Wednesday, April 26, 2006

UK web publishing industry "will grow by 37% in 2006"

[Keyword: ]. The Association of Online Publishers (AOP) should be re-named The Association of Good News for Online Publishers, given how many positive reports they seem to have released in the last year. The latest research predicts the UK's web publishing industry will grow "by 37 per cent in 2006 thanks to a growth in online advertising", reports
"The association's annual census found publishers to be optimistic about
business growth, spurred on by increasing broadband take-up, developments in
mobile technology and the success of web communities. Buoyant online advertising
is also contributing to increased confidence in the industry."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How to go to university

My colleague Andrew Dubber has posted a fantastic (and amusing) post entitled 'How to go to university' on his blog. It may sound obvious, but advice like 'turn up' and 'read books' is really worth listening to...

EPpy Award Blog Finalists named

[Keyword: ]. The EPpy Award Blog Finalists have been named. Here's a rundown:

Best Media-Affiliated News Blog (BorgBlog) (DayWatch) Crime Scene KC Blog

Best Media-Affiliated Sports Blog (Mike Sando's Seattle Seahawks blog

Web site of the Houston Chronicle

Boston Globe

Best Media-Affiliated Business Blog (Today In The Sky Blog)

BusinessWeek (Blogspotting (Kevin Maney's Blog)

Best Media-Affiliated Entertainment Blog (Pop Candy) Blogger Maureen Ryan, the Web site of the Houston Chronicle (MeMO)

The winners are to be announced in Las Vegas May 18-19. You can find a list of all finalists at

Giving the Audience Some 'Space' of Their Own

[Keyword: ]. Steve Outing is offering some tips for news organisations to give the audience a space of their own, making the compelling argument: "MySpace and Facebook are among the most successful media-related enterprises on the Web right now [...] Yet with rare exceptions, the newspaper industry is avoiding this personal-page and social-networking trend".

His tips include:
"Give every reporter and columnist their own personal page (a sort of MySpace space for professionals). Items to include:

-- Bio section. Description of the journalist's career and personal interests, including photos.
-- Links to previous work.
-- Any coverage of the journalist; external articles or profiles of him or her.
-- Aggregation of reader comments to the journalist's published work.
-- A Q&A feature (or forum), where readers can directly ask a question of the journalist, and even talk among themselves about the person's work.
-- The journalist's blog. (I think every journalist should have a blog, as a venue to interact with his or her readers, let them know what he/she is working on, and as an outlet for interesting stuff collected by the journalist that otherwise doesn't have a home in the newspaper or on the website.)

"invite online readers in. I mean giving them space, inviting them to become part of the news conversation, and facilitating communication between readers who share interests in the news or specific slices of it.
Here's my prescription for creating within a news site a place for readers/users to call their own -- and start to feel a part of the news conversation.
  • User bio and photo(s).
  • User content.
  • User's blog highlighted.
  • User-interest tagging.
  • User's news interests and expertise.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New Orleans paper wins Pulitzer for online reports

[Keyword: ]. "The New Orleans Times-Picayune won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting today for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the resulting flooding of the city," reports the OJR. "What makes this award so significant for online journalism is the fact that the Times-Picayune published its award-winning coverage only online for the first three days after the storm. This makes the Times-Picayune's award the Pulitzer ever given to online-original news content."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Citizen journalism meets commercialism - again

[Keyword: ]. I've long been aware of Scoopt, but shame on me for not being aware of fellow Joe-Public-takes-the-photos-we-negotiate-a-fee websites Splash, and You can find more articles at The Times, Press Gazette (again) and The Guardian.

Publishers unite to fight Internet copyright abuse

[Keyword: ]. Another one from the latest Press Gazette on the latest internet demon: "They're stealing our content!" scream publishers, comparing their plight, strangely, with illegal downloading of mp3s and the alleged effect on music sales (much challenged (PDF), by the way).

Now, while Google News is no Napster, the one concern worth exploring is "about the rise of RSS feeds and news services which lift copy from news websites without payment, often circumventing the need for the reader to visit the sites."

The question is, how much are you prepared to sacrifice to attract new readers? My personal experience is that RSS feeds only serve to deliver me headlines. If the headline appeals, I click on the link to visit the website that publishes it, which surely increases traffic and therefore potential advertising? Perhaps there are more nefarious uses of the technology that I'm missing...

Interview with Google's European vice president

[Keyword: ]. The latest issue of Press Gazette features a fascinating double-page interview with the vice president of Google Europe, Nikesh Arora - the angle being Google's impact on news production, and the internet's impact on the news industry generally.

