Friday, July 29, 2005

'Video journalists' discussion

[Keyword: ]. The OJR has initiated a discussion on video journalists whereby "five writers take turns crafting a wiki-style article on 'one-man bands' who report, film and edit their own video stories. "

"Sophisticated Web Stats Give Editors Better Idea of Reader Interests"

[Keyword: ]. This lengthy article in Editor & Publisher gives a good overview of how stats are being used in news organisations. Central to the article seems to be "what should [the] editor do with that knowledge?". Here's some key quotes:
"Prior to [a] stats upgrade, where Web site stats came into play was with identifiable waves of interest -- which sometimes resulted in high play of a story over several days. Editors left to their own judgment might not have played the stories in the same way or kept them highlighted so long."

From Guardian assistant editor Neil McIntosh: "Stats can inform decisions and help with the business of allocating resources during a crisis."

"Another important data point: most e-mailed articles."

From editor Anthony Moor: "Stats are just another, new set of data that we can mine to understand better the relationship between our users and the news. ... [My editors] know that they must apply standard journalistic values to what they learn before taking action."

"Editors must consider not just how much traffic certain features receive, but where that traffic comes from," warns Meredith Artley, editor of the International Herald Tribune's Web site in Paris. "[T]he big traffic may not point to pure popularity, but rather to the existence of a bridge or link that leads readers from one site to another, she says."

"A great way to handle a story that does drive a lot of traffic, says [Jim Brady, executive editor of], is to extend the life of the story not just by promoting it longer, but by adding a Live Online follow-up discussion, creating a photo gallery or video piece to go with it, re-running the story in a feature slot on subsequent days, or buying search terms related to the story to make it more visible outside [the site]."

"the concept of dayparting -- that is, changing the homepage content based on time of day and/or the week"

"Web site user-registration databases [can show] what groups are gravitating to what stories."
Now I think I'll headline my next article "Necrophilia among ducks ruffles research feathers."

A paper created by readers

[Keyword: ]. That's the upshot of Common Times, "a new social bookmarking site for news developed by Jeff Reifman." as reported by Poynter. Essentially you bookmark your favourite news stories and the site collates the results of its many users to create a common paper based on the most popular cuttings.

"Interactive Journalism: Some Winning Sites"

More good news for digital editions

[Keyword: ]. Very interesting piece in the Press Gazette about the process of producing digital editions of newspapers - and the promising numbers of subscribers to those.

Strangely, ABC apparently don't include digital editions in their numbers because, says Richard Withey, The Independent's global director of interactive media, "advertisers argue that an advert seen in a facsimile edition is not comparable to an advert seen in print"

Also interesting is the money made by The Scotsman after it decided last year "it had to digitalise its archive, which goes back to 1817 and was daily from 1860, to preserve it. One benefit of digitalising it was that it could also be made available to the public and for research through
"The Scotsman charges users for a timed access — £7.95 for 24 hours, £39.95 for a month up to £159.95 for a year. Multiple access licences are sold to universities and businesses for a few thousand pounds and they are currently discussing a project with the Scottish Executive to make it freely available to all schools in Scotland. The paper has now digitalised up to 1950 and found the 20th century content to be the most popular.

"But the biggest surprise to The Scotsman has been the demand, which means its "substantial six-figure investment" will be paid off within three years."

Comment can be found at Poynter, which calls the article "an outstanding piece, marred slightly by its focus on just one of the major digital publishing companies, Olive Software. No mention of NewsStand, Advanced Publishing, Zinio, and several others, which ought to have been at least incorporated briefly".

"Reed may be online-only in a decade "

[Keyword: ]. Guardian article - quote: "[Chief executive, Sir Crispin Davis] said Reed's future growth would be driven by online publishing. Already 40% of subscriptions to its science and healthcare journals are online-only, while the internet accounts for a third of British business publishing revenues.."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A useful blog listings site

[Keyword: ]. By a circuitous route that I won't bore you with, I've today come across British blog listings site Britblog. Now, blog listings are ten-a-penny (you can see a couple dozen on a previous post), but Britblog actually seems quite useful.

