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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

This is a few days old, but Rafat Ali (of paidContent and now Skift fame) has some good advice at Idea Lab on how to hire the right people for media startups. Some highlights:

Product thinking: Typically media startups have been stuck in “post thinking,” as in a blog post, a story post, etc. In a multi-platform environment, product-led thinking that continually tweaks to keep the brand fresh in digital becomes the driving force. Iterate, test and build — a thinking in mainstream consumer startups, has to come to media startups as well. Hire people who get it…

Curation thinking: This is another critical hiring and company culture parameter. No media startup can survive doing just original content, it has to be a mix, of original, of curated or aggregated, of licensed if that is an option. It means hiring people who have the ability to mix content types, and not be moral about it. You’ll be surprised at how many journalists look down upon curation. In a small team, curation thinking also means learning to do a lot more with a lot less…

Agile development, a methodology that came out of the software world, is increasingly being implemented across other parts of companies as well, especially as a buzzword by marketers. For a media startup, agile would translate into building quick, fast and dirty, with few resources, whether it is edit, business, sales, and of course tech development. That means a cross-functional product manager who is almost a junior COO, working with founders to keep everything running and launching on time, amidst the requisite amount of chaos.

— Joshua Benton
                                   
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  • Rodrigo Stockebrand

    Good advice, Josh. I’d also add that a good understanding of two very important tools: Google Analytics and Google Keyword Research Tool/Trends is critical for journalist to have an unbiased view on what types of information people are looking for. Also, even just typing a keyword in Google and then hitting the space key (don’t hit enter!) can auto-populate (via Google suggest) a whole bunch of interesting longer keywords queries. Just don’t try “how do I get my girlfriend/boyfriend to”