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T3 recap: Exploring blogging’s next frontier


June 15, 2010

 

By Amy Jacques
 
PRSA’s Technology Section T3PR Conference wrapped up last Friday in New York City with a panel of Web editors discussing “The New Era of Blogging.” Mashable.com’s Adam Ostrow, Curbed.com’s Sarah Polsky and MediaTakeOut.com’s Frederick Mwangaguhunga were on hand to speak with Joe Ciarallo of PRNewser.
 
All of the panelists agreed that Twitter and the comment sections of blogs and news articles are great places to find story leads. “We find news stories in the comments,” Ostrow said. “We get a lot of story tips in via Twitter.” However, he added that the content of the pitch and its relevancy are more important than the communications medium, and he also noted a recent trend toward aggregation.
 
For Curbed, images help certain pitches stand out though the site doesn’t really work with video, Polsky said.
 
She reminded the audience that relevancy is key to coverage, and said that she finds story tips on discussion boards while Mwangaguhunga said he still receives a lot of news releases. His site also uses Twitter to access information and to confirm news items he’s received tips on.
 
Everyone spoke about the importance of researching an outlet before pitching and being genuine to stay competitive. Interacting with a reporter in a social media space makes them more likely to pay attention to you when you pitch, they agreed.
 
Ostrow mentioned that the mobile analytics company Flurry is doing a good job providing usable content for Mashable. “In the tech space, a lot of PR companies are taking their data and publishing reports that are interesting from a news angle,” he said. Mashable turns these into news stories and also values infographics.
 
“When there’s a product demo or something attached that we can embed with the story, that’s always great,” Ostrow said.
           
Reporters love being sent multimedia components that can really “make the story,” Ciarallo said. He also reminded the audience not to treat the media as you would the “man with the van” — don’t only call media when you need something and don’t only call the man with the van when you need to use his van. It’s important to keep these relationships up and maintain contact regarding other day-to-day items too, even if it just means passing on a link, he said.
           
As far as social media platforms that the editors use, Polsky said that Curbed uses Twitter and Facebook for short stories or items that need to be sent out quickly. “It brings in a different audience,” she said.
 
Regarding MediaTakeOut’s future, Mwangaguhunga said that he is trying to extend the brand into other mediums. “We’re trying to keep it authentic, which is the difficulty,” he said. “Our traffic grew in one month by 30 percent as a result of Facebook and Twitter.”
 
And Ostrow remains hopeful about the future of Mashable and said that the site will expand into more verticals and new forms of content, too. “We’re looking to ramp up our original video coverage,” he said, citing that this a big opportunity to be the next networks and that there will be a huge shift in television over the next few years, especially with the launch of Google TV.
 
“We have an advantage at Mashable — we’ve been early to all platforms,” he said, adding that this will continue to be the site’s competitive advantage instead of a wait and see approach like other blogs. “There are always going to be new platforms emerging.”
 
Photo credit: Ed Schipul
(For more T3 photo coverage, see Schipul’s photos.)

Amy Jacques Amy Jacques is the managing editor of Tactics. She holds a master’s in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Email: amy.jacques at prsa.org



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