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Facebook + Journalism 101Facebook + Journalism 101 Academia could be more social. So recently, I setup a Facebook Group for "Social Journalism Educators" to be able to connect and share resources around how they are teaching...

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My Next Chapter: Facebook JournalismMy Next Chapter: Facebook Journalism This was originally posted on my Facebook Page. Also, read CNN's coverage of my new role. ------ I am honored to announce that I will be joining Facebook as Journalist...

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Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook or Twitter? [STATS] Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook... This is an excerpt of analysis I recently wrote on Mashable about how our Twitter users interact with our content vs. those on Facebook. The result: Facebook's click-per-share...

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Facebook & Its Growing Role in Social JournalismFacebook & Its Growing Role in Social Journalism This is an excerpt from a post I recently reported for Mashable.com. Read the full piece here. A Facebook-only news organization? It was only a matter of time. The...

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New to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the CommunityNew to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the Community For someone just starting out on Twitter, the social information network can be intimidating. It has its own language, limitations, and features that are very unique to the...

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Vadim Lavrusik Rss

How Demand Media’s business model can be applied to niche sites

Posted on : 23-11-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism

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Demand Media ScreenshotThis is an excerpt from article I wrote for Poynter.org.

Demand Media has advertising-driven content down to a science. Instead of creating content for the Web and hoping that it generates revenue, the company works backwards by determining how much revenue each piece will generate before anything is produced.

The company uses a series of algorithms to pick through keywords that people are searching for on the Web and aims to create content unique enough to rank highly in those search results. It also determines how much advertisers would pay to be next to that content.

This is much different than simply using analytics to shift stories around on a home page or testing which headline will draw more readers. Demand is all about the dollars.

News organizations looking to create profitable content on the Web can see that Demand Media’s model does make money — although it forgoes editorial judgment and a journalism process. Yet news organizations could apply lessons from Demand’s approach to their own companies, not for standard news operations, but for niche sites that are focused on reader demand and generating revenue.

Demand Media is focused on “service journalism,” said Adam Weinroth, the company’s vice president of strategic marketing. “This is the kind of content that is evergreen, and includes formats like guides, how-to’s and tips.”

Besides the company’s method of choosing stories, the other part of Demand’s strategy is in how it gets its content. Rather than try sell ads to support content that costs a particular amount, the company has dropped the cost of production to make sure it can be supported by what advertisers are willing to pay.

Read the full post here.

What journalists need to know about online advertising

Posted on : 28-10-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Journalism school, Online Journalism

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By VADIM LAVRUSIK and SHANE SNOW

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Ken Lerer, co-founder of The Huffington Post, is teaching sessions to Columbia University Journalism Students on media entrepreneurship, often bringing in experts in the industry on various topics. Yesterday’s topic was on what journalists need to know about advertising online, and the guest was Jim Spanfeller, former CEO of Forbes.com. Also, if you’re interested, here is a post and live blog recap of last year’s talk on the same subject.

The discussion was enlightening, but we want to highlight three main points that were made by both Spanfeller and Lerer during the session:

12 things newspapers should do to survive

Posted on : 14-08-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Newspapers

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Excerpt from a Mashable.com post that I wrote, which was published today:

Though there are countless articles and blog posts sprawled across the web about the dying newspaper industry, this will not be one of them. Some people have even come to the conclusion that journalism itself is dying, yet in reality, journalism is expanding with social media platforms and technology allowing the former audience and sources to become the reporters themselves. Instead of dwelling on the doom and gloom, this post is an attempt at gathering voices in the journalism industry and on the web to give some thought as to what newspapers should be considering in order to survive and evolve with today’s technology-driven, short-attention-span world.

Those who think there is one silver bullet to fix the newspaper business are mistaken. Newspapers have almost always had multiple streams of revenue to support themselves and the future will likely not be any different. That doesn’t mean, however, that the money-making models newspapers will use on the web will look the same as the ones they have used for print.

