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Beet.TV: The New York Times, real-time advertising and Twitter trending data

February 19th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Editors' pick
Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Beet.TV has an interesting video with Michael Zimbalist, vice president for research & development, and operations at the New York Times, in which he discusses a new advertising tool called Spark which utilises the Times’s data on stories trending on social media.

According to Beet.TV the tool “serves display advertising into stories as they are trending on Twitter, matched with the demographics of the users who ‘touch’ the story on the social network”.

In the video Zimbalist adds that the Times has been “tracking mentions of Times content in Twitter for a really long time”.

As a result the news outlet has “been able to look at different types of content and different people who spread the content and begin to model out which content will start trending”.

See a video of the discussion below:

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#wef12: 5 steps from New York Times Company on building digital subs model

September 3rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Newspapers, Online Journalism

The latest results reported by the New York Times Company showed a total of more than 500,ooo paid digital subscribers. This was an increase on the 454,000 paying subscribers recorded a year after NYT.com launched its online subscriptions model, which refers to subscribers across the New York Times and International Herald Tribune.

And this is not including the 700,ooo print subscribers who also gain digital access to the company’s content, according to New York Times Company vice chairman Michael Golden.

In fact a report published last month, as covered by AllThingsD, predicted that the New York Times “will have more digital subscribers than print subs within a couple of years”.

So when Golden took to the stage at the World Editors Forum today for a session on ‘how some newspaper companies are succeeding’, his presentation was unsurprisingly focused on digital subscriptions.

We were laughed at we were scorned … after the launch here’s what we’re seeing now, people are saying it’s a great success

He said the introduction of digital subs at the New York Times has boosted staff morale: it has “changed the way people walk around the building”, he said.

So for others keen to also build a digital subscription model he offered these five steps:

  • Be very clear on what you’re doing

Golden said the company spent much time studying this, and what their overall goals were, such as”to develop a significant revenue source because our business model demanded it”.

The aim was also to build a “one-to-one digital relationship with consumers and protect digital advertising”.

  • Align the entire organisation around it

It “cannot be an editorial project alone”, he said.

  • Remember readers know what they want

Audiences are indicating every day what they do or do not want to read, and on what platform they like to consume it.

He added that the launch itself is “incredibly important” within this: it will either “create momentum or lack momentum” he said.

  • Think and act like a digital company
  • And finally, continue

He spoke about the ways publishers can work to continue to increase subscriptions, such as the Times’s ‘Most Engaged User’ initiative which rewarded the most engaged subscribers.

Its move from a “gateway” of 20 articles a month to 10 articles a month also helped it see “another boost in subscriptions”, he added.

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New York Times readers become beta testers

June 1st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

The New York Times has released a new set of browser extensions that will allow eager readers to try out experimental features on the NYTimes.com website.

The project, dubbed Test Drive, is from the newspaper’s experimental arm beta620. Some of the features of Test Drive include NYT Accessible, which optimises the site for readers with visual impairments and TimesInstant, similar to Google Instant search, that produces results as you type.

The features have been available for a while but on a separate site, the new browser extensions, available for Firefox and Chrome, allow the projects to be viewed in context on their main website.

Marc Frons, the New York Times’ chief information officer, told Nieman Journalism Lab:

We love beta620 — it’s been a great experience and a great way to get our innovations in front of the public before they’re fully baked.

Recognising that people who install browser extensions are not your average sample, he adds:

It’s not like a traditional A/B test where you’re actually just throwing something else up on unsuspecting readers and measuring your clicks.

I think the quantitative data will be less important here than the qualitative, where people’s comments and our own understanding of how we’re using these tools and experience will be more important than measuring clickthroughs or that sort of thing.

Full story at Nieman Journalism Lab.

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New York Times gets new-look Facebook page with timeline of 160-year history

February 29th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

The New York Times is among several US media outlets to adopt a new-style Facebook page.

The page makes the most of the timeline feature, adding photos and anecdotes from the Grey Lady’s 160-year history, inviting readers in to the newsroom.

Announcing the timeline on its Facebook page, the New York Times says:

We’re pleased to introduce our timeline, which highlights select moments from our 160+ year history. Come into the newsroom on the night of the 1928 presidential election. See our reporters at work during the 1977 blackout. You’ll even find a guest appearance by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s. We plan to update our http://www.facebook.com/nytimes timeline frequently with key milestones from 1851 through the present. Take a look and let us know what you think.

The new-style pages were announced by Facebook today, already adopted by US TV show Today and People, and were among a number of features released at the Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC) in New York City.

Facebook describes the layout, which “includes a cover photo, larger story sizes, better tools to manage a page and more”, as designed to “help business and organisations better share their story and connect with people”.

Update:  There are a couple of handy posts on how to create a great news-style Facebook page and timeline for your news organisation. Here is some advice from Lost Remote and here are a few tips from Zombie Journalism.

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New York Times takes two wins at George Polk Awards

February 20th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Awards, Journalism

The George Polk Awards, run by Long Island University, announced the winners of its 63rd event today.

