Should you major in journalism? Here are stories from eight working journalists who didn’t

This post is by Marlee Baldridge from Nieman Lab

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The first time Emily Kask, 24, tried journalism school, it didn’t work out. She’d never thrived in an academic environment, and she felt a complete lack of support from school administrators and mentors. Kask then transferred to Western Kentucky University, which had a strong multimedia program where she could work on her photography. There, she spent so much time reporting and working on projects that grades in academic classes started to suffer. By chance, she found a hippie commune in Tennessee. After winning a small grant to cover that lifestyle — and live it — she left school for a semester to hop trains. At semester’s end, she had sold her first byline to The New York Times, and returned to class, where she was absolutely miserable. “It got to the point where I just wouldn’t go to class,” she told me on the phone, while driving around Continue reading "Should you major in journalism? Here are stories from eight working journalists who didn’t"

23 Twitter Tips for Media Companies

This post is by Kurt Gessler from MediaShift

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This article was originally published on Medium. The most important word in that headline is “media.” This isn’t a content marketing post on 11 ways to monetize trending topics. It isn’t for someone selling clothes or beans or clothes made from beans. I’m focusing solely on the needs of digital media—nurturing engagement and building followers — through Twitter’s realtime stream of information. Twitter is both conversation and service. Now we at the Chicago Tribune have had a nice run on Twitter, as regional media go. Happy half-a-million day cake. Our @chicagotribune account has grown from fewer than 100,000 followers in late 2012 to more than 500,000 at the end of 2015. And we’ve done it without gross things like promoting posts. What follows are the official newsroom guidelines for the team running some institutional accounts at the Chicago Tribune, primarily but not limited to @chicagotribune. Part of this has
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WATCH: If You’re Confused About Caucusing, Let Bernie Sanders Help

This post is by Lindsey Ellefson from Mediaite

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The Iowa Caucuses are a week from today, but do you really know what that means? Sure, you’ve been hearing and reading about Iowa for the last month as the presidential candidates have ramped up their campaigning efforts in the state, but the process of the caucus can get buried under the headlines. Since it only happens once every four years, the minutia of a presidential election can be lost on first-time voters and even the forgetful. If you need a crash course in caucusing, you’re in luck! Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and his team put together an informational video just for you. Watch the video above to learn about registering to caucus, precincts, and the number of caucus-goers each candidate will need in order to become “viable.” This video Continue reading "WATCH: If You’re Confused About Caucusing, Let Bernie Sanders Help"

Google Authorship: Why It’s Important and How to Implement It

This post is by from MediaShift

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This post has two purposes. The first is to explain why Google Authorship is something you should consider implementing on your own site. The second part is to introduce a new flowchart that will help you accomplish this with step-by-step instructions.

Google Authorship Benefits

Google Authorship is one of the best things about Google+ accounts. Simply put, Authorship (and related tags) lets you associate your Google+ account with bylined content you have published on your own site (and potentially others). If your name is listed as the author of the content, you can associate it.

Getting your photo in Google search results

Once you associate your Google+ account with your content, this association extends to search results where your photo shows up next to results that include your content.

Google Author Tag Example Trello.png

While there hasn't been a comprehensive study of how much additional traffic a person can receive from a photo appearing in search, a number of blogs have seen traffic increase from 15 percent to 50 percent. When I added author tags to my own blog, I saw a 20 percent increase in traffic.

Getting an extra chance to engage with people doing searches

Google also provides something unique in search that is only for people using Author Tags. If someone clicks on a link to your content, spends some time on your site, and then clicks back to search, they will at times see links in the search results to additional pieces of content you have written. These additional links appear below the initial search result link that they clicked on.

More by Google Author Tags LLsocial.png

Future value is clear

Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, has a new book coming out, and The Wall Street Journal published a number of short paragraphs from it, including one that points to the future value of Google Authorship:

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

I don't believe that Google will ever eliminate anonymous content from search, but for content that you feel comfortable publishing under you own name, the future value of Google's Authorship program becomes clear.

Step-by-step guide for adding Google Authorship to your site

Now that you know the benefits of Authorship, I wanted to share with you a how-to flowchart that can walk you through the process of getting Google Author Tags set up on your page. The three sections cover setting up and optimizing your Google+ account, associating your blog and finally, testing.

Click on the image for the full-sized version.
Google Author Tag How To Flowchart.png

A version of this post was previously published on the author's site.

Josh Davis is a marketing agency account lead and industry writer. Josh leads a team at ITFO Communications composed of writers, designers, programmers and analytics professionals helping to optimize messaging, content creation, distribution, reporting and lead generation for several Fortune 500 companies. His blog is regularly quoted and referenced in online technology and news publications, including the New York Times, TechCrunch, Mashable and CNN.

