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  • How to write darn good headlines for the web: Stop acting like a newspaper « Breaking News
    Good headline writing anywhere is part poetry part Western Union the idea is to attract inform and maybe surprise the reader with very few words But the real goal is to get them to read the story And while the underlying principals are the same their application to print and web headlines should produce very different results In print we depend on the context the printed page lends to the story the photos the sidebars or pull quotes kickers and subheads all of these provide a wealth of contextual information for the headline itself Good print headlines are snappy clever and sometime humourous Often they require the reader to fill in a blank to get it before the headline s full meaning is revealed On the web that headline is likely to be displayed on an index or list or retrieved via a search engine or aggregator and all of that context is gone Often so too is the meaning That doesn t have to mean that all web headlines should be dull factual affairs but just that they have to be read and judged as something that stands all by itself Does it attract inform surprise Most importanly does it give a reader enough of a reason to click through to the story And once you ve got that part right then you have to start strategizing around search engine optimization SEO to the marketing geeks This really useful CNET story on the topic points out that some newspapers are conducting special research and training to ensure their headlines will not just work on the web but drive traffic to their site He quotes the Boston Globe s Boston com editor as pointing out their website is the 4th most popular US newspaper web site while their print circulation

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=63 (2014-10-09)
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  • Personal Computer sales tanking in Japan « Breaking News
    Themes How to write darn good headlines for the web Stop acting like a newspaper Home Facebook Google driving to develop standardized ads and delivery methods Personal Computer sales tanking in Japan By Bill on November 6th 2007 H ome computer sales in gadget mad electronics crazy Japan have declined for 5 straight quarters Is this a sign that ubiquitous computing is finally coming That personal computer type processing power has now been embedded into so many things cell phones PDA s music players cameras gaming consoles hell even refrigerators that people don t need their high powered all in one do anything home computer anymore According to an AP story PC shipments fell 6 2 percent in 2006 Note it s not that the sales increases have been slowing the actual number of PCs being shipped and sold is declining And so far the numbers for 2007 are continuing their plunge a 14 perecent plummet in the 1st Quarter and a further 4 8 percent slide in the 2nd Consumers aren t impressed anymore with bigger hard drives or faster processors That s not as exciting as a bigger TV said Masahiro Katayama research group head at market survey

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=64 (2014-10-09)
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  • Facebook, Google driving to develop standardized ads and delivery methods « Breaking News
    on November 4th 2007 M aybe one of the things that s keeping online newspaper sites from hitching their wagon onto the online advertising gravy train is our failure to develop and standardize online advertising formats Sure we ve done it somewhat with our leaderboards hate that name and buttons and tiles and big boxes but these are all simple display ads and I have a feeling we re behind the curve on this Look at what some of the big players in the online ad business are doing It s a little geeky Okay a LOT geeky but Google s Open Social marks a significant step forward for social networks and the folks desperately seeking to monetize them and not surprisingly it marks yet another challenge to the static ad delivery model featured on most online newspaper sites Open Social will allow developers of widgets mini applications that sit on a web page the chance to develop a widget once that works across a broad range of social networking and blogging sites Since most widgets are driven by advertising or marketing or at least hope to be this step by Google has to be seen as benefiting advertisers and agencies seeking to reach that deep rich and active pool of internet users who hang out for long periods of time as much as 4 x as many hours per month as newspaper web site readers on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook Facebook is not part of the Google consortium remember Microsoft s ad deal with Facebook but this week they too are announcing the creation of ad standards which will open the door to whole new ways of reaching their users and their user s data There s a useful explanation of what s going on over

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=65 (2014-10-09)
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  • Can a beat reporter profit from exposing his network? « Breaking News
    2007 October 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 Blogroll Development Blog Documentation DreamHost Blog Plugins Suggest Ideas Support Forum Themes Facebook Google driving to develop standardized ads and delivery methods Home Going Digital Without Going Broke Can a beat reporter profit from exposing his network By Bill on November 2nd 2007 Damn I think I stepped out of reporting at the wrong time New York journalism prof and new media journalism evangelist Jay Rosen Assignment Zero The People Formerly Known As the Audience etc is launching the third major project of the NewAssignment Net initiative He s trying to integrate social networks and beat reporting Beat Reporting With a Social Network Can it Work Are there network effects in beat reporting Across the US a dozen reporters with beats are going to try to find out simultaneously This will improve their odds of succeeding I m still recruiting participants so read on the rest of this pretty interesting and challenging idea can be found at his blog PressThink Rosen s group will hook together 12 reporters he says he s got 7 or 8 and is looking for a few more each of whom is going to be using a web based social network to stimulate and co ordinate story creation and beat coverage I ve been a big advocate of beat blogs as a way of accomplishing the same idea and so view the idea of bringing that beats network of contacts right into the open process of story creation and research with some excitement And also some trepidation My experience with beat blogs tells me that the key players on your beat or at least many of them will be very reluctant to step into the fray publicly They just have too much to lose A good

