Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What works in online video news?

[Keyword: ]. A question that desperately needs asking as print operations rush to produce their own online video bulletins - and answered at length at OJR. The rub is, those used to reporting stories for print may have to re-think their news priorities, as some things simply work better in pictures. Here's some quotes:
"Media executives say yes, it's true that you can, for the most part, map the popularity of online video to what's popular on broadcast television. Live and late breaking coverage, celebrities and sex, and innately visual stories work very well.

"Bart Feder, CEO of The FeedRoom, says that visual stories in particular are the ones that tend to be the most viral types of video. His company helps other companies and news organizations, including the New York Times and BusinessWeek, publish and monitor their online video.

"...evergreen content, or videos that aren't pegged to a specific news event, can continue to draw traffic well beyond its air date. Over time, the residual interest can rack up large traffic numbers.

"Broadcasters have also found success with exclusive, in-depth content. The Associated Press, which syndicates its video to about 1200 sites, says they've drawn traffic with interviews.

"Jim Kathman, product manager for the AP's online video network, said that a segment that summarizes the major news events of the day, called "One-Minute World," has started to do very well."

Lincoln Today goes online-only

[Keyword: ]. Hold the Front Page reports on Lincoln Today's relaunch as an "online-only, standalone project, in a move that differentiates it from Lincolnshire Newspapers’ print editions in the city. ... The team is accepting submissions of both news and pictures from their readers both by email and by text message."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

'Regulate the Internet' vagueness from PCC

[Keyword: ]. In one of the vaguest quotes I've seen in a long while, Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer is quoted as saying: "My personal view is that this new and exciting area [the internet?] cannot be left in a regulatory vacuum. To the contrary, it cries out for the sound principles of self-regulation. I am pleased to report that there has been constructive dialogue between the industry and the PCC about this, the results of which will become clear before too long. I am optimistic about the PCC’s ability to rise to this challenge."

So how is he going to regulate the internet? Or is he talking about online newspapers only, in which case they already answer to the PCC. And does he realise that this "new and exciting area" of online newspapers has been in existence for over a decade?

Reflections on the Guardian's blog experiment

[Keyword: ]. You can read Georgina Henry's experiences of managing Comment is free at,,1784903,00.html. Key quote:
"The answer for most media companies developing blogs (although no one is
doing anything quite like Comment is free) is to pre-moderate comments. We have
deliberately decided against that, only requiring commenters to register,
because we want to keep the conversation as free-flowing as possible. So what to

"Stung by one particularly brutal comment on a piece by a young Muslim
woman we had recruited to blog, I did what Emily Bell, editor of Guardian
Unlimited, advised and entered the fray myself. Why, I asked in an end-of-the-
week post, was it necessary for commenters to personally abuse those with whom
they disagreed? Why did so many resort to swearing to make their point? Would
they behave like this if they weren't hiding behind the anonymity of their
screen names?"

Monday, May 29, 2006

Citizen journalism site

[Keyword: ]. Here's a site I wasn't aware of before a letter published in the latest Press Gazette:, a citizen journalism website which frustratingly doesn't include an About Us page. There is, however, an FAQ page, and some cursory exploration uncovers a surprisingly diverse site, taking in columns, community news, world news, and everything inbetween.

It's not clear what sort of business model the site is running on, or who the target market is, but it's interesting to see the cit. journo experiment in the UK, and it'll be worth watching to see how it progresses...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Three Free Tools to Track Comments Online

[Keyword: ]. Some useful tools - coComment, and co.mments - are noted by Easton Ellsworth if you want to keep track of the comments you post on various blogs.

Is 'convergence' the next media disaster?

[Keyword: ]. Esward Wasserman writes about the dangers of companies using online journalism and its associated trend, convergence, as an excuse to increase production, "degrading the working conditions of journalists and diverting energies away from the kind of richly detailed, thoughtful reporting that exemplifies the best in journalism."

"It's the insertion," he argues, "of the Internet's round-the-clock publishing cycle that threatens the greatest harm to the quality of news and information we receive."

Perhaps - but would that round-the-clock publishing cycle be so threatening if sufficient production staff were allocated to ensure quality? How do 24-hour TV news channels manage the same? And if you accept that argument, does not the daily publishing cycle of most newspapers also 'threaten' quality? Does it make a weekly newspaper better quality? Or a monthly magazine?

Speed certainly does threaten quality - many journalists will tell you how the pressure to publish and fill pages results in shortcuts being taken, but is this due to speed itself, or the lack of training to cope with that speed (editing practices), and the lack of staff to produce enough to fill that space?

PS: Shame on Miami Herald for not making their text resizable and so accessible to those with limited vision.

Citizen journalism? Or just people taking pictures?

