31 October 2007

Argus Boasts Winning Website

Brighton’s Argus newspaper has scooped top prize at the London and South of England Media Awards for its website.

The Argus.co.uk news site was named Website of the Year at a ceremony last week attended by more than 160 journalists.

Held in association with holdthefrontpage.co.uk, the awards comprise categories including Weekly Newspaper of the Year, Front Page of the Year and Print Journalist of the Year.

As well as picking up the prize for top website, the Argus also came out on top in the Daily Newspaper, Sports Journalist, News Photographer and Environmental Journalist groups.

“It is a reflection of a year’s hard work where we have all pulled together to produce a great newspaper and website. I am extremely proud of my team,” commented Michael Beard, Argus editor.

The Argus, which is part of the Newsquest group, was shortlisted for the website award alongside the Bournemouth Daily Echo and London’s yourlocalguardian.co.uk.

For a full list of the winners, visit holdthefrontpage.co.uk.


30 October 2007

ITN News Free On iTunes

News group ITN is making its mobile video content free for download via iTunes.

The organisation confirmed that it will offer a range of current affairs, sport, business and entertainment news stories to users of Apple’s download service free of charge.

Each news clip will be preceded by a short ad.

Further details on this story can be found at Guardian Unlimited and Journalism.co.uk.


LA Fires Prompt Online Innovations

The recent wildfires that swept through Southern California encouraged newsrooms to be more creative with their digital offerings.

Fast-moving infernos prompted several newspapers to join forces on a community search site which enabled users to inform each other of their whereabouts and swap contact information.

Editor & Publisher reports that the unique Firesearch collaboration project was launched by the Los Angeles Times and linked to by a number of other news sites, including the San Diego Union-Tribune and the North County Times of Escondido.

“We are all in this thing together, so it made sense to get involved,” commented Chris Jennewein, vice president for internet operations at the Union-Tribune.

Although Californian newspapers are well versed in reporting wildfires, there had not been a major event for four years so new technological innovations were used to improve coverage.

Online Journalism Review reports that this included interactive mapping tools which were employed by several newsrooms.

LA Times staff writer Andrew Blankstein said his website’s interactive Google firemap proved a successful information tool for both journalists and the public at large.

“It started as this in-house tracking system that evolved into something that we shared with outside users. And it worked out beautifully.”

User-generated content also formed a core part of online coverage with thousands of people uploading video and still photographs to a variety of news websites.

Beet.TV reports that major broadcaster CNN received its highest ever number of uploaded videos and pictures, surpassing the content received after other major incidents such as the collapsed bridge at Minneapolis.

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JP Rolls Out Online Notices

Publishing group Johnston Press (JP) is expanding an internet-based family notices service to incorporate all its news titles.

JP’s Announcement web pages feature notices of births, deaths and marriages and enable users to search for the profile of people they know or to browse by date or location.

The online notice is offered as an optional extra to readers when they place an announcement in about 220 of the group’s print media titles and is automatically uploaded by the newspaper.

Digital users can then visit the online profile to leave a message, upload photos and email the page to friends.

The company’s head of publishing John Bradshaw told holdthefrontpage.co.uk: “We are delighted to team up with iAnnounce to provide this interactive and innovative service for all our customers placing birth, marriage and death notices online.”

He added: “The service adds a whole new dimension to traditional notices placed within our publications and allows people to share memories, pictures and messages relating to their loved ones with a growing generation of new consumers using our websites.”

JP plans to complete the rollout of the service to all its newspaper websites by the end of the year.

26 October 2007

Google ‘Experiments’ With Facebook

The news division of internet giant Google has launched an “experimental” application for Facebook.

Google News can now be added by users to their accounts on the social networking website so they can share articles with friends via Facebook.

The application also enables subscribers to view the news stories which their friends are sharing.

“We are trying a couple things differently with this application and it is still in beta, but we think that it adds value to the Facebook experience and to users’ overall news experience,” states the Google News blog.

Further details can be found on Mashable.com.


Times A-Changin’ With Mobile Relaunch

The Times has repackaged its mobile services in a bid to meet the particular demands of the market.

From this week, readers can access specially selected and edited stories as well as a host of other items such as business news podcasts and sports results from the Times, Sunday Times and Times Online via handheld devices.

