31 July 2008

3 Nationals Launch Revamped Sites

July has been the month of the redesign with three nationals launching new versions of their websites.

First up is the Sun which has brought in a number of navigational changes and introduced its readers to Desktop Keeley, an RSS widget Sun-style.

(See opinions on the new site on Roy Greenslade’s Guardian blog.)

Meanwhile, fellow tabloid the Mirror recently unveiled its new-look website, which has been completed by a Spanish design firm.

Press Gazette reports that among the new features are lists of “Most Popular” stories and similar interactive tools.

Publisher Trinity Mirror states that the website has been created in order to enhance communications between journalists and readers as well as between the users themselves.

Finally, the Telegraph has launched a redesign of its website this month which includes changes to its homepage navigation.

According to the behind-the-scenes report on Journalism.co.uk, the site has also introduced an array of new RSS feeds by topic and section.

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Google Launches Knowledge Site

Google is inviting anyone to share what they know via its new knowledge website, Knol.

The idea behind the venture is to share the knowledge and information that “resides in people’s heads” and make it easily accessible to others.

Registered users can submit a knol on any subject and can also make suggestions for changes to knols written by others.

And for those who find the open editing nature of sites like Wikipedia a daunting prospect, Knol offers an alternative with only the authors of content holding editing privileges for their own articles.

Google says authorship is the driving principle behind Knol and has introduced an option for authors to share the revenue generated by adverts through AdSense.

Further details about Knol can be found on the Google blog.

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30 July 2008

Local Paper Secures Olympic Blogger

A regional news website will offer a poolside view of the Olympics after securing the blogging services of a local swimmer.

Todd Cooper will be posting regular updates from his Beijing vantage point throughout the course of the summer games.

The Kidderminster Shuttle editor is the man behind the masterstroke to sign up Cooper, who will be competing in the butterfly events.

Clive Joyce told HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk that the Kidderminster-born swimmer still counts on the support of his hometown.

“He has not forgotten where he’s come from and still has loads of friends and family on the patch.”

Joyce added: “Because he has quite a lot of support locally, he jumped at the chance to tell people about his efforts when we asked him to write the blog.”

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Six Tips For Twittering Live

Poynter Online writer Amy Gahran recently published a handy guide to using social media for live event coverage.

Gahran’s post has plenty of useful tips on how to use Twitter as a live-feed reporting tool, here are some of her recommendations:

1 - Create A Dedicated Account

“This will keep rapid-fire posts from overwhelming your regular followers. Configure this account to see ‘@ replies’ sent to you from any Twitter user.”

2 - Notify Regular Followers

“Just before you begin live coverage, post a tweet to the Twitter account you use on a daily basis that says, ‘I am about to begin live coverage of [event title].’”

3 - Keep Both Accounts Open

Gahran suggested using applications such as Twhirl which enable Twitterers to keep multiple accounts open.

4 - Deploy Hashtags

“A hashtag is a short character string preceded with a ‘#’ sign that serves as a tag denoting that your tweet is related to that event.

“When several people at an event include the same hashtag in their tweets, searching for that hashtag becomes an easy way to see all of their coverage simultaneously.”

5 - Have A Plan B

“Set up a corresponding live-coverage account on Friendfeed …then configure that Friendfeed account to republish everything from your live-coverage Twitter account.”

6 - Make Plan B Public

“Tell your Twitter followers about Friendfeed. Then post a tweet or two pointing to your Friendfeed page.”

The full post can be found on Poynter Online's E-Media Tidbits blog.

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29 July 2008

Big Traffic For Tall Ships Blog

A live blog providing coverage over four days of the Tall Ships Race was visited by some 9,000 online users.

The Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo joined forces to produce the live blog, which provided on-the-ground reports of the maritime event, states Journalism.co.uk.

Hosted on both the Post and Echo sites, the blog also attracted 17,000 page impressions as visitors followed the progress of the race flotilla through a combination of text, photographs and video.

A team of five ran the live blog, which used CoveritLive software, and managed the content coming in from journalists in the field (using text messaging and Twitter) as well as questions and comments from users.

The acting assistant editor for digital at the Trinity titles outlined the live blog’s effective use of multimedia from its own site as well as media-sharing websites.

Steve Harrison said: “By the end of the event we had around a dozen videos uploaded from our own reporters and from sourcing posts on YouTube; scores of photos taken by our own photographers and by members of the Daily Post’s Flickr group; and lots of comments, debate - even a poem."

