The NewsRoom - Overview
The NewsRoom is a news content syndication market, free for anyone to sign up to, which provides you with an intuitive interface to search for and embed video, audio, images and press releases directly into your blog or website.
This content has been sourced from vast range of providers, including both international agencies such as Reuters and Associated Press, and niche online publishers including HowStuffWorks and Insider Medicine, with plenty in between. This gives you a good range of content to select from, and saves you having to look for media direct from each of the numerous sources.
In addition to making this content freely available, The NewsRoom also operates a monetization scheme, by which you are compensated both for featuring syndicated media files on your website or blog, and also for enabling others to do so.
Searching for Content
With a vast range of content providers and a number of categories to choose from, most popular niche-themes will be well catered to by the content featured on The NewsRoom. The news categories available are:
- Press Releases
While that is an impressive range, I would personally like to see the addition of a tech category, given the popularity of such subject matter within the blogosphere that The NewsRoom is ostensibly reaching out to. This is one area that the site currently seems somewhat lacking in content for, as compared to its nearest competitor The News Market.
That small point aside, the breadth of content is impressive, and I was particularly impressed by the inclusion of a reference section, comprised of "how to" type videos that might prove to be very popular over time.
Categories aside, which you can access from a navigation-bar along the top of the screen, the search features of The NewsRoom are excellent. In addition to a basic search, whereby you can search by keyword, there is also an advanced search option, which helps you to filter down your selection significantly:
As you can see, you can narrow your search not only by category, but by content provider, media-type and date-range, which should give you all you need to home in on the exact type of news content that you are looking for.
I would recommend making use of this feature right from the off, unless you are looking to browse aimlessly for a significant amount of time. As The NewsRoom is far from short of content, this could save you from wasting several hours poring over the options.
Content is certainly easy to navigate and scroll through, however, with an impressive amount of videos and press releases summarized on the average single page.
Each media-type has its own icon - a small TV for video, a document for press releases - along with a brief summary. Furthermore it is possible to both bookmark content direct from the summaries - for later consumption - or indeed get the embed information so that you can transfer the media to your blog instantaneously, without so much as a preview.
While I personally prefer to check what I'm getting first, this is a nice feature that enables quick and easy content sharing. If you see something that looks ideal, or that you want to check back on at a later date, these features will save you a lot of time.
Clicking on the title of a news item will take you through to a full description, along with a preview of the video or other media file as it will look within your website.
Once you have made your selection you are ready to embed the content into your blog or website, which is a very straightforward process.
Embedding Syndicated Content
Throughout The NewsRoom website, wherever there is content, you will see a small button, marked with an 'M' for mash. Mashing content is how The NewsRoom describes the syndication process - you are taking one media source, and mixing it in with another, just as musicians, video-makers and programmers do in their respective circles to create a Mash-up.
Clicking on this button, wherever you see it, will open up a small dialogue box through which you can get the relevant information for plugging content into the pages of your blog or website. From here you are initially required to agree to some terms of service, before being able to choose the size of media player that you would like to use.
Once you have selected which option is most suitable for you, you are then given an embed code, similar to that you will see on any web widget, YouTube video or in the countless other places around the web where media sharing is enabled.
Basically, you copy the code given, and then paste it into the body of your blog, or the HTML code of your website. It will then display the media content wherever you have placed the code.
While The NewsRoom does feature audio and image files, the vast majority of the content I found available was either in text-based press release form, or video format.
I imagine that the videos will be most popular, especially given that the text files are embedded in such a way that you can neither highlight or copy and paste the contents. This also means that any text-based content that you embed into your site will not be acknowledged by either the search engines or your contextual advertising program. For me, this is a problem, and I would much rather reword or copy and paste press releases than embed them in their entirety, but this is a personal preference.
What is nice about the text reader is that files are paginated, and can be browsed without scrolling, which will suit the layout of some websites and prove to be of real use.
Video files use a simple, minimal player that can be embedded either with a full-text description beneath, as in the example below, or else with a single line of description under the title in a slightly more compact version. The difference is quite minimal.
I found the videos to play remarkably quickly, even on an old machine, which is a welcome break from the more laggy experience of YouTube, which seems to vary greatly in its performance. That said, it must be noted that there is a significant difference in audience figures between the two sites. Nevertheless, by making a simple but effective video player that just works, The NewsRoom have done well. See for yourself:
Playlists and Feeds
You are not limited to embedding single items, however. Two features add a lot to the sharing equation: playlists and feeds.