The relaunch comes after Times Media conducted research into mobile news consumption and found that users tend to seek quick updates on breaking stories.

In addition, researchers discovered that mobile users are predominantly professionals who also surf items to kill time during their working day.

As a result of these findings the new service places an emphasis upon features like crosswords, sports coverage and recruitment pages.

“Times Mobile ensures that current and new customers will now be able to access our content on the move quickly and easily,” commented Zach Leonard, digital publishing director at the news group.

“If a user seeks news headlines or sports results, or wants to be entertained while killing time, or is searching for a job while on the move, Times Mobile makes it easy.

“It is yet another example of our strategy to deliver content in the most convenient way possible for our audiences.”

The Times is the second title from the Murdoch-owned news stable to launch a customised mobile news service this week after the Sun went live with its own mobile product on Monday (see Sun Rises With Mobile News - 24.10.07).

For further information and reactions to Times Mobile visit Mobile Marketing, Press Gazette and mad.co.uk (subscription only).


Mobile Device Could Revolutionise Reporting

A leading news group is working with Nokia on the development of a handheld device which aims to transform reporting on the move.

Reuters states that the journalism application combines smart phone technologies with software which enables journalists to file multimedia packages from far-flung regions of the world.

The news agency also reveals that its tech teams have developed an in-house interface for the system so filed stories can be instantly published online, reports Press Gazette.

“By running on handheld devices, rather than on bulkier laptop computers, the mobile journalism application enables us to create complete stories and file them for distribution, without leaving the scene,” notes Nic Fulton, chief scientist at Reuters.

“This saves us time and benefits our audience by ensuring that they receive high quality news that is absolutely up-to-date.”


25 October 2007

‘Ace’ Ventura Wins Online Prize

The digital version of the Ventura County Star has scooped one of the most coveted prizes at this year’s Online Journalism Awards.

Workers at the southern Californian daily title were delighted to see their website take the gong for General Excellence in the small sites category.

The judges decided that the site “exemplifies how a decision to fully immerse a news organisation in online journalism can transform a small local newspaper into a multiple media information source for the community”.

Host Ruth Gersh also noted that the judging panel “decided to honour a site that made a huge leap in the last year and who made a commitment to put the readers at the centre of the news, not just at the receiving end”.

Meanwhile, the awards for General Excellence in the medium and large sites groups were handed to the Denver Post and USA Today respectively.

In addition, the Washington Post received a special prize in recognition of its innovative multimedia project entitled OnBeing.

OnBeing is building an archive of films of ordinary people talking about themselves and their lives and represents a concerted attempt to create a community via the web.

The Online Journalism Awards are administered by the Online News Association and the University of Southern California.

For a full list of this year’s winners, visit journalists.org.

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24 October 2007

‘I’m A Councillor – Get Me Out Of Here’

A south-west newspaper is bringing democracy into the homes of readers with live webcasts of council sessions.

The Bristol Evening Post is using European Union funding to support the online project to broadcast live meetings of the city council and various committees on its website – thisisbristol.co.uk.

The initiative is intended to improve citizen involvement in local government affairs and enables people to watch democracy in action from the comfort of their living rooms.

Assistant editor Kevan Blackadder told the Guardian: “We approached the city council as we felt it would add something to our existing in-paper coverage and add a new feature to our website.”

Some 200 users tuned into the first live webcast of Bristol City Council and editor Mike Norton said he expects interest to grow in the future.

Councillor John Goulandris spoke to the Evening Post after the inaugural broadcast and said “there was a bit of playing up to the camera”, but the council labelled the overall event a “triumph”.

In addition to showing live pictures of debates, the website also features an archive of previous meetings which can be accessed according to the speakers or subject matters.


Sun Rises With Mobile News

The Sun has become the first UK national newspaper to launch an online service dedicated to mobile phone users.

Fans of the ‘Currant Bun’ can now read bite-sized pieces of the paper’s top stories on customised web pages via their mobiles at www.thesun.mobi.

Each day the site includes headline links to the Sun’s main news, entertainment and sport items and also enables users to download pictures of its infamous Page 3 girls.

Visitors can also pay to download videos, ringtones and wallpapers as well as subscribe to text alert services.

