Archive for December, 2010

The future of journalism?

December 20, 2010

If you haven’t tried Flipboard on the iPad yet, go out and do so. (If you don’t have an iPad or a friend with an iPad, try visiting an Apple store to try one out—they recently named Flipboard app of the year, so staff should be interested in promoting it.)

Even if you don’t love Flipboard, you have to love what they’re doing for the reading experience. After all, they’re taking inspiration from magazines—and trying to create the best of both worlds.

The L.A. Times has an interview up with Flipboard’s chief executive, Mike McCue. His inspiring message?

Let’s leverage the power of the Web — don’t get rid of it, but make the Web beautiful again. We need to give the content room to breathe, and give magazine-style advertisements the opportunity to flourish. We want to allow people to share all this content across many social networks and drive people to retweet and share even more.


How the Atlantic found profit online

December 13, 2010

Thanks to Heather Li for pointing me toward this New York Times article on the Atlantic, which “is on track to turn a tidy profit of $1.8 million this year”—in the black for the first time in over a decade.

How did they do it? Three things: they hired some very good staff, they completely reinvented the staff structure and, most important, they stopped thinking of the Atlantic as a printed product:

Separations between the digital and print staffs in both business and editorial operations came down. The Web site’s paywall was dismantled. A cadre of young writers began filling the newsroom’s cubicles. Advertising salespeople were told it did not matter what percentage of their sales were digital and what percentage print; they just needed to hit one sales target. A robust business around Atlantic-branded conferences took off.

I particularly like the readjustment of sales targets—most interestingly, both digital and print sales went up as a result of this, probably due to a lot more creative thinking and cross-platform sales.

Does your company keep digital and print teams separate, or is it one big happy family? How do you think combining forces would change your business?

Upgrade your skills: January classes at Ryerson

December 8, 2010

It’s that time again… Time to consider signing up for a class to develop your skills. We’ve got a bunch of great classes coming in January at Ryerson’s Magazine Publishing program, including a new one on online ad sales. (My class is offered next in May.)

14-week classes:

• Magazine and Website Publishing with D.B. Scott
• Magazine and Website Editing with Penny Caldwell
• Introduction to Magazine Design with Jayne Finn
• Writing for Magazines and the Web with Margaret Webb
• Advanced Feature Writing with David Hayes

7-week classes:

• Editing Service Journalism with Doug O’Neill
• Substantive Editing for Magazines with Dré Dee
• Ad Sales on the Web with Martin White

Register early to avoid disappointment. Classes start the week of January 10. More information is available at

Lower your bounce rate

December 6, 2010

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page – often after just a second or two of viewing it. The web is a busy place, and it’s hard to keep people’s attention, especially if they’re new to your site. But there are some best practices to follow (or annoyances to avoid) that will definitely help.

Remember rule #1: Don’t annoy your readers.

Thanks to Corinna vanGerwen for passing on the story “25 reasons why I’ll leave your website in 10 seconds“. It’s a great list of ways to annoy your readers, like playing them music automatically, or my favourite, “too much flashing, scrolling shit”.

What makes you leave a website instantly?