Tag Archives: blog

The only site ever banned from al.com’s state blog list

al.comIn perusing the list of state blogs on al.com recently, I noticed a curious omission. This site, Media of Birmingham, was no longer on the list after having been there for years.

I asked by email for it to be reinstated, and the response from an al.com employee was that this site was “heavily anti-Advance” and that “the editors didn’t feel that it was a good fit.” (Advance Publications owns al.com.)

No such guidelines are listed on the al.com page.

I have asked for the names of said editors.

Checking through the sites (which still include my other blogs), I see these are approved for inclusion:

  • Blogs that haven’t been updated in 12 months or more (including those hosted on al.com)? OK.
  • Splogs (a k a spam blogs)? OK.
  • Broken sites? OK.

Be careful, bloggers. Any coverage of Advance or its properties could get you banned from the state’s largest website.

A copy of the email is included below.

From: —– <—–@al.com>
To: Wade Kwon <wade@wadekwon.com>
Subject: RE: Blog page addition
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2013 4:59:34 p.m.

Hey, what’s up,

I just chased this down to see what the problem was. I assumed it had been added already.

Apparently, there was concern that the MOB blog was too heavily anti-Advance. The blog list is subject to the discretion of the editors and they didn’t feel that it was a good fit. Your other blogs, of course, were fine.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks,
—–
[job title]
Alabama Media Group

Advance emailRejection email from al.com (click to enlarge)

I’ll continue to include links to the Birmingham News and al.com on the sidebar.

Update Oct. 9: It has been added back. It was also cited on JimRomenesko.com.

Update Oct. 15: The unnamed al.com staffer referred me to Julie McKinney, the statewide community engagement specialist. I asked via email about who made the decision and what the reasoning was. She replied:

I think [an al.com executive] and you exchanged messages, and any confusion is cleared up. Your blog is listed again. If you hear of anyone else removed who thinks they should be back, send them my way. It’s a constant evolution, and I try to stay on top of it.”

I invited her again to answer my questions, but have not received a response.

When I invited the al.com executive to respond in the comments, she declined because she “[didn’t] want to throw [her] staffers under the bus.”

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March Event: Writing for the Web

  • March 22nd
  • 5:30 p.m. networking; 6:00 p.m. presentation
  • The Birmingham News (The Rhodes Room), 2201 Fourth Ave. North, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • There is a parking deck diagonally across the street from The Birmingham News if no on-street parking is available
  • $10.00 (RSVP required)

Writing for the Web

How can you get more customers through your website?  Come to our workshop March 22nd “Writing for the Web.”

We’ll give you tips and advice on how to market your company or yourself through your website. Topics will include:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Branding & Messaging
  • Lead generation
  • Copywriting

Presented by Lisa Harris of Lisa Harris PR & Communications

Invite your friends and colleagues in media (print, broadcast, online, etc.), public relations, advertising and marketing.

Please RSVP by 5:00 March 21

You must RSVP for this event–NO WALK-INS

Special thanks to our location sponsor The Birmingham News

REGISTER TODAY!

Questions? Contact us or leave a comment.

P.S. Please join our free mailing list for all the updates straight to your inbox.

Food Blog South Conference on January 22nd

FoodBlog South Logo

New York Times food writer Kim Severson, culinary literary agent Lisa Ekus-Saffer to speak at New Southern food blogging conference

■FoodBlog South Conference
■January 22, 2011 @ 8 AM
■Woodrow Hall, 55401 1st Ave N [map]
■Individual Registration Cost – $135 [Register]  MOB members can save $20 by entering the discount code FBSMOB.

Food Blog South, a regional conference for Southern food bloggers, is set for January 22, 2011 in Birmingham, Ala.  Award-winning New York Times food writer Kim Severson, author of Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life will talk about food writing; and culinary literary agent Lisa Ekus-Saffer of the Lisa Ekus Group will talk about how bloggers can become cookbook authors.

