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July 30 2012

19:47

The silver lining in the #nbcfail cloud

A touch of irony: There’s good news in the #nbcfail fuss for the network and all networks: The channel is not dead, not yet.

If I went too far — which, of course, is what I do for a living — I might argue that once we could get all the sports from the Olympics live on the web and apps, then we’d abandon old-fashioned broadcast channels and fragment ourselves silly. The channel, I’d argue, is a vestigial and artificial necessity of scarce broadcast spectrum, so who needs it?

But, of course, that didn’t happen. NBC is getting record ratings for its old-fashioned channels — even though it is airing an incredible volume of video online and even though Twitter, Facebook, and the web act as gigantic spoiler networks assuring that every result is known by every American hours before prime time.

Here’s the silver lining, then: Viewers still want channels and the value they add. That is precisely why they’re so mad that NBC is not showing the hottest contests live, because that’s what they expect a great channel to give them: the best, right now.

So NBC could take the #NBCfail fiasco as a Valentine. Not only would I argue that all the spoilers and chatter online are driving audience to prime time but the audience is telling NBC they’d prefer to watch a well-produced channel than the internet.

Take that, Jarvis and all you internet triumphalists!

Listen hard, NBC. Serve your audience well and maybe you’ll keep an audience.

September 14 2011

07:51

Newspaper video: Time to reconsider your video strategy?

A few issues have popped up in my reading round the web that make me think that if online video has fallen off your agenda then it may be worth thinking again. A few things make me think that.

Engagement with HTML5 by publishers means that the idea of cross platform (web, tablet etc) video becomes a reality. The recent announcement by FT that they were moving away from the apple fold to deliver their apps from a web base shows a certain maturity in that area. It may not be universal but those publishers who engaged with apps with half an eye to html5 and associated tech are starting to see the benefit. They also have an exit route from Apple’s walled garden.

The announcement that the WSJ is upping it’s online video would, on the surface, seem to be a simple illustration of the point. But theres a bit more to it:

The Journal has expanded its video content in spite of its contract with CNBC, the leading business news network on television, and in spite of the fact that The Journal’s parent has its own business network, Fox Business.  The CNBC contract expires in about 15 months, but already Journal reporters tend to appear more often on Fox than on CNBC.

The shifting approaches of print in particular to the challenge of keeping your voice in a spreading market, often rests on the idea of impartiality. An alignment to Fox is as blunt a move to prove the point as you can get. But if you want to establish a ‘voice’ then video can be a key part of that changing ‘brand’.

Newsless broadcast

But there is also a shift on the other side of that relationship. There is a very clear by broadcasters towards product and not a service focus. That will leave a gap that print will have to backfill. Yes there is a big investment in online delivery services but the commercial driver is very much a product proposition. Most of the large broadcasters are seeing a real benefit in exclusive and value-added programming online. The ‘watch again’ of the iplayer-like channels, the webisodes and web exclusive episodes are all examples of how broadcast has ‘finally’ found its feet online.

I think that news is low on the agenda in a broadcasters strategy. For broadcasters, news is very much a service. It’s often something they have to do as a requirement to a license or a sop to public service. It’s easier to advertise around the x-factor than it is news at ten and that’s where the money will go. Non-broadcast providers will pay the price for that.

If you buy in your video from a third party, expect the prices to go up and the quality, range and relevance to go down. 

LocalTV

Here in the UK, we also have the looming Spector of localTV. There is obviously a new market to explore there. I’m skeptical about the range, depth and return that market will have for journalism but, hey, it never hurts to consider it.

So video gives you a good opportunity to extend your identity and cut free those ties with an increasingly newsless broadcast sector. Just invest a little in understanding the technology underlying the new platforms.In the long run it might be a better investment than simply paying to be on those platforms.

 

July 24 2011

07:22

Lance Ulanoff's (love) letter - Dear Twitter: don't change the 140 character limit

PC Mag :: Slate's Farhad Manjoo, makes an eloquent argument for raising Twitter's character limit. He argues that you can't say a whole lot in 140 characters. He's right that Twitter's character limit is tied to the service it was launched on, the SMS text messaging system, which, after message handlers and the sender's name, left just 140 characters to speak your mind. But then Manjoo makes a leap. "The 140-character limit now feels less like a feature than a big, obvious bug."

