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In this age of attention deficit and time deprivation, brevity is critical to successful communication. Rules of writing succinctly are essential learning for storytellers of all persuasions: advertisers, marketers, PR practitioners and fictionistas. Learn from Shorty award winning voice of @BettyDraper how to create memorable communication in abbreviated space. Glean expertise from masters of the short form, both commercial and literary--including Hemingway, who wrote a story in a mere six words: "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn."
Great copy is critical to the effectiveness of nearly every website. Yet often, a business owner, designer, or developer, perhaps pressured by budget and time limitations, will write the copy him- or herself. This session will tell you when that's a good idea, and when it's not. For those times when it's okay to be the "accidental writer," you'll learn quick tips for crafting effective web copy. For those times when you really need to bring in a pro, you'll learn how to work with a web writer to get the best copy for your website, as quickly and cheaply as possible.
OK. So let's say your business has a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog (or lots of blogs), an email newsletter, some SEO stuff, and eighty bajillion landing pages you forgot about back when it was still funny to rick-roll someone. Who's doing all this content? Are they talking to each other? Should someone be in charge? Who?
Come feel the love as a marketer, a CMS wonk, a UX designer, and a typical SME are brought together (Jerry Springer-style) to discuss the joys of cross-channel content strategy.
How are newsrooms adjusting to the changing digital news environment? How do they balance transparency and objectivity? How are news consumers responding to information published in new ways? What behaviors and skills are news consumers developing to help them negotiate and evaluate the validity and trustworthiness of the news? What mores and values are emerging from news producers and consumers?
by Andy Carvin
Think NPR and PBS are just broadcasters? Think again. Public media is no longer just a one-way street. In many towns, NPR and PBS stations are the only locally-owned broadcasters, and their mission to serve the public demands that they develop new ways of engaging and strengthening those communities. They're convening Barcamp-like unconferences called PubCamps all over the country, allowing local techies and citizen journalists to forge collaborative projects with NPR and PBS stations, both online and offline. Public media staff work with volunteer coders, creating software for public media organizations that otherwise lack the capacity to develop it on their own. Public media engages communities in new ways that go beyond those annual pledge drives, challenging them to work together for the common good. They're putting the public back in public media - right where it should be. This ain't your father's public broadcasting. Come learn how people are plugging into public media - and how you can get involved.
by Tim Holden
Will 2011 be the year of the Universal Translator? As this science fiction dream teeters over the horizon, what can and should we do now to prepare for a time when the translation robot, not the search engine, becomes the single most important audience for your site? Will SEO give way to TEO? Does language need its own subtext markup? And when on Earth is Microsoft Word going to replace its 'Bold' button with a 'Strong' one? Lay aside your Google Goggles and iLingual apps (just for 60 minutes or so), and enjoy a session that's packed full of accessible translation theory, insight into the working processes of web copywriters, and more than the occasional riff on Douglas Adams.
The promise of social communities on legacy media websites seemed bright at first. Ideally, communities on media websites inform journalists, have reasoned debate on issues, and add to the value of content on media websites. Or at least that's what was supposed to happen. Most legacy media companies have comments and communities, and many are let's just say less than accommodating to reasoned debate. We all know what I mean by that. How did this happen? Is it fixable? Should it be fixed? What are others doing to combat these problems? How does this conflict with first amendment values? On the other hand, many website communities exist without these problems. How did they manage to come into being? How do they stay civil? How do they continue to actually live up to the promise of informing journalism, having reasoned debate, and adding to content value? This panel will explore methods sites use to deal with nutjobs as well as how to encourage and reward productive members in the community.
Although the web as a medium - and the web industry in general - promotes a somewhat informal community culture, its standards are absolute. Competition continues to evolve our definition of "exceptional" in order to efficiently separate the pioneers from the posers.
But when it comes to content, are the boundaries still too informal? Have we been so focused on conceiving, designing, developing, and marketing the most mind-blowing ideas that we're apathetic to (correctly) adding a space between "log" and "in".
I say, no way Jose (The question is, do you? And who is Jose, anyway?)
Since designers and developers have been busy creating intensely standards-based work, it's understandable that they haven't necessarily kept sharp on their written word. But without the universal nature of black-and-white text to complement an online portfolio or describe a unique application, a reader is left alone to categorize, digest, and decide: am I intrigued enough to *do* something?
In this session, I'll discuss ways in which web specialists can write compelling, credible content that piques interest and encourages action from readers. Attendees will leave with tips to elevate their content game -- whether they're aiming to more successfully write dynamic resumes and cover letters, describe their work in creative portfolios, guide users through enjoyable web interfaces, or convey value to gain one more paying subscriber.
What if you took a national digital public TV channel, re-focused it on a younger, more diverse demographic (median age 36), created an open source, media-rich web presence to feed it, and invited anyone with public media content to play (including creative types without transmitters).
