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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

10 Predictions for the News Media in 2011

Posted on : 20-12-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media

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This is an excerpt from a post that I originally wrote for Mashable.com. See the full post here.

In many ways, 2010 was finally the year of mobile for news media, and especially so if you consider the iPad a mobile device. Many news organizations like The Washington Post and CNN included heavy social media integrations into their apps, opening the devices beyond news consumption.

In 2011, the focus on mobile will continue to grow with the launch of mobile- and iPad-only news products, but the greater focus for news media in 2011 will be on re-imagining its approach to the open social web. The focus will shift from searchable news to social and share-able news, as social media referrals close the gap on search traffic for more news organizations. In the coming year, news media’s focus will be affected by the personalization of news consumption and social media’s influence on journalism.


1. Leaks and Journalism: A New Kind of Media Entity


In 2010, we saw the rise of WikiLeaks through its many controversial leaks. With each leak, the organization learned and evolved its process in distributing sensitive classified information. In 2011, we’ll see several governments prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for his role in disseminating classified documents and some charges will have varying successes. But even if WikiLeaks itself gets shut down, we’re going to see the rise of “leakification” in journalism, and more importantly we’ll see a number of new media entities, not just mirror sites, that will model themselves to serve whistle blowers — WikiLeaks copycats of sorts. Toward the end of this year, we already saw Openleaks, Brusselsleaks, and Tradeleaks. There will be many more, some of which will be focused on niche topics.

Just like with other media entities, there will be a new competitive market and some will distinguish themselves and rise above the rest. So how will success be measured? The scale of the leak, the organization’s ability to distribute it and its ability or inability to partner with media organizations. Perhaps some will distinguish themselves by creating better distribution platforms through their own sites by focusing on the technology and, of course, the analysis of the leaks. The entities will still rely on partnerships with established media to distribute and analyze the information, but it may very well change the relationship whistleblowers have had with media organizations until now.

Read the full post on Mashable.

A wordcloud of Pew’s State of the News Media 2010 Report

Posted on : 15-03-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism

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I took the excerpts from Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism “State of the News Media 2010” report and inserted them into wordle to get a word cloud of the text. It’s interesting that “pay” comes up as one of the dominant words. I am guessing it will be a theme for this year.

Here are a few takes on the report for you to digest:

8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist

Posted on : 09-12-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism

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Excerpt from my Mashable post today:

As the news industry looks to reconstruct its suffering business model, the journalists of today must reconstruct their skill sets for the growing world of online media. Because of cutbacks at many news organizations, the jobs available are highly competitive. News companies are seeking journalists who are jacks of all trades, yet still masters of one (or more).

2010 will likely be a time of transition as today’s journalists catch up to learn the multimedia, programming, social media, and business skills they’ll need to tell their stories online. These new skills are especially relevant to startups that are looking to hire multi-skilled and social media-savvy journalists. Below we’ve gathered some skills that are quickly becoming basic requirements for the journalist of tomorrow. These skills are presented in no particular order.

What major would you recommend for a highschooler pursuing a career in journalism?

Posted on : 28-11-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Journalism school

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Meet Yuliya Barsukova. She is a 17-year-old Russian high school student applying to college with a dream to be a journalist. She even has some professional experience working for the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. But right now she is trying to decide what would be the best major to prepare her for a career in journalism. She is one many that is still choosing the career despite cutbacks at many news organizations and among the record number of people applying to journalism school.

I have had a few other youngsters (I know, I myself am young too) asking me what I would recommend for a major in college to prepare them for a career in journalism. I majored in journalism. But I think that if I were to go back I would have likely picked something more on the technology side of things like computer science.

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr…Can news orgs be everywhere?

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

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Newsweek tumblrThis evening there was some buzz about Newsweek’s Tumblr, after Nieman Lab tweeted about it. Its design is quite nice and it includes a lot of content that is curated outside of Newsweek. A few news orgs included their Tumblr links, including Minnpost and Nieman Lab. Both of the accounts mostly serve as feeds for tweets and posts. Sound familiar?

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.

Read reactions to the Reconstruction of American Journalism Report

Posted on : 19-10-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Journalism school

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(Silly disclaimer, but one that demonstrates a lesson learned: This post had some 20 retweets, but the cache was cleared because of me changing from Lavrusik.com to VadimLavrusik.com and back to Lavrusik.com – Apologies if your RT is now undocumented on this blog.)

Today the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism released a report by Leonard Downie, Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post, and Michael Schudson, a journalism school professor, that aim to propose new steps to take on the challenge of supporting public affairs reporting. Below is a compilation of links to stories of reactions on the report. With quotes from each for you to get an idea of what some of the media folks out there are saying. Feel free to post others in the comments that you agreed with or found helpful. I am going to keep updating this as much as I can with new reactions. ….