[Lance Ulanoff:] Twitter was never intended as a conversation hub. Yes, it's for sharing, some engagement, but is, necessarily, a broadcast and share medium. Longer posts, even the 280 characters he suggests, would undercut that intention.

My vote? I join Lance Ulanoff: "Dear Twitter: don't change ... ."

Continue to read Lance Ulanoff, www.pcmag.com

July 13 2011

12:38

Just 1 in 10 TV newsrooms have beat-based reporters - Key to better TV news?

TV News Check :: The beat system, under which reporters cover their beats — and only their beats — hasn’t existed in many TV newsrooms for years. And some believe that it's contributed to a decline in the quality of local TV news. Although the new economic realities of the business make the widespread return of full-fledged beat reporters unlikely, some are trying to bring them back in different and limited ways.

[Jerry Gumbert, CEO of AR&D:]  News leaders have to realign priorities and reinstitute beat systems ... if broadcast journalism is going to survive. Otherwise, TV newscasts will become increasingly indistinguishable from one another — a phenomenon already underway — as they become outlets for regurgitated or old news, he says.

Continue to read Diana Marszalek, www.tvnewscheck.com

April 25 2011

17:00

A web community with a TV show: Inside The Stream’s efforts to turn broadcasting into a social medium

Al Jazeera English debuted the online edition of its show The Stream before an energized crowd last week at an Online News Association meetup in Washington, DC. A hybrid of high-velocity online conversation and TV analysis, The Stream’s TV component will broadcast out of the Newseum, starting in May, four days a week. And it will be complemented by a continuous online operation that will mine the social media ecosystem for stories of global importance.

Billing itself as an “aggregator of online sources and discussion, seeking out unheard voices, new perspectives from people on the ground and untold angles related to the most compelling stories of the day,” The Stream looks to be a distillation of Al Jazeera’s signature global coverage with an eye towards the social media reporting whose significance proved itself yet again during this spring’s revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

Since The Stream’s online launch, stories have included the use of the hashtag #estadofallido (“failed state”) by Mexican Twitter users to address escalating drug violence; an Internet blackout in Nepal; Twitter’s capacity to save a dying language; and a Syrian revolt in (yes) Orange County, California. The Stream’s web operation is powered by Storify, the relatively new tool that allows you to curate social elements from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere around the web. Everything from posts from a blogger in Yemen to snapshots of anti-Arab American graffiti in the OC are woven together into a evocative multimedia narratives.

A web community with its own TV show

“The Stream is reporting on and taking part in a global conversation,” says Andrew Fitzgerald, a senior producer for The Stream. “Our stories are about conversations being had online. When we talk about one of these stories on the show, we want to add to those conversations.” Derrick Ashong, The Stream’s charismatic host (and the subject of a viral video during the 2008 presidential campaign), explained to the assembled crowd that the program was “curating the kind of conversation that lots of us are having all the time.” Or, as he told Fast Company last week: “The concept of The Stream is actually a web community that has its own daily television show on AJ.”

The Stream seems like a logical next step given Al Jazeera’s newfound online clout. The network experienced massive digital growth during the Arab Spring, with web traffic exploding by 2,500 percent at the beginning of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt as global audiences turned to Al Jazeera English for insight into the turmoil. When the network streamed Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, traffic jumped from 50,000 visitors to 135,371, with 71 percent of the increase coming from social media.

Overnight, Al Jazeera English became an essential online read for global affairs. (Its coverage was so widely praised that Hillary Clinton dubbed it “real news” — this despite its former status as network non grata in America during the Iraq War, when it fell into disfavor with the Bush administration over critical coverage of the war effort.)

Now, a whole class of young and tech-savvy American journalists has been reintroduced to the network through Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. At The Huffington Post, Michael Calderone rightly speculates that buzz surrounding The Stream’s online game will serve as a vehicle for Al Jazeera English’s adoption into the American cable market — via, in particular, a generation of younger, hipper news consumers.