The day’s sessions also include:
• Food photography and styling taught by Southern Living senior photographer Jennifer Davick and Southern Living food stylist and test kitchen professional Marian Cooper-Cairns.
• Marketing your blog with Christy Jordan, blogger at Southern Plate (averaging 13 million page views a month) and author of Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family (currently #2 on Amazon.com’s Southern Cooking, Food & Wine category)
• Making the most of social media with two-time Shorty Award winner John-Bryan Hopkins, “The Foodimentary Guy
• Recipe development with Virginia Willis, author of Bon Appétit, Y’all! and former Kitchen Director for Martha Stewart Living Television, and Alison Lewis, cookbook author and recipe developer for clients like Southern Living, Cooking Light, and Better Homes & Gardens
• A panel on writing and blogging about Southern seafood after the Deepwater Horizon explosion
• “Hungry for More: How Blogging Keeps Customers Coming Back for More,” a session on building food businesses with blogging, by Wade Kwon of Birmingham Blogging Academy.

The conference will be held at Woodrow Hall in the historic Woodlawn district of Birmingham. Discounted hotel rates are available at The Hotel Highland located in Five Points South, near a number of great restaurants including Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar & Grill and Chris Hastings’ Hot & Hot Fish Club.

Sponsorships, which include workshop registration and display space, are available at several levels. “We’re especially interested in getting some up-and-coming food businesses as sponsors—the start-ups that are still in kitchen incubators that are doing great things that no one knows about,” Chavis said. “We’d like to connect bloggers with these new, great finds.” Sponsors will be able to attend the workshop, including a special session on blogging for small food businesses and restaurants.

Additional details and registration information is at foodblogsouth.com.

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EXCLUSIVE: The Sword launches to provide Christian news, features

The Sword - Birmingham, Alabama

Marie SuttonA new Christian online magazine, The Sword, made its debut last week. Marie Sutton, a freelance writer and public relations consultant, is behind the publication.

She discussed her new venture with us by e-mail.

MOB: How long has the Sword been in the works? Why online? Will there be a print version?

Sutton: Actually, I left the Birmingham News to start the print version in 2003. It was a glossy mag and was well received, but I had to put it to bed after running out of money. I tell people, “I had the vision, but not the provision.”

I have been wanting to bring the book back and found the web would be more cost-effective. I do ultimately plan a print version, but it won’t be for at least a year.

MOB: What is the mission of the publication?

Sutton: The mission is to inform, instruct and inspire Birmingham’s Body of Christ. Our goal is to be the source for Birmingham’s Christian news and views.

MOB: Why did you decide to launch it?

Sutton: I decided to launch it because I feel there is a hole when it comes to Christian news and views. There is not one central source for calendar items, stories, etc. about Birmingham’s Body of Christ.

Also, I have a passion for sharing stories that will inspire but also rebuke, if necessary, my fellow believers so that we can be everything God wants us to be.

Video: Marie Sutton introduces The Sword.

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

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Kyle Whitmire launches Second Front

The Second Front

Former Birmingham Weekly columnist unveils political news site today

Kyle Whitmire, former Birmingham Weekly columnist, has started blogging for his own news site, The Second Front. He plans to cover political news and public policy as part of Weld, a yet-to-be launched local news site.

Kyle WhitmireHe left the Weekly in January. Also working on Weld is Glenny Brock, who departed from the newspaper in March.

Whitmire talked about his new operation via e-mail earlier today.

MOB: What is Second Front?

Whitmire: It’s a niche-specific blog covering political culture and public affairs important to Birmingham.

MOB: How does it relate to Weld?

Whitmire: Back in the day, Southern Progress used to have test kitchens. I was always kind of jealous of that. I suppose you can say it’s a sort of test kitchen where I get to cook and hopefully not make too big of a mess.

Already some tech-savvy friends have figured out what platform The Second Front is built on, so that will be out there soon. But that’s as good a hint as you’re going to get.

There’s something behind Door No. 3, but I can’t tell you what it is yet.

MOB: What can readers expect?

Whitmire: The focus of The Second Front is politics and public policy.

As a journalism model, The Second Front will follow the lead of The Daily Beast, Slate and many other new media startups. The site will have original content, both reporting and analysis. It will have a great deal of curation, links to pertinent stories from around the web. It will provide context when it can. And it will leverage social media to reach the largest possible audience in ways that are most useful to individual users. [The Second Front on Twitter / Facebook]

I’ve committed myself to waking up a 6 a.m. every day to compile the Frontlines, links to today’s most important stories. I’m not a morning person, so that’s not going to be a lot of fun.

