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March 28 2013

14:00

At The Wall Street Journal, a smartphone app has reporters on board for shooting video

The text-based web is dead, says Michael Downing. When AOL CEO Tim Armstrong announced his intention this month to transform the company into a platform for video, Downing heard a death knell — one he’s been expecting for some time. We are, after all, as he says, on the precipice of “the rise of the visual web.”

Downing has a dog in this fight; he’s the founder of Tout, a video sharing website and app that makes it easy for users to upload and share short — under 15 seconds — videos in real-time. Although originally designed as a consumer device, it also appealed to publishers: The Wall Street Journal approached Downing with the idea for a proprietary app that reporters could use as a news gathering tool. With the addition of some analytics tools and a centralized management function that allows editors to quickly vet clips before they’re published, that became WorldStream, which we wrote about in August.

“Consumer behavior has become much more accustomed to consuming the news they want as it happens,” says Downing. “The WSJ was trying to be much more in line with real-time news and real-time publishing.”

More than half a year later, how’s WorldStream working out? The Journal seems pretty happy. On the business side, WorldStream point man and WSJ deputy editor of video Mark Scheffler describes the project as a “destination but also a clearinghouse.” While all of the WSJ’s mobile videos are first published to the feed, many go on to live second lives across a wide variety of platforms. Some clips follow reporters to live broadcast appearances, while others are embedded into article pages and blogs. Andy Regal, the Journal’s head of video production, said that they don’t break out WorldStream views from the newspaper’s overall video numbers, which he said total between 30 and 35 million streams per month.

That kind of traffic across platforms draws the attention of advertisers. The WSJ says video ads generate “premium” rates, meaning somewhere around $40 to $60 CPM. Says Tim Ware, WSJ director of mobile sales, of the Journal’s broader video strategy: “We’re very bullish on the growth of WSJ Live this fiscal year, and thus the growth in video ad revenue. We’re also starting to contemplate some one-off sponsorships within our overarching video coverage of select events and stories.” (After spending about a total of about an hour on WorldStream, however, I only saw one ad — for a “smart document solutions” company — repeated about a half dozen times.)

But the surprise, both for Downing and WSJ management, is how readily — and ably — the WSJ’s reporters have taken to the new medium; getting reporter buy-in has been a struggle for many newspaper video initiatives. “It started out as an internal tool because we didn’t know how many people would be able to accommodate this kind of approach with the technology and the software,” Regal says, “but they think about it as part of their daily work now.” Armed with iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Android devices, hundreds of WSJ staffers have filed video clips via Tout; in the 229 days since launch, that’s 2,815 videos. In many cases, Downing said, the reporters didn’t even need training: “They just jumped right in and started using it.”

Charles Levinson has been reporting for the Journal from places like Syria “What are the assets that give us an advantage over the competitor? We have 2,000 reporters around the world,” he said. “How do you parlay 2,000 reporters into good video?” Levinson says the Tout app is helping the WSJ avoid print media’s tendency toward “mediocre” video production.

Christina Binkley is a style columnist at the WSJ who first experimented with the app while reporting on New York’s 2012 Fashion Week. She says there’s a lot of pressure on reporters to be producing a huge variety of content — articles, columns, blogs, Instagrams, tweets. She said, unlike some other apps, WorldStream has really stuck with her: “I can add a lot of value to my column very quickly without having to mic somebody up.”

Scheffler says some of the reporters have gained basic video shooting skills so quickly that the footage they file can be edited together into longer clips that could pass for more traditionally produced video. Going forward, Scheffler hopes to put better mobile editing tools in their hands: “Being able to be full-fledged creators on a mobile platform is something that we’re just going to continue being at the frontier of,” he said.

Regal’s focus, meanwhile, will be to make sure none of that prime footage is being lost in the ever quickening deluge that is the WorldStream feed. He’s considering a “Best of WorldStream” weekly digest, and a variety of other news packages that make that valuable content more findable, and more shareable.

News organizations have been chasing the promise of video advertising for years now, and the rise of apps like Vine illustrate the rise of social video sharing. But Downing says he isn’t worried about the competition. “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the existing video sharing apps have to do with self-expression,” he says, comparing Vine to something like Instagram. Tout’s enterprise apps skip the idea of sharing with friends and focuses on fast, concise updates from outlets that users follow based on broader personal interest.

“It’s a real-time, reverse chronological vertical feed of updates,” says Downing, “Whether it’s Twitter or LinkedIn, that is becoming the standard form factor for being able to track that information that you curate yourself.”