Newspapers are struggling financially, but ad revenue is predicted to recover slightly in 2010. The underlying issues are not just business-driven, but include issues of structure, culture and the industrialized foundations of distributing newspapers. This list is not a comprehensive one, but these are some of the things that newspaper leaders should be considering. And though print itself may not survive, the organizations behind them provide value to a democratic society, often covering and providing news that blogs with more limited resources can’t always dig up. We welcome comments below with other suggestions of things you think newspaper leaders should try or invest in. Let’s have some dialogue about this topic.

1. Putting web first and reporting from multiple platforms


That might seem like a no-brainer, but this fact is a double-edged sword. Newspapers are often still treating their websites as an afterthought because their advertising revenue is largely still coming from print. At the same time, the shift to getting more revenue from websites won’t happen until the websites are the first priority.

Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, said one of the issues is that reporters have been given a job description that revolves around a single platform (i.e. print journalist), when really journalists need to conceive of the editorial act apart from questions of platforms.

Ultimately, the word “print” needs to be removed from the role of print journalists, said Kevin Sablan, leader of the Orange County Register’s web task force. Reporters need to focus on primarily gathering information and how to present that information in multiple formats: websites, mobile platforms, social networks and finally print.

The reason? Technology is changing the way people consume news, and though many are still getting their news through traditional print outlets, many others are shifting to get their news through various media, such as television, mobile phones, and the web. Ryan Sholin, director of news innovation at Publish2, a company that specializes in link journalism, said journalists now have to be ready to produce journalism on multiple platforms, whether that is tweeting a headline, uploading a video through their iPhone or something else – journalism comes in all shapes and sizes.

Read the full post at Mashable here.

6 ways to monetize online video

Posted on : 05-08-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Video

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Excerpt from my final post for Online Journalism Blog on how online video can be monetized:

Movie Icon: RSS(Editor’s Note: This is the last in a three-part series on local online news video, summarizing the findings of a thesis study that examined the Minnesota media market and their use of online video. Part one looked at content and part two examined design and usability. Love to hear feedback in the comments below.)

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It is clear that the economy has damaged efforts to expand and improve online video. Many local news sites have had to cut staff, and they are working to produce content in survival mode. However, video advertising is expected to have the largest growth out of any sectors in online advertising. In December, eMarketer released predictions for video ad spending, saying that it would rise by 45 percent in 2009 to reach $850 million. Though ad spending has slowed a bit, video advertising remains strong. The opportunities are tremendous. However, half of the local news sites have yet to implement or even sell a video advertisement.

In summary, the six ways are: internal hosting, pre-roll ads, complementing ad forms, the 15 second rule, search ads, internal production of ads. Read the full details here.

Cutting newspaper expenses is not enough

Posted on : 21-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Newspapers

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Photo: Leoncillo Sabino

Great news comes today from McClatchy Company, which is reporting a 50 cents per share growth in the second quarter. Well that is great, especially when a “loss seems certain” and “hardly anything has gone right at the company for the last few years” (those being from the reporter, not the experts) were the phrases from a report anticipating losses of the company just yesterday. So, who brought the champagne? Let’s celebrate. After all, early trading showed a jump in McClatchy’s stock. Not so fast. Read down to about the 11nth graph – skipping all the good news.

New economic models for news…without the new

Posted on : 16-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business

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Today, I attended the New Economic Models for News Conference that was put on by the Minnesota Journalism Center. I was excited to gain new insights from professionals in the industry and hear about what’s working and what’s not. I mostly heard about the same old and much about any “new” models.

For the most part many of the speakers, some of whom were publishers and traditional newspaper folks, complained about Google stealing ad revenue as well as other such aggregators – though Joel Kramer, the founder of Minnpost.com, pointed out that 30 percent of their traffic comes from Google. I know that some websites are likely even more than that.

In-text ads may be the next big thing for news sites, but are they worth it?

Posted on : 10-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Online Journalism, Trends

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With a slump of 5 percent in online advertising in the first quarter in comparison to last year’s numbers, news sites seem to be trying new forms on the Web to increase revenue. One of the things I have noticed is more sites incorporating in-text ads that appear as links and expand when a reader hovers over them. But does this form of advertising ruin the reader’s experience? Moreover, does it cross ethical boundaries?