30 November 2009

WAN-IFRA launches World Newspapers Congress in India

Today sees the start of the 62nd World Newspaper Congress and 16th World Editors Forum in Hyderabad, India, hosted by WAN-IFRA.

Interestingly, the overall theme for the conference is 'Newspapers: A Multi-Media, Growth Business', something that may raise eyebrows of those watching their newsrooms struggle with plunging advertising revenues and shrinking circulation for their print products.

Naturally, how to tackle these hurdles is at the forefront of most of the keynote speeches and panel discussions.

Already, according to WAN’s own Shaping the Future of the Newspaper blog, Are Stokstad (Norway), executive vice president at A-Pressen, suggested that e-readers now make it necessary for newspapers to build strategies that combines both the traditional newspaper and the business model for e-reading.

He described how large investments have been made to expand the opportunities for online newpapers. Social networking sites have become a large part of the generation of these new online papers.

"This past year 3,000 print pages originated in social media. Next year we hope to increase this number to 30,000," he told the conference.

Social networking sites create groups of people interested in similar topics and activities. Many online newspapers are targeting their articles towards these groups, increasing online readership.

Meanwhile Martha Stone (USA), director of Shaping the Future of the Newspaper Project (pictured), talked about the opportunities available to newspapers through mobile phone technology.

"Text message advertising has become one of the hottest new ways to advertise," she said.

Stone also explained how mobile phones have become more than a way to just communicate with others.

She described how phones are becoming more advanced and can now be used not only for talking and texting, but also for online searching, television, blogs, advertising, alerts, and much more.

World Digital Media Trends, created by the SFN project, conducts research each year to show the latest revenue and newspaper trends. This year's study was posted in June and predicts the continued growth of digital media.

The Shaping the Future of the Newspaper blog will continue to bring full coverage of the conference, which will include discussions on Google featuring Kees Spaan, President of the Dutch Newspaper Publishers Association and Gavin O’Reilly, CEO of Independent News and Media as well as a presentation on what newspapers need to know for the digital future by Les Hinton, CEO of the Dow Jones newswire.

You can also follow the conference via the following Twitter feeds @NewspaperWorld and @WANindia2009, using the hashtag #WANindia09, or on Facebook at the conference page. There is also a dedicated congress blog.

Labels: , , , , ,

27 November 2009

Online Journalism round-up

Independent to charge for bulk printing

The Independent is living up to its name by trying a different approach in the battle to generate revenue.

The blog UpYourEgo has written how the newspaper is set to charge users for printing stories from their news site.

It describes how you get the choice of a ‘free print’ where you can make up to five copies using your home or office printer for free (with an ad).

You could also make an Instant print on your home printer with six or more copies from 25p to £1 per copy without ads.

You can get a quote for customised prints with your own logo for more than 100 copies on high quality paper.

Or you can have 50+ copies printed by them and sent to you within two business days, these cost 75p to £1.10 per copy – again with no adverts.

But, suggests the blog, the system from iCopyright which offers options for printing within a popup wouldn’t stop you just copying and pasting.

There are no paywalls, so on-screen content is still free and the newspaper will have to wait and see if this makes any difference to their finances.

But, as the blog says, it is different.

New guidelines published on using UGC

Alfred Hermida’s Reportr blog has an interesting story on new guidelines that have been issued by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, in partnership with UNESCO on how to handle user generated content.

According to Hermida, apart from covering the usual issues such as quality and any legal questions, it has sought to press the idea of UGC promoting greater media democracy.

The advice, he says, focuses not just on how to handle UGC, but also on the issue of media and information literacy.

It argues that news organisations would benefit from promoting greater media literacy, by strengthening relationships with audiences and countering claims that UGC is just a way of getting free content.

NYT app for Blackberry

Finally, whilst developing an app for an iPhone may seem old hat now, Editor and Publisher has reported that the New York Times has developed an app for the latest models of Blackberry Smartphones.

With advertiser sponsorship by UPS, the app application formats content for optimal navigation and display on BlackBerry Smartphones, offers automatic synching and allows users to store articles directly to their devices for offline reading.

"Mobile continues to be a very popular way for Times readers to access our content," Marc Frons, The New York Times Co.'s chief technology officer/digital operations, said in a statement.

