Tablets: Evolution of the News

Ever since the printing press, news has constantly evolved in its delivery method. The use of tablets for news is the natural progression in this evolution. Coined the ‘platform to save the news industry’, tablets and mobile are viewed by some as a chance to start over. Media companies have the chance to attempt to re-configure their system to benefit from tablet users. When the free online version of the papers debuted, media companies have had a difficult time constructing a pay structure that not only retained consumers but was profitable as well. Mobile is giving them a second chance.

For there to be a future in journalism on mobile devices, media companies need to establish a pay structure from the beginning. While pay structures can present the same problems as on traditional media, a balance needs to be achieved. Niche and specialty papers such as the Wall Street Journal have never had a problem with hard pay walls, but general news gets trickier. One benefit of tablets is the perception by the consumer. They are more willing to pay for content and value the applications differently. Media companies need to utilize this to the fullest and charge for content from the start.

Tablets offer a new form of revenue from advertising and charging for application downloads as well. Applications as well as mobile sites are crucial to news outlets to attract users to not only create brand loyalty but make money from the mobile advertising as well.

Media companies need to adapt to the changes or perish. In this environment where technology is reinventing and moving forward, there is no other choice. The numbers have been rising since the inception of the tablet and this gives the media companies a chance to build back their business.

This may not ‘save’ the publishing industries but it is the next step in the news cycle. Traditional companies need to embrace the reality and configure a pay and overall structure that will not only retain consumers but be lucrative as well. This can only help the media companies if they understand the growing need for this shift.

It comes down to not whether media companies will adapt but if it will work in the long-term. The way information is disseminated is constantly shifting and to stay relevant companies need to assimilate to embrace the changes.

Pitching to a media outlet

Getting published is a crucial part of free-lance writing and for any journalist. There are important steps to consider to make the right impression. According to Mitzi Miller, Jest’s Editor in chief, targeting your letters to the magazines or outlets is crucial. Miller said, “If you just send me whatever and it’s not very well thought-out and it makes no sense for my magazine, you’re wasting my time. And I remember that.” Instead of drafting a general letter and mass-mailing it to everyone, one should show a genuine interest in the perspective company. This borders on common sense but a mass pitch can be time saving and cover a lot more ground. To make a lasting impression one should develop a well thought out and unique pitch for each company. Miller emphasized to get to the point of the story succinctly and swiftly. “Make it impossible for me to say no.”

Social Media Guidelines for Journalists

Social media is constantly updating and changing. As a journalist, it is crucial to understand the subtle nuances between each and the social media guidelines. While the best practices for social media keep evolving, International Journalists’ Network points out a few that are worth noting.

Cross posting can save one a lot of time and simultaneously post an update to several social media outlets at once. This can be very helpful with journalists when breaking news, links to stories or just an update. When cross posting however, one needs to be very aware of how the post is formulated. Each social network has its own tone, and it may come off as disingenuous if one is constantly posting tweet like stories on Facebook and vice versa. One’s followers want to feel targeted and the information relevant, so cross post sparingly.

Another point addressed is scheduling ones posts. The article counters the idea that social media has to be immediate, fresh, and at the moment by advocating scheduling. There is a delicate balance with scheduling tweets similar to cross posting. If one does it too much, the audience could become disenchanted with the lack of interaction but sometimes one just doesn’t have the time to update their audience all day. Using this as a supplement can help with certain posts that will have more relevance at a later time or at a peak hour, but shouldn’t be abused.

The third practice noted is the idea of mass following. This is a bad practice for not only journalists but social media use in general. Pushing the idea of manners aside, it doesn’t make sense to follow/friend/subscribe each person that decides to follow you. Sometimes they aren’t active on social media or have completely different interests so following back doesn’t benefit you or make much sense. Instead of mass following the option to make lists or use hash tags, can help divvy up the audience and eliminate the stress of filtering through plethora of updates or statuses.

One social media practice that is seen more in journalism than in regular practice is the idea of repeating. By using a service like Tweko, one can schedule post to be repeated at certain times and how many times. Drawback here is that too many of the same post can get quite annoying and could be construed at just trying to drive traffic.

In social media today it is crucial to stay connected with one’s audience. By balancing these practices, staying involved but allowing oneself time outside of social media can help build a large following as well as make connections in the community. Some other guidelines include realizing that everything written online is public so be very aware of the tone of updates. While some believe breaking news should be released on the news website first, social media can be a much more immediate platform. Just be aware of the accuracy when breaking news on social media. Social media can be extremely useful for journalists, it is just a matter of being able to experiment and figure out what practices work best.