Since partnering with The Wall Street Journal last year, a number of publishers have pursued similar agreements with Tout — CBS, Fox, NBC Universal, WWE, La Gardere and Conde Nast are among them. By the end of 2013, Downing expects to host around 200 media outlets, including some of News Corp.’s other brands. Downing says these publisher agreements are now the company’s “primary mode of business,” not the consumer product.

What does Downing see coming in video? He confidently points to Google’s spring 2012 earnings report, when for the first time, its cost-per-click rate fell. “That was the sounding bell. That was the beacon. That was the one clear signal to the world that the era of the print metaphor defining the web experience…was over.”

12:52

August 26 2012

19:21

Instagram goes mainstream as the AP plans convention coverage via iPhones

Beet.TV :: The AP's staff photographers covering the upcoming political conventions in Tampa and Charlotte will not just be shooting for the wire service with their high-end DSLR cameras, they will shoot separate stories using iPhones and uploading the images via Instagram.

Video interview with Shazna Nessa, AP's Deputy Managing Editor for Editorial Products and Innovations by Andy Plesser, www.beet.tv

AP announces coverage plan press release, www.ap.org

August 22 2012

15:04

Flickr update its Android app: New tabbar, metadata editing & more

The Next Web :: Launching in September 2011, Flickr’s Android app took its time to come to the platform and since then has lacked behind its iPhone counterpart. However, Yahoo has pushed an new update today, overhauling its UI to add a new tabbar, new ways to explore, the editing of metadata and whole host of other new features.

A report by Matt Brian, thenextweb.com

August 08 2012

14:00

How the Knight Lab's Babl App Helped Lollapaloozans Deal with Storms

This post was written by Jordan Young of the Knight News Innovation Lab.

IMG_2597.jpg

This past weekend marked the annual music carnival known as Lollapalooza" held in Chicago's Grant Park. As you'd expect, close to 100,000 people attending a large event can generate a lot of hot conversations on social media outlets.

The Knight News Innovation Lab recently released a mobile application, Babl, which gives users a unique way to share and discover news. This iPhone app offers a visual alternative to reading through a scrolling list of tweets. Babl users can create their own conversation topics by entering a title and keywords. The app uses the terms entered to create and display a collage of tweeters' photographs that can then be tapped to reveal their individual tweet.

behind the scenes

Prior to Lollapalooza, we set up a featured topic for the opening day of the fest allowing any user to sample the news, conversation and entertainment as it happened. We thought it might be fun to see the app in action during a lively event -- and apparently Mother Nature agreed by bringing severe thunderstorms to the Chicago area and forcing an evacuation of the park.

Thumbnail image for IMG_2620.jpg

Through Babl, we were able to participate in Twitter conversations about Lollapalooza throughout the weekend, starting on Friday as people filed into Grant Park to see their favorite artists and dance like neon-clad wild animals. On the afternoon of Day 2, tweets brought us the first news of the show being suspended due to an incoming tempest. Babl users were able to view reports like official news tweets, tweets from artists, and tweets from the herd of people as they were being evacuated into the streets of downtown and parking garage shelters -- most attendees opted for bars.

A few hours later, all the weather drama subsided and Babl displayed tweets of people re-entering the gates and enjoying the rest of the evening through Sunday's closing. Babl enabled us to easily view the local and global tweeters participating in a conversation topic, and gave us a rich media experience of an event in real time.

Jordan Young has been part of the Knight News Innovation Lab since its launch in August of 2011. She is a freelance blogger, contributing writer for Illinois Meetings + Events Magazine, and aspiring publisher. You can reach her at knightlab@northwestern.edu and on Twitter: @knightnewslab.

KnightLogo.jpgEstablished in 2011 with a $4.2 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Knight News Innovation Lab is a joint initiative of Northwestern University's Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Medill School of Journalism. In partnerships built across the Chicagoland region -- from neighborhood bloggers to large media companies -- the Lab invents, improves and distributes technology that help build and sustain a better informed citizenry and a more innovative publishing environment.

August 07 2012

05:33

Mat Honan: How Apple and Amazon security flaws led to my 'epic hacking'

It can take little to destroy a (digital) identity.

Mat Honan | Wired :: In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

In many ways, this was all my fault.

