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December 15 2010

17:00

In-car app stores, success for Xinhua, and more social media: Predictions for journalism in 2011

Editor’s Note: We’re wrapping up 2010 by asking some of the smartest people in journalism what the new year will bring.

Below are predictions from Paul Bass, John Paton, Philip Balboni, Martin Moore, Mark Luckie, Adrian Monck, Ken Doctor, Keith Hopper, and Vivian Schiller.

We also want to hear your predictions: take our Lab reader poll and tell us what you think we’ll be talking about in 2011. We’ll share those results later this week.

Every city of 100,000 or more in America will have its own online-only daily local news site.

Local governments will create their own “news” sources online to try to control the message and compete with new media and compensate for the decline of old media channels.

Newspapers, TV and radio stations, and online news outlets will collaborate on a bigger scale on local coverage and events

Vivian Schiller, president and CEO, NPR

“Local” takes center stage in online news, as newspaper sites, Patch, Yahoo, NPR member stations and new start ups (not for profit and for profit) form alliances, grow, and compete for audience and revenue online.

Twitter and Facebook become established as journalism platforms for newsgathering, distribution and engagement.

In-car Internet radio becomes a hot media topic, though penetration of enabled cars will lag by a few years.

Keith Hopper, director of product strategy and development, NPR

One of bigger things to move in 2011 will be triggered by emerging, seamless connectivity in the car. The historical limitations of satellite radio have obscured the real potential here. We will see a revolution in how news is presented on the go if auto manufacturers get past their inevitable awkward attempts and are able to streamline the user experience. I fully expect in-dash app stores and additional inspiration for distracted driver legislation that goes well beyond basic audio news. On the positive side, engaged news consumers will never fall asleep at the wheel again.

Philip Balboni, president and CEO, GlobalPost

2011 will be a seminal year for the reinvention of the business of American journalism — especially notable for the continued maturation of the new generation of online only news sites: the Huffington Post, Politico, GlobalPost, Daily Beast, and others. With The New York Times paving the way for monetizing one of America’s most visited and highly regarded general news sites, 2011 should be the year we can point to as a game-changer for online revenue generation by charging consumers for high quality news content and the beginning of the movement away from sole reliance on selling page views and ad impressions.

In 2011 we will see the return of legacy news media. Chastened by the mistakes of the past, the legacy companies will be more nimble and eager to pursue Digital First solutions. And armed with their billions in revenue and new outsourcing solutions to drive down legacy media costs they will be much better resourced financially to compete with online news start-ups. The New Year will prove difficult for online start-ups like Huffington Post, et al to drive towards sustainability and profitability. Look for consolidation between the old and new worlds.

We have been stupid and slow to change but we are changing. We still count our revenue in the billions and that gives us so much more in the way of resources compared to the startups. Smart plus money is an advantage. We are getting smarter.

The power of news organisations to dictate the news agenda will decline further as peer-to-peer and algorithm driven editorial recommendations grow in influence.

Those news organisations that develop sophisticated skills to clean, structure and filter data quickly will gain significant competitive advantage over those who don’t.

Mark Luckie, founder, 10,000 Words , national innovations editor, The Washington Post

With the recent upswing in the availability of media jobs, I predict those journalists who developed a substantial online presence, created unique digital journalism projects, or who were at the forefront of the digital journalism conversation during the course of their unemployment, will return to newsrooms with zeal and newfound perspective, if they so choose. They will re-invigorate those news operations who are actively seeking employees who will help move journalism forward (and hopefully they will get a relatively larger paycheck in the process).

Adrian Monck, managing director and head of communications and media, World Economic Forum

Julian Assange will be mired in a court case.

The infrastructure of the Internet which made free speech briefly freer will increasingly marginalize and muzzle it.

A handful of diplomats will get HuffPo columns on the back of their cable writing prowess.

Drone strikes will continue to dully but effectively kill more men, women and children by accident, recklessness or negligence than document dumps. The public will remain indifferent.

Xinhua will have its “CNN moment” and emerge as a global reporting force on a key international story.

Western media will increase reporting partnerships with Chinese media.

Business news networks will look to hire mainland Chinese talent.

Piers Morgan will be a critical success on CNN, but not a popular one.

Jeff Jarvis will put BuzzMachine behind a paywall.

