WAN-IFRA

Shaping the Future of the Newspaper

Date

Sat - 30.08.2014


Internet

News organisations that wish to expand and improve their social media presence might want to take a page from the Google playbook.

Speaking at WAN-IFRA's 7th Middle East Conference in Dubai, Maha Abouelenein, Head of Communications for Google in the Middle East, had some advice for news organisations, based on Google's experience. Here are some of Google's insights:

- Focus on the user. "Google builds the products, but users decide what is successful and what is not," says Ms Abouelenein.

- Empower others. "Everyone has a mobile phone with a camera on it, so people expect to view things now, live. The truth is at their fingertips to broadcast news to the world."

- Ideas come from everywhere. "We have a policy of spending 20 per cent of our time - one day a week - outside of the core job. I challenge you to spend 20 per cent of your time thinking about the newsroom of the future."

- Think big, but start small.

- Never fail to fail. "Google fails a lot. How we take these failures and learn and grow makes us better, more friendly for our readers."

- Launch early and iterate often. "A lot of times, companies want to polish a product before they launch it. We don't do that at Google. We launch early, put it in the hands of users, update it. Users are the best to tell us how to make it more relevant."

Author

Larry Kilman's picture

Larry Kilman

Date

2012-02-29 14:05


As everyone from businesses to governments to individuals go digital, the amount of raw data being recorded and stored is growing at a dizzying rate. Often this data contains useful information that it is in the public interest to analyse, but it exists in a format that very few people can understand. The solution to the problem? Find experts who can convert large amounts of data into easily accessible stories. In other words, find data journalists.



These are some of the ideas fuelling Danish daily Dagbladet Information's new initiative, Nordisk Nyhedshacker 2012 ("Nordic News Hacker 2012"). The project, run in collaboration with The Guardian, Google and Syddansk Universitet's Center for Journalism, invites journalists or data experts to create a piece of data journalism - which could be anything from a data mash-up to a new mobile app - and submit it to a panel of judges. The creator of the winning entry will be given a $20,000 scholarship by Google and will be invited to work with the Guardian Data Blog in London for one month. The Center for Journalism contributes by advertising the competition and incorporating elements of data journalism into its curriculum.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-22 19:07

Once upon a time, news flows were relatively simple. Information would travel from a source to a news organisation, to the general public. Although that chain might not have been quite as simple as it seemed (a journalist might influence his or her sources, or public reactions might influence a news organisation) for the most part, information flowed one way, and one way only.

Now a new regional SFN report from WAN-IFRA, authored by Professor Christof Seeger and Leander Blumenthal describes the way that social media and digital publishing has turned this news flow upside-down. The report, titled "Communication and gatekeeper research" points out that media organisations are no longer the primary "gatekeepers" of information; an engaged public also plays an important role in curating news by deciding what content to republish, recommend or pass on.

What's more, as every internet user becomes a potential publisher, the old formula in which news professionals would look through sources and select the most relevant for publication has also been turned on its head: sources are now published first on social networks and edited after the fact.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-20 20:03

Working with numbers is becoming more important than ever for journalists.

Vast amounts of data are being collected online, investigative journalism outfits like ProPublica are doing more and more work with large sets of publicly available data, and data visualisations are increasingly becoming a standard part of reporting. At the end of last year, Amy Webb, CEO of Webbmedia, named 'Big Data' as her first prediction of a major tech trend for 2011.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-02 17:18

"So... What are you working on?"

Now some Guardian journalists are prepared to give us the answer to that question, as yesterday the paper unrolled Newsdesk live, a blog that promises to "bring you the news as we break it, explain how we choose what we report and why - and ask you to get involved."

This new blog from The Guardian's national news team puts the audience at the heart of the news-writing process, asking them to get in touch via comments, emails or Tweets to provide editors with ideas and information to help create stories.

The blog builds on The Guardian's Open Newslist, launched last October, which published a selection of the stories that journalists were working on, and allowed readers to Tweet at those journalists in real time.

According to a blogpost introducing Newsdesk live, the Open Newslist project "attracted a lot of interest and produced several good ideas within days of starting." Still, the old format was too limited; it was no easy task "using a simple grid and 140 characters to communicate all the complexities of the day's news with an outside audience."

