Will Apple Help Save Print News?

Apple’s release of virtual Newsstand has seen sales sky-rocket for online print.

Jeff Sonderman of Poynter points out that New York Times saw a massive increase in its app downloads the week Newsstand was released.

“Nearly one-fifth of the 9.1 million people who have ever downloaded the NYTimes iPhone app did so last week, with the launch of Newsstand.”

Downloads of the NYTimes apps for iPhone and iPad exploded the week that Newsstand was released. (Data courtesy of The New York Times)

National Geographic has also reported growth since Newsstand was released.

Sonderman says that the reasoning behind the jump is the discoverability and convenience of having all of the news publications from newspapers to magazines in one section where users can easily and quickly find what they need.

“Newsstand collects all your publications in one place, instead of scattering icons across multiple home screens. It also enables apps to download fresh content “in the background,” so it’s already there before a user opens an app.”

The user interface of Newsstand is also unique and enticing as it shows the user and empty bookshelf just waiting to be filled with magazines and newspapers. And we all know that no-one can stand an empty shelf!

An empty shelf waiting for magazines

An empty shelf waiting for magazines

Are physical Newsstands a thing of the past?

Once you have filled the shelves more empty shelves are added prompting you to buy more.

The majority of people no longer purchase newspapers and magazines from ‘physical’ shops and the rates will continue to decline as we move further into the future.

The convenience of not having to hold a paper whilst standing up on long train ride home is one of the driving points for apps like Newsstand.

See video below for how to use Newsstand:

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Filed under Apple, apps, Newsstand, print media

Google + and How it Will Affect SEO

I recently came across an interesting article about Google+ and how it will inevitably affect SEO page-ranks on search engine Google.

The article is mainly about how this will affect business sites but it also relates to how this will affect news sites, especially those that are not ‘big’ new sites.

The article mentions that Google+, which now has over 20 million users worldwide will use its + button to determine a sites value.

“In addition to building a social networking powerhouse, Google’s aim with its “+1″ button — the equivalent of Facebook’s “Like” button — is to determine the social value of websites, or, in other words, they want consumers to add personalized recommendations to Web content.”

This would be a fantastic thing for big news sites like News.com.au which contains articles from hundred’s of other news sites. People who “like” the article will drive traffic to the website. The issue I see with this is that the traffic is driven to News.com.au whilst the original story will not receive the same amount of traffic.

Story on News.com.au and Original story from the Daily Telegraph

The article also interstingly points out that the current system of tweets, recommendations and likes is based upon a system generated by strangers :

“When looking at these reviews, users trust the opinions of strangers. They assume that these reviews are honest, but there’s always a hint of lingering skepticism.”

The article then suggests that Google+ plans to go further than this, to enable end-users to see recommendations for friends:

“Now imagine the same user is searching for the same product or service, but instead of having to rely on the opinions of strangers, they see recommendations from friends, co-workers or family members. Just like in real life, the opinions of people in their “circles” influence the decisions they make. That’s the potential Google+ holds.”

Therefore if someone in your circle of influence likes a blog, news article or website there is a likely chance that you too will also want to check this out and potentially “like” it.

The difference between this and general SEO is that Google page rankings may no longer rely as much or search engine words but rather on the amount of “likes” a page recieves.

This is a new frontier for SEO that every business or news organisation will need to acknowledge and adapt to.

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Filed under google+, online news, search engine optimisation, social bookmakring

Stumbleupon and Digg – Great Bookmarking for online journalists

Social bookmarking sites Digg and Stumbleupon may be great ways for you to attract visitors to your online news site.

These sites enable you to add links to your stories or blog posts and write reviews on these stories to capture a bigger audience.

Users log into Stumbleupon and based upon their interests are automatically shown blogs and websites that will be of interest to them. I personally have found Stumbleupon an invaluable tool for driving traffic to my vintage fashion blog.

Digg on the other hand is mostly targeted for news or like news stories and has topics such as business and entertainment.

The Digg website says the following about how the wesbite works:

Welcome to Digg.com, a user-driven news Web site that brings together hundreds of thousands of people to do the work of finding, submitting, reviewing and featuring news stories drawn from every corner of the Web.

 

Similarly to Stumbleupon, users are directed to stories that may be of interest to them based on their interets. Each link uploaded needs to include tags or categories in which the story will fit.

Personally I find Stumbleupon easier to use from a bloggers perspective and I love the ability to add whatever tags you want to add. Digg on the other hand has specific tags and categories you can use with general stories falling under the ‘lifestyle’ category’.

All in all these social bookmarking sites are invaluable resources for budding online journalists who want to be acknowledged. These two websites are some of the most popular and useful social bookmarking sites but there are plenty of others out there in the online world.