Head of mobile strategy at News Group Newspapers, which owns the daily title, Andrew Bagguley told the Guardian: “There are more than eight million consumers of mobile news and information services in the UK in any given month and the Sun is keen to get a head start in extending its brand into the mobile space and reaching new audiences.”

The Sun is part of Rupert Murdoch’s news empire and this is the latest in a series of moves demonstrating the aging Aussie tycoon’s keenness to invest in new technologies.

Earlier this week, Murdoch revealed to News Corp shareholders that he plans to extend his newly acquired Wall Street Journal online and to launch a range of integrated websites.

He also stated that social networking site MySpace, which the group bought in 2005, turned a profit for the first time last year.

“We have a long way to go, but we’re starting to be rewarded for our efforts to transform ourselves into a company for the digital age,” asserted Murdoch.

The full text of Murdoch’s October speech to investors can be found at News Corp.


22 October 2007

Beeb Rings The Changes

Global news website BBC.com is to include advertising on its pages for the first time.

The corporation recently announced that adverts will feature on its web pages when accessed by users from outside the UK.

BBC Worldwide asserted that the commercial revenue generated from online advertising would contribute towards its future budget shortfall.

“Introducing advertising on international traffic to news pages is a natural development in the growth of the BBC's commercial news services,” commented Richard Sambrook, director of global news at the corporation.

According to sources cited in the Guardian, the commercial arm of Worldwide will pay an income to the Beeb’s public service broadcasting unit and will compensate for the loss of £4 million that the global website receives from the government as grant-in-aid.

This has been a busy time for the BBC after director general Mark Thompson held a meeting last week to outline its long-term strategy in the wake of a lower than expected licence fee deal.

Among the proposed changes are integrated newsrooms which merge TV, radio and internet operations, a multimedia news show for Radio 1 and increased on-demand news services.

However, the enhanced efficiency strategy also incorporates cutting between 120 and 130 jobs from the BBC’s Future Media and Technology division.

Further details on the advertising story can be viewed here while information on the organisation’s six-year plan can be found at BBC News.


19 October 2007

US Politics Goes Wiki

A political news and views website launched in the US is using a wiki platform in an innovative approach to its subject.

PoliticalBase.com aims to become an information hub for journalists and voters in the US and is using similar interactive technology deployed by sites such as Wikipedia, reports C/Net News.

Users contribute to the site’s content, which includes entries on individual politicians and information on government departments, and submit their work to a staff editor for checking.

The site also lists its top posters and users on its homepage and allows political bloggers to embed its own charts on their pages.


18 October 2007

Multimedia Is Plain Sailing For Reporter

A local journalist is making the most of multimedia opportunities to bring readers news of her fantastic voyage.

Jane Harper trained to become part of the crew of the Hull and Humber Clipper and has been giving an insight into her transatlantic experiences through posting video clips, still photos and blog entries on a website created by her colleagues at the Hull Daily Mail.

The intrepid journalist not only had to learn to sail, but also had to be trained in using all the filming and editing equipment so she can produce packages for the web, reports Press Gazette.

According to the RaceForGlory site, Harper is currently on her way to Salvador as the clipper closes in on its final destination of Brazil and users can also follow the crew’s progress via the online tracker.

“This is the chance of a lifetime for Jane but it’s also a great opportunity to provide some genuinely compelling content in words, photos and video,” said senior assistant editor Paul Hartley.

He added: “The newsdesk can’t simply pick up the phone and talk to her, so we’ve had to come up with some different ways of operating to keep in touch and give her feedback.

“The videos, including one of dolphins shadowing the boat, have really helped to bring the race to life.”

In the week in which citizen journalism pioneer Jay Rosen asserted that journalists are facing a voyage across a “digital sea” (see UClan Forum Debates Citizen Journalism - 18.10.07), Harper seems to be taking his words literally and embarking on a multimedia journey of discovery across the oceans.


UClan Forum Debates Citizen Journalism

The key to user-generated content is to harness the passions and motivations of a wide group of people, according to New York University professor Jay Rosen.

Rosen was speaking at this week’s Journalism Leaders Forum staged by the University of Central Lancashire, which saw industry experts and editors from the UK and around the world discuss the problems and potential of so-called citizen journalism.

