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Glenn Halbrooks

Glenn\\\'s Media Blog


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What's New on About Media This Month

Saturday May 31, 2014
Bring more zing to your social media strategy with new tips on building your audience. Discover how to use hashtags more effectively so that your posts are a part of today's trending topics.

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Get the most out of social media to build your media brand.
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Grow your Facebook fan page through promotion, contests, polls and more interaction. Help make your videos go viral by knowing why some video clips get shared millions of times.

This month, you can also strengthen your news writing. Learn how to write shorter news stories. You'll be amazed at how you can communicate better when you cut down on all the words.

All reporters need to ensure their reporting is fair. This 10-step checklist will help you decide if your news story is fair to the people you covered and to your audience.

Many news reports are accused of being sensationalized. Know what sensationalism is and isn't, so you'll know whether your reporting exaggerates reality.

Sensationalized, unfair reporting is a common gripe against news media. Handle complaints against your media company so that you don't lose people forever.

Finally, be watching the U.S. Supreme Court in June to see whether justices issue a ruling on the Aereo TV device. The Aereo court case could change TV forever. Whether it's a change for the better depends on who you ask.

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Make Sure Your Reporting is Fair

Wednesday May 28, 2014
In most newsrooms, there's a drive to be first with information. A secondary concern is that the information be accurate. But fairness is often forgotten.

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Taking time to make sure your reporting is fair will pay off for your media career.
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This 10-point checklist will help ensure that you're being fair to the people you cover and to your community. You need to know how to use anonymous sources correctly, how to attribute information you get off the Internet and the best way to ask tough questions during news interviews.

Upholding the standards of fairness sounds like a throwback to your college journalism class. But it can give you the integrity you need to establish credibility with your audience. That trustworthiness can pay off for your media career.

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Write Shorter News Stories

Friday May 23, 2014
You come back from one of the best news assignments of your career, with great information, interviews and visuals. The question you'll typically get from a newsroom manager is, "How short can you make your story?"

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Do you have the skills to write short news stories that still have all the important information?
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These 5 tips on writing shorter stories will help you get started. It's an art to write news stories that are complete, yet brief.

You probably didn't learn that skill in college, yet its necessary in TV newsrooms and at newspapers, which don't have limitless real estate for you to write a rambling news report. It may sound strange to people outside media, but it takes talent to develop the ability to leave out information from a news story.

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Help Make Your Video Go Viral

Monday May 19, 2014
We've all seen the most oddball videos get millions of hits once word of mouth spreads on the Internet. These viral videos can pay off for your media brand.

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While you can't guarantee a video will go viral, there are steps you can take to generate buzz.
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These are the must-read tips on helping your video go viral. The first rule is, you can't make a video go viral.

But that doesn't mean you can't nudge it into the public eye with the most exposure possible. That includes posting it in several places, using social media to start a buzz and getting your friends to chat about it.

Of course, you have to start with video that's designed to go viral. Last night's city council meeting won't do it. Make sure your video is unexpected, creative, funny or dramatic.

Then, think about why someone would want to share it with someone else. Even if your video has limited appeal -- like only people in your city will understand it -- getting people talking will pay off for your media brand.

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How to Respond to Complaints Against Your Media Company

Thursday May 15, 2014
It's bound to happen. Someone calls to complain that the TV news report, radio show or print media story is the worst thing ever broadcast or published. How you respond will be key in whether you chase this customer away forever.

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The time you spend trying to solve a customer complaint will pay off in increased loyalty toward your media company.
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Check out this must-read article on how to handle complaints against your media company. You'll someday be confronted by an angry person and you need to know how to take action to soothe their feelings.

The key is to defend yourself without appearing defensive. Thank them for calling, promise you'll investigate their complaint and tell them you'll get back to them. Make sure that you do call them back, even if you don't agree with what they said.

People complain about poor customer service all the time. Even though you work in media, deliver good customer service so that you'll turn this encounter into a positive experience that will actually strengthen customer loyalty rather than ruin it.

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How Tiny Aereo Threatens Big TV Broadcasters

Thursday May 8, 2014
Chances are, you've never heard of Aereo, unless you keep tabs on the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation's high court is hearing a case that pits this tiny company against the nation's biggest TV broadcasters, namely the networks.

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Aereo has the potential to change TV viewing forever.
Photo © Getty Images
Aereo could change TV viewing forever. That's because it allows viewers to receive and record over-the-air TV signals using tiny antennas, without the need for expensive cable or satellite subscriptions.

The reason the broadcast networks don't like Aereo is that it's using copyrighted telecasts to sell $8 to $12 a month subscriptions. They say Aereo is profiting off programming that it doesn't pay for.

