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Posts Tagged ‘obituaries’

These are blog posts that relate to my “Revenue Roundup” discussion at the Online News Association today:

A possible new business model for obituaries

Jobless journalists could find a business model in obituaries

‘A Death Notice for Obituaries?’ Or an opportunity for entrepreneurs?

Obituaries: A chance to tell a loved one’s story

Personal storytelling sometimes overlaps with journalism

 

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I’ll be discussing the business value of engagement today at ONACamp Phoenix.

I believe that deep engagement on three levels is essential to the success of news organizations in the digital marketplace:

  • Newsrooms and individual journalists need to engage our communities effectively to produce outstanding journalism.
  • News organizations need to engage communities in marketing our content.
  • Engagement provides excellent opportunities to make money serving business customers.

I’ve blogged already about some of these ideas and I hope to elaborate in coming weeks on others. But I’ll elaborate a bit on all three here:

News engagement

I’ve blogged considerably before about engagement techniques that elevate our journalism: (more…)

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In the discussion of journalists’ failures in the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax, I have suggested that journalists should have looked for an obituary of the purported girlfriend. And that has raised some questions about how obituaries and death notices are handled by newspapers today.

A comment by Rob Pegoraro on my post earlier today and tweets by Maureen Boyle have raised questions about whether everyone has an obituary (responding to Rob, I acknowledge that it probably happens, but say that at least a death notice usually gets published).

(The link above is to a piece by the late Jim Naughton, A Death Notice for Obituaries, written in 2010, which prompted a response from me.) (more…)

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I have blogged this week about various aspects of digital-first journalism. For any of that to succeed, digital-first must succeed as a business approach.

It will. It is. I’m not going to explain that in detail in this post, though. I’m going to shift to curation (an important process and skill in digital-first journalism), because lots of people have already explained the business aspects of the digital-first approach well.

John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media (and Journal Register Co. and MediaNews Group) explained the company’s business approach better than I would (which is good, since he’s the CEO) in his June address to the International Newsroom Summit in Zurich: How the Crowd Saved Our Company. His recent post on news media as medium and messenger elaborates, including the slide below. His September post announcing the formation of Digital First discussed some of the results of the approach so far (and we’re just getting started).

Digital First revenue: stacking dimes

(more…)

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I enjoyed the full-page obituary of Marijane Auten Johnson Bensmiller Zegel VanNess Torjesen that ran in the Des Moines Register a week ago (might be easier to read online in the Legacy version, but check out the first link to see the page). She lived a full life and her son told her story well (so well the Register’s Mike Kilen did a story on the obit).

That’s what an obituary should be, a genuine story of the life just ended, not the formulaic string of facts that too many newspapers run.

Most people don’t have family members who can tell their stories as well as Stan Zegel told his mother’s story. That’s why I suggested last summer that newspapers and individual journalists could develop a successful business model around telling commissioned life stories (not just obituaries, but for weddings, anniversaries, retirements and the like).

I wonder how many families would commission a journalist to write as full an obituary as Zegel wrote about his mother (and pay to publish it in a newspaper, online, or in a booklet). I would love to have such a keepsake story about my father, who died in 1978, or my nephew who died in 2009.

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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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If you ever lost a friend who wasn’t fully appreciated, read Jim Naughton’s A Death Notice for Obituaries? Or read it if you’ve ever read an obituary for someone you didn’t know, but after reading the obit wished you had (like I wish I had known Tom O’Meara). Or read it if you ever were touched by a well-crafted obituary of someone you knew.

Obituaries are important news stories. As Jim Sheeler, author of Obit, tweeted of Naughton’s piece: (more…)

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