Tag Archives: business

Of Past and Future: Archives and information’s lifespan

It was quite interesting to know that social media is “breathing new life to old stories“. It seems that archive content is becoming viral thanks to (frictionless) sharing. This clearly shows the main difference between  paper and digital, linear and non-linear.

The Guardian and The Independent have both integrated their content into Facebook and this has lead to wide and rapid distribution of their content via the social network.
The strange thing is that –  without any effort or intention on their part- many of the most popular stories from these papers on Facebook have not been to do with revolution in Egypt or US presidential campaigns, but they have instead been articles from the late 1990s. As the FT Techhub reports, the most shared list on The Independent website has been littered with stories with headlines like: ‘Sean, 12, is youngest father’.
What does this mean for newspapers?

I have always defended that media should have a digital strategy for archives:

Well organized archives are paramount in a medium in which information lives forever. This allows a longer lifespan for content, make it easily available for future reference, it can be used for self reference in future content, and cross referencing for external content and curation.

And it also builds brand. This out of time sharing phenomenon is important to understand how users  information habits have changed in the past years and what are their needs, and what is causing this. And the answers are pretty straight forward:


– users have access to content from different points in time more easily than ever;

– users have the personal interest in sharing what they find relevant. Social Media is a huge factor these days;

–  users can comment and build on that information, use it to generate more information, and make it available;

– users can organize that information for themselves, or for their community;

So, you have a news organization. And in your website’s database you have thousands of news articles. What do you have to do to make that content more valuable?


content should be tagged accordingly. I spent a lot of time during my training sessions explaining why tags were important for users and journalists- not do they only help classify the contents of a story, but it relates that content to other articles: people, places, events, etc. As a user I can find more information about a specific item, as a journalist I can use an old article as a reference for my current story;

–  archives should have better mechanics: lists of items are useless, make them look more like a section of your website, with images and metadata, and other types of data, like visits, shares, number of related articles through tags or if it belongs to a series, and the ability to visually place them in time;

– this content has to be available to be curated using tools similar to Storify or Bundlr (disclaimer: I know and I’m friends with Bundlr’s creators, and I think it would make a great internal curation tool for news websites).

news content should be broken down to raw data: addresses, statistics, number of victims, poll results, goals scored, minutes played (sports are the best subject for archive use, I once was giving a class in a room filled with year collections of a sports newspaper, gigabytes of information on paper, thousands of charts, profiles, data visualizations to be created).


And what is causing this? Well, it’s easy, information is perennial  (as long the servers are maintained). Even Cristiano Ronaldo used archive information (moving images, for the matter) to create a video showing his time as a young player(Facebook video) in Portugal. Now information can be reused, reviewed, replayed. And some stories just live forever, others find a new life, or a new importance under the right light.

News have now a different life cycle, and the potential is great for new products, relationships and business.

What do you think news companies should do with their archives? Do you think they are putting their previous work to good use? As a user, would you like to have more access to news archives and make new things with that information?


The failure of the single product business model

Starbucks, Baker Street
There's more than coffee at Starbucks, Baker Street, London, UK (© Copyright Gary Rogers and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence)

After a few months teaching online writing and multimedia narratives to journalists, I found out that their biggest question was never if links worked, how valuable video editing skills are, or why social networks have an impact in content distribution, they had already figured that out. Their biggest doubts were about how to make money with journalism. And I got some stunned reactions when I told them that was impossible.

My parents owned a business for 11 years, a small café, in the city centre,with a mixed clientele, from passing shoppers, bank workers, car mechanics, retired people and local fauna. In units, the product we sold more was expresso. If you ever been to Portugal you’ll know we love our shots of expresso throughout the day. But that was the cheapest product we had and without a great profit margin. So, if we relied our whole business on selling expressos, we would never make it.

And the clients changed according to the time of day, not only in type but also in needs: the working, early morning, breakfast yearning crowd had nothing to do with the late night binge drinking costumers. So we had different products for each one of those types: fresh bread and pastry in the morning, to go along with coffe and milk, and cold beer and spirits for an after dinner meet up over a football match on TV.

Key products for key types of clients. And that was just a local café. Take Starbucks for example: they will never be big in Portugal because they have already a huge competition in the coffee selling business and they have the worst and most expensive coffee  that you can find in that block, yet they attract lots of people due to two main reasons: an attractive brand (you see Starbucks in the movies and the TV shows with lots of young, attractive, intelligent people), and variety when it comes to all the things you can do with coffee. Even so, they had to adapt and find refuge in shopping malls, when they prefer to be out there in the street.