A report by Mat Honan, www.wired.com

August 04 2012

13:48

Former Gizmodo writer Mat Honan's hacked iCloud password leads to nightmare

TUAW The Unofficial Apple Weblog :: Former Gizmodo writer Mat Honan is having a pretty bad day. As you can read on his Tumblr post (not to mention elsewhere), hackers compromised his iCloud account. They used that access to reset his iCloud password, reset his Gmail password, gain control of his Twitter account (which in turn gave them access to Gizmodo's Twitter feed and 400K followers) and generally wreak mayhem.

A report by Michael Rose, www.tuaw.com

August 02 2012

16:44

July 31 2012

17:35

Facebook for iPhone and iPad gains a new "save for later" feature

iMore :: Facebook has added a new feature to the Facebook for iPhone and iPad app that allows you to save posts for later. In reality, this works similar to what other services call "favorites". If you browse the Saved posts, you are able to scroll through them later as their own feed. You have to physically mark them as Unsave to remove them from the Saved folder.

A report by Leanna Lofte, www.imore.com

HT: Elaine Burke, siliconrepublic.com

July 25 2012

08:32

'The Essential Mobile Journalism Kit': What you need to know if you use iPhone for reporting

Multimediashooter.com :: Here’s a peak at the Mobile Reporting Field Guide, an iBook on everything journalists need to know about using an iPhone for reporting. It includes reviews on equipment, apps, as well as example videos. The guide is the culmination of work by several students enrolled in a mobile journalism course at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Mobile reporting, equipment - Continue here Koci Hernandez, www.multimediashooter.com

Direct iBook [267.MB] download

iBook via Apple iTunes

Direct PDF [267.MB] download - (This version is text only, no A/V samples)

Overview download options

HT: Mediabistro/10,000 Words via journalism.co.uk

Tags: iPhone Tools

May 05 2012

06:57

.@adamclarkestes: New York Times tech reporter Jenna Wortham, what I read

The Atlantic Wire :: Jenna Wortham: Most mornings, I wake up around 7 or 7:30 a.m. and check the news on my iPhone. I usually sleep with my laptop nearby, but the phone is quicker. If its relatively quiet in my beat -- i.e. nothing that would warrant filing a quick blog post or might elicit a call from the news desk -- I go back to sleep for a little while, or if its warm enough, I’ll go for a quick jog. ...

[Adam Clark Estes:] How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring down on us all? What sources can't they live without?

Continue to read Adam Clark Estes, www.theatlanticwire.com

Tags: iPhone

May 03 2012

07:24

NHL app lets fans play predictive game in sync with TV

Lost Remote :: The pro sports leagues have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on the second screen, and the NHL has rolled out the most promising synchronized experience we’ve seen among the leagues to date. Called NHL Preplay (App Store link), the iPad app (iPhone coming soon) enables fans to predict what will happen next in live games, competing head-to-head with their friends — the first app of its kind in pro sports.

Continue to read Cory Bergman, www.lostremote.com

April 29 2012

08:16

Apple’s creative tax strategy aims at low-tax states and nations

New York Times :: Apple, the world’s most profitable technology company, doesn’t design iPhones here. It doesn’t run AppleCare customer service from this city. And it doesn’t manufacture MacBooks or iPads anywhere nearby. Yet, with a handful of employees in a small office here in Reno, Apple has done something central to its corporate strategy: it has avoided millions of dollars in taxes in California and 20 other states.

HT: Devindra Hardawar, VentureBeat

Continue to read Charles Duhigg | David Kocieniewski, www.nytimes.com

Tags: Apple iPhone

April 26 2012

13:30
04:46

Where Apple gets its money from: iPhone, from zero to a hundred billion annually

Business Insider :: In case you had any doubt, Apple is an iPhone company now. The iPhone accounted for 58% of Apple's total revenue last quarter. The iPhone didn't exist five years ago. Today, the iPhone business alone is more profitable than Exxon. Below, you can see how the iPhone has gone from zero to a hundred billion annually in the span of five years.

Chart: "from zero to a hundred billion" - Continue Jay Yarow | Seth Fiegerman, www.businessinsider.com

Tags: Apple iPhone
04:31

Mobile strategy: LinkedIn gets new Android and iOS apps

The Next Web :: At the end of Q4 2011 15% of the daily visitors to LinkedIn.com came via mobile. At the end of Q1 2012, that number had grown to 22%. The mobile platform is the fastest-growing consumer service at LinkedIn. In fact, the site sees 19 people searches every second via mobile devices, and 41 LinkedIn profile views every second across its current 150 million members.

