Top 5, June 23, 2011

  1. Mobile as a savior for local advertising?
    Study: In 4 years, 70 percent of mobile ads will be local
  2. Best Buy wades into online music
    Could Music Cloud beat Apple to the punch?
  3. Rowling to launch site to sell Harry Potter ebooks
    Author previously refused electronic releases
  4. Go Google yourself
    How to manage your personal search ranking
  5. Barnes and Noble ebook sales outpace print
    Retailer says electronic versions outsell 3-to-1

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NY Times Paywall May Be Working, Could Work Better

There's been a lot of hand wringing about pay walls in digital media lately, but not a lot of discussion on how they're working or how to improve them.

The pay wall that's gotten the most press, of course, is that of the New York Times -- instituted on March 28. The Times asks people to pay for access after they've accessed 20 articles online.

Unlike its previous pay experiment, this time the Times' effort appears to be working. But it could be a lot better, and bring more value both to the news organization and some of its users by using more powerful advertising technologies. I'll get to that in a moment.

The Times' pay wall scheme is really more of what I'd call a "pay fence," because someone with a bit of technical acumen can easily get more than the official allotment by, say, switching browsers, deleting cookies or getting links from social media and search.

The Times also, as predicted in a radio interview early last month, has been playing with pricing models. Prices have fluctuated since launch from a trial 99 cents for four weeks to $15-$35 per month (for various web, smartphone and app bundles), to the most recent discount pricing of $1.88-$4.38 per week, for 26 weeks.

Anyone who subscribes to any print package (the cheapest appears to be Saturday-Sunday at $3.15 per week for 12 weeks) gets all digital editions thrown in, except for some e-readers such as the Kindle.

So it's not surprising that one short-term business benefit appears to be an improvement in the Times' print subscription revenue, as noted in our recent Mediatwits podcast.

Because the Times still makes the lion's share of its revenue from print, if it can shore up its dwindling print base, it stands to support the operation for at least a while longer as it tries to transition to the more fully digital era.

And, by making the pay "wall" so porous, the news organization continues to get the large volume of transient traffic from search and referrals that keeps page views -- and advertising impressions -- high, and that revenue stream flowing.

HuffPo Surpasses Times: So What?

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Some have pointed out that it looks like the Huffington Post shot ahead of NYTimes.com in page views recently, according to comScore, a web measurement company.

There are a few bones to pick with this argument. For one, Quantcast, another measurement company, said HuffPo actually surpassed the Times last fall, well before the pay wall was in place (see image to right).

Second, it's wrong to think the pay wall is the key factor. It's more that the Huffington Post has had a significant boost in traffic referrals from new owner AOL. The Times' traffic, with around 15 million unique U.S. visitors in May, is about the same as it was a year ago, according to Quantcast. ComScore said "May traffic was about 34 million monthly uniques", a bit higher than a year ago.

Finally, and most important, page views alone are not necessarily the best indicator of value.

The Times' revenue per page may be higher than the HuffPo's, for example, because it gets some revenue from subscriptions and some more from ads that may be worth more than on HuffPo (which can be a result in part of having an audience made up of paying subscribers whom advertisers will pay more to reach).

The Times is also probably just as influential as HuffPo, even with its smaller numbers, because many among the political and business elite see the Times as a "must-read."

While visits to NYTimes.com were said to have dropped as much as 15 percent immediately after the pay wall was put in place, those are not the huge drops of more than half some have seen in the past. An analyst noted that the Times could lose 20 percent of its web traffic and still break even with 107,000 subscriptions.

Times CEO Janet Robinson said in an investor call April 21 that the Times had picked up 100,000 new digital subscribers in the first weeks after the pay wall was instituted. The analyst said a sponsor has agreed to pay for another 100,000 subscriptions.

Using Ad Tech to Serve the Pay wall?

But all that doesn't mean the Times doesn't have room for improvement, at least from a business perspective.

It could boost its revenue further by using ad targeting technologies to try to get more page views from people who are of more value to high-priced advertisers.

The same ad targeting technologies could be used to identify users to show them relevant ads, and let people identified as having higher income and education levels through without showing them the gate after they've reached a 20-article limit.

The idea was mentioned by industry experts at last months IAB's Networks and Exchanges conference, where I conducted video interviews for the industry group.

While it may not be pleasant to think that not all users are equal, it is a business reality.

The Financial Times, which uses a pay meter system similar to the Times', is expected this year to see digital content revenue overtake print and its digital ad revenue take the lead in 2013, according to an article on Foliomag.com last year.