He added: “We were very pleased with its success.”

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BBC Gives Users Control Over Debate

The BBC recently invited two regular contributors to its online debates to lead a webchat on the future of the Anglican Church.

Both participants are frequent participants in the corporation’s Have Your Say (HYS) section and have different views on Anglicanism.

Writing on BBC blog The Editors, Matthew Eltringham says that the reactively moderated discussion essentially took the form of “an extended webchat”.

He notes: “It was our first experiment in trying to find new ways of engaging the audience and evolving a more dynamic and more thoughtful approach to HYS.”

The assistant editor of interactivity also asserts that the contributions of the two users enhanced the online discussion.

“Quite a few contributors put straightforward questions to the pair, which they were able to answer directly.

“They both enjoyed the experience and would have continued for longer than the two-hour slot.”

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28 July 2008

Cop Cam On News Site

A local newspaper has turned a small speeding story into a multimedia article by including police footage of the incident.

The Bristol Evening Post obtained the video from the Crown Prosecution Service and embedded it within the main story about a local man who has been banned for dangerous driving.

It shows the sighting and apprehension of the speeding vehicle and driver from the police car’s on-board camera.

Evening Post spokesman Marc Cooper told HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk that a reporter received the video after submitting a simple request for it.

The web editor explained: “I think, from the police’s point of view at least, it’s a case of showing people they won’t get away with things like this."

He added: “We’ve already had lots of comments on this story which is a good sign it will be well-viewed.”

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Houston Readers Become Cartoonists

Members of the community section of a US newspaper can now display their own cartoons.

The Houston Chronicle has introduced its Cartoon Gallery as a place where readers can use their drawing tools to lampoon the rich, powerful and famous.

Users can browse the gallery as well as email their favourites to friends or recommend them to others on the site.

The feature is proving popular with readers and appeared in last week’s Best of the Web column in Editor & Publisher.

Powered by Pluck, the gallery is included in the Chronicle’s Chron Commons channel where users can also create photo galleries and write their own blogs.


25 July 2008

Papers ‘Should Cultivate Blogs’

Local newspapers should be working with bloggers to “win readers” rather than taking their content as and when they choose, says one blogger.

Blogger and Guardian writer Dave Hill asserts that local bloggers provide a good source of hyperlocal stories.

The author of an online diary of happenings in Hackney, Hill writes in the Guardian that bloggers and other local media could show “the way forward for journalism”.

He asks: “Why not regard bloggers as potential ‘citizen journalist’ allies in the battle to win readers rather than as cost-free sources of material to be plundered at leisure then insulted if they dare to complain?”

Hill concludes: “Established local papers have a choice: they can cultivate that help or they can scorn and exploit it.”


24 July 2008

Online/Offline Creative Forum Launched

Journalists from across the UK are being invited to join a new social networking group.

Based in Kent, MeejaHub aims to become a forum where journalists and creative workers can meet to share information, leads, ideas and gossip.

And the emphasis is on both online introductions via the new MeejaHub website and offline social events, reports HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.

Group members can create their own social profile on the website as well as engage in discussions via forums and blog comments.

Founder and former regional journalist Stephen Fleming said the new venture will provide journalists and other media professionals with a chance to meet in an informal setting.

“MeejaHub is a way to get creative talent together to help one another. It works online and, crucially, off-line too.”

He added: “Journalists could do some networking, meet local business people and get more stories out of it.”

Yearly membership costs £120 and includes free entry to events.


French Dailies In Electronic Reader Trial

Several French national newspapers are currently taking part in a trial of the Read & Go “e-paper terminal”.

Le Figaro and Le Monde are among the well-known titles participating in the pilot project with France Telecom, which operates primarily under the Orange brand.

According to Pocket Lint, Orange describes its electronic reader as the “first 3G-connected mobile newspaper kiosk”.

The device enables users to download newspapers via a wireless network and is being tried out by over 100 volunteers.

The Editors Weblog notes that the Read & Go is also testing an important element of digital newspapers - advertisements.

More details on the trial can be found on the New York Times online.

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23 July 2008

Five Blogging Tips

After his inaugural year as a social media blogger, Craig Stoltz has published his five lessons from the past 12 months.

Stoltz, a former editor at the Washington Post, says his five tips are the “edible morsels” from lessons learned since starting his Web 2.0h…really? blog.

