Category Archives: Johns Hopkins Projects

Projects or assignments from classes at Johns Hopkins University

Body Stories: Online Journal Video Proposal

Body Stories is an collaborative online journal proposal I developed with Debbie McCulliss, Gail Overstreet, and Laurie Clark in our Technology Tools, Multimedia, and Digital Publications for Writers course in the Johns Hopkins MA in Science Writing program. We proposed that Body Stories would celebrate the body in all its forms with a diverse array of body narratives. By writing about our bodies, we can come to terms with our fragmented existence and develop the sense that our bodies belong to us.

Debbie McCulliss arranged to associate Body Stories with the JHU literary journal, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review.

My responsibility on the team was researching social media strategy and creating the video presentation.

 

Analyzing LiveScience.com: Target Market, Competition and Online Strategy

LiveScience.com is an online science news magazine that publishes only science news, a narrower audience than most news magazines, and it is one of very few science news magazines to be online only. This market is unique because it is so narrow and focused. The average news consumer will get their science news from a broader news source: 24-hour network news, a newspaper, a Facebook feed, or the news blurb on the radio on the drive to work.

Two Target Markets

However, LiveScience isn’t just targeting their web readers. Aside from the website, LiveScience’s stories are syndicated to major news outlets like Yahoo!, MSNBC, Fox News, and AOL. LiveScience is targeting mainstream channels with their news via syndication. But with the website, LiveScience picks up readers that will visit their website to read the science news that isn’t picked up in the mainstream channels or to get more information about the science news that does get 15 seconds of fame on CNN. A bar across the top of their page helps readers find the most popular news by highlighting their trending stories. The website also takes advantage of social media with links to share their articles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Readers can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ and they have an RSS feed.

LiveScience’s website says it has 8 million monthly visitors, claiming to be one of the largest science sites on the Internet. The journalistic but fun writing on the site focuses on clear explanations of science discoveries and innovations. The site also includes reviews of health-tech products.

Tech and Consumer-Focused Purch Publishes LiveScience

LiveScience is published online by Purch, based in Ogden, Utah, whose other brands are mostly review-driven websites like Top Ten Reviews, Tom’s Guide, Mobile Nation, Tom’s Hardware, Laptop, Buyer Zone, and Tom’s IT Pro. With Purch’s focus on tech and buying guides – their main site’s header is “We make buying decisions easier” – I’m interested to know how they got into publishing news. Their other news-driven sites are Space.com and Business News Daily, and they also publish How-To Geek and Wonder How To.

LiveScience.com’s site is high-volume but visually appealing, pairing beautiful images with every article. The light journalistic tone makes the news on the sight seem trustworthy, reliable and unbiased. LiveScience.com includes ads, mostly for tech products, including an ad that has to be closed before the site can be viewed. The ads, however, are integrated well with the site, and besides the popup, they aren’t too distracting. In fact, they are beautifully designed (even the popup). I wonder, with the tech ads and the tech websites Purch owns, what the connection is between the ads on LiveScience.com and the content on their other websites.

Stiff Competition

LiveScience’s subject and target audience are similar to DiscoverMagazine.com, PopSci.com, or ScientificAmerican.com, all online science news magazines targeting a popular audience. But those magazines also have print editions. The only other online-only science news magazine I can find is Seed Magazine. In a side-by-side comparison, Live Science would win the popular visual appeal contest although Seed Magazine’s content (current science news) and tone (journalistic reporting) are very similar Live Science. Seed Magazine’s news is not syndicated, and the site does not use ads. Although they have links to share their articles on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, or via e-mail, their readers can only follow them on Twitter, a less popular social media site than both Facebook and Google+.

Tough to Pitch

The website does not have instructions for pitching a story, and two emails through the Contact portal of the site yielded no answers. Jeanna Bryner is the editor for Live Science, and her bio page on the Purch website lists her private LinkedIn page.

Photo credit: LiveScience on facebook