28 November 2008

Study Shows Mobile Internet All About Need

New research into the most popular mobile sites in the UK reveals that the market is concerned with functionality over entertainment.

That’s the view of a senior analyst at Nielsen Online, which carried out the study looking into the UK’s mobile internet industry.

Nielsen’s Mobile Media View finds that BBC News, BBC Weather, Sky Sports and Gmail are the most popular mobile sites among users.

And among the PC-based internet sites visited most regularly by mobile users are Google Search and eBay.

In addition, BBC Weather, Sky Sports and Gmail are more popular among mobile users than among people accessing their sites via PCs.

“This highlights the advantage of mobile when it comes to immediacy; people often need fast, instant access to weather or sports news and mobile can obviously satisfy this, wherever they are,” says senior analyst Kent Ferguson.

He adds: “The fact that the most weather, sports, news and email sites make up the majority of leading mobile sites show that mobile Internet is mainly about functionality and need at the moment as opposed to the more entertainment and ecommerce-focused makeup of the leading PC-based sites.”

The inaugural Mobile Media View also reveals that the number of people in the UK using mobile sites grew by 25% during the second quarter of this year (from 5.8 to 7.3 million).

[HT - Media Week]

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27 November 2008

Telegraph Signs Property Search Engine

Telegraph.co.uk has become the latest website to partner with property search engine Nestoria, according to the Guardian’s PDA blog.

Nestoria’s search facility, already used by independent.co.uk, will appear on the Telegraph’s property section and will enable users to look for homes for sale or rent across the UK.

“Across Europe, every traditional media organisation is realising that their audience and advertisers are rapidly moving online, so many players with strong offline traditional brands are looking for web-savvy partners to help them ensure they retain their users and customers after the transition,” said Ed Freyfogle, co-founder of Nestoria.

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Nonprofit Future For Watchdog Journalism?

Could the future of investigative journalism be Web-only stories produced by nonprofit independent outfits?

That’s the issue discussed in a recent New York Times article that chronicles the rise of small not-for-profit news groups which are popping up in some of America’s big cities.

According to the NYT, these operations dedicate themselves to investigating local issues and are funded by grants, donations both big and small, and the odd bit of advertising.

The Times points out that these corporations resemble public service broadcasters in their financial structures but are usually managed and staffed by unemployed refugees from the print media world.

And it’s a perceived gap in investigative reporting from traditional news sources that is driving the growth of these nonprofit watchdog websites.

One such example cited by the NYT is the VoiceofSanDiego.org, which was part-founded by retired local entrepreneur Buzz Woolley when he became frustrated at the lack of coverage of corruption among the city’s public figures.

Woolley said: “Information is now a public service as much as it’s a commodity.”

“It should be thought of the same way as education, health care. It’s one of the things you need to operate a civil society, and the market isn’t doing it very well.”

And the online newspaper makes its position clear in its mission statement: “To consistently deliver ground-breaking investigative journalism for the San Diego region.

“To increase civic participation by giving citizens the knowledge and in-depth analysis necessary to become advocates for good government and social progress.”

Visit the NYT to see the full article.

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26 November 2008

Crowdfunding: Future Business Model?

Can crowdfunding become a viable way for mainstream media to support their services?

That’s the question posed by Mark Glaser in a recent MediaShift blog post, and as part of the discussion he looks at some examples of the crowdfunding theory being put into practice.

First up, a definition of crowdfunding from Glaser: “Getting micro-donations through the Internet to help fund a venture.”

He points to a couple of hyperlocal crowdfunding projects which are getting underway in the US.

Representative Journalism is the brainchild of academic Leonard Witt from the Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

The idea behind the initiative is to raise a series of donations from residents in a small town in order to pay for a journalist to be based there full time.

Witt told MediaShift: “So we have to work on three fronts: 1) we have to provide high quality journalism; 2) we have to get the community to know our journalist; and 3) the community has to feel that their membership in the community and the news and information it produces has value worthy of their financial support.”

