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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

News organizations seek new revenue in wine clubs

Posted on : 28-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business

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This post is also appearing on a Columbia Journalism School website I write for, which is still currently under construction but will launch some time this week.

USA Today launched a Wine Club earlier this month, joining the list of publications hoping to entice readers to an online community of wine drinkers who buy wines directly from them.

The national newspaper partnered with My Wines Direct to create a Web site wine club where readers can learn about wines that are selected by a tasting panel. Members can then purchase six bottles quarterly online for $69.99 plus shipping.

People gather to taste various wines at Slate's Wine Tasting at Sotheby's Aulden Cellars in August (Photo: Vadim Lavrusik)

People at Slate’s Wine Tasting at Sotheby’s Aulden Cellars in August. (Photo: Vadim Lavrusik)

Large publications are launching similar wine clubs and attaching their publications’ brands to the clubs as part of their exploration of new revenue to help close the gap from a decline in ad spending.

The New York Times launched its wine club in mid-August and other publications, including Forbes and The San Francisco Chronicle, have started their own clubs as well. The Wall Street Journal has had a wine club since last September, while online publications such as Slate are hosting wine tastings.

USA Today had been considering getting into the wine business for some time, said Christy Hartsell, director of brand licensing at USA Today, in an e-mail. The project was in the works for several months and the paper even held various tasting events before the launch, Hartsell said.

Advanced Facebook for Journalists

Posted on : 18-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Journalism school

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Sree Sreenivasan, my dean of student affairs and professor of digital media at the Columbia School of Journalism,  organized some great guests for a webcast today on how journalists can use Facebook. In fact, the Journalism School is teaching how to use Facebook as a tool for journalists, among other social media. The panel included:

Below is the webcast via Blogtalkradio. And also here is a short post from Ben Parr briefly mentioning what the conversation was about (why journalists should use Facebook, the new features, etc.):

What news sites can learn from marketing campaigns: Previews and social media buzz

Posted on : 07-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media

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Last week I tweeted about winning a Samsung digital camera. I entered into a contest to win a dual LCD Samsung ST550 by tweeting a reply to @tapandtake, a Twitter account started to market the camera and generate buzz by giving 25 free cameras away. I did some digging on the campaign and looking it over and couldn’t find how they chose the winners, but it seems random.

The campaign appears to have started on July 31, 2009 (at least that is when the Facebook Fan Page was launched). Since that time the Facebook Fan page has 2,100 fans and a Twitter account with 2,100 followers. This is a great example of how previewing something before it hits the stores, or the stands could help generate buzz and excitement about a product. To me, that’s pretty impressive. Sure, the marketing campaign is giving away free cameras and so it will attract a lot of followers and fans just based on that, but the fan page is very active. The page is updated regularly and gets lots of comments and reactions from its fans. The Twitter account is the same, getting a lot of retweets and replies as well.

Tap and Take Campaign

The news could learn a thing or two from this. At my college paper, we would post previews of stories to the Web before posting the full thing. What’s interesting is that according to the analytics, the stories with preview posts would generate more views than those without.

It’s simple: with the fast-paced Web the stories were able to get more exposure on the site. But perhaps even more importantly, the same thing could be done with news organizations’ social media accounts. These should be used to interact with the audience, including making them feel valuable by offering them inside sneak peeks perhaps or simply the heads up that a specific story is coming out soon to build interest. This could result in a better return on pageviews. What other ideas could we take from such campaigns? Giving people an incentive to engage certainly helps.

Is it worth going to journalism school? Join me for a discussion

Posted on : 07-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Journalism school

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Credit: Sean Horan

Credit: Sean Horan

Updated: Here is a summary of the show from from FishbowlNY. Or listen to it below.

Alright, so usually I don’t use this blog to promote stuff, but I am interested in starting a discussion around the topic. I will be on Mediabistro’s Morning Media Menu tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. talking about why I went to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, instead of going the job route.

Recently, there has been a lot of skepticism out there about whether journalism schools are actually beneficial for a journalist’s career. A lot of people point to the failings of many journalism school curriculum’s in incorporating relevant skills needed in today’s industry, while others simply say that much of what is being taught can be learned on one’s own time or in a work environment.

