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Posts Tagged ‘Howard Owens’

Students learn journalism best if you teach them several different ways.

A colleague who’s starting her first journalism classes as an adjunct professor asked, “Any advice for the first-time professor?” I’ll answer here and in at least a couple more posts over the next week or so.

Update: I originally posted this before hearing back from the colleague about whether it was OK to use her name (since she asked the question in a private email). She quickly identified herself after I posted:

I’m teaching my 10th college class now and have learned a few things about teaching in the classroom (and in hundreds of workshops and seminars for professional journalists). But I recognize that many friends in journalism schools have far more classroom experience than I do. So I invite them (you, if you’re teaching journalism) to weigh in with some advice, too. Much of this applies as well to training your professional colleagues. For my colleague and other new journalism professors (and perhaps for veterans, who should always be learning, too).

I’ll start by addressing the wide variety of ways that students learn and how I gear my lessons and assignments to teach students in a multitude of ways. I believe students learn in at least these ways (several of which overlap): (more…)

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I originally published this blog post Jan. 25, 2008, on my Training Tracks blog when I was at the American Press Institute. It’s no longer online there, but I have republished here, because I am referring to it in my keynote address for the Arizona Newspapers Association.

I have not updated my outdated and/or ignorant references to Twitter (I botched the 140-character limit; was very tempted to fix that huge error and the clumsy uses of twitter — always lower case then — as a verb). I did take out some outdated links (I may later add links to blog posts that are no longer available, if I republish them).

A couple months ago I wrote about my efforts to learn more about LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Delicious and the world of Web 2.0. I’ll update you later on how those efforts are going, but right now I want to invite you to learn about twitter along with me.

As I mentioned in that last post, I’ve joined some social networking sites aggressively, trying to connect with people I know on them. I didn’t get twitter, so I joined it passively. It’s a site where you enter brief (240 characters or less) blurbs about what you’re doing. I didn’t get that. So I entered passively. My first twitters, Dec. 28 and 31 and Jan. 16, reflect that I didn’t get twitter and was waiting for someone to find me. And if they had found me, they would have been bored. (more…)

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Opposition to paywalls is a “theology,” Rem Rieder said in moderating a one-sided love-session panel discussion about paywalls a couple months ago at the American Society of News Editors convention.

I considered at the time writing a response to the whole panel and especially to Rem’s notion that opposition is a theology (I come from a family of ministers; I know a theology when I see one). But I resisted the urge. I had other things to do, and I’ve written plenty on the topic.

The arguments before and against paywalls have been made extensively and passionately recently at the Columbia Journalism Review. Journalist-turned-entertainer David Simon made the argument for paywalls last month in a fairly short CJR piece and then his many responses in a long discussion in the comments, which I joined. I wouldn’t characterize anyone in this debate as theological, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to call Simon’s argument strongly faith-based.

Howard Owens responded a few times in the Simon comments, then wrote a separate piece for CJR, listing 10 reasons Simon is wrong. He cites facts, dollars, page views and history. It is the most detailed, reasoned, fact-based analysis of the paywall issue I have read, certainly more so than any I have written. I will not try to summarize it here. But if you care about paywalls and about the economic success of the news business, I urge you to read it.

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A friend asked how he could make money from his blog. With the caveat that I don’t make money directly from my blog, or try to (more about that later), I have some advice to share. Bloggers can pursue multiple options to generate revenue:

Sell ads

One way is to sell ads yourself. This requires time and skill that many bloggers don’t have. You would need to figure out what to charge for ads, identify potential advertisers, make the pitch, service the account and bill the customer (or arrange for handling credit cards). Journalists who blog might also feel that selling ads would present ethical challenges, either for the blog itself or with their day jobs.

However, the advantage of selling ads yourself is that you can target specific advertisers interested in the niche audience of your blog, which might bring you a higher ad rate if you are selling ads based on how many thousand impressions you serve (a rate called CPM, short for cost per mille, or thousand). You also could seek to sell sponsorships at a flat rate. (more…)

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The crowd can save your journalism career.

I encourage any journalist to read Journal Register Co. CEO John Paton’s message to last week’s WAN/IFRA International Newsroom Summit: How The Crowd Saved Our Company. (I also encourage media executives to read John’s message, but I’m writing here about individual journalists seeking career success in a time of great upheaval.)

I want to suggest how individual journalists can learn from the JRC experience that John shared. I won’t belabor what John said about how the newspaper model is broken and can’t be fixed. I’ve said that plenty of times myself, and if you’re still in denial about that, you’re not ready for the rest of his message or mine. John concluded that discussion with this important point:

You don’t transform from broken.

You don’t tinker or tweak.

You start again anew and build from the ground up.

