Archive by Author

The Seattle Times shows innovative, productive journalistic atmosphere

19 Feb

The Seattle Times, its work and operations garnered the respect of nearly the entire class after excellent presentations, discussion of proprietary information and talking about how they are innovating in the digital space. Two-thirds of the website’s unique visitors come form outside the Seattle DMA, accounting for one-third of its pageviews. This statistic shows the news organization’s journalistic success in fulfilling its mission to be a national paper. 

Despite this success, editors mentioned that brand confusion still exists between the Times and the PI, which I found interesting to hear. It implies something about human attention to their newspaper when they still do not realize which news brand they are searching for information.

One outlet mentioned at The Seattle Times that wasn’t brought up many other locations on the trip was Reddit. An MU alumnus and reporter said that Reddit is very popular in Seattle, and because of this, many Times staff members are active on the site. I look forward to seeing how Reddit makes a presence in the market and where it fits into journalism.

The most interesting aspect of this visit to me was hearing about the audience segments a research consultancy developed for the newspaper. Because this is a topic of my thesis, I was very engaged with the research portion of our presentation. It was exciting to see a news brand innovate with the notion of having and being aware of a target audience, and the next step is informing the newsroom. Managing editors said this was done through brown bag lunches, but explained that there was still room for improvement in this area. Overall, the Times was one of my favorite stops on the trip and I will be keeping an eye on them to see how their online product differs based on research studies and what they do to cater to the audience segments. 

-Katie Artemas

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MSN proves actionable corporate atmosphere

18 Feb

Microsoft was one of my favorite companies we attended because I was envisioning the organization from both a corporate culture-level and a source of news. Its team structure promoted interaction with the white boards in each room, and employees seem to have their communication skills down perfectly for an effective business environment.

This is proven by the pure fact that MSN News was an action plan and idea in July, and fully fleshed out and developed in October. In the advertising world, companies often leave cutting-edge ideas as theories and beta versions for way too long, but seeing Microsoft be actionable in its ideas proved the validity of its brand name. MSN News continues to follow its mission, and knows not to stray off.

The MSN News model capitalizes on two human insights that will assist in its sustainability.

  • Readers want easy-to-use design. This is enforced with the user experience research and interface, but proven when moving around the site. User and advertiser feedback is respected and quickly incorporated.
  • News organizations must acknowledge media as it is shared today. This discussion arose around the rumors page, with the rationale that users will discover and tweet this information anyway, so the news must 

Microsoft also gave us the excellent educational opportunity seeing dashboards like the Demand Dashboard they showed us. This proves the constant application of the intimidating term—big data—in today’s industry. The fact that Allison, a woman we met, takes the time and effort to produce summary reports 3 times a day shows that they are trying to make meaning from each day’s analytics. I look forward to watching MSN News continue to innovate and observing how MSN as a website diminishes (or limits the use) of its Fox & NBC partnerships and starts sharing its own content across its platforms.

To read more tips I learned from Microsoft and Steve Cvengros, click here to my blog post on the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) blog.

-Katie Artemas

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Post-Intelligencer disappoints hopeful journalism students

18 Feb

Visiting the Post-Intelligencer was a very realistic, yet depressing journalistic experience. Immediately upon entering, walking through the empty office space was a signal of dying journalism. Our conversation with Sarah and Scott came off as very defensive—because rather than looking at journalism as a public good or informing citizens, it very much seemed like the PI was reporting for necessity and survival rather than enjoyment or altruism in their work.

Although the PI’s model is realistic to cater to today’s needs, it was discouraging to hear them settle on the notion that feature & enterprise stories that push traffic are more important than hard news pieces or in-depth analyses. We joked about cat stories the entire trip, but it’s the truth that online publications are embracing things like this. Reporters have to be careful what they are taking up for enjoyment if they want to uphold the PI brand’s reputation of catering to highly educated Seattle-area residents and a male-skewed audience.

Because this was our first visit, it was the first publication where we heard about changing media habits because of tablets and mobile devices. Here, we discussed the spike in readership and online habits around 8 pm, and this was a finding that I was able to compare media vehicles to during the rest of the trip. Overall, while this was not my favorite stop, I am glad we learned about adjusting to a dramatic situation of altering content so it will be seen and developing enterprise ideas that cater to the true audience.

-Katie Artemas

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GeekWire shows successful media entrepreneurship

18 Feb

John Cook & his co-workers at GeekWire are well-rounded entrepreneurs, showing us a great example of a startup that has a monetization model, as well as journalistic ethical standards. They are role models for all of us because they have proven that good writing and business skills, networking and a niche focus are vital to a successful startup.

GeekWire shows how niches can build community, and the content that follows can be treated like community journalism. This type of work is shared through internet posts, discussion boards and an interconnected sphere of readers engaged with this information, with a continual discussion around story topics and what is emerging. Community journalism is spread through outreach, which can be done with events, sharing in the correct social community or emailing others stories.

The fact that 40 percent of GeekWire’s revenue comes from their private events says a lot about the role of community events in niche journalism and internet news sites today. The company has built a competitive community around its content that wants to not only come hear speakers, but meet other readers and subscribers in an environment that lets them feel exclusive. The network John Cook built up from his reputation contributes to the publication like no other, since he can bring in credible speakers from Expedia and other popular sites. His lessons are inter-related with many speakers at Mizzou, who recommend learning the resources of large companies before innovating too soon into your own.

