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June 28 2013

18:07

MMA’s Greg Stuart: Brands Need to Embrace Mobile Advertising

CANNES – Navigating how to embrace mobile technology is the challenge for CMOs says Greg Stuart, CEO of the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association). Stuart said the MMA will soon be adding four major CMOs to their board.

“It’s this knowing versus doing gap,” Stuart says. “They know they gotta do it, but how do they do it is really a challenge.”

Mondelēz International, the American multinational food and beverage company, has committed at the corporate level to spend 10 percent of all budgets on mobile, which Stuart calls a “major movement.”

Beet.TV spoke with Stuart at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last week.

June 24 2013

14:21

Facebook aims to become a 'newspaper for mobile' with new app

Facebook aims to become a 'newspaper for mobile' with new app:

Facebook is aiming to become a newspaper for mobile devices, WSJ reports. “The social network has been quietly working on a service, internally called Reader, that displays content from Facebook users and publishers in a new visual format tailored for mobile devices, people with knowledge of the matter said.”

But owning news consumption will be a challenge for Facebook, analysts say. Both Twitter and LinkedIn have been pushing their own services aggressively, while Flipboard has more than 50 million users. “There are a lot of things people didn’t do on Facebook several years ago that they now do,” said Nate Elliot, a Forrester analyst. “But I imagine it’s going to be very hard” to retrain consumers to see Facebook as a go-to hub for news. Mr. Zuckerberg is watching the Reader project closely, one of the people with knowledge of the matter said, and he has provided input and reviewed aspects of the design at various turns. While Mr. Zuckerberg has made “move fast and break things” a Facebook company mantra, the development of Reader has been relatively slow and deliberate. The team has focused on creating a product experience that works on both tablets and smartphones, the person added, and it has explored different ways to highlight news content to users, including showing public posts that are trending on the site.

June 20 2013

14:13

The New York Times adds a meter to mobile apps

Since 2011, the Times’ web paywall and app paywall have functioned differently. The website gave nonsubscribers a maximum number of articles per month; its apps set aside a subset of top stories that were free to all, but put everything else beyond reach.

The newspaper just announced it would be normalizing that divide, creating a meter for readers of the company’s mobile applications. Starting June 27, nonsubscribers will be able to read three articles per day through the app before being prompted to sign up for a subscription. After that, they’ll still get to browse headlines and article summaries. Videos will remain free inside the app, as Denise Warren, the Times executive vice president of the digital products and services group, previously told the Lab in April.

This spring, Times CEO Mark Thompson promised the company would be introducing a new suite of digital products to broaden its base of readers. But the Times’ mobile meter doesn’t come at a new price point. For an app-centric reader, the cheapest option for reading the Times starts at $15 every four weeks, which provides access to NYTimes.com and smartphone apps.

The timing may just be a coincidence, but the Times’ soon-to-be sold sibling, The Boston Globe, introduced a new mobile app subscription plan Wednesday which will cost readers $3.99 a month.

June 18 2013

17:20

Adobe Finds Tablets Racing Ahead For Retailers

Time was, the term “mobile” could be used to describe a swathe of devices. But now the market is so rich with portable gadgets, it’s time to get more granular, according to Adobe digital marketing SVP and GM  Brad Rencher.

“A lot of people are still lumping smartphones together with tablets, together with other types of mobile device,” Rencher told Beet.TV during the Cannes Lions advertising conflab. “We’ve seen very different behaviour in terms of how and when people use those devices.”

“Tablets are becoming a powerhouse in terms of engagement with apps and shopping. People are spending more time with tablets between the hours of 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Smartphones tend to be out and about during the middle of the day, looking for directions or  for a restaurant.

“Tablets are becoming a retailer’s dream. We buy more often when we shop  on tablets than we do on desktops or smartphones. And when we buy, we buy 25 percent more product on tablets than we do on any other platform.”

Rencher bases the differentiation on “hundreds and hundreds of millions of interactions” from Adobe’s Marketing Cloud advertiser analytics suite.

May 29 2013

10:38

Join the Zeega Makers Challenge for 'The Making Of...Live at SFMOMA'

ZeegaSFMoMA_24.gif

In 24 hours, Zeegas -- a new form of interactive media -- will be installed on four projection screens at San Francisco's renowned Museum of Modern Art. This showcase is part of "The Making Of..." -- a collaboration between award-winning NPR producers the Kitchen Sisters, KQED, AIR's Localore, the Zeega community and many others.

Join in this collaborative media experiment and make Zeegas for SFMOMA. To participate, log in to Zeega and create something for the exhibition. To make the simplest Zeega possible, just combine an animated GIF and a song. And if you want to do more, go wild.

You can contribute from anywhere in the world. The deadline is midnight EST on Wednesday.

make a zeega

If you've never made a Zeega, worry not: It's super-easy. You can quickly combine audio, images, animated GIFs, text and video from across the web. Zeegas come in all shapes and sizes, from GIFs accompanied by a maker's favorite song to a haunting photo story about a Nevada ghost town to an interactive video roulette.

The Zeega exhibition is one piece of "The Making Of...Live at SFMOMA." As SFMOMA closes for two years of renovation and expansion, over 100 makers from throughout the region will gather to share their skills and crafts and tell their stories.