Glaser also spoke to Spot.us founder Dave Cohn about the potential of crowdfunding as a source of funding for traditional media.

He said: “Community-funded journalism relies on two basic shifts. First, the audience has to think of journalism as a public good like art that’s worth sustaining with their own money.

“The second shift is with reporters who have to realise they are a personal brand and they can pitch the public.”

Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Spot.us encourages the public to offer tips for stories they want to see investigated and these projects are then funded by micro donations.

As well as these community crowdfunding efforts, Glaser looks at individual projects where bloggers have covered their costs through donations from readers.

For example, Chris Allbritton funded his Back to Iraq blog with public donations and satirical political blogger Ana Marie Cox was able to cover the second half of John McCain’s election campaign thanks to money given to her by readers.

Visit MediaShift for the full post.

[Picture - Jimmy McDonald on Flickr.]

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25 November 2008

Multimedia Hub Opens In Midlands

Editors and journalists with Trinity Mirror’s Birmingham titles have taken their places in a new multimedia newsroom.

The Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail and Sunday Mercury are now produced by staffers working alongside each other in the new offices in a former tyre factory.

According to HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk, the new-look newsroom includes a central hub reflecting the diminishment of the divisions between the newspapers and their affiliated websites.

Post editor Mar Reeves said of the relocation: “It’s a fantastic, fresh environment – windows all round, an open-plan, no-secrets environment with a central hub making all editorial decisions in the open.

“Even the editors sit out on the floor along with all the desk heads to ensure that content goes to the correct website or print edition at the right time.”

To get a look inside the new multimedia newsroom, visit guardian.co.uk’s gallery of images or check out the blog of Mail editor Steve Dyson.

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Topix Launches Links Tool

Online newspapers can now deploy a free widget from Topix to provide related story links to their own content.

The news aggregator claimed its ReLinx headline widget can be easily integrated with various content management systems and produces real-time link results.

In a press release, Topix also stated that the widget can be used by news sites as an inline linking option.

Chief executive Chris Tolles said: “News sites invest precious time and money in generating original content, but it’s often difficult to package that information to take full advantage of the Web’s interactivity.”

The widget is being used by US site – TwinCities.com – and its senior online editor said ReLinx proved easy to install.

Chris Clonts added: “The links it generates are amazingly relevant, giving us a tool to drive users deeper into our site and freeing up the producers for other tasks.”

Topix is a news aggregation site which links to both mainstream media sites and discussions threads on forums.

Among its core investors are US regional press publishers Gannett, the McClatchy Company and the Tribune Company.

[HT - Editor & Publisher.]

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24 November 2008

BBC Local Video Plans Rejected

The BBC Trust has turned down the corporation’s proposals to launch an online local video service.

According to a press release from the BBC’s governing body, the plans were rejected on the grounds that they would not enhance public services enough to justify the financial investment or adverse effects on other local news providers.

The decision comes after the Trust carried out a public value test of the £68 million scheme.

“It is clear from the evidence that, although licence fee-payers want better regional and local services from the BBC, this proposal is unlikely to achieve what they want,” said the BBC Trust chairman in a statement.

Sir Michael Lyons added: “We also recognise the negative impact that the local video proposition could have on commercial media services which are valued by the public and are already under pressure.”

The decision was welcomed by representatives of the commercial regional media, such as the Newspaper Society.

Further details and reactions to Friday’s news can be found at guardian.co.uk, HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk and Press Gazette.

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Times & Sky To Co-Produce Video

Staff from Sky News have joined with their print counterparts at The Times to produce online video.

Press Gazette reports that the two news organisations, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp group, will display the co-produced video content on their respective websites.

Video facilities have been installed at the office of the Times Online to enable journalists and commentators to work on audiovisual content for both sites’ business, international and home news sections.

The partnership project is headed by Sky News multimedia producer John Jelley, who said it “provides Sky News with an excellent opportunity to showcase Sky News to Times Online’s growing audience”.

