Google to Offer up Potential ComScore and Nielsen-killer

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will announce a new metrics tool to measure web site audience, a service that would make a major dent in current power players Nielsen and ComScore. [UPDATE: The New York Times Bits blog has details about the service also.]

For those not in the know, ComScore and Nielsen use panels of users to determine the audience of news sites.  If you’ve ever compared ComScore or Nielsen numbers to your in-house server log data, you’ll know those numbers often differ significantly, which can be frustrating for content producers. However, Google’s numbers would be backed up by the immense amount of Internet traffic data that’s stored on its servers, hopefully making it more accurate (although there will always be difficulties with tracking unique visitors by cookies, IP address, etc.). Best of all, Google is offering its data free to marketers. From the WSJ:

Google’s approach, aimed at bolstering its ad-sales business, could pose a major threat to the Web measurement services that are available now, ad executives say. The two main players in the business — comScore and Nielsen Online — gather data on Internet use largely by tracking what panels of people do online or by conducting surveys, and their results can be inconsistent and incomplete. Google’s new offering will be based mostly on data from Web servers, allowing for a deeper and broader view of Internet use. And unlike the services from comScore and Nielsen, Google’s will be offered to marketers free, according to ad executives.

[Wall Street Journal – Google to Offer a Tool to Measure Web Hits]

Save Newspapers! Top 5 MacGyver Uses for Old Newspapers

With so many of my journalism colleagues out there facing layoffs, I though this might be a good time to highlight the many understated uses for newspapers. In the spirit of the ever-resourceful Angus MacGyver, there’s much more to newspapers than lining birdcages, wrapping fish and …um… reading news. So share this list with all your friends before they foolishly cancel their subscriptions!

MacGyver Newspaper Use #1:
Make your windows streak free!

If you’re a fan of household frugal tricks (date mature singles, you’ll be glad to know a great way to eliminate streaks from windows is to wipe them with glass cleaner and newspaper. And it magically leaves no ink stains behind! (No, it doesn’t work on your face.)


MacGyver Newspaper Use #2:
Pick up dog poo!

That paper has plenty of uses, but folks often overlook the plastic bag in which it’s wrapped. It just so happens that this plastic bag is extra long and slides conveniently up your arm, making it perfect for use as a poop-snatching glove. The newspaper industry may be in deep crap, but that doesn’t mean your tender skin has to be! (Protect the skin with the best mask of


MacGyver Newspaper Use #3:
De-stinkify your shoes!

It’s pouring rain, and your shoes just got soaked with rain and foot sweat. Newspaper industry to the rescue! Just ball up a bunch of newspaper inside the shoes, and the paper’s miraculous moisture-absorbent properties will take care of the problem faster than you can say “Dr. Scholls”.


MacGyver Newspaper Use #4:
Entertain your kids with a cheap coloring book!

In many newspapers, the comics appear in black and white on weekdays. To a child, that colorless newspaper is an untapped canvas, my friends! Give junior a box of Crayolas and let him go to town on those funnies while you work on updating your resume. Once he finishes with the comics, give him some news pages for fun activities such as coloring funny mustaches on Thomas Friedm… er…


MacGyver Newspaper Use #5:
Beat somebody stupid!

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Well, it’s true when you can roll up a newspaper, coil it, wet it and turn it into a truncheon that can crack a grown man’s skull. Extra points if you best dating site scotland! (Tutorial British soccer hooligans began using so-called “Millwall bricks” as stealth weapons during melees at soccer matches after police began confiscating other possible weapons. In “The Bourne Supremacy”, super-agent Jason Bourne fights off an enemy using a rolled-up newspaper and Eskrima, a Filipino martial art that makes use of everyday objects. So if you’re on a plane that’s suddenly hijacked, pour your Dr. Pepper on that Wall Street Journal, wrap it up and start beating the snot out of terrorists.