You can find a chopped-down version on the Press Gazette website (presumably to force readers to subscribe) and sadly the author, Rob McGibbon, has not updated his own website with any details. But for those interested in the salient points (rather than the first few hundred words, which contains none of them), here are a few juicy quotes. If you want to read more, hey, why not subscribe to Press Gazette? Perhaps the money will help them make more improvements to their website?*

On changes to the news industry:

"[Newspapers] have to pay attention to ... the unbundling of the package
... The internet is forcing a re-thinking of what is the package for a newspaper
... What elements in the bundle are going to survive?

"There are fantastic assets that newspapers could leverage more ... the
journalist who can write comment pieces and editorial stuff ... access to
opinion leaders around the world ... their ability to write objectively and in
line with the brand of the newspaper... That element of trust is important.

"What is not fully embraced is the element of interactivity with them that
consumers want. Also, [newspapers] don't leverage archives [enough]

"I believe there is a much larger opportunity for the provincial paper, because [local content] is very hard to globalise. [They] also have a much more loyal community."

On changes for journalists:

"I would definitely say that all journalists ... need to become bloggers... If the established journalist brands don't become bloggers, they will leave the door open."

*Good to see the use of and Technorati links on the website, as well as related stories. Here's hoping for more improvements so us bloggers can plug it even more...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Search engine for your site - or sites

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New York Times online launches new design

[Keyword: ]. You can read a review of sorts at Poynter, which seems particularly happy with the 'simplicity' of the design (it doesn't seem to simple to me, but then perhaps I'm used to British newspaper websites like The Guardian), but more importantly gives some useful links at the end to comments from the design director, among other things.

Elle Girl US closes in print but stays online

[Keyword: ]. It used to be the case that when job cuts were to be made, website staff went first. Is it now the other way around? Possibly. Reflecting "the growing popularity of digital platforms among children and teenagers" (reports, "US teen title Elle Girl is closing its print magazine after five years but continuing to publish online and to mobile subscribers."

Meanwhile, in a curious coincidence, the latest Guardian Jobs features the following two vacancies in the UK:

Web Editor- Sugar

You'll be an online journalist with a minimum of three years' experience editing commercial, fast-changing websites - ideally with some knowledge of the fast-paced teen and youth markets.Location: West London

Web Editor - Red and Psychologies

We are developing the Red brand online and require an experienced Web Editor to drive this development and create a future digital strategy for Red.Location: West London

10 sites for video sharing

[Keyword: ]. Thanks to Mindy McAdams for this link to a review of 10 sites for video sharing - some of which are well-known, others less so. For example,
"If you just want to get a video clip online and share it with friends via email or on your own blog, Vimeo wins for its speed, ease-of-use, and simple playback functions. It also lets users download the original file, and features some light community features (note that a new version is launching very soon). One of the few sites I used that I never had a problem with. Alternate choice: Videoegg."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mobile group in talks to create TV link for citizen journalists

[Keyword: ]. That's the headline in the Media Guardian, which reports that the mobile phone network 3 is pursuing talks with ITN and Sky News "about feeding clips produced by its customers on to television news bulletins". It sounds like the company may have already discovered a goldmine with its service allowing customers to send in clips which can be downloaded and watched by other subscribers (a turnover in the millions has been quoted in New Media Age), so this comes as a logical extension of that business.

Interestingly, 3 UK's chief executive Bob Fuller is quoted as saying "The onus will be on the people, such as TV companies, publishing the content to check their sources". The article goes on:

"An ITN spokeswoman, who confirmed that talks were under way with 3, said
they already ran background verification checks of mobile phone clips sent in
for use in bulletins. "Editorially, we want to be 100% certain that anything we
put out, whether on terrestrial TV or mobile phones, is bona fide," she said.

"ITN already has extensive experience of packaging content for use on mobile
phones, so taking mobile-generated content and packaging it for use on bulletins
plays to its strengths. "We are looking at developing ways of capturing people's
images and how we can use them better - using our expertise to make sure they
are produced and packaged properly," said the spokeswoman."

Two conferences examine state of online journalism

[Keyword: ]. There's plenty to read at The University of Texas's annual International Symposium on Online Journalism website, which has pages upon pages summing up the various sessions. (See also Technorati - thanks to OJR)

Less well-stocked is the site for the Blogging and Online Journalism: New Media, New Challenges, New Ethics conference at Ohio University, but still worth checking out.