7 things you need to know before you start a media business online

Posted on : 25-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Journalism school, Online Journalism, Social Media, Video

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At the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism we are lucky to have access to some great minds in the media industry, including Ken Lerer, the co-founder and chairman of The Huffington Post, who is teaching six sessions on media entrepreneurship. On Tuesday, Lerer used the first session to outline the five points he wants to focus on.

I think that all of these are quite important to the media industry moving forward and wanted to share them with you, along with a few others that he pointed out during the discussion with journalism students. However, starting an online journalism site is not easy, despite how-to guides making it seem that way sometimes. Most of these are trends that Lerer himself and others are seeing in online journalism. One reason being is that there may be some opportunity to add other topics. So, if you think there is something very important missing, please do share.

1. The Shift From Mainstream to Social Sites

This is pretty self explanatory. “Content companies have to get into the social business or fall by the way side,” Lerer said. He also talked a bit about how some news organizations are taking advantage of this by integrating social tools into their sites, such as Huffington Post using Facebook Connect. Read my recent post for Mashable on 7 Ways To Make News Sites More Social. I think this needs to not only go one step further, but perhaps there is a possibility that some of these social sites may eventually provide CMS for publishing.

A mix of WordPress, Facebook and Twitter into one awesome content site – now that may be a Knight Foundation News Challenge winner. Why? Well, the social sites are outpacing news sites in terms of use and are growing at very fast rates (check out graph below) and social networking use has tripled from only a year ago. Lerer also pointed to news being consumed or passed on through friends on these sites. This is the way many people get and share their news now, through social networks. Lerer also noted that for a news site like the Nytimes.com to implement many of the tools and figure out how to incorporate them into the content will take some time.

Social sites vs. MSM

2. Advertising Effectively

This is a bit of a difficult topic. How to fund the work that takes place in journalism is a much debated topic. However, Lerer said that he thinks advertising is the big money maker. It hasn’t quite caught on on the Web though, or at least people aren’t willing to pay as much for online ads. However, making money off social sites will be the next big business on the Web. You have to think of your future customers, Lerer said. Paywalls? Lerer thinks it is “insane” to fight the link community. He said that he think that news sites will end up offering some content free and require subscription to view certain parts content on the site.

3. Local Content

Lerer continues to be a firm believer that local will be the next big thing. It hasn’t advanced as quickly as some anticipated and there is no big business model for it yet. Yet Lerer is optimistic. “You’re going to see local explode,” he said. He said if he were starting another Web company, it would be something with local. The key is looking at a market and asking yourself what is missing or what could be covered better? What service can you provide that another site is not doing well on or doing at all?

4. Community

Without community on a site, it is likely that will not be as successful as you would hope. Lerer said for a content site, community is hugely important and should not go overlooked. Some sites have great content, but little community and lose out on traffic as a result and in search rankings.

5. Citizen Journalism and User-generated content

Also, trying to figure out how the relationship between staff journalists and contributing citizen journalists should function is another thing to figure out. There are no clear-cut answers but I think that more journalists will first start out by contributing to a site as a citizen before getting hired on staff. The best will still rise to the top, if not more so than today.

6. Video

So how does video fit in? Lerer said that he thinks video is the future of the Internet, or at least there will be a lot more of it on content sites in the future. There is a spectrum with Hulu on one end and YouTube on the other. One is high quality and longer pieces, but costs a lot to produce. The other is usually not as good of quality, but is usually very cheap to produce. The key is figuring out where the middle is.

7. Content is King

This goes to a point made earlier: What kind of content does a market area not have? Or perhaps you could do a better job producing that content and providing a place where the community is stronger or delivering it more efficiently. Whatever it is, Lerer said ultimately content is king.

Below are the other key points that will be outlined in future sessions, but ones that the discussion didn’t go into. I will make sure to touch on these more in the future:

  • How to make traffic go viral (SEO, etc).
  • Social and real-time distribution
  • How to raise money to start you business

So what’s missing? Would love to hear it in the comments.

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:

The only to-do for journalism graduates: Innovate

Posted on : 06-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Online Journalism

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checklistLast week, Mark S. Luckie published a great post on 30 things that recent journalism grads should do this summer. The post included everything from starting a blog to creating a basic slideshow in flash. Though this is a great round-up of things that will improve your standing as a job candidate, I want to emphasize a key skill or ingrained mindset each journalist should have today: innovation.

In my observations, it seems that for the last few years journalists have often been playing catch-up to technologies that have ultimately helped or improved journalists work in reporting and publishing their work. Most of these have been Web technologies (using social media tools like Twitter), but advances in equipment (audio players, flip cams, etc.) have also contributed.