"With this new application for BlackBerry Smartphones, we are offering BlackBerry users with the latest models a faster, more dynamic and more personalized experience for reading up-to-the-minute news, analysis and opinion from NYTimes.com."

The app is available here.

Labels: , , ,

26 November 2009

Will JP's plunge into paywalls pay off?

The eyes of the local news industry will be on six small weekly newspapers owned by Johnston Press, as their websites are used in a paywall trial, Holdthefrontpage has revealed.

Since the story - which was followed up by the Guardian and Press Gazette along with other journalism blogs - broke, JP has confirmed the names of the six paid-for titles involved in the ground-breaking trial, which will run for three months.

They are the Worksop Guardian in Nottinghamshire, the Ripley and Heanor News in Derbyshire, the Whitby Gazette in North Yorkshire, the Northumberland Gazette, the Ayrshire-based Carrick Gazette and the Southern Reporter in Selkirk.

Visitors will now be unable to access content beyond the homepage unless they pay £5 for a 3-month subscription (the equivalent of 40p per week).

HTFP stated how four of the six have average weekly circulations of under 10,000 and one, the Carrick Gazette, sells just 2,572 copies a week.

JP's digital strategy director Lori Cunningham told HTFP: "It's a small scale trial so we can better understand what the consumer dynamics are around paid-for content.”

She added that the company currently had "no plans" to extend the trial beyond three months or to roll it out to other titles.

However HTFP reported that they have seen an internal company memo which makes clear that the trial will be extended if it proves a success.

"The switch to a paid-for model is part of a broader roll-out across Johnston Press and in line with industry moves in this area to find a sustainable business model going forward. Customers are used to paying for content in-paper and we are simply transferring this thinking online," the memo stated.

Meanwhile, Trinity Mirror indicated it would not rule out introducing a paywall on its titles although it has no current plans to do so.

Digital director Chris Bunyan said: "Now is a time when a lot of publishers are experimenting and over the years we'll see some failures and successes. We wouldn't rule it out."

Whether the trial is a success remains to be seen. Kevin Ward, editor of the Newsquest-owned Worcester News has previously suggested that local titles are enough of a “niche” product to be able to successfully charge for content.

However some of the comments on HTFP would suggest otherwise. One reader stated how he “wouldn’t visit for free, let alone pay for it,” complaining about the lack of interactive content on one of the sites involved in the experiment.

Another suggested that all such a trial would prove is how readers would be unwilling to pay for a “poor product” unless JP invested in quality copy.

Labels: , ,

25 November 2009

Newspaper Society uses new system to measure combined print and online reach

The Newspaper Society has launched a new way of measuring integrated print and online audiences, blogs Jon Slattery.

The society claims that the scheme, Locally Connected, reveals that local media websites increase the unduplicated reach of regional and local newspapers within their circulation areas by 14%, particularly among upmarket and core middle age groups.

Locally Connected has been embraced by seven of the largest local media groups - including Johnston Press, Trinity Mirror and Newsquest - representing 70% 0f the industry.

Slattery reports how NS president David Fordham, told agency planners, MDs, digital heads, clients, research experts and publishers at last night’s launch event: “More than 80% of adults read a local newspaper in print and ironically, at a time when our revenues have been under such challenge, local media audiences have been growing across multimedia platforms.”

He said people spend more than half their time within a five-mile radius of home and are increasingly interested in local news. “The local paper is still the first place they turn to – in print and online.”

Fordham added: “The development of a robust and reliable system of multimedia audience measurement has been one of the biggest challenges facing all media today. Locally Connected now gives advertisers a unique cross-media planning system, allowing them to effectively target local communities across the UK in print as well as online.”

Project leader and NS communications director Lynne Anderson said: “Both buyers and sellers were agreed on the need to move away from the historic focus on a newspaper’s paid circulation and towards a more meaningful measurement of total reach.

“Agency planners told us their clients were increasingly looking for multimedia solutions at a local level but that it was hard to convince them to invest without hard data to back it up.”

Labels: , ,

24 November 2009

Bing vs Google – Microsoft considers payment for publishers

A new phase in the war of the search engines has been entered, according to the Guardian’s PDA blog.

It reports that Microsoft is attempting to woo publishers, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, by looking at the possibility of paying them to put their content on its search engine Bing.

