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Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

The Business of Online Journalism: Sessions by Topic

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Well-Run News Sites Can Drive Readers Back to Print Product

Bob Cauthorn, the charismatic former vice president of digital media at the San Francisco Chronicle, goes against the grain of newspaper naysayers who have been predicting the demise of old-fashioned journalism. In fact, he says, the future of journalism in America has never been brighter. (Story, video and more)

Surround sessions and other innovations that are making profitable

The New York Times has developed a number of methods for giving advertisers what they want—large and effective reach, without alienating readers, said Jason Krebs, vice president, sales, Requiring registration enables The Times to target site visitors more effectively and use that information, not only to sell ad space, but to tailor the ads that appear on each readers’ screen. (Story, video and more)

Participatory Journalism: Reaching and including readers

The days of news being delivered as a one-way, top-down information flow are about over, Dan Gillmor, a San Jose Mercury News business and technology columnist—and blogger—told Western Knight Center seminar participants. (Story, video and more)

The Next "In" Thing

Jack Driscoll, editor-in-residence at the MIT Media Laboratory, told journalists attending the Western Knight Center seminar that an ongoing failure to innovate will ultimately mean newspaper companies become stagnant. “They’re not hungry. And, they don’t really see a threat to their business, even though conglomerates are chewing up all these papers,” Driscoll said. (Story, video and more)

Extended News Desks Bring Breaking News Coverage to the Net

“We were moving at the speed of thought,” Robert Hawkins, SignOnSanDiego’s morning news supervisor told seminar participants as he described how his newspaper’s Web site published a breaking news story recently. Before union representative Mickey Kasparian had finished his announcement that an agreement had been reached to end the months-long supermarket strike in southern California, SignOnSanDiego already had it on their Web site, he said.

Hawkins joined Michael Young, editor of the Los Angeles Times’ extended news desk on a panel designed to help other journalists understand how both papers have structured news organizations to better respond to breaking news online. (Story, video and more)

Crossing Borders: Spanish-Language Sites Provide Lessons in Expanding Markets

English-language news sites are taking a crash course on Latino culture in an effort to attract new readers from among the burgeoning U.S. Latino market, one of the fastest-growing groups of new Internet users. (Story, video and more)

Mary Zerafa, director of La Opinión Digital, the nation’s leading Latino news site, said the success of her site is a result of being sensitive to the interests and traditions of its users.

Bruno Lopez, vice president and general manager of Univision Online, told conference participants that it can be a struggle to get Latino viewers to look at news. “I have to trick my readers,” he said. But the process has taught his staff to be innovative in coming up with thoughtful and interesting projects to sell their news section.

Javier Adalpe, publisher of the Texas-based print and online Spanish-language Diario La Estrella, said traditional interpretations of statistics about Spanish speakers no longer apply. Unlike previous waves of immigrants, Adalpe said, American-born Latinos are encouraged to learn their parents’ language. “Spanish is considered a business asset,” Adalpe said.

Ismael Nafría, a columnist for Barcelona-based La, explained how newspaper sites in Spanish-speaking countries lure ex-patriots.

Trailblazing Blogger Not Always Sure He’s on the Right Path

Although he is considered American journalism’s first mainstream blogger, Dan Weintraub is still not sure if he is blazing a trail for a news-hungry public, or wasting his time communicating with a readership too small to matter.

“I am either a pioneer working on the cutting edge of journalism or a fool wasting my time in chitchat with a tiny and ultimately insignificant number of readers. No one really knows,” said Weintraub, a political columnist for the Sacramento Bee and the author of the newspaper Web site’s California Insider blog. (Story, video, and more)

Creating Innovative Revenue Strategies

The editorial leaders of three very different Web sites shared ideas about how to make money online without upsetting the reader or the editorial balance. (Story, video and more)

Neil Chase, the managing editor of CBS MarketWatch, told seminar participants that bold, interactive ads, designed to users at work, were the key to success for their high-end content. 

And for the social networking site Tribe Networks, Mark Pincus, its founder and CEO, said, “paid leads”—where a company or individual pays to make a valuable personal or professional connection—is the key to making money on the Net.

Michelle Rutkowski, the marketing director for Consumer Reports said their emphasis is on finding creative ways to integrate print and online content.

More Users Relying on Aggregators for Breaking News, MORI Study Finds

Breaking news drives people online, but users are increasingly relying on aggregator sites like Google or MSN for local news coverage instead of getting it from local newspaper sites, said Michael Fibison, associate director at MORI Research, reporting on the firm’s new study “Power Users 2004.” (Story, video and more)

News Site Readers Look at Headlines and Skip Static Ads, Study Finds

Readers focus on a Web site’s headlines and navigation functionality and they typically skip over static ads and mug shots, said Laura A. Ruel, executive director of the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver, reporting on preliminary findings from the Eyetrack III study that examined how people read news online. (Story, video and more)

Building The Newsroom of the Future

The Newsroom of the Future needs new job descriptions, said Martha Stone, training director for the Ifra Newsplex. Have an “orchestra conductor” in charge of all the media in the room—a person who makes editorial decisions across a “time continuum” and decides where and when certain news should break. (Story, video and more)

Teaching Multimedia Skills (in the Classroom and the Newsroom)

Journalism professors from three universities discussed successful student and professional multimedia projects and shared best practices for teaching multimedia skills.
(Story, video and more)

  • Janice Castro, a new media professor at Northwestern University
  • Melinda McAdams, Knight Chair in journalism at the University of Florida
  • Paul Grabowicz , director of the new media program at the University of California at Berkeley

Case Studies Provide Best Practices for Developing Multimedia Projects

Successful multimedia news projects such as interactive stories about locals serving in Iraq, audio feeds from sporting events, and even interactive games, such as the airport baggage screening simulation were showcased in a session on planning and organizing multimedia editorial projects. (Story, video and more)

The session featured multimedia journalists:

Ethical Questions: Journalism in a Brave New World

When it’s time to tackle the main issues related to ethics at your online news organization, get everybody into a room and force them to speak only in questions.

It’s a trick that has helped tame the “fire hose” of ethical issues and gets people thinking, said Bill Mitchell, editor of Poynter Online. (Story, video and more)

Taking it Back to the Newsroom.
This recap of seminar events and sharing of best ideas and strategies allowed fellows to figure out how to bring value back to their newsrooms or organizations.

Facilitators Vikki Porter and Janine Warner included tips on how to get newsroom reporters and editors to contribute to your Web effort with continuous news and online exclusives.

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Funded by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation