The Digital Gloss Files

...with Margaret Tran

Photo by Angie Simms
for Quest News
Charming blogger and stylist Nikki Parkinson has taken out the top title for Best Australian Blog for Styling You in addition to a Jasmine Award.

Of her accolades, the former Sunshine Coast Daily journalist, who has been blogging since 2008, tells GWAS: "Getting national recognition for my blog has been incredibly humbling as it really is just me and my iMac, sitting here in a corner of my lounge room on the Sunshine Coast."

And while her 20-year career in journalism, more particularly five years editing a newspaper glossy, has given her the insight to achieve a balance of topics appealing to her target reader, she says, "I didn't have a clear mission for the blog when I first started (oops!). I got clear on that about 18 months ago and, not surprisingly, that's when I started to get more readers. I differ from other fashion and beauty blogs as my aim is to be an advice-driven blog for busy women, women who are juggling a lot of things and don't have a lot of time to browse the shops."

- LifeStyled's Paula Joye, founding editor of Madison, and former editorial director of SHOP Til You Drop and Cleo, tells Mediaweek Australia about the evolution of her four-month-old fashion website: "I wanted it to be snacky, I wanted people to come in and get bite-sized snacks of style, little morsels of it, not necessarily reams of information. I don't want to read 500 words on a dress, I want to read 50 words on a dress and then I want to know where I can buy it... It's a misnomer that the web is an easy playing ground for publishers, it isn't at all. To do something daily, at a certain level, at a certain quality, it's not easy. It takes a lot of hard work...You can live and die by your numbers. Right now I'm looking at what people are visiting, which is the great thing about online, you can see what they're looking at, how long they're spending there, which really gives you an indication of what sort of content to do more of, what to do less of."

- Sarah Wilson, former editor of Cosmopolitan, host of MasterChef Australia's first season and Sunday Life columnist, has also spoken to Mediaweek about her personal blog, "It's changed a lot, it's got a lot more structure. With blogs it's like a house that you build, it's got a whole lot of annexes and porches and lean-tos that you add in over the top. It's impossible to go in there and build the perfect blog from the outset with an architectural plan. It just doesn't work that way... I wanted to ensure that I was clear on what I stood for and what kind of content I was contributing. A blog's a really good way to do that because it's like a home base for what you're about. Nowadays, journalism is a lot more about being a specialist – having your own area of knowledge and using all different types of media to communicate that. Annabel Crabb has been a good example. She has developed a specialist niche and she now communicates via Twitter, via a blog, on television, on radio. It's almost like the medium is irrelevant, it's now about, thankfully, very good specialist content."

- Jane magazine founding editor Jane Pratt's website, due to launch on Monday May 16, has been named: WWD reports, "Pratt said the new name — pronounced “ex-oh Jane dot com,” a spokeswoman confirmed — is “warmer” and more in tune with the “spirit of the site”... Pratt has also made additional hires over the last month, tapping Christina Kelly, a deputy at both Sassy and Jane and the editor in chief of ELLEgirl, as an “official contributor.”

Journalists are being called on to rethink their job descriptions in light of the digital era. No longer is the job to report and tell a story, but to also get skilled up on the "business of journalism", as the medium commands. In other words, think like an editor and publisher combo extraordinaire and understand the money-making side of the business, and possibly even *gasp* working with advertisers. Yes, do refrain from baulking, fellow journos – such has the nature of the beast become.

Major publishers Conde Nast and Hearst have both signed iPad subscription deals, with the New Yorker leading the way along with Esquire and O, The Oprah Magazine. Hearst starts their deals at $19.99 per year under the scheme with July issues to be the first to go. Newspapers under this publisher will also be part of the deal, including the SF Chronicle.

With Apple taking a well-known 30% of all iPad subscriptions, we ask, can newspapers ever make a profit? Stephen Glover believes that "newspaper publishers who are banking on the iPad producing a torrent of new revenue that may transform their balance sheets are being over-optimistic." Indeed, Murdoch's iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, last week announced losses of $10m for its first quarter.

A recent study has cited the rise of social media in helping drive traffic to news sites with reader behaviours veering towards casual and less inclined to video. Casual users made up almost 34% of traffic, giving weight to the view that few venture beyond the front page. Google also continues to be the primary entry point for news sites.

Indeed, Facebook is changing the way news is read with about 3% of readers on news sites come from Facebook. While more people are certainly relying on 'word of the mouth' for their news consumption, Twitter data states otherwise with news sites registering less than 1% of traffic from the social media platform.

Facebook has published its own document on best practices for marketing on Facebook. You can download the PDF here.

Mashable also has handy helpers on how to target campaigns using social media.

Image via PC Mag
Google Music has launched its digital music store in a bid to compete with the likes of iTunes and Amazon, and intriguingly enough, without record company input. The New York Times, however, believes the internet giant's new service ambition falls short as a result of failed negotiations with music companies. Currently, Google Music is in its beta stages (a.k.a. invite-only trials to a select few for those with non-tech terminology).

The Wall Street Journal has released its own version of Wikileaks called Safehouse. Will it ever gain the intense reputation held by Wikileaks?

Image via TechSpot
In case you missed one of the year's biggest transactions, Microsoft has bought Skype for US$8.5 billion with some critics claiming they overpaid by about US$4 billion. Regardless, there are already plans to launch the internet telecom across Microsoft's suite of products including Xbox, Windows 7 phones and Outlook Mail.

Speaking of vocal comms, could voicemail soon become irrelevant? With text communication continuing to dominate (hello SMS, Facebook Chat and previously, ICQ/mIRC), one might say it's only a matter of time.

What is user-generated content? Blogs, comments, Tweets? Paid Content unfurls the harsh reality of user-generated content. Apparently there's just not enough to go around.

Yours truly,
Margaret @ Girl With A Satchel


Jennifer Reid said...

Nikki's story is inspiring! I love that blogging is getting the recognition it deserves, as there are so many talented bloggers out there!