Animoto - Remix

So Animoto let me remix the photos, select some as "featured," choose a new starting point in the music, or replace the music entirely. Now it's not as fulyl featured as I might like, but for those just wanting a quick way to create a video-like experience with only photos and a soundtrack -- and the ability to plug it into Blogger, Facebook and other places -- this is not a bad way to go.

Test drive of Animoto

Trying out Animoto (www.animoto.com), a site that allows you to upload photos -- or pull them from Flickr or other apps -- choose some music, and voila... instant video! On this first one, I didn't see anywhere to play with the pacings or transitions. Will go back in to read the directions more carefully now....


User-generated product development

Full credit goes to my wife, Brandy, for pointing me in this direction: Vineyard Vines Custom Department.

Submit your design, and Vineyard Vines will apply it to their products. Sure, you have to order a minimum quantity, but I still love the concept.

The possibilities for similar application to our products is endless:

  • Have readers design their own print page from photos they've submitted.

  • Cape Cod has Gulliver (befriend him on Facebook!). How about if you have readers design your mascot -- and then turn him or her into an online and marketing personality?

  • Run some user-submitted stories in the paper.

  • Solicit blog ideas from readers.

What are some of your ideas?


How we measure up on socialmeter

Found via StephKerchner on Digg: socialmeter

Here's a quick look at our scores:
ack.net: 229
capecodonline.com: 4,841
dailytidings.com: 717
mailtribune.com: 3,170
poconorecord.com: 3,059
recordnet.com: 5,600
recordonline.com: 8,105
seacoastonline.com: 9,438
southcoasttoday.com: 9,288

Note: The tally for something called Shadows wasn't loading for me, but neither was its Web site -- and before today I'd not even heard of it.

It's also missing counts for StumbleUpon, Shoutwire, Magnolia, Newsvine, Reddit, Twitter and I'm sure others. Nonetheless, it's an interesting view of our visibility to potential audience in our markets that traverse elsewhere.


Toot Your Own Horn, Why Don'tcha

So for those of you who didn’t see it, earlier last week Hudson Valley joined Cape Cod in getting their work recognized in an Editor & Publisher column.

On Tuesday, Pauline Millard, online editor at E&P (who I’ve written about previously), wrote about the newspapers online bridge database project. Millard used the project to discuss the ongoing coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

By now, you may be asking yourself ‘hey, how do I get some of that sweet coverage?’ And if you’re not asking yourself that question, let me tell you, you should be. Because while there is no guarantee that it will work, it doesn’t take much to get the ball rolling.

Start by introducing yourself. As you will see in the piece on Hudson Valley, I’m quoted. Now that wasn’t my intention from the outset – I’ve been quoted enough in my life already -- but rather was a result of my being one to approach Pauline in the first place about the project.

All I did was send her a brief e-mail drawing her attention to the project (including relevant links) and explaining why I thought she might find it of value – in this case, an example of how you don’t need a 12-person Computer Assisted Reporting team to do high quality CAR projects.

I then made sure to stay in touch with her, as she emailed me throughout the day with various questions and comments. In some cases I had the answers and in others, I called on people at Hudson Valley to provide the relevant information. And finally, when she said the project would be the topic of her column, I made sure to send her a nice little thank you note.

Now it’s true that a piece in E&P is not like Fark or Drudge and does not result in a large number of visitors, but a piece in E&P or in Romenesko, brings industry attention and the admiration of your colleagues, if nothing else, it’s sure nice to be recognized once in a while.

So next time, give it your own shot, hey you never know just who might write about the hard work you do?

Pauline Millard pmillard@editorandpublisher.com


Wikipedia contest

Ottaway Online Directors and Editors,
I am happy to announce a new installment of our audience development contest, this time focused on a specific content distribution idea: How many pages can you wiki?
I've mentioned before that opportunity exists with every landing page created -- not to mention listing our sites as geographic resources for the towns and regions we cover -- to sprinkle our links across the wikisphere. So let's focus some effort on doing so, and gain some traffic and an education in the process.
Here's a couple of examples where I have added our newspaper.com sites or specific landing pages to the External Links or Resources sections of Wikipedia entries:
Now, I happen to have a login, and you can set yourself up with one too. It will make it much easier to track your progress, because there is a link once you log in that takes you to "My Contributions," listing everything you've added throughout Wikipedia. If you decide to remain anonymous, you will just have to keep track of your entries manually.
Note: In the case of the Nantucket entry, where I had also originally added links to a few other Nantucket products, Wikipedia editors saw that as link spam and removed all but one. So I would recommend only a single external link to your your products for each wiki page.
And the best part about this contest? Mere participation makes you a winner. Here's how you can earn the prizes:
Add resource links to 25 Wikipedia pages, and I'll furnish you a copy of The Wisdom of Crowds.
Add links to 50 Wikipedia pages, and I'll throw in a $25 gift card to the coffee shop of your choice.
Add links to 75 Wikipedia pages, and you'll receive an Ottaway-logoed shirt, commemorating the our 70th anniversary.
(75? Am I nuts? Well at 5 a day for the next 16 business days, that'd be 80. Seems pretty doable when I put it that way, doesn't it?)
Deadline is 8 p.m. ET, Aug. 31. Grand prize winner will be the online editor that added links to the most Wikipedia pages: A pair of Olympus ME-15 lavalier mics. I know Seacoast needs them for their resuscitated Webcast. I'm sure everyone else can find a use for them too.
Fire away with any questions! And good luck!