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The Wall Street Journal, which has over the years played with various forms of bundles, gating and pricing, has more than a 500,000 paid digital circulation and still leads U.S. papers in print circulation.

It's not just the big, international brands that claim success from charging users for access. A source at Gannett told me that two newspapers in the chain that had applied stronger pay walls than the Times' have kept a strong majority of their page views and unique visitors.

They are in state capitals where there's not a lot of competition, either from other news outlets or from blogs, and people in the state want to know what's happening.

While it's far from proven that publishers can support their operations through digital media, the Times and a few others are starting to find ways to at least prove some revenue is to be made from asking people to pay for the news they consume.

In 2006, the Times instituted TimesSelect, charging $49.95 yearly for columnists and other choice materials, and blocking them from much linking and search.

A top Times executive at the time told me the effort was made because columnists couldn't be "monetized" any other way -- advertisers didn't want their ads next to columns that might disturb a significant portion of their customers.

But walling off the columnists was blocking off something that brought the Times much of its traffic and notice, and the scheme led to a rash of people posting columns on unapproved sites. TimesSelect was canceled within two years.

This time, the Times appears to have done "their homework," in the words of media strategist Steve Yelvington, keeping page views relatively high while getting loyal readers to pay for access, if for no other reason than avoiding the hassle of hunting for ways to get stories for free.

An award-winning former managing editor at ABCNews.com and an MBA (with honors), Dorian Benkoil handles marketing and sales strategies for MediaShift. He is SVP at Teeming Media, a strategic media consultancy focused on attracting, engaging, and activating communities through digital media. He tweets at @dbenk.

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The Necessity of Data Journalism in the New Digital Community

This is the second post in a series from Nicholas White, the co-founder and CEO of The Daily Dot.

It used to be, to be a good reporter, all you had to do was get drunk with the right people.

Sure, it helped if you could string a few words together, but what was really important was that when news broke, you could get the right person on the phone and get the skinny. Or when something scandalous was going down somewhere, someone would pick up the phone and call you.

Increasingly today, in selecting and training reporters, the industry seems to focus on the stringing-words-together part. (If CJR wants to study something, I suggest comparing alcohol consumption among newsroom employees and circulation. Both have been dropping steadily since the '70s. Coincidence? I think not.)

That's not how we're building our newsroom at The Daily Dot. Don't get me wrong, we want people who can write, but that's not actually our first -- or only -- criterion. While it's still early days, we've done at least two things that are very exciting and critical to our long-term success -- and they're not things that should remain unique to us. I think they point toward the future success of the industry as a whole.

One: Our very first newsroom hire, after our executive editor, was Grant Robertson, who's not only a reporter and an editor, but also a programmer. Two: We have, in partnership with the math whizzes at Ravel, analyzed the Reddit and Tumblr communities, ranking their users on a variety of metrics tracking activity, engagement and influence.

We found it necessary to push early in this direction because of our unique coverage area and we're in the fortunate position of being able to build our newsroom from scratch.

Finding a New Kind of Source

The challenge for The Daily Dot, which covers online life, is this: How do we actually get our news? Traditional papers can cover the news by reading media reports in the police station or literally chasing people down the street. We can chase people down online, but there are no reports. The data we produced on Reddit and Tumblr is interesting in itself, of course (and we'll be releasing more of it), but we did it because we wanted unique insight into the community and we wanted a source list.

We wanted to know who to get drunk with.

It turns out that's still relevant. The first community we started covering was Reddit. Reddit is somewhat easier because it's an active group of users who are engaging with each other and with a range of important issues, and it's all right there for the reporter to see. It's like standing in the middle of Times Square and listening to the conversations of the passers-by, street performers, evangelists, hawkers and protesters. When we crunched the numbers, we got a big compass pointing to the most active, interesting discussions and movements.

dailydot_linktofullgraphic.jpg Click the image for the full graphic.

But if Reddit is New York, Tumblr, it turns out, is Los Angeles.

"(L.A.) is a place where they've taken a desert and turned it into their dreams. I've seen a lot of L.A. and I think it's also a place of secrets: secret houses, secret lives, secret pleasures. And no one is looking to the outside for verification that what they're doing is all right." -- L.A. Story

You could say the same thing about Tumblr. The 10 most influential Tumblogs are quite different from what you find on Reddit. If you look at the posts from maxwellhill, who has the highest Link Karma on Reddit, you'll see discussions of new, stricter copyright laws or Facebook's facial recognition software, and many of those threads have hundreds or even thousands of comments.