The digital news pioneer asserted that in his experience user-generated content should not be concerned about turning people into “mini-journalists”, but about sharing the workload among a large number of contributors in order to enhance quality and verifiability.

He urged newspaper editors in the UK to carry out low-cost experiments to encourage wider participation and see how users and readers respond, rather than wait for “proven solutions from elsewhere”.

Rosen, who joined the live webcast debate online from his New York base, neatly summed up the challenge of the multimedia age when he suggested that journalists currently face a “digital sea”, which they must successfully navigate by deciding what they need and do not need to take with them on their voyage.

Also debating these issues were award-winning editor Darren Thwaites from Teesside's Evening Gazette, and Trinity Mirror regional editorial director Neil Benson, who revealed the company is to embark on a crowd-sourcing project at the Liverpool Daily Post.

He stated that the pilot scheme – Make the News – will comprise six different stories aimed at various audience groupings and is intended to enable reporters to become comfortable deploying user-generated content.

Interestingly, Benson suggested that journalists need to behave more like radio producers in the future with an understanding of how content can come from sources as well as themselves.

The session was recorded and can be viewed by following this link, while further details on the Journalism Leaders Forum can be found on its blog.

Meanwhile, more information on Neil Benson's project announcement at the forum can be read on Journalism.co.uk.


17 October 2007

ITN Launches YouTube Channel

The digital division of ITN has launched its own channel on video-sharing website YouTube, reports the Guardian.

ITN On joins fellow broadcasters such as the BBC and America’s NBC in setting up a professional content channel on the site and aims to attract young users with its focus on showbiz news, entertainment and sport programmes.

Now available on the channel is film and TV gossip show Bollywood Insider and football news programme EPL.

“As a leading producer of high-quality video content for online and mobile platforms, ITN On sees YouTube as a key partner for making our entertainment and sports content available to end users,” commented Nicholas Wheeler, managing director at ITN On.

The launch comes just over a week after the broadcaster revealed that it had secured a partnership deal with internet TV site Joost.

ITN On already provides video content to several online customers, including Yahoo! and MSN.


16 October 2007

Baby’s Cry Adds Drama To Online Story

A Welsh newspaper has enlivened the story of a last-minute homebirth by including an audio clip of the 999 call.

The Wrexham Evening Leader reported the tale of the impatient newborn in print as well as online and boosted its emotional impact by giving users the chance to hear the actual moment when little Mille Barlow entered the world.

Millie was delivered by her father Roy with the telephone assistance of an ambulance controller and their gripping five-minute conversation can be heard on the newspaper’s website.

Editor-in-chief Barrie Jones told holdthefrontpage.co.uk: "There's no other way we could have got across the emotional impact of a live birth, or given justice to the paramedic's dead-pan delivery of the line 'remember, the baby will be slippery - don't drop it!'"

He added: "This story about the paramedic was printed in the main edition of our newspaper with a clear reference to what was available on our website.

"This generates traffic to our site and offers our readers something a bit extra."


Key Publishers Usher In Web Devolution

Two major publishing groups are shaking up their online offerings to place a greater emphasis on local control.

Associated Northcliffe Digital, owner of the thisisbrand, is handing responsibility for its newspaper website titles to individual editors as part of a restructuring move.

The publisher has also created two new central digital divisions which will support local sites with both commercial and editorial issues.

Meanwhile, regional publisher Archant is also making changes to its digital set-up with relaunches planned for some 100 of its local websites by the middle of next year.

The name behind the 24 brand revealed that its new sites will be more focused on locality with the introduction of a geotagging system so users can organise content by place and subject, reports Press Gazette.

Stories and other content will be uploaded by existing staff within editorial departments and they will also be responsible for updating online material.

“We want to have a much higher level of consumer engagement and be able to provide blogs, feedback forums and videos - all the functionality people demand from a website today,” said Ian Davies, director of business development at Archant.

He added: “Our aim is to provide more content, greater user accessibility and interactivity and greater depth to the content that we do provide.”

For more details on these stories visit Journalism.co.uk and Press Gazette.

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15 October 2007

UClan Goes Global With Digital News Forum

The University of Central Lancashire is bringing together reporters and digital news experts from around the world with its latest Journalism Leaders Forum.

