The Journal Register Company will seek protection under Chapter 11 “and will seek to implement a prompt sale,” according to Digital First Media head John Paton. The U.S. newspaper company, known for its Digital First strategy, has already attracted interest from an investment group affiliated with Alden Global Capital.
“I am pleased to tell you the Company has a signed stalking horse bid for Journal Register Company from 21st CMH Acquisition Co., an affiliate of funds managed by Alden Global Capital LLC,” Paton wrote on his blog.
A stalking horse bid is an initial bid on a bankrupt company’s assets from an interested buyer chosen by the bankrupt company.
Should staff be worried? Paton says no, it’s business as usual. “Journal Register Company’s filing will have no impact on the day-to-day operation of Journal Register Company, Digital First Media or MediaNews Group during the sale process. They will continue to operate their business and roll out new initiatives,” he writes.
So why file for Chapter 11? Paton explains how the company exited the 2009 restructuring with approximately $225 million in debt. Print ad revenue has slumped 19 percent rom 2009 to 2011, and print advertising represents more than half of the of Journal Register’s revenues.
Digital revenues have soared, growing 235 percent between 2009 and 2011. But it’s not enough to make up for the print ad loss, Paton writes.
“And while I get this news may make some of you nervous, don’t let it. Concentrate on the job at hand and we will work through this,” he concludes.
When Journal Register last filed for bankruptcy in 2009, James W. Hall, the CEO at the time, promised it would emerge “stronger, leaner and more financially viable in the current environment,” Poynter writes.
by Beth Kanter (Guest contributor/for NTEN: Change)
Heard of content curation? It’s the process of sifting through information on the Web – from articles to images to videos to tweets – to organize, filter and make sense of content and then to share the very best material with your network.
Rather than another potential recipe for information overload, content creation can actually be a means to tackle this problem. We now create more data in just seven days than in all of human history up through 2003. So we need help sorting through all of the info flotsam and jetsam that we’re splashing around in.
Benefits of content curation for nonprofits
A curator needs to have superb social media monitoring and listening skills. That means knowing the right keywords on the topic and sources, agility with “aggregator” tools and the daily discipline of foraging for the best content and evaluating your finds before sharing.
Whether you have a staffer monitoring and aggregating blog posts for internal use or posting to Pinterest or providing value to the community by pointing to useful tweets, content curation holds benefits for both nonprofits and the people who work for them:
- Improve staff expertise. It used to be that we could be trained to do our work and we wouldn’t need to update and synthesize new information on a daily basis. That’s less true. One 21st century work place literacy is sense-making of information together and alone. Good curators can spot and highlight content related to their mission.
- Improve thought leadership. If your organization is curating content on a particular topic, it can help with branding your organization as thought leaders in the space.
- New sources of content. Curation forms the base of your content strategy pyramid. It’s about curation, creativity and coordination across channels. Your content strategy is essential to the success of an integrated social media strategy. And content curation can help increase the shelf-life of your content you’re already producing.
Techniques for efficient, focused curation
As you encourage content curation activities for your staff, you may also want to remind them of techniques for being efficient and staying focused:
- Manage your attention, not just your time: Don’t just create a to-do list; lay it out on daily and weekly schedules, breaking down key tasks of the project into chunks. Consider the level of concentration and focus that each type of task or chunk requires and schedule accordingly. For example, if I have to do some writing that requires a higher level of attention for me than does scanning Twitter or reading and responding to email, I schedule my writing time during peak concentration hours in the day. I also use a timer when I’m scanning my networks and limit those activities to 15-20 minute bursts.
- Visualize on paper: Over the past 10 months, I’ve made a return to paper and markers and using mind maps or visualization techniques to reflect and to plan my week or day. I use this as a pre-writing exercise as well as a reflection exercise. It’s a way to cope with getting “content fried.”
- Establish rituals: Rituals in your work life are valuable. A mind map offers a lot of good suggestions for rituals, from decluttering your workspace to healthy habits like sleep and exercise.
- Reflection: Reflection doesn’t have to take up a large amount of time to be effective. I take 10 minutes every morning to practice some visual recording skills like drawing to create my “3 Most Important Things for Today List.” At the end of the day, I look at it, reflect on what I did and plan for tomorrow.
- Managing email and other distractions: I try to avoid email first thing in the morning. And I’ve turned off notifications that pop up on my computer screen or send me a text message to my mobile phone.
- Managing physical space: When I see clutter in my physical work spaces, I try to take that as a sign that I need to hit a pause button. Usually it is because I’m doing too much.
- Just say no: Maybe you are going to say no to social media for a day and go to meet with people, take a class, read a book or take a walk. When I’m feeling most overwhelmed, I take a break. At least get up from your desk!
Content curation can not only benefit your organization but also enhance staff expertise in the subject area being curated. This can have additional returns for your organization’s programs and services and positively impact your stakeholders. It can also help staff avoid the problems of lost productivity that information overload causes.
Best of all, it can help your nonprofit overall by strengthening your communications strategy and positioning your organization as a thought leader in its domain. But it requires a solid content strategy and training in the hard and soft techniques of content curation.
Beth Kanter is a visiting scholar with the Packard Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @kanter and at the bethkanter.org blog. This article originally appeared in theNonprofit Technology Network newsletter (subscribe here) as part of NTEN: Change and was curated by the Socialbrite team.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
by Leigh Goessl (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
This week both Facebook and the ACLU have filed a brief in an Eastern Virginia Court asserting the “Like” Button is covered as free speech under the First Amendment.
This paperwork was filed on behalf of one of the six employees that were fired from a Hampton, Va. sheriff’s department, alleging they were fired because they “liked” an opposing candidate to the sheriff on Facebook during the 2009 election campaign
.Digital Journal reported on the case in May. U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson had ruled clicking the “Like” button is not the same type of expression as typing out a message, thus is not covered under the First Amendment.It was widely speculated at the time this ruling would be appealed, and that is indeed the case.
This decision is now being appealed by one of the plaintiffs. According to Forbes, Daniel Ray Carter, Jr., one of the fired employees, has appealed the decision. Both Facebook and ACLU have filed paperwork in support of the appeal arguing that clicking the “Like” button is free expression and deserves Constitutional protection.
“The district court’s holding that “‘liking’ a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection” because it does not “involve actual statements,” J.A. 1159, betrays a misunderstanding of the nature of the communication at issue and disregards wellsettled Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit precedent. Liking a Facebook Page (or other website) is core speech: it is a statement that will be viewed by a small group of Facebook Friends or by a vast community of online users.”
Facebook essentially explains in its brief how the network operates, and also explains how it is built upon the sharing and expression of views by users. It compares itself to more traditional forms of expression, indicating the “Like” button, “represented by a thumbs up icon”, is a way for users to share information on the network, and should be protected under the Constitution.
“If Carter had stood on a street corner and announced, “I like Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff,” there would be no dispute that his statement was constitutionally protected speech. Carter made that very statement; the fact that he did it online, with a click of a computer’s mouse, does not deprive Carter’s speech of constitutional protection,” Facebook wrote.
Facebook should be applauded for filing this brief to support the free speech rights of its users,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Facebook has become a means of communication for tens of millions of Americans, and if basic activity on Facebook such as ‘liking’ were denied First Amendment protection, the free expression of ideas that the First Amendment is meant to safeguard would be severely limited.”
Now the issue is back in the hands of the Court to decide. This case highlights some interesting dynamics as technology continues to seep into daily activities. Laws were obviously not written with technology in mind, so it is not uncommon to find there are many grey areas that have emerged as a result of the impact of technological progression.Facebook’s highly-used “Like” button, is a current example of exactly how forms of expression do or do fit into the line of the law.
“It’s a somewhat odd decision that a Facebook Like is not protected speech,” Jeff Hermes, director of the Digital Media Law Project, Berkman Center for Internet & Society had told MSNBCback in the spring. “The judge was essentially devaluing the ‘Like’ as speech because of how simple it is to do.”
Fortune brings up another point that Facebook “actually creates all kinds of potential headaches” with its popular “Like” button, noting that “liking” a website or page “expresses interest, but not necessarily support”. The article muses whether or not anyone really know if a person “likes” the page they’ve clicked, or are they simply following updates and news?
The Forbes article also speculates whether or not some of the issues could be mitigated if Facebook altered the name of the button to say something like “follow” or “track”.
However, this might go against Facebook’s need to make itself appealing to advertisers, and as the network struggles on the stock market, making such a change may not be desired. If they did though, it would clearly outline what someone means when they click “Like”.
This article originally appeared in Digital Journal [Link]
Digital Journalists landing more opportunities thanks to digital publishing and community experience
With the rise of social media and communities such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, news organizations and brands are facing increased pressure to find editorial talent who can work seamlessly in the fast-paced world of digital media.
As content continues to go more digital, writers with experience in online publishing are finding job opportunities in an industry facing enormous change. Publishing communities are seeing a surge in growth because of their focused approach on breeding top talent and high-quality content.
“Over the last few years, publishers and brands have focused intensely on building out their social media presence,” says Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal, an online media network with 40,000 members in 200 countries. “But at the end of the day content is still king and the challenge today has become finding talent who has the technical, creative and literary chops that only exist in a digital publishing environment.”
Digital Journal is a freelance publishing network where professional and first-time writers are given the opportunity to learn how to publish content online, as well as create a name for themselves by building a portfolio of news and general interest content. It’s that mixture that leads to extremely talented contributors who are now finding more job opportunities online because of their experience working with Digital Journal.
Digital Journal was recently proclaimed one of the Top 20 most promising startups in Canadaand its reach extends to virtually every major city in the world.
Stephanie Medeiros, a 22-year-old Michigan resident, landed a job as a Content Manager for a local startup because of her experience creating compelling and engaging content on Digital Journal. Medeiros says she also found freelance gigs with Gannett. She’s helped other companies apply a journalism touch to content production and she was also headhunted by AOL to work in a managing editorial position within the company’s network because of her experience with Digital Journal.
“I suggest other writers join Digital Journal because they provide viable connections and a strong portfolio for new writers, and my experience working with Digital Journal has only been pleasant and immensely helpful,” she says. “Being a 22-year-old, still in school, and being offered all of these great opportunities — it’s still hard to believe this all happened by simply covering news. Digital Journal accounts for a big chunk of that success.”
Medeiros says Digital Journal editors and the company’s in-depth database of help and support articles are a big reason she was able to learn the ins and outs of digital publishing so quickly. “There’s advice covered in there that not many other blogs or articles cover as well,” she says.
Another Digital Journal contributor, Jay David Murphy, was recently hired as the full-time sports director for the Eastern Arizona Courier because of his experience with Digital Journal. “I wanted to thank you for the opportunity you provided me to write for you,” Murphy wrote in a recent Letter to the Editor. “It was your site that gave me the validity I needed to take a step forward in journalism. My new employers were able to view what I can do and that went a long way to getting the job. Who says you can’t start fresh at the age of 50.”
And Digital Journal success stories extend beyond the United States, too.
Anne Sewell, a Digital Journalist based in Southern Spain, says she enjoys contributing because of the variety of content and viewpoints. “Digital Journal is an invaluable tool to get the real news out,” she says. “This makes the news more balanced, and far more interesting to read.” While she does not have journalism experience, Sewell learned the trade and is among Digital Journal’s top-ranked contributors.
Another international contributor is Darren Weir. Weir worked as a broadcast journalist for 30 years in radio and TV newsrooms across Canada. He took a break from journalism in 2010 and moved to Israel, leaving the media industry entirely. That is, until he found Digital Journal.
“I wanted to get back into researching and writing and believed that by building an online presence would help me land my next job when it was time,” said Weir. “I love the freedom to choose my own subjects to write about, my journalism background has prepared me for the research and my blogging experience has helped me to transfer the stories to an online format. I also like the immediate feedback that I get online, that I didn’t receive in my previous jobs.”
Weir published 85 articles and 3 blogs in his first month alone and was ranked highly among Digital Journal’s contributors.“Digital Journal has renewed my interest in a career that I thought I had had exhausted,” says Weir. “I no longer say ‘been there, done that’ and I thank the Digital Journal team every day for the opportunity the website has given me.”
Digital Journal attracts thousands of individuals into its network because the company excels in both training and supporting people building out their digital portfolios. People who wish to contribute to the network must apply and submit samples of writing — a benchmark that keeps the quality of content high — and once approved, Digital Journalists get the chance to work as part of a team in a network read by millions of people globally.
“Because Digital Journal takes a unique and high-quality approach to producing content at scale, we’ve seen solid year-over-year growth. The individuals who contribute regularly to Digital Journal are finding themselves with more opportunities because they have skills you can’t find elsewhere,” says Hogg. “Our contributors are digital natives who understand how to balance quality writing with the need to use data, SEO and social media to grow audience.”
In the competitive world of online publishing, one of Digital Journal’s biggest advantages comes from how the company blends technology, social and content tools to produce both professional and user-generated content at scale.The company also attracted worldwide attention in media circles in 2011 when it launched its gamification platform that creates in-depth social profiles of contributors as well as highlights the most talented contributors across its global network.
About Digital Journal
Digital Journal is a global digital media network with 40,000+ professional and citizen journalists, bloggers, photographers and freelancers in 200 countries around the world. Regarded as a pioneer and leader in crowd-sourcing and user-generated content, Digital Journal is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. For more information, visit www.digitaljournal.com
This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]
by Andrew Moran (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report published Sunday, South Korea’s high-speed Internet penetration rate topped 100 percent for the first time among the group’s 34 nations.
The OECD published data in a report this weekend that highlights worldwide wireless broadband subscriptions and the average domestic high-speed Internet penetration rate. It also looked at high-speed Internet subscriptions for mobile devices.
On a global scale, the number of wireless broadband users is up 13 percent from more than a year ago for a total of 667 million (590 million in June 2011).
The OECD gave the No. 1 spot to South Korea and is the very first OECD country to surpass the 100 percent mark.Data from the agency points out that there are 100.6 subscriptions for every 100 people (due to the number of technological outlets not because of more Internet subscribers than people) and 47.6 mobile subscriptions for every 100 citizens. The Asian country’s rate is up from 89.8 percent from the year prior.
South Korea edged out Sweden, which garnered 98 percent, followed by Finland with 87.8 percent, Japan with 82.4 percent, Denmark with 81.5 percent, Norway with 77.9 percent and the United States with 76.1 percent.
This report suggested that Mexico, Turkey and Hungary were at the bottom as they garnered 7.7 percent, 8.9 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively.
Both analysts and market experts say the high-speed Internet penetration rate is due to the extension of smartphones, reports the Korean Herald (via Google Translate). Furthermore, South Korea’s fast networks have permitted applications to become the precedent for much of the smartphone users.
Meanwhile, Switzerland was on the top of the list for fixed broadband Internet.
The report showed that the European nation had 39.9 subscribers for everyone 100 inhabitants, while Netherlands (39.1) and Denmark (37.9) followed.Chile (11.1), Mexico (10.3) and Turkey (10.1) were last on the list.
This article was originally published in Digital Journal [link]