Voice to the voiceless

Regardless of The Stream’s place in Al Jazeera’s larger strategy, however, the network’s English-speaking operatives have other reasons to celebrate the launch of the innovative new program. With The Stream, Al Jazeera may succeed where the majority of American media organizations have fallen short: not only in fully integrating social media into a news operation, but also in embracing the medium as an inherent feature of the new news programming.

“Social media has the power to break down the centralized control of what constitutes news. If enough people are talking about something on the Internet it IS news. Communities thus have the power to define their OWN news,” notes consultant editor and executive producer Stephen Phelps, who has worked as a producer for the BBC for the past several decades, in an email. “Our job is to find those communities who are saying something which fits the Al Jazeera vision of giving voice to the voiceless and looking at the world from every angle and every side. And to do this on a broad basis through empowering our own community to crowd-source the news. The network’s opportunities to fulfill that goal are greatly enhanced by a program which taps social media.”

In practice, the actual manifestations of the idea of “social news” in Western media outlets have been lacking, generally less focused on utilizing the latest tools for reporting and storytelling and more intent on widespread distribution of branded content. For many media organizations, Facebook and Twitter appear to be first and foremost infrastructure companies: They provide highly efficient channels for spreading content or expanding an outlet’s audience. And until recently, they’ve been treated as such: Virtually every media outlet, from your small-town paper to The New York Times, has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, and (increasingly) Tumblr for promoting their latest stories and soliciting feedback from readers. But very few make the content of social networks a feature of regular news packages. Andy Carvin’s frenetic Twitter curation of the Middle East uprisings has been the de facto example of social media’s newsgathering power; but it’s also notable for being exceptional — in every sense. When stories based on happenings in the social space are published by major news outlets, the outlets seem fixated on a narrow scope of “what’s viral” rather than “what’s vital.”

Social + broadcast

“This is not a show simply about the hottest viral videos or trending stories on the Internet. #8millionBeliebers and #TeamSheen will not figure on The Stream,” proclaims The Stream. “Instead, our goal is to connect with unique, less-covered online communities around the world and share their stories and viewpoints on the news of the day.”

For American cable news providers like Fox, CNN, and MSNBC, the underlying incentive to deploy social media in the service of marketing and traffic goals rather than as an all-encompassing editorial tool may be out of necessity; where cable news used to be the growth sector of the American media industry, it is now on the decline. CNN fared worst in 2010, losing 37 percent of its primetime viewers, while Fox News shed 11 percent and MSNBC 5 percent. The organizations that do try to embrace social do it with the hope of bringing in (or retaining) viewers than developing a new form of storytelling.

In contrast to the shrinking U.S. cable market, Al Jazeera’s sudden growth makes it the perfect network to be creative and innovative in social journalism as a legitimate accompaniment to its regular online and broadcast programming. It should be noted that this is only partially due to the network’s recent online coup: Planning for The Stream started in November, well before protests broke out in Tunisia. “It was generated from the realization within the channel that social media was fast becoming a really important element of global information exchange,” says Phelps. “The revolutions only served to convince us we were on the right track.”

Operationally, the focus of The Stream is “purely editorial,” Phelps says. “The program comes under the over-arching banner of Al Jazeera’s model, which is about offering a different global voice. We are not constrained by the necessity to generate advertising revenue.”

“We’d certainly like to see a lot of web traffic — but engagement is for us an important part of our editorial process,” added Fitzgerald via email. “The Stream is meant to be a participatory online newsgathering community — the measure of our success in engagement will be how good the stories we cover are.”

A “truly global perspective”

While the program intends on being digital (and social) first, The Stream’s online component will certainly benefit from the global audience that Al Jazeera English already enjoys. The entire Al Jazeera network broadcasts to more than 220 million households in more than 100 countries worldwide, compared to the BBC World Service and BBC World News’ combined 241 million viewers in 2010 (BBC World Service projected a loss of 30 million listeners in 2011 due to budget constraints). Long-term plans for The Stream involve incorporating more social tools and a vast range of voices in conjunction with multiple daily broadcasts. “In a year or two I’d like the network to be doing four episodes a day, seven days a week, from two broadcast centers — in DC and Doha,” Phelps tells me. “And that our community is driving much of the editorial. Social media is about community. We must build one, and listen to it.”

