Browsing articles from "February, 2012"

Careers in digital media: Tweeting for MTV

Feb 28, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

In this occassional series, Future of Media looks at various careers in the digital media field, all across the spectrum. We’ll look at how the jobs of the present may affect workplaces of the future.

Sarah Dawley is paid to watch Jersey Shore and to post her thoughts about it online. The same goes for the MTV Music Awards, the new Degrassi show and other properties of MTV Canada or MuchMusic, both owned by Canada’s Bell Media.

“I was always interested in social media but didn’t know I’d make a career out of it,” says Toronto resident Dawley, 27. She says social media is intriguing because it appeals to her “nerdy side” and also lets people express themselves beyond how they speak and dress.

As the social media coordinator at Bell Media, Dawley is responsible for the MTV Canada and MuchMusic brands, posting on their respective Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages. It’s a daily if not hourly job, as she often updates fans every few hours on upcoming shows or finding out what people like about certain bands or music videos.

Lunch is often eaten at her desk, Dawley admits. And she isn’t kidding when she says she eats dinner in front of her TV and laptop. Running social media campaigns isn’t for the lazy or unorganized.

Her day begins with laying out the priorities for the week: she determines what content requires the most publicity, and finds out what shows or artists should be crowned on top of that priority list. She collaborates with the marketing and PR teams to make sure everyone’s on the same Web page.

Since she handles both the MTV Canada and MuchMusic brands, she has to cultivate a voice for each music news network. MTV Canada is the Canadian branch of the original MTV company in the U.S., and has the voice of “telling stories about young amazing people,” Dawley says. MTV isn’t very focused on music news as it once did, complementing their music video broadcasts with reality TV shows and teen-drama shows.

Much has a more Canadian vibe to it, and looks at both music and pop culture, Dawley says. “Much is like being your friend,” Dawley says, a statement often heard by brand managers who want to extend their company beyond the corporate sphere into the homes of their fans.

Dawley doesn’t cross-post on Twitter and Facebook the same content, usually, because both media offer different online experiences: on Twitter, it’s expected to see many tweets within the hour, while Facebook requires a less bombarding approach. Also, she notes, Twitter limits you to 140 characters while Facebook’s Status Update options are more flexible.

“We want to strengthen the bond the audience has with the brand,” Dawley notes, saying she’s trying to curate more behind-the-scenes footage and insight from shows such as MTV Live.

Her job can get overwhelming, especially when she’s livetweeting shows such as Jersey Shore and Pretty Little Liars. Her feed is inundated with dozens of replies and she only has so much time to answer them. “Ideally, I’d reply to all of them,” she says wistfully.

For those looking for a job in social media, Dawley passes on some advice: the work is hardly nine-to-five, since she often spends evenings live-tweeting shows and replying to Twitter mentions. If breaking news occurs, such as the death of Whitney Houston, she has to be online immediately to share the news. “Our viewers expect us to be part of their social circle, not just during the day.”

Dawley also makes sure she carves time out of her day to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It’s easy to get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of tweeting and Facebook posting, Dawley notes, but she always tries to set aside time to look at analytic tools to see what worked. “Numbers are important but so are anecdotal accounts of what people are saying about us,” she adds.

Running the social media channels for major brands like MTV can be a lot of work, so is the compensation satisfactory? Dawley won’t tell us how much she earns (of course), but says companies who value what you bring to their online division will also “value you monetarily.”

Would you want a job in social media? Why, why not?

Photo courtesy MuchMusic

Want to be a Groupon VIP? All it takes is $30 a year

Feb 22, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Tucker Cummings (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

In a recession, it’s hard to spare the cash for things that make you feel like a VIP. But Groupon is hoping that buyers wanting a taste of “luxury” will shell out $30 a year to feel special.

TIME reports that the deal-of-the-day website is testing their new VIP service in two markets: Tampa and Hampton Roads, VA.

Pay $29.99, and you’ll get early access to deals (12 hours ahead of the hoi polloi), as well as the ability to purchase deals after they have expired or sold out. Refunds are also reported to be easier for those VIP Groupon members.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Groupon spokeswoman Julie Mossler called the program “a must-have for Groupon addicts.”

Groupon competitor LivingSocial has a similar premium offering, called “LivingSocial Plus.” When the service debuted last year, Josh Constine of TechCrunch wrote, “LivingSocial may have figured out the next big thing in daily deals. Now it just has to watch out for copy cats offering even bigger bonuses.”

TIME previously reported that Groupon’s stock price would likely fall in 2012 due to “Groupon Remorse,” the phrase used to describe the feeling buyers get after buying multiple deals that they may never use.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Murdoch plans to launch Sun on Sundays

Feb 17, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch promised the U.K. a Sunday edition of the tabloid The Sun will launch soon, according to local media.

