Friday, October 17, 2008

AASFE -AFJ joint session two

Rob King, formerly of the Philadelphia Tribune, now works for He presented about job transitions, a subject close to my heart at this moment. He said to cherish these three things -- yourself, your audience (constituents not necessarily readers but friends, family and your social circle), and your promise (what and who you invest in).

He reminded us we were not powerless and showed a picture of the future Palin son-in-law. He also said we were in our new jobs. Your job is changing now and will keep changing. That's fine. Really.

Talk about work/life balancing. He added kids and life changed. Kids taught him about management and audience expectation.

It's not a career, it's a journey. It's going to work out, but you don't know how yet. He showed his list of jobs. He says writers stay open to opportunities, facts, rumors,

King related an anecdote about his son and a fire truck ride to school. The take home message; do anything to please the audience. The newspaper brand is a huge asset. Idiotic decisions are not new to this business.

He posted the ESPN motto and talked about some home examples of creating expectations.

Next move? Out of the comfort zone. Think about community. Remember the "third screen (PDA, Web-enabled phones)." You should try to delight and surprise.

For example, hired a physical therapist who wrote about injuries impact on fantasy sports. She just renegotiated a three year deal is on TV, radio blogs and elsewhere and generated 36 million page views one Monday.

ESPN has added sites in rugby, cricket and foreign language soccer sites.

Blogging sites for NFL teams using bloggers and local beat writers and also same approach to college conferences. They are told to refer out to sources of video and other content. Make users happy by making the information easy to access and communicate with them. Answer e-mail.

Metrics and market research are important. Page views in the millions, unique visitors same, for mobile product as well as online. Pay attention to this stuff.

With story sharing, focus on quality. You must trust your audience to make you better. Digital options are about sharing control. People want to use your content but want it fit into their lives. Think about duration. The stories don't end.

Use diversity of voices and points of view. Think about alternate delivery systems such as video etc. Think about context as much as content. Also add utilities such as games and timewasters (so to speak). People could do the Masters instead of just reading about it.

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