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Filed under digg, online news, stumbleupon

How Twitter Can Help You Make It in Journalism

Twitter is one of the best social media tools available that will drive traffic to your news blog or website. Every news organisation and journalist scours Twitter headlines for new information and stories but also use it to promote their own work.

Poynter recently had an article which discussed the 10 ways in which journalists can use Twitter to promote their stories. I found this article particularly interesting and very useful for new journalists.

ABC Newss uses Twitter to capture readers

Wanting to break into the journalism industry is hard regardless of your qualifications or skills. Consistently writing informative news stories on a blog or website increases your credibility and likelihood that someone in the industry will read your work.

However you can also use Twitter before, during and after publishing a story to ensure you have readers baited with hook, line and sinker.

The Poynter article by Mallary Tenore suggests

‘it’s not enough to assume that the social media folks at your news organization will tweet links to your stories; you have to tweet links from your own account and get your stories in front of the right people.’

Therefore linking tweeting is an invaluable tool for online journalists especially those wanting to be acknowledged in an over-crowded industry.

The article also suggests that conversing with your fellow tweeters is a great way to be noticed as not everyone is interested in boring one line links to a story.

“Tweet about your favourite part of a story, share a detail about the reporting process, or pose a question. When someone answers the question, respond to them. Starting conversations about our work on Twitter — and adding to the ones already taking place — helps strengthen our voices as journalists.”

Twitter can also be used for story-telling especially for continuing stories or live events. People want to read about what is happening- what you are actually witnessing or hearing and do not always want to read about a structured written account. Online journalism has opened up a new era of live news and this is what gets people into a story more than anything.

Tenore also suggests that Twitter is great way to build credibility by verifying sources or pointing out where the information comes from to avoid incorrect information.

“As a journalist, you can show your credibility by debunking incorrect information and only tweeting information you’ve verified.”

Overall Twitter is an invaluable source for those already in or wanting to move into the competitive online journalism industry.

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Filed under Live-Blogging, twitter

Retail Woes as Consumers flock to eBay and Facebook

Traditional brick and mortar retail shops may be struggling in the current economic climate but online shopping has never been better off.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports Australian retail turnover rose 0.6% in August 2011 but clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 1.4% whilst department store sales fell by 0.5%.

ABS August 2011 Retail Sales

Dr Edwina Luck, retail expert at the Queensland University of Technology says the Australian dollar will continue to decline but this may not deter consumers from shopping online for cheaper overseas goods.

“Traditional bricks and mortar retailers must start realising that they can’t continue to charge huge prices as it will drive away smart shoppers,” she said.

With so many options and savings on brand-new items, online market-place eBay has now become the go-to shop for people looking to save money on new items and designer labels.

Communications Manager for eBay Australia Jenny Thomas said eBay has recently seen a steady increase in sales for new items, especially those with brand name labels.

“The highest grossing category on eBay is clothing, with an item selling on eBay Australia every 3.5 seconds,” she said.

Ms Thomas says that eBay started out as a second hand goods market-place but has now geared more towards new items.

“Vintage and second-hand goods are what made eBay successful. However approximately 78% of sales are now for brand new items with 60% of those being fixed price items.”

Ms Thomas says that eBay fees are very competitive in relation to the traffic generated, “eBay generates a huge amount of traffic to our sellers. The new fee structure released in September was created to assist people who sell infrequently and for shops and sellers who want to sell their items at fixed prices.”

Sellers discuss eBay fees and alternatives

The new fee structure means that infrequent sellers have the option of listing up to 30 items a month and only pay if the item sells. However eBay can now claim 7.9% of the purchase price which has some sellers put out.

Vintage and second-hand clothing sellers, feeling the pinch are now moving to Facebook in an attempt to bring more customer interaction and to save some money.

Maryanne Bridges who runs House of Maryanne, a vintage clothing shop on Facebook said she did not feel in control on eBay and loves the customer interaction that Facebook offers.

“On eBay the relationship between customer and seller was distant and fractured.  On Facebook, you can be ‘friends’ and I feel like the relationship is closer and more easygoing.”

House of Maryanne- a Facebook shop

Although it was difficult for Ms Bridges to build a customer base without the traffic that eBay generates, she believes it was worth it.

“It takes a long time to grow.  You have to be patient.  It is much more organic. I have more return customers and it is easier to grow a reputation. It is easier for happy customers to recommend you to their loved ones.  I can reach out to my customers all at once now,” she said.

Consumers can buy things by typing "SOLD" under the item

However, Ms Thomas says consumers are always looking for choicer and better product availability regardless of whether they shop online or at the local shop.

“Shopping online is convenient for consumers as they can compare prices and availability before deciding on the purchase. EBay recently acquired a product inventory tool called Milo that consumers can use to determine product availability and price via an app. This would also include shops in the vicinity of the consumer,” she said.