As I mentioned previously, as you browse through video files you have both the capacity to instantly embed your findings, or else save them for later use by clicking on a 'bookmark' button, which looks like this:
Every time you bookmark a new item it will appear in a sidebar to the left of the screen. Then, if you click through to the playlists page, you are presented with the opportunity to either delete or add your tagged items to a media playlist, which you can then embed into your website. This gives you the power to mix and match content to suit your own agenda, and is a pared-down version of the sort of features you can find in the Splashcast media platform.
To add a video to your current playlist, you simply click on an arrow icon, and is transported to the list for you to further edit:
From the main playlist itself, you can create a name for your collection, change the sequence of the videos by moving them up or down the playlist with more arrow icons, or - should you change your mind - send the video back to your tagged items list for use at a later date.
This makes putting together a playlist very straightforward. A lot more so than other video sharing sites, including YouTube, which has a glitchy, somewhat unpleasant approach to stringing videos together.
In addition to playlists you can also create dynamic news feeds. The difference here is that where a playlist will always display the same videos, regardless of how fresh or dated they are, a feed will automatically update content within parameters that you choose.
The simplest type of video feed available is a category-based feed. This feed will automatically display a list of videos from whichever category you select, giving your site visitors the latest sports or health news for instance.
More exacting users might want to take advantage of a more advanced new feature - the custom feed. Here you have the chance to further hone the content that will be featured in your line-up.
As you can see for yourself, there are an impressive range of parameters that allow you to limit the content served by category, media-type, provider and most importantly keyword search terms. You can also determine how many items will be displayed in your feed, and set a relevancy level to control how strict or lax the system is with your search terms.
At the time of writing this feature is only available for video files, but as this relatively new service evolves, the ability to include different media types in your feed is promised. Again, I imagine the outcome to be a pared-down version of the mixed-media capabilities on show in Splashcast, albeit with the benefit of a news-only focus.
Finally, it is worth discussing monetization, which is a very welcome addition. Essentially, monetization works on the basis of a CPM - cost per mille - model, meaning that you receive payment for every thousand ad impressions. Regardless of whether your audience clicks on the ad, or ignores it entirely, you will receive your payment. That's the good news.
The bad news is that unless you command considerable web traffic, you are unlikely to see any enormous revenues coming your way. The NewsRoom pays out in two ways - for content on your own site, and for content that has been embedded elsewhere due to its existence on your site.
The payouts look like this:
As you can see, you stand to make more from video than you do with text or images, and the highest payer of all is a video feed, given that it serves up multiple news items rather than just one. While the maximum of $4.00 might mean it could take a while before smaller websites see a weighty check being delivered to their door, ad impressions could well build over time.
As I said, you aren't going to get rich quick this way, but the addition of monetization to the media-sharing mix is a great idea, and is a vast improvement on the $0.00 you will receive for embedding the majority of web video.
The NewsRoom is an invaluable media resource for those looking to locate high-quality, professional video and other media content to use in their blogs or websites. Whether you are writing a niche-news blog, or want to add your commentary on the latest current affairs, it's great that you can now get well-made media clips to complement your work.
What's even better is the fact that you will actually get paid for not only embedding this content into your blog, but also for anyone else that chooses to do so after finding it on your website. If I find a great video clip while reading your blog, and decide I want to use it in my own post, I can easily get the embed code to do so. Meanwhile, you will be paid for every thousand people that view the media clip on my site, not just your own.
Okay, unless you bring in a lot of traffic it is unlikely that you are going to make a killing from the $0.50 to $4.00 CPM you will receive, but nevertheless, it's a nice idea to reward you twice - once with content you can use without having to fear a take-down order, and once with modest but fair compensation for syndicating the news content.
The NewsRoom has a great range of categories, and more content providers than I could list here. As such, it shouldn't be too hard to find media that you can easily syndicate and use to enhance your own grassroots media.
The service is 100% free to use, and makes finding news items easy, given that you don't have to filter through reams of user-generated content as you might at YouTube.
In short if you are looking for an easy way to enhance your existing content with professional grade corporate news, The NewsRoom is well worth checking out.
If you would like to read more about The NewsRoom, you might want to check out the following links:
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Originally written by Michael Pick for Master New Media and originally published as: "Video News Releases That Pay: Syndicate The Latest News Clips And Monetize Your Blog"