Citizen journalism supporter and blogger Jay Rosen is among the guests lined up to join the panel for the event, which is entitled Local Turf Wars: Notes from the Digital News Frontline.

The New York University professor is a keen advocate of open source reporting programmes and played a key role in the launch of the experimental NewAssignment.Net website last year.

Among the other experts joining Rosen on the panel will be Emma Hemmingway from Nottingham Trent University and UClan alumnus Andy Mitten who created fanzine United We Stand at the age of 15.

The forum, which is taking place tomorrow evening, is open to all and will have a global reach through its live webcast offering.

Further details on the event are available at UClan’s journalism website and the Journalism Leaders Forum blog.

10 October 2007

NCTJ Seeks Views On Photo Training

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) is appealing for expert views on draft proposals to modernise its training programme for press photographers.

Members of the NCTJ’s photography board are keen for its schemes to keep pace with changes in the industry and have drafted a series of possible alterations to address the challenges posed by the digital age.

The body is now seeking feedback on these proposals from established press photographers, picture editors, newspaper editors and other relevant personnel.

In addition, the NCTJ is appealing for opinions and suggestions on any further changes that could be made to enhance its preliminary and national certificate examination courses.

"Newspapers are changing very quickly and we need to ensure that future press photographers and photo-journalists meet the demands required by the industry,” said Ian Day, Yorkshire Post picture editor and member of the NCTJ board.

“Multimedia and video products are now a core part of newspapers and this consultation document demonstrates how the NCTJ intends to modernise the photography syllabus, which will enable students and trainees to meet their changing role in newspapers,” he added.

Among the issues addressed are training in video shooting and editing and the question of whether a clear distinction needs to be drawn between traditional press photographers and photojournalists.

Click here to see the consultation document.

Views can be expressed via the NCTJ website and on a dedicated blog.


09 October 2007

ITN Joins With Joost

The digital division of ITN has secured a deal with online video site Joost to supply news content.

As a result of the agreement with ITN ON, Joost will broadcast news, entertainment and sport bulletins and will provide users with access to clips from the news group’s image archives which contain footage from the late 1800s.

Joost, which has more than 15,000 shows available to view for free, will also host several regular programmes as part of the deal, including a film show and football round-up.

“With quality news, including from the English Premier League and Hollywood, ITN will offer Joost viewers content that appeals to both a UK and global audience,” stated Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, executive vice president for content strategy and acquisition at Joost.

Further details on this item can be found at journalism.co.uk and Press Gazette.


MySpace ‘Becoming Key Tool For Reporters’

Social networking site MySpace is providing investigative journalists with ideal opportunities to learn more about their subjects, according to an expert.

Brant Houston from the University of Illinois has asserted that the website is growing in popularity as a research tool among reporters.

Houston told American Journalism Review: “You're going to see investigative journalists in particular take a look at these pages to see whatever kind of personal profile can be drawn from them.

“It certainly builds the portfolio in understanding someone, who they are and what their interests are.”

However, the Chair in investigative and enterprise journalism cautioned that traditional ethical considerations still apply when gathering information from personal pages displayed on the internet.

“MySpace pages will sometimes have personal information, the kind that you might come across in a court document.

“Even though it's totally public, or potentially open to the public, it might be of such sensitivity that you don’t want to be the journalist who promulgates it because it has nothing to do with the story.”

Further details on this story can be found at ajr.org.


08 October 2007

Labour Backers Launch Online Politics Channel

A group of Labour Party supporters have launched a political campaigning broadcast channel on the internet.

Headed by former Labour PR man Gez Sagar alongside director Mark Lucas, CAMPAIGNTV is an independent site which broadcasts videos and interviews regarding both British and international political matters.

Regular features include the Debate Show where journalists, politicians and activists can face-off on the latest issues, the Friday Interview with a top politician or campaigner and a user-generated zone where people can upload their own relevant videos.

The website is also set to host special campaign films from around the world and plans to make selected content available to download onto mobile phones and other handheld devices.

Its founders state: “CAMPAIGNTV meets the urgent need for a progressive challenge to the dominance of right-leaning political content on the internet.

“Alongside the bloggers, news media sites and official party political sites, CAMPAIGNTV is a different kind of internet offering - devoted to the best and most relevant new political films.”