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E-Books and Self-Publishing Roundup, January 17, 2013

This post is by from MediaShift

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E-Books and Self-Publishing Roundup

The best stories of the week from across the web on e-books and self-publishing.

1. Kids are reading e-books twice as often as adults (Digital Book World)

2. Sacred objects: Why printed books will never die (Mashable)

3. Guy Kawasaki on marketing yourself as an author (New Tech City)

4. Self-publishing no longer second-rate choice (The Gazette)

5. Inside scoop on self-publishing in Australia revealed in new book (WebWire)

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

Mahalo President Jason Rapp Exits

This post is by from AllThingsD » Peter Kafka

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Mahalo President Jason Rapp, who joined the instructional app maker two years ago, is leaving the company.

In a company-wide email (see below), Rapp doesn’t say where he’s headed next, but says he’ll stay on as a Mahalo board adviser.

Mahalo founder and CEO Jason Calacanis first launched his site as a “human-powered search engine” in 2007, and has since pivoted a few times. Most recently, he’s moved the company’s focus from making how-to Web videos to apps for Apple’s iOS platform.

Prior to Mahalo, Rapp worked at IAC and the New York Times.

Here’s Rapp’s memo.


I’m writing to let you know that I’ll be leaving day-to-day operations at Mahalo. (I’ll remain a board advisor and significant shareholder, so I won’t be too far away.)

I joined two years ago to help my friend Jason Calacanis turn his business around; and with your help we most definitely have. Consider the evidence: over 30 apps in the store, 1.4 million installs, 25 million monthly video views and a 9-show YouTube deal — that plus a killer team of engineers, designers and video preditors prove we are well on our way to re-inventing educational and instructional content. Or in other words, changing peoples lives. I’m super proud of your accomplishments, not to mention a bit sore after completing my first 6 XFitDaily workouts.

The company has never had a clearer path or brighter future (plus a new name!) and for that reason it’s the perfect time for me to step back and pursue my next adventure.

Keep pouring passion into your work — it shows. (I read our customer feedback everyday and so should you. When we do great work it makes a difference in people’s lives.)

Mahalo and see you Inside,

Inside Twitter’s Sales Machine: A Secret Guide for Advertisers (Video)

This post is by from MediaMemo

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Twitter hopes to generate something like $100 million from advertising this year, but first it has to teach people how to buy its ads. Here’s how it’s doing that: A hand-holding how-to video, which walks through everything from pricing to dealing with angry users.

The tutorial, which runs 40 minutes, is up on YouTube, but it’s unlisted and is only accessible via a private link. Thanks to a helpful reader, I’ve been able to watch it myself, and I’ve uploaded it at the bottom of this post so you can see it, too.

But it is 40 minutes long–and most of you don’t need to watch all of it. Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in advertising, technology and Twitter’s first attempts at making real money:

Promoted Tweets, Twitter’s first big ad product, hasn’t taken off.
Instead, at least for now, Twitter is pushing customers to spend most of their money on Promoted Accounts, its pay-per-follower product it rolled out at the end of last year. Twitter tells advertisers they ought to spend $4 on Promoted Accounts for every $1 they spend on Promoted Tweets–the original Google-style ad concept CEO Dick Costolo introduced last year. Twitter says that’s because it’s a lot easier to buy the former than the latter, because there’s a lot more inventory available. (And because Promoted Accounts will “turbocharge” Promoted Tweets.)

Promoted Tweets should get a big push in the next month or so.
Until now, the only way you’re going to see a Promoted Tweet is if you click on a search term that someone has purchased, or if you’re using Twitter app HootSuite. But Twitter says the ads will start running in users’ regular “timelines”–the primary Twitterstream they see–on its own site, by the end of Q1. That’s going to make them much more visible, and should hopefully help with the inventory problem noted above.

Twitter is telling customers to expect an “engagement rate” of 1 percent to 3 percent.
Ad buyers are usually trying to measure success by figuring out how many people looked at or clicked on an ad. Click-through rates for most Web ads are very tiny, and according to an ad buyer who has seen Twitter’s presentation, the company says a realistic click-through rate is 0.3 percent. But “engagement” rates–which measure when a user retweets an ad, or likes it, etc.–are supposed to be much higher. My tipster, by the way, says Twitter is requiring new ad buyers to make a purchase of at least $5,000 worth of inventory in order to participate in the company’s beta tests.

