Archive for November 3rd, 2008

Old Media Interview: Travis Hudson, Dallas Morning News Web editor/producer

Today’s Q&A is with Travis Hudson, the Dallas Morning News‘ newest hire to the paper’s interactive team. Hudson is only a year out of college from Kansas State where he received a print journalism degree.

Travis Hudson

Though his focus in college was in print, he worked for Gawker Media as a blogger for Gizmodo and Jalopnik. He also occasionally contributed to Deadspin and Kotaku. He has also written for NBC Universal, PC World and more.

What’s your official position at the Morning News?
Editor/Producer II is the official title, although people have also given me the unofficial title of “Alternative Audience Acquisition Specialist.” I was brought on here to pioneer alternative audience projects driving people to Dallasnews.com through social media, social bookmarking, social news and any other non-traditional way of delivering content including SMS, podcasting and more.

What are your unofficial duties?
I work directly with the team of Web producers at Dallasnews.com, so I do take on regular Web production tasks like maintaining the home page.

What role do you play at the Dallas Morning News when it comes to Social Media or the Internet in general?
I am the man in the trenches when it comes to our social media efforts executing the day-to-day work. Luckily, our entire Web staff (and especially our Deputy Managing Editor of Interactive, Anthony Moor) is very interested in making the DMN an active participant in the social media landscape, so the support is definitely helpful.

How has your past life as a non-mainstream media blogger given you perspective on this industry?
It’s interesting because I’m getting to experience complete spectrum of the industry. Newspapers have been around forever and blogs have only taken off in the past five years or so. I like to think that my perspective into the world of blogging on such a high level can help Dallasnews.com. On the other hand, the traditional world of print journalism is giving me more insight that can be used in my efforts to further expands The Dallas Morning News’ online efforts.

What’s your take on the newspaper industry? Can it be turned around? How?
It’s an interesting area. On one hand, nothing will ever replace holding and reading real piece of newsprint, but on the other hand, keeping major-market newspapers afloat is becoming an increasingly tough task. Once the middle ground connecting the Web and the newspaper is better defined and discovered, I think things can be turned around.

How does the @dallas_news Twitter account work?
The @dallas_news Twitter account is the main account for The Dallas Morning News. I have full control of it most of the time and I usually populate it with stories that people would genuinely find interesting and want to read. I use it to keep people up to date with weather, traffic, sports and more. I like to consider it a personality-driven account, and it has received positive feedback for being so. I also follow many, many people in the DFW area and beyond to provide our newsroom with potential leads and tips. I also operate a breaking news/top headlines twitter feed @dallasnews_top. It’s used for breaking stories only. Many of our reporters are beginning to create their own Twitter accounts specifically for work to keep up with leads and share stories.

What have you and your paper learned from it?

It’s as much of a two-way journalism tool as a content-delivery tool. Sure, it’s great for getting some of the best content from Dallasnews.com out to the Web, but what’s even better is keeping up with the community with this tool. It’s a great way to find unexpected sources, tips and even pictures with Twitpic, TwinkleShots and more.

What other social media initiatives have you or the Dallas Morning News in general taken? What successes and setbacks have you seen?
We’re taking a look at everything and anything, which can be a very timely task. Facebook and Myspace are two places where we think The Dallas Morning News can really get a foothold quickly. We’re interested in iTunes, social news communities and more. One of the first projects was launching the Twitter initiative, and I think it’s been really successful thus far. It was the easiest and quickest to launch and is growing exponentially every day. In regards to setbacks, there’s generally only one, and that’s time. There’s so much out there in the social-media landscape and only so much time available.

What do you think newspapers need to do in the next year or two?
Newspaper and Web need to explore ways that the two can help each other in this volatile world. There are so many potential ways for the two entities to help each other, and those ways need to be explored and tested for the better of the industry and product.

Why is social media important to you? To your newspaper?

It’s the future of not just journalism, but content delivery.