“Like the rest of the network, our programme is meant to reflect the truly global perspective of a truly global network,” adds Fitzgerald. “That said, we think you’ll find the stories we cover and the tone in which we cover them might skew a bit younger than the rest of the network.”

The only limitations for The Stream’s television programming lie in the limited blocks of airtime and, as Phelps says, “in the ‘linear’ nature of TV (as opposed to the ‘distributed/randomized’ nature of information on the Internet).” The source of stories, he explains, “are now almost infinite. We are no longer constrained by our ability to get reporters/crews/satellites somewhere in order to cover it in a media-rich way.” The Stream’s format and focus are entirely flexible, to the extent that most of the technical challenges have involved translating the sleek curation of Storify into a broadcast setting. “Our guests are live via Skype; we’re showing Twitter on screen, highlighting short clips of YouTube videos played online,” says Fitzgerald. “It’s a very true experience to the web, actually. It just happens to be occurring on TV.”

April 01 2011

21:06

Studies find journalists use Twitter for broadcast

The final research paper at the ISOJ focused on how newsrooms were using Twitter.

Dale Blasingame from Texas State University, San Marcos, looked at how Twitter was changing TV news.

He started by saying that a web first approach in newsrooms is no longer enough due to the instant dissemination of news via Twitter.

Twitter allows both professionals and citizens to “jump the gate” and send news directly to audiences, challenging the traditional gatekeeping role of the journalist.

Blasingame studied coded almost 2,300 tweets from San Antonio newsrooms on a shooting incident.

He said it this case study showed how Twitter could be used as a tool to deliver news, but added “it would be foolish to suggest this happens on a daily basis.”

In terms of his analysis of tweets, the most were promotional in nature, followed by breaking news.

The results were worse for official station Twitter accounts. One station account just sent promotional links for web stories automatically.

Blasingame recommended that newsrooms should restrain promotional tweets to just 20% of all their messages.

Student uses of Twitter

Next up, Carrie Brown, University of Memphis, together with Elizabeth Hendrickson, University of Tennessee and Jeremy Littau, Lehigh University, presented a study on how Twitter could help journalists reach underserved communities.

Brown qualified the study as exploratory and largely descriptive, but it provides a useful starting point.

One group she studied was young people, students between 19 – 29. She found many of them know each other and post about what they are doing or banter during class. Twitter was used as a social tool for informal communication

Students saw Twitter as a pseudo-anonymous space, with lots of use for Twitter for fun and entertainment. A few were using it for professional networking.

But students also talked about getting information on Twitter, stumbling across news.

Brown also found that students were very receptive to getting news on Twitter from journalists. In the survey, students reported more engagement with the news.

But some wanted more of a relationship with journalists on Twitter, rather than just broadcast headlines.

Littau said students wanted connectivity, information, expression and entertainment from Twitter. But African-American students expressed more of a preference for information and expression than Caucasian students.

Shovelling tweets

Marcus Messner, Virginia Commonwealth University, with Maureen Linke and Asriel Eford, presented research on how traditional news media in the US were adopting Twitter and social bookmarking.

For their study, they looked at the top 99 newspapers and top 100 TV stations in the US. By 2010, 198 of them had Twitter accounts. These were the main Twitter feeds from the news organisation, rather than from individual reporters.

As for social bookmarking, 36% offered this in 2009 and 92% by 2010. Facebook has become almost fully adopted by the news media, with Twitter adoption jumping from a third in 2009 to more than 90% in 2010.

In terms of Twitter use, one in three news media did not tweet in 2009, falling to one in four by 2010.

Most of the tweets were news related.  Personal communication accounted for just 5.7% in 2009 and 3.5% in 2010.

Messner said the tweets were largely used as promotional tools for web stories, with few differences between newspapers and television.

He concluded that Twitter has been fully adopted by the US news media but not used to its full potential.