On Tumblr, you get collections of snippets -- little glimpses into what's important to this particular complete stranger: a photo of sushi shaped like little pandas; glossy magazine fashion shots; a clip of a song from Nina Simone; or a moment from a TV show like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." There's often little explanation. Hundreds of people may have liked the post, but there are no comments. These are often, one feels, intensely personal revelations, like walking neighborhood streets in Westwood, and, over a garden wall, catching a snippet or two of conversation, arguments, lovemaking, people's plans and dreams and fears.

How do we report on that? Should we report on that? When it comes to the how, it still comes down to the good, old classic reportorial trump card: You knock on the door. You ask them questions. Hopefully, you grab a drink.

As to the should ... I honestly don't know, but as a reporter, I've learned to follow my nose and try to keep my feet under me.

Old school techniques meet new school data

In other words, the old skills still matter. In some sense they're more precious than ever. But they aren't enough. Data needs to be interpreted well, and we need people who can use technology in highly advanced ways to produce the insight readers crave.

We need to ask the data the same tough questions we ask experts and other sources. We've enlisted sophisticated mathematicians in the cause of journalism. We've hired an editor that loves to geek out over data. There's a lot of nuance and expertise in this process.

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Consider the example of these Reddit and Tumblr data we've produced. As Zach, one of the founding mathematicians at Ravel, has pointed out to me: It's one thing to be active and another to be important. It's a relatively simple process to say who's posted the most on Tumblr. But that poster might just be a bot that no one cares about. That tumblog in the greater Tumblr community is like dropping a big rock in a pond and seeing just one or two ripples go out. Another poster might post one thing a week, and yet that one thing gets liked and reblogged out the wazoo. That tumblog is like dropping a pebble in a pond and seeing a huge splash. It's the splash that matters, and it's much more difficult to measure.

Which brings me to the most practical challenge: We bill ourselves as the hometown newspaper of the worldwide web. Unlike most newspapers, we're not buying a printing press. But what we are doing is worrying about things like, how do you calculate an influence ranking when you've got millions (no, really, millions) of data points? Turns out, you can't do that in Excel; its limit is a measly 65,536 rows. (Answer, btw: GoldenOrb.)

The Daily Dot may be going in this direction now because of our unique coverage area, but if this industry is to flourish in the 21st century, programming journalists should not remain unique. Data, just like the views of experts, men on the street, polls and participants, is a perspective on the world. And in the age of ATMs, automatic doors and customer loyalty cards, it's become just as ubiquitous.

But the media isn't so good with data, with actual mathematics. Our stock-in-trade is the anecdote. Despite a complete lack of solid evidence, we've been telling people their cell phones will give them cancer. Our society ping pongs between eating and not eating carbs, drinking too much coffee and not enough water, getting more Omega-3s -- all on the basis of epidemiological research that is far, far, far from definitive. Most reporters do not know how to evaluate research studies, and so they report the authors' conclusions without any critical evaluation -- and studies need critical evaluation.

To cover the online community, The Daily Dot needs data skills. We don't just need programmers to produce a website; we need some in the newsroom, too. And we need highly skilled mathematicians. We need people who didn't spend all their time in the humanities in college -- we need those who understand scientific research.

In the information age, journalism needs to go further. Information bombards us. What is scarce is insight, understanding and knowledge.

The news industry is built on the assumption that if you give a reporter a notebook and a few days to ramp up, he can write authoritatively on any subject. That's not enough anymore. In today's information-rich world, reporters need to bring more to the table. To provide readers with truly insightful experiences, they need to have the kind of expertise that will allow them to see the story behind the story, to see what's really going on.

I'm not saying that we need nothing but mathematicians, but we do need a broad range of knowledge skills in the newsroom, and people with real domain knowledge. Let's find a police officer who's still walking a beat after 25 years because he's such a pain in the ass to the bureaucracy, and hire him to cover cops & courts. So what if he can't string two words together? That's why we have editors -- in fact, let's bring back the rewrite desk, and free a few people from the writing requirement entirely.

We shouldn't exclude existing journalists -- they're great people with a lot of important skills. But how many newsrooms offer advanced, systematic training programs? Goldman Sachs will send you to business school, but I've never heard of a newspaper even sending a reporter to night school.

Instead, newsrooms have spent the last two decades buying out the reporters that had spent 30 years on the same beat, who'd built the kind of expertise I'm talking about the long, hard way -- who'd gotten drunk with every source they could even pretend was relevant (and hope to expense). Let's find a few of those guys and hire them back, too.

