Posted in Entrepreneur, Innovation, journalism, News

What Journalists Can Learn From the Yahoo-Tumblr Alliance: Build It or Buy It

By Tracie Powell, DJTF VP of Policy

yahoo tumblrYahoo’s $1 billion purchase of the blogging site, Tumblr, is being heralded as a cool move by media watchers everywhere. It’s cool because the alliance brings in younger users to an aging Internet giant, a demographic advertisers crave, which translates into growing revenue—something legacy news media companies need.

Angel Investor and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis wrote for LinkedIn over the weekend that the then-pending deal had journalists livid. “Journalists are one of the first groups to lash out. Why? Because they have no chance of making big money in their jobs, and they have to fight for $5,000 raises while their pensions are replaced with 401ks. Also, they tend to have covered startups like Tumblr from year one and they can’t reconcile how something that didn’t exists five years ago is now worth $1 billion — and that they don’t have to balls to create something.”

I agree with Calacanis that the big-media purchase has many journalists more than a little bit jealous. But not because of our dwindling paychecks, which (for most of us) have always been rather paltry. But because journalists know – but aren’t saying out loud – that this purchase is just the latest right-left hook to our dying business model. We, along with everyone else, are waiting for the dreaded knockout punch while marveling ringside at such a gargantuan media buy.

We also know that our parent companies — be they newspaper giants, cable or broadcast stations – don’t exactly have a billion dollars laying around that executives or stockholders are willing to risk on a blogging site filled with porn, copyright infringing material and racist bullcrap—content advertisers don’t typically like.

That said, not all is bleak for journalists. The one thing we have going for ourselves is that Yahoo’s purchase shows, once again, that content is still king. We, content creators, just have a hard time  believing it. Both “Facebook and Google have demonstrated that a vast audience for free content can bring in significant advertising revenue,” reports The Wall Street Journal, a fact news executives surely take into consideration as they mount more pay walls. What the Yahoo-Tumblr purchase also represents is an opportunity for individual journalists (and some companies that can be cool enough for the younger crowd) to build their own brands while reaching a new, more coveted, audience.

For news organizations this purchase should not just be viewed as yet another opportunity to use somebody else’s platform to build a brand and distribute product. That’s alright for individual journalists, but for legacy media companies this purchase underscores the fact that they should be investing or creating their own innovative platforms that combine social networking with content to reach a critical mass of people. Sort of like The Atlantic Media Company did when it created Quartz, a mobile-first business news site, last September. Quartz exceeded its own expectations by receiving nearly a million unique visitors in its first month.

Not all of us can be like The Atlantic, which is navigating the digital age better than most of its contemporaries. But if we can’t build it, buy it. You know, like Yahoo just did. 

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Posted in Conferences & Conventions

NABJ Twitter Chat “How to Prepare for the NABJ Conference” – Monday, May 21 8pm EST–9pm EST

You’ve bought your registration, booked a flight and hotel and are well on your way to the 2012 NABJ Conference in New Orleans. But that’s just the beginning.

The last thing you want to do is show up at the conference without goals or without a plan. And you definitely need one.

The question that should be running in your head right now is “How do I prepare for the NABJ Conference?”

On May 21, from 8pm EST to 9pm EST, the NABJ Digital Journalist Task Force will help you answer that question.

The NABJ Digital Journalists Taskforce is hosting a twitter chat on Monday, May 21 from 8pm EST to 9pm EST on the topic, How to Prepare for the NABJ Conference.

A Twitter chat (or tweet chat) is an online discussion using twitter, so every post is a tweet. Because it’s on Twitter, its open to everyone with a Twitter account. Anyone can participate, or just listen in to learn more about the topic.

Under the hashtag #nabj12prep, the @NABJDigital twitter handle will tweet out nine questions that our “panelists” will answer in 140 characters.  To insure a successful twitter chat full of information, we have invited several panelists who are “experts” in the NABJ conference and can speak on their experience in 140 characters.

Bob Butler @bobbutler7– Bob Butler is a reporter at KCBS radio and Vice President of the Broadcast. He always offers advice to first time NABJ Conference attendees and is a tireless advocate of getting more minorities into broadcast.

Kelley Carter @kelleylcarter – Kelley Carter is a longtime NABJ Conference attendee, having first attended the NABJ conference as college student. She now serves as the President of the Entertainment taskforce and can often be seen on television talking about entertainment.

Dr. Sybril Bennett @drsyb – Sybril Bennett, Ph.D. is an associate professor of journalism and the Executive Director of the New Century Journalism program at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Last year she served as the program chair for the NABJ Philadelphia conference.

 Serbino Sandifer-Walker @sswalker – As a multimedia journalism professor at Texas Southern University, Sandifer-Walker has developed new social media tools for journalists, including the #twitternewschat, and the social media correspondents daily.

Ingrid Sturgis @isturgis– Ingrid Sturgis is an assistant professor of new media in the Howard University  Journalism department. She recently published the book, Are Traditional Media Dead? Can Journalism Survive in the Digital World?

Marissa A. Evans @marissaaevans – Marissa Evans is president of the Marquette University student NABJ Chapter. She’s an alum of the San Diego Union Tribune, Star Tribune, New York Student Journalism program and this year will be a Chips Quinn Scholar for The Washington Post metro desk.

In addition to these esteemed NABJ members, we’ll also have DJTF board members Melanie Eversley (@melanieeversley), Benet Wilson (@avqueenbenet and 2012 NABJ Conference Program Chair), Kiratiana Freelon (@kiratiana), Andrew Humphrey (@andrewhumphrey), and Tracie Powell (@tmpowell) on the chat as well.

To participate in the twitter chat, do the following:

1)    Use a twitter platform like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck that will allow you to manage multiple twitter streams.

2)    Create a twitter search stream for #nabj12prep.

3)    Create another twitter stream for the @NABJDigital  stream.  This is where all the questions will come from.

4)    Answer the questions, retweet and reply to the panelists (or anything you find that is good) but ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use the hashtag – #NABJ12prep

Happy Twitter Chatting!!