Scorecard for Sports Illustrated writers awards points for being “beneficial to advertiser relationship”
Gawker reports today that at least one Time Inc. property internally ranks — and fires — its editorial employees using a rather unethical calculation.
Based on a spreadsheet made available to the Newspaper Guild, it would seem that Sports Illustrated has calculated the worth of staffers based on categories including “Quality of Writing”; “Impact of Stories/Newsworthiness”; “Productivity/Tenacity”; “Audience/Traffic”; “Video”; “Social”; “Enthusiasm/Approach to Work”; and “Produces content that beneficial to advertiser relationship.” From Hamilton Nolan:
Anthony Napoli, a union representative with the Newspaper Guild, tells us: “Time Inc. actually laid off Sports Illustrated writers based on the criteria listed on that chart. Writers who may have high assessments for their writing ability, which is their job, were in fact terminated based on the fact the company believed their stories did not ‘produce content that is beneficial to advertiser relationships.’” The Guild has filed an arbitration demand disputing the use of that and other criteria in the layoff decisionmaking process. In a letter to Time Inc., the Guild says that four writer-editors were laid off “out of seniority order” based on the rankings in the spreadsheet above.
Time Inc. has recently laid off hundreds of employees and restructured internally such that magazine editors report to the business side of the company. Whether this rubric is actively used across other Time Inc. properties is unclear.
Plenty of media companies — Gawker included — measure employee performance based on how much web traffic their writing drives, but the values on display in the Sports Illustrated spreadsheet have left lots of media folks on Twitter feeling deflated.
Some day we’ll all be hired and fired by an algorithm designed by capricious humans http://t.co/47KTuLodq1
— Michael Roston (@michaelroston) August 18, 2014
Update: A Sports Illustrated spokesperson reached out to me with the following comment:
“The Guild’s interpretation is misleading and takes one category out of context. The SI.com evaluation was conducted in response to the Guild’s requirement for our rationale for out of seniority layoffs. As such, it encompasses all of the natural considerations for digital media. It starts and ends with journalistic expertise, while including reach across all platforms and appeal to the marketplace. SI’s editorial content is uncompromised and speaks for itself.”
As print publications continue to close shop or move content entirely to the Web, more and more writers and editors will need to adapt to the digital landscape. And with this new environment comes a new language every online journalist should know.
At the top of the list is SEO or search engine optimization. No doubt you’ve heard of it. ”SEO… determines rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo searches,” said Brande Victorian, deputy editor of MadameNoire.com. She added:
It’s sort of this game of picking out keywords that are going to make the content that you write show up in these searches so that you’re getting more page views than anyone else.
Once you have your keywords (another important term) determined, the next step is to incorporate them in your headline, dek and body copy — in a cohesive, natural way. Forcing keywords into your copy won’t fool Google — and does a disservice to your readers.
For more vital words digital journalists should know, read: 7 Terms Every Digital Media Journalist Should Know.
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New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
All the evidence indicates that Minivan News reporter Ahmed Rilwan was abducted in the early hours of 8 August
Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a reporter who disappeared ten days ago, and urges the Maldives authorities to deploy whatever resources are necessary to find him.
Rilwan, 28, has worked for the independent online newspaper Minivan News since December 2013, mainly covering religious issues, politics and the environment. He is also a former member of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives.
On 4 August, four days before he went missing, he wrote a story about a threatening SMS received by 15 journalists who cover organized crime. Minivan News says all the evidence points to his having been abducted.
“We are extremely worried by Rilwan's disappearance and urge the authorities to step up their efforts to find him as quickly as possible,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire.
“There is every reason to be concerned about Rilwan, especially as gangs and religious extremists are very often responsible for threats to journalists. Ismail Hilath Rasheed, a freelance journalist known for his support for religious tolerance, only narrowly survived a murder attempt in June 2012.”
Surveillance camera footage at a Malé ferry terminal shows Rilwan buying a ticket at around 12:45 a.m. on 8 August and going to the waiting area to take the ferry to the Malé suburb of Hulhumalé. According to Minivan News, witnesses saw a man meeting his description being kidnapped near his Hulhumalé apartment shortly thereafter. He has not been seen since then.
A website and a hotline have been created to help efforts to locate Rilwan. Anyone with information about his disappearance or whereabouts should call the police hotline, +960 332 2111, or the Serious and Organized Crime Department at +960 991 1099.
Maldives is ranked 108th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Photo: Minivan News
Is it just me or does it feel like everything in the news this week is a little bit out of control? In the name of a lazy transition, that’s probably how Will Steacy felt as he started to photograph the newsroom of the Philadelphia Inquirer to document all the changes it, too, was undergoing. The result? You can see for yourself here. It’s not exactly a cheerful distraction, but it’s a gorgeous portrait of how our practice has changed over the years.
There’s just over 24 hours left to donate to his Kickstarter and fund his tribute to journalism, evolving newsrooms, and the power of some good images. Our favorite part? The rewards for donating; you will get a copy of the book and newspaper, Deadline, with most donations, but for $100, you can also write your own obit in 140 characters or less to be featured in the book. Or get a ”No Boss Shall Rule This Town” pin for $10. For bigger bucks, you can get historic back-issues of the Inky, as I grew up calling it, or a piece of brick from the “Wedding Cake,” the Elverson Building where the paper was housed from 1925 until a move down the street in 2012. For $2,500? You can spend a night at the printing press with Steacy as it goes to press.
He’s already reached his goal, but it’s a noble cause. And it’s better than dumping a bucket of ice on your head.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Knowing which stories get the most attention from social media is a big step in finding out what type of content audiences want from a certain media outlet.
Sarah Marshall, social media editor EMEA at the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote about five ways she uses BuzzSumo, a free analytics tool for social.
Although BuzzSumo was not created specifically for journalists, it allows users to see who’s engaging with a particular article, who the influencers in a chosen field are, and much more.
The set of tools it brings to the table will, as Marshall wrote, make social media editors love it.Similar Posts:
- Poynter: How to set up Newsbeat, real-time analytics tool for news sites
- #GEN2012: Inside an analytics-driven French newsroom
- #Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – try SocialBro for real-time Twitter analytics
- Tool of the week for journalists – Playground, to monitor social media analytics
- #Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – capturing the value of social media using Google Analytics