Ms Bridges said she has considered opening a physical store but loves the free time that owning a virtual shop offers.

“Selling online means that I can get other things done and even if I don’t make sales that day, at least I have ticked off other jobs.  If you have a shop, you have to just be there the whole time. “

However she doesn’t see Facebook becoming the next ‘eBay’.

“The more people who move onto Facebook will make it become a place where people are bombarded with advertising and they will just decide to stop logging on,” she said.

Popular Brisbane Northside Garage Sale- A Facebook Market

Facebook Shops become more popular, Vintage Marketplace has over 64,000 followers

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Filed under eBay, Facebook, retail and online shopping

Facebook changes may assist news-sourcing

Mark Zuckerberg smiles at his office in Palo Alto, Calif

The recent changes to Facebook have seen an intense backlash within the online community. With approximately 750 million users worldwide, the social networking giant is ready to push ahead with its changes in the hopes of providing further competition to Google’s Google Plus platform.

Although the new Facebook seems to be overcrowded and undeniably slower due to the ‘news ticker’ feature which is somewhat similar to the live feed simulated by Twitter, there are of course some benefits that have not yet been properly recognised by the online community.

The New Facebook Page- Featuring the News Ticker on the Right

Facebook Engineer Mark Tonkelowitz defended the Facebook changes on the company’s blog stating:

‘Starting today, it will be easier to keep up with the people in your life no matter how frequently or infrequently you’re on Facebook.’

‘When you pick up a newspaper after not reading it for a week, the front page quickly clues you into the most interesting stories. In the past, News Feed hasn’t worked like that.  Updates slide down in chronological order so it’s tough to zero in on what matters most.  Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff.’

Although this sounds good on the face of it many users are disgrunteled that they don’t get to choose what is the most important news to them:

Users discuss their frustration on Twitter

Facebook will also be getting music, movies and new buttons in addition to the ‘like’ button. The purpose of the changes is to increase user engagement. (As if we don’t already spend enough of our time procrastinating on Facebook!)
So what does this mean for news-sourcing? Having the top stories may assist in deciding what is important in the online world today whilst following the news ticker may be beneficial to those who want to discover what everyone is interested in right
now.
This in turn can assist with writing news stories that will generate the appropriate amount of traffic to the organisation.
Although it is only the beginning, the potential for news-sourcing is strong, regardless of how annoying some of the aspects may be on your own personal page.

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Filed under Facebook, online news

Why Evernote is the Holy Grail for Online and Mobile Journalists

Evernote may very well be the Journalism app of our time. Well at least for the moment.

The stresses and business of modern day life have been taken into account by the creators of Evernote. Every little detail can be added to Evernote without the fear of ever forgetting again.

How many times have you been somewhere and seen or heard something that would make an amazing new story but haven’t been able to remember it for the life of you later that day? Have you wanted to snap a quick photo of something for a story and then realised that the

Well Evernote changes that.

The website for Evernote implies some of the amazing features which can be seen in the image below.

Many schools and offices are now using Evernote as a means of collaboration as Evernote helps keep all files in the one place for easy access and updating.

Mashsable also mentioned Evernote in a recent post about the 5 Essential Tools for Mobile Journalists. The fact that any notes you make on Evernote via your mobile or iPad are uploaded to a remote server was seen as an important tool just incase your phone is stolen or lost.

The same goes for laptops and computers. How many times have you written something and forgot to save or the computer has crashed losing all of your work? If this sounds like a situation you have been in then Evernote is your new best friend.

My Digital Internet also did a review on the Evernote application entitled 10 reasons why you should try Evernote.

The writer said:

“I use Evernote almost every single day. Mostly for making notes and taking screen grabs for blog posts, but it does so much more than that. There’s Evernote Trunk for instance, which lets you access almost 100 add-ons you can use from within Evernote.”

Here are the writers Top 10 reasons to get Evernote:

  • It’s lightweight, fast and very easy to use
  • You can store data locally and/or synch it to a folder in the cloud
  • It automatically saves notes – there’s no need to look for the ‘save’ button
  • You store notes inside Notebooks so you can create a Notebook for each project you’re working on
  • Notes can be tagged much like a blog post
  • Evernote creates excellent screen grabs (including the images on this page)
  • It’s great for single or collaborative use
  • The basic version is free
  • You can email notes from within the application
  • You, or any member of your team, can access your account from any device that has Evernote installed on it

Free or Premium?

Below is a list that compares the free and premium versions of Evernote. For just $45/year for the entire premium package that is a bargain for anyone who writes for a living.

Overall I would rate this application 10/10 in its use for online journalism practices.

Not only is it inexpensive to buy, it is an indispensible tool for collaboration and for people on the go.

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Filed under apps, online news