“Most tweets are still shovelware,” he said, “they are not engagement of the community.” He urged news organisations to look at Twitter as a social space, rather than just another publication platform.

International perspective on Twitter

The final paper came from a team of researchers who looked at the use of social media in 27 news outlets in 7 Iberian and Latin American countries.

Presenting the findings Elvira García de Torres (Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, Spain) found that most messages on Twitter and Facebook were based on headline links.

Only 5.6% were conversational on Facebook. Only five newspapers engaged in a conversation with users on the news.

As might be expected, the researchers found that conversational messages have more potential to engage audiences.

The team found few requests for information from users, but also that journalists received little response from the audience.  Journalists did see some value in going to Facebook to find photos of people.

Surprising, the researchers found there were no rules, or no planning in the newsroom, around the use of social media.

18:58

Meredith Artley on CNN’s digital strategy

The second keynote of the ISOJ was by Meredith Artley, vice president and managing editor, CNN.com

She started by stressing the importance of journalism and showed dramatic images of the aftermath of the disaster in Japan.

Like for other news organisations, Japan has proved a major draw for CNN. In the 10 days since the Japan quake on March 11, CNN had:

  • 75 million average page views per day on PC
  • 15 million average video starts
  • 1 million mobile app downloads
  • 9 million average page views per day on mobile

Artley went on to talk about some of the work under way in CNN in participation, video and mobile.

One such initiative is “Open Story” that pulls together traditional reporting, user-generated content and data. Open Story is a collaborative story-telling interface, such as this one on Japan.

Another project to let users leave a video comment on stories will go live this summer. And potentially, said Artley, the videos could be used on air.

She also previewed a new video interface, with a more cinematic feel and video in HD.  CNN also wants to create a more integrated viewing experience, so that video viewing can pick up from PC screen to iPad.

On mobile, CNN gets 174 million page views a month in February and these are expected to be over 200 million in March due to Japan. On the iPhone and iPad, CNN has had 5 million downloads.

Artley compared CNN’s strategy to Pilates: strengthening the core and stretching into new areas.

 

March 03 2011

21:03

Video: Gaddafi’s vision of Libyan society

It can be hard to understand Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s seemingly delusional rantings. But this is a leader who has sought to turn Libya into a “jamahiriya” – his vision of a state of the masses.

During my time covering the North Africa for the BBC in the early 1990s, I visited Libya a couple of times. One of my TV reports from the time sought to explore how Gaddafi was trying to shape Libyan society.

Though it is from December 1994, I am sharing the video as think it helps us understand what life was like under the Libyan ruler.

February 14 2011

03:23

Pondering predictions…


…in this case, one I made more than a decade ago. The Internet was young and fanciful thoughts about what might happen to news were being bandied about when I came up with my wild concept.

Imagine a news organization that only employed a few anchors and reporters, but a ton of writers and producers. Imagine a breaking story…a plane crash. Rather than sending a team out, a producer does an Internet search (not even sure if Google was around at this point) and manages to locate a home across the street from the crash. Makes a phone call and tells the person who answers to hook up their video camera to their computer, point it out the window, and describe what they see. Almost unimaginable.

So what do we have today? Skype. Live streaming sites. Uh…it has happened, just not yet completely the way I guessed it might.

All this brought about by a discussion on b-roll.

What began as a discussion of the National Press Photographers Association contest and magazine has evolved into a discussion of the place of broadcast (read TV) members in the organization, how they are being served by NPPA (or not), and how the quality of broadcast has gone downhill – in terms of production values and equipment.

Sigh. There are a lot of anguished folks out there…who remember the “good ole days,” when a camera(wo)man could feel good about what they produced at the end of the day.

But financial hard times are a reality and we don’t always get what we want.

One of the lessons to be learned is from a very old, very tiny camera – the 35mm camera. For more details, check out the information on photo.net.

1914: Oscar Barnack, employed by German microscope manufacturer Leitz, develops camera using the modern 24x36mm frame and sprocketed 35mm movie film.

