alastair Campbell described the launch as having ‘perfect timing’ at a panel debate arranged by Huffington Post.

We spoke to editor-in-chief Carla Buzasi along with two Huffington Post bloggers. Patrick Smith, media commentator and editor of the Media Briefing also offers his thoughts on how he sees the site developing in future as well as the unpaid blogger debate.

You can sign up to our iTunes podcast feed for future audio.

 

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News of the World: Reaction to closure of 168-year-old title

July 7th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Newspapers

The News of the World has announced it is to close, with the final edition to be published this Sunday, and already the blogs have begun posting reaction.

Paul Bradshaw writes:

It took almost exactly 3 days – 72 hours – to kill off a 168-year-old brand. Yes, there were other allegations and two years in the lead up to The Guardian’s revelation that Milly Dowler was targeted by the newspaper. But Milly Dowler and the various other ordinary people who happened to be caught up in newsworthy events (kidnappings, victims of terrorist attacks, families of dead soldiers), were what turned the whole affair.

So while the Sun may be moving to seven-day production, that doesn’t make this a rebranding or a relaunch. As of Monday, The News of the World brand is dead, 168 years of journalistic history offered up as a sacrifice.

Charlie Beckett comments:

From the Newscorp point of view this is a sensible way to try to put this scandal into the past and to separate it from the BSkyB deal. It does not get to the bottom of the phone-hacking issue, however, leaving big questions against Rebekah Brooks. It does seem that Rupert Murdoch would rather shut a newspaper than sack his loyal lieutenant.

While the Huffington Post is now leading with “End Of The World” as its liveblog of the closure.

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‘Perfect timing’ for HuffPo UK, says Alastair Campbell

July 7th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

The Huffington Post is launching in the UK at the perfect time, says Alastair Campbell.

Speaking at Millbank Tower on a panel for the official launch event, Campbell said the British public are facing up to what newspapers have become – positioning Arianna Huffington’s news website in the perfect place to cause disruption.

Newspapers in this country are going further and further down the barrel until they reach the bottom, like the Sun. We’ll still have newspapers in future, there’ll just be fewer of them.

The panel (moderated by Richard Bacon) comprised of HuffPost founder Arianna Huffington, Kelly Osbourne, Jon Gaunt, Celia Walden and Shami Chakrabarti. Key themes that emerged throughout the debate were phone hacking, superinjunctions, the public perception of journalism and the issue of trust.

Huffington responded to claims from Toby Young that the launch was ill-timed by saying the website has “a phenomenal reach”, and its social nature would set it apart from other more well established UK sites.

Huffington Post is a combination of constant updates. It’s not about sitting on the couch and passively consuming, it’s about constantly passing on information, sharing and liking.

We employ 1,300 journalists, editors and reporters, but ulimately Huffington Post is a platform for our 9,000 bloggers. We promote linking, original reporting and making information available, people blog for us because they can use our huge audience and because they have something to say.

Jon Gaunt agreed with this, saying Huffington endeared herself to her bloggers by making her website very open. But he also criticised many newspapers’ forays into digital journalism.

Lots of newspaper websites are useless, because they’re made and look like newspapers. They’re created by people who’ve worked in newspapers their whole lives, and look terrible.

One thing the panel agreed on was the issue of trust and the role it would play in the future development of journalism. Summing up, Campbell said:

The single most important piece of communication regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden was still Barack Obama’s words, despite the thousands of articles written about the event.

Politicians still have ability to set the agenda, but people don’t trust politicians, journalists or economists – we still trust each other.

That’s why social news works – we talk to people we trust.

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Huffington Post UK: Writing for free is a ‘grey area’

As the Huffington Post goes live with its UK site today, ahead of the official launch event this evening, many journalists feel the site is wrong to recruit 300 unpaid bloggers.

Dave Lee, freelance journalist at the BBC, thinks that the Huffington Post causes damage to journalism.

 

While Manchester-based freelance journalist Louise Bolotin criticised Arianna Huffington for her policy.

 

However, not all reaction has been negative. Kat Brown has written a piece for Huffington Post’s lifestyle section titled Writing for Free Doesn’t Have to Mean Betrayal.

Writing for free is a grey area. Despite the ubiquity (and importance) of blogs and that many high profile sites trade content for prestige only, it’s often looked down upon if it makes up part of your career. When, as a newly-hatched post-grad, I joined one journalism forum, the stance was: “Don’t write unless you’re paid. It undermines you and it undermines journalism.”

So why write for free?

Free is why people write fanzines, update blogs and tweet. It’s pressure off, it’s the opportunity to practise something you enjoy and share it with people immediately. And particularly online, there’s a limited supply of people who will pay. My pitching skills are sufficiently atrocious that, if I were only to write for money outside my main job, I would probably forget how to hold a pencil within a year. I don’t want that, because I love writing and I need to do it.

Take a look at the full article here.

 

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Google links to HuffPo UK go to US before launch

Huffington Post’s UK pages are being indexed in Google – despite the official launch not being until tomorrow.

A search on Google for ‘site:huffingtonpost.co.uk‘ reveals future content for the site, although users are currently redirected to the original US site after clicking through.

Bloggers have been publishing their first posts and although entire categories aren’t yet accessible, individual authors’ posts are directly linkable.

The masthead has also appeared in the form of the “All The Blog Posts” page – giving a clue as to what areas will be covered by the site when it launches tomorrow.

Thanks to Jonathan Frost for spotting it.

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