Mainstream reporters have an establishment bias + other #ONA17 Takeaways on Day 1

CNN’s Brian Stelter kicked things into gear at the 2017 Online News Association conference in Washington, D.C., with a panel to set the tone for the day: A frank discussion on truth and media trust in the age of Trump.

The whole discussion is worth watching, but one of the key takeaways came from Cenk Uygur, host of @TheYoungTurks, who says mainstream media has a bias: establishment bias.

Day one of #ONA17 came packed with more than a dozen sessions dedicated to help journalists tackle some of the most pressing challenges of today: How to build trust in online communities, how to use the most effective media tools of today, how to counter propaganda, among more.

Many of those are shared in the open Facebook Group titled RunGomez’s Virtual Class for ONA 2017 Conference. Here are some of the takeaways we learned on Day One.

Building Great Newsletters and Email Tools

~ Newsletter headlines should live for hours and be 45 characters or less.
~ Declining open rate? Cull people who haven’t opened in along time or send reengagement email.
~ Be human. Engage with your audience. Stop sending emails from do-not-reply address. Treat people like people.
~ Think about how to leverage other channels to drive newsletter subscribers. Consider publishing as an article that can be shared.

Local Podcasting: Best Practices and New Opportunities for Small Teams

~ Get started with your phone and an external mic and use various apps, including Audacity for editing.
~ Some advice for student journalists: imitate the voice and process of podcasts that you like.
~ Partner with a station that already has the infrastructure and knowledge.
~ People just want a great story. Relevant, compelling, essential. Doesn’t matter if it’s local or national.

Building Trust in Online Communities

~ The Economist’s three rules for social posts: no emotion, no clickbait, no riding.
~ Be consistent with the organization’s look, voice, journalistic standards across all platforms.
~ The Intercept publish policies on anonymous sources, user data, etc.
~ Connect readers to your staff with Facebook groups.
~ Add editor bios in newsletter to add layer of credibility, transparency.

We’re ~Journalists~ Too: Embracing Your New(ish) Newsroom Role

~ Keep an open mind. From Laura Davis: “I made a whole career of doing jobs in journalism that no one else wanted to do.”
~ From Kim Bui: “Our role is not to just tell people the news but to guide people through the news.”
~ It’s important to make connections in other departments. Find someone who gets what you do and work with them.
~ Be happy with incremental progress. Don’t expect things to change all at once.
~ Treat others in your newsroom as equals. Don’t preach at them too much.

Early-Career Tips From Our MJ Bear Fellows

~ Don’t tie your identity to a job (“layoffs are a thing!…you’re so much more than what you do”).
~ “Comparisons are the enemy of joy. You do you.”
~ “You are going to fail a lot as a young journalist…cut yourself some slack.”
~ To get out of comfort zone, learn a new skill once a month.
~ On tackling big projects: “Break it down into manageable chunks,” & find people that motivate you to keep going.
~ There’s only rule in freelance club: don’t write for free.

Optimizing for Trust in News

~ Listen to readers and allow them to ask reporters questions throughout the editorial process.
~Treat readers like experts too and ask them to share what they know in the comments *not their opinion*.
~No one trusts a “view from nowhere.”
~De Correspondent staff spend half of their time interacting with readers.
~News is usually about the exception, not the rule but it’s important to write about what people don’t understand and what they value.

Photo from Hearken

And finally…

For those interested in 360 video, here is a comprehensive (and well-illustrated) guide to producing 360 video — from pre-production, to best cameras to use, to equipment costs, to post-production.

Want to join the conversation in our ONA 2017 “virtual class”? It’s FREE!

Simply fill out this form and ask to join the Facebook Group. (NOTE: You will not be allowed to join the group unless you’ve filled out the form.)

Questions? Comments? Tweet at me at @RunGomez.

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