But can Bing beat Google, the most visited website in the world?*

The Guardian suggests that research shows that Google doesn’t depend on publishers’ content and that Microsoft will be unable to dent its revenue.

But, it says, making quality news on Google harder to find would certainly hurt the search engine's image.

But another article, by Joseph Tartakoff, questions whether the money offered by Microsoft will be enough to compensate for the loss of traffic news sites may suffer, if they were to remove their content from Google.

It also quotes Rupert Murdoch as questioning the feasibility of Microsoft’s plan. Asked about the possibility last week, it says, Murdoch said he wasn't convinced even Microsoft could afford it.

Speaking on the Fox Business Network, he said: "If they were to pay everybody for everything they took, from every newspaper in the world and every magazine they wouldn't have any profits left."

*Survey featured in Wall Street Journal

Labels: , ,

23 November 2009

Can Google Wave transform journalism?

A report on Mashable has taken an in-depth look at the impact that Google Wave is having on journalism.

The real-time wiki collaboration platform is still in its preview phase and can be used by invite only, but already some media companies are using the tool for community building, real-time discussion, crowd-sourcing, collaboration both inside and outside the newsroom and for cross publishing content, according to the report.

What Google Wave has done is to have pulled together the component Google applications that people use and allow them to converge. Users can share photos, embed videos, and add in other apps such as Google Maps and Google Calendar to create customized blocks of user-editable content.

The report has plenty of examples of how journalists in the US are using the tool in just these ways. The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye blog, for instance, now has a daily “wave” during which readers give feedback and discuss the cover story of the day.

Redeye’s web editor Stephanie Yiu told Mashable: “It’s a lot more live than Twitter because it’s like you can see people typing and everybody gets to know each other.

“It’s really about connecting with our readers on a new platform. We’re learning with our readers and moving forward together.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Nystrom, senior producer of social media and emerging platforms for the Los Angeles Times described how his own recent experiments highlighted the potential that Google Wave has for crowd-sourcing.

He said: “That experiment was definitely an eye-opener. My understanding of Wave has always been that it’s a valuable tool for small-team collaboration. So to see it succeed as a larger-scale crowdsourcing tool was unexpected to say the least.

“People quickly swarmed the wave and provided a ton of really smart insights. Things we had never thought of.”

(Via Martin Stabe)

Labels: , , , ,

19 November 2009

How new technology creates "conversational journalism"

A discussion into how much the average journalist’s working day has changed has been highlighted by the Freelance Unbound blog.

It has provided excerpts and a video of Reed Business Information editorial development director Karl Schneider’s (pictured) talk to journalism students at UCA Farnham where he compares the daily work of a “cutting edge, web-aware” journalist to one of five years ago.

Taking a typical type of story, for example a crime, he talked about how, back then, most of the work involved - calling contacts, news conferences, web browsing - was never seen by the audience, likening it to an iceberg – you only see the tip.

Now, not only are journalists working in a different way, the audience is able to read and respond to news items much more quickly. Schneider points out how journalists communicate more, particularly through the use of Twitter.

The website quotes Schneider as saying: “As [journalists] come across pieces of information, if they think it would be useful for the audience to hear it, it’s trivially easy – you can do it in seconds. If they’ve got a bit of information, why hold on to it – why wait until they’ve got five more bits and constructed it into a complete story? Why not publish the bit of information now?”

He uses the case study of Farmers Weekly which used its user forum to confirm a story of a recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease, providing further information and gaining feedback from the readers, creating what he calls a “conversational journalism”.

The journalist’s day, the report says, is now a continuous conversation with the audience – with some lumps of more structured forms. What looks like a lot of extra work, is actually less because of the speed of social media.

The journalistic work you would do anyway, says the blog, is now exposed to public view allowing feedback and interaction.

Says Schneider: “Imagine you’ve got your reader on your shoulder – think about what they want to know. With the web you virtually have. You can ask them what they want to know; they can tell you what information they need.”

Labels: ,

18 November 2009

Paywalls and Social Media at the Society of Editors 2009 conference

Could regional news sites charge too?

One theme that dominated the recent Society of Editors conference was how to make paid content work. Whilst national newspapers look at possible dates for setting up paywalls on their news sites, regional papers were also considering getting in on the act.