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21 November 2008

Event Coverage Secret – ‘Train & Train Again’

A digital editor claims the secret to successful events coverage online is training, with lots of preparation and practice thrown in for good measure.

Mike Noe from the Rocky Mountain News says web reports from this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Denver were effective because staff were well trained and well prepared.

Writing on Online Journalism Review, Noe notes that planning started last year when the newspaper bought mobile phones for several journalists so they could shoot video and take pictures for the website.

Then in spring 2008 the News began holding training sessions for its journalists filing short news updates to the website.

“By the time the convention rolled around, everyone in the newsroom - including editors and the copy desk - had been trained,” says Noe.

He adds: “For more substantive news accounts, we trained our staff to file directly into the Ellington system using laptops with air cards.”

Staff were also given time to become accustomed to using the microblogging tool Twitter after the News decided that would be the tool of choice for posting updates.

“Our first attempts at Twitter were rough,” admits Noe, adding that the key is to “train, practice and train again”.

He also advises newspapers to ensure journalists and photographers are familiar with the technology before the event.

“We picked events leading up to the convention to get them used to the phones, cameras or laptops they would be using.

“You want technology to be second-nature when the big event begins.”

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20 November 2008

Eagle Editors Share Links With Users

Visitors to the ReadingEagle.com can now see the websites and online articles catching the eyes of journalists.

Section editors, designers and photographers are among the Eagle staffers regularly posting and sharing links online via the What We’re Reading section.

Users can view an array of links on the group page or can click through to the individual’s page to see profiles and more links.

The initiative has been created using the recently launched Publish2 link journalism application from Scott Karp.

Writing on his blog, Karp says the activities at the Eagle show how online newspapers can incorporate link journalism and news aggregation services into their traditional offerings.

The author of Publishing 2.0 spoke to the site’s administrative editor to ascertain the aims behind the project.

John Boor said “We’re hoping to increase our site traffic in our own, smaller way, using the model of The Drudge Report, and others who, essentially, create success by being mega-aggregators.”

He added that the links pages provide the Eagle with an opportunity “to inject more personality into the site”.

“We’re hoping that people will connect with staffers’ faces or names they’ve seen, and maybe keep checking back to see what one of their favorites thinks is important enough to share.”

The Publish2 application also enables users to post their links to social media websites such as Twitter, and Boor noted that this helps journalists to “cast wide, digital nets in an effort to build a sense of community with our news site as the hub”.

Boor concluded: “We’re no longer the gatekeepers. We’re stepping out onto the public square and sharing stories that are important to us and hoping they may help others.”

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19 November 2008

Virtual Reporters Scoop Second Life Story

News agency reporters entered the virtual world of Second Life to secure interviews with a couple who had hit the headlines in real life.

Two journalists at South West News approached the pair through their Second Life avatars after they proved shy and elusive in the real world.

According to Guardian.co.uk: “Virtual reporters picked their way through imagined streets, clubs and homes to try to get the story of how an indiscretion in computerland had led to a real life marriage break-up.”

Through their virtual doorstepping, the reporters were granted access to both players’ alter egos who gave them quotes about the Second Life cheating which had led to their split.

Journalist Paul Adcock told guardian.co.uk that it had proved tricky tracking down the Newquay couple’s avatars online.

“It was difficult sometimes because there was a blurring between reality and Second Life.”

[Picture from Second Life.]

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Mobile Lessons From Obama

Newspapers should take a leaf out of Barack Obama’s phonebook when it comes to mobile strategies, says a digital director.

Ted Mann from Gannett New Jersey points to the president-elect’s SMS and iPhone campaign applications and suggests that they may be “instructive to newsrooms”.

First up, Mann discusses Obama’s geotargeted text alert service which sent announcements to registered users about events and news in their area.

Writing on the Courier Post’s Mojo Dojo blog, Mann says newspapers could deploy a similar tool to send breaking news alerts to journalists in the field.