Why? Simply because of its focus on British blogs. For a journalist looking to get the blogosphere's feelings on a current issue, or just expertise on a British issue, it can be difficult to escape the fact that most blogs are American. Britblog allows you to search by keyword as well as location, so if you're looking for political blog in Birmingham, you can (sadly at the moment you can't cross-reference the two in a search but have to go through the list of either). The UK map (which represents each blogger with a clickable dot) is also a nice touch.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Blogging for profit

[Keyword: ]. Poynter reports on Australian Darren Rowse who is making a tidy sum through advertising revenue on his 17 (count em) blogs. Here's a quote:
"His blogs include Digital Camera Review, Camera Phone Review, and Laptop Review.

"Much of his income comes from Google's AdSense -- contextual ads placed on his blogs, in which Rowse shares some of the money. Things appear to be going well for Rowse, because he reports that in May, Google sent him a check for $14,436.45 -- his best month ever. The bulk of that money came from three of his blogs."
This is the third time I've covered this issue (Rowse's ProBlogger site was quoted in May; Simon Waldman's analysis on making money from blogs in February), so from now on I'll be collating links on this article.

Murdoch puts his money where his mouth was

[Keyword: ]. It seems it wasn't all just talk when Murdoch expressed the need for newspapers to wake up to the web - now he's shelled out $580m on Intermix Media, "a US internet company with more than 30 entertainment and community sites."
"Jewel in the crown of the $580m (£331m) deal is, a two-year-old site which allows friends to share weblogs, photos, instant messages and music online. MySpace is one of the fastest-growing sites on the web, currently ranked fifth in terms of page views, and the cash deal is expected to more than double the number of unique users visiting News Corp site, especially the number of advertiser-friendly 16-34-year-olds.".
[Source: MediaGuardian]

Monday, July 18, 2005

Blogging software

Keyword: . I admit it: when I chose Blogger, I was plumping for the easy option. I didn't spend hours checking out all the different types of blogging systems out there. My choice was based on a few basic facts: that Blogger is probably the best-known free blogging system; that it was owned by Google and therefore should come up in its searches; and the BlogThis feature, which allows you to quickly post to your blog (providing it's a Blogger-hosted article, which generally isn't the case).

Thankfully the Online Journalism Review have not only come up with this article about the pros and cons of various software (and an explantion of the jargon), but also this comparison chart of what services each blog provider offers. Handy.

The Sun launches TV bulletins; Mirror Group expands

[Keyword: ]. New Media Age reports (14/7/05, p3) that The Sun has become the first UK national newspaper to launch an online video news service.
"The paper has expanded its Web site to include a TV-style breaking news offering that willbe updated four times each weekday with the latest high-profile stories.

"Content [will be supplied by] The Press Association, which will work to ensure that each bulletin is in keeping with The Sun's news agenda.

"... the Sun is also launching a weekly online entertainment bulletin focusing on red carpet events and film premieres."
Meanwhile, Mirror Group Newspapers is reported (NMA, 30/6/05) to be "planning to launch a range of Web sites and revamp[ing] its existing national titles over the next few months"

UPDATE (July 20 2005): Trinity Mirror acquires Smart Media Services, reports The Guardian, in a deal that seems reminiscent of football transfers: "£11.3m, with a further £5.3m being contingent on the site meeting earnings targets".

Saturday, July 16, 2005

TV news without a TV

[Keyword: ]. That's the upshot of this CBS's announcement, reported by Poynter, that it will begin to offer "breaking news, free broadband-quality video, and original reporting, commentary, and analysis directly to the fastest-growing segment of news consumers -- those accessing news on the Internet". What's also interesting is the accompanying economic argument for using the internet rather than cable to distribute television.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Consortium to start releasing mobile-only internet addresses

[Keyword: ]. The Guardian reports that an 11-member consortium of mobile phone and internet companies* has been "given the right to give out .mobi addresses to businesses that want to provide internet content for mobile phones. The first sites with the address should start appearing early next year."

A welcome move, especially as "Companies buying a .mobi address must adhere to a style guide which will ensure that the site can be viewed on a phone". Presumably this will involve getting more sites to use XHTML and CSS (although I'm not sure why the consortium has to assign the names rather than Icann).

*Hutchison 3, the GSM Association, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, Syniverse Technologies, TIM, Telefónica Móviles, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

Monday, July 11, 2005

London bombings - the online response

[Keyword: ]. I was going to write an overview of online coverage of last week's bombings, but's Jemima Kiss (who apparently shares my birthday) has already written one. There's an interesting point on how registration becomes a real problem in these situations - given that news is supposed to be a public service, perhaps news organisations should decide to switch off registration when a big event like this happens.