2011 is the year of The New Trifecta. The convergence of mobile, social and video on the tablet defines the new platform as a unique consumer experience yielding, consequently, new business models. No longer are mobile, social and video “categories” of content or revenue lines, but powerful forces that when brought together redefine the news reading and viewing experience. That’s one big reason we’re seeing significantly higher-than-online time-on-session tablet data.

Social media optimization will grow in 2011. Almost organically, social referrals (mainly Facebook and Twitter) have become the fastest growing source of news traffic. News publishers can now count 5-15 percent of their traffic sent from social, making search/Google referrals less important. In addition, social referrals convert better (“qualified” social leads) in obtaining new, continuing customers. The next big question: If this is happening without much publisher work, what kind of work would further harness the social juice?

Growth in the company year will be mainly digital. There are few signs the old print business is coming back, and this year’s single-digit decreases in print advertising looks like it will continue into next. That means digital revenue — online advertising generally, new tablet ad revenue and digital reader revenue — is the only hope for building a future for legacy companies.

September 08 2010

10:54

Andorid audio editing apps: no joy for Journos?

Android robot logo.
Image via Wikipedia

I’m currently putting together stuff for my Digital Newsroom module for this year.

One of the things I ask the students to do is to record and edit a short audio vox-pop*.We have a number of audio recorders of varying levels of ‘quality’ at the Uni and access to Audacity and Adobe Audition. But I don’t stipulate what the audio should be recorded on or how it’s edited. My line is always ‘if you can do it and submit it by banging nails in to a piece of wood, go for it”.

I want the students to explore the range of resources that are out there and I’m always keen to add to the list of possible tools and resources they can use. So Uber blogger and font of endless multimedia journalism info Mark Luckie couldn’t have timed his latest post better.

The post highlights 3 Unique ways to record, edit, and publish your audio. It includes Monle, a four track editor for iphone/touch which is useful if you use you phone to record your audio interviews. Which got me thinking about the students who might want to use their mobile to record audio but don’t have an iphone or touch.

Android audio apps?

I see a lot of iphones at work but I also see a serious number of Android based phones so I thought I would do a quick scoot around and pick one or two apps that none Apple users could consider. And the result…

Nothing….

Nada….

Move along now, nothing to see.

Well, OK, there was one; ringdroid which, on the surface, looks pretty good. But that was it.

Iphone/touch is the platform of choice

From my reading round its seem the stumbling block is  a dodgy audio api on android – delays etc. But I was genuinely surprised that there wasn’t at least an attempt to try. Maybe it’s too niche!

I’m nervous of the eulogizing that goes on of the iphone/touch as the ‘tool of choice for multimedia journalists’ but I have to say that as an all in one device (the new touch in particular) it’s looking pretty good.

If you know about a good audio recording/editing app on Android or other mobile platforms for that matter, please let me know.

* Before the anti-vox brigade have a go I should say that this is part of a series of competency ‘tests’. I want to be sure that the students have exprimented with recording audio and vox is an easy ‘reason’ to record audio.

Update: Transom.org has a nice article looking at the Monle and Hindenburg audio apps.

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September 02 2010

16:21

Canada’s Metro to add Foursquare feature to news sites

Just yesterday, Journalism.co.uk signposted its readers to a post by 10,000 Words blogger Mark Luckie discussing how news sites can make more of location-based services. The very same day, Canada’s Metro announced it was adding Foursquare link buttons to its online news pages.

The service will be added to pages on Journalmetro.com and metronews.ca above articles which feature venue-relevant content such as restaurant reviews, according to a post on the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper blog.

Through addition of this new feature on the news site, users can add a visit to a location as a “to do” in their Foursquare account and either link back to the full article or post a review on the Metro website.

See the original post…Similar Posts:



September 01 2010

15:37

10,000 Words: Making better use of location-based networks

Inspired by the successes of location-based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla, Mark Luckie offers some starting-points over on his 10,000 Words blog about how journalists and publishers could make better use of the technology.

His suggestions include greater exploitation of first person media by pulling together items such as tweets, photographs and audio recorded within a geographical area for a multimedia record of events or news.

Luckie adds that newsrooms could create apps or check-in alerts which centre on the technology which is able to pinpoint places of interest, such as cinemas, restaurants and shops near to a mobile phone user and then provide them with relevant reviews and articles.