Here’s some of the highlights of Stoltz’s post:

1 Blogs Benefit Writer And Reader

“Writing a blog lets you educate yourself in public.”

2 Use Clear Post Titles

“Web users are brutally impatient prowlers, unforgiving of ambiguity and unlikely to hang around to figure things out.”

3 Best Written Not Always Best Read

“Accept that blog audiences are so unpredictable and that some of your most valuable gems will stay buried.”

4 Draw Traffic Via Blogs

“When you write something really good, send it to other bloggers whose audience you’d like to reach.”

5 Keep It Short & Visual

“You should make regular exceptions, of course. But as a daily practice, short and visual serves readers well.”

The full post can be found at Cyberjournalist.net and on Stoltz’s blog.

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NYT Launches iPhone App

The New York Times has unveiled a new application to optimise its web offerings for iPhone users.

A press release states that the NYTimes iPhone Application has been designed specifically to work with the navigation and features of the Apple device.

The application downloads the latest news articles so users can then browse stories offline at their own convenience.

It also offers several personalisation options and includes adverts as both click-throughs and display units.

A review of the new application is available on the Eat Sleep Publish blog from social media consultant Jason Preston.

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22 July 2008

More Northcliffe Sites Go Hyperlocal

Another batch of Northcliffe newspapers has relaunched online as part of the publisher’s rollout of new-look sites.

HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk reports that a further 46 revamped websites have gone live across the UK in the past week.

One of the key changes is the integration of new hyperlocal channels for neighbourhood and community news.

For example, the new thisiscroydontoday site enables users to access news specific to hyperlocal areas such as Waddon, South Croydon and Purley.

Another major change is the introduction of new software for archiving so stories can remain on the site permanently.

Northcliffe spokesman Robert Hardie said this development means it would be possible for the company to make public its archived articles dating from the mid 1990s onwards.

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How Craigslist ‘Can Help Save Journalism’

Blogger Steve Outing has published his ideas on how Craigslist could help boost newspapers’ advertising revenue.

Outing recently composed an open letter addressed to the founders of the online classified service asking for their help to save journalism and posted it to the Reinventing Classifieds blog.

He writes: “What I’m suggesting is that by helping out the newspaper industry, you’ll be helping save journalism - and thus helping out Craigslist’s users, who deserve to be kept well informed by a viable news media.”

Following his direct appeal, the new media commentator provides several suggestions on how Craigslist could collaborate with newspapers in the future, they include:

 “Allow local newspapers to scrape Craigslist ads.”

 “Allow consumers to place ads on Craigslist via newspaper websites.”

 “Add links on Craigslist to newspaper website classified sections.”

 “Add a news component to Craigslist.”

The Reinventing Classifieds blog is edited by Outing and hosts discussions about potential business models for newspaper classifieds in the digital era.


21 July 2008

Citizen Blogs Form Growing Trend

A significant number of online newspapers now host blogs penned by users, according to a new report.

The study from the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) finds that some 40% of daily newspaper editors in the US say their titles allow readers to create and maintain their own blogs.

In addition, The Changing Newsroom report reveals the attitudes of editors towards the integration of user-generated content (UGC).

Via surveys and face-to-face interviews, the report states that the majority of editors share a “cautious agreement” that UGC has an interesting but “limited role” in journalism.

And there also seems to be a general consensus that the simplest and most effective forms of UGC are the weather-related photographs submitted by users.

The study notes that these pictures “require little expertise, attract broad interest, their content is easily verifiable and they tend to be non-controversial.

“Weather photos also seem to generate a timely and strong citizen response.”

The report currently features on the PEJ website and is divided into sections including The Influence of the Web, Citizen in the Newsroom and Changing Content.

Meanwhile, a useful overview of the study’s main points can be found on the Editor & Publisher site.

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Site Unveils Interactive Flight Map

The latest interactive tool from the Las Vegas Sun is bursting with data about delayed flights to and from the “entertainment capital”.

Highlighted in E & P’s “Cool Stuff” column, the Flight Delay Calculator enables users to search for delay statistics on routes from McCarran International Airport to lots of airports across the US.

Users can also browse the map to see the country’s most delay-stricken airports in the past 12 months and enter journey details to see how their route fared.

In addition, the flight delay data (which includes any flights held up by 15 minutes or more) can be searched by airline and flight number.

