Facebook and cookies n milk journalism

cookies Here’s a paragraph from an article on Digiday earlier today:

On the PopSugar Moms Facebook page, PopSugar’s most popular page with nearly a million likes, most videos surpass 100,000 views. A few have cracked a million views.This video about milk-and-cookie shot glasses went viral, racking up more than 9.8 million views since its Feb. 25 post date.

You can read the full article here if you want but the essential takeaway is this: Cookies in the shape of shotglasses drove obscenely large amounts of traffic to a site that harnessed the power of Facebook native video.

That’s fair enough but, having listened to Andy Mitchell, director of news partnerships, Facebook, speak at the International Journalism Festival recently about how user choice and engagement would be one of the key drivers for ‘surfacing’ content on Facebook, I do wonder this: As most journalism – particularly regional news – has literally nothing to do with cutesy shotglass cookies and milk, are those stories going to sink without trace?

Mitchell spoke about Facebook’s future at the IJF (the video of his talk is at the end of this post) and it’s clear that video and native publishing is where he and Facebook see that future pointing (Buzzfeed and the New York Times are among those publishers who are in the first tranche of working with Facebook on this) and that Facebook’s algorithm was key to content flourishing in the Facebook ecosystem.

He’s obviously used to giving keynotes and was initially unruffled when the less-than-enthused audience questions started up. But he did start to get exasperated when various hacks started quizzing him about responsibility, integrity and censorship. George Brock has written a great post on his thoughts (and he was one of the questioners, too). My notes from the session at this point say “AM said a lot of words, none of which answered the question” – and I see George Brock came to the same conclusion in his post too.

So Facebook thinks it is a perfect platform, particularly with regards to mobile, for news brands but there are a few things that I wonder about:

1. If your audience growth strategy is tied to commercialising on your platforms, how quickly can a regional news publisher adapt (again) to make content commercially viable on Facebook? I believe in the idea of social media news, with its own commercial life support system untied to a platform, but I don’t see anyone pointing the way in how to crack that yet. And Facebook is not going to  trip over itself to help publishers find a solution when it is competing in that very same space.

2. PopSugar’s cookies-n-milk video numbers are phenomenal. Not sure a crime scene in Leicester is going to be the same kind of draw, even proportionally. Lifestyle content – and the Lad Bible, of course – can be numbers monsters; regional brands who try to emulate that have to constantly reinvent how they are packaged, pitched and presented or the inevitable “slow news day” comments pile in. They risk damaging the brand’s reputation. Even apparently popular regulars, like property porn articles, start drawing criticism from jaded Facebookers after a very short time.

3. Cookies-n-milk stories aren’t journalism but they are informative, fun, sharable and popular so, if getting on people’s news feed is the goal, is Facebook – that monster mainstream sites rely on so much – descending into a Reddit/VideoJug repository of trivia and how-to-decorate cupcakes or how-to hairstyle time-lapse videos, with an occasional cryptic status update from an old school friend? Is the only way to buck the algorithm is to play by Facebook’s rules and post native video or text? That’s not so much a strategy as a distress tactic.

4. Facebook says it wants to help publishers – specifically news brands with their “slow mobile experience” get their content front and centre on a massive publishing platform, that said brands happen not to have any commercial stake in or ownership of. And that might just be ok, but Facebook effectively washes its hands of what happens next. It says the new feed algorithm responds to reader interactions, and that users should use other sources, not just news feed, to get a holistic view of the news. Personally, I’d say before a Facebook exec makes a breezy public statement like that again, he or she should read some of the comments under an average news story; they’d quickly realise most readers don’t even click-through to the article – they read the social media headline, look at the photo, form an opinion and type ‘slow news day’ or possibly post that damn photo of Michael Jackson eating popcorn. Very few go off to find a wider source of information to add context, nuance and depth.

Some commentators say journalists and mainstream news brands have moved past the point of reporting news, and are now curators and editors of news, verifying and checking the social noise to sort the clear signal. That’s a fair idea, but where does the Facebook strategy (and algorithm) fit into this? Can you edit and curate if the platform where content is being published dictates, on the interactions of the shot glass cookies crowd, whether that work is seen? And on that note, how long can Facebook resist calling itself a publisher?