Holdthefrontpage has reported how Worcester News editor Kevin Ward asked the question as to whether regionals could ever charge for their content, at a seminar on the future of the industry.

In a discussion that featured both national and regional editors as well as head of Google UK Matt Brittin, Mr Ward put forward that regional news was a sufficiently “niche” product to make the charging model work successfully.

According to the website, Mr Ward told the conference: "What we produce is niche. Nobody else sits in our courts every day. Nobody else scrutinises our public bodies.”

Mr Ward continued by asking whether, as a result, regional papers had "more opportunity to charge for the web" than their national counterparts.

Mr Brittin responded by saying: "Looking for local news is one of the biggest activities online. There are big opportunities there."

The Times: Not "if" but "when"

The Guardian states how James Harding, the editor of the Times, gave the clearest indication yet of how News International is going to start charging for its journalism online.

Confirming that The Times will indeed start charging for content, he told the conference: "From spring of next year we will start charging for the digital edition of the Times. We're working on the exact pricing model, but we'd charge for a day's paper, for a 24-hour sign-up to the Times. We'll also establish a subscription price as well."

According to the Guardian he also warned against the idea of micro-payments for individual articles.

He said: "You have to be very careful with article-only economics," he said. "You will find yourself writing a lot more about Britney Spears and a lot less about Tamils in northern Sri Lanka."

6,200 comments following transfer day coverage

Social media was another key area of discussion at the conference, according to reports on Holdthefrontpage. One editor who championed its use was Hull Daily Mail boss John Meehan, who described how their use of it to cover transfer deadline day for the local football team Hull City, led to an “avalance of interactivity.”

He stated how the paper’s use of live blogging functionality and social media, as part of their coverage, led to 6,200 comments from readers – one every five seconds.

"The immediacy of the web has made timed newspaper editions obsolete," Mr Meehan told the conference.

Holdthefront page reports how fellow panellist Martin Wright, associate editor of NWN Media which publishes the Leader in North Wales, said Twitter was now the tenth biggest referrer to its main website, leaderlive.co.uk.

Trinity Mirror head of multimedia David Higgerson said the Liverpool Echo had used Twitter to break the news of the result of the trial of the killers of Rhys Jones.

Labels: , , , ,

17 November 2009

Youtube Direct: Bringing news organisations and citizen journos together

The Guardian’s PDA blog this morning has described how a new service from Youtube has created a link between news organisations and citizen journalists.

According to the blog, Youtube Direct allows news and media organisations to request, review and rebroadcast clips directly from Youtube users.

It also stated how, following the established use of camera phone footage and PCs, this is the next step in an important part of the future of local news, which partly relies on the contributions of what it calls engaged citizens.

YouTube's head of news and politics, Steve Grove, told the Guardian: "People around the world are taking up cameras and covering news in ways big and small - from documenting global events, to filming local town halls in neighborhoods. YouTube Direct empowers news and media organisations to easily connect with these citizen reporters, and use the power of our platform to cover the news better than ever before."

The move by the Google-owned service has been embraced in the US, with it being beta-tested by the Huffington Post. They used the feature that allows users to upload a video to YouTube directly whilst staying on the news site.

The Post is currently using the tool in a competition to find a citizen journalist to cover the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. National Public Radio and the San Francisco Chronicle are also planning to use the service.

One hope is that the deeper interaction between users and news organisations will make the task of verifying the content and its source much easier.

Said Grove: "As we are trying to meet a need that news organisations have, we created an ecosystem between the news audience and YouTube. Think of it like this: YouTube Direct is like a loop between a news website and YouTube. It wraps up YouTube's upload site in a box and places it on the site of news organisations."

The Guardian described how this open-source application lets media organisations use customised versions of YouTube's upload platform on their own websites.

In addition, it said, the tool offers a virtual assignment desk in which news and media organisations can ask YouTube users to submit breaking news videos, user-generated reports, or reactions to questions or news events of the day.

Labels: ,

16 November 2009

Are you tweeting for the right reasons?

Twitter and other social media sites have previously demonstrated value in terms of breaking news and raising public awareness of certain stories.

But the BristolEditor blog has raised a different argument, questioning whether people are jumping onto social media because they have something of genuine contribution to make or because they feel they should.