For the event, there will be two live performances of Zeegas and the "Web Documentary Manifesto," and there will also be a session with Roman Mars ("99% Invisible"), The Kitchen Sisters, AIR's Sue Schardt talking about Localore, and other storytelling gatherings throughout the festivities. For the full program, click here.

Jesse Shapins is a media entrepreneur, cultural theorist and urban artist. He is Co-Founder/CEO of Zeega, a platform revolutionzing interactive storytelling for an immersive future. For the past decade, he has been a leader in innovating new models of web and mobile publishing, his work featured in Wired, The New York Times, Boingboing and other venues. His artistic practice focuses on mapping the imagination and perception of place between physical, virtual and social space. His work has been cited in books such as The Sentient City, Networked Locality and Ambient Commons, and exhibited at MoMA, Deutsches Architektur Zentrum and the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, among other venues. He was Co-Founder of metaLAB (at) Harvard, a research unit at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and served on the faculty of architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he invented courses such as The Mixed-Reality City and Media Archaeology of Place.

May 28 2013

13:15

Circa Hires Reuters' Anthony De Rosa as New Editor in Chief

Mobile news app Circa is hoping to push further into the breaking news space, announcing today that the startup behind the app has hired Anthony De Rosa, former social media editor at Reuters, to become its editor in chief.

de_rosa.png

Circa collects the "atomic units" of stories -- facts, quotes and images -- and puts them into running stories with alerts to updates. The startup was co-founded by Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh and his partner, Matt Galligan, and is under the editorial leadership of David Cohn, who was the founder and director of Spot.Us, a non-profit that pioneered "community funded reporting." Cohn has written about both Spot.Us and Circa here on Idea Lab.

"As the head of editorial I'm very excited to have Anthony come on board," Cohn said in an email. "I know he will bring a lot to the table and will help Circa push forward in the 'breaking news' space which, combined with our 'follow feature' really puts us in a unique position to serve a readers' needs."

De Rosa is owner of tumblog SoupSoup and co-founder of hyperlocal blogging tool Neighborhoodr. At Reuters, he trained staff to make use of live blogs and social media to try to produce a constant river of breaking news. In an article in 2011, The New York Times' Paul Boutin dubbed De Rosa the "undisputed King of Tumblr."

"There's a huge opportunity to present news in a way that's made for mobile. Nobody is thinking about this more than Circa and I'm thrilled to help move that mission forward," De Rosa said in a statement announcing his new position.

You can tune in on the recent Mediatwits podcast with Circa founder Huh on PBS MediaShift, and here's another Mediatwits podcast with Cohn, talking about the prospects for Circa now and in the future.

Desiree Everts is the associate editor for Idea Lab and PBS MediaShift. She's dabbled in digital media for the past decade including stints at CNET News and Wired magazine.

May 21 2013

18:08

Twitter builds internal guidelines for handling legal battles over patents

Twitter officially patented its “pull-to-refresh” technology for streaming on its mobile app today, The Verge reports. But Twitter also has an original, internal approach to patent applications.

All Twitter’s patents include a contract in which the company agrees to engage in patent litigation only if they are sued first. The contract is meant to deal with the concerns of the engineers whose work is being patented, and who feel the definition of defensive litigation can be fuzzy.

“[Engineers] were going around saying we’re worried about what patents mean,” said Twitter IP attorney Ben Lee, who drafted the IPA and guided it through the revision process. “The IPA is an expression of the values of the company.”

Lee’s work on the IPA began during his initial job interview with Twitter general counsel Alex Macgillivray in November of 2010. “The notion of trying to come up with new ways of handling patents was a major reason for me coming to Twitter in the first place,” he said. “I don’t think it was that long after that we were already having significant conversations with the engineers and senior management about some things we could do.”

Unfortunately, work on the IPA was put on hold not long after Lee joined Twitter — a patent troll had sued the company over a junk patent on “virtual communities,” and Lee spent serious time living in a Virginia hotel room as the case went to trial. “We’ve seen the negative impact” of patent abuse, he says. “And we’re a young company.”

15:00

Tuesday Q&A: CEO Baba Shetty talks Newsweek’s relaunch, user-first design, magazineness, and the business model

A brand guru. That’s what they called Baba Shetty when he was hired away from advertising agency Hill Holliday by The Daily Beast to be the new CEO of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company.

1348078198601.cachedLess than a month later, the company announced that Newsweek was putting an end to its print edition and going all-digital. Last week, Shetty released the beta version of the relaunched website, a simple, colorful, responsive, and easily navigable new home for the decades-old news brand.

Shetty began working with the magazine on a “Mad Men”-themed issue on retro advertising back in March 2012. So maybe it’s not surprising that the new site’s first feature article is an exploration of what makes contemporary television so addictive. Shetty has big plans for capitalizing on on the historically respected Newsweek name, blending a New York Times-like metered paywall approach with an ambitious sponsorship model that will see a lot of creative ad work coming off the Newsweek desk.

