Camayak Blog

Camayak is a content production tool for newsrooms.
Empower editors. Improve communication. Create better content.

College Newsrooms

  1. Free Tool Helps Campus Newspapers Sell Better Advertising

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    We’re devoted to helping publishers streamline their workflow to save time and seize new opportunities. After speaking to business staff at campus publications this Summer, we started a small project we hope will streamline their work with advertisers, too.

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    With the variety of platforms and differences in pricing models on offer, how can publishers simplify the options so an advertiser understands what’s available and gets the best value for their specific needs? Today we’re excited to launch the college advertising budget calculator to help advertisers answer those questions for themselves.

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    By asking advertisers six simple questions, we hope to give publishers a head-start in offering them opportunities that meet their goals. If an advertiser is already working with a college ad rep, they can enter their rep’s email when they send us their answers, so we can forward them directly to the relevant person.

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    Anyone interested in advertising to students can use this link to specify exactly what they want. As long as people find it useful, we’ll keep the site up and running for anyone who wants to use it.

    P.S. If your business team would like a Camayak license to develop its own agency for 3rd party content production, now’s the time to let us know. We’re giving away 2-for-1 licenses until August 31st*.

    *Your second license may not be bigger than the one that you pay for.

  2. What Does a Digital Newsroom Schedule Look Like?

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    As more publishers transform their businesses, several of our customers have asked us to help them analyze the rhythm of their newsroom activity, so they can keep improving their digital strategy. They’ve even allowed us to share some of their data with you.

    For example, how does a college publication with a frequent print product compare to a digital content agency, in terms of the hours that each newsroom becomes more active throughout a typical week? To start with, here’s how editors at the Duke Chronicle assigned and approved things for publishing last year.

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    Unsurprisingly, editors approved far fewer assignments during the weekend than at any other time. A minority of new articles were approved before noon and there was a clear peak at the beginning of the week, both in assigning new work and approving final drafts.

    How does this stack-up next to a professional agency that focuses mainly on digital content, relative to the Duke Chronicle which also had a print edition four times a week? Here’s a glimpse of what NYC-based publisher PSFK.com‘s daily assignment activity looks like.

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    The conventional working hours of professional organizations help explain why most of PSFK’s content was approved between Monday and Friday. Interestingly, PSFK’s editors created almost the same number of new assignments every week day, whereas the Chronicle assigned more new work on Mondays than Thursdays and Fridays combined, although they appear to have balanced that with more assignments over the weekends.

    Finally, due to a combination of factors like the type of work being produced and the schedules of those involved, on average the Chronicle staff took seven hours to complete their assignments, compared to PSFK’s staff, who usually took under two hours.

    Want to know what else we discovered and see how your newsroom compares? Let us know.

  3. Can We Help Improve Your Newsroom Training?

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    Photo credit: Roman Heindorff

    Newsrooms spend a lot of time training their staff on things like style and best practices. We’re working on making this process easier for editors, as well as letting them track the performance of their contributors to quickly identify where they should be focusing their resources; saving them time and helping them maintain their production standards.

    If you’ve got ideas for improvements to the training and performance-tracking options you have in your newsroom, we’d love to hear from you.

  4. How to Improve Communication in Your Newsroom

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    Photo credit: Roman Heindorff

    Today we’re launching Facebook-style notifications for Camayak users to help them stay on top of their most pressing tasks. Particularly for new editors, the challenge of improving communication in your newsroom can take up hours a week in chasing people for updates on things they’re working on. Our notifications are designed to help editors that are figuring out how to manage a newsroom of freelancers who often aren’t working in the same place: saving them time and confusion.

    Managing freelance writers with Camayak makes it easier to track assignment deadlines, create an easy-to-use editorial calendar and let each contributors encourage one another through their own efforts (some of the educational programs we work with attribute part of their success with Camayak to the peer pressure that contributors feel when they see their colleagues outperforming them). With the new notifications, reacting to other people in the newsroom becomes an even more efficient process, replacing email clutter and manual admin tasks that eat into editors’ time.

    Pro tip: another useful thing about notifications is that you can leave comments that you want to return to marked as ‘unread’. That way you can keep an informal todo list of the assignments and requests that you need to return to.

  5. 6 Student Reporters Awarded $6,000 in Prizes

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    Photo credit: Roman Heindorff

    After reviewing five months-worth of submissions from student reporters across the US, we’re delighted to announce the winners of our student media competition.

    Investigative

    1st prize – Lisa Khoury – University of Buffalo (NY): The Heights of Fear. Lisa spent two years collecting data that showed negligent landlords and passive officials had allowed an area near campus to become so run-down that it was intimidating for students to live in.

    2nd prizeFidelity Ballmer – Foothill Technology High School (CA): New California Law Gives Public Schools More Power to Punish Off-campus Cyberbullying. Frank LoMonte (Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center) claimed it was: “The most thorough, well-researched, nuanced story on cyberbullying law I’ve ever read.”

    Multimedia

    1st prize – Cris Ortega – University of North Texas (TX): Artists of Life. Cris documented two brothers: Ulises and Christopher, who are learning to become carpenters so they can continue to support themselves and others in their community.

    2nd prize – Samantha Guzman – University of North Texas (TX): The Protection of Cristo Rey. Samantha followed Don Erasmo – once a vendor selling around the statue of Cristo Rey in Tenancingo, Mexico – whose house was destroyed in a fire. He cleans the statue and its surrounds for $120 per month – barely enough to keep his family fed.

    Opinion

    1st prize – Taylor Griffin – Baylor University (TX): I Am No Longer a Victim of Southern Circumstance. Of her parents, Taylor says: “They’re still warming up to the idea that one of my best girl friends from the program is a Catholic from upstate New York”.

    2nd prize – August McKernan – Borah High School (ID): High School Journalists Deserve Free Speech. Says August: My aim was to provoke a reaction, a call for change. Now only time will tell. And of course, angry letters to the editor.

    We’re committed to supporting student communicators as they expand their portfolios. For more information on our plans, get in touch or keep visiting our blog.

  6. New Partnerships With Parade Magazine and PolicyMic

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    Photo credit: Roman Heindorff


    Every week we welcome more excellent writers to Camayak. Starting this month, we’re partnering with major publishers including Parade Magazine and PolicyMic to find contributors who can pitch ideas and claim commissions to expand their portfolios.

    We’re looking for writers who can produce first-class work on specific topics for an audience of up to 50+ million monthly viewers. Parade (gaming, travel, home entertainment) and PolicyMic (entrepreneurship, A&E;, LGBT coverage) each have their own niches.

    Experience with a digital publication, a good grasp of AP style and some formal ethics training are all required. If you’re interested in writing for any of our partners, drop us a line at hello@camayak.com with a link to your Camayak portfolio and details of your expertise.

  7. Camayak Teams Up with SPLC, Launches Statewide Campus Newsrooms

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    We know budget restrictions can prevent newsrooms from investing in all the tools they’d like to use. That’s why we’re launching one free newsroom in every state for campuses to communicate and share editorial resources with other local student media.

    How does it work? For example, if you’re a student editor, reporter or photographer on a campus in Georgia, you’re eligible to join the Georgia Campus Newsroom. It’s a free way to collaborate with your colleagues on stories with statewide impact and significance: the only catch is that any student media group is eligible to join you in doing so, too.

    The best bit. The Student Press Law Center is an invaluable source of support and insight for student media. Students can contact Frank LoMonte directly through their statewide newsroom by tagging him in a comment on any assignment and inviting them to reply in context.

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    Photo credit: Roman Heindorff.

     

    Want to start or join your free, campus newsroom, or have another idea we can help with? Get in touch to reserve your account.

     

  8. How Camayak Portfolios Will Help Newsrooms Maximize The Sum of Their Parts

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    Editorial workflow has become a more popular focus area for publishers looking for opportunities to redefine themselves. At Camayak we started with the question: “what if we could make it easier for newsrooms to coordinate their daily tasks and use their own collaboration data to help them become more sophisticated?”. This week we’re taking a big step towards outlining our vision of how such digitally-conscious newsroom can thrive, by launching Camayak portfolios for all our users.

    Portfolios are automatically generated public archives of everything a person has contributed to assignments that their newsroom has published. They look like this. As thousands of staff members at dozens of newsrooms activate their (free) portfolios, here are some of the upsides they can anticipate.

    Staff benefits. Just because you’re not on the assignment byline doesn’t mean you didn’t play a pivotal role in its production. In fact as an editor, it’s likely that you’re one of the key members of staff forced (for practicality’s sake) to summarize your career in the newsroom with just one line: Editor-in-Chief, or News Editor for example titles which might do your efforts little justice and make it difficult for potential employers to evaluate you fairly.

    Whether you’ve edited, written or researched for an assignment using Camayak, you will now have all your credits automatically collected and displayed as links on your very own optional portfolio. Portfolios are fundamentally designed to help you promote your work. By making it easy to showcase the assignments you played a role in producing, your skills, application and passion are well advertised.

    Organization benefits. One of a newsroom’s primary goals is to share links to its content in as viral a manner as possible (therefore usually via social media). But automatically tweeting a new post doesn’t constitute a valuable sharing policy on its own. Furthermore, how many of the team who’ve worked on an assignment can be consistently be expected to tweet the link when they’ve just published their breaking news piece at 2 a.m.? This process is one we’re keen to help newsrooms automate.

