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The Journalism Biz


Content-curation trend and Arab Spring fuel launch of Snip.it

March 31, 2012

The Snip.it team at SXSW in Austin, Texas, in March 2012
By Cláudia Silva 
In the past, when a reader wanted to save some piece of news from his/her favorite magazine the first move used to be taking the scissors and cutting off the page and keeping it in a file. This metaphor illustrates the reasoning that Ramy Adeeb had in mind when he launched Snip.it in Spring 2011. 

Snip.it is a social networking site where the user can collect “the best of the Web” and also share opinions about content they like most.

In a special interview for this blog, Adeeb, the founder and CEO of Snip, explained that the idea came up during the Arab Spring. As an Egyptian, he was increasingly asked by many friends to share his thoughts and articles on what was happening in Egypt. As he was “unable to find a permanent and centralized place to collect, share and opine on all content” he was reading, he teamed with former Twitter developer Mark Percival to create this platform of knowledge sharing through bookmarking. 

In this sense, the roots of Snip.it led to what Mashable wrote about the company: “You can use your collections for personal reference or as curation tools to publicy demonstrate your expertise and subject-matter knowledge."

Passive location-based apps were expected to trend at SXSW Interactive

March 26, 2012

By Sarah Lindig
Upwards of 20,000 attendees invaded Austin’s city limits for the South by Southwest Interactive festival from March 9 to March 13. Over the years, SXSWi has served as a springboard for many eager startups looking to become household names. Some of the better known success stories include companies such as Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram, Foodspotting and GroupMe.

This year, the buzz was all about location — but this is not your standard check-in technology. The trending startups build on existing location-based networking by running in the background to track the user’s GPS location throughout the day without requiring any actions on the part of the user. This gives users convenience with automatic check-in and social connection opportunities that reach beyond their established friends or networks. Whether or not these apps will succeed depends on how they address the issue of privacy, which is a clear concern with this type of tracking.

Here are a few emerging names in the passive, location-based apps category that tried to get noticed at SXSW Interactive:

Study finds most tweets are ignored

By Elizabeth Blancas
With the constant updates on Twitter, it has become more overwhelming sorting through all the tweets on a person’s feed. Athough Twitter has revolutionized the way people share news and information, that does not mean users actually pay attention to the tweets on their feed. In fact, most users feel indifferent about the tweets they receive.

Through a website created by Paul André, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and his colleagues, called “Who Gives a Tweet?” users were able to receive feedback on their tweets in exchange for rating the tweets on the accounts they follow. 

The study found that of the 43,738 tweets that more than 1,400 people rated, almost 40 percent felt neutral about what they see, while only a little more than a third thought they were worth reading and a quarter deemed them not worth reading at all.

KONY 2012 sensation may mean journalism videos can go viral

By Grace Sherry
YouTube videos that have gone viral, those that have become extremely popular due to Internet sharing, range from cute kids to funny animals to singing success stories and beyond. However, so far the “most viral video ever” with more than 100 million views in six days is KONY 2012, a video that targets the Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony. 

 It is not cute, funny, or a story of success. Instead, it is a highly charged political and activist piece, which is not what one typically thinks of when the term “viral video” comes up.

The fact that a 30-minute long informative piece could become so viral opens a lot of doors and ideas for the world of digital journalism. Before KONY 2012, viral videos were all cute babies, funny animals, pop stars’ and the like. Now, we see that viral videos can be serious; they can be important and informative and potentially cause change. Could this be a perfect new outlet for journalism in the digital era?

Snoball.com makes online philanthropy easy

By Amy Arnold
Austin-based snoball.com is changing the way people donate to charities. 

The site introduces the idea of giving through social media in a way that’s “fun and easy," according to Don Vanderslice, community leader for Snoball.

By creating a platform based on the concept of social giving, Snoball allows people to donate online according to personal interests. Users create an account and then have access to more than 1.6 million charities and can begin creating their ‘snoball.’

Maybe the Technology Revolution is helping journalism?

March 22, 2012

By Kacey Cherry
This is the Technology Revolution, according to Googe CEO Eric Schmidt. We’re all aware of the staggering growth in technological advances in the past few years, the innovation occurring every day on the Internet and to our hand-held devices. 