THAT was just the beginning. The camera became commercially available in 1924 (Leica) and took off in the years just before WWII. By the 1960s it had pushed the standard high quality cameras into the background and for forty plus years became the standard in print news photography – and there it reigned until the advent of digital.

We seem to be poised on the cusp of another change in standards…whether broadcast shooters like it or not. While there will always be room for big bucks, high end, expensive cameras, I am convinced that the news broadcast standard is the 1/3 inch three chip pro-sumer camera…with of course, the requisite bells and whistles. XLR, manual controls, shoulder mount, good glass.

The audience may love high-end high-quality in their movies. But I suspect they will settle for excellent quality video in news and general programs. I just hope they also demand the highest production standards to go with it.


January 07 2011

21:16

New Channel 4 show pokes fun at the news

The UK TV network, Channel 4, has a comedy show starting on January 20 that takes a satirical look at the news.

10 O’Clock Live is described as “an intelligent, informative and – more importantly – funny take on the world of current affairs with a mix of debates, interviews, topical comedy, investigations and opinion pieces.”

The line-up of hosts is impressive: Charlie Brooker, Jimmy Carr, Lauren Laverne and David Mitchell.

The trailer is a delight, especially if you’ve worked in TV news.

December 23 2010

15:55

Print is Video King…

It is official.

Newspapers have surpassed broadcast in numbers viewing online video. PLUS they are uploading more video.


November 18 2010

21:30

CBC updates social media guidelines

The revised CBC guidelines on social media are to be welcomed. They are based on the principles CBC applies to other forms of media, rather than a detailed list of do’s and don’ts.

The guidelines acknowledge the importance of social media tools “for gathering information, as well as disseminating it.”

But add that “when using social media as an information-gathering tool, we apply the same standards as those for any other source of newsgathering.”

The guidelines advise against using social media to talk about unconfirmed reports:

We are consistent in our standards, no matter what the platform, in disseminating information. If we would not put the information on air or on our own website, we would not use social media to report that information.

In the section on sourcing, the CBC stresses that “our standards apply to all types of sources, including those coming via social media, when they are used for news gathering purposes.”

This suggests the CBC would do what the BBC did during the Mumbai bombing, publishing unverified tweets alongside material from its reporters.

The section on the personal use of social media also draws from general CBC principles. It implicit acknowledges how social media tends to blur the line between the personal and professional, advising staff to “maintain professional decorum and do nothing that can bring the Corporation into disrepute.”

Rather than forbidding staff from expressing their opinion on personal social media accounts, the guidelines advise that “the expression of personal opinions on controversial subjects or politics can undermine the credibility of CBC journalism and erode the trust of our audience.”

Some may see this as extending professional codes of conduct into personal social media spaces. One of the aspects of social media is how it combines both the personal and professional in usually publicly accessible platforms.

(Full disclosure: I am married to the director of digital media for CBC News, Rachel Nixon)

November 17 2010

19:30

The neverending broadcast: Frontline looks to expand its docs into a continual conversation

Frontline, PBS’s public affairs documentary series, has one of the best reputations in the business for the things that journalism values most highly: courageous reporting, artful storytelling, the kind of context-heavy narrative that treats stories not simply as stories, but as vehicles of wisdom. It’s a “news magazine” in the most meaningful sense of the term.

But even an institution like Frontline isn’t immune to the disruptions of the web. Which is to say, even an institution like Frontline stands to benefit from smart leveraging of the web. The program’s leadership team is rethinking its identity to marry what it’s always done well — produce fantastic broadcasts — with something that represents new territory: joining the continuous conversation of the web. To that end, Frontline will supplement its long-form documentaries with shorter, magazine-style pieces — which require a shorter turnaround time to produce — and with online-only investigations. (The site’s motto: “Thought-provoking journalism on air and online.”)

But it’s also expanding its editorial efforts beyond packaged investigations, hoping to shift its content in a more discursive direction. Which leads to a familiar question, but one that each organization has to tackle in its own way: How do you preserve your brand and your value while expanding your presence in the online world?