And the interactive feature also allows users to calculate the average waiting times at various gates for security checks.

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18 July 2008

10 Innovations In Mobile News

Here's a short slideshow we've put together with some examples of how newspapers in the US and the UK are taking advantage of mobile technologies.

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Journalism Meets PR At New Site

A new website is offering a range of ways for journalists to communicate with people in the PR industry.

HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk reports that prBristol.co.uk offers a mix of blogs and breaking news stories relevant to editors, journalists and press chiefs in the south-west of England.

The multimedia site also has a social networking section called the Watering Hole where members can make new contacts and share ideas.

According to its About Us page, the website aims to encourage “the dissemination of best practice” and “to map the extent of the PR and news generation sector and provide a voice for this disparate network”.

Site creator Matt Anderson of Montage Communications stated that it will also have practical benefits for PR and media professionals.

“It will also help journalists to pinpoint stories and pictures that are relevant to them, rather than ploughing through dozens of emails of dubious value.”

He added: “It will not replace face-to-face contact or ‘broadcast’ communication through the media and conventional websites but it will fill an important gap.”

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17 July 2008

Gazette Goes Hyperlocal With Relaunch

The Uxbridge Gazette is the latest Trinity Mirror newspaper to unveil a new website with hyperlocal mini-sites.

Hillingdon, West Drayton and Eastcote are among the local areas which now have their own channels dedicated to community news.

The new communities section has a total of ten hyperlocal mini-sites and the Gazette is actively seeking the close collaboration of users in producing content and ideas for them.

Editor Adrian Seal also points out that the newspaper’s new-look site and web strategy will bring an extra dimension to online news coverage throughout the week.

He writes on his editor’s blog: “The great beauty of the site is the ability to break news as it happens across the borough, something the news team at the Gazette are excited about.”

Further details on the relaunch can be found at Press Gazette.

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16 July 2008

Sunday Paper Starts 24/7 Service Online

Every day is like Sunday - according to the man behind a new 24/7 online news operation from a regional paper.

Paul Cole at the Sunday Mercury announced that the title will use its revamped website to break news stories at anytime in the week rather than holding off until the weekly print edition.

The deputy editor of the Birmingham newspaper also told HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk that at least 80% of the site’s content will be unique material not included in Sunday’s print issue.

Among the innovative features of the relaunched website are a branded YouTube channel and an extensive blogs section with an array of contributors.

Veteran Midlands musician Bev Bevan is blogging about his music DJ present and colourful past as a member of The Move, ELO and Black Sabbath.

Other bloggers include a local Royal Marine commando who will be posting from Afghanistan and Birmingham chef Glynn Purnell.

Cole said of the newspaper’s new policy of publishing breaking stories online: “Now our readers can have a new Sunday every day of the week.

“Our pledge is that there’ll always be something new happening on the site every day of the week.”

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15 July 2008

Gazette Hosts Live Police Forum

Local crime issues were the focus of the latest use of live blogging software by an online newspaper.

The Whitby Gazette hosted an online community police forum where participants could put their questions in real-time to Inspector Dave Barf.

HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk reports that the event was declared a success after some 30 local residents logged on to the “Police Beat Live Chat”.

Several subjects proved popular with users, including traffic violations, practical issues surrounding beat policing and anti-social behaviour.

Gazette editor Damian Holmes says the idea of a live forum has been under consideration at the newspaper for some time.

“I’ve wanted to try and get some sort of online web chat going for a while and when we spoke to Insp Barf about setting up a dedicated police section on our website, we both felt an online forum could work really well.”

He adds: “There was always the concern nobody would log on but we received questions constantly throughout the two hours.”

The interactive feature, created using CoveritLive live blogging software, can be replayed in its entirety on the Gazette website.

[Disclosure – The Whitby Gazette is a Johnston Press publication.]

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14 July 2008

10 Steps For “Ailing Newspapers”

Blogger Mark Potts has published an updated version of his “10-point prescription for ailing newspapers”.

And here’s a selection of the recommendations from the no-nonsense author of the Recovering Journalist blog.

Online First, Print Second

“The printed paper should be a snapshot of what's online at 11pm, and that’s about it.”

Newspaper websites should also boast lots of “Web 2.0 goodness” such as RSS feeds and interactive mapping features.

Keep It Local

“Local news is the last unique franchise that newspapers own, and too many newspapers don’t seem to understand this.”