Facebook Group | Jersey Shore 2007

Advance has got some groups going on Facebook, including one for fans of the Jersey Shore.

I know a couple of shoreline areas where a similar social networking idea would be worth exploring for us.... Tie-ins with Beachcomber and OnCape Beach Guide products come immediately to mind.

Update: I found out about NJ.com's Facebook group from the tippy top of their Jersey Shore Blogs page.

Interactive mapping

Have fun, and get ready to drool: The New York Times > New York Region > Interactive Feature > New York City Transit System Is Crippled by Storm

Feeds: How Much Can You Eat? [ClickZ Internet Marketing Solutions for Marketers]

Feeds: How Much Can You Eat?: I'm with Kristin Darguzas of ParentDish, who was surprised to hear that 120 is a “managable” number of RSS feeds.

I just checked my Google Reader, and I'm at 130. That's after trimming a few real estate ones that I had added earlier this year for product research, but really wasn't reading. There's likely more than a few others I can cull from the list.

I have many sports-related ones (Gregg Easterbrook, Peter King) that I love but seem to rarely make the time to read. I create the same conundrum for myself with books, too. Like last night, for example, I sacrificed my before-bed reading time to spend more time catching up on some blog reading (thanks for the insights, Howard Owens).

No wonder a study is saying we've reached a saturation point with media.

Therein lies our challenge. Tom Heslin, my former colleague in Providence, describes it as competing for media time. I've borrowed the phrase from him frequently since. I conjured up a calculation last year to show local newspaper Web sites were at the time 1/33rd of an ever expanding media landscape. Stop if you've seen me write this or heard me say this before, but success with growing our portion of a person's media time is rooted in reaching that person on the platform he or she prefers -- rather than hoping to draw them to us more than twice a week.

The good news is the expansion of our RSS feeds to comprise all content categories -- not just our top level categories of News, Sports, etc. -- is already in progress, and is one means by which we can gain a greater share of users' media time. That expansion will also enable several other distribution programs moving forward.


Writing a playbook

As I alluded to during the online content call on Monday, we're in the process of crafting an audience development playbook, which like iTunes Essentials mixes, will break down both everyday and unusual content situations into three sets of steps:
  1. The Basics
  2. Next Steps
  3. Go Deep
So, for example, today there is a story in our Cape Cod Times on public defenders still waiting for FY 2006-07 paychecks from the state. We started the day adding it to Digg/Twitter/StumbleUpon/Reddit, and if we had a midday update e-mail there (it's coming, right?) we would have made sure to include it among the highlighted items.

Next, as I pause to write this blog post, I am in the midst of reaching out to public defender blogs -- some local, some beyond -- to offer it as blog material, and make a connection with those bloggers to see if they are interested in receiving periodic notifications from us on stories they'd be interested in and how they'd like to receive those notifications.

There are other steps, too, that we hope to flush out as part of this, and once Version 1.0 of the playbook is completed, will have crafted a resource from which a training program can be developed. Our aim would be to take it on the road to our newsrooms, and as I mentioned Monday, spend some of our online editors conference in January focusing a workshop on specific situations and doing actual distribution and outreach for live stories while we're at the conference.

If you have categories of content you'd like to see included in the playbook, or any thoughts on the concept at all, please give Yoni and I a shout. We're already looking forward to the January conference, and think the practical workshop element will be a great addition to the program. We hope you agree.


CapeCast IS on YouTube

Shows what I know! Greg was kind enough to point me in the right direction toward CapeCast on YouTube.

PAULINE'S PICKS: Cape Cast Keeps Cape Codders Informed

Congrats to the Cape team for the recognition they received yesterday from Pauline Millard at E&P, who highlighted CapeCast as one of her "picks."

By the way, if you haven't seen Eric Williams' "Hey, Potential Buyer" yet, you're missing out.

Hey, Cape Cod, when are you going to make the daily push of that feature to your YouTube account? No pressure, of course....