Monthly Archives: February 2014

How hashtags made puns acceptable in SEO

For some time now basic SEO advice on puns has been simple: don’t do it*.

But the Huffington Post story below (brought to my attention by Christina Kenny) shows how hashtags can make puns SEO-friendly as well – as long as they’ve been adopted by a larger audience, not just coined by the headline writer.

That headline: #Poonami Flows Through Kennington, South London After Sewage Pipe Burst (PICTURES)

That headline actually has 7 keywords in total – it’s extremely heavily SEO’d for people searching for “sewage pipe burst” and “Kennington” or “South London”.

But it also recognises that many people will be searching for more on this story having seen the #poonami hashtag on Twitter. Continue reading

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Saving the evidence in Ukraine: collaborate first – or you won’t be able to ask questions later

YanukovychLeaks screengrab

“The reporters then did something remarkable. They made a decision to cooperate among all the news organizations and to save first and report later.

“It wasn’t an easy decision. But it was clear that if they didn’t act, critical records of their own country’s history could be lost. The scene was already filling with other reporters eager to grab what stories they could and leave. In contrast, the group was joined by a handful of other like-minded journalists: Anna Babinets of Slidstvo/TV Hromadske;  Oleksandr Akymenko, formerly of Forbes; Katya Gorchinska and Vlad Lavrov of the Kyiv Post. Radio Free Europe reporter Natalie Sedletska returned from Prague so she could help, and others came, too.

“… In the tense situation that characterizes Ukraine, conspiracies form quickly. To demonstrate their transparency, the organizers quickly moved to get documents up. By early Tuesday, nearly 400 documents, a fraction of the estimated 20,000 to 50,000 documents, had been posted. Dozens more are being added by the hour.”

Drew Sullivan writes about Yanukovych Leaks.

Journalism student on Twitter? Show me the metrics

Twitter image by Shawn Campbell

Twitter image by Shawn Campbell

For at least four years now, all my online journalism assessments have involved a ‘strategy’ element, including a suggestion that students use analytics to demonstrate an understanding of their audience, and that they can experiment with search engine optimisation and social media optimisation.

This year I’m going further with one undergraduate class. I’m making social media analytics compulsory.

There are dozens of free tools out there to monitor your social media accounts. Here are just a few I’m recommending: Continue reading

The Mastercard Brit Awards journalists should have quoted the ASA

Last week’s reports on a PR company’s demand to journalists that they post tweets in exchange for accreditation missed one important factor: the Advertising Standards Authority.

The arrangement – involving a PR agency handling Mastercard‘s sponsorship of the Brit Awards – was revealed when Telegraph reporter Tim Walker sent an email to Press Gazette. They reported:

“Before providing two journalists from the Telegraph with accreditation to attend the event House PR has asked them to agree to a number of requests about the coverage they will give it.

“They have even gone as far as to draft Twitter messages which they would like the journalists to send out – and asked that they include a mention of the marketing campaign #PricelessSurprises and @MasterCardUK.”

Do such messages fall foul of the ASA’s guidelines on “marketing communications” on Twitter?

The ASA’s press officer Matt Wilson said that they don’t have a precedent, but told me:

“If entry to the Brit awards was conditional on the journalist tweeting on behalf of Mastercard, we’d likely view that as a ‘reciprocal arrangement’ (i.e. the journalist receiving a benefit they wouldn’t have otherwise). Continue reading

How to hoax the international sports media with nothing more than a red circle

School photo

Who is this man? It’s not Manuel Neuer. And yes, that caption is worth a separate post all of its own.

After just seven minutes of the match with Arsenal, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer was already a hero: he had just saved a penalty from Mesut Ozil.

But Reddit user Vikistormborn was curious about what the commentator described as their “long” history, and started searching for details on Ozil’s childhood. And after finding this image on a Telegraph story, he or she decided to have a little fun…

The original image of Mesut Ozil's youth team before the red circles were added

“I simply circled the other biggest looking guy in the picture and tweeted that it was Neuer,” he writes. Continue reading

FAQ: Big data and journalism

The latest in the series of Frequently Asked Questions comes from a UK student, who has questions about big data.

How can data journalists make sense of such quantities of data and filter out what’s meaningful?

In the same way they always have. Journalists’ role has always been to make choices about which information to prioritise, what extra information they need, and what information to include in the story they communicate. Continue reading