|Content is King|
administrator of the Online Journalism Awards, Columbia University
professor Sreenath Sreenivasan has learned some valuable lessons
about what makes the best online journalism. Among them: Size
matters; "bells and whistles" don't. Check out his
full list of nine lessons -- a good primer before entering this
year's content. (Reminder: Deadline is July 16.)
Online Publishers Association
Twelve Internet content companies
have formed a new group to represent the interest of online
publishers "before the advertising community, the press, the
government and the public." The founding members of the Online Publishers
Association (OPA) include CBS MarketWatch, CNET Networks Inc.,
Conde Net, ESPN.com, The Industry Standard, KnightRidder.com/Real
Cities, MSNBC.com, New York Times Digital, Salon Media Group Inc.,
USAToday.com, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, and the Wall
Street Journal Online. It's not entirely clear how this group will
separate itself from the Online News Association, but
it appears as though it will focus more on advertising and business
issues, while the ONA concentrates more on credibility and quality
Chew on This
ABCNEWS.com has introduced a new,
innovative feature called "CUD: Something to chew
on. . ." -- which is basically a themed page containing short
articles, quizzes, tidbits, media and links related to a particular
topic, such as marriage. CUD also includes a new element,
Dingaloids, which appear at the end of lines of text and look like
this: . When a
user mouses over one of these small graphics for two seconds, a
message pops up. Generally, the messages are smart-alecky quips. A
clever idea, but the way the Dingaloids are being used they don't
add much to the content. Perhaps if ABCNEWS.com starts incorporating
reader comments into the Dingaloids they will get more useful and
Big Victory for
U.S. Supreme Court ruled that media companies must get
permission from free-lance authors before posting their articles to
electronic databases -- a victory for both writers and copyright
protection on the Internet. Many publishers now say they'll delete
all free-lance stories from their electronic archives; the National Writers Union
and free-lancers, meanwhile, are encouraging publishers to not do so
and instead to negotiate with them.
Novel Use of the
The Wall Street Journal's free
OpinionJournal.com site has been running a http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dcrittenden/archive/."
The first installment ran in the print edition and online, and
subsequent chapters have been published online only. A Journal
spokeswoman says the site is running the serial in part because "gives
us a chance to reach a new audience of women, women at
During last year's Online
Journalism Awards ceremony Slashdot's Robin Miller complained that
the entry fee ($100, or $80 for members) was too high and may have
prevented smaller sites from entering. He told the audience that for
2001 he would pay for entries for five sites that otherwise couldn't
afford it. Now he's keeping that promise and asking for submissions.
out what others have suggested and post your own
New Online Content
New York Times Digital's Martin
Nisenholtz is reportedly among a group of big-name industry
executives who are planning to launch a new trade group to represent
the interests of Web content creators, according
to AtNewYork. The group will be known as the Online Publishers
A German Web site publisher offered
a ticket to a sold-out Madonna concert in exchange for sex with sex
Masters. Thema1 publisher
Bernd Heusinger said 120 readers applied to the "In Bed FOR Madonna"
campaign for a chance to win the ticket to attend the Berlin concert
as his guest. Thema1 is a bit like the Drudge Report, Slashdot and
The National Enquirer rolled into one. Enough said.
The Fresno (Calif.) Bee has
installed a wireless telephone network around its offices and
production facilities so calls follow employees wherever they go, in
what E&P calls a "an
apparent first for newspapers." The costs are minimal and the
reporters are far easier to reach. No more being tied to the desk
while waiting for that crucial call!
The Industry Standard has dropped "Internet" from its
slogan, changing it from "The Newsmagazine of the Internet Economy"
to "Intelligence for the Information Economy." "We really liked our
old moniker, but the term 'Internet Economy' has in many people's
minds become inextricably linked with the world of dot-coms, and
we've always been about much more than that," Editor in
Chief Jonathan Weber writes in the magazine. "Make no mistake,
we're still big believers in the importance of the Internet." Yeah,
right. It's lucky when they started the magazine they didn't go with
one of the title suggestions, "The Internet Standard."