“If every reporter signed up for a newsroom alert on their cell phones, an editor could quickly issue a kind of all-hands-on-deck text to tell everyone about a three-alarm fire in Camden, or a bridge collapse in Philly, or whatever.”

Next up, Obama’s iPhone service with its Call Friends option which scanned the user’s phonebook, and a Get Involved feature listing local meetings.

Mann asks: “How great would it also be if newsrooms could use mobile apps in much the same way - incorporating a phone book of all newsroom personnel (so you can always get Joe the Reporter on his cell phone, even if you don’t have the number)?”

He concludes: “If the overall effort to coordinate newsrooms via text and mobile were any bit as effective as the Obama campaign has been, maybe the newspaper business could find a way to thrive again after all.”

Visit Mojo Dojo for the full story.

[HT - Fitz and Jen.]

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18 November 2008

How To Build An Online Community

Ten ways for the news media to grow and nurture online communities have been published by Mitch Joel.

According to the digital marketing pioneer, little changes can make a big difference to both small and large companies.

Here are some excerpts from his post, 10 Things Every Newspaper and Magazine Must Do:


Joel asserts that tags make content easier to search and also enable users to decide whether a piece is of interest to them.


“It’s the idea of adding a bunch of related links, posts and articles at the bottom of every piece of content and demonstrating to your readers how connected your content is and what else might interest them.”

Joel says that providing such information “builds tremendous loyalty and interest”.


“Many smart newspapers post a Blog directory to let their readers know in one simple and easy area how to connect and find these great additional resources.”


Joel believes that comments posted by users “brings your content to life”.


“Most newspapers drive readers to their generic website address in hopes that the reader will scour and dig to find the content that took them there.

“Here’s a real newsflash: they will not.”

Instead, Joel advocates encouraging web users to read the print issue and using the newspaper as a platform for extending conversations started online.

Visit Joel’s Twist Image blog for the full post.

[HT - Martin Stabe.]

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AP Unveils Two Youth Mobile Sites

The bizarre and the showbiz are the two themes for the latest mobile initiatives from the Associated Press (AP).

AP has teamed up with Virgin Mobile to provide two new mobile sites to users in the US – AP Entertainment and Can You Believe It? (CUBI).

The entertainment offering promises the latest news from the worlds of film, music, TV and from planet celebrity and CUBI delivers tales of the bizarre from around the globe.

In a press statement, AP’s general manager for mobile said: “More than ever, young people on the go demand a rich mobile experience.”

Jeffrey Litvack added: “Having access to the latest wacky and celebrity news gives Virgin Mobile USA customers social cache with their friends and acquaintances.”

Both m sites also act as gateways into the AP’s Mobile News Network, which provides international, national and local news to visitors.

[HT – The Editors Weblog.]

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17 November 2008

Hull Daily Mail Wins Digital Award

The Hull Daily Mail has added to the trophy cabinet with a Yorkshire Press Award for digital output, reports HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk.

The Northcliffe title took home the award for Best Multi Platform News Package at a ceremony held in Wakefield last week, adding to the growing list of honours bestowed upon the Mail.

Earlier in 2008 the newspaper was named Multimedia Publisher of the Year at the Regional Press Awards, and its user-generated site Your Mail won the Best Use of News Media award at the Newspaper Awards.

The Mail was also recognised in both gold and silver categories for digital innovations at last month’s Newspaper Society Advertising and Digital Media Awards.

Among the other winners at last week’s Yorkshire Press Award was the late journalist Adrian Sudbury, who was honoured posthumously for his Baldy’s Blog and campaigning for greater education about bone marrow donation.

Sudbury, who died from leukaemia in August this year, was named Yorkshire Journalist of the Year.

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Should Journalists Facebook Their Sources?

Is it appropriate for journalists to include sources among their friends on social media sites such as Facebook?

That’s the question posed by a recent American Journalism Review article, where reporters in the US were interviewed to find out whether social networking websites are altering the “traditional reporter-source relationship”.