International Journalism Festival video:

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.

Sometimes you don’t realise how fundamental a change has been

Shift happens. Sometimes, maybe, more than we realise. 

Today, I reflected on just how much, and how quickly, in the general scheme of things. The Daily Post notched up its 50,000th edition today, and we made quite a big deal of the fact. 
There was a front and back wrap, comprising a montage of historic front pages, and an 8-page pullout of which my favourite contribution was by Head of Production, Neil Avery, charting a day in the life of the Post. 
I like it because it sets out in increments of time just how the daily life of our newsroom has changed, in a fairly short time; the Post has shifted from a print identity with a companion website to a multi-platform publication which operates in real time as much as possible.

Ignoring the computers and production systems for a moment, if an early 20th Century Daily Post editor had access to a time machine, and zapped himself forward to today he would still recognise he was in a newsroom. 
And he would still recognise the general set up and operation of part of that newsroom – discussions around story angles, photos, and headlines pretty much follow the same patterns, after all. 
But how much else would be alien? Pages being whizzed remotely to a printing press, the night editor’s final task of his shift – exporting of xml to create the tablet app, live tweeting, live blog interviews, photos being pinged to the head of images via Dropbox from reporters’ phones… these are just a tiny fraction of the changes you see in our newsroom today. But the Post is just my example, because I work here and see it – it’s not unique. Such changes are happening everywhere in local newsrooms, and I’d imagine the timespan and accelerated shift is similar.

And yet, if you consider the lifespan of the average UK regional daily newspaper as a clock, these are changes that have happened in just a few minutes. For years there was the status quo for titles and their staff and now, suddenly, there has been this snap and a new phase begins. One in which audience is far more at the heart of what we do, I’d suggest. 
Anyway, of all the lovely tweets we received today (and I’ve storified many of them because they show how important local journalism is to many people) this one made me particularly happy:



Happy birthday, Daily Post. I am so proud to be a tiny piece of your history.


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Why is the person you’re quoting a ‘spokesman’?

I try not to start posts off with “when I was a young reporter…” but, well, here goes: 

When I was a young reporter the word ‘spokesman/woman’ didn’t really appear in local papers. 

It was part of my weeklies paper training that you included the names of whichever person was speaking on behalf of an organisation, rather than using the ‘spokesman’ title, and using that anonymous identifier was frowned upon. 
Generally, it would get sent back by a sub with a request  order to add the name.

Anyway, it struck me, this week, as I leafed through my paper, that doesn’t seem to be the case any more, and I wanted to do something about it.  
It wasn’t a dig at press officers or media managers, it wasn’t a point-proving exercise, it certainly wasn’t a campaign. 
But I think if someone is representing, especially from a public body, they should be named – after all, they are in TV or radio news broadcasts, when they stand up and do their thing. 
I also think it’s good journalism to name the people you quote. 
But somewhere along the way we’ve stopped doing that with the people representing companies and organisations.
I know subs are in short supply these days but training isn’t lacking – has ‘spokesman’ become the norm because there are just so many of them now?

So, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, I got to wondering: When did we stop naming spokespeople in our articles? And why do we think readers don’t need to know the name of the messenger?  
And then I asked Twitter for some thoughts. 
There were quite a lot of responses, from hacks, ex-hacks and people working in PR, so they’re collected in the Storify below. If you’ve got some thoughts to add to the debate, for or against, I’d love to hear from you. 

[View the story “When, and why, did we stop naming press officers? ” on Storify]

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Tweeting and filming council meetings? Oh, go on then….

The Daily Post’s Right to Tweet campaign continues to roll forward (we even made Roy Greenslade‘s blog) but since we’ve launched it there have been a number of other instances of newspaper journalists and councillors falling foul of the ‘can we/can’t we’ ad hoc approach. 

Some of the recent examples can be found here (Hounslow) here (Oldham) here (Rotherham) and a number of Welsh councils, according to the director of the Electoral Reform Society,
Among the councils named by the ERS was Anglesey. However, good news on that front: 


COUNCILLORS on Anglesey are being encouraged to take to Twitter and Facebook to engage with communities – while the press and public will also be free to tweet from meetings.