Twitter is warning buyers that some users will have a problem with their ads.
At the end of the presentation (around the 35-minute mark), the company takes time out to coach buyers about “dealing with negative user feedback,” which it more or less assumes they’ll be getting. “People are averse to change, especially when it comes to advertising, and this type of feedback is to be expected,” Twitter’s off-screen instructor explains. The company’s suggested coping strategy: Don’t worry! The complainers are an “extremely marginal percentage of the total.”

[UPDATE: So how do the ads actually work? A Twitter ads tester would like to share their experiences with the rest of the world, but can't.]

[ See post to watch video ]

Roll Camera! Jason Calacanis Makes a Video Push at Mahalo, and Wants You to Know About It

This post is by from MediaMemo

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Jason Calacanis has overhauled his Mahalo start-up yet again. Just ask him.

Actually, no need to: The not-at-all bashful entrepreneur has been working hard to make sure we’re all aware of what he’s calling “the Mahalo 4.0 launch/pivot.”

So there will be no shortage of places to read about this today. And if you want to hear Calacanis pitch his pivot himself, you can do that too, via a livestream of the DLD conference, where he’s presenting right now.

So here’s what you need to know:

  • Calacanis, who launched Mahalo in 2007 as a “human-powered search engine,” then turned it into an “answers” site, is now trying to move deeper into the “how to” category dominated by Demand Media. Which just happens to be going public today in a very hot offering that will value the company at more than $1 billion. [Correction: Demand will start trading on Wednesday, January 26]
  • The most important part of the move is a new emphasis on video, which Mahalo is creating itself. That’s a different strategy from Demand’s, which relies on a computer to spit out editorial assignments, then hands them out to an army of freelancers.
  • Calacanis and Mahalo president Jason Rapp, who came on board last spring, have hired a team of 50 editors, who are now cranking out some 900 videos a week on topics like “How to Cook a Ham.” They plan to have a staff of 100 dedicated to videos by the end of the year.
  • Mahalo still relies primarily on Google ads for revenue, which the company won’t disclose. But last week Calacanis said incoming dollars from Google’s YouTube have shot up 9x in the last year.
  • Rapp says Mahalo still doesn’t need to raise any more money beyond its initial round, which brought in $20 million from investors like Sequoia, CBS and News Corp. (News Corp. also owns this Web site.)

If you missed Calacanis’s pitch this morning but still want to see people talking about his site, here’s a promo clip the company supplied. It features Calacanis’s employees, but not Calacanis, so it’s a lot less interesting. But you’ll get the idea.

Mahalo 4.0 from on Vimeo.

VideoWTF Wants to Answer All Your Video Production Questions

This post is by from NewTeeVee

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videowtvThe folks behind the open-source video player Miro today launched VideoWTF, a site that aims to be something like a Yahoo Answers for the production side of all things newteevee. Don’t know what kind of camera to get? Unsure about whether to shoot interlaced or progressive? Looking for a place to chime in on the pros and cons of various MP4 flavors? Then VideoWTF is definitely worth checking out.

The site is built on Stack Overflow, an open-source CMS that combines Wiki-like functionality with a collaborative Q&A approach. In other words, anyone can post questions, provide answers, and vote on both — and everything can be edited to perfection. Stack Overflow has become really popular with programmers ever since it launched about a year ago, and the Miro folks believe that this format will be useful to video makers as well.

To be sure, there’s hardly a shortage of places to go and geek out about the technical aspects of making video. Any Google search about specific formats or gear will lead you to dozens of specialized forum posts from sites like or However, chances are that the answer you’re looking for is hidden somewhere in a passionate back-and-forth that spreads over 40 forum pages. And usually the answer is from 1999, specific to an application or camera that hasn’t been available for ages. It’s a frustrating experience. Trust us, we’ve been there.

VideoWTF tries to avoid this by relying on Stack Overflow, which features more of a Wiki-like approach to problem solving. Questions as well as answers can be edited, and ideally, the best answer gets voted up, so you won’t have to read through dozens of replies before finding something useful. Stack Overflow is developed by Joel Spolsky of Joel on Software fame and Coding Horror blogger Jeff Atwood. “They just started making it available as a service to other organizations for other topics, so we jumped at the chance to create a similar resource for video creators,” explained Nicholas Reville from the Participatory Culture Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Miro.

The site is still in its infancy and currently only features about a dozen or so questions, ranging from licensing options for documentaries to the best encoding settings for iPhone videos to the pros and cons of wireless microphones. Reville hopes VideoWTF will eventually grow into a strong community for online video makers. He said the site aims to be complementary to Make Internet TV, a site launched about two years ago by the same team that features text and video how-tos.