Thursday, February 10, 2011

Austin Post Gets Aggressive

The Austin Post

Making a Major Move

Looks like The Austin Post is getting off of the porch to run with the big journalism dogs.

The Post, while continuing to court unpaid bloggers like me, is hiring professional staff to cover the important news of the day.

This move will set them apart from the competition. This aggressive approach will move The Austin Post beyond being a repository for those who have an opinion and want to blog about it. Hiring staff has the potential of making the AP a viable news medium in Austin.

The Post philosophy at its inception was to open the doors to Austin writers with the idealistic belief that the news that matters would blow in on the wind. Yes, reports about important events have been posted, most of the time, written by Editor Karie Meltzer.

Look at the page today ( and see if there is anything about the angst at the Austin Independent School District budget work sessions and the impending impact on hundreds of educators who may learn that their jobs are gone, not to mention the confused students who will be caught in the middle.

Find a story about the inane actions on so-called emergency items at the State Capitol.

You can’t.

Why? It takes reporters sitting through meetings, interviewing newsmakers, and sifting through stacks of paper. I love Meltzer’s promise to potential reporters: You’ll be “part of an adventurous and growing online newspaper where originality is valued as much as accuracy.” Now, we’re talking Journalism.

This significant move is counter what has become the industry norm. They are hiring, not cutting. They are trying to do more with more while others continue trying to do more with less.

I’ve written and said many times that reporters equal content, and content draws an audience. The unique fact that The Austin Post is willing to “run with the big dogs” and write original, compelling stories should draw readers. If my theory is right, it should result in readers and viewers.

These multiplatform reporters will be shooting still pictures from a different angle than one might see on another site. Further, they will be shooting video. It won’t be just “talking head” video. It will be Austin in motion. It will be interesting to see the bylines.

All of this comes from the mind of Meltzer who sold her bosses at Trilogy on the concept. She wants stories that go deeper than just "He said, she said." She’s asking a lot from a small staff (See her story, “The Austin Post is Hiring…”), and Austin will benefit from it.

While volunteer writers will still contribute the pieces that are the stuff of Austin, real, multi-platform reporters will be on the street with laptops and cameras finding original stories found only in The Austin Post. Will it stifle the current contributors? I don’t think so. It might make them better. I was writing this journalism/media criticism blog before there was an Austin Post. The professionalism should rub off on them. Further, as the audience grows, so will their exposure.

So, I applaud the Austin Post for daring to do what no others do at the local level. So, while the Texas Tribune may be the go-to site for state news, the Austin American-Statesman and The Austin Chronicle web sites have competition.

And here’s the cool: The Austin Post is not for profit. They aren’t beholding to anybody. Bookmark it.

© Jim McNabb, 2011


Karie said...

Thanks for your confidence, Jim. I will do my best to hire the right people and turn the AP into something truly viable.

Anonymous said...

jim think your idea's will help the post expand.Because thats what your previous article states should happen.But I don't think with the care of Ms Meltzer..The fact she was the one responcible for their lack of performance..Yes she is an excellent writer, but not a nonbiased editor..Add that she thinks facebook is the best way to deliver content.they have 814 registered users that like it..Yet only 12% read the articles. No sorry time for a change of editorial staff...

Anonymous said...

Jim the idea she is useing is one that you provided.So how is someone who has no original idea supposed to move a Blog to a competitor? If you were the acting consultant I could see that happening..Call me Biased on that.I admit it. The issue With Ms Meltzer is not her writing style its excellent and she is an awesome writer no doubt about that.The issue is her personal opinion has alienated readers on one side and the one's who are reading the articles are just friends..The delivery of content on Facebook is prime example of her not being educated enough or willing to listen to the reader..How many comments do they recieve? We could count them on 2 hands and that cannot be blamed on novice writers who try and turn in an article..No she is way over her head on this.Numbers dont lie Jim..She is to ego centric to listen and that cost the Austinpost.That falls into her lack of proper editing and checking the articles and cencoring the content because if her personal beliefs..

Anonymous said...

GIve them a good chance, and the benefit of the doubt. At least they are hiring staff to drive over and do the story, not leaving it to volunteers. And really, have you ever know an editor without a little bias?

Anonymous said...

Sorry that not a little bias she has.She got caught with her hand in the cookie jar.She finally got called out on it.Readers caught it over one year ago and nobody did a thing about it! Sorry she divided the readership and has no clue to fix it.Maybe is she took her journalism integrity class over again it would help.maybe guidance from a journalism professor would help.But she chucked all her credibility out the door.

Anonymous said...