Anglesey council is drawing up a social media protocol for members which sets out how elected members should interact with people on social media but warns “inappropriate” use could end in a standards hearing.
A draft report for the island authority also states it will permit the use of social media by the public and even allow for people to film proceedings on smartphones [my italics – purely because I’m so delighted to read such a sentence] as long as they do not disrupt the meeting.

You can read the full story here; the vote does have to be cast to set the plan in stone, but it’s a really positive step forward and one that sets a standard for others. Da iawn, Ynys Mon. Hopefully we’ll see others following in your footsteps soon.

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Why does live tweeting put councils in a spin?

The issue of tweeting in the council chamber has caused some debate lately, and I’m happy to hold my hand up as someone who helped the discussions along.
I’ve also been ridiculously busy at work, and so there hasn’t been much time to blog about local authorities and their varying views on anyone – press, public, councillor, officer – tweeting during the business end of proceedings. 

To recap, the Daily Post* sent a reporter to cover a budget meeting at Wrexham Council and it became apparent that a Twitter rule – in place for more than a year but unenforced, in our experience – would prevent real time reporting, and thus impact on our rolling news liveblog.  

The standing orders dictated:

 “Proceedings at meetings may not be photographed, videoed, sound recorded or transmitted in any way outside the meeting without prior permission of the chair”.

I’ve covered council meetings since I was a trainee reporter. I have watched (genuine list alert) snoozing councillors reflex-vote, tantrums worthy of two-year-olds, recommendations voted through because the reporter sat next to me called out “move progress!” and a mayor utter the warning: “Allegations have been made about me, and if I find out who those alligators are…”
I’ve watched councillors make the most moving, impassioned pleas on behalf of their electorate, block economically-sound but culturally-wrong recommendations, make principled stands against cutbacks or planning outrages, and conduct cut-and-thrust debates that made a democratic difference.




None of the above – good or bad – needs to be reported retrospectively. Google ‘council chamber live stream‘ and see all the authorities who let the electorate watch the democratic process as it happens 
Wifi, Ustream and a will to make it happen – that’s all our councils need to make a significant contribution to the transparent, open government. 
Being more open means more scrutiny, and potentially more criticism, but it also means more feedback, interaction and opportunity to talk to people. 
I don’t know why some councils embrace opportunities for transparency and others shy away from it. The subsequent fallout is never edifying – at best, it means the kind of nonsense the Daily Post is trying to negotiate a path through, at worst, well, all sense of perspective is lost.

Anyway, there was quite a lot of coverage, not least in the Post, and we’ve got a Right to Tweet campaign running now that is calling for consistency across public bodies, rather than ad hoc interpretation of constitution rules… 

The Twitter ban incident (hashtagged as #twitterban but never to be referred to as #Twittergate) was covered in various media; among the articles were these here and here and here

We even made the chief executive’s weekly email to staff (instantly leaked to the Press, of course): 

[Twitter policy] can of course change in time as the Council further embraces technology, it doesn’t however, change as a knee jerk reaction to an editor who it appears only communicates with her readers via “twitter”.

The annoying part of that comms is, of course, the “twitter” bit. It’s a PROPER NOUN, for heaven’s sake, and don’t get me started on the quote marks…
 
Ways to wind up in Rotten Boroughs, No.348
 . 

I don’t seek out Twitter spats but I do feel strongly that if reporters and the public can use mobile devices to transmit information from court, there is no reason why they should seem permission to do so from public meetings. 

Guidelines can be useful (maybe ‘switch off your phone’s volume’ or ‘ensure your behaviour doesn’t distract others’) but if the Attorney General doesn’t think the decision rests with his judges, then why should it rest with committee chairmen?