On Monday, Shetty and I spoke about how he sees that plan unfolding, as well as some of his favorite new design features, bringing classic Newsweek covers into the digital space, and why ad agencies should act more like newsrooms. Here’s our conversation:

O’Donovan: So let’s start with the redesign! Congrats, first of all — very exciting.
Shetty: Oh, thank you.
O’Donovan: I’m curious, first, who you were looking to for inspiration with the redesign and what your major goals were.
Shetty: The audience is a combination of the people who’ve always looked to Newsweek for its sense of authority, its sense of editorial authority and its stature — its ability to offer perspective on the happenings in the world. But we also wanted to really innovate around the narrative formats for longform publishing on the web.

The real story of the Newsweek relaunch is that it allowed us to think about innovation in a way that really hasn’t happened much for professional journalism. Actually, there’s been a ton of innovation in microblogging and other formats — look at the Tumblr news from the last couple days. Enormous value from thinking about beautiful user experience for content consumption.

But really, a lot of the professional editorial products kind of slavishly follow a set of conventions that are all about maximizing pageviews. You look at a long article that might require seven clicks and page reloads to get through — and then there’s a lot of display advertising that is competing for attention with the actual content. We thought there was an opportunity to do for professional journalism what Tumblr and Pinterest and Flipboard, so many of the other innovative new startups, have done for other kinds of content.

So what we see with Newsweek is the user first. I’ve been talking about it as user-first publishing. The idea is, let’s deconstruct the sense of magazineness — not as a physical thing, but as a concept. The sense of magazineness is about a beautiful user experience. You think about your favorite magazine and sitting in your favorite chair at home and reading it — there’s a sense of editorial coherence. You know — the cover communicates a sense of editorial priority, there’s a table of contents that lends a sense of coherence to the issue. It’s a beautiful package that results.

But when magazines go digital, so much of that’s lost because of the conventions I talked about before — you slice and dice content into the slivers that we call pageviews, and it’s not a very satisfying experience to read professional journalism on the web.

So we really wanted to take a leap forward with Newsweek. In addition to the idea of the editorial stature and credibility of Newsweek, also creating a radically creative user experience around that content. I can talk about a few of the features if you think that would be useful.

O’Donovan: Yes, but I’m still curious about other projects, other sites, other redesigns, that you might have taken something from, or tried to emulate at all. Or maybe this is a ground zero thing. But for example, The New Republic’s redesign, or maybe Quartz — is there a trend?
Shetty: There really weren’t — we didn’t really emulate anything. What we were trying to do was stay true to Newsweek and what the ideal user experience would be.

The cover — there actually is a cover, and it was static in the first issue, and in future issues it will be interactive, video-based multimedia. It’s this idea of drawing a reader in to something that has great editorial to prominence and priority, and we’re going to explore what the cover could be in the digital age. There is a persistent table of contents which is available to you at any part of the experience, and that lends a sense of completeness and coherence to this experience.

O’Donovan: Yeah, the table of contents gives an element of navigability — it helps you understand the fullness of the product.
Shetty: Exactly. It’s persistent. No matter where you are, in an article or on a page, when you mouse over the window, the table of contents dissolves into view, and you can access it. So there’s a sense of, again, an ideal concept of magazineness, and part of it is this sense of complete control over the content consumption experience. So we thought, we’d love to make that real in a natively digital format.

Of course, we took account of all the devices that people read on now, so the site is fully responsive and looks beautiful on a handset or tablet screen or — you should really try it on a 23-inch monitor. It’s gorgeous in large format screens. It gracefully apportions itself to whatever the screen happens to be.

O’Donovan: What would you say, right now, the focus is on in mobile, in building apps? I feel like there’s this turn back towards building cross-platform websites and away from apps. Where did apps fall into your priorities when you started compared to where you are now?
Shetty: Yes, you’re exactly right. I think 18 months ago, everybody was talking about native apps as absolutely the way to go. But there’s a lot of friction in the app experience, and what I mean by that is apps have to be downloaded, apps have to be used and accessed on a regular basis, apps sometimes make it a little more difficult to share content. People are sometimes not as adept at sharing content via apps as they are across the open web. So for us, it’s about giving consumers a choice. We’re going to parallel-path for a while — we’ll also have a Newsweek app available. But the open web launch we did last week we think is actually a beautiful experience across devices. It’s friction-free — there’s nothing to download, there’s nothing that prevents easy sharing. So it’s designed to kind of be — I don’t want to say post-app, but it’s post- the initial way of publishing thinking, that native apps are the only way to go. I think a well designed, thoughtfully engineered open web experience can be terrific for the user.
O’Donovan: You mentioned building an interactive cover page earlier — I’d be interested in knowing what other kinds of engagement you’re interested in building across the site. How did you think about structuring comments? How do you want people to respond to the site?
Shetty: We thought a lot about socially driven content, and if you actually look at an article called “The Way They Hook Us — For 13 Hours Straight,” which is about longform, binge-viewing, addictive TV shows — you know, “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” et cetera — if you look at that story, you can see how we handle social. Instead of having commentary being a thing that is relegated to the bottom of the page, there’s a set of functionality on the left side margin that moves along with the story. Right now, there’s 2,100 opinions listed — it’s a way to kind of over time have the idea that engagement opportunities are persistently available, no matter where you are reading these stories — it’s not just a thing that’s relegated ot the boot of a page. There’s a tray that actually slides out to reveal the social features. And there’s a lot of innovation we have planned in that area as well.