Jim I did an analysis to help the post.I want to see Karie Melzer and the Post to succeed.I got this from two friends who were and are national editors.First she needs to write a letter to the readers explaining she wants to change how the news is reported and that they are going to show more sides of the the issue's.Austin is complex in the form of Viewers in Politic's and business.Were Complex.She needs to appeal to the left.Do that by haveing one of the bloggers focus on that side of the issue.And run the articles simultaneously like the Texas Observer.Add the Libatarians point of view as well on those issue's.More facts and less opinion based on speculation.
2.Change the graphics on the site.Their bad non appealing.
3.Add a Editors section for readers to convey open dialog to the editor about bias.
4.Dump the feedback thing it doesn't work.To many people my friends said they feel it's a cach and gets dumped like a computer one every nght.
5.This came from a friend who has twitter and Austinpost on Facebook."Does she think she is Kim Kardashian?" Yeah unprofessional and knnock it off is his term. Cont-

Anonymous said...

6.Stop thinking google is turly giving you the dinamics of Austin readers and leaders.
7.Camera feeds of taped interviews and downtown locations.
8. Bloggers and herself included reply to the viewers and support your theosis non attacking the poster.It's happened in the last few weeks where the Author of the article attacked the poster of the comment or was sarcastic to them.She did it and it was obvious.

9. These bloggers are good M.Bey
Karie Meltzer,Snowdein,Jim Mcnabb,Pat Dixon,Deb Russel,louis.whoever covers F1. M Bey needs to do more of the local local scene as in area's to hang out and things to do. Stay away from the city hall meeting thing.To sarcastic and not appealing to readers. Conti-

Anonymous said...

10.Stop thinking facebook is the greatest marketing invention.Its not.The numbers prove that..Spend some money on a Print add in The Statesman and Chronical..Full page on how you want to grow.
11.interview on local news about Austinpost what what you want to do.Appeal to the public and get your nname out there or your toast.
12.karie herself needs to let go of her ego and see that she needs help.That means no bias towards any groups.
13.Hire a Good Social Media consultant who knows what their doing..
Finally to prove my theory on this.Today Huffington post ran an article about Journalism and Daily Texan within the last week.Comments from readers
1.90% of all articles are 2 facts and tons of speculation and opinion.Based on the Author's bias on the subject matter.My 12 yr old could see through that.
2.Lack of understanding on the part of reporters to identify and "call out" The propaganda.Half truths,Glittering generalizations.Bandwagons,attacks that dominate and pass for reporting.Reporters refuse to challenge the reader with facts and they tipically pander to two predictable extreamist views rather than a wide spectrum of viewpoints.Objectivity truth based on sloid evidence must always be the ultimate goal of any REAL journalist.
3.Sensationlism is what sell's.It doesn't have to be true but half truth's in todays journalist's views or the readers.
These are just 3 of the 75 comments I read about journalists.Also have a workshop on the weekend for people who want to submit articles.You have to teach a little and its good PR.If you look at these thinngs described it can be done and you win.If not you just waste the money on bloggers and it goe's no where.Jim I hope you have her take a look at it. Thanks

Anonymous said...

So what has changed at the Austinpost? Not much after reading the article's lately. Also the editor posted that the "New team" would be asking the hard "why" questions. Well here's 2 for them..Why for over a year have they and still violate their own Community rules?
why are they useing sensationalism like a present article run about city council emails? isn't that person connected to the ACLU and was called out for speaking for them? Wouldn't that violate ACLU's own policy and agenda on free spreech and provacy? Sounds more like over opinionated reporting..

Anonymous said...

Mr Mcnabb
I have a question for you.
If AustinPost is in fact A NOT For profit news org. Then have they gotten permission from my 10 friends who are Republicans that work at Trilogy to Support the Democartic Party wihtout their consent?May want to ask the editor not to Highlight one party on their post...Seems my friends may file against the post.That just hit my FB page..

NewsMcNabb said...

@ Anonymous on April 11, 2011. Austin Post is not for profit and the rest of what you say is, well, not true.
I started to delete it for that reason, but decided that it's better to address the question with the truth.

Anonymous said...

This not be a rude or rant to Austinpost. But a feasible option for an article for Karie Meltzer on Bin laden..Have karie check into a person named Billy Waugh. He's a former retired special force's Command sergeant Major and also a gradute of SWT. He worked as a Cia Contractor and was the one responcible for catching Carlos the Jackel for france..he also was contracted to find and tag Bin laden in the early 90's in Sudan..He had him stacked out for 60 day's and asked permoission from the NSC and white house to takeout Bin ladin before the 93 bombing of the trade center..he was in Afghanistan in 2002 after 9/11 hunting Bin laden with SF Team 101 on the pakistanie border.he is the one she would want a quaote from about the mission and the after affect now.He is retired and can probably be found through his publisher...She did a good job on her article about where she was when 9/11 happened.And yes I know the SOC community and they are tight lipped but I believe if she could she could print a good article with his thoughts..