[Keyword: ]. The Press Gazette's Citizen Journalism awards seem to be taking a narrow view of what the genre means. "Only still pictures and/or video files will be considered", say the entry criteria with the upshot that the very best of citizen journalism - independent reporting, following up of sources, and expert analysis, gets overlooked.

I will refrain from the cynical analysis that this is something to do with Nokia's sponsorship and instead suggest this is more about how citizen journalism is focused on by the established media: as a source of material rather than a form of journalism outside of commercial considerations.

You can also find comment at Poynter.

Blog software comparison chart

[Keyword: ]. Useful as ever for anyone considering blogging - also check out the accompanying article "Time to check: Are you using the right blogging tool?," published July 14, 2005.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

'We Media' conference really about 'them'

[Keyword: ]. Martin Stabe gives a good summary of the We Media conference, asking: "Where were the "we" in the brave new We Media? Just one blogger — 7 July survivor and political blogger Rachel North — appeared on stage on the first day. The £450 delegate fee hardly encouraged participation by citizen journalists."

He goes on to say:

"Anyone who has taken more than a passing interest in the emergence of participatory media over the past five years or so will not have heard anything
Earth-shattering at the We Media forum.

"In fact, most of the people in attendance at We Media could have saved the fee — simply by downloading and re-reading We Media, the now-seminal paper by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis that was commissioned for the first We Media conference."

Suw Charman, "executive director of the Open Rights Group, blogger at Strange Attractor, and one of the "online curators" tasked with tracking the online coverage of the conference", was reported as saying: "How can you have a conference about citizen journalism without any citizen journalists speaking?"
"You can't buy a community and then just exploit it. Citizen journalism is not
simply a matter of ‘Oh, we've got a few comments, we've got a few photographs of
Buncefield' — this is the first tiny step to true participatory media, but you
need to get into the real nitty-gritty of what makes communities tick and why
they're doing what they're doing. Why are they sending photographs in? Is it
just that they want the warm glow of satisfaction that their photo got published
by the Beeb, or are there deeper social needs that participatory journalism
satisfies? Until they understand that, they are going to screw up."
Meanwhile, over at Rebuilding Media, Dorian Benkoil makes some constructive suggestions on how the conference might better achieve its aims of being inclusive:
  • Participation via low-end tech
  • Have the IRC or whatever chat mechanism scrolling live behind folks, and people at the conference can see the conversation multi-dimensionally?
  • Experiment with seating arrangements
  • Have folks from governments speaking
  • Allow questions from outside the room

Monday, May 15, 2006

New sites on Interactive Narratives!

Here's the latest!

Subject: New sites on Interactive Narratives!

7 sites have been added to the Interactive Narratives site entries. You
can find the list on Interactive Narratives.

The new entries include:

Journey with Abdul Hakim
[San Jose Mercury News]
He was the face of war's impact on civilians when photojournalist
Pauline Lubens met him. Now he has come to the United States for

D-Day: The Hard-Won Beaches of Normandy [Newseum]
A historical analysis of what happened on D-Day, along with the
newspapers that published the landing at Normandy, with audio as well.

Plans to Make Trains Safer
[USA Today]
Graphics and video on how to improve the internal and external structure
support to make trains safer.

Kentucky Derby Multimedia
[Lexington Herald-Leader]
Multimedia coverage of the 132 Kentucky Derby complete with audio slide
shows, panoramas with audio and daily photo galleries.

The Pulitzer Prize Photographs: Capture The Moment [Newseum]
Pulitzer prize photographs shown with audio by the Photographer to what
they experienced while taking the image, along with biographies to the

Zip DeCode (Ben Fry)
A Processing site that allows users to enter a zip code...the map will
then highlight that part of the country as each number is entered.

Color of Solidarity, The
[[X]press Online]
Several thousand marchers convened in a massive demonstration from
Market Street to the Federal Building in San Francisco to show their
unified support for immigrant rights.

The appeal of user-generated content

[Keyword: ]. Chris Shaw gives a good overview of the state of 'UGC' (as he usefully truncates it). Taster quote:
"Half the appeal of these UGC sites is their unofficial DIY status. Every time one is swallowed up by an international corporate media giant it risks losing the "unauthorised" vibe that gives it so much credibility with its natural clientele.

"Despite this cultural tension, old-style broadcasters are interacting creatively with the new media bootleggers and geeks and both parties seem happy to cannibalise one another at the moment."

Friday, May 12, 2006

Times boss "attacks" blogs (or does he?)