One tool Frontline is hoping can help answer that question: Twitter. And not just Twitter, the conversational medium — though “we really want to be part of the journalism conversation,” Frontline’s senior producer, Raney Aronson-Rath, told me — but also Twitter, the aggregator. This afternoon, Frontline rolled out four topic-focused Twitter accounts — “micro-feeds,” it’s calling them:

Conflict Zones & Critical Threats (@FrontlineCZCT), which covers national security and shares the series’ conflict-zone reporting;

Media Watchers (@FrontlineMW), which tracks news innovation and the changing landscape of journalism;

Investigations (@FrontlineINVSTG), which covers true crime, corruption, and justice — spotlighting the best investigative reporting by Frontline and other outlets; and

World (@FrontlineWRLD), which covers international affairs.

The topic-focused feeds are basically a beat system, applied to Twitter. They’re a way of leveraging one of the core strengths of Frontline’s journalism: its depth. Which is something that would be almost impossible for Frontline, Aronson-Rath notes, to achieve with a single feed. So “we decided that the best thing for us was to be really intentional about who we were going to reach out to and what kind of topics we were going to tweet about — and not just have it be a promotional tool.”

Each feed will be run by two-person teams, one from the editorial side and the other from the promotional — under the broad logic, Aronson-Rath notes, that those two broad fields are increasingly collapsing into each other. And, even more importantly, that “all the work that we do in the social media landscape is, by its very essence, editorial.” Even something as simple as a retweet is the result of an editorial decision — and one that requires the kind of contextual judgment that comes from deep knowledge of a given topic.

So Frontline’s feed runners, Aronson-Rath notes, “are also the people who have, historically, been working in those beats in Frontline’s broadcast work.” (Frontline communications manager Jessica Smith, for example, who’ll be helping to run the “Conflict Zones” feed, covered that area previously, in cultivating the conversation between Frontline and the national security blogosphere as a component of the program’s earlier web efforts.) In other words: “These guys know what they’re doing on these beats.”

To that end, the teams’ members will be charged with leveraging their knowledge to curate content from the collective resources of all of Frontline’s contributors — from reporters to producers, public media partners to internal staff — and, of course, from the contributors across the web. The teams will work collaboratively to produce their tweets (they’ll even sit next to each other to maximize the teamwork). And some feeds will contain not just curated content, but original reporting, as well. Frontline reporters Stephen Grey and Murray Smith are about to dispatch to Afghanistan; while they’re there, they’ll tweet from @FrontlineCZCT. (They’ll tweet from personal feeds, as well, which @FrontlineCZCT curators will pull into the Frontline-branded feed.)

The broad idea behind the new approach is that audiences identify with topics as much as they do with brands. And there’s also, of course, the recognition of the sea of material out there which is of interest to consumers, but which ends up, documentary filmmaking being what it is, on the cutting-room floor. The new approach, it’s hoped, will give Frontline fans a behind-the-scenes look into the film production process. “You wouldn’t actually know where Frontline’s reporting teams are right now,” Aronson-Rath points out. “You only know when we show up.” Now, though, “when a team goes into Afghanistan, we’re going to let you know where they are. We’re going to give you some intelligence about what they’re doing. And it’ll be a completely different level of a conversation, we’re hoping.”

It’ll also be a different level of engagement — for Frontline’s producers and its consumers. It’s a small way of expanding the idea of what a public affairs documentary is, and can be, in the digital world: a process, indeed, as much as a product. “We think,” Aronson-Rath says, “that this is going to help keep our stories alive.”

October 01 2010

16:45

September 03 2010

21:53

Great Moments in Broadcast Journalism #312

The latest in a continuing series presenting the career highlights of famed journalist Keith Olbermann.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

August 31 2010

10:48

Pakistan floods: BBC works with local radio to provide and source information

The BBC News Editors blog has an interesting post from Nazes Afroz, regional executive editor for Asia & Pacific at the World Service, explaining how the BBC has been covering the ongoing Pakistan floods, keeping victims informed through local radio partners and sourcing stories from people calling the radio stations.

He said that as the floods continue to devastate the country the BBC had to adapt its coverage to suit a more long-term model.

