8. How can news outlets recycle their content so that it has a longer shelf-life and realizes its full potential? If an article published several months ago becomes relevant again, how can we resurface it? How can we identify and take advantage of all such opportunities and find the right way to resurface all content to its maximum potential? And before resurfacing the content, is there a way to update it with new context and developments?

Politico’s website is mostly a stream of ephemeral articles — they get a day of exposure and then are buried under a clunky archival system, rarely to be referenced again and difficult to uncover. Is there a way to further monetize the immense store of information Politico has amassed in its articles? Would that monetization potential be greater if we were to spend a bit of time organizing that information (into something other than a collection of articles)? Perhaps an easily searchable archive, topic tag pages or a system that pulls that info to create new articles?

Example: Last week, Politico gave new life to “The Survivor,” a Politico magazine article about Eric Holder and his role within the administration. Although it was first published two months ago, it became newly relevant last week in light of Eric Holder visiting Ferguson. Politico recognized this and placed it on the home page again. It quickly became one of last week’s most read articles (see below). What that means is incredible: for zero additional reporting time and effort, Politico received many additional pageviews and, most importantly, provided relevant information to our readers. This is great, but how can we do this consistently, automatically, every time, with all our content and inthe best way possible? How many additional pageviews (and advertising dollars) would that give us? Would we get more revenue from subscribers because of this enhanced service?

Publishers have an updated evergreen strategy: Make the old new again

By Ricardo Bilton, Digiday

July 16, 2014

Here’s an irony about the rise of the real-time Web: Sometimes what’s new isn’t always what performs best.

Publishers are doing all they can to wring out more value from their existing body of content. The most common technique is to resurface popular old stories that (even just barely) pertain to a trending topic: Publishers will republish or re-share old bits of viral content in the hopes of striking traffic gold once again. People watch reruns on television, the thinking goes, so why not bring that approach to digital content?…

Publishers are taking the same approach to promoting content via their social channels. New York Magazine, for example, last weekend used Facebook to re-share a 9-month-old article about a writer’s decision to leave New York City. While oddly timed, the tactic wasn’t a new one for New York Magazine, which has been posting older articles on Facebook since the end of last year, according to Stefan Becket, head of social media at New York Magazine.

“Our Facebook following has grown three times over since a year ago, so even if things did well a year ago, 80 percent of our audience wasn’t around then,” he said. The move paid off: Despite its age, the republished post quickly became the site’s second-most-read story on Monday with 76,000 unique views. That’s nearly half as many as it got inthe three days after it was initially published last year. …

Publishers’ resurfacing tactics underscore the “car dealership” problem that plagues digital content today. Because most publishers today are biased editorially toward the“new” part of news, the value of their content sinks very rapidly, particularly when most of their traffic is driven by social networks.

That’s in contrast to the age of search, where sites could rely on a decent long tail of interest for their content months after it was published. That led to a spate of sites churning out how-to articles that are timeless. The updated version of the how-to might be the explainer. Take a new site like Vox, which launched with a disdain for breaking news. Instead, it is creating a library of regularly updated “cards” on key topics like same-sex marriage, climate change and marijuana legalization. These can be resurfaced regularly. The trick with Vox is that it keeps the cards regularly updated, much like a Wikipedia entry.

“History repeats itself,” said Phillip Smith, a digital publishing consultant, “so what’s old will be new again, inevitably, and it seems wasteful to not be thinking about new ways to re-purpose and re-surface old content.”

Why Vox (and other news orgs) could use a librarian

by Craig Silverman, Nieman Lab

April 22, 2014

In their launch post, [Vox.com’s] cofounders described Vox as an effort to “build the vast repository of information that will make it possible for us to explain the news in real time.”

They want to provide a comprehensive place to read the latest news while also enabling people to understand the context thanks to explainers (formatted as card stacks) offering the necessary background. It’s real-time news plus rapidly updated topic pages.

It’s also a huge challenge, due to the rapid decay of facts related to news stories and current events.

To attain its goal, Vox has to create and maintain in close to real time stacks of cards about an ever-evolving and increasing set of topics related to public policy, politics, world events, and myriad other areas. Adding to the challenge is the reality that facts about these topics will change at any given moment due to a news event, or something more obscure, such as a government report or academic research paper.

For example, soon after Vox’s launch, a card about the crisis in Ukraine needed to be updated to reflect new facts. Since then, another card in that stack was updated “to reflect a UN draft report on election abuses in Crimea’s referendum vote.” In all, there have been five Ukraine cards updated and one added in about two weeks. A card stack about income inequality has been updated three times. (Not all those updates were a result of new facts coming to light, but they nevertheless required someone to make changes.)

As a point of comparison, I asked David Cohn, chief content officer of mobile news app Circa, how many times they’ve made new updates to their ever-evolvingstory about themissing Malaysian Airlines plane. Cohn said they’ve officially made more than 20 updates since the flight went missing on March 8. He added that the number of changes tothe story would be even higher if you counted each tweak and addition.

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