Ask The Audience

“Let the readers get involved at every opportunity. It will greatly improve the product and increase readership.”

Rethink Ads

“Look hard at your classifieds business and make the tough changes to stay competitive … that may include shifting most of the classifieds online and giving them away for free…”

“Get into the Yellow Pages directory business online. Aggressively offer contextual advertising.”

The full post is available at the Recovering Journalist.

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11 July 2008


Following on from last fortnight’s look at the use of maps in online journalism, today’s SPOTLIGHT post examines the rise of geotagging.

We’ll be looking at current applications of geotagging technologies by journalists in the US and the UK and will supply the usual list of resources for further information and practical guidance.

This post will also consider location-based media and the potential future uses of geographic information systems (GIS) in online journalism and will cast its eye around its present popularity in the social media world.

What On Earth Is Geotagging?

As usual, Poynter Online provides a useful working definition of geotagging or geocoding as it is also known:

“Geocoding is the process of assigning geographic coordinates (the latitude and longitude of a location) to street addresses and other geographic features so that they can be displayed in online maps.

“This enables websites to show the location of news events or display data such as crimes and real estate transactions.”

Wikipedia’s definition expands on this and states that such geographic metadata can also come in the shape of place names and altitude as well as coordinates.

This metadata can be tagged manually (see the Wikipedia entry for more technical details on this) or it can be auto-tagged by use of a mobile phone or other device which has integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities.

Meanwhile, location-based media require the end user to have a GPS-enabled device which means content and data can be sent and received with geographical positions automatically included as metadata.

What Does It Mean For Journalism?

Geotagging technologies present exciting new opportunities for journalism as well as for a whole host of other information and communications industries.

This slideshow from venture capitalist firm Venrock provides a useful introduction to some of these opportunities.

Emerging Opportunities on the GeoWeb by Dev Khare, Venrock.

So far, all this has led to two main innovations of interest to online journalists:

1:- The creation of map-based interfaces and databases where users can search for information (articles, reviews, photos, films etc) by location.

2:- The creation of GPS-based interfaces where access to content is triggered by physical location.

We now turn to see how news websites are getting to grips with these new developments.


International & National Maps

A great example of a simple but effective use of geotagging can be seen on this national news map for the USA created by Michael Young.

The stories come from national news feeds from the Associated Press while the mapping software comes from Google and the geocoding API is from Yahoo!

Articles are plotted on the map as the city or state mentioned in each story is coded to a point of latitude and longitude.

On a grander scale is the MetaCarta GeoSearch News service which was launched in April this year and maps international news stories.

The site uses a Google map interface alongside articles from the Associated Press and Reuters.

[MetaCarta World News Map Goes Live - April 2008]

And at the very forefront of these developments is the latest partnership from Google Earth and the New York Times.

The cutting-edge project uses the latest version of the Google Earth 3D browser as a platform to display geocoded NYT articles which are updated in real time.

USA - Local Landscapes - Mainstream Media

Regional publishers in the mainstream media are also getting in on the geotagging act and one of the most innovative examples is the CinciNavigator search tool from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Microsoft Virtual Earth map interface displays geotagged data on a range of themes – from police callouts to crimes and latest petrol prices.

Similarly, the Salt Lake Tribune’s TribTowns map (using a Yahoo! API) has six different views, one for each of its themes such as Dining, Things To Do and Sports.

USA - Local Landscapes - Independent Media

Embracing the hyperlocal potential of geotagging is the news, views and reviews website Outside.in.

Covering thousands of cities and neighbourhoods across the US, the site enables users to search its databases for the latest news and information about their street, village, town or postcode area.

Outside.in allows local bloggers to geotag their blogs so they can then be included among its content search results.

Local issues are also the central focus of EveryBlock, which offers crime news by neighbourhood in five US cities.

Launched as ChicagoCrime.org, EveryBlock has evolved to provide geocoded content on news stories from New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Charlotte.

It has also expanded its remit from covering crime stories to incorporating many acts of officialdom from restaurant inspections to business reviews and building permits.

Users can search its databases for news by type and by location - from street to council districts and postcode areas.

UK - Local Landscapes - Mainstream Media

This year has seen several publishing groups introduce geotagging metadata into their online systems.

Regional publisher Northcliffe Media recently relaunched its “next generation” of websites for its local news titles featuring search options made possible via geotagging actions.