And while we’re talking about a long article page, you can kind of see the ability to use multimedia photography, video, infographics to help the journalistic storytelling of a longform piece. That’s another, I think, terrific step forward. It’s not the tyranny of the pageview, it’s not the conventions that are going to deliver more advertising properties — it’s thinking about he user first. What’s going to make for a great reading experience? in that way, I think it differs from a lot of the conventions that are in play across the web.

O’Donovan: So this is my understanding having read a couple things, so correct me if I’m wrong — but your strategy is first to build this product that people are going to want, and then slowly to introduce a paywall, and then later this sponsored content component. Can you explain how you see that unfolding and over what kind of timeline?
Shetty: I can talk a little bit about it — I probably can’t talk about all of our plans right now.

The metered access is going to be rolled out fairly soon, and that’s just the simple idea that, look, anybody can read any article on Newsweek, and initially that’s completely open and completely free. But only subscribers will be able to consume content over a certain number of articles. So it’s very similar to what The New York Times and others have done. Open access — we want a lot of social sharing, we want a lot of visibility of the content across the open web. But what we’re asking is, if people consume over a certain amount of content, that they subscribe. And that’s going to take place fairly soon.

The second question is how brands can participate. We have the same principles we’ve been talking about — thinking about the user first — applied to brand participation. What we’re going to do is limit the clutter — relatively few units, but really high impact — but stay with the design aesthetic of the site overall. They’re going to be beautiful, unignorable, but the value exchange with the reader is going to be very appropriate.

When you listen to a program on NPR, and there’s a sponsorship message before the program starts, you can kind of say, okay, well, I get that. I get how that works. It’s a reasonable exchange between the audience and the brand that sponsors the content. That’s really the model. It’s not as much about the standards of display advertising that have dominated the discussion on the web. It’s a sponsorship model — a different direction.

O’Donovan: From a structural standpoint, in terms of building the sponsorship and how closely married they may be to the content you have, I’m curious if it’s going to be an internal team and how closely they’ll work with the editorial team, or if it’s someone from outside. How does that all work?
Shetty: Oh, it’s all part of one organization in our company, and it’s a close partnership between the editorial and business sides.
O’Donovan: I was just reading earlier, you wrote, along with someone else, a piece for the Harvard Business Review about how advertising companies should act more like newsrooms. I was hoping you could explain that theory and maybe, I’d be curious to know if that was an idea that started to percolate for you having been in a newsroom for a little while.
Shetty: It actually started percolating for me well before I came into a newsroom. I think it actually a pretty clear direction that has been well represented by a lot of people. There’s a real opportunity for smart brands to publish content that’s useful, interesting, engaging, and helpful to their audience. It’s not a new idea — in fact I always talk about the fact that it’s an idea that’s been around for a very long time.

But what’s changed is all the tools that are available for content creation, distribution, measurement and all the channels that are available to brands. I think it’s a very powerful idea. I don’t think it’s one of these trend-of-the-season ideas. I think it’s a dramatic industry shift that we’re going to be tracking for years to come, through various iterations.

That was something I did with Jerry Wind, head of the Future of Advertising Program at Wharton. It was really based on the Wharton 2020 Project, which was asking a lot of advertisers about what they think about the future of advertising, and it was such a consistent theme — that it’s going to be less and less about what we think of advertising today, and more content that is voluntarily consumed by people because they view it as in some way useful or interesting.

O’Donovan: As we continue to see this trend toward sponsored content and cooperation between advertisers and news brands, I’m curious what your advice might be to other people who are following a path similar to yours — coming from the ad side and moving into newsroom, operating as the person who is trying to bring those two things together. Are there any specific challenges or surprises there? How would you tell someone to pursue that?
Shetty: I would just say think about the user first, and by the way, think about editorial standards. It doesn’t serve anyone to have editorial standards compromised. Users don’t want that, the consumer doesn’t want that, and certainly it doesn’t benefit the editorial side of things either. Nobody wants that. I think full transparency and good judgment are critical here.
O’Donovan: How do you telegraph that to the reader?
Shetty: Well, we don’t really — we haven’t really had any issues with telegraphing that. It’s just kind of clearly indicating where, what the source of a particular piece of content is. I think as long as you maintain these kind of standards, there really aren’t issues.
O’Donovan: And in terms of the user-centric experience you’re trying to build — you’re talking about how modern newsrooms have so many different kinds of metrics available to them now — when I hear people talk about building new products like this, they talk about building something light and flexible, and prototyping it so you can really respond to the audience’s initial reaction to it. I’d be curious to know how you’re tracking that, how you’re listening to the reader, and what kind of flexibility you’ve been able to build into the product.
Shetty: Absolutely. The iterative nature of web design development — or I should say, digital design development — is a terrific kind of approach for designing something that users really love and respond to. For us, it’s tools like Chartbeat, which we love, and other kind of leading-edge ways of getting real moment-to-moment feedback from not only what people are reading, but how they’re spending time with it, where they’re coming from, what kind of engagement they have with it. It’s all fed right back to the design and development process.

It’s a long way from the days of just building it and they will come. It’s really paying such close attention to what people actually respond to.

May 15 2013

10:57

4 Lessons for Journalism Students from the Digital Edge

This past semester, I flew a drone. I helped set up a virtual reality environment. And I helped print a cup out of thin air.

Nice work if you can get it.