“When was the last time you contributed something useful, valid and valued to the stream of social media editorial?” asks the blog. “Is it all second-hand news, no real voice, nothing authentic or genuine?”

It also draws on Sarah Hartley’s experiences, detailed in her own blog, of a possible North-South divide in the uptake of social media based on Hartley’s interactions with bloggers, tweeters and other media users.

In London at the #1pound40 "unconference", Hartley writes how she found everyone was saying the same thing: “speaking the social media speak. The digerati in full flow – agreeing with one another.”

This left Hartley feeling that she had contributed and learnt nothing new to the debate on social media.

However, at the Leeds Social Media Surgery, where NGOs and charities had the chance to see how they could use Social Media sites, they engaged with the ideas, questioned why they would take part in social media and considering them as what they were intended to be – tools to be used as part of a wider aim.

The BristolEditor says how it’s seen lots of media and marketing types observing, re-tweeting, idea-stealing and copying the work of others online and across various social media platforms.

“Yes, the old ‘nothing is original’ argument is true to a point,” it says “but the copiers and plagiarisers still appear on social media spaces too.”

Social media, it reminds us, is about what you put in, not take out.

Labels: ,

13 November 2009

Online journalism news round-up

Is Video the solution to online advertising woes?

Good news from the States – news organisations there are seeing an increase in traffic and revenue from video advertising.

According to a report in the New York Times, highlighted by Betsey Reignsborough on editorsweblog, many publications and broadcasters are leaning more heavily on video reportage on their websites, creating more opportunities for advertisements.

Advertisers are becoming more willing to buy space on videos rather than just on static pages because of the increase in traffic as well as the ability to use dynamic advertising, reports Reignsborough.

Readers have indicated that they are more willing to click play on a video then read a whole article, she continues and sites are posting more video footage to keep up with the demand for video advertising space.

She cautions that there is controversy over "autoplay" - videos that begin playing automatically as soon as the web page has loaded – which means that a viewer did not press play and is not necessarily watching the video.

This, she says, tallies up totals of video streaming without legitimacy.

Students launch hyperlocal news site

Meanwhile holdthefrontpage has covered news that MA Online Journalism students at Birmingham City University have set up a new hyperlocal website focusing on news from around central Birmingham.

The multimedia site, Hashbrum.co.uk, features maps and slideshows in its coverage of the news.

Editor Andrew Brightwell told the website: "I think we see it as a way to learn about how online news can engage and be informed by its audience.

"So we're interested in experimenting in ways of finding, creating and presenting news. We've tried to have some fun with the way that we've covered stories.

"I can't say exactly how it will develop, but I hope it evolves a life of its own, in a sense.

"By this I mean that it'd be really successful if we feel that much of the news we're creating is being led and developed by the site's audience."

Top 50 Journo Blogs

Finally, the US website Journalism Journeyman has released a list of the 50 best journalism blogs.

The list has been divided into various categories, including citizen journalism, school-supported and new media focused. See if your favourites made the cut here.

Labels: , , , , ,

12 November 2009

News alerts: keeping audiences coming back for more

Newspapers maybe missing out if they don’t make full use of alerts and tools, especially when it comes to exclusive materials, argues Dorian Benkoil of Poynter Online.

He uses the example of the Times’ story of tennis player Andre Agassi’s autobiography - in which he admitted to the use of the drug crystal meth - of which they would then be publishing exclusive excerpts.

Because the Times did not have an alert system (using, say, Twitter or Facebook), which would have encouraged Benkoil to go back to the excerpts when they went live, he eventually started checking Google news and the Guardian, and didn’t return to the original source for some weeks.

This, he argues, is a missed opportunity that could lose newspapers valuable page views, advertising and other opportunities, stating that this is backed up by masses of Web analytics data.

Every little impediment, says Benkoil, is an opportunity for a visitor to leave, go somewhere else, forget they can get what they want from you.

Over time, he adds, that means the loss of real money and all the other metrics people like to use, such as "stickiness" and "engagement."

He continues by saying that if The Times had offered the chance to be alerted when the excerpts were published, not only would they have had his subsequent page views (and ad impressions), they would have had his contact info and valuable information about his interests.

Benkoil suggests that every site should have sharing apps, like the AddThis module at the bottom of the Agassi story that links to dozens of social networking and bookmarking options, amongst many other apps.