[Keyword: ]. There's a piece in the latest Press Gazette about Times managing director Paul Hayes launching "an attack on bloggers this week at the Internet World conference in London.":

"He said: "Millions of blogs have sprung up over the last year, but a cursory search shows that the majority of their information sources lead back to mainstream media. The bloggers are seeking or delivering insight, but what they need is accurate information on whatever subject they're interested in"

However, reading further it seems that Hayes delivers a more important insight into the nature and future of the medium, predicting that the blogs that "would endure" (whatever that means) were:

  • "branded bloggers" (well-known writers or celebrities);
  • "intelligent aggregators" (who make little comment but drive readers to other useful sites);
  • "well-connected bloggers" (such as journalists, ex-politicians or specialists who uncover information); and
  • "brilliant bloggers" (who attract readers with their prose and wit).

UPDATE (5.13pm): Thanks to the Press Gazette's Martin Stabe for quickly pointing out the original version of the story on the PG web site, which takes the angle suggested above (interestingly, with bullet points, too - credit due to Stabe for using scannability techniques): Enjoy your holiday, Martin!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Guardian and BBC repeat Webby awards success

[Keyword: ]. Apologies for being late on this one. No surprises with the BBC and Guardian success, but read further down for the likes of National Geographic winning best online magazine and NPR best radio site,
"while and BBC News were chosen as best online newspaper and best news site respectively in the parallel People's Choice section, voted for by 300,000 web users.
"Growing to include 69 categories and 5,500 entrants this year, the ceremony asks winners to limit acceptance speeches to just five words."

Blogs the way to showcase freelance talent, says Guardian editor

[Keyword: ]. That's how reports on the comments of Guardian Unlimited assistant editor Neil McIntosh:
""If you take the view that the most vibrant area of debate for many issues is now online - rather than in print - then having some kind of presence online makes a lot of sense for any freelance [commentator] who wants to follow, and participate in, the debate," Mr McIntosh said.

"Either freelances are so busy and happy with their existing work that they haven't got time or the need to write for free, or they've got some spare capacity with which they could build a brand.

"I've seen blogs make journalists' names... their blogs give them a higher profile among a certain audience than their printed work would ever command.""

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

New sites on Interactive Narratives

Here's the latest email:

9 sites have been added to the Interactive Narratives site entries. You can find the list on Interactive Narratives.

The new entries include:

Grape Expectations
[Dallas Morning News]
A behind-the-scenes look at the Dallas Morning News' Wine Competition. Video, audio, and link to database of wine and winemaking.

Chernobyl's Legacy
[New York Times]
Twenty years after that April morning when Reactor No. 4 exploded, releasing a plume of debris and radioactive particles across the Soviet Union and far beyond, the anniversary occasions new debate.

On the Brink: Measles
[New York Times]
Mothers in Nepal are foot soldiers in the global fight to slash the number of children who die from complications of measles.

Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventures
[PBS Online]
The site for this television special (produced by KQED in San Francisco) combines beautiful underwater film and photography with rich resources for educators and interactive games, all focused on preserving our undersea ecosystem.

A 20 años de Chernobyl
[La Tercera]
La Tercera Online te presenta un completo especial con los detalles del accidente y las consecuencias de la peor catastrofe nuclear de la historia.

We Are America
[Rocky Mountain News]
Interactive presentation of the "We are America" demonstration in Denver Colorado. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched on the Colorado state capitol for immigration reform on May 1.

Chernobyl Legacy
On April 26th, 1986, Chernobyl's Reactor No. 4 unleashed a thoroughly modern plague that emptied cities, condemned entire regions, and seeped invisibly into the bodies of those exposed to its destructive presence.

Dividing Line, The
Follow Star-Telegram Photographer Tom Pennington and writer Jay Root as they travel the 2000-miles of the U.S./Mexico border. They take a look at the realities of border life. Feel free to e-mail them with questions during the project.

China Rises
[New York Times]
A four-part television series and interactive web site on the oldest civilization on earth.

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Online journalist speaks at UCE

[Keyword: ]. Students in the Media Department will get the opportunity to grill a successful online journalist when Sabuhi Mir comes to speak on Monday May 15th.

Sabuhi's nine-year career as a journalist has taken in publications as diverse as The Independent, Mojo, the Estates Gazette and Daily Telegraph. She has worked on the websites of The Times,, and Channel 4 Music, and is currently a content manager for where she manages the homepage, money channel and soon-to-be-launched celebrity channel.

She will be speaking about her experiences of both print and online journalism, as well as the process of going freelance. If you wish to attend the talk, please contact me on

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

BBC rethinks how it approaches news, everything

[Keyword: ]. There's plenty of commentary out there on the BBC's Creative Future plans, which involve a refreshing re-think of the whole of the corporation's services, many of them around the provision of journalism online and on alternative platforms. Here's a list of some of the pieces around: