Last weekend, I helped out with an ONA dCamp of mobile. It’s been brewing for awhile, before I even got into mobile, but after a long conversation about products, mobile and product teams with folks like Damon Kiesow and Eric Ulken at ONA13, Damon, with the help of the amazing Miranda…
There’s a tremendous value to understanding people,” says Taylor Davidson, a director at kbs+ Ventures. “If Facebook is able to provide a logged-in view of a user across devices? Not many people can do that.
Thoughts from my notebook that I’ve yet to do anything with:
We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
I felt like the team was really starting to build some momentum in Lansing. We were producing some pretty compelling digital work, and there were hints of culture change, despite setbacks of the past year.
But when the offer came to tackle the challenge of a transforming industry at a higher level — with some very sharp people to boot — I leapt at the opportunity.
I start my first day today as vice president of innovation and product development at the Detroit Media Partnership. Our small but nimble team of project managers and digital developers will be supporting the other business units of the partnership, as well as 8 newsrooms and more than 400 journalists.
To say that I’m excited would be putting it mildly.
Here’s to the next rocket ride.
(And, if you missed it, here’s how I got to Lansing in the first place.)
Gannett’s Chief Digital Officer, David Payne, spoke to a group of the company’s journalists attending ONA 2013 in Atlanta last month. He presented the following points on thinking about mobile. (I’ve added some embellishments here and there.)
1. It’s a completely different habit. It’s so different from desktop user behavior. It’s with us all day, and does so many different things for us.
2. New is the new news. If you’re checking something 100 times a day, “new” is what’s important.
3. Mobile doesn’t necessarily mean mobile. A growing share of smartphone and tablet use occurs right in the home. It’s just the easiest screen to access closest to us.
4. Mobile applications have to be interesting, they have to have personality — but not our personality. Everyone’s device is individual to them, and we must fit in that way.
5. Because there’s so much noise, you’re competing with people’s emotional connections. When someone has 30 seconds, what are they doing on their phone? As journalists, we think about informing people and being a watchdog, but people are looking for something different.
6. Understand the competition: It’s Google, it’s Facebook, it’s Snapchat, it’s Candy Crush …
7. Recognize the old ways are not going to work. This includes advertising with banners on traditional articles. Facebook gets 45% of all mobile ad dollars. We’ll have to come up with something very different to take some of that back.
The challenge is to figure out what combination of things works that doesn’t make you into something you don’t want to be associated with.
NSFWCorp’s Paul Carr on the anti-Buzzfeed philosophy of business model iteration for journalism startups.
I also like the sex and science editor’s comment:
"… the company is about a return to investigative journalism that gives people something to read ‘that cannot be Googled.’”
There’s something to said for not trying to win via SEO but to being the force that generates the word of mouth that generates searches in the first place.
"[It’s] built on a foundation of GeoDjango and PostGIS. The backend software regularly scrapes, massages and summarizes the data … using the Socrata Open Data API.
"The frontend uses Django plus a client stack that includes a fork of Backbone that replaces default styles to mimic [the brand style guide], jQuery, Underscore, Leaflet, Tablechart + jqPlot. We used Tilemill to generate a map of [the city].
"It all runs on a basic application stack on Amazon EC2 using Apache and mod_wsgi. As always, we ensure performance with aggressive Varnish caching."
These are journalists talking.
Do you speak this language? Talk to me. Opportunity abounds.