BONUS MACGYVER TIPS: Make a telescope, distract your enemies, defuse a bomb and send a message via hot-air balloon [Wikipedia]

MORE REAL-LIFE TIPS: 80 Uses For Old Newspapers

[Photos by jellywatson, keaggy, massdistraction, stefernie and Wikipedia. Paper hat tip to my esteemed colleague John Cutter for the Bourne tip.]

A Hilarius Ode two Copy-editors

An excerpt from Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten’s ode to copyeditors:

“The inessentialness of copy editors is underscored by the advent of sophisticated spellchecking systems which have introduced a hole new level of error-free proofreading. No longer can we say that the editor’s penis mightier than the sword.”

I nearly did a Diet Coke spit take on my keyboard. Read the rest here.

[Hat tip to Common Sense Journalism]

Quick list of open online journalism jobs

After being inspired by Charles Apple’s list of open journalism jobs, my Sentinel colleague Steve Mullis (soon to be at MPR in Minneapolis) has posted a list of open online journalism jobs with links over at his blog.

While some online j-jobs ask for highly technical skills such as Flash design or programming databases, many others are online copyediting jobs coupled with some basic Photoshop photo-editing know-how and the ability to understand the online audience.

[Steve Mullis – List of open online journalism jobs]

List of crime maps is updated

crime maps

Hey Journalistopians, just a quick heads up that the Journalistopia Crime Map Directory has been updated with a slew of new crime maps. A lot more folks are getting into the crime map act, including news organizations, neighborhood associations and lone wolf developers (as usual, the list only includes non-police groups).

If you’re developing a crime map or thinking of developing one, you’ll want to explore this list for plenty of dos and don’ts.

[Journalistopia – Online crime maps directory]

Quick list of open journalism positions

If you’re starting a search for a parach …er… another journalism job, drop by the blog of news designer Charles Apple. Apple has taken the time to compile a list of currently open journalism jobs complete with links to the openings. Most of the jobs are copyediting, design and photo jobs.

While you’re there, make sure to read some more of his other posts. He’s got some great stuff, including a closer look at the upcoming Orlando Sentinel redesign (with actual reporting!).

[Charles Apple – A quick roundup of papers looking to hire]

Newspaper layoff tracker map

Like me, you probably get the daily bits of newspaper layoff news via Romenesko. Now, the Graphic Designr blog is putting it all together with an interactive map of newspaper layoffs.

The map is color-coded to show approximately how many layoffs occurred where. At the very least we’re finding new, creative uses for interactive maps…

[Hat tip to Mark Potts, who contends we should be placing newspaper layoffs in perspective with the many layoffs occurring in other industries.]

Directory of newspaper gossip and insider blogs

With big layoffs occurring at various media companies, I’ve decided to troll the web in search of blogs written by insiders and other watchdogs who post memos and similar items. While Romenesko is arguably the best source out there for newspaper gossip, there are many publication-specific blogs out there.

I’ve surely missed some blogs, so please e-mail me at or drop a line in the comments with suggestions. Also, some of the blogs on this list are hosted by unions and/or may be highly critical of the companies in question, so I don’t necessarily share in their views. On to the list:


Editor & Publisher
I Want Media

MediaBistro (including FishbowlDC, FishbowlNY and FishbowlLA)
New York Observer Media Mob
Mediaweek (newspaper/magazine section here)
Newspaper Death Watch
Richard Prince (Maynard Institute)

Gannett Blog (All of Gannett)
Cincinnati Newsache (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Ruth Holladay (Indianapolis Star)
Fair Pay for York Journalists (The Press and the Gazette & Herald)

Tribune Employees Talk (All of Tribune)
Tell Zell (Tribune, LA Times)
Bob Norman’s Daily Pulp (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
(All of Tribune)
LA Observed (LA Times)
Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club (LA Times)
Save Our Trade (LA Times)

