Camayak Blog

Camayak is a content production tool for newsrooms.
Empower editors. Improve communication. Create better content.
  1. Track Your Newsroom’s Assignments in Real-Time

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    At their best, real-time analytics echo the excitement of what’s happening in your newsroom. Their immediacy is provocative and that helps encourage staff to take note of the insights at their fingertips.

    If you’re using Chartbeat or Parse.ly to track your audience, you probably have a big screen in your newsroom that lets everyone see what’s capturing their attention. Check it out. What’s trending right now?

    Now your entire newsroom can also watch as your assignments move around in Camayak, not just in and out of various people’s inboxes, but through the workflow steps that your desks rely on to streamline their editing processes. Just click a desk to see what assignments it’s working on.

    Seeing your assignments move around in real-time gives you and your staff the opportunity to:

    Big up the people doing the most work

    You’re all there, burrowing through your inboxes to take care of the assignments your colleagues are waiting to work on once you’re done. Seeing at a glance “who’s on this?!” reminds people that an assignment’s status has everything to do with the person who’s job it is to be improving it at any given moment.

    Spot overloads before they hurt

    There are only so many hours in the day and if you have one person tasked with editing 30 assignments before tomorrow, you – and they – might have a problem. Prevent people from burning out by watching the reality of your desk’s expectations unfold in real time. If you see an impossible workload brewing for someone further down the line from you, you can use this information to delegate or warn your colleagues, to keep your targets achievable.

    Get excited about your process

    Editorial workflow isn’t sexy. But watching an editing process unfold pulls back the curtain on the core relationships within your newsroom. Writers will appreciate watching their work being edited by multiple people and editors will know that their efforts are being advertised to the rest of the staff and their management. It’s a powerful incentive to bring your best.

    Start healthy conversations about your workflows

    Workflows aren’t set in stone and if you can clearly see that something isn’t working, you’re more likely to have the confidence to change it. Dynamic desk analytics give the people you’re managing the opportunity to share their own interpretations. It will almost certainly lead to more creativity around the way you develop your content.

    For more information on Camayak or to start your own free trial, visit our website.

  2. Four Free Camayak Upgrades That Could Save You So Much Time

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    Assignment templates

    Around one in three of the organizations that use Camayak to manage their editorial workflows have set up assignment templates to save them time and improve the consistency of their submissions.

    Are you moving to a model where your reporters are also tasked with submitting their own media with every story they work on? With templates you can also block submissions that don’t include a featured image.

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    To create your first assignment template, you’ll need to be an admin on your Camayak account.

     

    Pitch templates

    Is your newsroom a combination of desks that each focus on their own beat or content type? Using pitch templates, you can support your pitching contributors by making sure they’re giving the editors on each desk exactly what they need to take the next step of approving or rejecting their idea.

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    If you’re an admin on your Camayak account, go to Templates under the name of your organization in the top right of your screen, then pick the Pitches tab.

     

     

    Delivery platform logging

    Have you ever tried approving an assignment in Camayak and received an email saying that your site couldn’t be reached? While Camayak does its best to make sure you save hours each week by directly publishing your approved content online, every now and again your website might be having a hiccup. This is usually the moment when you try to re-publish a few times, before asking for help from the person or hosting service that handles your website’s technical side. While you wait for a response, you may want to check out the Logs tab on your Publishing destinations page. A scroll through the notifications listed there will give you a good idea of how consistent your platforms are at remaining connected to Camayak.

     

    Metadata on assignments

    Ever wanted to make your assignments more searchable when they reach your CMS, include social media messages or set a special URL on the assignment when it becomes a post in WordPress? Admins in Camayak can go to Publishing destinations and Edit metadata on each of your destinations. This allows you to add new fields to your assignments that will get sent to your destinations along with the main content. It’s an opportunity to get more editorial control over aspects like promotion (e.g. on social channels), SEO optimization (for post titles) and other priorities you might have, like storing reporters’ notes for the long-haul.

    Talk with your colleagues about how you can get your reporters and editors thinking about leveraging their work to boost the cross-channel publishing you do. It’s time to get more out of the production process they’re already familiar with.

  3. How to Prepare Your Newsroom For Breaking News

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    Here are a few simple habits you can develop that will help your newsroom respond to breaking news.

    Keep your newsroom tidy

    Between hectic production nights and collecting ideas from freelancers that never flourished, you may find yourselves stuck with dozens – even hundreds – of assignments in your newsroom that are clogging up your dashboards. Not only does this make it difficult to keep track of the assignments that you’re genuinely working on, but depending on your subscription you may also be seeing some performance issues in Camayak, where you’re tracking your desk – and newsroom’s – editorial budget.