In addition, there's no good way to track viewership. So if viewers switch to Aereo to watch shows, they won't show up in the Nielsen ratings. If ratings go down, then the networks' advertising revenue suffers.

Aereo's case is that the over-the-air broadcasts are using the public airwaves. It would say that its antennas are no different than the rabbit ears some viewers have used for generations.

Aereo will never be a complete substitute for cable TV or satellite, because it can only offer broadcast stations. It can't pick up cable channels like ESPN, USA or CNN because they're not transmitted over the air.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide next month whether Aereo can exist in its current form. That decision will impact not only this company, but other would-be businesses that want to re-think the way we watch TV.

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Is Katie Couric Heading Back to the Today Show?

Tuesday May 6, 2014
Katie Couric may be ready for yet another interesting career move. The New York Post reports that she could be returning to the Today show on NBC, where she became known as "America's Sweetheart."

A photo of TV personality Katie Couric
Does Katie Couric still have the appeal to rescue NBC's Today show for a second time?
Photo © Getty Images
According to the Post, the move might just be temporary, as a replacement for co-host Savannah Guthrie, who'll be taking maternity leave soon. That would reunite Couric with Matt Lauer for the first time since 2006.

Couric has been in this position before. In 1991, she substituted for co-host Deborah Norville while Norville was on maternity leave, and got the permanent job when Norville didn't return. Then, as now, Today was struggling. Couric was able to get the show back on track. She could be key to getting Today past ABC's Good Morning America in the Nielsen ratings.

Couric's media career has already been in transition. Her syndicated talk show, Katie, ends its run next month and she's just getting started as "global news anchor" for Yahoo. Returning to Today would seem like getting back to solid ground, if she's willing to cope with the early morning schedule.

Couric is one of the 10 media people to watch in 2014 for making bold career moves. With Guthrie five months pregnant, it won't be long before we'll know whether Couric's willing to make another one.

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What's New on About Media This Month

Wednesday April 30, 2014
While you're looking ahead toward summer, take time to plan the future of your media career. Summer is a great time to make a move to advance your media career by asking for a pay raise, hiring an agent or negotiating a better contract.

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Now's the time to figure out how to make your media career pay off for you.
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Those are just some of the new tips you'll find on About Media this month. If you dream of starting a media career, check out these tips for getting started in TV, radio, newspapers, magazines or online media.

Being an investigative reporter might be an appealing career, if you know the pros and cons. These are the top 10 reasons why this form of journalism may or may not be right for you. Learn how investigative reporting can help or hurt your brand, the long list of investigative reporting dangers and see the successes and presumed failures of some of the top investigative reporters in the country.

Finally, social media is becoming more important in most newsrooms, and not just as a promotion tool. Discover 5 ways to use social media to create news content and drive people to your media brand.

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Is Investigative Reporting Right for You?

Tuesday April 29, 2014
If you're a news reporter who's bored with covering the same press conferences, house fires and ribbon cuttings, investigative reporting might offer a tempting change. You'd get to set off on your own to uncover secrets, scams and scandals.

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There's more to investigative reporting than eavesdropping on secret conversations.
Photo © Simon Battensby / Getty Images
Once you reveal what no one else knows, you'd be hailed a hero for making your community better. What a way to improve your media career.

If only it were that easy. Check out the 10 must-read tips on investigative reporting. You'll see the dangers of investigative reporting, how it can help or hurt your brand, a review of some of the successes and failures of this form of journalism, plus more information to help you make a decision.

Dedicating yourself to investigative reporting shouldn't come on a whim. You must make a firm commitment and have the support of your media bosses, and hopefully, their attorneys.

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Ladies' Home Journal to Fold Monthly Publications

Friday April 25, 2014
Ladies' Home Journal may be one of the most storied women's magazines, but it's not immune to the problems facing print media. Its publisher has decided to end monthly publication after 131 years.

A photo of the cover of Ladies' Home Journal from 1900
Ladies' Home Journal showed the women of 1900 what it was like to play golf in the snow.
Photo © Heritage Images / Getty Images
After July, Meredith Corporation, the magazine's owner, will turn it into a quarterly publication that will be sold on newsstands only, with no subscription sales. The magazine's website will continue.

So Ladies' Home Journal will survive in a much reduced form. That's little comfort to the magazine's staff, which was laid off.

While Ladies' Home Journal still had a circulation of more than 3 million, that was only about half the audience it enjoyed in the late 1960s. It's another case of a well-known publication appearing to quietly fade away.

Even if you never read Ladies' Home Journal, it's still sad for anyone in media to see a brand that has been around since 1883 facing troubled times. When it launched, Chester Arthur was president, the modern car hadn't yet been invented and the incandescent light bulb was new. Now one of the world's best-known magazines sets off for an uncertain future.

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