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Archive for September, 2012

Alexis Grant

Shortly after I posted my Monday call for guest #twutorial posts, I saw a Facebook link that took me to an Alexis Grant post encouraging people to use a “Notice-Me” list. I have cited Alexis’ advice before in this blog, including her tips on using Twitter lists, her job-searching blog posts and blogging tips. So I sent her a direct message, asking if she’d like to share a blog post for my #twutorial series.

She quickly agreed and shared the post below. She gives sound advice, though 90 percent feels a little high to me. (Not saying she’s wrong; I think she uses social media smarter than I do. My point is that everyone should develop your own social media style and decide how to apply the advice you receive. Even if 90 percent feels high to you, too, the rest of the advice here is outstanding. Whether you’re following my tips or Alexis’ or someone else, you need to apply them in a way that fits your style.)

If you’re looking to use Twitter more strategically, check out Alexis’ networking course, Become a Twitter Power User, starting Monday.

Sometimes simple changes make a BIG difference. And what we’re about to talk about today falls into that category. It’s a simple, easy way to make the most of your time on Twitter, yet it’s vastly underutilized.

If you use this tip consistently, your network will grow dramatically — and you’ll gain quality followers, ones that actually interact and click. (Even new research supports this.) Even better, you’ll attract the attention of influential people, ones who will help you reach your goals — whether you’re looking to connect with new sources, sniff out scoops or help your blog gain traction.

So what is this easy tweak?

Using the @mention. (more…)

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I learned a lot when the Des Moines Tribune died 30 years ago. The last edition of the Trib published Sept. 25, 1982, but that followed a summer filled with lessons (some of which took some time to sink in).

A little background before I review the lessons: I started working at the Des Moines Register in 1977. The Register, distributed each morning in each of Iowa’s 99 counties, covered the whole state. The afternoon Tribune covered central Iowa.

We competed feistily in a few areas such as Iowa politics, state government and Des Moines news, but it wasn’t exactly a fair competition: The Register had a larger staff and a national reputation. Even though the Tribune had several outstanding journalists who measured up with the best anywhere, the Register simply had more firepower. It also wasn’t a genuine competition: However fiercely we competed as journalists, we were owned by the same company. Whatever profits we made helped the same bottom line and whatever resources we wasted hurt the same bottom line. (more…)

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At my invitation, Arnold Garson, former Des Moines Register managing editor, shared his thoughts on lessons from the Des Moines Tribune (which died 30 years ago today). As a reporter, Arnie broke the story that the Tribune was closing. My observations on lessons from the life and death of the Tribune are a separate blog post. In a third post, I publish some Trib memories from Arnie, Ron Maly and me.

Arnold Garson

The most important lesson to emerge from the closing of The Des Moines Tribune was the lesson not learned.

I arrived at the Des Moines Tribune as a reporter from the Omaha World-Herald in October 1969. Ed Heins, then the top Fourth-Floor news executive for The Register and Tribune, actually hired me for The Register. But before I arrived he changed his mind saying that he wanted to inject some new energy into the Tribune.

Under the leadership of its newly appointed managing editor, Drake Mabry, The Tribune, which had grown a bit lethargic, would become a harder edged news product for Central Iowa and hopefully would stabilize its future.

The Tribune’s new mindset: We will focus on hard news and enterprise. We will concentrate on the market our advertisers care most about. We’re as good as anybody in the business. Happily, the Tribune had a news staff that could execute superbly against this strategy and the transformation came quickly.

It was a great formula for the time, and it was kept strong through periodic reevaluation and refinement over the years that followed. (more…)

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The Des Moines Tribune published its final edition 30 years ago today. In separate posts I reflected on some lessons from the life and death of the Trib and Arnold Garson reflected on a lesson the news business failed to learn. I asked some former Register and Tribune colleagues if they wanted to share some memories of the Tribune. Arnie, Kathleen Richardson and Ron Maly responded. Their memories follow some of mine:

I never worked for the Des Moines Tribune, but I came close once. I interviewed for a reporting job (consumer reporter, as I recall) at the Trib in 1979 while I was a copy editor for the Register. I preferred the Register over the Tribune, but I really wanted to become a reporter and I gave the job serious consideration.

I was really impressed with the pride and passion that the metro editors, Tom Tuttle and Rich Somerville (co-metro editors, as I recall, or it might have been a different arrangement), showed for their paper. They desperately wanted to hire someone away from the Register (we hired more away from the Trib, giving rise to the “practice paper” insult), but I turned down the job (angering Tom, but Rich and I later became close and remained friends until his death). As I recall, concerns about the Trib’s longevity were a factor in my decision.

Soon after turning down the job, I became an assistant city editor for the Register, supervising a lot of the fiercest competition (including the Trib’s last season of legislative coverage).

The Tribune’s top three editors (except Jim Gannon, who was editor of both papers) have since died: Bill Maurer, City Editor Chuck Capaldo and Rich Somerville, who by then had become News Editor. (Tribbers, please correct me if I’m forgetting any top leaders.) (more…)

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I want to crowdsource some #twutorial posts:

Want to write a guest post?

Do you have a Twitter topic or technique you’d like to address in my #twutorial series? I’d welcome some guest posts.

I’m not interested in another general list of Twitter tips. What I would like is some detailed advice for journalists on a particular technique or issue relating to Twitter use. I would consider a second look at an issue I’ve already covered, such as hashtags or building followers, if you think I missed some tips. But mostly I’m interested in something I haven’t covered yet (you can see the links to other posts at the first link in this post). (more…)

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I am late in noting here that I had a guest post at Nieman Lab about why and how student media should move swiftly to become digital-first.

I elaborated on the points I made earlier this year about student media after doing some consulting for Texas Christian University and the University of Oregon and after teaching some digital-first workshops for TCU and the University of Texas at Arlington.

I also should note that University of Tampa journalism professor Dan Reimold wrote a detailed response to my Nieman Lab post.

It’s a thoughtful response that Jim Romenesko framed as a debate between Dan and me. After I commented on Dan’s blog, he responded that he “truly loved” my Nieman piece and that we are “pretty much in lock-step.” (more…)

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Update Sunday: I have added some further comments and videos of the panel at the end of this post.

Update: I embedded some tweets since originally posting this.

Walking to the Online News Association Friday morning in San Francisco, I tuned in using Twitter to the Associated Press Media Editors conference in Nashville. The contrast was striking.

At ONA, I attended an enlightening presentation Thursday night on best practices for journalists, based on hard data analysis. Friday morning I read a tweet from an Associated Press executive that reflected ignorance and generational stereotypes.

I’m sure the tweet that sucked me in wasn’t representative of APME, but it did highlight a disturbing divide that persists in journalism today.

My friend Joe Hight of The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com tweeted:

I was pleased to read in other tweets that some at APME and other editors disagreed with Sidoti, AP’s political editor (political editor!):

Before commenting, I need to note that I wasn’t in the room and didn’t hear the statement or the context. But tweets from other APME members reported the same point from Sidoti, including a lament that these young slacker journalists were using social media in favor of “shoe-leather” reporting.

My response from San Francisco: What valuable journalism tool isn’t a time suck? Cellphones, data, documents, interviews, writing, thinking, verification of facts, shoe-leather reporting. Every damn one of them is a time suck. And good journalists manage their time well to do those things because they are essential to good journalism.

(more…)

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