Interesting reads (weekly)

  • “And perhaps if trust in politicians were higher, these memes wouldn’t be shared so uncritically as people would think there was something rum about them. But I suspect that the lack of suspicion about what the graphics purport to show doesn’t just arise because MPs have let us down. It’s also because of a failure to read the internet critically and a lack of education about what Parliament does and how it works. These memes certainly aren’t doing any educating, they are deceitfully spreading lies.”

    tags: trust meme accuracy

  • “User behaviour should make all publishers, especially those without deep pockets, think twice before embarking on their app adventure”
    Ironically, this appears on a site that is not responsive – it was A LOT of hard work to read on my mobile screen, and it’s only because the subject was so interesting that I persevered.

    tags: app news readers

  • Astonishing, illuminating and sometimes deeply sad account of Ben Huh’s exploits as founder and CEO of Cheezburger.

    tags: Cheezburger leadership innovation

  • Fascinating read around the troubles of First Look
    “…for all the feverish speculation… the most obvious culprit is hiding in plain sight: the reliance on truckloads of money from Silicon Valley.
    There’s a reason that the term “burn rate” was coined to describe the brief half-lives of tech start-ups—these frenetically overmanaged operations function more as monuments to the hubris of the innovation economy than as proven models of productivity. Compounding this, the First Look fiasco clearly shows that a tech industry conditioned for so long to scorn the outmoded folkways of “print culture” and “legacy media” (as the argot of Silicon Valley has it) is largely clueless about supervising the basic work of journalism.

    In a revealing account of Taibbi’s departure, a team of First Look journalists candidly noted that the start-up was hobbled at the outset by a “highly structured Silicon Valley corporate environment” riddled with “management-speak” and “a confounding array of rules, structures and systems imposed by Omidyar and other First Look managers.”

    tags: media journalists

  • I heard about Co-Creation at a recent Media Trust conference; the Girl Guides representative was explaining whey they employed the strategy as they strove to reinvent themselves for the 21st century and digital world, and have achieved remarkable results. I really liked the idea of Co-Creation and saved this to remind myself to look for other examples.
    “Low economic growth and high unemployment have led companies to look for ways to remain competitive and find new growth opportunities. Co-creating products or services together with social entrepreneurs could allow them to detect market failures quicker and find creative ways to address them, placing themselves ahead of the curve.

    At the same time, companies are looking for ways to motivate employees who are searching for meaningful jobs. As Schmidt says, “From lawyers and young marketing managers in large consumer good companies, the search for purpose is everywhere.” Co-creation projects between social entrepreneurs and employees of traditional companies are a powerful way to ensure the employees’ satisfaction with their jobs.

    tags: Co-Creation partnerships audience

  • “This practice of prosecuting editors and sometimes journalists for crimes of publication is, in my view, wrong. Very often they are strict liability offences where absence of intent is irrelevant to the prosecution.

    These laws stem from an era, probably fictional, when the editor sat at the hub of the newspaper, examining every word they published. As for the deterrent effect of such prosecution, do they seriously imagine that editors across the country sit poised ready to identify victims?

    A far more effective deterrent would be proper communication of court orders to all media”

    tags: journalists law section39

  • “Because just as we arrive at the perfect point where a shadow cabinet minister can be sacked for an event entirely conducted on and through Twitter, social platforms are also wondering how they might manage the business of editing rather better. Their answer of course is not to have contemplative meetings involving people nodding sagely at whatever their boss thinks, but to build an algorithm which will decide “on your preferences” which news and comments you should see.

    tags: journalism media technology the guardian

  • tags: tools instagram

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Interesting reads (weekly)

  • “top brands’ Facebook and Twitter posts only reach around 2% of their fans and followers, and less than 0.1% of fans and followers actually interact with each post on average. What’s more, Facebook announced last week that another tweak to its news feed algorithm will soon make it even less likely brands’ unpaid posts will actually be seen by users.”

    tags: brands facebook Twitter audience

  • “Almost every time I’ve talked to a reporter has gone this way: they had already decided the narrative beforehand. I’m never being asked for information — I’m being used for quotes to back up their predetermined story, regardless of whether it’s true. (Consider this when you read the news.) Misquotes usually aren’t mistakes — they’re edited, consciously or not, to say what the reporter needs them to say.”