[Northcliffe Ushers In Geocoding Era – 23 June 2008]

Trinity Mirror’s revamped websites are also starting to experiment with the possibilities of geotagging services.

For example, the Teesside Gazette includes a Gazette Communities channel where users can search for hyperlocal content by postcode.

Meanwhile, the Archant publishing group has been labelled by blogger Paul Bradshaw as the one to watch when it comes to geotagging innovations in 2008.

Archant web editor James Goffin writes on Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog about his company’s plans for the introduction of geotagging and revealed that they are experimenting with interactive maps.

The initiative was hit by a delay late last year but it is expected that the geocoding plans will go live before the end of this year.

Geotagging and location-based services are also likely to form one of the key foundations of the BBC’s proposed hyperlocal video news network.

This post from Andrew Williams provides an outline of the shape of things to come if the corporation’s plans to enter the online hyperlocal news market are approved.



The use of GPS services to trigger the display of data on mobiles is very much in the experimental stage in the journalism industry.

These GPS interfaces use satellite technology to work on the same principle as audio tour devices used in museums - providing information to the end user based on their physical location.

However, unlike tour guide tools, these digital platforms also allow two-way communications using GIS.

A Poynter Online blog post recently outlined the strengths and weakness of so-called “locative journalism” as the writer participated in a GPS storytelling experiment in Chicago.

While last year the BBC undertook a citizen reporting trial project using GPS technologies to both gather and distribute multimedia stories.

Social Media

While journalists may be just starting out on their locative storytelling journey, social media and gaming websites are streaking ahead.

Jot You is a location-based text messaging service through which users can send to their friends messages which are received when they arrive at a specified geographical location.

Social networking site Loopt claims to turn a mobile phone into a social compass as it sends users alerts when their friends are in nearby locations and helps members share recommendations on places and events.

In a similar way, content-sharing website JuiceCaster also enables friends to “bump into” each other thanks to its location-based functionalities.

While Yahoo!’s Fire Eagle website deploys GPS services so users can post their location to their profiles on blog sites, as well as multimedia-sharing and social networking websites.

It’s currently invitation-only but here’s a review of its offerings from BBC technology blogger Rory Cellan-Jones.

Finally, Hewlett-Packard’s Mediascapes project allows mobile users to engage in “location-based experiences, games and tours”.

And members are also encouraged to use their GPS-enabled mobiles to create their own locative media experiences.


There are several groups at the forefront of locative media experimentation, here’s a selection.

Northwestern University’s LoJo project is a multimedia initiative headed by graduate students and its site is an excellent resource with information on all aspects of locative journalism.

It also has a useful list of 12 recommendations for media organisations regarding geotagging and location-based technologies.

More general uses for GIS have also been explored by a team of scholars at the University of Southern California through its Networked Publics group and its resulting report on Places.

The Center for Locative Media is another useful resource experimenting in a variety of applications of GPS and geotagging services.

And a couple of blogs provide interesting updates on a number of aspects of the geoweb – Google Earth’s LatLong blog and this locative media blog.

Practical Guides

There are plenty of places online to find out more about the practicalities of applying geotagging technology, for instance the EveryBlock blog has guidance on creating maps.

While this blog post from MediaShift’s Idea Lab has a video and text guide about using geocoding services with Google Maps.

Finally, the GPS Visualiser site offers free geocoding software services.

That’s it for this fortnight’s SPOTLIGHT post. As always, do get in touch if you have any examples that you’d like to share of innovation in today’s subject.

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Building Bridges Live Online

Visitors to the Star Tribune’s website can track the rebuilding of an interstate bridge via live cams.

The Minneapolis title’s StribCam provides a bid’s eye view of the reconstruction of the I-35W bridge, which collapsed last year.

Users can see regularly updated still photos of the project and watch live video from the construction site with zoom features.

The Star Tribune has also made it easy for visitors to save images to their desktops and share them with others via email.

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10 July 2008

NS Introduces Blog Award

The Newspaper Society (NS) has introduced a new award to recognise the blogging achievements of the press.

Journalism.co.uk reports that this year’s Advertising & Digital Media Awards will include the inaugural title of Blog of the Year.

Blogs covering any subject can be considered for the prize as long as they are hosted by a newspaper website or are linked to by an online newspaper.

And the judges are reported to be looking for blogs which encourage interaction with readers and are of relevance to the local area and community.

