Google puts ads on Google News

To those of you who said “Google News isn’t a media  competitor! It’s just an aggregator:” I give you AdWords on Google News.

I’ve previously written about how Google News was generating more than $100 million in revenue, according to a Google VP.

I’ve written about how Google’s Knol is becoming a competitor to media companies by becoming a content creator.

I’ve covered how Google News is trying to be a local aggregator of news (rather than your site being the aggregator).

I’ve pointed out how Google is circumventing news sites’ search features with their own searches.

And I haven’t even addressed how Google is gaining enormous control over the online advertising market, especially with Yahoo in the financial pits.

That 30+% of site traffic from search engines is nice, but are we really still arguing that Google isn’t a competitor to news and media sites?

Tips for Optimizing Content for Google News

googlenewsThe Google News team today published a list of tips on its official blog for making sure publishers’ content is optimized for inclusion in Google News. You can follow business news at insidemma. Here’s a quickfire version of their list:

-Keep the article body clean
Avoid strange tags, ads, sidebars, etc.

-Make sure article URLs are permanent and unique
Google News needs a fresh URL for each item and at least three digits that aren’t a year. Or, use News Sitemaps.

-Take advantage of stock tickers in Sitemaps
Use stock ticker symbols in content to get it tagged to the company.

-Check your encoding
Having a conflict with different encoding types can cause issues.

-Make your article publication dates explicit
Having no article date or an incorrect one can mess up your content’s placement in Google News..

-Keep original content separate from press releases
Don’t mix the two on news sections. If you do, make sure your site uses rel=”nofollow” for the links.

-Format your images properly
Use JPGs and make sure to place them near the headline for a chance at getting the thumbnail spot.

[gay meet up]

Not-to-Miss Florida Online Media, Technology Events

barcamp-orlandoA group of online technology enthusiasts listens in on a presentation at BarCamp Orlando in 2007. The event is now in its third year. [Photo by Josh Hallett ]

In the next few months, yours truly’s calendar is jam-packed with all sorts of great online media and technology events in Florida –events you should really think about attending!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about 10 things online editors can do to save their jobs. Well, attending these kinds of events is Number 10 on the list. And best of all, most of these cost the princely sum of zero dollars. You can also subscribe to One Click Power for continuous updates on technology.

If you know of any others, please drop me a comment. On to the list:

DrupalCamp Florida – Saturday, Feb. 7
Altamonte Springs, Fla. (just 10-15 minutes north of Orlando)
Cost: FREE
Central Florida is getting its first-ever DrupalCamp, a day-long series of presentations revolving around the free, open-source content management system that is changing the face of online media. Drupal is being used by major media sites such as The New York Observer, Morris Digital, the Miami Herald, as well as hundreds of thousands of small companies and hobbyists.

BarCamp Miami and WordCamp Miami – Sunday, Feb. 22
Coconut Grove, Fla. (near Miami, Fla.)
Cost: FREE
Happening in conjunction with FOWA, listed next
If there’s one thing journalists often lack, it’s an understanding and appreciation for Internet and tech culture. Well, you can get a big heap of it at BarCamp, a technology and online media “un-conference” distinguished by it having absolutely no schedule! The joy of BarCamp is that everyone is encouraged to make a presentation or lead a discussion. It’s totally open to everyone in the spirit of the day. The workshop schedule is set that very morning as participants sign up to lead discussions and give presentations. While BarCamp can get uber-geeky, it’s a great place to learn from other techies, meet innovators, share your knowledge with others and get some great ideas. BarCamp will also forever change your perspective on conferences.

BarCamp is partnering with WordCamp, a workshop similar in style to BarCamp but centering around WordPress, the insanely popular and powerful blogging platform that has become the tool of choice for many bloggers, including Journalistopia. Participants will sign up for presentations on everything from how to become a popular blogger to how to hack the code that powers WordPress

Future of Web Apps Conference – Monday, Feb. 23-24
Miami, Fla.
Cost: $395 (I know it’s pricey, but super early bird tickets were available for $100)
The Future of Web Apps Conference is THE premier web development event in the Southeast. FOWA will feature luminaries such as Winelibrary.TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk, 37Signals’ Jason Fried and many more. I attended last year, and it was worth every minute. This event is geared toward web developers, so it can be techy, but I truly learned a great deal about how the web is changing at this event.

Megacon – Friday, Feb. 27-March 1
Orlando, Fla.
Cost: $22/day or $52 for 3 days. Plus $10 parking/day
Er, this is a comic book convention. But who cares if it’s not about online journalism! I’ll be there! Onward…

Florida Society of Newspaper Editors Multimedia Workshop – Saturday, March 21
Tampa, Fla.
Cost: TBA
FSNE is planning a low-cost multimedia workshop for the Tampa Bay area similar to the one they recently planned in Miami. The workshop is a great opportunity to learn about blogging, online ethics, data projects, Flash and much more. I’ll be there reprising the workshop I led in Miami on new online media tools. Mark your calendar!

BarCamp Orlando – Saturday, April 18
Orlando, Fla.
Cost: Free
Now in its third year, BarCamp Orlando is the Central Florida flavor of BarCamp, explained above under BarCamp Miami. The last two years were a great success, so I’ll hopefully see you there this year!


Now I’m wondering when I’ll get to spend time with my lovely wife. At least she got in some great crossword puzzle time the last time I dragged her to BarCamp. (Such a good sport. Love you, dear!)

See you in Miami, Orlando or Tampa!

One Key Piece of Advice for All Journalists

David Cohn has posted a great series of interviews with several media innovators over at his blog.  But there is one particular piece of advice from Cohn’s interview with Adrian Holovaty (4:15 in) that I think needs to be heard by both aspiring journalists and seasoned professionals, no matter what their level of multimedia skill:

“Do a side project. Pick something that you’re passionate about and make a web site about it. […]  And make it something you actually care about so that you’ll have the incentive to do a good job.”

Video interview is here:

[Video by David Cohn]

For Holovaty, a passion project like led to international recognition. For me, building a simple six-page web site  in college for the Hispanic Student Association (a Python guru, I am not) led to the beginning of my online media career, as well as meeting some of my favorite Latin recording artists, many new friends and –last but most assuredly not least– my lovely wife. See? Passion projects can even lead to finding true love.

In the end, the knowledge you gain from creating your own site around your passion is something that cannot be acquired by working at a large media site or sitting in a journalism classroom.

So what’s your project? Or what’s it going to be?