    tags: comments podcasts engagement transparency

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Six thoughts on emerging opportunities for journalism

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAYQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmagictorch.com%2F%3Fp%3D62&ei=xIxrVL7vC8e0sATyvoCACg&bvm=bv.79908130,d.cWc&psig=AFQjCNHbdgW8g1Er8Ob1oHVzTX879Q3oSw&ust=1416420924455214

Attending the Society of Editors* conference on November 10 and 11 meant a trip back to my old stamping ground of Southampton. I spent several years there in the ’90s with the Southern Daily Echo (editor Ian Murray completed his term as SoE president this month) and it was good to go back – not least to see how much the city has prospered since my last visit.

The conference had some excellent sessions  – I particularly enjoyed the Full Steam Ahead panel, the Continuous Development panel on training, and the New Threats to the Media debate, with a special nod to Matthias Spielkamp, of iRights.info for his insightful view of journalists’ needs to protect processes, not just sources. The links above go to the SoE summaries of each debate but the Daily Echo also undertook a commitment of covering the conference live. Respect.

I was invited to take part in a panel on Emerging Opportunities for Journalism with my fellow panellists being Kathryn Geels, of innovation charity Nesta, and Peter Jukes, whose account of crowdfunding to live tweet the hacking trial was fascinating. At the end of the session it did feel a little as though digital journalism was still viewed as the freeloading cousin of the more solvent print product by some, although I don’t think it’s hard to find value in engaging audiences, getting social media right, and concentrating on dwell times and user needs rather than page views.

I have a bit more room to explain my ideas on this blog and, obviously, I work in regional legacy media so my view is slanted towards that segment of the industry. However, everything I talked about at the SoE is already being done by other companies – some are recognisably in the content creation business, others perhaps not so much – and they are making money.  These are emerged opportunities but parts of the mainstream have’t cottoned on to that yet. So, these were the themes I chose to talk about:

1. Data and the roles of journalist/developer: Twenty years ago, I would go on a job with a photographer and between us we would tell the story using our own choice of media, which were blended to enhance reader experience. A posh way of saying, I did words, the toggie did pix, and the end result was a content package that was greater than the sum of its parts.  In Trinity Mirror we have the data unit, where facts, figures and whole paragraphs of exposition are enhanced by developer coding skills to create entirely new pieces of content. Like the WWI search widget, for example. A standalone story, with data and visuals, that through existing brought in new stories as readers explored the data, discovered new things, and shared them. Of course, you can be your own developer, just as you can be your own photographers. I just think that the dynamic will see developers and reporters working closely in mainstream newsrooms in the future, just as we have always done with photographers and sub editors.

2. Mobile/wearables: From my notifications column in Tweetdeck, the most tweeted point I made as a panelist was ‘if it doesn’t work on mobile you need to ask yourself  why you’re doing it at all’. The opportunities for mobile journalism are enormous – commercial developments aside (and there are so, so many) simply being able to deliver your new content into a platform that your target audience’s is already holding in their hand – (and tell them about it through some judicious notifications use) is a little mind-boggling when you stop and consider it. Apps aside, why would any media company have a news website that wasn’t responsive? It’s surprising how many do. In terms of wearables, we’ve only just reached the foothills; I’ve no time for dismissive ‘Glassholes’ chatter – if we aren’t looking at how the potential opportunities offered by these spaces now, when the audience shift happens (and, as with phones and tablets, it will be at a gallop when it does move) we won’t be there as a familiar brand to greet them. So ‘our’ audience will form new alliances with brands that did get there first. Under the innovations banner, we’ve got a Google Glass project running at the Manchester Evening News in conjunction with UCLan’s John Mills and we are already discovering wearables have advantages over handhelds for telling some stories (like the Manchester Live video linked to in point 5).

