Pew Director: How news consumption has changed since 2000

Really interesting presentation from Lee Rainie, the Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, on the latest data and trends at the Newhouse School’s MOB (“Monetizing Online Business”) Conference.
The slides cover everything from how the ‘media ecosystem’ has been changed by digital developments to how Americans share news, participate and day-part.
The implications section is particularly interesting and I noted with interest Implication 4 –

Much news is a commodity and consumers displaying[sic] a classic response: They don’t want to pay for something that is abundant

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Journalists and customers service: News Rewired conference

I’m at the News Rewired (#newsrw) conference organised by today. It’s only the second session of the morning but there seems to be a real underlying theme for me: you can have all the tools and great content in the world but if you don’t look after your customers you may as well give up now.

MSN’s Peter Bale revealed in his opening keynote that the portal site now has an editorial code of conduct that can be viewed by users, and this tone was continued in the mobile session I sat attended.
Both Michael Targett, of Flightglobal, and Miriam Warren, of Yelp, made constant reference to the need to listen to feedback from audiences and to react positively to criticism and learn from it.

The session I’m in now is building online buzz and Tony Curzon Price of OpenData is saying journalists are not very good at blogging because they aren’t used to the interaction with audiences.
I think that’s a sweeping generalisation but the theme continues…

Sent from my iPod

Posted via email from Alison Gow

Poshest invite *ever*

Poshest invite *ever*
Originally uploaded by Alison’spix

As a journalist, I get all manner of exciting things in the post. I’ve been sent bread (thanks, Warburtons), vodka (can’t remember…hic), myriad self-published books, and – once – a pair of paper knickers.

But this is possibly the most classy thing I’ve been sent – an invite to Peckforton Castle, in Cheshire, newly-reinvented as a spa. The paper was so thick it took ages to get it to lie flat for a photo. And look – it even comes complete with it’s own wax seal; I’d never seen a proper one before.

And no, I’m not going.

Publishing addresses of police officer defendents – a little help from the High Court

When a police officer is in the dock, you can practically bet your house on an attempt by their brief to get the accused's name/address/case details concealed. So anyone who has fumed from the press bench and attempted to catch the clerk's eye to lodge a protest as lawyers representing serving police officers try to stop public information being reported, will probably rejoice at this precedent-setting decision made by the High Court.

Media Lawyer reports on the case of two senior police officers, who were facing trial on criminal charges, and made a failed attempt to overturn a decision by magistrates that their addresses should be given in open court and published.

Surrey Police Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper, Divisional Commander for East Surrey, and Superintendent Jonathan Johncox, of the West Surrey division, sought an order under section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 for their home addresses to be withheld from the public, and for the media to be banned from reporting them, when they appeared before magistrates at Aldershot in August last year on charges connected of misconduct charges relating to alleged speeding offences.

The magistrates refused to make the order, and the men's addresses were read out in open court. But on the evening of the hearing the two officers obtained a temporary injunction from Mr Justice Jack banning publication of their addresses. They also applied for Judicial Review of the magistrates' decision, and an order continuing the ban imposed by Mr Justice Jack.

But the Administrative Court rejected their application, saying that they had failed to show any justification for interfering with the principle of open justice.

Lord Justice Pill said: “There is, in my judgment, a burden on the claimants to establish not only that the derogation they seek is in the circumstances a very limited one but also that there is a justification in the particular case for interfering at all with the principle of open justice.

“In my judgment, they have failed to do so … If there is a risk, it would not in the circumstances be enhanced by publication of addresses. On the information the claimants give, any approach to them is likely to be a targeted one which would not be deterred by the need to discover a home address.

“While the charges against the claimants are serious they are unlikely to provoke that response by vigilantes which occasionally occurs in some categories of offence, for example, charges involving abuse of young children.

“Moreover, it is inconceivable that these or other police officers would be deterred from performing their duties if it is known that their addresses would be disclosed in circumstances such as the present. I would accept that the proper performance of police duties is, for present purposes, an integral part of the administration of justice but I can see no adverse impact in this case.”

Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights was not engaged, he said.

Neither was there any procedural defect in the way in which the magistrates had dealt with the application – the issues were clear, and detailed reasons for their decision were not required, Lord Justice Pill said, adding: “On analysis, I would have found it very surprising if they had reached a different decision.”

Mrs Justice Rafferty agreed. The application for judicial review was refused and the order made by Mr Justice Jack discharged.

* Honourable mention in despatches to Guy Vassall-Adams, of PA, who argued at the hearing that it was for those seeking to defeat or limit the open justice principle to prove the necessity of doing so, and ‘a person's address was an integral part of his identity’.

R (Harper) and R (Johncox) v Aldershot Magistrates Court, with the Press Association, Surrey and Berkshire Media, and the CPS, Hampshire, as interested parties.

Full details from Media Lawyer are here

Posted via email from Alison Gow

Why it’s time to throw away the dummy (or whatever it’s called in your newsroom)

If you know what this is…

…the chances are you’ve brushed up against newsdesk or page design in a newsroom at some point. Everywhere I’ve worked it’s been called something different – The Book, The Plan, The Dummy, the Flatplan – but recently I’ve started wondering if it should be called The Box, because we think inside it.
One of the all-consuming parts of a news editor’s day (and a reporter’s too, since they are the ones providing the copy) is filling the paper.
Leads and photos aren’t necessarily the most difficult part of it either; there may be plenty of good newsworthy things being written up but that takes time.
And then there’s the other content that fills the page – your anchors, hampers, basements etc (these also have myriad names depending on which newsroom you’re in) – which always runs short.

This means that the Book is one of the things everyone thinks about – we can’t help it; you want to know how many pages it has (a small Book offers its own challenges), how heavily added is it, and what the colour options are. Which means the HOW of filling a newspaper can become more absorbing and demanding than  the WHAT. Content may like to think its king but, as far as most people working in print are concerned, Deadline is sovereign over all.

God it depresses me; I hate the Book and all its constraints with a passion. It can dictate when your article runs (too many ads, no decent spreads, not enough colour, too few good right-hand display pages etc etc and, indeed, etc), and stifle creativity – yes, print headlines can be awesome but I’d rather have compelling content than a clever header, plus there’s nothing inspiring about knowing you have space for 350 words and one upright pic.

What I’d like to do is plan backwards. So you start thinking how you want to tell the story before you think about the platform.
It’s easier online, of course. There is no book, plan or dummy other than the site template; there’s no constraint on how much you can write (we’ve all had articles that could have run to 1,500 words only to learn there was space on the page for 800), how many photos you can use with it (in print, even a double-page spread only gives you around six photos,  maybe two of which will get a display, to play with) and no ‘the headline won’t fit’ woes. But there is the option for:

  • Video 
  • Podcasts
  • Photo galleries
  • Maps
  • Linking
  • Chunked articles
  • Forums
  • Geo data
  • Search
  • Tagging
  • Interactive charts/graphs
  • Live tweets
  • Live streaming 
  • Live blogs
  • Social media 
  • Reader comments
  • Blogs 
  • Interaction
  • Conversation
  • Soundslides
  • Information sharing 

…and more. Or, if you prefer, to do this*:

In these days of slashed newsroom numbers, achieving even a handful things off the above list can be a big ask – few newsdesks have the capacity to operate with all reporters working on a single story a day, albeit told in multimedia ways. It’s far more effective to have them working on multiple articles, with shovelware online content. Isn’t it?
Actually, I think not. Newspapers that view the website as a place for reverse-publishing articles are settling for short-term solutions that won’t last the course. Multimedia storytelling is vital to engage online audiences – 1,500 word features with multiple page breaks to boost page view counts are not the solution; compelling, thoughtful, interactive content is. 

That’s why I would love to hear the phrase ‘How many words do you want?’ replaced with ‘How do you want this told?’ Is that happening on any editorial floors in the UK’s regional press yet? I’d love to know – because that really would be a converged newsroom.

*thanks, Wordle

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