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=66 (2014-10-09)
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  • Going Digital — Without Going Broke « Breaking News
    RAM 120 GB SuperDrive ATI Radeon 9000 Pro graphics card with 64MB vram This machine will run iMovie fine but we would not recommend it if you re planning on moving up to the more powerful video editing tools i e Final Cut Pro But we ve been using them to run iMovie and our audio editing software and it works quite well Windows Machines We frankly don t have the working multi media experience on Window s machines but if you want to use a Windows box you will need to purchase the video and sound editing software separately and you will have to make sure it has the appropriate video card See the Software section below for more information on the appropriate Windows software The free Movie Maker software will not meet your needs for producing professional looking web videos Additionally the machine meet the following MINIMUM requirement 2 4 GHz 1 GB RAM 120 GB drive with an upgraded video card and firewire port to connect the camera most modern Dell and HP machines now include them The Camera This is an area of some intensive debate about quality and cost We ve decided to hew to the good enough line since any video produced for the web is going to be compressed to within an inch of it s life and likely shown in a small window on a computer screen all of which renders nearly useless the high end effects and resolution of a pro level camera Although you could spend 7 000 to purchase a high definition camera like the Cannon XH A1 we recommend you spend about a tenth of that or less and purchase a miniDV video camera that records onto mini digital tapes Canadian Press which has begun aggressively pursuing and producing video has armed their reporters with digital audio recorders and inexpensive point and shoot cameras that can also record video Reporters shoot events and interviews capturing a few minutes of video and separate audio These digital files are then downloaded onto their computers and laptops modest recent vintage Windows machines and the digital files are shipped to a central editing facility in Toronto for assembly and distribution to CP member papers It s a system that has allowed them to produce daily video practically from a standing start with low average costs But the less expensive gear in the field means higher end equipment at their editing suite since they have to perform more complicated video and audio synching The central facility employs higher end hardware and Avid a professional level video editing software suite We believe you can de centralize those editing skills and rely on trained and motivated reporters and photographers armed with modest equipment to meet our video and multi media needs But that approach dictates our equipment it should be light easy to pack to and from assignments cheap so they can be as widely distributed as possible forgiving and sufficiently smart that they re

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=67 (2014-10-09)
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  • On-line news readers read more words per story than print readers « Breaking News
    Going Broke Home People s needs change daily so why don t we On line news readers read more words per story than print readers By Bill on October 28th 2007 I m not sure how I missed these results before A major eye tracking study has found that readers of online news actually read more words in those stories that catch their eye than do their print counterparts I ll try and dig up a link to that study but in the meantime here s an interview with Pegie Stark Adam co director of Eye Track 2007 Got it Clicking here will give you a pdf of the Poynter org s report Stark Adam says this study conducted July Nov 2006 with 600 people reading 4 US newspapers and 2 US online newspaper websites was a repeat of a landmark 1991 study and even though their sample size was almost seven times larger and the first report was pre internet the study simply re inforced the major findings of the first one The 1991 Eye Track study shocked the newspaper world when researchers reported that readers were seeing only about 25 of the words on the page and were stopping to read even fewer than that Whether it is because designers and editors took those lessons to heart or because readers have changed the words read number has changed this time around These days readers see and mostly read close to 50 of the words on the page but online readers when they finally do settle on a story read more of the text than their print reading colleagues Asked about the key online findings Stark Adam said For online readers go to navigation devices first and they read a lot of the text they select to read They

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=68 (2014-10-09)
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  • People’s needs change daily – so why don’t we? « Breaking News
    read more words per story than print readers Home Doc Searls Thinks We Should All Get Wet People s needs change daily so why don t we By Bill on October 20th 2007 Spending five days a week locked in a big glass walled room with a dozen or so newspaper people arguing our future you re bound to learn something new every day Today it came from Melanie Hennessey a reporter from the Milton Champion who as she was critiquing the Globe and Mail s website this morning we were examining how well the big boys deliver early morning breaking news the verdict not too well pointed to the left sidebar on the page that contained a handful of very attractive lifestyle type features or videos I don t like that If I go to their website first thing in the morning it s not for the soft stuff I want news I might look at that stuff later but in the morning I just want the news I was about to argue that not everyone has the same tastes when something about her point snuck up and smacked me She s probably dead right that most people s news tastes go through some changes during the course of a day In the morning it s all about what s new not what happened yesterday but what happened since I last checked in It s all about what do I need to know NOW maybe traffic conditions weather maybe remind me of a big event I need to jump online and buy tickets for By lunch I may be ready for a little something longer or maybe something that s more fun more diversionary Hell maybe even soft By the time I m ready to head home I probably

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=69 (2014-10-09)
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  • Doc Searls Thinks We Should All Get Wet « Breaking News
    Wet By Bill on October 19th 2007 D oc Searls co author of the brilliant ClueTrain Manifesto thinks news is a river a living flowing moving thing that doesn t take well to being being bottled up and stored for an hour or six before being uncorked and consumed Here he says it better Future to Newspapers Jump in the river October 19 2007 in Future Journalism Here s the problem with most news it isn t It s olds It happened hours ago or last night or yesterday or last month or before whenever the deadline was in the news organization s current news cycle It s not now Unless of course it s been fed out through syndication and picked up by a news reader or feed search engine e g Google Blogsearch or Technorati that s paying attention to how long ago something got posted Note that feeding is not cycling Rivers don t flow in circles News is a river not a lake It is active not static It s what s happening not what happened Or not only what happened snip Because it s not enough to be online or to have a presence on the Web To be truly alive truly new truly part of the life of its readers a newspaper needs to be on the live web and not just the static one It needs to flow news and not just post it It needs to flow rivers of news or newsrivers A year from now every newspaper will have a newsriver if not many of them Most papers will copy other papers of course But one paper will start the trend take the lead and break the ice that s damned up their purpose in static sites and tombed archives It

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=70 (2014-10-09)
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