Three weeks ago, I was asked if I could build a website for former Los Angeles Times journalists wishing to sell their services on a freelance basis. Today, we launched TheJournalismShop.
While we’re still working out some kinks – we’re not happy with the logo and may have a domain issue – the site is fully functional and easy to use. Say you need a former reporter with health reporting skills. Simply navigate to the Reporting page and then scan the bios. If that journalist seems to fit the bill, click on More Info. There, you will find a full resume and means to contact the journalist.
If you could do me the favor of clicking around the site a bit, that would be fantastic. Also, if you have a blog, linking to TheJournalismShop would also be of great help.
If you are applying for a job that requires the Reuters stylebook, get a step up by checking out their online version. Of course, getting used to those strange British spellings might be a bit challenging.
Just because it’s “hyper local,” doesn’t mean it will automatically work. Just ask Keith Vance, who recently announced he’s closing The Seattle Courant, his local online publication.
Fortunately, Vance offers some lessons learned:
The Courant failed because I didn’t have enough cash and I didn’t find someone who could handle the business side, such as finding customers, technologists and managing projects. The trick I had to pull off was to be able to fund the Courant while I not only built a newsroom, but also a technology firm to support it. I couldn’t do it all.
Is citizen-reported journalism a fad or the answer to an expanded press? While I cringe at the whole idea as a former professional, I am fascinated by the power of such media. After all, Twitter shifted from novelty to tool almost overnight.
I know, I know, hyper-local news doesn’t seem all that exciting. Then again, America Online just paid $10 million to buy hyper-local news site, Patch, and another $10 mill for Going, writes Kara Swisher in BoomTown.
I don’t know about you, but that kind of money sounds EXCITING to me. Not that I ever planned on getting rich, but in today’s economy I’ve been paying a wee bit more attention to that bottom line thing.
A couple months ago, I actually tried contacting Patch about whether they were going to make their software available to folks hoping to start local sites. I was one of more than 230 people who submitted inquiries, according to a press release in Swisher’s post. And now I know why I never heard back from them; they were probably too busy cooking up the sale!
Patch seems to be using journalists with professional experience, but I’m completely unclear about the company’s pay structure. It’s a shame Patch never responded to my earlier inquiry.
I am a bit surprised by the $10 million price tag. After all, there is not that much local advertising on the site. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Patch’s principal investor was AOL’s new CEO, Tim Armstrong. And since he’s heavily restructuring the beleaguered company, perhaps he has a plan in mind.
Here’s what Armstrong says in the AOL press release:
“Local remains one of the most disaggregated experiences on the Web today – there’s a lot of information out there but simply no way for consumers to find it quickly and easily. It’s a space that’s prime for innovation and an area where AOL has a significant audience and a valuable mapping service in MapQuest. Going forward, local will be a core area of focus and investment for AOL.”
The upshot? Maybe we should keep our eyes peeled for job opportunities at AOL soon.
Today I discovered The Society for Professional Journalism’s database that helps media professionals find training. While the search engine, which is at journalismtraining.org searches fellowships, training events and web-based training, it is by no means comprehensive. It also is a bit confusing and many of the links don’t work well.
Still, it’s a nice tool if you live in a state with lots of colleges or journalism-related organizations trying to help out those wishing to refresh their careers.
While you can look through that database yourself, here are some upcoming courses I scraped together from other sources:
Is better tracking technology the answer to newspapers’ woes? That seems to be Alan Mutter’s premise with his recently announced ViewPass. Mutter, who writes Reflections of a Newsosaur, is not proposing a simple widget here, but what appears to be a sophisticated business coop.
The idea is to create a single, branded logon for multiple news products. After registering, readers would go about their normal surfing to favorite free news sites. Readers also can buy individual articles, subscriptions or bundles of content from sources that do charge.
The key to ViewPass seems to be a central database for tracking reader behavior to better target ads. That in turn would lead to bigger profits from advertisers happy with better results. By the way, targeted ads is nothing new; Mutter is just proposing a methodology for unifying the thousands of solutions already out there.
Under Mutter’s vision, ViewPass would be owned by multiple news organizations – broadcast, online and print – in a coop form. If ViewPass gets large enough, the news industry would finally have serious negotiating clout with advertisers, search engines and other service providers.
If you’re eyes are glazing over, I understand; this is biz side stuff instead of writing, reporting and broadcasting. But it’s important to remember: the problem with journalism is not on the editorial side, but the financial side.
Do journalists really deserve low pay as suggested by media economics professor Robert G. Picard in his Christian Science Monitor article? Only if journalists find a new way to create value for readers, he writes.
The problem, Picard points out, is that technology makes it so easy to publish and so easy to find free, duplicated content that it’s difficult to assign any real value to journalistic endeavors: