Online video: Live fast, die young


Online videos have a short shelf life, getting a quarter of their views within four days of being published, Brett Wilson, CEO of video distribution site TubeMogul, says. Content creators who publish a lot of video will have a better shot at success.

He suggests that content creators promote their videos hard for the first few days as attention will drop quickly.

Is your site producing enough video, or are you still doing hours-long productions praying for a hit?

An outline for taking ownership of your stories

Reporters who own their jobs with an entrepreneurial spirit and energy will also own each story they do. What does story ownership mean?

  • You generate your own story ideas.
  • You decide the angle, who to talk to, where to gather information and what you do with it.
  • As you gather information, you find and save any relevant links.
  • You decide what other assets the story needs — video? a map? a pdf? a database? a graphic? pictures? You then either create or get created those assets.
  • When you write the story, you include appropriate links (to names, locations, documents, previous stories, blogs and previous coverage).
  • You gather all of the assets, publish the story in draft form and let an editor know it’s ready (with the expectation that the story will be live on the web within 10 minutes).
  • When the story is published, you socially bookmark the story as appropriate; you send the link to bloggers you know who might be interested; you e-mail the link to sources or readers you know would be interested.
  • After the story is published, you follow and participate as appropriate in the online conversation, either via comments on the story or on other sites (blogs and forums).
  • You take everything you’ve learned and repurpose the story for print.
  • If the conversation brings to light any new significant information, you plan a new story and the process starts over.

Editors, are you writing this into your job descriptions?

What have you Finisht?

Nick Sergeant has completed his first Django project. It’s called  It’s really for developers who want a quick and easy way to track finished projects.

In an era when journalists are asked to do more and more, I can see reporters and editors using this for their own personal tracking of completed projects.  It can be quite rewarding to see a list of everything you’ve completed in a day, a week or a month.

Greensboro journalist completes get-wired program

When I posted about journalists setting their own 2008 MBOs, A couple of executive editors like the idea of the program and instituted something like it in their own newsrooms.  Today, John Robinson reports that his wallet is $100 lighter.

Among other things, designer Mel Umbarger created a copy desk wiki for a style book, schedules and more; created personal profiles on several social networking sites, learned Soundslides and Flash; blogged; and posted all sorts of content to the Web site.

Congratulations to Mel.  Good job.

Find me on Twitter

Blogging has been light here for some time.

I’m tired of arguing with curmudgeons and the class hearty souls who discovered the web in 2004 and now has all the answers (many of them tried by online news veterans 10 years ago).

Just about everything I have to say, I’ve said. I noticed some time ago, I was repeating myself too often. Different words. Same meanings.

I’m tired of Ground Hog Day.

I’m not going to stop blogging. I’m not going to stop posting totally.  Stay subscribed to the RSS feed.

Not everything I might have to say can be said in 140 characters.

I have been having fun with Twitter recently.  I’m howardowens there.

If the past is any indication, something will spark me out of my blogging funk and I’ll become prodigious again.  But not today and probably not tomorrow.

Tell Romenekso I said, “Hi.”

The tale of two stories, one engaging, one not

Which of these stories would you rather read?

After Fleeing Psychiatric Unit, Ex-Officer Is Killed in a Gunfight With Police

Carrying two handguns and a Bible, a retired city police officer was killed in a gunfight early Tuesday on a residential street in Staten Island by former colleagues who returned his fire, the authorities said.

When the shooting ended, the officer, Jason Aiello, 36, was slumped at the wheel of a cousin’s truck on the street in front of his home in the Rosebank neighborhood, with his wife, Rachel, sitting next to him, officials said. His three young children were in another family car across the street.


Unhinged ex-sergeant holding bible and gun is slain by cops in front of family

Suspected of setting up his best friend for a mob hit, a retired NYPD sergeant armed with a gun and a Bible went berserk Tuesday before cops killed him in front of his wife and kids.

The death of Jason Aiello in a blizzard of two dozen bullets capped a dramatic chain of events that began with a “crazed” visit to FBI headquarters and ended with his escape from a Staten Island psych ward.

The 36-year-old father of three apparently suffered an epic mental meltdown in which he spouted Scripture, tried to abduct his pajama-clad kids and then fired on police, authorities said. He fired eight shots; cops fired 19.

Both stories are factual an unbiased. One is just much easier and engaging to read. The first is the New York Times, the second, the Daily News. While the Daily News posted a decline in the latest Fas-Fax, it had been a steady climber prior to that. The Times has been on a down hill slide for some time.

Not all of the readership loss of newspapers can be blamed on the Internet (especially considering that the declines started before there was a commercial Web). Isn’t it fair to ask that some of the problem might be the journalism itself?

Doug Fisher covers similar territory this morning.

Speaking at SPJ convention on reinventing journalism

I’ll be attending two journalism conventions over the next couple of months to talk about digital-age journalism.

On August 8, I’ll be on the luncheon panel at the AEJMC convention in Chicago. The topic is Networked Journalism: The Changing Face of News. Also on the panel, Kate Marymont, a Gannett VP, and Dan Barkin, online editor for the News & Observer in Charlotte.

On Sept. 6, I’ll be in Atlanta for the national SPJ Convention.  It’ll be the first time I attended one of these since 1996, when I was president of the San Diego Chapter.  We’ll be reprising the AEJMC panel, and I’ll also  do an hour-long presentation on “Reinventing Journalism.”

A quote for the curmudgeons

Here’s a quote for any online manager dealing with a newsroom of curmudgeons. It’s from Theodore Roosevelt. Blow it up big and post it for all to see.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

(via Tech Crunch in a totally different context)

Ventura reporter’s letter tells the story better than traditional print writing

The Ventura County Star‘s Scott Hadly is reporting from Iraq.  I haven’t been following his coverage, but I met none of it matches the intimacy and immediacy of this letter he wrote to a fellow reporter.

In one short letter, I got a better idea of what’s going on in Iraq from 1,000 New York Times stories.

This is how you write for the modern reader.  Journalists need to learn the lesson.

I’m not saying profanity is required, but if you’re writing about something like what Scott went through and some profanity doesn’t at least cross your mind, then you’re probably not putting enough of yourself into the story.

FWIW: I don’t know Scott. He joined the staff after I left Ventura.

Hey, E&P, where’s the blog?

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, many newly minted bloggers expressed frustration at the mainstream media’s (soon to be dubbed MSM) lack of attention to serious international news.

Case in point was cable news obsession with Chandra Levy’s death.  So, when on the E&P site today, I saw a link about the WaPo getting ready to launch a 12-part series on the forgotten cold case, it intrigued me.

But that’s not the point of this post.

The point is, this quote at the end of the article:

Throughout the series, this blog will feature a daily update and preview of the next chapter from the reporters. Stay tuned.

Uh? This blog?

Go look at that link — in what was does it look any different from a typical E&P story? How is it written any different? Not only does the “post” lack the personal voice, insight and perspective of a good blog, it lacks a person — it’s just a generic “E&P staff” byline.  Nor can you leave comments on it, nor can you get to, from that post, any sort of blog home page.

If E&P is running any blogs, there’s no evidence of it on their navigation or from their home page. (Hey, but they do have a podcast).

So if the biggest trade publication in the industry is so clueless about the web, what hope do we have for the rest of the industry?

Or am I just missing something? Is it just bad site design?