31 August 2009

Sun Tops Site Stickiness Chart

A chart comparing the stickiness of British newspaper websites gives the top spot to thesun.co.uk.

Compiled by blogger Michael Coles, the table uses data from Alexa to compare the page views and bounce rates of national news websites.

Leading the pack is thesun.co.uk, with an average of 4 page views per user and a bounce rate of 48.5%.

Coles places guardian.co.uk second with 3.1 average page views and a bounce rate of 59.2%, followed by Telegraph.co.uk with 2.9 page views and a 65.2% bounce rate.

See Coles’s blog for the full post and table.

28 August 2009

Google Voice – Newsroom “Game Changer”?

Google’s new telecoms service could become the next big thing in the ‘digital toolkit’ for reporters.

According to Etan Horowitz, Google Voice is “a game changer for journalists” with many of its features helping to improve the way they keep in touch with sources, the public, and each other.

Writing on Poynter Online, the tech columnist for the Orlando Sentinel discusses some of the service’s key selling points and how they can help reporters.

Here are some examples of its main features:

* Google Voice allows users to select their own number.

* You can choose which phones (mobile phone, office landline, home landline, VOIP etc) ring when people call and set it to change at different times of day.

* Users can sort callers into groups and select different phones to ring depending on which ‘group’ calls.

* Incoming calls can be switched between phones.

* The ID of the caller is stated before you answer.

* If the caller is unknown, an automated message asks them to give their name which can then be heard by the user before answering.

* Voicemail messages are automatically transcribed and sent as an email.

* Incoming calls can be recorded and then accessed through the user’s Google Voice account.

See the Poynter Online article by Horowitz for more about Google Voice.

At present, the invite-only service is limited to users in the US.

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27 August 2009

Echo Readers Create Unique Gallery

Life in Dorset is captured by the impressive collection of photos posted in response to an appeal from the Daily Echo.

The Bournemouth newspaper is encouraging readers to contribute to its Flickr group - A Dorset Year - as part of its aim to create a gallery showing a year in the life of the county and its residents.

All the photos are also published on the Daily Echo website and selected pictures feature in the newspaper.

Digital project co-ordinator Sam Shepherd told HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk that the gallery represents the newspaper’s efforts to interact with people in the area.

“There are so many people out there on the patch using Flickr so it was a way of getting them to engage with us,” said Shepherd.

So far, the group has attracted over 1,000 photos to its photostream and has more than 150 members.

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26 August 2009

Six Ways To Make Video Pay

How to generate revenue from online videos is one of the challenges facing news publishers in the digital age.

A recent blog post addresses this issue by listing some of the ways that news websites in Minnesota have been trying their hand at making money from their videos.

Here are the six suggestions from Vadim Lavrusik, writing on the Online Journalism Blog:

1 - Internal hosting:

“News sites with a significant interest in monetising video content should move away from hosting content on sites like YouTube, which provide little opportunity for profit from revenue sharing.”

2 - Pre-roll advertising:

Lavrusik points out that this has been the most effective strategy so far and is becoming increasingly popular too.

3 - Complementing ad forms:

“Incorporating a banner ad that complements the video ad provides more exposure on the page and is usually more attractive to advertisers.”

4 - A 15-second rule:

Lavrusik notes that displayed ads on the sites he studied all lasted less than 15 seconds as research shows that longer ads can lose people.

5 - Search:

“If local news sites incorporate specific video searches, they could sell sponsored links to appear at the top.”

6 - Producing advertisements:

Lavrusik spoke to the chief executive of Borrell Associates, who said that news publishers need to be more creative with their online advertising in order to tap into the video market.

See the full post on the OJB.

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25 August 2009

MEN – Raids Reported In Real-Time

The Manchester Evening News has used social media to keep its website readers up to date with the progress of a series of police raids.

HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk reports that the MEN had a reporter stationed in the control room, where he used Twitter to post updates about the massive police operation.

The tweets were collected under a gmpraids hashtag on Twitter and appeared in a live blog on the web pages of the MEN.

And the newspaper had one of its journalists following police officers as they carried out arrests across Greater Manchester so reports ‘from the field’ were also fed back to the CoverItLive blog.

“CoverItLive was useful for this because it allows our readers who are not on Twitter to follow the reports and also add their own comments,” said Paul Gallagher, head of online content at the MEN.

He added: “I think this has been a good example of our journalists using new online reporting tools to bring a fresh approach to the MEN’s coverage of a live news story.”

See HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk for the full story and visit the MEN website to view the coverage and to replay the live blog.

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24 August 2009

News Media & Facebook Strategy

News sites must consider their Facebook strategy as the social networking site goes from strength to strength.

That’s the view of Dorian Benkoil, who has written on Poynter Online about the necessities of having a Facebook strategy.

According to Benkoil, the popular website has made a number of advances recently that make it a must-use social media tool for online newspapers.