So they figured out who were their clients, where they should find them and offered them not the same product as everybody else but derivatives from it, supported by an appealing image. So why don’t media companies do the same?

Information is out there, replicated at the speed of light, so it’s not scarce. Quite the opposite, as we know it rages in volumes. And though points of view may vary, the basic info is out there. Cheap coffee on the go. Different types of audiences, at different times of the day, having different needs. Yet the strategy is to serve them all bread and butter. Of course, there’s specialized media for specific audiences – sports, economics, music, etc – but I’m talking about generalist brands.

What was their product? Articles, usually wrapped in paper, that costed more than the product itself. With the internet, they lost the wrapper and the product no longer came in a package, but in pieces. So some decided to put the product in a box and charge for a peek inside. From coffee in paper cups to coffee in digital, exclusive mugs. Still coffee though, and most of the times as good as the competition’s.

The solution is to have more products than coffee, or sell beverages based on the black stuff but that only you can make and charge for it – I bet Starbucks here sells more cappucinos than expressos.  This implies three things: new products, trained staff to make them, and  know who are their consumers and their needs.

Unfortunately, many media companies haven’t been able to identify their online audience, erroneously believing it’s the same as their paper audience, and feed them the same stuff but in a different container. Worse, with the need to create better, more demanding, high quality products, they’re firing the most experienced to hire cheap labour. It’s like turning a gourmet restaurant with a good chef into a McDonald’s. Yeah, people go to MacDonald’s but it’s crap anyway. And they have their business strategy better defined.

So let’s get back to basics: what are the core elements of the news business?


The amount of products based on information goes well beyond the 500 word article, but here are just a few ideas to use information in a more valuable way:

We have data, specialized professionals with access to specific sources so why not sell special analysis for specific audiences?

Databases are also valuable – imagine offering full access to all the data in archive to all the football matches ever covered in the first league.

Thousands of images are taken everyday by photographers, why not open a photo bank where they could be sold cheaply for specific projects or make them easily available for sharing and create a new stream of visitors to the original story? Think of the long tail.

Go beyond your “natural” market and expand. Have versions in different languages (at least one more, believe me it works).

New languages for new devices, unique content, immersive content.

Stop selling ad space, sell ads that are fit to be published in your environment.

And the one item that must always be constant: high quality information. Fast food will kill you in a more demanding world.


They do not only get the information, they distribute it and create on top of it. Support that. It’s like having millions of newspaper boys shouting out your headlines.

Transform the online audience into real people in the offline world: get to know them, organize meetings, gatherings, conventions. Make them pay for what you offer them there.

People have needs, identify them. The Guardian has a dating site, you could have your own real estate or job agency, whatever people need the most in your market.

Observe how their informational needs vary over the course of the day and the week, and offer them options to adapt your content to their routine. Understanding how your audience consumes news will help you create the right contents for it.

Make information useful. Being just informed is so 1.0. People must have the chance to do something with it.


Instead of giving away books or DVDs with the Sunday paper, sell them cheap on your website.

Stop selling ad-space, get commissions for selling products directly on your pages.

You have a brand, if you get people to identify with it they’ll buy what’s associated with it. I don’t go to Starbucks, but I like their mugs.


And if you want more ideas from me you’ll have to pay me as a consultant. I’m joking, but depending on the strengths of each company there are many different options to make more money than with just the news. You have to evaluate what kind of information based products you can create and see if there are any markets for them, and stop thinking that you’re only a newspaper, or a radio station, or whatever news company fits you. And you are dealing directly with your audience, so you must get the most out of it.

You are a place where people go for coffee but have the option to get pastries, have lunch or a nightcap, and that’s what keeps you afloat. Not the least expensive product on the list.


Multimedia Producer x 6 – Part 1

For my MA’s Enterprise assignment, I had to develop a business model for a project. Well, my project was all about promoting myself as a Multimedia Producer. Since I needed a to have a case study, I decided to interview the ones who are in the frontlines. I made a blunder in the second question, which proves you should leave your editing for the morning, and not send emails in the middle of the night, after 16 hours working in front of the computer. But these guys and gal were pretty generous, and gave me good answers anyway.

What I learned from this was that there’s a misconception of what is Multimedia Production on the part of the news companies, and that the market is really hard these days. But there is a need for professionals with multimedia skills. I’d like to thank these magnificent six for their time and contribution, and also to Mindy MacAdams for all the help. Let’s see how the grade turns out.

These are the first three, tomorrow i’ll post the others. Be sure to check out their work.

Jen Friedberg

Jen Friedberg is a multi media producer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her work can be seen at http://www.jenfriedberg.com/

What is a Multimedia Producer?

Jen Friedberg's website

A Multimedia Producer is someone who makes sure that all of the proper video, stills and audio are gathered and packaged in a user-friendly way.

The Multimedia Producer may also gather some or all of the content his or herself and/or be the person who creates the display.  The content could be displayed in a single Flash presentation or possibly as smaller components linked to a common HTML based start page.

What is the need for this type of skilled professionals?

A strong knowledge of the basics of web design is a must.  If the producer is not a photographer, videographer or reporter his or her self, he or she must at least be familiar with those processes so that he or she can have a realistic idea about the time and resources needed for each part of the project.  The producer’s job is to deliver quality on budget and on time.

Where can MmP’s work? What are their business opportunities?

Multimedia Producers could be freelancers working for large corporations who need to produce multimedia content for their websites.  Some organizations like hospitals and universities often have their own Multimedia Producers.  They could also work for ad agencies, newspapers or TV stations, NPR or anyone with a large enough website to employ a multimedia producer.  Some examples are Yahoo, google, MSNBC.  Also,there are some new multimedia production houses like Media Storm.

Which are the main problems that a MmP might find in the current situation of the news industry?

New online tools and content management systems are making it easier for less skilled people to put together multimedia projects.  It’s now possible for an organization like a newspaper to use their existing staff to put these projects together without the need for a specialist.  Since newspapers are continuing to downsize, it is unlikely that they would hire a multimedia producer unless he or she had skills in several areas and could function as a photographer, reporter and videographer as well.

Mark S.Luckie

Mark S. Luckie is the author of 10.000words, one of the best blogs about multimedia and online journalism out there. Mark has produced multimedia and interactive projects for Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times and Contra Costa Times (Ca.).

Mark S.Luckie

What is a Multimedia Producer?

In journalism, a multimedia producer is a journalist who combines different media such as photos, video, audio, text, and other media to tell a single story using several storytelling techniques.

What is the need for this type of skilled professionals?

There a wide variety of media skills that fit under the multimedia umbrella, but a multimedia journalist should know at least two different media skills that he or she can combine into a single story.

Where can MmP’s work? What are their business opportunities?

Multimedia producers can work every sort of journalism outlet including newspapers, television and radio stations, all of which have companion online sites where the multimedia stories resides. Multimedia producers can also work in other fields such as advertising and marketing, as well as freelance for the aforementioned industries.

Which are the main problems that a MmP might find in the current situation of the news industry?

Although multimedia skills are in demand, many news media do not have the financial resources to hire multimedia producers. There are a growing number of multimedia professionals, all of whom are competing for the same jobs. A marketable multimedia producer must have even more skills the average producer to ensure they land one of these coveted positions.

Zach Wise

zach wise

Zach Wise is an award-winning producer for The New York Times. Most recently his work a Peabody award and an Emmy nomination for “Choosing a President”. Before coming to the Times, he was the Senior Multimedia Producer at the Las Vegas Sun, where his work won many awards. He contributed to a Pulitzer prize winning piece on construction deaths on the Las Vegas Strip. His work at the Sun was also recognized at the Webby Awards, National Headliner’s Awards, Online News Association and NPPA Best of Photojournalism.

Wise was also a visiting professor for The School of Visual Communication at Ohio University where he was the executive producer of the Soul of Athens multimedia project and taught the classes that produced it. The project went on to win multiple awards from POYi and NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism.

What is a Multimedia Producer?

In the newspaper/journalism world this generally means someone who produces audio/visual narratives or interactive. In other professions such as tv/film/advertising a producer is the person who oversees a project. I was very confused by this when I first entered journalism having previously worked in the world of tv/film/advertising.

What is the need for this type of skilled professionals?

Not sure I understand this question. The skills needed? or the demand?

Where can MmP’s work? What are their business opportunities?

When I was teaching multimedia, most of my students found work in advertising and the corporate sector. In journalism, there is a great need for talented producers but few opportunities as with most jobs in journalism right now.

Which are the main problems that a MmP might find in the current situation of the news industry?

Quantity over quality is a large problem at smaller companies who are struggling with their identity as a news source.


Read the other three interviews here.

news:rewired – how to make money

James Fryer, from SoGlos.com
This is  post number four on the news:rewired conference. You can read the posts one, two and three too.

The final session of news:rewired was dedicated to the ugly side of the future of journalism: how to make money, why journalists are not making money, law and copyright, audiences and advertising. This was stuff journos never had to think about, but that they should consider in their everyday practice, so they can make it financially sustainable. But the trick to be successful is the same as before: be one of the best.