Working as a research assistant to Dan Pacheco at the Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair for Journalism Innovation at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, I helped run the Digital Edge Journalism Series in the spring semester. We held a series of four programs that highlighted the cutting edge of journalism technology. Pacheco ran a session about drones in media; we had Dan Schultz from the MIT Media Lab talk about hacking journalism; we hosted Nonny de la Peña and her immersive journalism experience, and we had a 3D printer in our office, on loan from the Syracuse University ITS department, showing what can be made.

For someone who spent 10 years in traditional media as a newspaper reporter, it was an eye-opening semester. Here are some of the lessons I learned after spending a semester on the digital edge. Maybe they can be useful for you as you navigate the new media waters.

1. The future is here

During our 3D printer session, as we watched a small globe and base print from almost out of thin air, I turned to Pacheco and said, "This is the Jetsons. We're living the Jetsons."

photo.JPG

This stuff is all real. It sounds obvious to say, but in a way, it's an important thing to remember. Drones, virtual reality, 3D printing all sound like stuff straight out of science fiction. But they're here. And they're being used. More saliently, the barrier to entry of these technologies is not as low as you'd think. You can fly a drone using an iPad. The coding used to create real-time fact-checking programs is accessible. 3D printers are becoming cheaper and more commercially available. And while creating a full-room 3D immersive experience still takes a whole lot of time, money and know-how (we spent the better part of two days putting the experience together, during which I added "using a glowing wand to calibrate a $100,000 PhaseSpace Motion Capture system, then guided students through an immersive 3D documentary experience" to my skill set), you can create your own 3D world using Unity 3D software, which has a free version.

The most important thing I learned is to get into the mindset that the future is here. The tools are here, they're accessible, they can be easy and fun to learn. Instead of thinking of the future as something out there that's going to happen to you, our seminar series showed me that the future is happening right now, and it's something that we can create ourselves.

2. Get it first, ask questions later

One of the first questions we'd always get, whether it was from students, professors or professionals, was: "This is neat, but what application does it have for journalism?" It's a natural question to ask of a new technology, and one that sparked a lot of good discussions. What would a news organization use a drone for? What would a journalist do with the coding capabilities Schultz showed us? What kind of stories could be told in an immersive, virtual-reality environment? What journalistic use can a 3D printer have?

These are great questions. But questions become problems when they are used as impediments to change. The notion that a technology is only useful if there's a fully formed and tested journalistic use already in place for it is misguided. The smart strategy moving forward may be to get the new technologies and see what you can use them for. You won't know how you can use a drone in news coverage until you have one. You won't know how a 3D printer can be used in news coverage until you try it out.

There are potential uses. I worked in Binghamton, N.Y, for several years, and the city had several devastating floods. Instead of paying for an expensive helicopter to take overhead photos of the damage, maybe a drone could have been used more inexpensively and effectively (and locally). Maybe a newsroom could use a 3D printer to build models of buildings and landmarks that could be used in online videos. So when news breaks at, say, the local high school, instead of a 2D drawing, a 3D model could be used to walk the audience through the story. One student suggested that 3D printers could be made for storyboards for entertainment media. Another suggested advertising uses, particularly at trade shows. The possibilities aren't endless, but they sure feel like it.

Like I said above, these things are already here. Media organizations can either wait to figure it out (which hasn't exactly worked out for them so far in the digital age) or they can start now. Journalism organizations have never been hubs for research and development. Maybe this is a good time to start.

3. Real questions, real issues

This new technology is exciting, and empowering. But these technologies also raise some real, serious questions that call for real, serious discussion. The use of drones is something that sounds scary to people, and understandably so. (This is why the phrase "unmanned aerial vehicle" (UAV) is being used more often. It may not be elegant, but it does avoid some of the negative connotation the word "drone" has.) It's not just the paparazzi question. With a drone, where's the line between private and public life? How invasive will the drones be? And there is something undeniably unsettling about seeing an unmanned flying object hovering near you. 3D printers raise concerns, especially now that the first 3D printed guns have been made and fired.

To ignore these questions would be to put our heads in the sand, to ignore the real-world concerns. There aren't easy answers. They're going to require an honest dialogue among users, media organizations, and the academy.

4. Reporting still rules

Technology may get the headlines. But the technology is worthless without what the old-school journalists call shoe-leather reporting. At the heart of all these projects and all these technologies is the same kind of reporting that has been at the heart of journalism for decades.

Drones can provide video we can't get anywhere else, but the pictures are meaningless without context. The heart of "hacking journalism" is truth telling, going past the spin and delivering real-time facts to our audience. An immersive journalism experience is pointless if the story, the details, and the message aren't meticulously reported. Without a deeper purpose to inform the public, a 3D printer is just a cool gadget.

It's the marriage of the two -- of old-school reporting and new-school technology -- that makes the digital edge such a powerful place to be.

newhouse.jpgBrian Moritz is a Ph.D. student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and co-editor of the Journovation Journal. A former award-winning sports reporter in Binghamton, N.Y. and Olean, N.Y., his research focuses on the evolution of journalists' routines. His writing has appeared on the Huffington Post and in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He has a masters' degree from Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure.

