LinkedIn has agreed to buy Pulse, a newsreader app that aggregates online sources, including your social networks, for $90 million. Not bad for the two Pulse founders who met while students at Stanford in 2010.

Pulse is similar in nature to Zite and Flipboard, though I have never found its interface as pleasing or it’s setup as easy to use.

Owen Thomas (@owenthomas) at ReadWriteWeb says with Pulse, LinkedIn is a media company, becoming the Newspaper of the future.

Increasingly, LinkedIn wants to broaden how users think of it beyond job-hunting. Already, LinkedIn publishes articles by high-profile business figures like Virgin chief Richard Branson and Buddy Media founder Michael Lazerow.

……

That means bringing in a wide variety of sources — a layer of original, exclusive, high-end articles on top; links to relevant business items from around the Web in LinkedIn Today; and user contributions in LinkedIn Groups and profile updates. The only problem LinkedIn has on its current website is that its tools for reading, saving, and sharing content leave something to be desired. That’s where Pulse comes in.

Like newspapers, LinkedIn generates revenue from advertising and subscribers, per Thomas.

[LinkedIn’s] mix of display advertising, classifieds, and subscriptions, all riding on top of one core product, reminds me of the newspaper business model of old, back when that was a highly profitable business.

Thomas misses a key point when it comes to newspapers. Newspapers are network.

A newspaper reflects both what is taking place in its community and seeds discussion in its community. The community, served by a newspaper’s content, is a network where people and businesses engage to transact business, get to know each other, and support common causes.

I could hardly imagine my hometown where I grew up and practiced law without our newspaper — not as the primary source of news, but as the ‘thing’ that fueled engagement within our community.

LinkedIn product chief, Deep Nishar (@deepnishar), blogging on LinkedIn’s acquisition of Pulse talks not of traditional media, but of true networking.

We believe LinkedIn can be the definitive professional publishing platform – where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content. Millions of professionals are already starting their day on LinkedIn to glean the professional insights and knowledge they need to make them great at their jobs. We believe we can help all professionals make smarter and more informed business decisions leveraging all the great business knowledge flowing through LinkedIn in the form of news, Influencer posts, industry updates, discussions, comments and more.

Pulse is a perfect complement to this vision. Pulse’s core value proposition is to help foster informed discussions that spark the decisions shaping the world around us through news and information. This shared view that the power of professional information and knowledge can transform lives and the world makes LinkedIn and Pulse a particularly great fit.

Sharing content. Gleaning insight and knowledge to make professionals great. Discussions. Comments. Transforming lives.

Powerful concepts. Something far greater than content merely published by a media company.

With the advent of the Internet, and later, blogging, I have viewed content as the currency of engagement.

Rather than tracking content by traffic and views, view content as your means of growing building relationships and enhancing your word of mouth reputation. Content is just the currency used to reach the end, not the end in and of itself.

Our LXBN Network has 8,000 lawyers publishing to just shy of 1,000 blogs. We’re adding blogs and lawyers every week.

As LinkedIn advances in its use of content as a means of networking, I don’t see our network, member blog publications, or any other engaging publications going away. I see blogs and our network as becoming even more important.

With Pulse, LinkedIn becomes an even more powerful network by harnessing our content as a currency of engagement. Networking at its finest.

If LinkedIn is becoming the newspaper of the future, let’s keep in mind that newspapers are a network where businesses and people engage each other.

Texas DWI attorney Hunter BiedermanIt seems like every day we hear about another member of the LexBlog Network getting known in the community and local media through their blog.

Dallas-area DWI lawyer Hunter Biederman’s posts on his Frisco DWI Lawyer & Attorney Blog led to notice from a local newspaper chain, Star Community Newspapers, who then reached out to Hunter through his blog.

“I spoke with the editor who said he liked my posts and wanted to add my posts to their papers,” Hunter says.

He now sees his posts syndicated in the four local papers in the chain: The McKinney Courier Gazette, the Allen American, the Frisco Enterprise, and the Celina Record. Each post on the newspaper website has a link back to his blog, for readers to refer to for more information and background.

“I have definitely seen a response already, mostly from other attorneys and court staff,” Hunter says.

You can read the posts on the papers’ opinion page.

As a former newspaper reporter myself, I can see why an editor would leap at the chance to syndicate a top law blogger’s content on their newspaper’s site. You’re getting frequently updated pieces from an authority on a topic that your own paper likely doesn’t or can’t cover on its own.

And from the lawyer’s side, your content is reaching a wider audience of influencers and potential clients, who will grow to value your opinion and turn to your blog as a resource.

