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News:rewired: some of my favourite quotes

Or why SEO+Journalism=Britney Spears, deskbound journalism=bad business strategy and the most successful media companies out there are just digging their graves slower than the rest.

I had a great time at’s news:rewired last Thursday, but since there was so much excellent live coverage of the event and I’ve been busy since catching up with friends, deadlines and travel, I thought I’d just mention some of my favourite quotes here for now.

First in the session on social media for journalists, excellently moderated by Kate Day, these gems on Journalists and SEO:

Maria Bettio, search content producer at The Times, talked about how to explain search engine optimalisation (SEO) and the importance of headlines to journalists. She told the audience that when she tried to explain SEO to journalists she often found all of them just trying to insert "Britney Spears" into their headlines (!).

That interesting, and very plausible explanation of what journalists associate with SEO was only topped by a question from someone in the audience on how he could make SEO work so that Google would only send him the niche audience he wanted for his site, in this case executives with fat pay checks, not "all the regular Joes" out there....

From the last session on‘New journalism, new business models: how can journalism support itself online?’:

Chaining your journalists to their desks is simply not good for business: Ben Heald, CEO of SiftMedia:  "All of our reporters are on Twitter and out and about in the community, I don’t like to see them in the office. I’m going to drive more money from my community if my reporters are known to my target audience, have been to their trade conferences, have interviewed them etc."

Change or die: Greg Hadfield, until recently head of digital media at The Telegraph, hit a nerve with some of his closing remarks, and his announcement he was leaving The Telegraph spurred many headlines. Reading the comments in the comment section on this post I’m open to how it could also have been a collection of well-picked sound bites. Still, even if that should be the case, there’s both truth and food for thought in much of this:

"There is not a dichotomy between being a journalist and being an entrepreneur, the future is small, not big media… You cannot be a good journalist now without being an entrepreneur. Journalists have to remember their connectedness to a society. That they are part of a wider network" (Adam has more on this bit).

Hadfield talked about writing a book on "digging your grave slowly":

"The really successful media companies out there are just digging their graves more slowly... The generation who have to change journalists is sitting in this room. If you don’t change, no matter how slowly you dig your grave it is still going to be your grave...

"I came into journalism to change the world – I mean, my hero is George Orwell – and ended up putting football scores into The Daily Mail. My best work was working at local newspapers,” Hadfield said, adding that he then regularly met the readers he was writing about and serving.

Oh, and I enjoyed Adam’s slideshow from the session on problem fixing I’m sorry I missed, George Brock’s opening remarks and, well, most of the day. I assume we’ll see the ultimate summary of the coverage of the day at eventually, so I think I’ll leave it at that for now…


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