    As a rule of thumb, at least once a month editors should be going through and spiking any abandoned assignments. If you have, say, 150+ active assignments, you probably want to do some trimming. Note that you should only spike assignments that have truly been abandoned (more on why, below). You can do that quickly and easily from the Archive page, as long as you’re an editor or admin in Camayak.

    You should also check to make sure that people are actually approving assignments out of Camayak, instead of just copy/pasting them and leaving finished articles to stack up. As you probably know, you can approve assignments to publish directly online and then also update them from within Camayak. It’s worth asking whether your colleagues are habitually hitting ‘Update’ on approved assignments and then forgetting to re-approve them to clear their queues.

    It’s important to know that Camayak relies heavily on assignment statuses. For instance, Staff Performance and Staff Portfolios will only pay attention to assignments which are “Approved”. So if you have a mountain of assignments that were approved, or should have been, we recommend resisting the temptation to ‘Spike’ them, since they will be removed from all of those analytics dashboards. The better option is to approve them to a destination in Camayak that’s copy/paste, so you don’t overwrite the web versions that you already have (and must presumably be happy with). This will at least populate your analytics.

    Create Breaking News assignment templates

    Roughly one in every fifteen assignments created by Camayak users is considered ‘breaking news’. While 7% is a small fraction of your total newsroom output, those stories are more likely than any other assignment-types to:

    Capitalizing on your preserved institutional knowledge in situations like these is important to get the most out of your coverage. If you have guidelines for your editors and reporters as they work on breaking news items, wrapping them into an assignment template will stop them from being overlooked as your staff’s peripheral vision narrows on the real-time challenges they’re grappling with.

    Support inexperienced staff

    Whether face-to-face or remotely, backing your staff up as they confront new hurdles in their careers is vital for the vibrancy of your organization. The instant chat feature in Camayak is super useful for one-on-one, private communication with your reporters and you should expect to have to split your time as an editor between content and personnel management, as breaking news unfolds.

    Burnout is real. You mightn’t know who your key point-person on a story will be until you’re already in the thick of it, so your coverage may only be as good as the least experienced person in the newsroom. Remember to look after your colleagues and don’t assume that others know what you do. Information-sharing is the current of any time-sensitive reporting so don’t be shy about speaking up, either.

  4. More TownNews customers are using Camayak to manage their editorial workflow

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    Back in 2014 TownNews, the CMS provider that currently serves over 1,600 media organizations announced an integration with Camayak to help customers scale their editorial workflows independently of continuing to customize their CMS. The integration between Camayak and BLOX – TownNews’ flagship CMS product – allows newsrooms to track all their assignments in Camayak before approving them directly for publication online.

    TownNews continues to thrive despite headwinds for local media markets in the US. Earlier this year, Meredith Corporation’s Local Media Group decided to sign with TownNews for 17 of their local TV stations.

    Every newsroom that uses both Camayak and BLOX has now taken advantage of the integration to manage their assignment workflow process. TownNews’ documentation of the Camayak integration is simple to follow and media organizations in five states (California, Arizona, Georgia, West Virginia and Washington) are currently working efficiently with both systems in tandem.

    Camayak also recently announced an integration with Shopify. For more information on getting Camayak set up for your newsroom, visit our website.

     

     

     

     

     

  5. New keyboard shortcuts save editors more time as they organize their newsroom this Summer

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    These new shortcuts are now available to every Camayak user:

    h – Navigate to the Home page

    n – Launch the “New” dropdown

    r – Launch the “Recent” dropdown

    u – Launch the “Online” dropdown

    o – Launch the “Organization” dropdown

    a – Launch your account dropdown

    / or s – Launch the search dropdown

    m – Launch the notifications dropdown

    i – Launch the “Help” dropdown

  6. Introducing: Shopify blogs integration

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    We’ve been hard at work expanding Camayak to additional platforms, and today we are introducing a Shopify blogs integration.

    This integration does require a server application to be running, but we’ve made it easy to deploy it to Heroku, which has a free tier that works nicely with the integration. If you’d prefer, you can also deploy it to your own server infrastructure. This tutorial assumes you will use Heroku.

    Getting Started

    First, sign up for a Heroku account. If the signup asks, the development languagthat this integration uses is Node.js.

    Deploy the Integration

    Follow this link to start deploying to Heroku. It will ask for the following:

    App Name: The app name is completely up to you, but we’d recommend setting it to the name of your Shopify account and Blog. You can create multiple integrations if you have additional blogs that you want to connect to, and this can help identify which integration is for which blog.

    Region: The region in which the integration will be hosted. We recommend that you choose United States since it is the closest to Camayak’s hosting provider.

    Shopify API Key: You can get this from the Shopify apps page.