As we’ve written before, lawyers who blog well are a reporter’s (and newspaper’s) dream.

In the days before the Internet, newspapers and other mass media were crucial resources for marketing yourself and your practice.

Now you use a blog for marketing and you get your news online, but the importance of building relationships with members of the media hasn’t changed. If anything, it’s more important than ever — and with a blog, it’s easier than ever before.

In the next edition in our free, exclusive, client webinar series, "Engaging with the Media: How to Become a Go-To Source", I’ll cover this topic and take your questions. It’ll be held this Thursday, September 24, at 12pm ET/9am PT.

We’ll cover:

  • Strategies for targeting media members
  • The difference between mass, trade and local publications
  • Why relationships are key
  • The role of traditional PR and communications
  • Referencing media content on your blog
  • Social networking tools to engage with reporters, editors and publishers
  • The role of Twitter

This is a topic that applies to firms and attorneys no matter the size or location. We already have 100 attendees registered to attend, which only speaks to the heavy interest in this subject from law bloggers.

To register yourself, visit our Event Center and sign up for the event titled Client Webinar: Engaging with the Media – How to Become a Go-To Source. If you need the password, direct message Support on Twitter or contact our Director of Client Services, Pam Garfield.

I look forward to seeing you all at Thursday’s webinar.

Live blogging in courtrooms is no longer novel, and it’s not going away.

It makes too much sense. As newspapers become increasingly Internet-savvy and social media-friendly, court reporting is an area that can especially benefit from blogging and social networking tools.

A perfect example can be found in the recent tax fraud trial of Cedar Rapids landlord Robert Miell. When the trial was moved to Sioux City, five hours away, Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter Trish Mehaffey saw the potential to provide her readership with up-to-the-minute coverage as well as make the jump to live blogging.

Fortunately for Mehaffey, the judge in question was U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett, who is known to be liberal and tech-savvy. He granted her request to sit in the back of the courtroom with her laptop, posting live updates to an interactive blog.

"I allowed it because of my belief that we are the most mysterious branch of federal government and we need to find ways to be more transparent," Bennett said. "Further, federal judges need to use technology and to allow others to use technology to assist in educating the public about our work."

Mehaffey isn’t the first reporter to live blog a trial, but she is one of few so far to get approval to do it in federal court. After her success with her first go at live blogging, she plans to do it for all her state court trials and any federal court trials she can.

"Some say it’s subjective," Mehaffey said, "but what live blogging does is give readers the chance to experience the live court action without being there. I’m not editorializing what’s happening. I’m still just the reporter of the facts. But I can describe what I see in the courtroom and hopefully make it intriguing enough for people to follow the trial."

The experience also allowed her to interact with readers, answering questions about court proceedings and legal terms. She received 500 comments for each day of the trial.

Mehaffey is aware of the criticism of live blogging, usually from lawyers who worry that it could prejudice the parties or influence jury members who could be tempted to read the updates. But, she said, the immediate benefits and positive reaction make the practice worth pursuing.

"It’s time the federal courts updated the policies and realize people want news in real time and they have to adapt with the changing times," Mehaffey said. "I’m not sure the security reasons are valid for not allowing electronic equipment and cameras into the courtroom. I understand not taking photos of jurors or of a protected witness but as for the argument that it’s distracting, it isn’t valid."

Mehaffey said she asked the jurors after the trial if she was distracting, and they said they couldn’t even hear the sound of her typing.

The distraction issue was the main concern for Judge Bennett, who said he expects to continue to allow blogging in his courtroom and hopes his colleagues will consider allowing it as well.

The biggest benefit is, he said, "greater transparency and openness of the federal court, and real time fulfillment of the public’s right to know what is going on in their federal court."

The ABA Journal also has an article on this particular trial, and Kevin has previously blogged here about lawyers live blogging in courtrooms (Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeralyn Merritt) and a case study on live blogging a civil jury trial.

LA TImes blogsThe LA Times online has grown its revenues to the point where they cover the cost of paper’s entire editorial payroll. And Neilsen Net Ratings reports the LA Times has passed USA Today and the Washington Post in uniques with, according to internal numbers, 138 million page views in November, up more than 70% in a year, and 24 million uniques, up 125%.

Russ Stanton, editor of the LA Times, in an email to Jeff Jarvis: ‘Given where we were five years ago,” he email, “I don’t think anyone thought that would ever happen. But that day is here.’ I’ll add to Jarvis’ Amen to that.