There are many ways of knowing, and we need them all.

People are drowning in a flood of information today -- it's busting the levees, and it's only getting higher. If we in the media are going to help people navigate it, we need to build our raft out of something sturdier than the thin reeds of anecdotes and intuition we've been getting away with in recent years. We need to build it out of great oak trees of knowledge, insight and experience.

Nicholas White is the co-founder and CEO of The Daily Dot, the hometown newspaper of the worldwide web. A longtime executive in community news, he most recently served as a VP of Audience Development at Sandusky Newspapers Inc., which was founded in 1822 and runs 22 newspapers and radio stations around the country.

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Top 5, June 21, 2011

  1. ICANN approves top-level domains
    .car, .bank, .brand coming to a browser near you
  2. Spotify raises $100 million, valued at $1 billion
    International expansion on tap, Facebook eyes service for music plans
  3. Internet kills anonymity
    Once thought to breed anonymity, now no one goes unidentified on the web
  4. Social networking sites flock to kid set
    Advertisers aren't following
  5. Nieman Report: Community will be key to success
    Skoler: Community is the new business model

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Social Media Creates New Avenues for Connecting Journalists and Sources

The true value of a reporter can be measured by the number of contacts in his or her address book, I'm told, and one of the most important priorities for a journalist is to establish a wide network of sources, which can later be used to produce solid and trustworthy reporting.

Now, increased Internet and social media usage in newsrooms has opened a new chapter in identifying journalistic sources.

Instead of making phone calls and scheduling lunch meetings, reporters can find useful contacts through a growing number of digital services, allowing them to post queries online and simply wait for potential sources to respond.

On April 5, Facebook launched a page called Journalists on Facebook, with the aim to "serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories."

As Justin Osofsky, Facebook's director of Media Partnerships, noted, Facebook offers journalists the possibility to connect with "an audience of more than 500 million people." These are searchable by name, interests and occupation.

Web resources for reporters

Journalists can also look for potential sources by using services that connect them with people willing to share their expertise on various topics.

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Help a Reporter Out is a website that originated as a Facebook group called If I Can Help A Reporter Out, I Will and later migrated into a separate entity. In accordance with HARO's tagline "Everyone Is an Expert at Something," the website connects experts with reporters who are on a deadline.

Menachem Wrecker, a writer and blogger at the Houston Chronicle, said he was able to produce several dozen success stories thanks to HARO and a similar service called Reporter Connection.

"I look at a service like HARO as a crystal ball that tells me what I don't know, and what I never would have thought of looking for," he said. "I absolutely don't use HARO or Reporter Connection to the exclusion of calling people I know and asking them for recommendations, but why not cover all of the bases?"

Wrecker warned, however, that only a small percentage of the responses obtained through services such as HARO are on target.  "There is a ton of spam and off-topic promotions that you need to sift through, but I think I'm not alone in saying I'm glad to sift through the dirt if I've got a good sense that there's a gold nugget embedded somewhere within," he said.

Isn't there a risk of giving away story ideas by sharing them on popular sites? "Other reporters could steal the stories," Wrecker said, "but I've never had a problem with that. I think new and social media are moving so quickly that it's actually tough to steal ideas and beat out publications even if you want to."

Change of rules

According to Paul Grabowicz, senior lecturer and associate dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, these new technologies have increased the ability for journalists to reach a much broader group of people, whether they're looking for experts or just want to find out how the audience feels about a particular issue.

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Grabowicz, who has 25 years of journalistic experience writing for the Oakland Tribune, The Washington Post, Esquire magazine, The Village Voice and Newsday, remembers what it was like to search for relevant sources when he started his job as a reporter. "It was who you could reach via telephone or walk and chat with," he said.

Online platforms such as HARO, Reporter Connection or ProfNet have opened up new possibilities.

But journalists still face the challenge of verifying their source's reliability and credibility.

"I think looking at what the person actually says is often a good indicator," Wrecker said. "I also find that sometimes individual responses on HARO might be red herrings, whereas looking at trends in the many responses might be a good thing to consider."

Sifting through it all

New technologies can also be used in the verification process. "Now with the Internet, you can look up your sources' bio or the things they have written or maybe see what other people have said about them," Wrecker said.

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"If you put out a query on a service like HARO, you are more likely to get people who are just looking for publicity, but the web also helps you check out who they are and what ties they may have," he said.