So, it’s an issue we aren’t letting subside – there’s a Daily Post campaign underway now as a result of us being refused tweeting rights during one council meeting – and the problem is spreading
Louth Leader reporter Sam Kinnaird was thwarted in a bit to amend Louth town council’s standing orders to allow live tweeting, this week and tweeted that fact
Two councillors backed it out of the whole full council; I see from the report the Mayor took the view that journalists should ‘have the courtesy to do it from the foyer’.
Quite how the dignity of the chamber is offended by someone quietly sending texts from a mobile phone escapes me. 
In other Lincolnshire news, Boston Borough Council has also banned tweeting of its full council meeting today. 
The Boston Standard report says

The borough authority currently only permits people to use Twitter during cabinet meetings and says its constitution will have to be changed to allow the social media site to be used to provide live updates from other meeetings.

Constitution, You’ll find it in the dictionary under S for Smokescreen. 

Twitter is viewed as an appropriate communications tool by the House of Commons – possibly not a bastion of courtesy but certainly the seat of democracy, and tweetin’ since 2011 – and at the Senedd
Welsh Secretary Dvaid Jones believes in it, Obama couldn’t wait to tell the world he’s secured four more years…
I just wish our locally elected representatives would try to catch up.

 

* Yes it’s a personal blog, but work inevitably bleeds into it sometimes. Like it says here, these ramblings are not the opinions of Trinity Mirror. 

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Making time for added value

Money UK British Pound Coins
 (Photo credit: hitthatswitch)

I have an intellectual crush on Robert Picard – he’s one of the academics currently publishing about journalism, and particularly mainstream print media, who really is a must-read. 
I mostly follow his journal papers as he’s an occasional blogger but, like Clay Shirky, it’s always worth reading when he posts an update. 

His latest post, Many Journalists Can’t Provide the Value-Added Journalism Needed Today, makes the point:

To survive, news organizations need to move away from information that is readily available elsewhere; they need to use journalists’ time to seek out the kinds of information less available and to spend time writing stories that put events into context, explain how and why they happened, and prepare the public for future developments.  These value-added journalism approaches are critical to the economic future of news organizations and journalists themselves.

Unfortunately, many journalists do not evidence the skills, critical analytical capacity, or inclination to carry out value-added journalism. News organizations have to start asking themselves whether it is because are hiring the wrong journalists or whether their company practices are inhibiting journalists’ abilities to do so.  

Added value journalism doesn’t thrive when there’s a requirement to write multiple page leads, plus hampers, photo captions and nibs every day. For writers, it’s hard to find the time to develop your own skills and methods of story-telling.
Audience can add value, if we get them involved – through comment, image-sharing, document scrutiny or suggesting interview questions. Given the invitation, they’ll come up with some good headline suggestions too (I particularly like the Northern Echo’s use of this). 

I have an issue with this statement…

Unfortunately, many journalists do not evidence the skills, critical analytical capacity, or inclination to carry out value-added journalism. 

…because the evidence of the Daily Post newsroom trial demonstrates, ever day, that reporters do have the skills and inclination to add value. They may lack the time, but that’s an entirely different thing and a failing of an organisation, not an individual. 

 But Picard is right to say journalists should add value themselves, whether through context, data interpretation or by creating compelling, competitive content, be that via text, images, visuals or curation. 

The landscape of newsrooms, especially regional newsrooms, has changed vastly. There are smaller teams but within those we need a wider range of skills, or entirely new skills. Added value for readers can also be career-enhancing for hacks. 

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Shifted focus – audience, content, platforms

The Daily Post is three weeks into a new  live breaking news blog – viewable in real time and fullscreen, here

(This is how it appears on the homepage,on the right hand side of the above screengrab)


It runs seven days a week, ticking away between 6.30am and 10pm Monday-Friday and with a little later start at the weekends (or earlier, depending on what’s been happening).
We keep the tone conversational but informative (and also, when appropriate, a bit informal – why not? Today’s shift handover update made me smile).

Anyway,TM’s digital publishing director David Higgerson has been involved from the get-go, and he’s been explaining the raison d’etre of ours and the MEN’s breaking news blog on Journalism.co.uk and Hold the Front Page – you can find the articles here and here.
In them he explains the hows and whys of how print and digital platforms can and should support each other. 

