CNN.com Proposal Letter

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Andrea Feminella, and I’m a master’s student at the University of Georgia. I have a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and English and am currently working as a graduate assistant at UGA’s New Media Institute.

For this semester, myself and nine other graduate students have been tasked with giving a few prospective companies a marketing edge in the burgeoning field of Big Data. Big Data is the information that people freely contribute online, which tech-savvy companies then compile and quantify to get a better understanding of the constituents they serve. Under the guidance of Dr. Scott Shamp, Director of the New Media Institute, we will research what’s currently being done and create original ideas and plans for the few companies we feel could get the most growth out of using this new technological tool. We will specifically focus on Facebook’s Opengraph as the vehicle to gather Big Data. With its 800 million users worldwide, Facebook is one of the best ways to get the most beneficial information for companies today.

The reason why I chose CNN as my personal area of focus is the potential for Big Data to grow CNN.com exponentially. As one the of the most popular news websites, CNN.com is in a constant battle to stay at the forefront of online news, trying to grow their readership while still retaining the loyalists that already choose CNN.com. In this battle, I propose that Big Data can be a huge asset by way of Facebook applications. Imagine if CNN.com had a Facebook application that its readers could download that would search through their newsfeed in an effort to find relevant news for that reader based on their friend’s newsfeed updates.

For example, on February 8th CNN.com listed Proposition 8 as number two on its “Hot Topics” section of the site. If a reader’s friends are posting about Proposition 8 on Facebook, the CNN.com Facebook application could take that information and post three of the most current Proposition 8 articles from CNN.com on the reader’s Facebook wall. This gives readers more of a reason to go to CNN.com, so they can become more knowledgeable about subjects their friends are talking about. This also allows them to share articles with their friends on subjects their friends are already interested in, which would drive more people to CNN.com. This application would be a win-win for CNN.com and is something no other news site or social reader is doing right now.

This proposal is just one of ways Big Data can enhance CNN.com’s relationship with its readers. This semester, I would like to develop this idea into detailed plan that would explain the execution of such a concept and the audience it would benefit the most. However, I’m sure you agree that without active participation from CNN this concept won’t be as tailored to CNN.com as it could be and therefore won’t be as effective. In order for CNN.com to receive the most benefit from this proposal, I will need to be able to send you a monthly email and have one or two phone conversations with you, so that I may better understand what your goals are for CNN.com. I also would require a CNN.com representative to be present on May 5th for a formal presentation of the proposal. In return, I will devote at least eight hours a week to designing the best possible Big Data plan for CNN.com. This is a new technological frontier, one I believe CNN.com deserves to be a part of.

Thank for your time, I look forward to creating something worthy of CNN.com’s attention.

Sincerely,

Andrea Feminella

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