Yet the question is, how does this revolution affect journalism? That is the question journalists around the world are tackling this very moment. Can journalists keep up? How will media outlets make money? Is the industry dying? 

Breathe easy my friends. A new study released March 19 combats at least half of the worries: technology is actually helping. Well, with news consumption that is. 

New York Times seeks readers' help exposing Super Pac donors

March 17, 2012

By Yimou Lee
As the contest between Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum heats up, so has the competition among news organizations fighting to be the first to break a story about the mysterious donors behind the campaigns. 

So The New York Times turns to their readers for help, again. The Times invites its readers to scour the most recent Super PAC filings with the Federal Election Commission, to help identify donors whose identities remain a mystery.

“Readers, we would like your help," wrote The Time’s Michael Luo on the Caucus blog. "Have a tip on the donor’s actual identity? Or love poking around in public records and want to help? The Caucus will take all suggestions, morsels of information and leads.”

Next one is on Austin-based NOOM

By Jordan Bagel
An Austin-based company recently unveiled NOOM, a social commerce app that offers mobile technology to facilitate virtual gift interactions.

The mobile app Next One’s On Me, or NOOM, was launched March 6 in time for SXSW Interactive. “The company focuses on the exchange of social products, which they refer to as NOOMs," reports AGBeat. "NOOMs are currently offered in three categories: Treats, Beer, and Bar & Bites, and can be redeemed for a variety of products at merchants that are part of the NOOM network.”

NOON can be used to send a virtual gift to congratulate a friend on an achievement, or treat a potential client to a drink after a first meeting. NOOM makes this possible with a push of a button on a smart phone. The goal is to show appreciation with an "inexpensive gesture" that takes little effort.

Associated Press launches NewsRight, gets aggressive toward aggregators

By Cooper Neill
The Associated Press has launched NewsRight, a partnership program with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Hearst and many other publishers to offer digital licensing packages of their collective content. 

 Mathew Ingram of GigaOM noted that NewsRight “is primarily intended to help members track, then license, their content to websites and news services.” Ingram considers NewsRight as both a carrot and a stick — a nice package waved in front of those who are “over aggregating” to entice them into paying for content, and a way to track the content used by those who refuse to pay.

As Staci Kramer of PaidContent.org mentioned in his article on the NewsRight launch, “NewsRight’s first target: media monitoring services and others who charge enterprises for collecting news and info. (NewsRight's leader David Westin) didn’t want to get specific during an interview but for examples think Meltwater, Moreover, Vocus, and BurrellesLuce.”

Tumblr offers journalists new way or reaching audiences

March 5, 2012

By Allicia Garza 
Let’s face it: The Digital Age has everyone scrambling.

Many news organizations still don’t have the whole thing figured out, and the speed of technological change and rise of new social media outlets has many wondering how to successfully make the transition to digital. As with any time of revolution, experimentation becomes necessary.

Several news organizations have taken the cue and along with websites, mobile apps, and a social media presence, they have begun to explore Tumblr — the highly visual blogging medium that hosts more than 46 million blogs. While each organization has its own unique way of using the microblogging platform, Tumblr sites that are popping up are generating a greater online presence and a way to connect deeper with readers. Whether it be archiving images or curation, news organizations have slowly but surely been making the move to Tumblr.

Newspapers continue downward slide in advertising revenue

By James Whitely
University of Michigan economics and finance professor Mark Perry's blog post on Feb. 26 reiterates what the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Pew Research Center have already been telling people of late: newspapers haven't been able to significantly offset declining print advertising revenue by increasing their online presence. 

Perry's analysis of data taken from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) shows a steady decline in print ad revenue since a peak in 2000, and an overall drop to levels not seen since the 1950s.

“Estimated revenues of $20.7 billion in 2011 will be the lowest annual amount spent on newspaper advertising since $19.5 billion in 1951, exactly 60 years ago,” he says. The numbers have been adjusted for inflation, with 2011 as the reference year, and his estimate for 2011 is based on quarterly data.


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