    Shopify Password: You can get this from the Shopify apps page.

    Shopify URL: Your Shopify subdomain (ex. example.myshopify.com).

    Shopify Blog ID: You can get this by visiting the blog section of your Shopify site, and clicking the blog that you want to use. The ID is then displayed in the URL after /admin/blogs/.

    Shopify Blog URL: The public URL to the specific blog that you would like Camayak to connect to.

    Camayak API Key: Skip this for now, as it will be generated by Camayak in the Connecting to Camayak section below.

    Camayak Shared Secret: This field is automatically generated, and you will need it in the Connecting to Camayak section below.

    Debugging Mode: Leave this set to false unless told otherwise by Camayak Support. This mode will show additional error data to assist in any troubleshooting.

    After filling out these fields, click Deploy app. It is now time to add the publishing destination in Camayak.

     

    Connecting to Camayak

    You must be an Admin on your Camayak organization account to connect to a new publishing destination. Follow these steps to connect to the Shopify integration:

    1. Under your organization name in the menu bar of Camayak, select Publishing destinations.
    2. Select Add new publishing destination, then select Content API.
    3. Type a name for the publishing destination. This is what will appear in the Camayak application.
    4. Enter the URL that Heroku gives you for the integration.
    5. Enable Signed Requests.
    6. Enter the shared secret that Heroku generated for you.
    7. Click save. Camayak will now give you an API key.
    8. Enter the API key in the Heroku config variable Camayak API Key field (select your integration, then, on the top menu, click Settings, and click Reveal Config Vars).
    9. Restart the Shopify integration in Heroku (select your integration, then, in the More menu, select Restart all dynos).

    Optional Fields

    You can add metadata fields to the publishing destination in Camayak to enable setting the following:

    Blog Post URLs: To enable setting blog post URLs, create a default metadata with the key shopify-handle, following the steps below.

    Page Title: If you want to use a page title that is different from the post title, create a default metadata with the key shopify-title, following the steps below.

    Page Description Meta Tag: This tag is used by search engines to show a description of the page. To enable it, create a default metadata with the key shopify-meta, following the steps below.

    1. Under your organization name in the menu bar of Camayak, select Publishing destinations.
    2. Choose Options for the Shopify publishing destination.
    3. Choose Edit default metadata in the pop-out menu.
    4. Create a Label for the metadata that you are adding. This is what will be shown in the stories.
    5. Enter the key for the metadata type you are adding from above.
    6. If you want, you can set a default value, such as a description of what should go in the field.

    Test the Integration

    Your integration should now be set up. Try publishing a post on your blog. If you have any trouble, don’t hesitate to contact us at support@camayak.com.

  7. We’re updating our Privacy Terms

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    You’ve probably heard that from May 25th, people living in Europe will have an easier time understanding how their personal data is being handled by companies that ask for it. This is a summary of how Camayak is working to comply with the new regulations and a resource for people interested in their ramifications.

    Within GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), companies that acquire personal data relating to individuals are reminded that:

    • They must process and store people’s data securely
    • They must be transparent about who that data passes on to and why
    • They must allow their customers to audit their fulfillment of their claims

    The new GDPR directives also have the welcome effect of incentivizing companies to offer you the same transparency due to European residents; no matter where you live. For example: even if you don’t support individual privacy (we do), it’s quite simply more efficient for small and mid-sized web-based software services like Camayak to assume that GDPR applies to all our customers than to try and keep an unregulated relationship with customers that don’t live in the European Union.

    But there’s more to complying with the new rules than giving your company’s terms and conditions a Spring clean. Helpfully there are much larger companies that operate in similar ways to Camayak which we’ve been able to learn from as they look to satisfy the new guidelines. Here are some of the highlights that we’ve appreciated so far:

    • Zendesk keep a really clear list of the people (nicknamed ‘subprocessors’) that they work with who may also be handling personal data from Zendesk’s customers. We’ve created something similar.
    • Google Ads invite customer audits and thoroughly demonstrate how they work to protect personal data from being breached.
    • Slack introduced a profile deletion tool. While allowing users to request that their profiles be deleted, neither Slack nor Camayak offers its users the ability to delete content that they’ve created in quite the same way. This has been a hot button topic for some of our clients in the past, as individuals have requested that some of their past work – or even content where they are the subject matter – be redacted from the public domain. Camayak’s default position remains that such decisions are down to the organization owners/editors.