May 09 2013

18:13

A new daily newspaper for young people in Calcutta is gaining ground

In Calcutta, a three-month old print daily aimed at youth has already become the third most widely circulated newspaper in the city. Ebela, a Bengali language publication, had an expensive and heavily-marketed launch, complete with branded candies. The paper’s owners, the ABP Group, say ad revenues are steadily increasing.

The positioning line of Ebela is “Ami Amar Mato” (“I am what I want to be”). This mirrors the psyche of India’s new generation, which is bold, colourful, positive, young–at-heart, free-spirited, forward-looking, and brimming with energy.

17:24

Diaries, the original social media: How our obsession with documenting (and sharing) our own lives is nothing new

If you’ve ever kept a diary, chances are you probably considered that document private. As in,

MOM I’VE TOLD YOU A MILLION TIMES MY DIARY IS PRIVATE SO DON’T FUCKING READ IT AGAIN PS THANKS FOR CLEANING MY ROOM IT LOOKS NICE

— Luke (@StereotypeLuke) March 24, 2013

But that wasn’t always the case when it came to personal journals. At least, not according to Lee Humphreys, a communications and media researcher at Cornell.

Humphreys led a conversation this week with Microsoft Research’s Social Media Collective on historicizing social media practices. Humphreys argues that, through journals and diaries, people have been recounting their daily activities and reflecting on them for much longer than Twitter and other social media platforms have been around.

But through her research, Humphreys found that it’s only been in the last hundred years that journalling has come to be considered a private practice. In the late 19th century, she says visiting friends and relatives would gather together and read each others diaries as a way of keeping up to date and sharing their lives. Journals were also kept in early American towns to mark and record important events: weddings, births, deaths and other events of community-wide importance.

“You don’t get a real sense of personal, individual self until the end of the 19th century,” Humphreys told the Cornell Chronicle in 2010, “so it makes perfect sense that diaries or journals prior to that time were much more social in nature.”

At Humphreys’ talk on Tuesday, some suggested that the advent of Freudian psychology — or perhaps the mass popularization of the novel — had contributed to this inward turn by America’s diarists. As the profession of journalism began to rise at the beginning of the 20th century, the independent writer was becoming increasingly self-reflective, creating the expectation of privacy that we were familiar with prior to the arrival of the Internet. But Humphrey is arguing that before we had a mass media, there was a system of personal writing that looked like a slower, more loosely networked version of Twitter.

people want to make twitter their diary but isn’t a diary suppose to be private?

— #slick (@rickstayslick) May 7, 2013

The similarities between Twitter and historic trends in diary keeping don’t stop there, according to Humphreys. She points to a surge in the popularity of pocket diaries, which, like Twitter, restricted the number of words you could write due to their small size, but also made them mobile. With 60 percent of tweets now being written on mobile devices, according to Humphreys, as compared to around 14 percent when she conducted the study in 2008, trends in Twitter behavior are in fact reflecting historical trends in self-reporting. So even the practice of making notes about your daily activities as they are happening isn’t a new behavior.

A second study Humphreys conducted revealed even more lessons about our drive to create personal records. Using the diary entires of a soldier in the Civil War, which he dutifully copied and turned into letters home, and the personal blog of an Iraq War soldier, Humphreys explored the reasons people feel compelled to record the events of their lives.

Primarily, she says, people journal as a way of strengthening “kin and friend” relationships. The soldier in Iraq, referred to as DadManly, originally began his blog as a way of keeping in touch with all of his family members at once. Charlie Mac, the Civil War soldier, exhibits a similar desire for communication and relationship maintenance by sending home a faithfully transcribed (we assume) copy of his diary. Both men, Humphreys says, described experiencing profound frustration and anxiety when the medium through which they communicated was disrupted, whether by an Internet blackout or a rainstorm that dissolved parchment and delayed the post.

The writings of Charlie Mac and DadManly shared another important similarity: Although both were writing for ostensibly private audiences, there was an implicit understanding that their words might someday reach a wider audience. When DadManly saw web traffic from strangers, he began to increasingly write about his political views on the war, providing what he believed to be a unique perspective of support at a time when very few journalists in the traditional media felt the same way.

Charlie Mac also had reason to believe his diary letters were being shared with an audience larger than the one he was directly addressing. In fact, he sometimes included parenthetical addresses to specific individuals, should they happen to come across the documents. But there was also a real possibility that his war correspondence would be picked up and reprinted by newspapers. (Or, as it happened, compiled, archived, and read by researchers hundreds of years later.) After the war, he ended up becoming a journalist at The Boston Globe. What more apt analogue to the media of today than a world in which one’s personal commentary on current events is so appreciated that they can be transformed into a lifelong career?

During the course of Charlie Mac’s budding career, he would have observed the budding of what we consider the traditional media hierarchy. Information would increasingly begin to flow from the top down, rather than be gathered voraciously from amateurs in the field. He would see news brands begin to shape and control narratives, and come to exist in an information system with less and less emphasis on personal interactions.

Of course, what we’ve seen in the decades since the dawn of the digital age is just the opposite. Humphreys said one of the early conclusions from her research is the possibility that the mass media of the 20th century was in fact a blip, a historical aberration, and that, through platforms like Twitter, we are gradually returning to a communication network that indulges, without guilt, the individual’s desire to record his existence.