You’d see strong growth, a batch of exciting new talents, boundaries erased between radio and TV, and some innovative technical breakthroughs. Two key participants in shaping and running this project will share the ideas, the successes, the challenges and some hard-won wisdom from one of public media’s most promising new ventures.
WORLD was first created in 2007 as a 24 hour digital non-fiction, news and documentary channel for Public TV stations: a partnership of WGBH, American Public Television and WNET, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Then, in July of 2010, these partners launched a highly focused but ambitious
re-thinking of the project, aiming to reach and engage a much broader audience and younger demographic across multiple platforms.
Bob Lyons, the Director of New Media for Radio and TV at WGBH, oversees the project’s online platform, and Kavita Pillay, an independent film maker, was drafted as Managing Editor and chief editorial muse of the web presence. In this session they’ll share the strategy, research, surprising discoveries (good and bad), and inspiring content examples. Public media-minded content creators are most welcome.
We've been hearing for a while that new technologies for authoring, designing, printing, publishing, marketing, distributing and consuming books will disrupt the traditional book publishing business model and empower the everyman self-publisher.
The combined effect of new technologies will supposedly blast open the floodgates that have been simultaneously protecting readers from hordes of hack writers and arbitrarily keeping down literary geniuses whose works don't fit into obvious conventional pigeonholes.
With Print-On-Demand technology for paper books, with distribution channels such as Amazon and the Apple Store to connect book sellers with book buyers, with devices like the Kindle, iPad and Nook for readers to consume books anywhere, it has become fashionable to say that writers no longer need publishing houses, that the poisonous stigma attached to self-published books is losing its venom. But is it true? Self-publishing is not the walk in the park that some would have you believe.
This panel brings together four writers who are explicitly concerned with the novel/novella form. We're not merely self-publishing writers, we're self-publishing novelists. We are custodians of an art form that is under threat by the very technologies that open the marketplace to anybody at all who claims that their manuscript is a novel.
How shall novelists and the novel itself survive?
Interactive graphic novel mash ups, mobile transmedia scavenger hunts, service corps? As innovative technologies transform our society, encouraging and strengthening civic participation, conversation and interaction through social and mobile media, great concern still exists regarding the accessibility of credible and up-to-date information among communities of color, low-income users, senior citizens and others. A growing consensus is that today’s public media must do more to fully reflect the public’s needs and engage the entire range of community members at the local level. As noted in the influential 2009 Knight Commission report, Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age, America needs to support local resources and institutions to ensure that democratic values of openness, inclusion, participation, and empowerment thrive across all appropriate media, engaging members of the public in their role as active citizens. But what are the elements of a 21st century public media that meets the needs of our increasingly diverse and sophisticated publics? Who are the partners poised to realize the vision of Public Media 2.0, to create an ecosystem that is “more local, more inclusive and more interactive,” as the Knight Commission Report put it. Architects of and participants in three provocative prototypes that push the boundaries of public media will share their experiences working with communities of various kinds, with various needs to create new models.
Beyond taking your story from blog to book and beyond, this interactive discussion walks you through the steps needed to cull your blog posts and random emails into a cohesive work with a clear beginning, middle, and end, covering:
- They key steps to writing a book proposal
- How to find a literary agent
- How to come upon an inspired idea, and how do you recognize when you've found one
- Exploring the most useful writing apps and software
- Learning about helpful online brainstorming communities and writing exercises
Comedy shows and interactive quizzes have become popular ways to consume journalism today. This session will address the successes and limits of providing serious news in entertaining ways.
The media landscape is fundamentally changing, and in order for public radio stations (NPR affiliate stations) to not only survive but thrive, they must establish a visual aesthetic as unique and distinctive as their sound. In doing so, producers, programmers and journalists are faced with practical and theoretical challenges as well as opportunities.
This panel will explore how public radio stations can build interactive visual components with the goal of becoming a hyper-local non-profit multi-media presence while serving a global audience, and at the same time maintaining the standard and mission NPR has developed.
I wrote my essay, Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over, in 2005. And it should be over. After all, lots of journalists happily blog, lots of bloggers journalize and everyone is trying to figure out what's sustainable online. But there's something else going on, and I think I've figured out a piece of it: these two Internet types, amateur bloggers and pro journalists, are actually each other's ideal "other."
A big reason they keep struggling with each other lies at the level of psychology, not in the particulars of the disputes and flare-ups that we continue to see online. The relationship is essentially neurotic, on both sides. Bloggers can't let go of Big Daddy media— the towering figure of the MSM — and still be bloggers. Pro journalists, meanwhile, project fears about the Internet and loss of authority onto the figure of the pajama-wearing blogger. This is a construction of their own and a key part of a whole architecture of denial that has weakened in recent years, but far too slowly.