What's also interesting is how wikis and keyword-driven hosts such as Flickr have been used. Flickr in itself gives an interesting insight into how people react to the tragedy - from taking pictures of TV coverage, to images of the floral tributes, to tube tickets for the day in question.

UPDATE (July 13.05): Mark Glaser at the OJR also provides an overview of coverage, including tales of people vying to take cameraphone images of the dying.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Why ITN online is rubbish

[Keyword: ]. It's all the BBC's fault - according to ITN Chief executive Mark Wood, who, The Guardian reports, "today accused the BBC of attempting a new media land grab by rushing to launch mobile and broadband services before its new charter brings in tighter regulation."

Wood is quoted as saying:
"If you look at activity on the internet, is a fantastic service, but its budget is of a size that commercial competitors can only dream of. The effect has been to push out commercial competitors. That's not good for innovation," he said.

"We were forced out of that market [for online news]. We are now a market leader in providing content for video phones, but that could be wiped away [by the BBC]," Mr Wood said.

"The problem is that the BBC is able to channel large-scale resources into new activities in a way commercial operators are not. It's a Rolls-Royce operation in terms of funding."

Monday, July 04, 2005

Evening Standard axes online news staff

[Keyword: ]. The Guardian reports on staff being axed on the London Evening Standard website "amid fears that the online service is cannibalising sales of the newspaper"
"Associated New Media's move comes after News International carried out a survey last year which indicated that 93,000 readers could "potentially" stop buying the paper if they could get most of it free online.

"The Sun has now reformatted its website, scaling back on some areas such its popular Page 3 site."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Shortage of skilled staff in online publishing

[Keyword: ]. Another industry voice is talking about "unprecedented growth" in online journalism, as reported in To quote at length:
"Publishers must encourage journalists to make the leap to online as the industry braces itself for unprecedented growth, according to Bill Murray, managing director for information strategy at Haymarket.

"Speaking to dotJournalism about the shortage of skilled staff in online publishing, Mr Murray said journalists have been discouraged from making the transition because it has been seen as a risk, lacking the commercial support and investment of traditional media.

""Most companies have been relatively conservative about their online activities. It's no surprise that journalists have said 'if my employer is not serious about online, that's not where I want to put myself'," said Mr Murray.

""There is a big opportunity for journalists to further their careers in a way that was not possible even a year ago. Much more money has been invested into developing online presence.""

"Global leaders in explanatory online information graphics"

[Keyword: ]. That's how Laura Ruel describes the winners of the SND.ies, the Society for News Design's multimedia competition, which she coordinates. To quote:
"Check out how uses 3-D with this piece on the Sistine Chapel, or how its designers effectively integrate photography in this piece on the burial of John Paul II.

" ... use[s] video, interactivity, and other media forms to effectively explain the situation in the Sudan.

"Other innovative work from SND.ies winners can be seen at the redesigned contest website. Awards are given out monthly, with annual awards presented in the fall."

Creative news podcasting

[Keyword: ]. According to Steve Outing of Poynter, newspaper podcasting is moving into a new phase, from one news-based podcast to specialist 'channels'. "Case in point: the website of the San Francisco Chronicle,, has begun offering podcast channels from its Datebook, Food, and Opinion sections. (Business podcasts have been offered for a few months.)"

What makes a successful magazine website

[Keyword: ]. Poynter reports on a new survey by the International Federation of the Periodical Press (PDF) which claims to identify success factors for magazine websites. Rich Gordon writes:
"The survey isn't scientific, and relies on self-reporting by publishers who consider their sites to be "successful" by whatever standards they wish. But the findings are interesting:
  • The publishers' top goals are developing new online audiences and attracting new readers for the print editions.
  • When it comes to money, building revenues and profits for the long term is deemed twice as important as building the business in the short term.
  • More than 8 in 10 publishers expect to expand their Web efforts within the next year.
  • More than half the publishers say their site has expanded the magazine's audience by more than 20 percent.
  • Most of these self-described "successful" sites -- whose print counterparts typically publish monthly -- update their online content once or more a day.
  • Six in 10 sites offer chat or online discussion.
  • Two-thirds have attracted new, online-only advertisers."