Overall, John and Taylor’s stories of what they get to cover, how they enterprise ideas and how their events are run provide inspiration for startups everywhere and show how good journalism can be produced in the local and sub-national tech sphere.

-Katie Artemas

Kris Peterson teaches lessons for succeeding in corporate world

10 Feb

Kris had a lot to offer us with her trifecta industry experience at Amazon, Starbucks & Microsoft, as well as industry & alumni-level advice. Her expertise is desired at many companies with good reason, and she really cares about what is best for the customer and knows how to articulate this to her vendors. I was very impressed by her work and think she is one of the most humble and honest individuals we met with.

Mizzou’s Strategic Communication program prepares students to work at an agency after graduation, and tends to neglect what corporate offices do. Professors position corporate companies like where Kris has worked as overly conservative full of older employees who are stuck in the past and unwilling to try new things. Kris’s words not only gave inspiration to the benefits of working on client side, but also proved that these companies are looking for ways to move forward and come up with the next big idea.

At the end of the day, if an advertising agency develops a cutting-edge research product, it won’t gain as much traction as when Microsoft or Amazon releases the product. Corporations have industry power that agencies and consultancies do not, because they are attached to a stronger, consumer-facing brand name and not a branded agency name.

Her advice of embracing ambiguity resonates and I will keep that message in my head forever. It has been and will continue to be difficult with Millennials entering the work force and not receiving recognition for their work, but her words show students that this is normal and adults at large companies struggle with the same thing. It taught everyone to present ourselves well in the work place, come with questions and be prepared to work hard.

-Katie Artemas

Aggregate.com shows students agency environment

10 Feb

Aggregate.com is a prime example of the incestuous advertising industry, with team members constantly taking off, snitching clients and starting off their own agencies with an entrepreneurial spirit. Although we didn’t meet her, it’s clear that owner Alison Byrne Shields must be pretty respected in the industry to break off from Ogilvy & DDB, gain some East Coast non-profit clients and start an Aggregate office in Seattle.

I think it was great to meet Amy because so many journalism emphasis areas outside of Strategic Communication have no comprehension of how agencies are structured—whether it be strategy departments, creative executions, account services or digital firms. So many of our students today have surface-knowledge of this industry, and claim they will never enter the “dark side” and work in advertising after receiving such a great journalism education on reporting and editing skills. It’s important for them to see the other side of things, how things are strategized, how business meetings work & where the monetization of publications are coming from.

Since Amy had only been at Aggregate for one month, it appeared that she was still adjusting to the client work and couldn’t articulate it as clearly as I would have hoped, but their agency had a good vibe and the individuals working there really care about cause marketing.

-Katie Artemas

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Content Marketing Reflection

6 Feb

I had the opportunity to see David Germano’s presentation on content marketing twice, once in our class and a second time in a course of advertising students. As an intern at a media agency, I was pretty excited to hear about his expertise and how it is executed in a work environment.

From an agency lens, questions emerged as he spoke. What is the job description of a marketing specialist? What are his or her daily duties like? Are they brainstorming ideas of where the brand can integrate, or contracting the deals? Are they pitching mock content and writing up blog posts or category posts, or outsourcing that to another individual? Is there a designated person on a brand’s agency team to focus on content marketing, or is the whole team educated on the topic and supposed to regularly brainstorm these ideas? I look forward to seeing how content marketing is executed at the agency level and how billable hours will work in this setting.  

The notion of content marketing makes advertising the intersection between journalism and traditional media planning. The idea of sponsoring category-level over brand-level material must be hard for clients to grasp, nonetheless buy into. He raised the idea that no one pays attentions to brands when they talk about themselves on social media, so consumers would roll their eyes if brands over-inserted themselves into media vehicles. An older advertising professor who heard the same presentation felt that this moves in the direction toward traditional advertising. Back to the days when print advertisements told stories and before branded content, viral videos, branded entertainment and excessive Internet sponsorships took over.  

As students who could soon be implementing these ideas in the work force, it’s important to consider a few ideas before taking this too far forward. Advertising professionals must acknowledge that the art of journalistic writing is not yet dead. We are so engrossed in punchy copywriting for brands, or short, social media copywriting—but business writing & journalistic storytelling are not to disappear. Journalists who are skeptical this idea must be aware of how media agencies function to truly understand how content marketing is executed, and not lose faith in advertisers. David showed us a few blogs that are owned by corporations, and the real stories on them. Therefore, presenting this idea to journalists by explaining how marketers & retail sites are their own media vehicles is a lesson everyone in the media industry should soon be aware of.

The most important lesson I took away from today’s lesson is the vitality of:

-Communicating ideas

-Working with a team to develop them

-Maintaining a good relationship between journalists & strategic communication/business professionals 

From an educational standpoint, it is important for students to learn about emerging topics like this. I was surprised that David himself referred to content marketing as a fad because of its propensity to evolve in the next five years, but now that we are aware of it, we can follows news on it and seek successful examples.

-Katie Artemas