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-31 19:00

The Washington Post announced last Friday that it was launching campaignreads.com, a new section of its site "completely powered by our readers" where it shares a curated selection of Tweets with links to coverage of the US presidential election.

Post Politics wrote that, for the past few weeks, it had been asking readers to share links to their favourite election coverage by tweeting @PostPolitics or with the hashtag #campaignreads. The Post's political team now curates these Tweets using Storify, and publishes them on its new page.

The initiative has potential benefits for Post journalists and their readers. Firstly it helps the Post "filter the deluge of campaign coverage" by asking its users for selection of the articles they enjoyed the most. Secondly it gives readers prominence by crediting them on the campaignreads.com if the Post uses articles that they've shared.

So far, the new section does not seem to be receiving a deluge of Tweets; as of 2.30pm (GMT +1) on Monday 30th January, the last link that had been shared was from Thursday 26th January. What's more, a Twitter search for #campaignreads doesn't bring up a huge return.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-30 15:58

Twitter announced yesterday that it would begin selectively blocking Tweets in some countries.

"Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country -- while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why."

Twitter writes that it will withhold access to Tweets in certain countries "if we receive a valid and properly scoped request from an authorized entity". As an example of illegal material it names pro-Nazi content, which is outlawed in France and Germany.

The micro-blogging platform implies that it will not comply with all government requests to remove content. It states that, in some countries, the ideas about freedom of expression "differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there".

Until now, Twitter had to remove content from its entire network if it received a valid legal order to take it down in one country. This change in policy means that Twitter can block Tweets region by region.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-27 18:58

Last July Johnston Press appointed Ashley Highfield, previously head of technology at the BBC and then director of Microsoft's UK consumer and online business, as its new CEO.

The appointment raised two questions. One: why did Johnston Press hire a boss with no newspaper experience? Two: Why would Highfield want to head Johnston Press, which has seen its share price drop from 480p to 5p over the last five years?

Both of these points have been raised by Raymond Snoddy who has published a long interview with Highfield in In Publishing's bi-monthly magazine.

The answer to the first question seems obvious: Johnston Press was investing in a Digital First Future. Other news publishers have done the same; in November Time Warner Inc. hired Laura Lang, formerly of the digital advertising company Digitas, as its CEO.

In his interview with Snoddy, Highfield is clear that Johnston's future is as a diversified media company: "yes I have absolutely no previous newspaper experience but the board had already made the decision that the future of Johnston Press lay in moving the organisation beyond print and that was explained to me in the first sentence".

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-26 19:20

The Daily Mail has overtaken The New York Times to become the world's biggest newspaper site, according to data from comScore.

Buzzfeed reports that in December 2011 Mail Online reached 45.3 million users, compared to 44.8 million reached by the The New York Times.

Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke told Buzzfeed in an interview that growing US audiences and the hiring of deputy editor Katherine Thompson, formerly of the Huffington Post, have helped fuel the Mail's boom in readers. The site has a strong presence in America, with permanent staff in New York and Los Angeles.

Most importantly, he says, "we just do news that people want to read." Clarke credits the Mail's roots in Fleet Street for its "entertaining, engaging way with clear, concise, straightforward copy and lots of good pictures."

Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy criticized the The Daily Mail's claims to the top spot, saying that Mail Online only became number one by including its personal finance site ThisIsMoney in the total. She told BuzzFeed that if the Times counted readers of its other properties, such as the Boston Globe, it would still be on top.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-26 13:45

When News International properties The Times and The Sunday Times of London put up hard paywalls in July 2010 it seemed like their digital strategy had been decided in favour of paying users and against sharing on the web. But now an interview with News International's digital product director Nick Bell, which appeared in Paid Content earlier this week, suggests that The Times is considering making its paywall ever-so-slightly leakier by allowing subscribers to share articles with their direct friends.

Bell is quoted in the article saying that sharing has been "a hotly-debated topic" at the Times headquarters.

He promises that, "over the next six months, you will see us rewarding our paying subscribers with the ability to share amongst their network.... If they want to share content with their direct friends, then we're going to enable that."

However, the author of the Paid Content article, Robert Andrews, stresses that this is not a guarantee that Times content will be free for friends of subscribers. Bell is clear that The Times is not about to switch to a metered paywall like that of the New York Times, but is only interested in giving ""more value to our paying customers."

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-20 16:10

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