When the disaster struck a month ago, it became apparent that the story would be very big, affecting millions of people. As the story became bigger within the first few days, we made the decision to start a “Lifeline” programme with essential life-saving information for the flood victims. The broadcasts contain information like fresh flood alerts, weather reports, how to cope with diseases, how and where to get aid etc (…)

[The radio stations] also decided to use a toll-free phone with voice recording facility and asked the flood victims to call and record their stories.

After being taken on by the BBC Worldwide’s local partner stations, the service was able to be offered in Pashtu as well as Urdu, opening it up to an audience of between 60 and 80 million people. Their stories have provided first-hand accounts of events for the BBC’s overall coverage.

See his full post here…Similar Posts:



August 30 2010

19:21

Video viewing habits…

Thanks to tvspy for the link to this study about video viewing habits.

Check out full details by reading the full article, but summarized in their headline:

Live TV Is For Old People: Time Shifting And Online Make Up Nearly Half Of All Viewing


August 25 2010

14:25

Could Taiwan’s wacky news animations catch on?

Following the growing trend for animation re-enactments of news stories in Taiwan and Hong Kong TV broadcasts, Time Magazine this week detailed the successes of one of the companies behind these videos, Next Media Animation.

According to the report, the Taiwan news service produces more than 30 computer-animated re-constructions every day, from Lindsay Lohan’s prison term to Gordon Brown’s rumoured bullying to the actions of Steve Slater, the US air steward who abandoned his plane by emergency slide after an altercation with a passenger.

The company reportedly had a bid for a cable licence denied last year, due to “the sensational nature” of some animations. As a result Next Media launched as an online news channel and has been live for around two weeks, according to the feature.

Next Media’s commercial director Mark Simon is quoted by Time Magazine as saying that in the near future “if you don’t have an animation in your news sequence, it’s going to be like not having colour photographs in a newspaper.”

Following the Time Magazine article, Lostremote.com picked the story up and asked whether animations like Slater’s slide exit, which it reports is receiving more than four million views a day on Next Media’s site, could become a hit with Western audiences.

I can imagine it starting with tabloid TV, but can’t rule out some station using a variation of animated news. After all, we use some animations already (think of an animation showing a plane going down a runway, taking off and crashing). This is another step entirely. While it’s clear the stuff is animated, will that be enough to keep news from crossing the line into fiction? Judging from the popularity, it’s clear the audience likes this stuff. But is it local news-worthy?

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August 14 2010

02:35

Television News Careers : What Is Broadcast Journalism?

Broadcast journalism used to be restricted to TV and radio only, but now the Internet plays an integral role in the field of broadcasting the news through blogs, videos and station Web sites. Understand the definition of broadcast journalism with insider information from an award-winning former TV news anchor in this free video on television jobs. Expert: Glenn Selig Contact: www.ThePublicityAgency.com Bio: Glenn Selig currently owns and operates The Publicity Agency based in Tampa, Fla. Filmmaker: Christopher Rokosz

June 07 2010

21:01

The iPhone 4 as a mobile multimedia suite for journalists

Looking beyond the hype that normally accompanies news from Apple, the new iPhone 4 has the potential to put a multimedia production suite into the hands of journalists.

One of the most significant improvements is the 5 megapixel camera, with the ability to shoot video in 720P HD.

The more powerful A4 processor and the new screen resolution will also make it easier and faster to edit video on the go.

At the UBC Graduate School of Journalism where I teach, we have been one of the journalism schools trialing multimedia editing apps created by Canadian company Vericorder.

The latest version, called 1st Video, offers the ability to record, edit and send video, as well as photo slideshows and audio.

Using an external mic, such as this mini mic sold by Vericorder, the quality of the sound recording was very good.

A device that you carry all the time loaded with a mobile multimedia editing suite is a powerful combination for a journalist, let alone people caught up in news events.

Oone of the main limitations has been the quality of the video that the iPhone 3GS could record. At best, it was 640 by 480 resolution.

The new camera addresses this limitation. Of course, there are still questions over the actual quality of the video and it is not going to replace professional or prosumer HD camcorders.

But it might just out of the newsroom the pocket HD cameras from Flip or Kodak, with a quality good enough for broadcast.

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