Personal diarists are not only comforted by recording and sharing their experience, Humphreys says, but they are empowered by claiming their own narrative. She suspects it was for this reason that so many 19th-century women kept journals — in the hopes that they and their families would be remembered. Her point takes on contemporary significance when she points out that Twitter is more popular among African-American and Hispanic youths than among whites.

The most powerful argument for Twitter as a force of erosion of the public media is not, as we hear so often lately, that it feeds the fires of rumor and speculation. The argument that Twitter is facile is much more potent — that Twitter users are self-obsessed, that a minute spent tweeting is a minute wasted, that Twitter is the digital embodiment of the general degradation of intellectual society — many of the same arguments made a decade ago about blogging.

This is what I ate for breakfast… Greek potatoes, orzo, Greek salad, dolmades, and OJ. #Hmm yfrog.com/nxfktoej

— Miss Illinois (@StaciJoee) March 28, 2012

I’m going to be a total blogger today. This is what I ate for breakfast. LOL http://yfrog.com/h2tovdrj

— Holly Becker (@decor8) February 20, 2011

What Humphreys has found, instead, is that if we are all navel-gazers, it’s not Twitter that made us that way. And further, that we are tighter-networked, faster-responding, further-reaching navel-gazers, with a richer media experience, than ever before.

Image by Barnaby Dorfman used under a Creative Commons license.

02:28

NPR launches new smartphone site with infinite scrolling, comments & more

Highlights of the new page include:

imageInfinite headlines: The new mobile homepage features the moment’s top news, arts and music stories, followed by an unlimited list of links to all of NPR’s recent best.

Smartphone-friendly stories: For the first time, each mobile homepage headline links to the full version of that story, including all photos, audio and video. You won’t find any more abridged articles. In the past year, we’ve redesigned our stories to work well on phones and other devices.

Easy access to audio: At the top of the new mobile homepage, you’ll find quick ways to listen to NPR. Play the “24-hour program stream” to hear a continuous lineup of our recently aired shows. Or tap “hear news & programs” to play hourly news updates or browse all of our shows.

More at your fingertips: Visitors entering our site through the mobile homepage will now have access to story comments, advanced searching and extended NPR listening opportunities, such as NPR Music’s First Listen series.

March 29 2013

13:30

March 28 2013

12:52

March 25 2013

11:00

How One Student Went Mobile-Only for a Day on Campus

Recently, Reese News Lab students have conducted experiments in living without a smartphone and social media.

NYT ipad.jpg

But because the lab is working on a project on producing media for mobile devices, I thought it was time that someone tried a computer blackout. I'd give up my laptop for a day, navigating the UNC campus with just an iPhone and an iPad (with a Bluetooth keyboard). I figured that way, I could find out how mobile-friendly the world really is.

Before I could attempt this task, though, I knew I had to plan carefully. I had to make sure it wouldn't interfere with my schoolwork, and I tried to account for as many problems as I could beforehand.

I knew I would be unable to print because UNC's printing program requires you to install specific hardware. I also would lose access to a good word-processing program. So I added all the documents I needed to my Google Drive and converted them into PDFs. I also knew I'd lose access to Spotify, so I downloaded MixerBox, which makes playlists of YouTube videos. Set with my arsenal of solutions, I felt confident that this day would be relatively easy, but I quickly discovered that you can't account for everything.

A mobile-only day begins

When I awoke on the day of my experiment, I was pleased to have no trouble going through my routine of checking emails and Twitter. All of the mobile sites I encountered were effective and easy to navigate. But my positivity about the day was soon shattered by the first text I received: a free Redbox code. I don't have a TV in my room, so without my laptop, a disc was useless. This was the first omen that Netflix would be my saving grace later.

With a sense of dread, I embarked on the rest of my day. I immediately noticed how much lighter my backpack was without a laptop, so at least there was one perk. In class, I was already used to doing the reading on my iPad. It was after class that I ran into trouble.

Help! No tabs!

Sticking to my Thursday routine, I headed to the Reese News Lab. However, I realized that doing any kind of research was going to be hard. When I am on a computer, I love using tabs and multiple windows. I can read something in my browser and take notes on it in a Word document. As I write this, I have open six Word documents, Spotify, an Excel spreadsheet and four windows in Google Chrome (31 tabs) open. And yes, those numbers were higher until I was embarrassed by how much I had open and decided to close a few.

In the lab, I decided to scroll through Twitter and Facebook to find the latest news. As I tapped through articles, though, I realized how much I missed the tab and find features. Links in both of these apps opened a new page within the app. However, these pages were slow and harder to navigate. Multimedia components from places like the Wall Street Journal were especially troublesome as I tried to navigate their normally mobile-friendly site within these other apps. Also, I couldn't just search for keywords on any page. Rather, I had to search for terms line-by-line.

Frustrated, I decided that I just wanted a break and opted to try the USA Today crossword, but I hit another road block. I couldn't access it on my Safari app: USA Today requires mobile users to purchase its crossword app. I'm a college student, so thanks, but no thanks.

All eyes on screens

I headed to the Student Union. Although I saw plenty of people I knew there, they all were engrossed by whatever was on their computer screens. The screen blocked them from social interactions.