It’s shiny, but the liveblog is actually higher-profile piece of a much bigger jigsaw in our newsroom, with the aim of moving from 

Platform->Content->Audience 

to 

Audience->Content->Platforms

A couple of years ago I blogged that producing a newspaper by using a flatplan as a guide to the contents was not the best way to do things. 
Now the editorial team has had to put its money where my mouth is, as we experiment with print and digital production ideas based around that. We still have to use a flatplan but it’s far less in evidence than was previously the case.
Live news is reported live; I’ve always believed our best chance to sell newspapers is to use our sites and networks to actually tell potential readers what’s going on rather than produce it, magician-like, and hope that they’ll a) see the newspaper and b) care enough about the headline/free pasty offer to buy it

Visibility matters. Take this blog post – it will get auto-tweeted by my Dlvr.it service at some point, I’m not sure when, and lost as the Twitter river flows on. A tiny slice of people will see the link, an even tinier slice click on it (and thank you, reader, for doing that. You are lovely.)
If I were to keep retweeting that tweet, I’d have a bigger audience but no guarantee of a more interested audience – I probably just annoy those seeing the same content being pimped for the third time.

But by telling people the progress of something , you make it more compelling. Flowing information onto our digital platforms, and repositioning ourselves to be a part of people’s day earlier, gives us a better chance of reflecting their interests in our print pages. 
So the liveblog is important – it tells people what’s happening, it gives the team staffing it their own identities, and it allows conversations. But it’s also an enabler to us changing the way we think, and way the work.

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Storified: The Future of News Media in Wales debate

I would have liked to attend the Future of News Media in Wales debate at Cardiff JOMEC on Monday night – it sounded fascinating.
Luckily, I discovered it was underway on Twitter and with assistance of some excellent tweeters at the scene (a big thank you to everyone who helped those of us not attending follow the event by posting such great updates) I was able to see how the debate unfolded.
This was the purpose of the night: 

Newspapers are closing and there is uncertainty about the future of news provision on radio and TV.  Can new media, citizen journalism and the promise of local television fill the gap?  And is the news business in terminal decline in Wales, or are we simply seeing an adjustment to technological change and new consumer demands?

The speakers were: 

  • Phil Henfrey – Head of News and Programmes, ITV Wales
  • Alan Edmunds – Editor in Chief, Media Wales (and, in the interests of disclosure, my former boss) 
  • Mark O’Callaghan – Head of News and Current Affairs, BBC Wales

And, because it was so interesting and relevant, I’ve Storified it here too (it has a few seconds load time…) 

[View the story “The Future of News Media in Wales ” on Storify]

The Future of News Media in Wales

Curated tweets and links from the #rtswalesnews debate at Cardiff University Journalism School, as collated on Storify

Storified by Alison Gow · Mon, Oct 01 2012 13:16:17

The debate: “Newspapers are closing and there is uncertainty about the future of news provision on radio and TV.  Can new media, citizen journalism and the promise of local television fill the gap? And is the news business in terminal decline in Wales, or are we simply seeing an adjustment to technological change and new consumer demands?” 
The Future of News Media in Wales | Royal Television SocietyNewspapers are closing and there is uncertainty about the future of news provision on radio and TV. Can new media, citizen journalism a…
What’s the future of news provision in and for Wales? Debate now at Cdf School of Journalism #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot

Tweets on the future of print media 

Is there really increasing appetite for Welsh news?why are papers closing? #rtswalesnewsTim Hartley
#rtswalesnews Alun Edmunds – let’s talk about growing the audience by meeting audience demands and needs.Emma Gilliam
@jamestewart – Trinity Mirror didn’t invest in reporting staff on the ground and that led to decline of titles #rtswalesnewsTony O’Shaughnessy
#rtswalesnews Alun Edmunds responds to @jamestewart criticising lack of reporters on local press saying titles must make profit to surviveRichard Sambrook

The panel’s thoughts on convergence 

Convergence a brilliant opportunity for journalists says Alan Edmunds EiC Western Mail #rtswalesnewsRichard Sambrook
Has Media Wales truly embraced online? Has the BBC crowded everyone else out? #rtswalesnewsTim Hartley
Is online news’s salvation? Are papers and tv dead? Surely not for some time yet #rtswalesnewsTim Hartley

