Engaged Journalism: Lessons From Professor Jake Batsell

Jake Batsell’s research as a professor has always leaned toward the nuts and bolts of journalism; while other professors taught me the history and concepts of the field, Batsell took me and my fellow students to the courthouse to learn how to request information from municipalities. He’s applied this practical approach to the modern, digital-first media environment in his first book: Engaged Journalism: Connecting with Digitally Empowered News Audiences.

The book is an odyssey into the still-uncharted frontier of audience development, highlighting engagement experiments conducted by large and niche websites alike. Batsell covers the importance of face-to-face engagement through events and panels, mining small underserved online communities, using interactives to drive traffic in addition to serving journalistic obligations, and using data to trace journalism back to business objectives.

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Jeff Andrews, April 20, 2015

The Data Behind the Average Article Lifespan

The fast pace of online news means that often an article or post barely makes its way through the CMS before it feels like you’re onto the next one, both as writers and readers. The Parse.ly team wondered if, in fact, that’s true: how long does an article “last” online?

To answer questions like this, we look to our network of sites. Though there are millions of sites on the internet, our data set focuses on a couple of hundred premium media publishers that use Parse.ly to track first-party data, including page views, visitors, engaged time, social sharing and new/returning audience metrics.

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Parse.ly, April 13, 2015

Pay-What-You-Will, and Other Paywall Solutions for Online Media

Giving away the work of news and publishing companies online has been called “the original sin” of the internet. Since that metaphorical fall of Eve, digital media providers have been exploring how to move from open access to paywall structures, but not many have broke the code. That’s where one of Parse.ly’s partners, Tinypass, thinks it can help.

Tinypass takes the workings of an e-commerce platform but provides it to publishers so they can select the best model for the proliferation of paid content based on their customer base. As part of our Lunch and Learn series for Parse.ly clients, we brought in Tinypass CEO, Trevor Kaufman, to discuss how publishers should think about generating profits and creating user engagement through paywalls.

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Lauren Cannon, April 2, 2015

Where Can You Learn More About Data Journalism?

Data literacy has quickly become one of the most important skills for journalists to acquire due to the vast accumulations of data now collected by everyone from the government to Candy Crush. Many career journos did not enter the field with the analytical skills necessary to break down the fundamentals of a balance sheet or to sift through Census statistics with accuracy, but newsrooms, broadcast studios and companies everywhere are now looking for ways to incorporate data reporting into their work.

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Lauren Cannon, March 19, 2015

Why I’m Excited About The New Republic Fund Investing in Parse.ly

As the CEO of a software technology start-up, there are a few big names out there that you look up to as people who have “made it.” The founders and co-founders of the companies that once started out, as you did, but today are household names: Facebook, Google, Apple.

When you’re starting out, you imagine one of those people taking an interest in your company, noticing the hard work and sweat equity you put in as a founder.

So I couldn’t help but feel excited when we announced that The New Republic Fund had chosen Parse.ly as its first investment. The Fund is an investment vehicle that backs early-stage technology companies, predominantly in the digital media space. It has two main goals: the first is to invest in companies that can strategically accelerate The New Republic’s core business; the second is to spur innovation in digital media.

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Sachin Kamdar, March 5, 2015

How to Find a Journalism Job (That’s Not in a Newsroom)

One of the overriding issues affecting the current writers’ market is the need for traditional newsrooms and media organizations to produce a profit. These organizations are now employing writers — many of whom come from a journalism background — to produce and execute non-editorial content in the form of branded posts and digital packages.

Journalists seeking jobs today may find more hits for “Content Producer,” “Digital Project Manager,” and “Social Media Strategist” than “Investigative Reporter” or “Associate Editor.” As mastheads come to reflect these monikers en masse, the qualifications once looked for in journalism positions will now be required of copywriters and marketers. Our #adviceforyoungjournalists? Expect to enter an industry that has a split focus between strategically crafted copywriting and hard hitting news briefs.

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Lauren Cannon, February 13, 2015

Navigating the World of Branded Content as a Journalist

Ed Note: Lauren Cannon is our newest contributing author to the Parse.ly blog. As a freelancer, Lauren has been navigating the world of branded content for the past few years. We asked her to introduce herself by sharing some thoughts about her experience before she starts writing for the blog, as it is, technically, branded content. 

Maintaining journalistic integrity in the current media climate has been a challenging experience in recent years for myself and other writers. Lauren Cannon I was once a newly minted liberal arts graduate seeking her first gig in a bustling newsroom. That was in 2005 when fellow classmates were faithfully utilizing JournalismJobs.com and internships as surefire portals into post grad careers. Several years later, I became a full-time freelance writer out of necessity in the wake of the economic crash. Several of my friends in the industry, many of whom toiled for years at outlets with international name recognition, found themselves laid off and seeking work via private industry writing, even sourcing gigs via Craigslist.

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Lauren Cannon, February 10, 2015

Mage: The Magical Time Series Backend Behind Parse.ly Analytics

Building a time series engine is hard. Beyond the typical database management problems of data distribution, fault tolerance, and read/write scaling, you have the additional reporting challenge — how do you make it simple to query?

This article goes into depth on Mage, the backend that powers Parse.ly’s new analytics dashboard.

Why did we need Mage?

In the case of Parse.ly, we had unique challenges that stemmed from the fact that we worked for the largest media companies on the web. So, when we rethought our backend architecture in 2014, we had some tough technical requirements for that new architecture.

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Andrew Montalenti, February 5, 2015

Making the Dashboard: UI/UX Decisions for Turning Audience Data into Insights

Ed Note: Last week, Parse.ly announced our latest product release, which included the rollout of a brand new dashboard. For those who like to know what goes on “behind the scenes” at a software company, we asked one of our UI/UX engineers, Toms Baugis, to talk about the decision making process. Besides being an prolific Python programmer, Toms also writes. Check out his work: http://milkisprotein.tumblr.com/

It has been a little over a year since we first started talking about how to make room for all the new data that our backend team had started working on—where to find place for GEL (Growth Engagement Loyalty) metrics and where the mobile/tablet/desktop split would fit and so on, and we knew that it would only be the beginning.

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Toms Bauģis, February 4, 2015

The Big Picture: A Whole New Way to Understand Digital Media Audiences

When we launched Parse.ly Analytics in 2012 we were confident that a web analytics platform built from the ground up for content was key to the success of digital publishers.


Our original real-time screen

The need for data and analytics beat even our expectations handily. Since then, we’ve worked with some of the best and most innovative publishers on the web, like the team at Condé Nast, FoxNews.com, The New York Post, Business Insider, The Telegraph, Upworthy and hundreds of others. We’ve also seen the entire industry shift.

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Sachin Kamdar, January 29, 2015