LinkedIn's mobile strategy - Continue to read Brad McCarty, thenextweb.com

April 25 2012

21:21

As news shifts toward mobile, will text alerts get left behind?

In a blast text message to subscribers on Tuesday afternoon, The Washington Post announced that it’s…ending blast text messages to subscribers, on April 30. So don’t expect to get SMS headlines like “Mitt Romney sweeps GOP primaries in five states” for much longer. The newspaper’s mobile team was reluctant to detail how this fits into a larger mobile strategy but Beth Jacobs, the Washington Post’s mobile general manager, provided this statement:

We found that more of our readers want to receive news alerts from e-mail. And because so few of our readers were signing up for text alerts, it made more sense to dedicate our resources to push alerts through our mobile apps.

The Post wouldn’t quantify what “so few” meant. News consumption is growing more mobile, but with the number of smartphone and tablet users on the rise, it might make sense for newsrooms to abandon text alerts — which can cost money for both sender and receiver — and shift to push notifications and that old standby, email.

People are still text messaging like crazy — averaging 40 messages sent and received each day — but texting leveled off between 2010 and 2011, according to a 2011 Pew study. That’s in part due to a rise in alternatives to texting, like Facebook chat and Twitter direct messages, and because smartphone apps can generate on-time notifications without the cost of SMS. Last year, Apple introduced iMessage, a protocol that allows iOS users to bypass carriers to reach one another with what look and act like texts; BlackBerry’s BBM has been around for several years.

It wasn’t so long ago that newsrooms delivering text alerts were providing a cutting edge service for an on-demand audience. People still appear to want news and information on-demand — if text messaging is tapering off, it likely illustrates that distribution preferences are evolving.

That being said, there was only a small smattering of Twitter-expressed disappointment about the Washington Post announcement:

Washington Post is doing away with text alerts at the end of the month. That stinks. How I keep up with news half the time.

— Ron Miller (@ron_miller) April 24, 2012

Washington post is canceling text alerts?? Great now whos gonna text me.

— Karin Beswick(@KarinBeswick) April 24, 2012

The Washington Post isn’t alone. The Los Angeles Times doesn’t offer text alerts, nor does The Wall Street Journal, though a spokeswoman says it once did. (It reported last June that text messaging in the United States was “slowing sharply.”)

Large-circulation U.S. dailies that will still text you include The New York Times, which offers text alerts about severe weather, real estate, sports and more. USA Today says on its website that it will text subscribers with updates on sports, weather, stock quotes, and celebrity gossip.

Photo by Yutaka Tsutano used under a Creative Commons license.

April 23 2012

07:19

News.me's Paper Boy: Downloads your news whenever you leave home

TechCrunch :: News.me, the newsreader app hatched in The New York Times’ R&D lab and incubated at betaworks, today added a nifty feature to its new iPhone app, which gives readers instant access to their news offline — whenever they leave the house. The new feature, called Paper Boy, allows users to set their home location using their iPhone’s GPS

Continue to read Rip Empson, techcrunch.com

Tags: iPhone

April 22 2012

20:03

MustKnow News: The top 10 news stories each hour

The Next Web :: “Unlike other news apps that bring plenty of content from a large number of RSS feeds or a user’s Facebook or Twitter streams, MustKnow focuses on bringing users only the top 10 most important stories,” continues Shany. “This helps users deal with information overload and allows them to stay up-to-date in no time.

Continue to read Paul Sawers, thenextweb.com

19:37

Cable TV and the Internet have destroyed the meaning of “breaking news”

Slate :: TMZ got the news up first, 3:30 p.m. ET. Dick Clark was dead at 82, felled by a “massive heart attack.” Because I follow TMZ on Twitter, I got the newsbreak at 3:31. Because a lot of the people I follow also follow TMZ, Clark’s death was announced, analyzed, and (sorry, this is Twitter) joked about for 20 minutes. At 3:52 pm, the CNN app on my iPhone blurped and announced a message: Television personality Dick Clark, the longtime host of “American Bandstand,” has died, a publicist says. Two minutes later my phone shook again, startled by an alert from USA Today: "BREAKING NEWS: Dick Clark legendary TV entertainer, dies at 82."

[David Weigel:] Twenty-four minutes after the TMZ scoop, and this was breaking? How’s that supposed to work? Does “breaking news” have any meaning anymore?

Continue to read David Weigel, www.slate.com

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