Etaoin Shrdlu (All of McClatchy)
McClatchy Watch (Sacramento Bee)
Herald Watch
(Miami Herald)
Random Pixels (Miami Herald)
Bob Norman’s Daily Pulp (Miami Herald)

MinnPost’s David Brauer (St. Paul Pioneer Press & Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Oregon Media Insiders (The Oregonian, other media)
Wayne Garcia, The Political Whore – Creative Loafing (St. Petersburg Times & Tampa Tribune)
MediaNews Monitor (MediaNews)
News Journal Watch
(Daytona Beach News Journal)
Bob Norman’s Daily Pulp (Palm Beach Post, South Florida papers)
Roger Simmons (All Orlando TV stations)


[Photo by 3fold]

Remembering fallen journalists

In general, professionals in our industry have become obsessed with how to make our news organizations succeed in this difficult climate — and with good reason. We’re in trouble. We worry about page views-to-uniques ratios, the latest video cameras, how to cut costs, how to reach younger readers and so on.

But let’s take a moment to worry about our fellow journalists who expose themselves to deadly situations, just to get the news out. In the midst of worrying about the incoming dollars, we forget that we serve principles for which many journalists lay down their lives.

Beginning today, the BBC will begin shining a beam of light into the sky each night to remember journalists who have died to inform people and give a voice to the voiceless. See video of the dedication ceremony here. Every day, journalists are killed, imprisoned and beaten; just visit the Committee to Protect Journalists site on any given day to see. Go ahead and visit the guide for journalists working in hot areas [PDF] for tips on how to purchase body armor and suggestions on how to embed with combatants in wars.

In this trying time for our industry, don’t forget why many of us do what we do.

Tips for working with the non-techy

This newsroom curmudgeon does not care for your overly complex RSS feed explanation. Just give him the nut graf. [Photo by broughtbooks]

Web Worker Daily posted a phenomenal list of tips for working with people who don’t have much of a technical background. If you work in the online side of a newsroom, this list pertains to you — especially when dealing with newsroom curmudgeons, salespeople and management.

The list (see Web Worker Daily for detailed explanations):
1. Avoid jargon.
2. Use analogies.
3. Talk results, not process.
4. Link to additional resources.
5. For proposals and reports, use visuals.
6. Have ready access to case studies.
7. Refer to related events or issues that have been brought up by mainstream media.
8. Illustrate what that idea/app/process has to do with their jobs or sales.
9. Introduce new technologies gradually.
10. Be patient, or at least look like it.

I imagine many of you are curious about how the multi-dimensional database behind Widget X works or how the web scrape circumvents the authentication mechanism, but explaining the process behind that to some folks will turn them into rabid, drooling zombies.

Just stick to the tips on the list. This one is a keeper.

[Web Worker Daily: 10 Tips for Working with the Not-So-Tech-Savvy]

National Writers Workshop early bird registration ending

The National Writers Workshop is an excellent way to be inspired and get fantastic advice from some of the industry’s best scribes — all for a price that won’t break the training budget. I’ve attended the workshop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for the last three years, and it never fails to inspire me to become a better writer. The team that puts this together really does a fantastic job every year.

The beautiful Hyatt Pier 66 overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Early bird registration is $100 for the Sept. 20-21 workshop ends Monday, June 9. You get one free registration if you purchase three registrations at the professional rate before Aug. 15. Student/teacher registration is $60, and there will be an internship fair on Sunday. Details at

Here’s the nutshell:

National Writers’ Workshop 2008
Hyatt Pier 66
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Sept. 20-21

Speakers at the workshop include:
Dave Barry, best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, The Miami Herald
Gene Weingarten, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and feature writer at The Washington Post
Laurel Touby, founder and CEO of
Diana Henriques, investigative reporter, The New York Times
Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN and Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle, authors of Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports
andeep Junnarker, interactive journalism professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Jacqui Banaszynski, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and writing coach. Knight Chair in Editing, University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Questions? Email Gail Bulfin at