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April Rudin

April Rudin

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When the "News" Is the "News" -- Old/New Media Meet in the Social Media Milieu

Posted: 03/15/11 11:30 AM ET

Up until recently, the "news" rarely ever made the news. In other words, news and news reporting was pretty boring until the advent of the internet and explosion of new platforms and myriad of information available. Since then, the news has reinvented itself many times over and it is has done it again. Arianna Huffington has morphed her internet news platform, The Huffington Post, into a content aggregator with increasingly more original content and reporting, that she then sold recently to AOL for $315 million; not bad for a start-up that has been in business since May 2005. Monday, the game-changing Huffington Post Media Group announced some mind-boggling staffing additions. The merging of AOL and Huffington Post is a refreshing combination of old media veterans with new media types. They are building out a new-age revenue generator.

The combination of talents, vision, goals and motivations amongst the new staffers overlap, yet complement. The new team has recruited talent, like new media visionary Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, and John Montorio, a news veteran with more than 30 years experience. John has held leadership positions at two of the nation's top-tier newspapers, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Howard Fineman, whose significant work includes being an analyst for NBC and MSNBC, will move to an even larger role at the all-new Huffington Post Media Group. These strategic appointments bring proven talent to a giant new platform, which is powered by two separate engines: HuffPost content and AOL reach/audience. Each senior appointment has been fortified by the addition of reworked new reporting teams with as many as ten new hires. The news is making the news...

In a more ground-level tactical announcement, Patch.com will expand to two underserved areas of Newark bringing information and community news. It's an investment in Newark Mayor Cory Booker who has been forward-thinking in the variety of partnerships which have helped to revitalize Newark.

And so Monday, it went live! AOL's home page featured "Most Popular Articles from Huffington Post" and HuffPost will post Patch.com's viral local channel. Very interesting... this is the crossroad of technology and content. HuffPost's addicting, diverse universe of information (both news and commentary) has opened the door to engaging an even wider audience to HuffPost content. This is the value proposition of this deal.

In another journalism re-do ,the news once again makes the news . Some uber-experienced CNNers recently came together and created a business model that implemented custom innovative technology to help journalists and experts connect. NewsCertified Exchange is a terrific tool for marketing departments and PR professionals in addition to aforementioned professions. Again, this technology/content breakthrough was driven principally by a woman thought leader a la Arianna. Kathryn McManus, one of the founders of NewsCertified Exchange, dreamt up this idea with others. They executed it with a bunch of ex-CNN talent including both on-air professionals and behind the scenes programming smarts.

They wanted to solve a breaking news now problem. When journalists encounter a story, they need to be able to develop a story for their respective company. This is frequently a factor of the day's breaking news. When news happens, suddenly, subject matter experts who are knowledgeable, reliable and experienced must be located and quickly! An example of this in real-time is the disaster in Japan. Up until a few days ago, the most widely known information regarding Japanese culture probably had to do with their cuisine. This story is very personal to Kathryn as well; she launched CNN Japan.

Suddenly, in the wake of the Japanese disaster, we "needed" to know more about Japanese culture/customs. We "needed" experts on tsunamis, nuclear reactors, weather and more. Similarly, NewsCertified Exchange has created a business model where technology intersects with subject matter experts/journalists to bring fresh expertise to each news conversation.

Using social media and sophisticated search technology, journalists gain access to new and qualified experts for reaction to breaking news or their own news cycle. Imagine a world where certified experts and thought leaders are delivered via social media to journalists. It is a huge advance for marketing departments and PR/Communications professionals who now have a viral tool for making thought leaders known. Each expert's profile reads like a dossier of their expertise and knowledge. Keyword search help journalists to drill down to identify the most appropriate of experts. NCE 's platform certifies an expert's ability to be "news-ready." This includes TV, radio and print interview skills.

For both NewsCertified Exchange and Huffington Post Media Group, each has created innovative business models. For each, it is the mix of old media talent and new media technology. For NCE, its founders "cut their teeth" at CNN producing news programming 24/7. Whether producing news on TV or a online site like HuffPost, it requires new content continually. HuffPost bloggers generate content in exchange for visibility on the platform. NCE platforms news-ready experts to the media.

Newsmakers want to generate traffic as well by producing excellent programming. Excellent programming is great content with interesting points-of-view. Social media can now connect journalists specifically with subject matter experts. Journalists are able to access more and better experts in a shorter period of time.The quality of programming (TV or radio) and the depth of an article are enhanced with many points of view. Huffington Post bloggers are able to self-position themselves on the site. For others, they may use a service like NewsCertified.

The take-away from this story is that there is a take-away. The news is the news... stay tuned to this social media channel for further late breaking developments...

A previous version of this post included a spelling error in the headline. The current version reflects the correction.

 

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