John was providing advice for his fellow executives for building their organizations from the ground up. I’ll focus on advice for the journalist hoping to make yourself a valuable asset for such a starting-anew organization. (more…)

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Reviewing 2010 on this blog:

My job change to TBD was a major theme of the year here. My most-popular post of 2010 shared tips on job-hunting, from my own experience finding a new job and hiring the community engagement staff at TBD. That’s my second most-read post in two-plus years writing this blog. Other posts among the year’s leaders dealt with my job change as well: Pursuing a new opportunity in Washington, Wanted: vision for community engagement and Our community engagement team is taking shape. Another post relating to the job change took a longer view, discussing how I have twice redirected and rejuvenated my career. I also told how TBD’s launch prompted my first foray into public relations and brought back memories of an earlier launch. I explained why we need a director of community engagement, even though engagement should be everyone’s job. I have blogged as well for TBD, writing about our commitment to accuracy and transparency, and about why and how we chose TBD as our name. (more…)

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I tweet a lot from journalism events. I think I can say that few people tweet as much about journalism as I do. I didn’t tweet much from News Foo Camp last weekend.

But other campers and I tweeted enough that our tweeps wanted more.

  1. Howard Owens
    howardowens It’s easier to find out what Hilary Clinton said about some third level diplomat from China than what #newsfoo is.

(more…)

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Howard Owens gives a great explanation of what makes his journalism venture successful. But he mistakenly extrapolates to some rules about what other entrepreneurs should not do.

I recommend reading Howard’s post Forget “value-added journalism” — Think, disruptive innovation and Kevin Anderson’s post Journalism: What added value will add revenue? Howard was responding to Kevin, so I suggest reading Kevin first, then Howard, then coming back and finishing this.

Howard understands correctly that his venture, The Batavian, is succeeding with a simple formula of providing lots and lots of community news. He isn’t “adding value” with many feature stories or investigative journalism that would take considerable time. Instead, he says, he is following Clayton Christensen’s disruptive innovation formula by providing just “good enough” quality, but lots of it. (more…)

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Howard Owens is one of the smartest journalism entrepreneurs in the business. He launched The Batavian as a digital challenger to the Batavia Daily News in New York, and his small business is thriving.

I was interested yesterday to see that Howard had blogged with some advice for local websites competing with Patch. I had written about the challenge presented by Patch a few weeks ago, and was interested to see what Howard had to say. Not surprisingly, his advice on competition was more detailed and better than mine. But I had also noted the potential for turning Patch into a collaborator or a customer. So after tweeting a link to Howard’s post, I tweeted a link to my own. (more…)

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The federal government has lots of important issues it needs to deal with these days. It doesn’t need to deal with protecting newspapers. It shouldn’t protect newspapers. It can’t afford to protect with newspapers.

  1. Howard Owens
    howardowens Dear Uncle Sam: Butt out. We don’t need your interference in the news business.

The Federal Trade Commission wasted taxpayers’ money on a hearing last December on whether the government should take some action to prop up the nation’s faltering newspaper industry. The discussion will continue June 15 and an FTC staff report on discussion points makes clear that this exercise isn’t about saving journalism, but about saving newspapers. (more…)

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I was too busy yesterday enjoying beautiful spring weather, a beautiful baby granddaughter and exciting NCAA basketball to join a lively Twitter discussion of anonymous comments.

One of the primary discussants (it wasn’t combat, but it was pretty vigorous) was Mathew Ingram of GigaOm, who blogged about the topic (and has a link to a search string that pulls much of the discussion together). Steve Yelvington also blogged on the topic, noting that an ounce of leadership is worth a pound of management.

They summarize the issue well in detail, so I will summarize more broadly (and, admittedly, oversimplify) here:

One side (led on Twitter yesterday by Howard Owens) argues that anonymous comments inevitably become ugly and you have a more civil, responsible online discussion if you require people to participate by their real, verified names, as newspapers have always done in letters to the editor.

The other side (led by Ingram) embraces the freewheeling discussion of the anonymous comments, noting that responsible moderation of and engagement with the conversation can rein in (or remove) the ugliest exchanges, while keeping debate lively and honest. Without anonymity, whistleblowers are less likely to join the discussion, they rightly note (and the other side will rightly note that the anonymous bigots way outnumber the anonymous whistleblowers in story and blog comments). And besides, don’t we sometimes want to know how ugly people can be? (more…)

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I knew a lot about journalism in 1997. I was 26 years into an exciting career, enjoying a rewarding run as a reporter following success as an editor. But I’ve redirected and rejuvenated my career twice since then. Those efforts led me to opportunities and success I could not have imagined 13 years ago.

From 1997 to 2005, I consciously developed my skills, experience, connections and reputation in the field of journalism training, eventually getting a full-time job in the field. I was always interested in innovation and took steps in the mid-1990s to learn digital skills. Starting in 2006, I made digital innovation my primary pursuit and have consciously developed my digital skills, experience, connections and reputation (I still have a lot that I need to do). That pursuit led to two new jobs, first as editor of The Gazette and gazetteonline and now I’ve left the newspaper business to join a digital local news operation in the Washington metro area. (more…)

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