He said, as reported by the Guardian: “We will build on the Sun’s proud heritage by launching the Sun on Sunday very soon.” He went to say News International had a duty to launch the Sun on Sunday in order “to expand one of the world’s most widely read newspapers and reach even more people than ever before”. “Having a winning paper is the best answer to our critics,” he noted.

Visiting the Sun newsroom recently, Murdoch also stood by his staffers. He backed members of staff arrested by saying “everyone is innocent unless proven otherwise.” Nine journalists were arrested this month after information was passed to the police by an internal body to deal with inquiries into telephone hacking and police corruption.

He also lifted all staff suspensions, BBC News writes.

Media commentator Steve Hewlett said Murdoch was facing the kind of “ructions” in his company he had never seen before, BBC News adds.

“What he’s trying to say to the people here is ‘look we really are on the same side’, but the fact is he is between a rock and a hard place and these are both of his and his company’s own making,” he said.

Should journalism schools include more entrepreneurial courses?

Feb 15, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

Journalism schools need to teach business courses and lessons in creating start-ups, some j-school students and professors say. “We need specialized training that will enable us to adapt to a changing media environment,” a student wrote recently.

A growing debate over how journalism schools should get a makeover was renewed recently in Canada thanks to an article by Arik Ligeti, a third-year student at Carleton University. He recently wrote in “… if there are fewer opportunities and increased competition, then I believe it becomes, at least in part, the job of the educational institution to help prepare its students to adapt to an industry that increasingly demands its workers to sell themselves.”

He complains not enough Canadian j-schools are including entrepreneurial programs into the mix, especially as more newspapers acquire up start-ups and add those staffers into the newsroom. Ligeti adds, “Schools need to give us the skill-set that will allow us to become entrepreneurs – whether that means launching our own ventures, or simply being able to make a living as a freelancer.”

In a recent issue of Media magazine [PDF], Kelly Toughill echoes Ligeti, saying universities need to adapt or die. But there used to be some backlash over this idea: “Some universities have added business development skills to the core baskets of journalism education. Just two years ago this concept was treated as a form of heresy. Those who advocated teaching journalists how to start and run businesses were denounced at academic conferences in Canada and the United States.”

If there is any model for j-schools to look at for inspiration, it’s the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. For the past six years, director Jeff Jarvis has led students to learn about entrepreneurial skills and develop for-profit journalism start-ups to pitch to a “jury” of venture capitalists, technologists and publishers.

Jarvis says in an interview they want students to think about creating platforms or content businesses, and the school aims to try to get the students to succeed with their ventures. CUNY wants students to think about building sustainable journalism business models. “Profit is not a dirty word in our school,” remarks Jarvis.

CUNY students dabble in coding as one way to learn more about the tech side of start-up journalism. “Will they be experts at Javascript after a five-week course? No. But it will give them an idea of what to do,” Jarvis says. Also, he reminds his students they don’t have to be programmers but understand how programmers talk. “We tell them you’ll be a programmer’s boss so you should be able to clearly tell a coder what he should do.”

Ligeti ends his column with a plea: “We need specialized training that will enable us to adapt to a changing media environment which seems to include less permanent jobs and more online ventures.”

Jarvis couldn’t agree more. “We need more schools to teach students the business of journalism.”

This article originally appeared in Digital Journal [link]

Digital media network GigaOm buys PaidContent

Feb 8, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

Two digital media news sites are merging. GigaOm, known for tracking digital media stories from the U.S. primarily, has acquired from London-based Guardian News & Media. PaidContent is owned by ContentNext, which was bought by the Guardian in 2008 for a reported £4 million, which would today convert to roughly $6.5 million.

PaidContent publishes news on digital media companies, and includes commentary mixed with hard news.

Om Malik, founder of GigaOm, wrote on why his company made the acquisition for an undisclosed amount: “The ethos of paidContent and our company are in sync. GigaOM’s core belief is that as connectivity becomes ubiquitous, it changes everything from society to business to we the people. paidContent from the very beginning has been built on the idea that connectedness is and will change media. It makes perfect sense for us to team up.”

Malik went on to say he has been an admirer of paidContent’s editorial team from the very beginning of its journey. He also said, “paidContent is the best chronicler of the media industry, and by blending their coverage with ours, we hope to watch this fast-changing industry ever more closely.”

AdAge notes the traffic is respectable for both properties. GigaOM  attracts 4.5 million monthly unique users, while PaidContent and the other ContentNext sites registered a little more than 700,000 uniques in January.