I headed back to my room around 5 p.m. to charge my phone, which was already in the red. I turned on Netflix, but I quickly got antsy. I needed something else to do simultaneously so that I wasn't just mindlessly watching a TV show. I couldn't do any work on my iPad while I had Netflix running, so I resorted to cleaning. This lasted for an hour or so until I decided I just needed to get out and go to dinner.

But the problem wasn't over. After dinner, I started to try to teach myself HTML/CSS with Codecademy. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to attempt a few more courses, but in a rather ironic turn of events, I found the site was not mobile-friendly. All of the site's features worked on my iPad, but it was not easy to navigate and use. Even with my keyboard, which hides the onscreen keyboard, the site responded by zooming in too much. Sure, most people aren't coding from mobile devices now, but why can't we?

After facing yet another disappointment, I spent the rest of the night using my iPad to watch Netflix and my phone as a second screen, where I could read articles and play games,. But I still never found an adequate solution. I couldn't even clean out my inbox from my phone easily, as the mail app tries to archive messages rather than delete them. I opted to go to bed early knowing that as soon as I woke up Friday, I could have my laptop back.

Lessons learned

So what did I learn?

  1. It's expensive to use only mobile devices. While content is often free for desktop users, mobile users are forced to buy apps to access the same content.
  2. Mobile devices make multitasking harder.
  3. We miss social interactions and are less observant hiding behind computer screens.
  4. We can still perform most of our daily routines on mobile devices. In fact, most of the sites we interact with have a mobile-friendly version.

And when I finally did check my laptop, I found I hadn't really missed anything. Sure, I was unable to get ahead on my work, but I had still been connected to the rest of the world. So could I learn to survive without a laptop? Absolutely. Do I want to try it? Not in the slightest.

Lincoln Pennington is a freshman in the journalism school at UNC Chapel Hill with a second major in political science. He works as a staffer for reesenews.org and tweets from @Lincoln_Ross. He is a politics junkie interested in the future of the media and hopes to work in D.C. upon graduation in 2016.

This story originally appeared on Reese News Lab.

reeselablogo.jpgReese News Lab is an experimental news and research project based at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The lab was established in 2010 with a gift from the estate of journalism school alum Reese Felts. Our mission is to push past the boundaries of media today, refine best practices and embrace the risks of experimentation. We do this through: collaborating with researchers, students, the public and industry partners; producing tested, academically grounded insights for media professionals; and providing engaging content. We pursue projects that enable us to create engaging content and to answer research questions about the digital media environment. All of our projects are programmed, designed, reported, packaged and edited by a staff of undergraduate and graduate students.

September 04 2012

13:13

Nokia debuts free music streaming service in the USA

For how long?

Nokia :: Nokia today announced the launch of its free music streaming service Nokia Music in the USA. Nokia Music is a free mobile experience exclusive to Nokia Lumia handsets, providing consumers with a simple and delightful way to discover and enjoy music. Consumers can stream music from a suite of over 150 exclusive playlists that are curated and kept up to date by an expert team of US based musicologists. The playlists span a wide spectrum of musical genres from underground Detroit house tracks to New York Philharmonic favorites. Nokia Music also offers playlists created by global artists such as Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

Announcement here press release, press.nokia.com

HT: discussed here "Listen up Pandora: Nokia Music now playing in U.S. for free" - A report by Kevin C. Tofel, gigaom.com

Tags: Mobile Music

August 30 2012

20:35

Mobile Web Use Spikes When Prime Time TV Ads Air

By now it’s not surprising that huge numbers of people use their smartphones while watching TV in primetime. But when exactly? A new study finds that “people put their phones down at the top of the hour, when new shows start. And as soon as ads come on, they pick up their gadgets again.”

via AllThingsD.

15:59

Mobile and non-mobile media users: How do they perceive the news media and journalists?

Reynolds Journalism Insitute :: A majority of respondents overall — mobile media users and non-users — shared a generally favorable opinion of professional journalists, when asked if they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements on a five-point scale. That’s the good news. The bad news, or shall we say the “more thought-provoking news,” is that respondents in both categories also were about equally conflicted in their attitudes regarding the mainstream news media and the transition to mobile digital news technologies.

Findings rjionline.org

August 24 2012

18:43

Mobile ads lead 25pc of smartphone content buyers to purchase in-store

Marketing Charts :: Roughly 1 in 4 smartphone users have purchased applications or mobile web content over their devices (”content buyers”), according to [pdf direct download] a joint survey by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and Frank N. Magid Associates. 79% of those content buyers took some action after seeing a smartphone ad, with 24% saying they made a purchase at a store as a result.

A summary of findings by www.marketingcharts.com

August 23 2012

18:09

WhatsApp now delivers 10 billion messages each day

BGR :: Last October, BGR broke the news that WhatsApp was delivering 1 billion messages each day. This caused quite a stir, as it dovetailed with some mobile operator warnings about declining SMS volumes, most notably by KPN. On Thursday, just 10 months later, WhatsApp confirmed that it is now handling 10 billion messages a day — 4 billion inbound messages and 6 billion outbound. How’s that for a hockey stick?

new daily record: 4B inbound, 6B outbound = 10B total messages a day! #freebsd #erlang

— WhatsApp Inc. (@whatsapp) August 23, 2012

A report by Tero Kuittinen, www.bgr.com

Tags: Mobile
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