Grabowicz advises his students that their first step should be to check the credibility of their potential sources, their level of expertise, the people who can vouch for them, and what has been reported about whatever they've previously said or produced. These are professional journalistic standards that haven't changed for years.

"They are the same checks you use no matter who you interview or what the topic is," Grabowicz said. "You have to be careful. Just because somebody contacts you and claims to be an expert does not mean that they are. As long as you are cautious about that, there is nothing wrong with expanding your universe of sources."

Smart choices

Grabowicz stressed, however, that reaching out to people through services such as HARO or ProfNet is never a good substitute for keeping a network of trusted sources, established over the years.

"A sloppy reporter would say, 'All right, I don't have to cultivate those kinds of networks; I can just use one of those services.' But that's not the problem with the service. That's the problem with the bad reporter," he said.

For Wrecker, it all boils down to trust. "Having trusted sources is very important," he said. "Whether you meet those sources at the grocery store, a bar, the ball game, a website, a blog or a source like HARO doesn't really matter. If anything, something like HARO -- insofar as it's the speed-dating site for journalists and sources -- might accelerate the dating process."

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This story was originally published by the European Journalism Centre, an independent non-profit institute dedicated to the highest standards in journalism, primarily through the further training of journalists and media professionals. Follow @ejcnet for Twitter updates, here on Facebook and on the EJC Online Journalism Community.

Kornelia Trytko is a journalist and attentive observer of the international media scene. In 2008 she received, with honors, her Master's degree in Journalism and Social Communication at the Institute of Political Science, University of Wrocław, Poland. She worked for two years for media outlets in Wrocław and Lower Silesia. In 2010 she participated in the Erasmus Mundus Master programme in Journalism, Media & Globalisation. After completing a semester at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, she is now studying at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, University of California. She is a reporter for and contributes to European Journalism Observatory.

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Dispatch from IRE: Important Lessons from Investigative Collaborations

From the air-conditioned meeting rooms to the muggy poolside bar, everyone at this year's Investigative Reporters and Editors conference was talking collaboration.

It seems that our once doggedly independent industry is beginning to embrace a lesson long forgotten from elementary school: how to play nicely with others. And that might be because there are few alternatives. With newsrooms across the country still reeling from the plummeting revenues of the last half-decade, many organizations have begun working together as a survival strategy -- especially when it comes to the typically more costly and time-consuming endeavors of investigative reporting.

IRE's four-day convention, which took place June 9 - 12 in Orlando, featured a good number of sessions focused specifically on collaboration, and the C-word trickled into many other panels that were supposed to be about other topics (global crime and corruption, working with students, etc.). IRE even unveiled a new award category for collaborations and partnerships this year. The inaugural winner of the new award, Dangers in the Dust, included 10 reporters in eight different countries investigating the global asbestos trade for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the BBC.

One of the last panels of the weekend -- which moderator Bill Buzenberg of the Center for Public Integrity called "Herding cats and other collaborative acts" -- had project managers anticipating a lucrative future for collaboration. Mark Katches, editorial director at the Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch, said the budget cutbacks have spurred a new "pragmatism" in American newsrooms.

"There used to be this arrogance, 'We can do it better than anybody, we're the only ones that can do it,'" said Katches, who formerly led investigative teams at the Orange County Register and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "A lot of people realize that to accomplish the kinds of quality work that they used to do on a more regular basis, they've got to look for partnerships."

Yes, but How?

I was surprised to find that even outside the confines of the conference rooms, reporters and editors were chattering about collaboration, planning new projects together or just venting about lingering resistance. An investigative reporter from a large daily newspaper told me that his editors are coming around to the idea. From his perch on a foam noodle halfway submerged in the resort pool, he said collaboration is really the only way to go.

Indeed, it seems that the tides really have turned.

But despite all the buzz, more questions than answers remain about collaboration -- beginning with, how do we define it? Of course, depending on the story and personalities involved, each collaboration will be unique. And that's a good thing. Still, what are the basic guidelines to doing this work? How do you keep all the partners happy while still producing good journalism?

Here at UC Berkeley's Investigative Reporting Program we've undertaken a project to identify best practices for the new era of collaboration. We certainly have our work cut out us for us here. But at IRE, I did pick up some pointers.

GET IT IN WRITING (and get it early)

Despite a general enthusiasm for collaboration, there was no shortage of horror stories shared at IRE -- though few were told in great detail. The feelings of being slighted, in many cases, stemmed from doing collaborations across platforms, where a print organization, for instance, was given inadequate attribution on a broadcast, or where TV producers were brought in too late and had to redo all the interviews on camera.