Currently, CAMPAIGNTV features an interview with former Labour spin supremo Alistair Campbell and a video on the government’s Every Child Matters programme.


Newsvine Acquired By msnbc.com

Community news website Newsvine has been bought by online news group msnbc.com.

The organisation comprising Microsoft and US television network NBC confirmed that it has acquired the relatively new social media website for an undisclosed sum.

Displaying news stories from around the globe, Newsvine combines user-generated news aggregator functions with discussion forums and original news content written by its members and claims to attract about one million unique users each month.

Co-founder Calvin Tang told users yesterday that Newsvine hopes the deal will enable the site to reach a greater audience and will provide its contributors with more opportunities.

“One of the first things I plan to do once the dust has settled is to begin working with the bright minds over at msnbc.com to develop ways in which Newsvine's best content can make its way to a significantly larger audience,” said Tang.

He added: “I have met with the top executives at msnbc.com and my biggest takeaway from those conversations is that everyone over there is extremely sensitive to altering the very properties that make Newsvine what it is.

“The potential synergy is tremendous, but we will proceed with integrating Newsvine's best attributes with those of msnbc.com and vice versa, with great care and thoughtful consideration.”

Further details on this story can be found at Reuters, Associated Press and CNN.

Meanwhile, Tang’s message to Newsvine members can be read here.


Teesside Gazette Scoops Two Web Awards

A regional north-east newspaper has taken home two prizes from this year’s Association of Online Publishers (AOP) Awards.

The web-based communities initiative launched this year by the Teesside Evening Gazette scooped the top spot in the Online Community category.

According to the judges, the Gazette Communities website is “a cut above the other community sites - a great example of how to make local news real, with relevant interactivity.”

Meanwhile, GazetteLive.co.uk won the Teesside title its second award of the evening when it was named top Consumer Site.

The judging panel stated that the site “sets a new benchmark for local news sites - we felt that we were part of that community”.

Evening Gazette editor Darren Thwaites told holdthefrontpage.co.uk: “We've made enormous progress in the last year, embracing multimedia opportunities and creating a website to be proud of.

“The challenge for us now is to build on our success.”

Several national names also triumphed at the AOP Awards, such as the Sun Online which won Best Use of Video and the Telegraph Media Group which took the title of best Online Publisher.

A full list of winners can be viewed on the AOP web pages.


05 October 2007

PCC Makes First YouTube Ruling

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has made its first ruling concerning the use of YouTube clips on news websites.

According to the Guardian, the body decided that the weekly Northwich Guardian had not contravened the PCC code by displaying footage on its website showing youths throwing firebombs at a train.

Originally, the footage entered the public domain after one of the boys involved in the incident uploaded it onto video-sharing site YouTube.

The organisation rejected claims from a parent of one of the youths involved that embedding the clip on the website broke guidelines regarding the publication of pictures of children under the age of 16.

“It would have been contrary to any common sense or fairness for the commission to afford greater protection to the youths in this case than to other law-abiding children because of their behaviour,” stated the PCC.

The PCC made its first ruling on the use of video material online by newspapers in August this year with a case concerning the publication of footage filmed on a mobile phone by a schoolgirl.

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas asserted at the time that the landmark ruling would be the first of many regarding the use of audio-visual clips.

“Ironically, the extension of the PCC’s remit means that in some ways videos on newspaper websites are more tightly controlled than those put online by the broadcasters,” said Douglas.

He added: “The media regulator Ofcom - which regulates TV and radio – doesn’t have any control over their websites.”


04 October 2007

Website Used To Catch Callers

A Welsh daily has launched an innovative online campaign asking users for help in catching hoax callers.

Visitors to the website of the South Wales Argus are able to listen to audio clips of various nuisance calls received by the emergency services in the area and encouraged to inform Crimestoppers if they can identify the callers.

Clips are listed according to the type of false incident reported and users are able to follow links to hear the actual recordings.

The South Wales Argus states that the availability of the calls is to become a regular feature of its website as part of its cooperation with the South Wales Fire Service’s zero tolerance campaign.

Further details on this story can be viewed at southwalesargus.co.uk.