But, he concludes, publishers also need to tailor their links and offerings as much as possible.

Sometimes, he says, that will mean human intervention, such as a smart editor saying, "Hey, we've got the Agassi excerpts, they'll be big, so let's make it easy for everyone to find them and get alerted to them."

This will also increase the ability of new Semantic Web applications to place relevant alerts and adverts alongside them and it should be as easy as possible for someone to find what they are looking for on the publication’s site.

Labels: , , , ,

11 November 2009

Execs: Are your readers as loyal as you think?

If your readers can’t access your newspaper content online, don’t be so sure that they will come back to your print product.

That is the stark warning arising from a study by the American Press Institute on the attitudes of newspaper executives to digital content, highlighted by Professor Alfred Hermida on his Reportr.net blog.

According to Professor Hermida, the study (PDF) shows a shocking disconnect between the attitudes of executives and those of readers.

75% of execs thought that readers would return to the print product is they could not access the newspaper content online, in sharp contrast to only 30% of readers who said they would return to print.

68% of readers said they would actually go to other websites if their local newspaper website was no longer available.

The findings are all the more relevant, says Professor Hermida, given the current debate about locking content behind paywalls.

The API study found that nearly 60 percent of execs were considering charging for news, with 25% expected to start doing this in the next six months.

It also gave clear recommendations to execs considering putting content behind such a paywall, saying:

“For paid content to succeed, it must go well beyond repurposed print content and old models. Audiences are most likely to pay for unique content that is not available elsewhere for free. Fully paid blocks of repurposed local area newspaper content have not proven to be a significant revenue source for news websites that have tried this strategy.”

Professor Hermida argues that if a news organisation is going to consider charging for content, it needs to view it from the perspective of the audience.

The value of news and information is not determined by execs in a newsroom/boardroom, says Professor Hermida, rather, the value is determined by the audience.

Labels: , ,

10 November 2009

Berlin Wall project: a lesson in multimedia?

If you have been watching coverage of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, chances are you may have seen the multimedia project by City University graduates that they have dubbed "a documentary on online journalism".

As reported on journalism.co.uk, the Berlin Project, which was launched on the 5th November, plans to provide 7 days of initial coverage (till the 12th November) using a variety of tools, including audio service Audioboo, Twitter and mobile video service Qik.

The article states how the project will assess how free services can be used to create, consume and distribute multimedia reports.

The project has been partnered by Reuters who, according to team leader Alex Wood, have been using the team to cover more unusual stories surrounding the anniversary in a range of media.
The team previously collaborated to provide coverage of the G20 summit protests in April using Twitter and Qik.

G20 Live attracted more than 80,000 unique users to a site only built the night before, but the Berlin Project will be about more than using mobile and mixed media for journalism, said Wood.

"It's about connecting the dots [between different mediums]. It's all about context rather than just content," he added, explaining that how a reader of viewer watches the team's work will inform their choice of tool and medium for covering an event. The quality of video streaming offered by Qik, for example, would be used to cover events that might be watched back on mobile.

Think of it as a documentary on online journalism. For online journalism the rules aren't written, so we're trying a different thing."

Interestingly, the team have kept navigational features to a minimum in order to allow users to 'get lost' and discover new reports and features. Content will also be published on Facebook and Reuters.

Labels: , , , ,

09 November 2009

Social Media: selling to your "friends"

A new survey has indicated that social networking sites could be the best medium to advertise your brand, according to a report on the Shaping the Future of Newspapers Blog.

They cite a survey reported on by BtoB Online and Mediaweek that reveals that social media users are open to marketing on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The survey found that thirty-four percent of respondents used a search engine to find a product or brand online after seeing an ad on a social networking site, and 46 percent said they would recommend or talk about a product on Facebook.

Meanwhile, 44 percent said they have already done so on Twitter, according to the survey, conducted in partnership with ROI Research.

Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research, told Mediaweek: "Brands have a bigger opportunity than people would think - consumers are open to receiving promotions and offers from brands that they've connected with through social networks.

"Social networking between a consumer and a brand has created this interesting dynamic where you're making a brand your friend and you're treating like a friend."

The survey was conducted online, with 3,000 people responding.

Labels: ,

06 November 2009

It may be digital journalism, but is it good journalism?