Key to the success, in addition to a crack online editorial team? Blogs.

When I became innovation editor in January 2007, only four of our 49 blogs were produced by our staff, and those blogs accounted for only 2% of our site’s total monthly traffic. Today, we have more than 40 blogs, all but six of which are produced by our staff, led by Top of the Ticket, our presidential campaign/politics effort started by Andrew Malcolm and Don Frederick. Technorati now ranks Ticket in the top 60 blogs on the internet. At last count, about half our newsgathering staff — more than 300 professionals — are contributing to our blogs. In several of our traditional print sections (California, Sports, Books, Health, Travel), the entire staff is participating in that section’s main blog. That, in turn, has been acknowledged and valued by our readers. Today, our blogs account for 16% of our total monthly page views.

The second part of the Times secret sauce is education of its staff.

With some help from our HR folks, we’ve set up a 40-class curriculum on how to expand the skills our staff needs in these key areas. The most popular classes so far are learning the software program for posting to the web, headline writing to improve SEO, how to shoot and edit video, and 360-degree storytelling, taught by Aaron Curtiss, our innovation editor.

As I shared last week, blogs are now mainstream. Both for the media and for companies selling services or products.

For law firms, blogs will be acknowledged and valued by your target audience of clients, prospective clients, and the media (other bloggers and main stream media). Rather than continue to kick out your lawyer’s intellectual capital in white papers, articles, newsletters, and alerts, why not steal a page from the LA Times playbook for success.

Circulation declines are accelerating at America’s major newspapers, with all but two of the 25 largest U.S. showing declines for the last six months. This per the Wall Street Journal’s Russel Adams this morning.

Weekday circulation at 507 newspapers fell 4.6%…, compared with a 2.6% decline in the same period a year earlier, according to figures released on Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Sunday circulation fell 4.9% for the latest period, compared with a 3.5% decline in Sunday circulation reported a year earlier……Sunday circulation, often seen as the best indicator of a newspaper’s health, fell faster than it did during the week. The Houston Chronicle’s Sunday circulation declined 15.7%, followed by the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., and the Philadelphia Inquirer, where Sunday circulation declined 14.7% and 13.8%, respectively.

This represents a golden opportunity for lawyers and law firms publishing blogs. Newspapers are no longer going to have the resources to cover the stories they have. This includes not only regular legal news, but also the general legal information columns. In addition newspaper reporters have not a clue how to become relevant to bloggers, something that brings increased online newspaper readership when bloggers link to newspaper stories.

Help them out guys. You’re producing good legal content. Let your newspaper know you’d be happy to share a weekly or monthly column from your blog. A well done blog covering a niche for your metro or state gives you instant credibility with newspaper editors. That’s a huge edge over your competitors stuck in the printed newsletter world who are pitching through expensive PR people.

Talk to Rush Nigut. Blog posts from his blog, Rush on Business, are being syndicated to the Des Moines paper. It can be done.

You can also lead the newspaper to relevance among the local blogosphere. Newspapers look at blogs as just another publishing platform. Their editors and reporters do not understand that blogs are a conversation where you link to what you see sharing a bit of a news story or blog post and then providing your take. As a result newspapers run in a parallel universe to blogs. Newspapers don’t link to blogs, so we don’t often link to them.

Start reporting on and linking to newspaper stories in blog posts providing your take just as if you were interviewed. Let the reporter and editor know you shared their story with your blog readers. Let them know you would be happy to get them resources on that subject, even be available for a quote on a moment’s notice. You’ll become their friend.

Ask the reporters and editors you’ve got to know this way to lunch or coffee. Explain how blogs work. Review with them how bloggers will share their stories and draw traffic to their stories if the bloggers are cited in the newspaper.

Let them know the newspaper should have blogs that just don’t re-hash news. The newspaper’s blogs must highlight what local blogs are writing, with the newspaper reporter or columnist then providing their take. That way bloggers start to cite the newspaper columnists and reporters. And that’s attention newspapers are starved for, but don’t know how to get.

It’s a down cycle for newspapers. Take advantage of it.

Advertising at U.S. newspapers fell 7.4 percent in the third quarter, the Newspaper Association of America reported today. Online newspaper advertising increased 21 percent to $773 million, compared with the same period for 2006. Online advertising still trails print advertising revenues of $10.1 billion, but now comprises 7.1 percent of the industries revenue.

The AP story highlights that newspapers are taking some hits because of declines in the housing market but they are they are seeing big movement in classified ad dollars going to websites run by real estate brokers and help wanted postings at places like Craigslist.