The only way we can finally kill this meme--bloggers vs. journalists--and proceed into a brighter and pro-am future for interactive journalism is to go right at the psychological element in it: the denial, the projection, the neuroses, the narcissism, the grandiosity, the rage, the fears of annihilation: the monsters of the id in the newsroom, and the fantasy of toppling the MSM in the blogosphere. That is what my solo presentation will be about: a tale of the Internet, told through types.
Tricia Lawrence hosts a mix of authors/publishing/social media/Internet marketing experts to talk about maintaining a blog, ramping up a blog, and getting a book deal from that blog. Tricia and the panel will explain how publishing currently works, how publishing has changed in the past year, and a few of the best tips and tricks (and plenty of resources) for people interested in the blog-to-book wave. Tricia and every single one of the panelists believe that the Internet is the world's biggest brand maker and also come from the point of view (which several of the panelists share with everyone without shame constantly) that authors and bloggers are capable of becoming bigger brands than traditional publishers. Tricia and her panel also explain some of the emerging electronic publishing options (Kindle, iBook, Booklocker, CreateSpace) as well as showing off a bit of their Internet marketing backgrounds by encouraging bloggers to get connected, build their tribe, and create raving fans, all with a mind to someday sell back to those fans--that tribe--their latest books and infoproducts. Tricia and the panel of experts believe that authors are uniquely poised to capitalize on the social media boom. Tricia and her fellow panelists will present personal successes and social media and Internet marketing strategies to benefit everyone in attendance.
As the digital revolution decimates traditional local news media, a variety of new organizations are emerging – fitfully – to fill the gaps. Some of their challenges, such as content creation and technology, are relatively easy to solve. But others – building an audience and finding sustainable revenues – are much harder. In this session, you’ll learn about current and upcoming experiments, partnerships and models – and how PBS, NPR and their member stations can support this new local-news ecosystem.
by Daniel Bernard, Daniel Mandell, Donald Chesnut and Heather Hollis
New devices, new experiences, and new ways for making money: the world of media and publishing is on fire. This panel will explore the rapid evolution of content subscription models that are bridging the worlds of offline and digital, presenting new models for customers to subscribe to content, and the opportunities to create new experiences based upon a more market-dynamic and mult-channel approach to subscriptions.
All types of content are undergoing evolution as a result of the changing digital landscape: Magazines, newspapers, cable and broadcast tv stations, music... Each is experimenting with new ways to address the iPad, mobile, Web, iTV, and offline. Newer services like Zinio, HBO GO, MagHound, Hulu are part of the newer landscape, while longer-term players like Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast, and Time Inc are continuing to evolve in their approach to content subscription and distribution.
Looking at the landscape, who is innovating and leading the pack? What models are working better than others for both the content/media company AND the customer? How does the type of content change across distribution platform? And where do we think the concept of “subscriptions” is going?
Intended for both experience designers or digital business innovators, this panel will bring together diverse leaders from the world of content, media, and publishing to share their thoughts on the emerging trends that are shaping the future of paid digital content.
Online editorial is yet to be fully recognized in the process of creating purchasing intent.
With many thousand sites now utilizing Skimlinks' monetization technology, we have been able to collate a wealth of data on the performance of different types of online content publishers, and prove the value they add in the buying process.
This presentation will offer new, page-level data showing just how publishers are driving highly qualified traffic, with the added benefits of terrific brand exposure, and even that longed-for SEO boost. With case-study based tips for publishers on how they can optimize their own content, and advice for advertisers on harnessing the power of editorial; this session would prove valuable for a wide audience at SXSW.
In this presentation, you will see the same set of 15 slides -- three times. Three different writers will walk through the same set of slides and explain their approaches to getting started, editing ideas, figuring out how to get unstuck, and understanding when they're done. Part improv and part preparation, this presentation will give you three totally different and unexpected perspectives regarding the art of writing.
Before a single pixel is created, a line of code is written, or a marketing plan is conceived, a prospective app should be looked at strategically. Questions like, “What devices should be targeted?,” “Which category provides the best opportunity for success?,” or "How much will this app cost?," can have direct impacts on the actual development process.
This panel will explore the often overlooked, assumed, or ignored product strategy aspects of application development, describing them conceptually while showing them in practice for successful apps on the App Store.
There is no doubt that the folks at 4 Times Square are big media, however, in the last year there has been a shift in thinking at Conde Nast, where folks have been creatively working with start ups both inside and out of the company. Hear how.
Reporters and editors work in ways that are still largely tied to old print and broadcast models. Applying lessons from computer science can help make journalism more scalable, flexible and personalized.