I personally think that journalists have an opportunity to not only gain valuable skills at journalism school, but also experiment in ways that they might not be able to in the workforce. Innovation and experimentation in newsrooms is often clouded by bureaucracy. What do you think? Is journalism school valuable today, especially at the graduate level? Listen in tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Sources going direct: FDNY and the Hudson River air collision

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

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A small plane and a tourist helicopter collided over the Hudson River in lower Manhattan today. Though Twitter played a big role like it often does with breaking news coverage, this time some of the best coverage of the breaking event was from the source itself: the Fire Department.

The FDNY has a live video stream and coverage of the rescue efforts that allowed those who tuned in to listen and watch updates from the air and comment real-time in a “shoutbox.” Sure the New York Times and Fox News were updating their breaking stories  on their websites, however, the traditional news reports often lagged behind. Why? They were relying on the facts from the source, who itself was reporting on their live video feed, garnering more than 300 viewers.

As a journalist, I have to ask myself, is this a trend that is going to continue in the future and will it replace the role of journalists? I think not, mostly because professional reporters are trained to get the details and provide it in a coherent way, which was often lost in the jargon of the FDNY feed.

Also, I will add that the NYTimes and other news sources offered much more context in their stories and eventually included a video and photos of the rescue scene. But this live feed is a good example of how sources are playing a role in reporting themselves, and most of the time they have much more access than reporters do:

FDNY Live Radio

Kudos to Joey Baker for pointing this out via Twitter.

Who said journalism is dying?

Posted on : 14-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Newspapers, Trends

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Photo credit: <a href=

Maybe I have just learned to ignore the depressing news of the thousands of layoffs at newspapers and other news organizations across the nation and begun to pay more attention to the bright spots in journalism. There are journalism jobs being created what seems like every day.

The advice I have given to myself constantly, and will offer it to anyone that loves storytelling: If you truly want to be a journalist, you will find a way. But if you are one of those reporters or editors dwelling on the “glory days” of newspapers and keep a constant eye on sites like the Newspaper Death Watch or the Journalism is Dead site from Mark Luckie and is a collection of funny quotes on why journalism is dead, then someone needs to scream in your ear and tell you that things have changed. They are going to keep changing. But I am simply more optimistic (and can afford to be – I know things change when you have a mortgage and kids to feed, etc.).  Here are a few reasons why I am optimistic:

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.

The Daily Show visits The New York Times

Posted on : 11-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Newspapers

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NYTimessignThe Daily Show takes a stab at The New York Times and the dying newspaper industry on its recent tour of its offices. The Daily Show’s Jason Jones interviews Executive Editor Bill Keller and Asst. Managing Editor Rick Berke about the dying industry with some funny questions and in some cases even funnier responses.

I was able to take a tour of the newsroom during my visit to New York City for an open house at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in April. I got to sit down and talk to some of their investigative reporters, and I think the best journalism is still coming out of the New York Times. Despite the cracks in this video, I think it is still the place where most journalists, traditional or new media, strive to work.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
End Times
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Newt Gingrich Unedited Interview

Web numbers down for StarTribune.com, others in Minneapolis

Posted on : 09-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Trends

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There was a lot of fuss about Compete.com’s numbers on Twitter.com visits slowing, as reported by Mashable. I decided to use Compete.com to check on some of the local news sites and see how they are doing. If the site’s stats are accurate, it means that StarTribune.com’s unique and overall visits have been slipping since January. The overall visits have also been declining from 5.5 million in March to 4.6 million in May.

Facebook news application source code open to college news sites

Posted on : 02-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools

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faceboookdailyNewsCloud, which developed the Minnesota Daily Facebook application and HotDish, is offering the source code to other college papers interested in customizing it and managing it themselves. (Disclaimer: I was editor of the Daily when we launched the application.)

The application allows users to post links to articles that they find interesting and rewards them for doing so. Users also get points for engaging the content in other ways, such as sharing it with their friends, commenting on it, etc. The user is rewarded with points that add up to prizes that the news organization offers.