    Joining many other companies, we’re updating our Privacy Policy and and Terms of Service to make our business goals and practices even more transparent, without collecting more personal data or changing the way we handle it. Here are some of the more substantial changes we’re making in order to adequately meet the expectations of the new legislation:

    • Children. To use Camayak you must now be 16 or older.
    • Your rights. We’ve made it clearer how you can exercise your data rights.
    • Data deletion. We’re sympathetic to the appropriate reasons for someone wanting to have certain personal data completely removed from Camayak.
    • Use of your data. We’ve made it even clearer what we do with personal data.
    • Data monitoring. You can audit how we’re doing with your data and request it back from us.
    • Data sharing. We’ve clarified whom we share your data with and why.
    • Security reporting. If there’s a breach of your data, we’re going to tell you and the appropriate regulators about it right away.

    For a thorough look at our new policies, check out our updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. As ever, you can write to us at privacy@camayak.com to object to any particular way in which we handle your data and we’ll address your concerns in the spirit these new protections are set up to encourage.

  8. Camayak scheduled downtime tomorrow and May 2nd

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    Tomorrow and on May 2nd we’re going to be performing system maintenance, which we expect to take under one hour. You won’t be able to access Camayak during these periods so please make sure you’ve saved your work before we get started.

    Camayak may be accessible more quickly than we anticipate, so keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when you can resume your work.

    Depending on your location, here’s when Camayak will be unavailable:

    April 30th, 2018:

    • Central EU: May 1st 10 a.m. – 11 a.m
    • UK: May 1st 6 a.m. – 7 a.m
    • Eastern US: May 1st 1 a.m. – 2 a.m
    • Central US: May 1st 12 a.m. – 1 a.m
    • Mountain US: 11 p.m. – 12 a.m
    • Pacific US: 10 p.m. – 11 p.m
    • Hawai’i: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

    May 2nd, 2018:

    • Central EU: May 3rd 2 a.m. – 3 a.m
    • UK: May 3rd 1 a.m. – 2 a.m
    • Eastern US: 8 p.m. – 9 p.m
    • Central US: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m
    • Mountain US: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m
    • Pacific US: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m
    • Hawai’i: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes and look forward to updating our Twitter account when we’re finished with our work.

  9. Spectre & Meltdown CPU patches

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    Over the coming week Camayak will need to schedule short (up to¬†one/two hours, but usually taking approximately 30 minutes) downtime windows with approximately 24 hours’ notice. This is in accordance¬†with our hosting provider’s Meltdown CPU exploit vulnerability patches.

    We apologize for the short notice but due to the nature of the exploit downtime must be scheduled as soon as possible. Please see this blog post for a useful non-technical explanation of the two bugs and why the patches are necessary. Camayak may be accessible more quickly than we anticipate, so keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when you can resume your work.

    January 18th 2018:

    • Central EU: 3am – 5am
    • UK: 2am – 4am
    • Eastern US: 9pm Jan 17 – 11pm Jan 17
    • Central US: 8pm Jan 17 – 10pm Jan 17
    • Mountain US: 7pm Jan 17 – 9pm Jan 17
    • Pacific US: 6pm Jan 17 – 8pm Jan 17
    • Hawai’i: 4pm Jan 17 – 6pm Jan 17
    • Central EU: 8am – 9am
    • UK: 7am – 8am
    • Eastern US: 2am – 3am
    • Central US: 1am – 2am
    • Mountain US: 12am – 1am
    • Pacific US: 11pm Jan 17 – 12am
    • Hawai’i: 9pm Jan 17 – 10pm Jan 17
  10. College media doubles down on training its new writers

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    Until last week, the average among college organizations for setting assignment instructions was 53% of all new work, which meant roughly one in every two assignments was being set without any instructions whatsoever. We kept hearing from editors and newsroom managers across the country who felt that Camayak could help improve that.

    “When you show up at a campus newsroom for the first time it can be a a confusing experience” one editor told us. “You got good grades in English at school and maybe even worked on your high school newspaper, but your style needs to change now that you’re talking to a college audience and you may need some more guidance around how to write a compelling headline”. But where do new writers get that from? Their assigning editor is often new to the job themselves and has only been giving out assignments for a week. Perhaps she hasn’t even had time to sit down with you to discuss what her expectations are, yet.

    Camayak now offers busy newsrooms a way to standardize their basic expectations of both staff contributors and freelancers pitching speculative ideas to their editors. By creating templates for specific types of assignments and desirable pitches, newsrooms stand to share more of their institutional acumen with more of their staff, more consistently.

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    Some college newsrooms are already more consistent than others at setting specific instructions for their contributors to follow. ECC Union, El Camino College’s student media organization, sets clear instructions for four out of every five of its assignments while Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada, chooses not to set assignment instructions for a small portion (10%) of its work. Among professional newsrooms that use Camayak, the innovation insights agency PSFK.com and travel broker Skyscanner set instructions for an average of 98% and 100% of their assignments respectively.