The head of the Center for Digital Democracy warns that
Big Media will use its control of the broadband Internet to "wall"
content and thus "severely damage the vitality of the digital
ExpertSource, a service designed
to help journalists anonymously find sources, failed to protect its
database, leaving journalists' requests viewable through Google.
"The entries included thousands of reporter names, phone numbers and
details on stories they were pursuing," The
Wall Street Journal reported. The problem has since been fixed.
Tribute to Suck.com
The Washington Post's Joel Garreau
nostalgic look at the recently expired Suck.com, calling it "the
great-granddaddy of all the online newspapers and magazines you see
today." Suck.com's readers, meanwhile, share their opinions
about the site in Jim Romenesko's
SAJA Award Winners
The South Asian Journalists Association announced winners
of the 2001 SAJA Journalism Awards contest. CNET News.com and
MSNBC.com were the winners in the new media categories. Read the
winning entries and the runners-up.
Suck and Feed Cease
Two of the oldest original content sites on the Web, Suck
and Feed, were "placed on immediate
hiatus" due to lack of money. The Web pioneers' edgy content --
at times clever, at times random and rambling -- will be
Check out our new
feature, a collection of links to Weblogs and personal sites of
online journalists. Got a favorite site or a site of your own? Send it in!
As online news sites have cut editorial staffs, they've
also cut original content. WSJ.com
looked at this disturbing trend. Several people quoted pointed out
that sites need to offer something special to keep readers -- and
readers are already noticing the difference. "It's thinner, it's
shallower, it's more mass market," one person says of Salon.com.
"It's just not as good."
News sites appear to be having trouble seperating fact
from fiction these days -- at least when it involves movies by
corporate parents. ABCNEWS.com's Pearl Harbor package and Webcast
included images from the movie produced by Disney's Touchstone
Pictures, as J.D. Lasica reported for the Online
Journalism Review. CNN.com followed that June 6 by featuring on
its cover a
live chat with Tom Hanks about D-Day, timed to coincide with the
broadcast of the "Band of Brothers" D-Day documentary on HBO. The
site failed to mention that both CNN and HBO are own by AOL Time
Warner. As Saturday Night Live's Church Lady character might have
said, How conveeeenient!
Tips & Jobs
Check out the new, expanded Tips and Jobs
sections. Check back often for updates. And send in your
tips and links to good tips you've read. Thanks!
Wild West Online
In the Wild West atmosphere of online opinion-slinging,
journalists are being sliced, diced, skewered and smoked as never
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. "...What is it about the Web
that fuels such slashing attacks?" One reason he gives is that
online columnists get "little or no editing."
Get Your News Buddy
Reuters will be launching an instant messaging News Buddy
in June. The "interactive agent" will provide news headlines for
free to those who add it to their buddy lists, while offering links
designed to increase traffic to Reuters' Web site. Clever idea. And
with the popularity of instant messaging, one that other news
organizations would be smart to follow.
Time to get your applications ready for
Journalism Awards -- deadline is July 16. It will be
interesting to see how they turn out after so
many dot-coms have gone out of business or cut resources. Even so,
they've added two new awards categories: Feature
Journalism and Innovative Presentation of Information. AtNewYork.com
explored some of these issues.
The Newseum has put together an exhibit on war
reporting, much of which can be viewed online -- including an
essay by Harold Evans, video interviews with war correspondents and
a Flash presentation of the coverage of seven wars.
Both ABCNEWS.com and MSNBC.com
used the much-anticipated movie "Pearl Harbor" as an excuse to
produce impressive packages on the bombing. Check out the Flash reenactment of the
bombing produced by MSNBC.com, in conjunction with Newsweek.
ABCNEWS.com offered up eyewitness
accounts, historical media clips, a quiz and a message
CourierPost Online partnered with the editorial
department of its print brethren, The Courier-Post of New Jersey, in
its push for statewide online voting. They commissioned a private
company to create a
sample, secure, online ballot, which walks users through an
interactive vote of presidential, congressional and local
candidates. A clever, original use of the Web -- and one of the few
original projects by a newspaper's editorial department.
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