He writes: “As Facebook ramps up its offerings and takes on both Twitter and Google, you may need a hefty presence there to capture an audience you might not easily reach other ways.”

These changes are Facebook’s acquisition of FriendFeed, the trial of Facebook Lite and the launch of a real-time search facility.

Benkoil notes: “The basic idea is that once you’re in Facebook, you’ll stay there - to communicate with people, get information, post photos and videos, play games, maybe even consume music and videos, or shop.

“So, if you, as an editor or publisher, want to reach the audience that’s in Facebook you may have to make sure your content is there, as well.”

The Strategy

But what is the best way for news sites to get their content in front of Facebook users – and is there any way to make money from it?

Benkoil suggests creating a fan page – see New York Times fan page – and a profile page via which a newspaper can push its stories as news feeds.

As for making money, Benkoil spoke to a viral marketing spokesperson who pointed out that news sites can put ads on their fan page and will soon be able to sell merchandise to Facebook users without them having to leave the site.

See Poynter Online for the full story.

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21 August 2009

How To Make Money From News

Four new business models for journalism have been presented by a research team in the US.

The group from the City University of New York put together the proposals after conducting interviews with industry insiders, studying media data, and carrying out a survey of hyperlocal websites.

Visitors to the New Business Models for News site can examine these in depth as they are presented in the form of a spreadsheet detailing costs and projected revenue.

The team was tasked with providing business models for a sustainable form of journalism for a city without a notable news offering in print.

Here are the four business model proposals:

1 & 2

Hyperlocal & Ecosystem Framework Models

“Incorporates two models: hyperlocal and the sales, support, and technology framework that we believe is necessary to optimize businesses in the ecosystem.”


New News Organisation

“This model envisions a new, metro-wide news organisation ... that operates on a smaller scale and performs a wide variety of tasks.

“It will produce original unique beat and investigative reporting and it will also work collaboratively with the other members of the ecosystem and its readers to add value.

“Advertising will remain the key business driver, but to maximise profits the new organisation will diversify its revenues.”


Not-for-Profit News Organisation

“We want to show the level of resources that might be available in a given market to augment local news gathering efforts.

“Researching the available charitable money in a market, we picked a hypothetical bottom line of $3 million and built one possible organisation to augment journalism in the market.”

Have Your Say

Each spreadsheet can be downloaded by users who can then alter figures such as staff numbers etc and add their own ideas.

See Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog for his thoughts on the viability of the proposals.

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20 August 2009

Debating Journalism’s Big Questions

An online resource now holds over 90 interviews and op-eds discussing the future of news in the digital age.

The Future of Journalism project is featured on the OurBlook website, which proclaims to be a cross between a blog and a book.

It is a collaborative resource which has dozens of interviews with industry experts sharing their thoughts on some of the biggest challenges facing journalism.

The site also has opinion pieces from journalists and academics pondering subjects such as citizen journalism and business models of the future.

Writing on the Online Journalism Review, OurBlook staffer Sandra Ordonez says: “The website is a collaborative, Web 2.0 platform created for the exchange of research, information and dialogue on national and global issues.”

She adds that the interviews and pieces have been compiled into an online book and can be viewed on OurBlook’s Future of Journalism pages.

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19 August 2009

Local Sites Up For Media Award

Four local news sites are in the running for the title of Website of the Year with the EDF Energy Media Awards.

The shortlist for the London and South East awards has been announced, and competition for the digital prize is fierce.

Here are the nominations:

* bournemouthecho.co.uk - Daily Echo, Bournemouth

* getsurrey.co.uk - Surrey & Berkshire Media

* dailyecho.co.uk - Southern Daily Echo, Southampton

* thisiscroydontoday.co.uk - Croydon Advertiser/The Post

The winner will be announced during the ceremony at London’s Globe Theatre at the end of October.

See HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk for the full awards shortlist, which includes categories such as Sports Journalist of the Year, Columnist of the Year and Daily Newspaper of the Year.


18 August 2009

Hull Paper Offers Live Match Reports

A Northcliffe newspaper is on the ball with its football coverage offering live and interactive match reports.

Fans can follow every minute of Hull City’s Premier League season thanks to a new match day service on sporthull.co.uk, reports HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.

Using software from CoveritLive, the Big Match Live coverage is available in real-time during games and can be replayed in full after the final whistle.

The live blog also encourages comments from City fans, which then appear alongside posts from journalists at the Hull Daily Mail.

This season has seen sporthull.co.uk introduce a number of other new features, including an aggregation service providing links to Hull City coverage elsewhere on the Web.

“All of these new features enhance the service we give to web users and further differentiate our digital offering from our in-depth and analytical sports coverage in the paper,” said John Meehan, editor at the Hull Daily Mail.

He added: “We will also use the sports sites to promote our print-only sports content.”

Northcliffe has also introduced a new look and new features at three of its other sports sites - sportgrimsby.co.uk, sportscunny.co.uk and sportsecho.co.uk.

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