Archive for February, 2009

Video of the Week: Make your Facebook profile private to your co-workers

This isn’t necessarily journalism-related, but you can see where something like this would be helpful. Andrew Ba Tran from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel offers a great video tutorial below. Enjoy.

You can find his full story here.

2 comments February 24th, 2009

OMNT Links of the Week #11

It’s been a fairly busy week at Old Media, New Tricks. Robert started out the weekend with this post about how important it is to maintain accuracy and standards, even when trying to break stories quickly via the social Web. We also posted some Twitter rules of the road.

But, as you know, the Web is quite large. It may be difficult to believe, but there were actually some great posts in the blogosphere this week.

Stephanie Romanski posted some do’s and don’ts for Twitter.

Ken Paulson, COO of the Newseum, gave a talk at the National Press Club that was posted on Poynter. The topic: What if newspapers were invented after the Web? Fascinating read.

Mark Briggs of Journalism 2.0 muses on Google’s foray into the hyperlocal news business, the South Orange Patch. Do you think it will work?

Chris Brogan believes USA Today looks a little bit like a microblog. Hmm.

Now for a bit of self-promotion: Here’s a piece from the Knight Digital Media Center about how Daniel’s beloved Los Angeles Times is using social media, and here’s an example of Stuart Foster and Amy Vernon being silly.

1 comment February 20th, 2009

New Tricks: A quick Twitter primer

All right, folks. So thanks to us — perhaps — you’ve signed up for Twitter. Here are some rules of the road:

(NOTE: You must be logged in to Twitter for this tutorial to be most effective.)

- Want to reply to someone publicly? Type “@Name” in the text box to respond. You can put the person’s name at the beginning, or you can incorporate the name in your Tweet, like this.

- Not all of your Tweets will benefit your followers, so sometimes it’s good to send a private, direct message. Here’s how you do it:
1. Once you find someone you want to DM, go to their profile page.
2. Click “Direct Message” on the right rail.
3. Send your message.

- Sometimes there’s a big story that’s either ongoing or just developing. You’ll find that savvy Twitter users will tags their Tweets to get them seen as part of the conversation. For instance, the tag for Super Bowl-related Tweets was #superbowl, for Rod Blagojevich-related stories it was #Blagojevich and for the Obama inauguration it was #inaug09. You can find hashtag trends here and on the Twitter Search main page.

- Want to follow someone? Go to their page, and click the little “Follow” button under their avatar. It’s as simple as that.

- You’ll notice that you only have 140 characters per Tweet. So, if you’re posting a link, that means you’ll have to shorten it. My personal favorite right now is It has a nifty metrics dashboard and doesn’t have some of the SEO issues of other URL shorteners. Go to, paste your long link into the box, click the button, and voilĂ  — you have a much shorter link.

And now, for some Twitter etiquette. Or as it’s called, twetiquette. Enjoy this instructional video:

What are your tips?

15 comments February 17th, 2009

@Breakingnewson and the soda that ‘rocked’ a school

Around 2 p.m. (EST) today, an event happened at a middle school in Springfield, Mass. The details were sketchy at first, as they often are in the first few minutes.

TV station WWLP in Springfield reported that the school was evacuated, and two explosive devices were found, and one had “exploded.”

Here’s WWLP’s early Web report:

The Twitter-based news service @Breakingnewson, which has 25,000+ followers, was quick to post just after WWLP with this breathless tweet:

Just seconds after this tweet, some of @Breakingnewson’s followers started retweeting that note. Who wouldn’t? This sounds like Columbine, right? Within minutes, it had been retweeted dozens of times.

It appears that @Breakingnewson was using WWLP as its source for the original tweet. When you read WWLP’s original note, would you immediately conclude the school was “rocked” by an explosion?

Several minutes after the first post, @Breakingnewson said this:

That sounds more measured, and it shows now that @Breakingnewson was using WWLP as a source.

Only problem, I had refreshed the WWLP page a few minutes before this tweet went out. This is the story WWLP had at the time:

Exploding soda bottles and someone getting burned are nothing to laugh about, but was the school “rocked?” (It turns out the injured man had minor burns on his hand, according to WLLP).

@Breakingnewson apparently read the same report. A few minutes later, they sent this tweet:

The TV station is now reporting that two 8th-grade boys are being questioned, the school has returned to normal, and class was being dismissed at regular time today.

The lesson here?

Twitter is fast, and it is viral. News organizations on Twitter still need to use news judgment and restraint. These tweets, which were likely seen by thousands of people, are taken as fact by a lot of people.

If you’re a journalist on Twitter, be careful about what you do. Take a deep breath before you report something is “rocked” by an exploding Coke bottle.

Update (4:25 p.m. EST)

We have left an email message with @Breakingnewson asking for comment, and haven’t heard back yet. We will update this post with their point of view when we do.”