There were conflicts over breaching timing agreements and even disagreements about how logos would appear. These scenarios, the industry experts surmised, could be avoided with a written agreement that lays it all out, particularly one made early on in the partnership. The veterans of collaboration also recommend establishing a point person or manager of sorts to assign out all other various tasks -- everything from filing FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests to fact-checking and legal review.

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Just how explicit to get in these agreements, though, is a matter of debate. Stephen Engelberg, managing editor of ProPublica reflected, "The natural tendency for news people is toward informality. I know it's my tendency."

Engelberg said ProPublica's contracts vary on a case-by-case basis, but tend to be on the less formal side. He added, though, "Every now and again, very well-meaning, sincere, honest people can misunderstand each other and having a few bullet points is not a bad thing."

On the other hand, Gordon Witkin, managing editor at the Center for Public Integrity, cautioned against making assumptions, especially when working with a partner for the first time. "You go into a partnership and what's obvious to you might not be obvious to someone else. You have to lay out your terms and conditions rather exactly."

TALK IT OUT

Besides lessons learned from the business world, there are also those that are more in the realm of couple's therapy. In successful partnerships, communication is key. Even if you've already written down your agreement in the courtship phase, the project invariably will change, and open communication throughout is essential. Some panelists recommended weekly conference calls when working in long-distance relationships, but most prefer meeting face-to-face. The more trust and openness you can establish at the beginning, the smoother the release of the stories at the end.

"There's a lot of hand-holding that has to go on; there are egos you have to pay attention to," said T. Christian Miller of ProPublica. "That fragility comes out at the end unless you've really prepared yourself and built up that relationship to have that trust. If you try to manufacture that at the backend of the process, that's when you're inviting bad feelings and not wanting to do more collaborations."

PERSONALITIES MATTER

And the real secret to successful collaborations? Yep, it's a little personal.

Brant Houston, a former IRE executive director and current professor of investigative reporting at the University of Illinois, put it this way: "One of the clichés that is coming up around collaborations now is that it's not between organizations, it's between people."

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At IRE, one of the more celebrated interpersonal relationships was that of Daniel Zwerdling (NPR) and Miller (ProPublica) on their joint reporting on traumatic brain injuries in the military. Zwerdling told me it's worked out because they have chemistry -- just like you'd want in a personal relationship. On a panel at IRE, Miller said his partnership with Zwerdling has been one of the best. And this is why: "It's almost like [you're] colleagues in the same newsroom. And that's how you have to start to think of your partners if you're going to have a smooth partnership."

And don't forget that your own personality matters, too -- as does maintaining your reputation. McNelly Torres, associate director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, said that playing nicely with others is increasingly important in a shrinking industry where our paths tend to cross more often than not. "Think about this for a minute: Our pool is getting smaller and smaller," she said. "You don't want to put yourself out there in a negative light because it's going to come back and bite you in the ass."

This all may seem obvious. But they are points worth belaboring because it's dreadful when it all goes wrong.

After hearing some of the more disappointing stories about partners getting inadequate credit, an audience member, Kimberly King, walked up to the mic. King, who just took a job doing consumer and special investigations for KXAS (Dallas' NBC affiliate), said she's hoping to inspire a collaborative spirit in her new capacity.

"For us to survive as passionate investigative reporters," she said "we're going to have to start to work together to re-enlighten editors and higher-up people that this kind of work impacts the public."

Leah Bartos recently completed a master's degree from the Investigative Reporting
Program at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she spent her second

year reporting for "Post Mortem," a collaborative project between PBS Frontline,

ProPublica and NPR. Previously, she reported for the New Orleans Publishing

Group, New Orleans CityBusiness, Santa Cruz Sentinel, and Metro Santa Cruz

newspapers. She is currently working on a Knight-funded project on collaborative

investigative journalism.

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What Should Publishers Do About Apple’s Subscription Scheme?

Online publishers are in a real conundrum when it comes to selling digital subscriptions in the Apple universe. On one hand, there's the popularity of Apple, the App Store, iTunes and the iPad and iPhone -- you can't simply ignore them? On the other hand, Apple is taking a big 30% cut of subscription sales and won't share the data with publishers on who's subscribing to their content. While Apple has loosened some of those restrictions, it's still not an easy process for publishers to play in Apple's world. So what's a publisher to do? Play along with the rules despite the drawbacks? Forget Apple and go for alternative platforms? Do both? Vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.


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