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    Imagine you’re a campus news organization with 50 new staff every year that produces around 25 assignments a week, for thirty weeks of the year. On average, four people are involved in every assignment (e.g. a writer, photographer, copy editor and desk editor), so when an assignment gets published, Camayak automatically generates links on those four people’s portfolio pages, documenting their input and leading visitors to your site(s).

    Every year, 50 new portfolios with links to your content will pop up: directing traffic to your publishing platforms and advertising the affiliation the person had/has with your newsroom. After three years, 150 individual portfolios with 9,000 links will be pushing traffic to the 2,250 assignments on your publishing platforms. Remember: this involves no extra work whatsoever.

    Attracting new contributors and user-generated content may also benefit from the promise that these one-time contributors can launch their own portfolio as a result of their participation with your newsroom.

    Camayak’s benefits. What we’re most excited to see is how portfolios will benefit people that are looking to leverage their media skills both in collaboration with their peers and professionally, in the form of resume-building.

    We also feel that people with active portfolios will be more accountable for the content they’re participating in. Those who perform admirably in their newsrooms will especially benefit from a transparency that links their personal profile with the content they’ve helped produce.

    This, we hope, will further contribute to helping newsrooms focus on what they do best and produce better content.

    Roman Heindorff (CEO & co-founder) can be reached at roman@camayak.com

  9. Camayak Announces Partnerships With Duke Chronicle and UCLA’s Daily Bruin

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    This Summer, Duke University’s Duke Chronicle and UCLA’s Daily Bruin will join the growing ranks of community, state and private college newsrooms adopting Camayak, together with at least half a dozen professional organizations and the winners of our 50 high school licenses giveaway, launched earlier this year. Both the Daily Bruin and Duke Chronicle staffs have already contributed to Camayak’s Summer feature roadmap, while the ‘Chronicle became the first college newsroom to take advantage of Camayak’s API by integrating it with its own proprietary CMS.

    “We’re very excited about the Duke Chronicle driving the first custom implementation of the Camayak API” said Edward Smith, Camayak’s Chief Technical Officer. “We’re proud to be part of the Chronicle’s new digital-first strategy and can’t wait to see how its staff – both editorial and technical – continue to take a creative lead in pushing the organization forward”.

    For more information on our Summer roadmap (including in-line comments, dynamic editorial budget calendars and digital-to-print workflows) or to arrange a one-hour free newsroom consultation, email roman@camayak.com.

  10. Where is Your Audience, Now?

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    Your news team is working on a story that’s already looking like next week’s top headline. Your social media lead is broadcasting football updates on Twitter. You have half a dozen reporters writing blog pieces on the upcoming union elections and your star designer is deciding whether to go for an infographic or cartoon to clarify the latest budget cuts. At every step you should be thinking ‘where is our audience and what do they want?’. For this to carry any consequence, you need scope to be creative.

    If this sounds familiar, you’ve most likely worked for a media organization (woohoo!). You’ve probably also invested a good deal of time discussing how best to engage your audiences: the subscribers to your monthly newsletter, the students on-campus, those weekly traffic numbers to your website. Thanks to ever-improving analytics tools or just a good dose of common sense, it doesn’t have to take long to find out what works for you and what doesn’t – but you should be prepared to be surprised. While you and your colleagues may feel you have a proven, effective product-line in place, there’s always more you can be doing to access your audience. Your advertising team will back this up.

    The vast majority of publishers typically have a ‘primary’ product that they promote: usually one of their print product or main website. Then there’s the secondary wave: Twitter, Facebook and perhaps Pinterest promotion, all of which is an essential (and growing) part of both driving traffic and cultivating an audience that expects to return to your content offerings at some point in the future.

    It’s important to remember that the platforms any publisher uses to display content often have audience communities of their own that can be defined by a predictable range of desires: from appreciating a good-looking theme (e.g. WordPress), to being able to re-post a story easily (Tumblr); from enjoying a socially-curated experience (Facebook) to identifying with their vicinity (print). For a publisher, the idea that the appeal of their content consistently or exclusively aligns with the demographics associated with any single publishing platform might be convenient, but it’s almost certainly costing them the opportunity to grow their audience. This is a dangerous limitation that’s ripe for removal, if we improve publishers’ ability to experiment with new publishing platforms on-the-fly. If audiences are able to move from one platform to another so quickly, why not publishers?

    We strongly believe that publishes should keep experimenting with the platforms they publish to and that this exploration should never come at the cost of the quality or sustainability of their content itself. We’re going to see continuous development of disruptive platforms and brand new iterations of existing ones, so the situation that most publishers are dealing with looks something like this:
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    We’re going to be expanding our integrations with publishing platforms beyond our existing connection with WordPress (which happens via our plugin). If you’re interested in experimenting with a particular audience interface (e.g. Tumblr, Facebook, Drupal, etc.) please get in touch. We’d love to help you find out where your audience really is.