This panel will discuss developments such as object-oriented programming, model-view controller frameworks, database-driven Web applications and social code repositories -- and explore how these principles can be applied to journalism and create the future of storytelling.
For example, making stories in an object-oriented mindset can help journalists work more efficiently, reusing and building on past work. Stories can be created as structured data that can be mashed up and viewed in more flexible ways by readers. Readers can get personalized stories that highlight what's new to them -- rather than having to read through what they already know to glean the latest news.
What do you think the future of journalism should look like? As technology enables a new era of both journalism and media business, both are being redefined through new tools and practices. Activists, dissidents and whistleblowers have a global platform for protest, and journalists can tap an unprecedented range and depth of sources. But what are the best models for sharing information and collaborating through the internet? Information may want to be free, but how should it be organised? And what do the mechanisms of networked journalism and collaboration look like?
Journalists, and the organisations they work for, need to incorporate new technologies and adapt the ways they work, breaking down the walls between themselves and readers and placing themselves at the centre of the conversation. What are the limitations of existing tools? How does journalism need to adapt, and how could a network of collaboration help that transformation? What have been the most successful examples of open journalism so far?
As discussion over the neutrality of the internet intensifies, perhaps we should consider a new, non-commercial internet space free from government intervention - a new interpretation of the fourth estate. A digital public space where copyright and collaboration are reinvented. What can journalism and the media learn from successful 'openness' campaigns of the web, of business and open government?
Do you want your website to meet both your business goals and your users' needs? Understanding what people do on your site gives you the x-ray insight crucial to effective business decisions. In this workshop, we'll provide a practical framework for squaring
quantitative evidence and qualitative insights. We'll see concrete examples from search log and click path analysis. We'll also learn how you can continually measure the quality of a site's user experience.
Have you ever received a takedown notice for an MP3 or video you posted on your blog? Did you get clearance from a publicist only to have the label accuse you of illicitly distributing their content? Did Google delete your Blogspot blog? Are you scared to post MP3s on your blog at all for fear of being sued?
There's a lot of confusion and disinformation out there when it comes to bloggers' rights--especially where the nuances of copyright law are concerned. In this workshop, we'll teach you how to make sure you're in the clear when posting content on your blog, exactly what your responsibilities are as a blogger and how to fight back if you're wrongfully accused. The presenters--both of whom work for the Washington D.C.-based digital rights non-profit Public Knowledge--will bring a wealth of expertise from both sides of the issue to the table. In addition to overseeing Public Knowledge's outreach and new media efforts, Mehan Jayasuriya is a freelance music blogger and photographer who has worked with publications like PopMatters, Stereogum and DCist. Michael Weinberg is a staff attorney at Public Knowledge, where he focuses on telecommunications policy, in addition to copyright reform and entertainment law.
by Dan Neumann
The content containers we call websites are failing their users because they put ads and page views before the needs and wants of their users. Users are becoming increasingly fed up and are actively looking for a way around this sponsored content. We are witnessing the emergence of a clear trend, one focused exclusively on making content available to consumers on their own terms. Case in point: Ad Block Plus, far and away the most downloaded plug-in ever. Another example is Safari, which now includes a feature that strips content out of its carefully designed container. Even iPad apps are getting into the mix. Two of the iPad’s most popular apps to-date are Pulse and Flipboard, both of which emphasize readability and relevance over impression-based monetization. In this session, Organic will look at how container cruft, link-bait and social broadcast have made the Web nearly unusable. The speaker will then introduce remedies to the issue, using the examples referenced above as well as a new Organic-designed iPad application that emphasizes content relevance, usability and personalization. The speaker will unveil the application at SXSW, delving into why they built it, how applications like this will shape the industry and, of course, what this means for Web users.
The web was supposed to kill longform journalism, relegate it to a slow demise in the pasture of print. The stories were just too long, conventional wisdom held. The web was about the efficient delivery of information—who had time to read 5,000 words on a browser, let alone pay for the privilege?
Longform journalism was going to die. And it almost did.
But the combination of elegant mobile devices and innovative apps has proven that the audience for longform journalism still exists—and has the potential to grow. Turns out, the problem wasn’t that the stories were too long. People love stories! The problem was that nobody had spent much time thinking about how best, for readers, to present and distribute them digitally.
At the same moment that many publishers were being forced to give up on the feasibility of longform work, readers were finally given the tools to read pieces when, how, and where they wanted to.
This panel will discuss: what those tools are, how they’re being used, how some publishers are taking advantage of them, how other publishers are failing to take advantage of them, how the digital reading experience will continue to evolve, why journalists will always be the core audience for longform journalism, the iPad and the Kindle, Instapaper and Readability, and whether or not anyone is making any money from this stuff.
This panel will not discuss: the upside of paginating long stories.
Bring a laptop and prepare to get coding!
11th–15th March 2011