3. Socially shareable content: Just a glance at a news website’s real time anaytics shows how important the social audience is to driving traffic. The opportunities for mainstream media to create content – images, text, audio – that has a standalone life on social platforms are obvious and although I wouldn’t say this has been cracked  yet I think the native advertising content being created around games and lists is a pointer A bit of a digital air plant; socially shareable standalone content should have a built-in life-support system of editorial and commercial content, and in a social media ecosystem users would interact, consume, and move through on to other points of interest on a website served up through linking and curation.

4. Immersive storytelling: I’ve seen for and against discussions on whether there’s a really life for long form online (here’s a long Twitter debate that’s worth a read). If you ask will people read 400+ words on a mobile device I’d say, on the evidence I’ve observed, you have the wrong question. As ‘how’ people will take in the information and you’re on the right track. Personally I think if they are 400+ worthwhile words, with associated multimedia, engaging graphics, interactive content and clean, easy scrolling, on an engaging subject, then yes, people will. And then there’s the immersive opportunities of long form audio storytelling – as the statistics of TAL’s Serial podcast show, for example.

5. Live and collaborative journalism: This is my favourite point, because it involves drawing people into the journalism you propose, and quite often it becomes a better – and perhaps different – thing because of that. Live invariably means more transparent – the immediate need to convey information to a waiting audience takes out the editing filter, often, and what’s comes across are pure facts or descriptions. It’s exiting and often compelling – readers stay for longer, share more, involve themselves and – particularly in the cases of regional brand liveblogs – living stories become authoritative pieces of work. Collaborative is fun to do because the crowd you work with knows so much.  The Manchester Evening News ran Manchester Live for one day but the learnings it took away have been incorporated into the day-to-day fabric of the newsroom. A real case of seizing an emerging opportunity, seeing the value to an audience, and acting on the feedback.

6.  Audience analytics and reader trends: None of the above points work without knowing the audience, their behaviour and the user trends. If we don’t know what our audience’s habits are, what devices they use, where, when and what information they are going to want, it’s very hard to deliver the right content. And this is a competitive market – we compete for users’ attention against other media, against their preferred music, their work, their loved ones… getting a slice of their attention is hard, and our best hope is to insert ourselves into their day at the points when they’re likely to have time to want information and entertainment. Layer real time analytics with historic data and social information, and you have a matrix to work from. Personalisation and automation of some content/content delivery are more opportunities that spin out of knowing audiences.

So that was the tone of my contribution. I tried hard to avoid jargon but when you’re talking about ‘wearables’, ‘immersive storytelling’ and ‘analytics’ it is kinda hard not to sound buzzword-y. Hopefully the message didn’t get too mangled by it though.

* A bit of disclosure: I’m a (very new) member of the Board of Directors for the Society of Editors

Bonus content: Since taking part in the panel, I’ve managed to catch Amy Webb’s immense 10 Tech Trends for Journalists slideshow, which is essential viewing in my opinion.

Interesting reads (weekly)

  • “omments do not make a community. They can help, but again, it’s about the editorial approach. Community takes a comprehensive social strategy, not just a comment box on the bottom of articles.”

    tags: comments engagement transparency community

  • “Your audience already sends signals about their preferences; you just haven’t listened to them yet. Check out where your existing readers are coming from by looking at your social referral traffic, and determine if that says anything about them or the coverage that they’re finding on your site.

    tags: social media readers

  • ““We have been very careful to follow that maxim that we’d rather be right than first,” said David Duitch, editor of Dallasnews.com, the newspaper’s website. Caution has been a cornerstone of the company’s digital media strategy as it covered the disease in Dallas, according to Duitch and Robert Wilonsky, digital managing editor for The Dallas Morning News. The website editors opted to wait to release news developments on Ebola until they received confirmation from their own sources, even as the paper was experiencing a rapid increase in website traffic and social media followers during what became a big, fast-moving news story in their backyard.

    “We understand the responsibility that comes with the digital side of things,” Wilonsky said. “Because yeah, you can go back and correct it quickly, but man, God forbid you put out one wrong tweet, one wrong fact, one wrong piece of information on a story like this. Because God forbid people stop trusting you, and when you report something really important you don’t want them to taste that grain of salt with it.””

    tags: newspaper journalism ethics accuracy

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.