03 October 2007

News Groups ‘Should Face Facebook Facts’

Publishers and news editors need to start developing Facebook strategies if they want to reach a young audience, claims a new media specialist.

Online journalist Steve Outing asserts that news providers need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the social networking site to reach a young audience which is not spending much time on news websites at present.

Writing in his regular Editor & Publisher column, Outing suggests that news groups should work on developing applications which can be added by Facebook members and then get picked up by their friends.

The self-styled citizen media entrepreneur highlights several companies which have already entered this arena, such as the political orientation survey application developed by WashingtonPost.com and the news quiz launched by the New York Times.

Outing writes: “The key is to understand that the Facebook experience is about connections. And this can apply nicely to news.

“For example, a Facebook user adds an application that includes headlines from a news organization that's supplying a headline feed. The user's friends see this when visiting the user's Facebook profile. The user reads an interesting article and highlights it.

“This shows up in the "newsfeed" that Facebook users see which alerts them to activities by their friends and within groups that they belong to. That is, if you add an article pointer to a group, your friends will all see this in their newsfeeds.

“A piece of content that's particularly good or unusual has the potential to spread virally through friend networks just within Facebook.”

The column, entitled ‘What’s Your Facebook Strategy’, is available at Editor & Publisher.


02 October 2007

News Site Launches Mobile Homes Service

A major news group has launched a new multimedia service enabling users to access extensive property listings on the move.

Information displayed on the online Real Estate section of the New York Times website can now be viewed on handheld mobile devices by busy property seekers in the city that never sleeps.

This means users can perform a property search while out and about and can take advantage of click-to-call features and high quality graphics used by NYT Mobile.

In addition, the service is a serious multimedia offering with people searching the newspaper’s printed classified pages able to enter SMS codes in order to get the full details and pictures delivered to their mobile.

Web users can also make use of the Send to Mobile feature if they want to transmit details to family and friends.

“This new real estate offering is part of our larger efforts to expand our mobile presence and bring our audience what they're looking for on whatever platform they choose,” said Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and general manager at NYTimes.com.

Further details on this story can be found here.


01 October 2007

ES Launches New Site

The Evening Standard has launched a new website which it hopes will become the focus of campaigns and users’ views.

Editor Veronica Wadley said Standard.co.uk will be concentrated around reader participation in online polls, debates and campaigns such as its current Seat For Every Commuter initiative.

“We will be able to raise the profile of our campaigns further through our new web pages and allow readers to join debates and give their views instantly on the internet,” said Wadley.

Other new features include a podcast on the City’s financial markets and a Reader Rewards section.


Users ‘Trust’ Online Media Ads

Advertisements appearing on the websites of local newspaper groups are more likely to be trusted in comparison to those on non-media sites, claims new research.

The study from TNS Media reveals that adverts appearing alongside online local news content are 77 per cent more likely to be believed by readers when compared to advertising on different websites.

In addition, the report finds that the combination of local online and print media is 49 per cent more trusted than other news outlets such as commercial television.

“Online and print brands work together commercially as well as editorially, with websites clearly drawing on the same brand values that make local newspapers the most trusted media in the marketplace,” comments Jennie beck, head of the media monitoring group.

She adds: “Local media publishers were pioneers in online news provision and this research shows the value of that early investment.”

Further details on the study can be found at the Newspaper Society.


Facial-Rec Future For Files?

Global news group Reuters is trialling a new search programme of its video archives using facial-recognition technology.

The software from Viewdle conducts frame-by-frame analysis of video news footage held in the firm’s archives which is designed to boost the probability of identifying people in crowd shots and to facilitate internal index systems.

At present, Face Search can be accessed at Reuters Labs where users are able to search for the subject of their choice.

For example, a search for Gordon Brown brings up his total screen appearances contained in the files from the start of last year and then lists each one with times, dates and the Reuters channel where it was screened.

“By implementing facial recognition capabilities throughout our consumer-facing video offerings with Viewdle, we can study the benefits of this search technology with an eye to using it with other Reuters video products,” commented Nic Fulton, chief scientist at Reuters.

Reuters is currently gathering feedback and statistical data on the new feature’s usability before deciding whether to integrate it into the main news site.

Further information on this story can be found at Journalism.co.uk and MediaPost.


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