According to the article’s author Steven Mendoza, few journalists have been issued with guidelines about adding sources such as public officials to their friends lists on Facebook.

And from his enquiries, it seems that there are some differences between the stances taken by American newsrooms.

For example, Sacramento Bee columnist Stuart Leavenworth said he keeps friend requests from public figures on a waitlist.

“I just personally felt more comfortable keeping it somewhat limited.

“As a journalist in this town, I really wanted to keep a little bit of distance from public officials and other sources I deal with on a regular basis.”

However, New York Times standards editor Craig Whitney contested it’s generally understood that Facebook friends are not necessarily friends in the non-virtual world.

“If it is truly a friend, then the old guideline that you have a conflict of interest if you’re writing about somebody who is a personal friend certainly applies.

“But being a friend on Facebook doesn’t make that person into a real friend.”

See the full article - To Friend or Not to Friend? - on the American Journalism Review site.

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14 November 2008

US Election Picks

Now that the dust has settled on the US election, here’s a guide to some of the online coverage that caught the eye of commentators, bloggers and journalists.

The Look

If you want to see how the digital media reported the votes as they came in, student Gary Ritzenthaler spent the night taking screen grabs of websites from around the world.

Blogger and academic Mindy McAdams writes that the PhD student from the University of Florida has made these images public on Iterasi, an online bookmarking service for pages as well as links.

And guardian.co.uk has a collection of images showing how the global online media reported Barack Obama’s victory.


An overview of some of the most popular US election blogs was provided earlier this month by TimesOnline.

Although the article is about websites rather than purely about blogs, most of its 25 picks either are blogs or have their blogging sections recommended.

The effectiveness of the pro-McCain and pro-Obama bloggers is discussed in this article by Judith Townend on Journalism.co.uk.

Meanwhile, the BBC adopted a three-pronged blogging strategy with Gavin Hewitt providing updates from the Obama camp in Chicago and Matt Price blogging from the McCain campaign headquarters in Arizona.

North America editor Justin Webb completed the triumvirate by offering an overview of the results via his regular blog.


The effectiveness and accuracy of some of the media’s fancy maps have been discussed on The Information Aesthetics blog, and the Australian resource also has lots of links to some of the most innovative ones.

And alternatives to the usual raft of red/blue maps dotting the online media landscape have been offered up by Mark Newman at the University of Michigan (HT - Martin Stabe.)

While the Washington Post combined mapping with its Twitter, blog and video reports through the multimedia fest called TimeSpace: Election.

Users could view news from chosen locations and use the timeline to filter reports by date.

On the video and slideshows front, plenty of journalists in the US hit the campaign trail and polling booths to produce some great little packages.

In her round-up for Poynter Online, Regina McCombs points to an audio-visual piece from the Nashua Telegraph where voters were asked to sum up why they voted in one word.

McCombs also flags up a multimedia feature from the Star Tribune asking local politicians and activists what the Obama victory means to them.

While the New York Times contributed with its documentary – Choosing the President – which combines audio, video and some very flashy graphics to produce an effective overview of the election from party nominations through to November 5th.

And in the UK, election news videos produced by satirical outfit The Onion News Network were featured on Telegraph.co.uk after the newspaper struck a deal with myvideorights.com.

Social Media

How Obama harnessed the power of social networking websites like Facebook is discussed in this New York Times article (HT – Nigel Barlow).

And among the news outlets taking advantage of image-sharing websites was Sky News, which posted photos of its election coverage activities to its Flickr stream (HT Journalism.co.uk).

User-Generated Content

On a grand scale there was the YouTube-PBS partnership project – Video Your Vote, which encouraged the public to record their voting experiences.

While among the small but innovative UGC projects was the Word Train feature from the New York Times which asked users to submit one word to describe their current state of mind on election day.

The most common words were then displayed across the webpage and visitors could also choose to view words from a particular time period or from Obama or McCain supporters only.

Further Reading

There are lots of other round-up posts around the blogosphere, such as one on the Online Journalism Blog from Paul Bradshaw and this from Laura Oliver on Journalism.co.uk.