While newspaper sites experiment with new technology and new ways to generate revenue, it is always good to step back and take stock of what works and what doesn’t.

How do we define whether any of [digital media] is good or not asks Mark Briggs on his Journalism 2.0 blog. It is great to get started, but how do you maintain the quality of your digital products?

Briggs chaired a panel discussion recently at the National College Media Conference in Austin, Texas, where this issue was tackled.

The panel featured Gary Chapman, director of The 21st Century Project at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the graduate school of public policy at the University of Texas at Austin, Bryan Murley, director for innovation, Center for Innovation in College Media, and assistant professor, Eastern Illinois University and James Wickett, general manager, Community Impact Newspapers, a growing hyperlocal publisher based in Austin.

Briggs stated that all three agreed that a sense of urgency was needed in defining what’s good in digital journalism.

According to Chapman: “Journalists need to discover their sense of mission. Otherwise it’s just going to be a bunch of cats flushing toilets.”

He continued by describing that even as methods for sending and receiving communication are changing rapidly, the “continuum of information isn’t going to change”. He suggested that journalists are still not using analytics as effectively as they should be and recommended more effort be focused on them.

Wickett added that it was important to split the media from the medium and not to write-off print products, saying there was still a place for it. His company is print based but has a growing digital presence.

According to Briggs, Murley provided the closest thing to a rigid definition for quality, suggesting that technical merits on multimedia and additional components to a package (timelines, maps, etc.) can help steer us toward a standard definition and a goal to shoot for.

Briggs finished the panel discussion with a short slide show presentation on how to take a practical approach back to a newsroom for standards in defining what’s good.


04 November 2009

Build your own iPhone app

With the Manchester Evening News launching its own iPhone app, other newspapers may be considering their own next move in attracting wider audiences.

A report by Business Week has highlighted how easy it now is to follow in the MEN's footsteps. For those who are tech-savvy, there are dozens of guides on how to create your own iPhone app on Youtube.

But what do you do if you're not so confident?

According to Business Week, there has been a new crop of services to help non-techies and those who may have concerns about quality, distribution and security of DIY methods, to create their very own iPhone app, no matter what business they're in.

Led by the likes of Swebapps.com and MyAppBuilder.com, they can help create the apps often in less time and for less money than it would for the company to develop the app from scratch.

Clients could create downloadable games, travel guides, quizzes, blog feeds and, as with the MEN, breaking news headlines, sometimes as simply as by plugging specs into online templates.

Business Week describes how the already expanding market for these apps is likely to grow at a faster pace. It states how the number of apps downloaded through the likes of the Apple App store and Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Marketplace for Mobile may surge to 18.7 billion in 2014, from about 491 million at the end of 2008, according to consultant Ovum. That may result in sales of nealry £3.5 billion in 2014, up from over £222 million last year, Ovum says.

(via cybersoc.com)

Labels: ,

03 November 2009

Linking overload: how newspapers still haven’t got it right

News sites now average around 450 links on their homes pages compared to the meagre 12 they offered 10 years ago, reports the Guardian.

According to an article that Nick Bilton, lead researcher for the New York Times, has written for Wired magazine, the average news website has 335 story or section links on their homepage compared to four to six stories on the front page and maybe eight to 10 references to other stories in the average UK or US newspaper.

Speaking to the website, Bilton said: "It is a fascinating fact is that if you go online and visit 200 web pages in one day - which is a simple task when you could email, blogs, youtube etc - you'll see on average 490,000 words; War & Peace was only 460,000 words."

“We're showing people online 300 more options on one page than we show them in print. And we wonder why people have information overload of content."

According to the Guardian report, its own starting page confronts the reader with 1,941 words, 350 individual links and 1,222 linked words.

The Mirror Group has the most intensified use of links, with nearly as many linked words as total words on the homepage 1,182 v 1,117 or 94%.

The Sun's website displays, with 578, the highest number of individual links, and the homepage of the Daily Mail features the highest number of words with 5,447 words compared with the BBC News site's 879 words.

The Guardian also points out how external linking still remains poor, as was highlighted by the Nieman Journalism Lab back in March.

"The link economy works if you're going to offer something rich to the page but just random links to random stories in the hopes that people will click is not fair to the consumer.", says Bilton.


Subscribe to JP Digital Digest by Email Add to Technorati Favorites