What three things could a major metro paper do in the next year to connect more with their communities?

1. Focus on brand awareness. Life isn’t just about getting X number of clicks. It’s more about becoming a brand name for content delivery in the community and beyond.

2. Engage the readership for content above and beyond the annual recipe contests, letters to the editor and more. Everyone in the world has a blog and loves to be heard, who’s to say a newspaper isn’t a good place to engage the average reader.
3. Break out of the traditional newspaper mold any way possible.

Thanks, Travis; we appreciate your time and expertise.

Travis can be reached here.

6 comments November 3rd, 2008

New Tricks: Five tips for starting out on Facebook

Let’s face it: You’ve all heard of Facebook. But is it helping you actually connect with other people in a meaningful way? Are your co-workers using Facebook to its full potential?

Perhaps so, but probably not. Here are some tips for creating a good Facebook profile:

1. Fill out your profile. Period. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen profiles without photos or job titles.

2. Spice up your profile a bit. Join a group or two. Post on your wall. Become a fan of something. Download a Facebook application. Update your status once in a while.

3. Now you can start adding some friends, but don’t stay within your circle. Once you join groups, I’m sure there will be people there you want to add. If not, open up your Rolodex or Outlook e-mail list and start adding some contacts. This is also a good way to strengthen your personal networks.

4. Create photo albums, and tag the photos with your friends. This way, they’ll see that you care about them enough to name them in your pictures. Great for professional gatherings, family photos, etc.

5. Keep your profile up to date. If you happen to get promoted or — heaven forbid — change jobs, it’s important for you to update people in your network.

Lastly — and this doesn’t warrant a number — if it’s someone’s birthday, wish them a happy birthday. (You’ll be able to see this information on your Facebook home page.) It’ll help you strengthen your connections.

Anyway, these are some basic, basic tips. I’ll be adding some more tactics every once in a while!

Add comment November 3rd, 2008

Yes, you can teach the old media some new tricks

It’s a bleak time for the mainstream media. The great advertising migration to the Web coupled with bad economic times have lead to missed profit goals and industry-wide job losses.

Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?

Well, there’s hope – if organizations are ready to change. That change will allow your organization to reconnect with your community and even bring in a new audience. The change is the still relatively uncharted seas of social media. As the established media tries to figure this out, we’re here to help.

Welcome to Old Media, New Tricks. This blog has been designed as a resource for reporters, editors, academics, marketers and other folks working in and with “old” media. We’ll give you the social- and new-media weapons you need – from social bookmarking to Twitter – to take back to your newsrooms.

Hence the name, “Old Media, New Tricks.”

Who started this fine blog?

Daniel B. Honigman is a social media strategist for Tribune Interactive, where he helps guide the company into becoming more, well, social.

Daniel works with both newspaper and broadcast companies and believes all media has the potential to be local, but that it just takes a little bit of effort — and clout — to make things happen.

Daniel is good friends with Colonel Tribune. Really good friends.

Robert Quigley is the Internet editor for the Austin American-Statesman. Half his job is coordinating the paper’s social media efforts, and the other half is working with the newsroom to boost content to the Web.

Robert created and pushes the Statesman’s Twitter efforts and is a bit of an evangelist when it comes to social media.

Robert and Daniel will be co-authors for most of the entries. We’re not pretending to know everything about social media; in fact, we’re still feeling our way around the space, just like you.

At “Old Media, New Tricks,” you’ll get hands-on advice, not only from us, but from many in media who are trying to figure this all out. We’ll add our unique experiences and expertise to each post, and we’ll help you avoid the common pitfalls and teach you the keys to success.

It may be a depressing time, but the chance for innovation is exciting.

You can find us on Twitter at @mediatricks. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please message us there, or you can e-mail us at robert@oldmedianewtricks.com or daniel@oldmedianewtricks.com.

Thank you!

11 comments November 3rd, 2008


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