[Pictures from top - Jonathon Colman on Flickr and Shasti O'Leary on Flickr.]

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13 November 2008

‘Embrace Video Or Die!’

Newspapers have to get to grips with online video if they want to survive in the future, according to Michael Rosenblum.

The video journalism visionary said reporters need to accept and embrace the new platform rather than hide away from it, reports Press Gazette.

Rosenblum pointed to comparative industries where the failure to harness new technologies has resulted in businesses going bust or falling behind.

He told the assembled audience at the Society of Editors conference: “As the web goes to video there’s a sort of Gresham’s Law - more dynamic media drives out less dynamic media.”

The former CBS producer added: “If you only have print or stills and your competitor has video, you’re going to get eaten.”

And he said there are no excuses for journalists to shy away from video now that the technology has become relatively cheap and easy.

“Any idiot can do this, making TV is not hard, it’s not complicated, it’s not difficult. The technology makes it incredibly simple.”

Rosenblum continued: “A nine-year-old can produce professional material and the cost is next to zero.”

Visit the Society of Editors site for further details on his speech, meanwhile guardian.co.uk has a video interview with Rosenblum on its Organ Grinder blog.

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Newsquest Partners With Comparison Site

Visitors to Newsquest websites can now use a third-party application to compare prices of financial products.

The regional publisher is partnering with BeatThatQuote.com to offer a comparison service for credit cards, loans and other packages, reports Brand Republic.

The comparison service can be accessed via the Money channel on each of Newsquest’s 132 local news websites.

Newsquest Digital managing director Roger Green said that the initiative represents “the latest in a series of moves to make our trusted media brands relevant to the way people live their lives today - in print, online and on the move”.

[HT – Editors Weblog]

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12 November 2008

BBC Chief Predicts Speedy Vlog Growth

The BBC is keen to expand the online opportunities for user-generated video blogging, according to its global news director.

Richard Sambrook said the Beeb is particularly looking to further incorporate video content into the international version of Have Your Say (HYS), reports Journalism.co.uk.

[Last month, the corporation created HYS channels on live video-sharing sites including Qik and 12Seconds.]

Speaking at City University, Sambrook revealed: “We are working on pilots at the moment, which will be coming on BBC World channel quite quickly.”

He asserted: “This kind of video blogging is already getting integrated. That’s just started and it’s going to grow incredibly fast.

“You’re going to see very dynamic video dialogue conversations with the public opening up very rapidly.”

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Key To Ads Is “Segmentation”

Newspapers seeking to make money from advertising online must identify the separate markets making up their audiences.

That’s the view of Mark Smith, the managing director of a classifieds organisation which made a profit last year of £6 million.

Speaking at this week’s Society of Editors conference, the head of Newsquest’s S1 ads portfolio told attendees that the key to effective web-based advertising is to create segmented target groups.

Smith said: “One single thing is key, getting your market segmentation right. The internet is not a mass audience medium,” reports Press Gazette.

He added that these stratified groups are particularly attractive to advertisers and relatively easy to create with online tools.

The S1 portfolio includes specialist sites such as s1cars.com and the advertising sections on the websites of Glasgow’s Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.

[Picture:- Gaetan Lee on Flickr.]

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11 November 2008

Press Gazette Live Blogs SoE Summit

This year’s Society of Editors conference was live blogged by Press Gazette staff.

A team from Gazette used CoverItLive software to post updates and quotes from keynote speakers to the website.

The team also used a dedicated Twitter account to issue real-time updates from the Bristol event.

Now available for replay, the live blog features direct quotes from speakers including BBC business editor Robert Peston and the McCann family spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.

Reports from the event can be found on pressgazette.co.uk and the website for the Society of Editors.

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NYT Bids For Crowdsourcing Funds

The New York Times is looking to launch a crowdsourcing initiative enabling the public to read and analyse government documents.

