The Now/ledge

A Guide to the 'Now' Revolution in News / by Alan Soon

SEO and the ‘uncomfortable paradox’ of content production

There was a fantastic article in the FT this week that highlighted the issues behind the obsession for SEO clicks. If you want to know what the marriage of content and search engine optimization spells, check out the article.

In a nutshell:

“The unintended consequence is that you get a lot of mediocre content getting a more prominent position than it should do,” says Shelby Bonnie, co-founder of Cnet, which now forms the heart of CBS’s online division. “The risk is that, as Google has become more and more dominant, people have made a business out of gaming its system.”

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Filed under: SEO

Why Tumblr?

I’m in the process of moving thenowledge from WordPress to Tumblr. Let’s get this straight: It’s not about the themes or how this service is more conducive to “microblogging” (or laziness, depending on how you look at it).

I want to learn more about what it means to create conversations seeded by microblogs. WordPress isn’t particularly strong when it comes to building communities. And more than ever, I think the news industry needs a better understanding of communities and how to shepherd them.

There’s been a lot of head-scratching in recent weeks after several media companies (The New York Times, HuffPo and The Atlantic) started Tumblr accounts of their own. It’s not clear yet where microblogs fit in their community strategy.

In a more interesting development, Mark Coatney, who ran Newsweek’s Tumblr blog, announced this week that he was moving to Tumblr as a “media evangelist.” He said wanted to make sure that other journos had the right tools and training to grow communities.

“I understand that journalists can’t spend all their time responding to readers,” he said in an interview with Poynter Institute. “But at the same time, they can’t ignore them either, especially when the tools to interact are getting better all the time, whether it’s on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, or, hell, Dogster.”

What do you find appealing about Tumblr?

Filed under: General

BBC’s website gets an design update

The BBC’s new redesigned news home page went live today. There’s a video summary of all the new features, but somehow, someone somewhere in the company figured it didn’t make sense to allow users to embed their corporate video. Duh.

In a nutshell, the site features more space for the main stories of the day and a better indication of the most recent headlines. It’s also easier to share stories on social media networks.

The redesign has already met with criticism. Journalist Louise Bolotin says despite the overall freshness of the site, the redesign excludes features necessary for the visually impaired:

The old version of BBC News offered a low-graphics option to readers – this was not only ideal for users still using dial-up or accessing the site with a mobile phone, it was also perfect for people with visual impairments. The simple format meant it could be easily read not just by people living with near blindness but also those with other visual problems such as dyslexia. Not any more.

Filed under: News

The world, according to China

Xinhua’s plan to create a 24-hour English-language news channel represents an incredible opportunity for China to influence a wider audience.

Li Congjun, the president of the state-run news agency, says the channel — called CNC World — will “present an international vision with a Chinese perspective.” To make its presence known, Xinhua plans to build a newsroom on top of a 44-story building in Times Square, joining companies like Reuters, The New York Times and Conde Nast in the same locale.

China is clearly serious about adding its voice to the media scene at a time when many U.S. and European agencies are cutting back on newsroom resources. Xinhua has plenty of models of international state-run media to learn from, including Russia Today, Al Jazeera and Channel NewsAsia.

Chinese journalists have demonstrated that with the right opportunities, they can deliver great journalism — and indeed many reporters and publishers have had the courage to unveil cases of corruption and scams at the party level. Ultimately, CNC needs to build its credibility on its coverage of domestic issues, not global ones.

Filed under: News, ,

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