Gillmor’s .org to examine how news companies involve the audience

[Keyword: , ]. Steve Outing is reporting on a note on Dan Gillmor’s new Center for Citizen Media blog "announcing that the organization is about to begin some research that will closely examine what traditional media organizations are doing — “beyond staff-created blogs and podcasts” — to directly involve the audience in the journalism process. Gillmor says he’ll post more details of the research next week." Watch this space.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Business of Supporting Citizen Journalism

[Keyword: ]. Steve Outing's last article for Poynter looks at "the forms of Citizen Journalism and the revenue models emerging to fund it". It's short, has lots of links, and is a great piece of reading for anyone interested in the field...

...Then they should click over to Outing's own blog post about the piece.

Telegraph online: do we put too many stories on the homepage?

[Keyword: ]. So reports
"Writing on the Telegraph's Upload news blog, Shane Richmond notes the trend for a wider design, reflecting the popularity of new, wider monitors.

"He also notes's increased multimedia content, its new list of most popular stories and personalisation - a key element of the next generation of the 'Web 2.0' era.

"Mr Richmond says that news sites have a tendency to crowd their front pages with too many stories.

"Is all this counter-productive? Can readers take in all those articles? It's a problem for the triumvirate of design, editorial and advertising to fight over," he writes.

"A print edition relies on two or three great stories on the front because the editor knows that once a reader has bought a newspaper, they tend to settle down and give the rest a good read. That's not what happens with websites, where typical visits are measured in minutes. The response from web designers has been to pack as much on as possible in the hope of luring people deeper into the site. Perhaps a re-think is necessary.""

Online publishers facing skills shortage

[Keyword: ]. The Association of Online Publishers continues to highlight the skills shortage in online publishing, according to Press Gazette - heartening news for those who can claim "I'm an online journalist", or even "I know how online journalism works". Sadly, the online news report doesn't even link to the AOP website or the original press release (also here), showing just how much even basic online journalism skills are needed in the industry.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Internet video: 10 years in the making of a "sudden" phenomenon

[Keyword: ]. Ben Compaine does some crystal ball-gazing and predicts "This year may be the year that online video is recognized as a real business"...

"What’s some of the evidence? First the new-guy players:

-- YouTube, one of the latest “new kids, rocketed from 3 million video streams per
day to 25 million from Jan. 1 to Feb 28.

-- Apple’s iTunes is reporting downloads at the rate of about 3 million per month. Some are free, some are paid for.

-- NarrowStep, a company in the U.K. that provides technology and support for specialized Webcasts, says it is adding two to three new channels per week. Unlike the mostly amateur clips uploaded to YouTube and similar, NarrowStep is being used to create “slivercast” channels that are intended to be businesses. One client,, says it attracted 70,000 viewers in its first month. (payment required for

-- The Roo Group hosts or consults for 100 Internetcast TV sites which show 40
million videos a month
. One client is YuksTV, which claims as many as many as 200,000 visitors in a month.

-- One of the “old-times” among the new players is Atomfilms, a home for budding

-- Then there is Google, big and wealthy but still a new player in video. Google provides access to everything from archived NBAAll-Star games for $3.95 to “Twilight Zone” classics for $1.99 to many free – and often worth as much— classic clips such as the 49 second "Benito scooping up after his dog.”

-- Last year the site of Major League Baseball,, generated $68 million in subscriptions from viewers of 2,400 baseball games.

The traditional media companies have gotten the message:

-- The uber-Establishment Time-Warner’s CNN has been flogging Pipeline, a service that combines real time CNN feed with access to its video archive. It has the confidence to seek $25 annually—less than a subscription to Time.

-- CBS offered the NCAA’s March Madness basketball games on an advertiser-supported basis and had 5 million takers. Much of the pay-for material on Google Video is both current (e.g., “Survivor”) and historical (e.g., “Brady Bunch”) from

-- The prospects of a new revenue stream have driven Disney, which owns ABC, to agree with NBC Universal to provide “Scrubs”, which the former produces and the latter broadcasts, for sale on Apples iTunes. The significance of this is that it is the first time rival broadcasters have “joined together in a digital download deal.”"

Monday, April 03, 2006

Another news consumption report

[Keyword: ]. Thanks to Einar Thorsen at UWE for sending me this one: it's a Pew Internet report on news consumption (PDF) that concludes, unsurprisingly, that "for broadband internet users, online news is a more regular part of the daily news diet than is the local paper; it is nearly as much of a daily habit as is getting news from national TV newscasts and radio. For home dial-up users, however, online news is not as much an everyday activity."

Other headlines include the fact that mainstream news sites are most popular (only 9% of all internet users have visited a news blog, although this rises to 12% for broadband users), and "Online news consumers are willing to register for news, but are not willing to pay"