The NS is also launching a new award for Digital Team of the Year in order to recognise digital innovation at a local level.

Further details can be found on the NS website.

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Boston.com Launches Community Channel

The portal site for the Boston Globe has introduced a new database enabling users to find community projects in the local area.

Entitled the Do Good channel, the new site allows people to search for information about nonprofit initiatives in the city and outlying areas.

Visitors can look for relevant projects using subject categories such as health or animals, or they can search by location or by level of participation.

They can also share their results with others via sharing sites like Facebook and the bookmarking service del.icio.us.

Charitable and nonprofit organisations can add their profiles for free to the Do Good database and almost 700 have signed up so far.

In a press statement, vice president of product Bob Kempf said: “Introducing the Do Good channel will make the connection between Boston.com and our visitors even stronger.

“The section adds a new dimension of high personal value to the Boston.com user experience.”

The channel is powered by the national network good2gether.

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09 July 2008

Newsquest Launches Revamped Sites

This month sees Newsquest begin its rollout of new-look websites - starting with sites in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Among the revamped websites are the Lancashire Telegraph and its portal site ThisisLancashire, which has news from newspapers including the Bolton News and Blackburn Citizen.

The Lancashire Telegraph states that the new site incorporates navigational changes as well as weather and live traffic feed updates available on every page.

Another major difference is the introduction of registration for users who wish to post comments underneath articles.

The Telegraph asserts that its new-look website “can now bring you a richer mix of pictures, audio and video to supplement the strengths of the Lancashire Telegraph in print”.

Other Newsquest titles to be part of the initial rollout are the York Press and the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.

Reactions to the new design and further details can be found on Roy Greenslade’s Guardian blog and at Holdthefrontpage.co.uk.

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Newspapers Launch Notices Database

Over 100 newspapers have teamed up to create an online database of public notices.

Members of the South Dakota Newspaper Association (SDNA) recently launched the website which holds information on all legal and public notices as they are issued in the state.

Staff at each weekly and daily title save notices published in their newspaper to the shared site so they can then be searched by date, city, newspaper or keyword term.

The database includes reports from city council meetings and government notices concerning education, elections and property.

SDNA President Mark Roby told the Brookings Register: “You can’t replace the value and importance of having government public notices published first in the local community newspaper that is read widely by the residents of that community.

“However, this website extends that reach and is just another example of how strongly South Dakota’s newspapers are committed to protecting and enhancing the public’s right to know in South Dakota.”


08 July 2008

Local Reporters First To Facebook Story

Journalists on a south-west newspaper were first to break the story of a massive beach party planned via Facebook.

Herald Express news reporter Jon Paul Hedge found out about the big plans purely by chance, according to Holdthefrontpage.co.uk.

Following the newspaper’s exclusive, the story was picked up by the BBC and ABC News among many others.

In the end the party did not go ahead but it still put Torbay on the news map for several days.

Crime reporter Paul James, who covered the story, admitted this week: “I thought this was a half-decent news item but I had no idea how big it would get.

“I never cease to be surprised by the whims of the press.”

As well as providing a talking point in the nationals, the story has sparked great interest locally among younger readers with the Herald Express’s online coverage receiving a significant number of comments


Must-See Social Networks For Journalists

Blogger Mark S Luckie has come up with his list of the most essential social networking websites for the modern multimedia journalist.

Here are some of the highlights from his selection:

* Wired Journalists

“The site is the best place for established and up and coming journalists to discuss new media issues.

“WJ’s strength is in its groups, in which members discuss topics like tutorials, audio techniques and student journalism.”

* The Modern Journalist

Like WJ, this social network is located on the Ning platform.

* LinkedIn

“The social network can best be described as an interactive database of hundreds of thousands of resumes.

“But instead of just listing your work experience, you can network with other people from your company or school and be introduced to mutual contacts.”

* COLOURlovers

“Finding inspiration for projects is a whole lot easier with the site, where you can search for and share color schemes and patterns or be inspired by the site's groups and blog.”

* Twitter

* Pownce

* Flickr

Luckie’s full list is at 10,000Words.net.

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07 July 2008

Share What You Read At NYT

The New York Times has launched what it terms a “social network for Times readers”.

Users who sign up to the new TimesPeople service can recommend articles, blogs and reviews to other members as well as create their own networks of fellow NYT surfers.

Readers will be given their own profile page where they can view their recent activities and browse their readers’ network.

In addition, the plug-in enables users to share their activities on the NYT site with others and to see what different people are looking at.

Activity pages can also be displayed and accessed as mini-feeds on Facebook profiles and as RSS feeds.

According to the NYT, the new feature “is not a social network like Facebook or MySpace - you won’t have Times friends, and it won’t get you Times dates.

“Instead, you’ll assemble a network of Times readers.”

The NYT continues: “TimesPeople is a great way to discover things on NYTimes.com that you might not otherwise have found and to share your discoveries with people you know and trust.

“It’s also a way to connect with other Times readers whose recommendations interest you.”

Further details on TimesPeople can be found at Journalism.co.uk and on its FAQs page.

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Site Lists Twitterers

A new website listing users of Twitter has been described as a “godsend” for journalists.

Twellow.com lists hundreds of thousands of Twitterers and divides them into categories so people can browse the areas they’re interested in.

It also has a search function which enables visitors to search by name for any users of the microblogging platform.

And according to academic and blogger Paul Bradshaw, it’s these combined services that make Twellow a “godsend for specialist journalists”.

However, Bradshaw also pointed out some of the new site’s weaknesses - including the absence of any options to search by location.

More details on this can be found at the Online Journalism Blog.

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04 July 2008

UK Journalists Are Top Bloggers

Blogs penned by journalists are more common in the UK than on the continent, a new survey finds.

The poll of almost 350 broadcast, print and online reporters in the UK and 8 other European nations asked participants whether their news websites featured journalist blogs.

And it was the UK that tops the chart with some 85.37% of sites hosting their own blogs, compared to 31.43% of sites in Germany and 18.75% in France.

The European Digital Journalism Study reveals that the UK seems to be leading the way with visual content too as 60.98% of news websites offer TV and video clips, the highest percentage in the countries studied.

Conducted by two PR firms, the survey also asked respondents in the Benelux countries, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK about the way the internet has impacted upon their jobs.

And the research finds that almost 65% of journalists say they have not had training in using new media.

The study is available for download on its website, where visitors can view visual graphics from its results.

Further details can also be found on Journalism.co.uk.

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03 July 2008

Sky Launches Interactive Site

Sky News has unveiled a new beta version of its website where interactivity and customisation are the name of the game.

The site has a community section managed by Pluck which currently comprises discussion forums and comments areas.

According to the Guardian, the community offerings will be expanded in the future to allow users to create profiles of themselves and start writing their own blogs.

Other current interactive features include a Story Tracker device enabling visitors to select up to ten articles for which they want to receive automatic updates.

And the left-hand sidebar has a customisable element as users can select the category of news they wish to see displayed there.

Sky News Networked Media editor Steve Bennedik said of these new customisable sections: “The features we are introducing to personalise the site are just the start of a process aimed at allowing our users to tailor sky.com/news to suit all their online needs.”

The site has also introduced a new blog penned by Sky News anchor Eammon Holmes.

Further details on the new site can be found on the Sky News editors’ blog.

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02 July 2008

Comments Make Front-Page News

A newspaper has used online comments from the public to support its “Divided City” front page.

Visitors to the South Wales Evening Post have submitted hundreds of comments on articles concerning a local man who died when driving a stolen car.

The often heated debate taking place among its web users has been transferred to its printed pages with the reverse-publishing of sample comments.

And last week the Post splashed on the issue and reported that the clear divide between those making comments reflected the social divisions within Swansea itself.

The title’s web content editor told holdthefrontpage.co.uk that the newspaper’s digital coverage of the story has seen young people get involved in a way never seen with the print publication.

Paul Turner said: “The reaction to the story has revealed the power of a multimedia approach to presenting the news.

“It has also allowed teenagers and young adults who would never have dreamed of writing to a newspaper, to make their feelings known on an issue via the web.”

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01 July 2008

Beeb Unveils Video Plans

Plans for a local video online network to serve the UK regions have been made public by the BBC.

The corporation is proposing to create a network of about 65 local websites to provide on-demand video news.

And the plans include a fund of £800,000 which would be used to buy video content from other news providers, according to Journalism.co.uk.

The BBC says it would also make its own video packages available to other news sites to embed on their pages.

The plans have been met with criticism by the Newspaper Society, which is outlined in its initial response.

Further details on the proposals can be found in this Guardian article from last month.


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