I’m going to spend a lot of time in public meetings, sifting through public documents and nosing around other people’s business. All of this is much the same as I did at Birmingham Weekly, only I want to explore the blog as a new form. I don’t have to fit whatever I’m writing into a 1,000-word hole anymore.

MOB: Will it be free? Subscription? Ad supported? Something else?

Whitmire: I’ll have to dive deep into some jargon and minutia, but I think it’s important to understand the nature of the problems first.

The CPM [cost-per-thousand impressions] advertising model will not support local public affairs journalism.

To make matters worse, users are adopting “ad blindness.” Either they use ad-blocking plugins in their browsers, or they just ignore the ads altogether. As a consequence, online display advertising has a lousy ROI for the advertisers.

The other fallback option has been a subscription model, but subscription-based services do only one thing well: Prevent mass reader migrations away from print. It’s a good way to mitigate the problem, but it doesn’t solve the problem. What’s more, it goes to the Clay Shirky Principle: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” If your job is to distribute news, you can’t do that by keeping it away from people.

What are the answers?

For the moment, I’ll have to neglect the specifics. Sorry, but that has to stay behind Door No. 3. I can share a few basic principles:

  • The digital marking solution should enhance the user’s experience, not disrupt it.
  • Users should be able to distinguish online marketing from other content, but the medium must not treat that message as if it’s radioactive or otherwise marginalize the sponsor.
  • Digital marketing should be clearly labeled but be treated as an equal citizen in the medium’s space.
  • Finally, digital marketing should be native to the Internet, and not simply an appropriation of print or broadcast forms, which we have now.

There is hope on the horizon in the form of geotagging and location-aware ads. Other kinds of micro-targeting will soon be practical. In the meantime, there are some low-tech methods to achieve the same ends, and I hope everyone will get to see them soon at The Second Front.

Why did you decide to do this site?

Whitmire: I love journalism and probably couldn’t do anything else. It has given me a front row seat to history.

The day Eric Robert Rudolph bombed the clinic on Southside, I got to get as close as the police would allow. The day they brought him back to Birmingham, I was there for that as well. I got to sit close enough in the courtroom that I could hear the chains between his feet and see his collarbone protruding against his skin.

I was there the day Richard Scrushy was acquitted and I was there the day he was convicted.

And then, of course, there was Langford. I got to cover Langford for one paper or another for nearly 10 years. It’s incredibly interesting work.

But it’s also very important work. I believe there is a reason the right to do what I do is codified in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Good journalism is a prerequisite for a healthy society. And that’s what troubles me.

While I’ve been a professional witness to history, I’ve also seen what’s happening to the media. When covering Rudolph or Scrushy, I had to fight and scrap with other reporters for stories. In contrast, all it took to prove Langford was not a legal resident of Birmingham was to pull his homestead exemption at the tax assessor’s office. No one else did that.

I’m proud of the work we did at the Weekly, but some of those scoops we got were just too easy. This never would have been the case were the (Birmingham) Post-Herald still alive.

I’m doing this because I love journalism and I love the adventure it allows me. But I’m also trying to save the Fourth Estate.

Compared to waking up at 6 a.m., that part should be easy.

Also:

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

Have a news tip? Let us know!

Southern Living travel bloggers win bronze award

Taylor Bruce, Southern LivingTanner Latham, Southern LivingTaylor Bruce (at left) and Tanner Latham, travel editors for Birmingham-based Southern Living magazine, won the bronze award in the 2009 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. The two won in the Travel Blog category for the magazine’s Tales from the Road.

The judges said, “What voice! With these two writers, their photos and comments from loyal readers, it’s fun to travel the South. As idiosyncratic as the region they cover.”

The gold winner was Amy Ziff’s The Window Seat (Travelocity). The silver winner was Kitty Bean Yancey’s Hotel Hotsheet (USAToday.com), which ended in March.

The Society of American Travel Writers Foundation sponsors the annual awards.

Also: Taylor wrote about the win in “Top 10 Southern Ways to Celebrate Our Blog Award!