Update (11:30 a.m. EST Saturday)

I did not receive a repsonse to my email, but Michael van Poppel of @Breakingnewson has commented below.

12 comments February 13th, 2009

Old Media Interview: SEO specialist Kate Morris

There are few things that can affect your site’s traffic (in a positive or negative way) as much as whether your material is optimized for search engines. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) makes good stories rise to the top of Google. Without it, your work can be buried.

Journalists generally are not experts in SEO, so we should turn to people who know what they’re talking about. One of the best, in our opinion, is Kate Morris. Pay attention: What she says can make a big difference for your site.

Kate Morris

Please give us a short bio.

I have to talk about myself? Okay, it all started on a windy night … oh, short huh? Well when it comes to internet marketing, I got started as an intern working in paid search for BusinessSuites, a client of my then marketing agency employer. I worked with Apogee search as an intern afterwards and soaked in all I could about SEO. I’ve been in-house in multiple places since then working in general marketing, PPC, and SEO.

Where do you work and what are your official duties?

I have settled as the Director of Client Strategies at New Edge Media, a Dallas SEM agency. It’s here that I get to really focus on SEO, PPC, Social Media, writing and educating/meeting people.

What is search engine optimization?

Search Engine Optimization to me is the science and art of molding a website to entice customers to buy, search engines to index and rank, and partners to engage. It’s a blend of technology and art. Coding on one side and usability on the other. I consider both to be integral parts to SEO.

How did you get into social media? Don’t tell it it’s just because of SEO. (Joke.) Are there any problems with being an SEO expert and trying to do social media?

Well first off, I never consider myself an expert. I rather see myself as a jack-of-all-internet-trades. I think SEO experts in their pure form (technology-based more than marketing) might have a hard time getting into the social media space because it more about marketability rather than technological modifications. What I do believe is that most people who are considered “SEO Experts” are really internet marketing experts at heart and would have no problems moving into social media. Understanding the intent and needs of the end user is the basis of all marketing.

Now, how did I get into Social Media? Being social. (Hey, I didn’t say because of SEO.)

How does Google PageRank work?

First off let me say that people really do need to take PageRank with a grain of salt. PageRank does not indicate how well your site will do in the rankings. Rather it gives you an idea of what Google deems as the importance of your site to their end users. So major sites like Google, Yahoo, The Chicago Tribune, and Austin American-Statesman are highly relevant to a wide base of users. If you are in a niche business, don’t think that having a PR 4 is bad. In a niche, that is actually really good. And in all this remember that what we see (Toolbar PR) can be largely different than the number that Google uses internally.

Let’s talk about link strategies. What are some basic, basic SEO rules of thumb your typical overworked news producer can abide by?

Rule #1 – Use your in-house writers, ask for specific stories.

Rule #2 – Link between properties. You own these high PR sites, use them! But only do it where it makes sense. Otherwise it’s a form of linkspam.

As far as news site structure, which sites have the best SEO consistently?

I am slightly biased, but the Statesman and Tribune do a fantastic job of site structure. I’d love to hear from other properties and why they like theirs better. But really, I am rarely on whole news sites. I rather pick up stories from social sites and gadgets.

Going to blow up your spot a little bit. Not too many folks know about the rel=”nofollow” tags, but it’s one of the most powerful tools in SEO. What is it, and how does it work?

Rel=”nofollow” tags are something that Google started to recognize a few years ago as a way for people to link out to sites but note that they didn’t place any trust in the site, therefore restricting the link juice. This was largely for use with blogs when people left comments and linked back to other sites. Owners couldn’t keep up with how many sites were being linked back to, and this was a way to say “we are not sure what’s there and don’t vote for the relevance to what we are talking to on the referring page.”

It still is used that way to this day, but can also be used — Matt [Cutts] don’t shoot me — to sculpt a site’s navigation. Sometimes there are pages on every website that are not relevant to search results, but are linked to from the most popular page. About Us, Login, and Terms of Service are all examples of pages that people want to see but are not relevant to product searches.

Are there any rules of thumb when it comes to tagging content? In fact, when this interview is posted, how would you tag it?

The tags I would add are: kate morris, seo, social media, nofollow, news, new media, pagerank. I take what I figure people might be searching for and this might help. Kinda like categories, but more keywords.

Tags added, thanks! Any other pointers for our readers?

For those people working in old media I would say use what you have. You have content, relevance, and traffic built in. Those are the top three things that any business online works for. It is what every SEO wants at the start. Old media has that. Use it to it’s full extent, but be smart about it. Don’t let SEO interfere with your writing, but educate your writers. Let them write the content for the readers, and let SEO perfect the code and tags. Blend the two worlds and you will come out on top.

31 comments February 9th, 2009


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