In partnership with the investigative journalism outfit Pro Publica, the Times is seeking $1 million (£640,000) from the Knight News Challenge to fund DocumentCloud, according to Nieman Journalism Lab.

The project would encourage news media to upload their source materials into a document viewer where members of the public could read, share and store pages and paragraphs.

This interactive DocViewer software was developed by the NYT’s technologies team to create a searchable database of schedules relating to Hillary Clinton’s spell as first lady.

According to the grant application, DocumentCloud “will accelerate the daily work of investigative reporters, and will make investigative reporters out of every citizen, by improving the way we find, share, read and collaborate on source documents online”.

[HT – Editors Weblog.]

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10 November 2008

Six Go Hyperlocal At Journal

Some six more hyperlocal websites have been launched by Newcastle’s Journal online, reports HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk.

Among the half-dozen locations gaining their own community coverage online are Blyth, Prudhoe, Ponteland and Cramlington.

This takes the overall number of hyperlocal sites to 16 under the Your Place - Northumberland banner on Journal Live, four away from its target total.

“With the addition of the latest six sites, we are now one step closer to having a comprehensive network of microsites to serve the entire county,” said Brian Aitken, editor of the Trinity Mirror title.

He added: “The response has been fantastic, with increasing numbers of people using the sites to find out what’s going on in the areas in which they live.”

If you want to know more about digital innovations at the Journal Live check out a new piece from Alex Lockwood on Journalism.co.uk.

A lecturer at the University of Sunderland, Lockwood has written about online activities in the north east by looking at the Journal, the Sunderland Echo and the Teesside Evening Gazette.

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FT Opens Chatroom For Money Men

Stock market professionals can now debate the latest economic issues in FT.com’s Long Room online.

Taking its name from a real-world drinking hole in the City, the Long Room is a virtual space where members can post comments and lead topic threads.

It acts as a user-generated accompaniment to the Alphaville blog, which has seen its traffic soar in the wake of the global credit crisis.

According to Journalism.co.uk, the Long Room came about after the FT realised this growing Alphaville community was using third-party sites to debate issues raised by its posts.

Membership to the Long Room is free but not universal as the site is aimed at “professional market participants who understand the complexities of the financial instruments discussed”.

Wannabe members have to submit some details in order to earn an invitation to join the debate, and managing director Rob Grimshaw summed it up as “a little bit clubby”.

He also revealed that plans are afoot to launch a mobile version of the Long Room in the future.

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07 November 2008

Ready-Made Recipe Application Unveiled

A turnkey appliance enabling online users to submit and share recipes has hit the web market.

The Recipe Guide can be installed by news, community and special interest websites and provides gourmets with a platform for sharing food tips and discussing all things culinary.

Produced by American firm Caspio, the ready-made application allows users to upload recipes with accompanying photos.

These can then be rated and commented on by other members, who can use the search facility on the site or via widgets on affiliated sites to find what they want.

In a press statement, Caspio said that Recipe Guide is the first of its kind to provide a ready-made tool for publishing user-generated content recipes.

Caspio added that it expects the appliance to attract the attention of local visitors as well as advertisers and to improve site stickiness.

More details on Editor & Publisher.

[Picture - Pimp That Snack]

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PA Launches New Multimedia Site

The Press Association has unveiled a new website to reflect its evolution into a “multimedia content business”.

Pressassociation.co.uk has information on the range of services now offered by the 140-year-old company and features demo samples of its video and photographic content.

The new online corporate presence comes as the Press Association amalgamates all its sub-brands.

“By sharpening up the brand and introducing a new website we aim to increase our brand awareness amongst B2B customers and make it easier for us to showcase our services, particularly to the digital markets,” said Paul Potts, executive chairman of the PA Group.

He added: “The look of the new brand reflects the transition of the company into the multimedia arena and prepares it for the next stage of its development.”

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06 November 2008

Sites Declare Historic Traffic For Election

Record-breaking numbers of people followed the American presidential vote online, according to new reports.