The first speaker of the panel was James Fryer, one of the founding editors of SoGlos.com, the hyperlocal online magazine for Gloucestershire. I had already met James and his associate Michelle Byrne when they sat next to me during the morning sessions, and we got to talk about we should be networking more during the breaks. They we’re really nice, and as someone who developed an experimental hyperlocal website, i was interested in what they had to say.

Fryer gave us the top do’s and don’ts for a hyperlocal venture, and i’d like to highlight a few of his ideas.  He was one of the people who pointed out the obvious characteristic for any successful endeavor: be great. Without being great you’ll never stand out, and gain trust and respect from your audience and your advertisers. Besides that basic principle, you must know where you stand commercially, what is your market and it’s needs, and who could be your allies. But don’t forget to remain true to your starting idea, keep your editorial integrity. I’d like to see some of the major news outlets following some of these principles…

SoGlos was victim of some plagiarism, and the next speaker talked about just that. Caroline Kean is a lawyer, and she adressed some of the problems that affect online journalism, like copyright and privacy. She debunked the myth that if it’s on the web it’s free, and that companies should be careful about the misuse of costumers data. These are relevant questions that would suffice to organize a conference on it’s own. She was followed by Ben Heald,  “CEO of Sift Media, a leading business-to-business publisher specialising in online, interactive professional communities.” What i got from Heald’s speech was that pay walls will fail, and that money will come from niche communities that will pay for specific contents. I remember i liked his presentation, but i don’t have many notes about it. Probably it’s because he was stating something that was obvious for me, but that still hasn’t reached some minds.

Maybe me forgetting about Ben Heald’s presentation was Greg Hadfield‘s fault. The man has an incredible life story, and recent events in his professional course still put him in the game changers group. He delivered this simple yet powerful idea: journalists must act as entrepreneurs. This involves passion and vision, and one activity can’t be separated from the other. He said that when he was a journalist he never thought about advertising, it was “the stuff that made your article shorter”. Now it’s time to be entrepreneurial, since the face of the industry has changed forever. Adam Tinworth sums up some of Hadfield’s ideas here.

I must confess i was awfully tired by then, and a bit frustrated because i was looking around and recognizing some people from my twitter timeline and hadn’t networked with them live. Besides, wifi didn’t work for me and i had to sit offline the whole day, which put me in a state of deprivation close to a certified addict. But after this we had the End of Conference Drinks! More about that in the next post.

MAYOMO.COM: Citizen Journalism in a map | Jornalismo do cidadão no mapa

Iran Protest @ MaYoMo | Os protestos no Irão @ MaYoMo
Iran Protests @ MaYoMo | Os protestos no Irão @ MaYoMo

There is a new website dedicated to user generated content. The name is MaYoMo, and basically pushes users videos into a map. MaYoMo has been around for a while, but they are launching today their new media platform and website.

At the same time they are calling all Journalism students and freelancers to show off their work in the platform and define it “as an outlet for students to post breaking local news stories in their own cities or regions, and news-analysis and commentary on broader global news and issues.

According to the press releaseaccess to all content on the MaYoMo web site is free. Students can easily create an account, and start contributing content and uploading photos, video, and other media assets — from a variety of devices, including video-enabled phones.” But it has a shared advertising revenue model, that creates “income opportunities for professional and student journalists around the world.

Besides the geolocation options, there is another interesting feature: the time window selection, since we can select videos within a determined period of time, which is good if you’re interested in specific ongoing events like the riots in Iran two months ago.

Há um novo site dedicado a conteúdos criados por utilizadores. O nome é MaYoMo, e basicamente coloca videos num mapa. O MaYoMo já existe há algum tempo, mas lançam hoje a sua nova plataforma de media e o seu site renovado.

Ao mesmo tempo eles apelam aos estudantes de Jornalismo e freelancers para mostrarem o seu trabalho na plataforma e definem-na “como uma montra para estudantes mostrarem notícias de última hora sobre as suas próprias cidades ou regiões, e análises noticiosas e comentários em assuntos  e notícias globais“.

De acordo com o press-releaseo acesso a todos os conteúdos no site do MaYoMo é grátis. Os estudantes podem facilmente criar uma conta e começar a contribuir com conteúdos e colocar fotos, videos e outros formatos de media – a partir de uma variedade de dispositivos como telefones com video.” Mas tem um modelo de partilha de recietas de publicidade, que cria “possibilidades de receita para conteúdos de profissionais e estudantes do mundo inteiro.

Para além do mapa, existe outra opção interessante: a janela temporal, já que podemos escolher videos dentro de um determinado período de tempo, o que ajuda se estivermos à procura de acontecimentos específicos que se desenrolaram por alguns dias, como as manifestações no Irão há dois meses atrás.

via Paul Bradshaw