Poynter has a very helpful beginner’s guide for journalists who want to understand API documentation.
It helps journalists understand the terms used by sites with an open API (application programming interface) and follows an earlier article on four reasons your news org should use APIs.
One really useful part of this post is that it allows you to hand-build an API request by taking you step-by-step through an example using the New York Times API (you will have to register with the NY Times to request an API key).
For example, let’s try getting New York Times reviews for the “Harry Potter” movies as an XML-formatted response. Use your favourite search engine to find the New York Times movie reviews API. This API is not perfect (it’s in beta, after all). The steps below can be compressed with shortcuts once you become more experienced, but since we’re assuming this is your first time, we’re going to take the slow road.
Click here for the rest of Poynter’s guide to follow the example.
Poynter has been speaking to US news organisations about how they turn traffic spikes as a result of major news stories into return visits.
Reporter Mallary Jean Tenore spoke to the Orlando Sentinel, msnbc.com and the Arizona Daily Star.
Page views and unique visitors are valuable metrics, but they don’t measure the likelihood that readers will be returning visitors. Here are a few indicators that readers have committed to your content:
1. An increase in Twitter followers and/or Facebook fans;
2. An increase in newsletter subscriptions;
3. If your site has a print publication, an increase in print subscribers;
4. An increase in mobile app downloads.
Tanore gives examples and stats on each based on her interviews with the news organisations and gives the following tips on cultivating new readers:
1. Make it easy for readers to follow your site on Twitter and Facebook;
2. Make it easy for people to subscribe to email newsletters and RSS feeds;
3. Showcase your mobile offerings;
4. Provide readers with unique content they can’t find elsewhere;
5. If readers come to your site through search, offer them a different sidebar.
The post gives examples how the three news organisations have done each of the above in order to turn first-time visitors into loyal readers.
The full post is at this link.
This week Google announced a new recommendation tool called +1 which enables users to flag up favourite search results.
Over on Poynter Damon Kiesow looks at the “significant impact” this could have on the way publishers work to draw in visitors online.
For publishers, the result is that pages given a +1 by readers will appear more prominently in Google searches, and will be highlighted as recommendations by friends within the reader’s social network. That network only extends to Google products currently, but it is expected to include Twitter and other services in the future.
And in time publishers themselves will be able to put the +1 buttons on their own web pages, Kiesow adds.
When that does happen, it has the potential to swing the balance of power in the traffic referral battles back toward Google. In the past year, the search giant has seen Facebook increase its influence as a source of web traffic.
Mashable is reporting that a study in America, carried out by US journalism researcher Poynter, has found that for the first time more people are getting their news online than from a newspaper.
Online advertising has also overtaken newspaper ad revenue. According to Mashable, the web is the only medium to see a year-on-year growth, with radio, TV, newspapers and magazines all suffering a decline. Poynter’s research also shows that almost half of Americans got at least some of their news on a mobile device or tablet.
In surveys, 34 per cent of respondents said they read news online within the past 24 hours (as opposed to 31 per cent who favoured newspapers); and a full 41 per cent said they get most of their news online, 10 per cent more than those who said they got most of their news from a newspaper.
Full post on Mashable at this link.
The Miami Herald site has seen a 25 per cent increase in visitors as a direct result of using video – making movies the second biggest driver behind its stories.
And it claims part of its success is down to getting rid of reporters and replacing them with videographers.
Visual journalist Chuck Fadely, interviewed on Poynter.org, says having a designated video team frees up reporters to get on with writing and improves the quality of the video output:
Three or four years ago we were training reporters, but we discovered it was like teaching a pig to sing; it annoys the pig and frustrates the teacher. Back then we had a couple of reporters who got it. Since the staff reductions they don’t have time to work on videos, and the quality level was lower, so we’ve basically given up on reporter-produced videos.
While many news sites dismissed video as ineffectual and expensive, the Herald decided to use it to consolidate popular subject areas, increase the time people spent on the site and engage them in new ways.
After showing video for six years it found that sport and breaking news attracted the most viewings, so it concentrated on these areas rather than experimenting. It also started partnering with TV stations to expand its brand.
See the full story on Poynter at this link.
The Washington Post has sponsored a Twitter term to appear at the top of the Trending Topics today as it covers the US midterm elections, according to a report by Poynter Online.
This use of Twitter, the first by a news organisation according to the report, can be seen at work on the social networking site, where a label reading ‘Promoted’ appears next to the top trending term #Election and the top tweet is marked as ‘Promoted by The Washington Post’.
When users click on that topic, one of the Post’s tweets will appear above other tweets with the #Election hashtag — giving the Post prime real estate to promote its coverage and updates.
By being the only news organization using Twitter this way, the Post could rise above the din of election-related conversation and draw more traffic to its website.
Yesterday Poynter Online’s Rick Edmonds reported that the Associated Press has seen its newspaper revenues drop by a third in the past two years, from $220 million a year to around $140 million. This now represents just over 20 per cent of AP’s total revenue.
According to Poynter, AP’s CEO Tom Curley said he expected this to “drop ‘another $5 million to $7 million a year’ in 2011 and beyond”.
Though Curley and AP spokesman Paul Colford did not provide numbers for other business segments, Curley said growth areas include commercial photos, software businesses and AP’s international television news feeds, about to receive a $30 million upgrade to digital.
Online news has been a positive, he added, and broadcast is stable. Besides covering news abroad, the AP has also has a large international client base.
Poynter has created a great interactive graphic of 200 moments that transformed journalism between 2000 and 2009, as selected by library director David Shedden. Those selected include: the Twitter picture of the plane landing in the Hudson River in 2009; the launch of Amazon’s Kindle in 2007; and the BBC’s crowdsourcing of material from Iraq in 2003. The site is also asking readers to challenge its selection and suggest their own moments.
Full introduction at this link…
Full graphic at this link…
Following on from Adam Westbrook’s advice on branding for freelance journalists, Poynter has an excellent round-up on how journalists can build personal brands online, including tips on:
- Blogging skills
- Demonstrating your expertise
- Your portfolio
- Building an audience/community
- Presenting your new media skills
Full post at this link…
“A memo [via Poynter] from Washington Post editor Marcus Brauchli has revealed that the publication is reorganising, ‘in anticipation of the impending integration of our print and digital news operations’. Brauchli emphasises that the changes reflect the Post’s commitment to great reporting and journalism,” the EditorsWeblog reports.
Full story at this link…