What’s this mean for lawyers publishing content to the net? Newspapers are going to have a very difficult time maintaining their workforce of reporters and editors. No matter the rapid growth in advertising on newspapers online, the revenues will never make up for print advertising losses.

In order to survive newspapers are going to become online information centers, something the largest US newspaper publisher, Gannett, already said it would do. User generated content from non-newspaper employees will play an integral role in these online papers.

Lawyers publishing content on niche areas of the law via their blogs are going to find their content syndicated to online newspapers. The exposure lawyers will receive, the reputation enhancement, and the goodwill generated thereby is going to be tremendous.

Pipe dream that this is going to happen? Look at where the Internet and blogs were 4 years ago.

More readers are trading newspapers for web sites per a recent article in the New York Times.

The circulation declines of American newspapers continued over the spring and summer, as sales across the industry fell almost 3 percent compared with the year before, according to figures released yesterday.

The drop, reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, reflects the growing shift of readers to the Internet, where newspaper readership has climbed, and also a strategy by many major papers to shed unprofitable or marginally profitable print circulation.

On of the ways lawyers enhance their reputation as an authority is being quoted in newspapers on relevant stories. Getting quoted has not been easy though. Usually took a little luck and in many cases, some PR folks with a nice rolodex of reporter contacts.

But online newspapers open more doors for lawyers to showcase their expertise.

  • Local newspapers often allow comments to stories, offering an opportunity for you as a lawyer to add your take just as if the reporter had called you for a quote.
  • Virtually all newspapers have blogs. Leave a comment, with your name, email and blog’s url. Readers click on links to commentors blogs.
  • Newspapers are looking for citizen bloggers, other than their reporters. I’ve seen more than once a blog run by a lawyer on a consumer or small business law topic. Approach your newspaper with the idea. Show them your blog as evidence of your abilities.
  • Quote online newspapers in your own blog adding your own take. Email the reporter a link to the post letting them know you shared the story with your readers and you’d be happy to be a resource for similar stories as you regularly publish on the topic at your blog.
  • In time, newspapers are going to become information centers incorporating blog feeds from local citizens. Getting known by the paper now gives you a leg up that your blog feeds will be included.

No question there is a disintermediation of PR professionals and reporters going on. Not taking advantage of it is your loss.

Saw in my feeds this morning a post from the Bay Area Business Blog at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Was going to mention to Bay Area commercial lawyers as a way to further enhance their reputations. You know, comment on relevant posts, get to know the reporter, get to know other commenters. Great way to get known for what you do by influencers in the Bay Area.

But the whole set up for this blog is lame. One, I didn’t see any RSS feeds. How could one follow posts. Second was pop up ads. Third, and most offensive was that before you could comment you needed to register. Registration required the typical newspaper demographic junk like date of birth, where you live, and your gender.

Newspapers, who are experiencing declining revenues, have a golden opportunity to become more relevant with readership. It’s through interacting with bloggers. Bloggers referencing your online newspaper content on their posts and commenting at your blog are going to drive traffic to you.

To take advantage of this opportunity, newspapers cannot set up all walls that say ‘we do not want you bloggers, go away.’ But that’s exactly what newspapers are saying when they set up special ‘blog rules of their own,’ by having no RSS feeds, pop up ads, and requiring demographic info to comment.

An excellent and overlooked opportunity to expand your presence is engaging with local newspaper blogs. You’ll not only be seen by those drawn to newspaper blogs, but you’ll also build relationships with columnists and reporters writing for the print copy of the newspaper.

Here’s the 3 best ways to do the job.

  1. Comment on a newspaper blog. We all love comments, especially reporters who are just learning to blog. The comment need not relate the topic of your blog. You are commenting to get known and to build a relationship with the blogger. The reporter will see your name, your blog url, and email. My commenting on the Seattle Times Business and Technology Blog resulted in a feature article on our company in the business section of Seattle Times print edition.
  2. Suggest that the newspaper add a blog in your area of expertise to their existing menu of blogs and offer to publish the blog for them. Look at the El Paso Times blogs. The blogs are not all authored by their reporters. The paper will be likely be looking for more blogs.
  3. Subscribe to the RSS feeds of the newspaper blog(s) that are most likely to include a post of interest to your blog audience. When you see such a post share it with your audience. Let the reporter know.

Marketing like this is a win/win for you and the newspaper. Newspaper revenues are declining. One area where revenues are increasing is with their online editions. Blogs bring traffic to online editions of newspapers. Help the newspaper and yourself by getting involved with newspaper blogs.