According to a release the New York Times won two of the 15 categories. The first, for military reporting, was awarded to CJ Chivers, and the second was the foreign reporting prize which went to Jeffrey Gettleman and Tyler Hicks for their “numerous exclusives and heart-wrenching photos of ethnic conflict, pillage, famine and piracy”.

It was also announced that Anthony Shadid, the New York Times foreign correspondent who died from an apparent asthma attack in Syria last week, will receive a posthumous award “for extraordinary valor for his work in the Middle East”.

Other winners include the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, the New Yorker and the Boston Globe.

“There was a strong field of contenders this year, especially in investigative work,” said John Darnton, curator of the George Polk Awards. “It was a big year for news with the Arab Spring and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and reporters from many news organizations went behind the headlines to search for underlying causes and trends.”

The full list of winners can be found here.

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The top 10 most-read stories on Journalism.co.uk, 11-17 February

February 17th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

1. Seven ways the New York Times is using social media for deeper engagement
2. Times web app brings tablet newspaper experience to browser
3. BBC World Service to broadcast morning news conference
4. Thurlbeck: Murdoch would ditch the Sun
5. Sun condemns tabloid witch hunt as more journalists arrested
6. Murdoch: Sun on Sunday will launch ‘very soon’
7. Tommy Sheridan back in court over NoW damages battle
8. BBC World News apologises for programme funding breaches
9. Times digital subscribers continue to rise
10. App of the week: Banjo for finding the location of breaking news

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Tool of the week for journalists – Pinterest

Tool of the week: Pinterest

What is it? A bookmarking and sharing tool

How is it of use to journalists? Pinterest has been growing in popularity recently.

It is a virtual bookmarking system that can be used by newsrooms to curate and share news.

Indeed Liz Heron, social media editor of the New York Times (NYT), suggested at last week’s news:rewired conference that NYT will be joining.

When Heron was asked: “Are there any emerging platforms that NYT are excited about?”

She answered:

Pinterest is one up and coming platform, but we’re still figuring out what the community wants there and how we can deliver something new. You’ll see us there soon.

Journalism.co.uk has since created a Pinterest account and has used it to collate blog posts from news:rewired.

It is invite-only at the moment but we have a handful to share. Email us using this link if you would like one.

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Beet.tv: Why readers watch video on the NY Times and WSJ

December 5th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Multimedia

Beet.tv has an interview with Ann Derry, editorial director for video and television for the New York Times and Shawn Bender, editorial director for video for the Wall Street Journal online. They explain “why readers click the play button” to watch videos on the two news sites.

Bender feels readers click play in order to feel a connection.

I think that there is a feeling of excitement about the news that you don’t get in the static environment of print that you can get in video.

Derry says that both news sites have had to educate their readers in order to consume news in video form online.

We’ve had to train our users, both at the Journal and at the Times, that if you click on something you get a good experience.

Bender goes on to say that concise videos where the reader/viewer can learn two or three points are the most successful. Derry adds that news video should offer the reader/viewer a quicker, more “efficient” way of accessing the story than if they had chosen to read it as text.

The Beet.tv video is at this link and below.

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Poynter: NY Times introduces unmoderated comments for ‘trusted commenters’

December 1st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Poynter has an interesting post highlighting the overhaul of the New York Times’ commenting system.

The news outlet has introduced “trusted commenters“, which the Times describes as an “invitation-only programme designed for our most valued commenters”.

Those who have proved to be trusted by consistently having comments approved will be allowed to leave comments that will be made live immediately without the need for moderation.

Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman explains the overhaul of the NY Times’ commenting system:

The trusted commenter programme is the most significant new feature, in my opinion. Those who join will have to submit and verify real names, a profile photo and hometown by connecting a Facebook account. (Some people object to using Facebook, so other identity verification methods may be supported later, [Sasha Koren, deputy editor of interactive news] said.)

In exchange they get instant commenting, as well as a higher profile on the site. With a special “trusted” logo attached to their color photo and full name, they stand out visually from the other commenters who usually have an anonymous username and no profile photo.

Sonderman’s full post on how New York Times’ overhaul of its comment system and how it grants privileges to trusted readers is at this link.

 

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NYT: Saddam Hussein ordered killing of Observer journalist, records show

Transcripts of recordings published by the New York Times reveal that Saddam Hussein personally ordered the execution of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft, who was hanged in Iraq in 1990.

The transcript of a conversation between Iraq’s former leader and the country’s then-foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, reads:

Hussein: We will execute him during Ramadan, in Ramadan, as punishment for Margaret Thatcher.

The documents, which were seized by the US military during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, were yesterday released by the Conflict Records Research Center, a US government archive.

The case of Bazoft, an Iranian-born freelance journalist who worked for the Observer, drew worldwide attention at the time, and the British government appealed for clemency.

The Guardian has more on Bazoft and states:

It appears that even if Bazoft had had British citizenship at the time of his arrest, this would not have saved him.

The document archive reveals the conspiratorial mind-set of Hussein, according to the NY Times, and demonstrates that the Iraqi leader believed Bazoft was an “Israeli spy working for the British”.

The New York Times states:

Even in an age of WikiLeaks, such a detailed record of a foreign leader’s private ruminations is rare.

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