… and meeting audience need 

Content needs to be relevant. Discovery and share is vital to building social networks through news. – @philiphenfrey #rtswalesnewsEmma Gilliam
#rtswalesnews Alun Edmunds – let’s talk about growing the audience by meeting audience demands and needs.Emma Gilliam
BBC 606 phone-in is citizen journalism, isn’t it? – asks/states Alan Edmunds EiC Media Wales #rtswalesnewsEmma Gilliam
Phil Henfry itv Wales says technology means he has more reporters and local content than ever – albeit citjos not staff #rtswalesnewsRichard Sambrook
#rtswalesnews Demand for reporting from mags courts is down says Editor in Chef, Western MailTony O’Shaughnessy
…news is consumer driven and journalists have to adapt to how the public want to receive their news #rtswalesnewsCardiff Broadcast

Arrival of local TV

Nicola HT tells #rtswalesnews local tv may not be the answer. Is it sustainable? Trust is all says EdmundsTim Hartley
Big challenge for new local TV stations will be content – Alan Edmunds #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot
Local TV’s arrival in marketplace hugely welcome says Phil Henfrey From ITV Wales #rtswalesnewsTony O’Shaughnessy
Local TV might grow interest in current affairs and news – a positive halo effect for existing broadcasters @philiphenfrey #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot
Internet-connected TVs will put more emphasis on importance of trust and brand – @philiphenfrey #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot
#rtswalesnews @philiphenfrey excited by prospect of TV becoming mobile and socialRichard Sambrook

Show me the money…

#rtswalesnews local tv can mean new and different kinds of content says panel – but who pays ?Richard Sambrook
But who’s going to get paid for journalism? Question to panel #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot
Exciting opportunities to develop paid-for local papers for iPsd/tablets – Alan Edmunds, W Mail #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot
Reality: Models must be profitable, Alan Edmunds EiC Media Wales #rtswalesnewsElin James Jones
The prospect of news on tablet is a very exciting opportunity. Not convinced by pay wall – Alun Edmunds #rtswalesnewsEmma Gilliam
Ask why people follow you on Twitter. If people want your content, there will be business models @philiphenfrey #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot

The panel’s views on qualities for aspiring journalists…

1. Stamina 
#rtswalesnews mark o’c echoes my frequent advice: success I journalism depends on stamina and curiosityRichard Sambrook
#rtswalesnews Keep going. Good advice for future journalistsEmma Flanagan
2. Visibility 
Think – What will get you noticed? @philiphenfrey #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot
#rtswalesnews P Henfrey: @CardiffJomec students need to work out what their purpose is to their followers.Kelsey Redmore
3. Skills 
Journalists of future must be up for constant change & able to do “pretty much everything” to a high standard @philiphenfrey #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot
#rtswalesnews BBCs Mark O’Callaghan says core skills, hinterland and curiosity are keyRichard Sambrook
Among the concerns expressed during the debate… 
Is there really increasing appetite for Welsh news?why are papers closing? #rtswalesnewsTim Hartley
Concern at lack of plurality and Cardiff centricity expressed at #rtswalesnewsTim Hartley
Heads of news at BBC Wales and ITV Wales far too nice about each other’s teatime news programmes when asked to find flaws #rtswalesnewsHuw Thomas
“@tonyonthephone: #rtswalesnews Demand for reporting from mags courts is down says Editor in Chef, Western Mail”>Surely still important?Greg Lewis
#rtswalesnews model may be brokenHywel Wiliam
But… there is cause for optimism too 
There will be jobs for @CardiffJomec students says Alun Edmunds. #rtswalesnewsEmma Gilliam
Absolutely crucial that ITV Wales remains as strong competition to BBC – Alan Edmunds #rtswalesnewsMike Talbot
.@philiphenfrey also made great comments re people turning to brands they TRUST for news in an internet world. #rtswalesnewsEllen Coyne

Video: a (very) interactive newspaper

I’m indebted to Andy Dickinson for sharing this video on Twitter, of an interactive Lancashire Evening Post, created by UCLan and partners. 
Paul Egglestone explains the why and the what of the project in the video, and also shows how the data of reader interaction is captured. 
The last bit is so important thing; I understand (and suffer from) the Distraction of Shiny but it can be just that – a distraction. 
 

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