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WebU – The Second Term (and a first draft of possible changes)

 Background

WebU grew out several months of
consultation and planning, a process that brought together staff and
managers from companies right across the Metroland West Media Group -
dailies, weeklies, shows and magazines. That process identified a
diverse series of skills, knowledge and attitudes we wanted to impart
to a broad swath of the company – outcomes that were crystallized into
curricula for some 29 different courses to be delivered to five
separate streams of students during sessions that varied in length from
2 to 5 days.
In our first ten weeks we’ll have graduated 107
students, and should hit the 150 mark before Christmas. Just 350 more
to go after that.
While this draft document is focused on improving
the courses we teach, it’s important to first understand that the
success of WebU stems not from the clever courses or curriculum, but
arises directly from the quality of it’s teachers, 25 Metroland staff
and managers who have chosen to take on the additional burden of
teaching, while continuing to shoulder their "primary"
responsibilities, i.e. their jobs. Many also add to that commitment of
time by commuting long distances to Hamilton to teach. That effort does
not go unnoticed, nor unappreciated. Where WebU succeeds – and it has
been succeeding – the credit lies with the teachers. Period.
Thank-you, all of you.
It
is has come time to assess our work, to see if what was imagined last
summer has come to pass, to examine if the courses we built are serving
the needs, not just that we imagined or learned of in consultations,
but the needs that staff and managers who come to the course are
expressing in real time, now.

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Death of the Subscription model?

Is the news that even the Wall St. Journal will be dropping its walled garden approach to its news in the hopes of generating more revenue via advertising the final death knell to the paid subscription model for newspapers online?Don’t tell The Globe and Mail that. Their confusing array of subscription models seems specifically designed to frustrate and trip up readers. But for most of the English-speaking newspaper world, the walls have tumbled, or are crumbling rapidly.The Washigton Post (which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing it’s free web site) has a useful piece on the shift.

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How to write darn good headlines for the web: Stop acting like a newspaper

Good headline writing anywhere is part poetry, part Western Union — the idea is to attract, inform, and maybe surprise the reader with very few words. But the real goal is to get them to read the story.And while the underlying principals are the same, their application to print and web headlines should produce very different results. In print we depend on the context the printed page lends to the story: the photos, the sidebars or pull quotes, kickers and subheads, all of these provide a wealth of contextual information for the headline itself. Good print headlines are snappy,

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Personal Computer sales tanking in Japan

Home computer sales in gadget-mad, electronics-crazy Japan have declined for 5 straight quarters.Is this a sign that ubiquitous computing is finally coming? That personal computer-type processing power has now been embedded into so many things (cell phones, PDA’s, music players, cameras, gaming consoles – hell, even refrigerators) that people don’t need their high-powered, all-in-one, do-anything home computer anymore? According to an AP story, PC shipments fell 6.2 percent in 2006.  (Note: it’s not that the sales increases have been slowing — the actual number of PCs being shipped and sold is declining) And so far the numbers for 2007

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Facebook, Google driving to develop standardized ads and delivery methods

Maybe one of the things that’s keeping online newspaper sites from hitching their wagon onto the online advertising gravy train is our failure to develop and standardize online advertising formats. Sure, we’ve done it (somewhat) with our leaderboards (hate that name) and buttons and tiles and big boxes, but these are all simple display ads and I have a feeling we’re behind the curve on this. Look at what some of the big players in the online ad business are doing…. It’s a little geeky (Okay, a LOT geeky) but Google’s Open Social marks a significant step forward for

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Can a beat reporter profit from exposing his network?

7pressthink

Damn,
I think I stepped out of reporting at the wrong time.
New York journalism prof and new media journalism evangelist Jay Rosen
(Assignment Zero, The People Formerly Known As the Audience etc.) is
launching the third major project of the NewAssignment.Net initiative.

He’s trying to integrate social networks and beat reporting:

Beat Reporting With a Social Network: Can it Work?

Are
there network effects in beat reporting? Across the US, a dozen
reporters (with beats) are going to try to find out—simultaneously.
This will improve their odds of succeeding. I’m still recruiting
participants, so read on…

the rest of this pretty interesting and challenging idea can be found at his blog, PressThink
Rosen’s group will hook together 12 reporters, (he says he’s got 7 or 8
and is looking for a few more) each of whom is going to be using a
web-based social network to stimulate and co-ordinate story creation
and beat coverage.
I’ve been a big advocate of beat blogs as a way of accomplishing the
same idea and so view the idea of bringing that beats network of
contacts right into the (open) process of story creation and research
with some excitement.
And also some trepidation.

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