According to Media Week, “record shattering traffic gains” are being declared by many news sites in the wake of this week’s historic election.

For example, CNN.com says it attracted some 30 million unique visitors on the day of the ballot, easily surpassing its previous best on Super Tuesday earlier this year.

And MSNBC.com has also claimed it saw its greatest ever traffic figures on November 4, with over 20 million unique users visiting the site.

According to traffic handler Akamai’s Net Usage Index statistics, over 8.5 million users per minute were visiting its client sites including Reuters, NBC and BBC.com.

Meanwhile among the newspapers declaring record online traffic were the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

The Obama effect also extended to print editions as many titles found themselves working over-time to meet demands for souvenir copies.

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05 November 2008

Sport + Social Media = Success

A Dutch newspaper’s summer of sport with a social networking website has introduced a new audience to its online content.

The broadsheet De Telegraaf teamed up with social media group Hyves to offer tailored coverage of the Euro 2008 championships and the Beijing Olympics, reports the Editors Weblog.

Among their joint projects was a fantasy football league for the Euros, hosted on the Hyves site, which attracted some 170,000 participants.

More recently, they launched a new football game for the Dutch 2008/09 domestic season which currently has over 30,000 users.

And the results? Some 20% of the incoming traffic visiting the Telegraaf.nl sport section during the summer came from Hyves (prior to this, traffic from Hyves was “negligible”).

According to the Editors Weblog: “This partnership also helped the Telegraaf re-brand itself and present itself as a modern news organisation.

“The newspaper had a rather ‘old fashioned’ image before the project, but this initiative made people look at Telegraaf in a new light.

“The games on the Hyves site also got people talking about the site on the internet and the project became a topic of conversation around water-coolers in offices.”

Launched in 2004, Hyves is a Dutch social networking site with over five million users based in Holland and almost two million other members around the world.

[Picture – supercoolgifts.co.uk.]

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04 November 2008

Northern Ireland Crimes Mapped

The Belfast Telegraph has unveiled an interactive map of crime statistics from Northern Ireland.

Visitors can opt to view crime data by ward for each year from 2001 to the present and search for figures by offence, such as criminal damage, burglary and theft.

According to mad.co.uk, the sponsored map forms part of the Telegraph’s strategy to improve its site’s stickiness.

“We’re confident of the changes to the site and our position as a local news and information source,” said Sam McIlveen, digital publisher at Independent News and Media.

[Hat Tip – Martin Stabe.]

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03 November 2008

Americans Take Cameras To Polls

Voters in tomorrow’s US elections are being encouraged to film their voting experiences and post them online.

YouTube and PBS have teamed up to launch the Video Your Vote channel, where users can upload and share their election films.

And the pick of the user-generated content will be broadcast on a PBS election programme, reports CyberJournalist.net.

Users categorise their videos into groups such as “Voter Intimidation”, “Voting Perspectives” and “Polling Place Projects,” and they are then displayed as pins on a Google map.

The channel makes clear that it wants a broad range of videos, rather than just a visual record of people’s votes.

“Shoot a video of your voting experience before or on Election Day. Document the energy and excitement, as well as any problems you may see.”

The channel has a significant number of videos already submitted, many under the “Early Voting” tag.

And among the most popular is this video (almost 90,000 views so far) showing the voting experience of An American Abroad.

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Telegraph Trials Post-Moderation

An ongoing experiment at Telegraph.co.uk has enabled journalists to publish their un-edited work online.

The post-moderation trial removes the role of the sub-editor from its traditional position in the news process and sees content checked by production journalists after it has been displayed on the website.

Assistant editor Justin Williams revealed the details of the pilot project at a discussion event last week, reports Press Gazette.

He said: “We’re experimenting with post moderation on web stories - so we have either the desk or, in an increasing number of instances, writers publishing all stories direct to the website.

“Our production journalists then post moderate that content after it has been put live and we use this as the first stage in the newspaper sub-editing process.”

See Press Gazette and Journalism.co.uk for further details on this story.


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