With a little extra tinkering, an app can also aggregate reviews from other locals or like-minded movie viewers.

(…) So far though, the majority of those companies that are exploring and taking advantage of the technology fall outside of the journalism realm. Hopefully, as these services and social media applications become more mainstream, newsrooms will be more likely to adopt them for their own uses.

See his full post here…Similar Posts:



August 31 2010

11:01

10,000 Words: It helps to remember the ‘person’ in ‘personal branding’

Building up a personal brand is not all about having a presence on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn – it is also about being a ‘person’ Mark Luckie reminds readers of his 10,000 Words blog in a post detailing the lessons he has learnt.

As someone who has built up his own successful brand alongside his blog for journalists and technologists, and who recently celebrated being appointed the new National Innovations Editor for the Washington Post, Luckie advises journalists to remember the value of the ‘personal’ in personal branding.

In summary his tips are:

  • Be nice.
  • Show don’t tell. Make your work available online and share experience.
  • Say yes to new opportunities.
  • Do a favour for someone. It could be returned later down the line.
  • Ditch the ‘rules’ and follow your passion.

See his full post here…Similar Posts:



August 09 2010

08:00

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – guide to analytics

Over on the 10,000 words blog you can pick up the journalist's guide to analytics, courtesy of Mark Luckie. Learn how to track page views, sources, unique visitors and much more. Tipster: Rachel McAthy. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


July 21 2010

10:08

I’m a journalist – should I learn programming?

Many reporters are starting to move on from the world of HTML or CSS coding and getting to grips with more technical programming knowledge.

But web development isn’t for everyone, so how do you know if it will be right for you? Using some trusty know-how and specially selected questions, digital journalist Mark Luckie has tried to help reporters answer that very question.

His flowchart, shown below, is hosted on his 10,000 words blog.

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March 29 2010

17:47

What would it take to build a true “serendipity-maker”?

What if we created a “ChatRoulette for news” that generated content we tended to disagree with — but was also targeted toward our regular levels and sources of news consumption? How hard would it be?

For the last 24 hours or so, the Twitter-sphere has been buzzing over Daniel Vydra’s “serendipity maker,” an off-the-cuff Python hack that draws on the APIs of the Guardian, New York Times, and Australian Broadcasting Corp. in order to create a series of “news roulettes.” In sum, hit a button and you’ll get taken to a totally random New York Times, Guardian, or ABC News story. As the Guardian noted on its technology blog, “the idea came out of a joking remark by Chris Thorpe yesterday in a Guardian presentation by Clay Shirky that what we really need is a ‘Chatroulette for news’”:

After all, we do have loads of interesting content: but the trouble with the way that one tends to trawl the net, and especially newspapers, simply puts paid to the sort of serendipitous discovery of news that the paper form enables by its juxtaposition of possibly unrelated — but potentially important — subjects.

This relates to the much-debated theoretical issue of “news serendipity,” summarized here by Mathew Ingram. In essence, the argument goes that while there is more news on the web, our perspectives on the news are narrower because we only browse the sites we already agree with, or know we already like, or care about. In newspapers, however, we “stumbled upon” (yes, pun intended) things we didn’t care about, or didn’t agree with, in the physical act of turning the page.

As Ryan Sholin has been pointing out all morning on Twitter, the idea of a “serendipity maker” for the web isn’t entirely new. And I don’t know if the current news roulettes really solve the problem journalism theorists are concerned about. So I’d like to know: What would it take to create a news serendipity maker that automatically knew and “factored in” your news consumption patters, but then showed you web content that was the opposite of what you normally consumed?

For example, I’m naturally hostile to the Tea Party as a political organization. What if someone created a roulette that automatically generated news content sympathetic to the Tea Party? And what if they found a way to key it to my news consumption patterns even more strongly, i.e., if somehow the roulette knew I was a regular New York Times reader and would pick Tea Party friendly articles written either by the Times or outlets like the Times (rather than, say, random angry blog posts?)

I think this is interesting, because it would basically hack the entire logic of the web. The beauty of the web is that it can direct you towards ever more finely grained content which is exactly what you want to read. It would somehow know what you wanted even before you did. In other words, it might be the opposite of what Mark S. Luckie called “a Pandora for news.” And it would solve a very real social problem — or at least a highly theorized social problem — what Cass Sunstein calls the drift towards a “Daily Me” or “Daily We,” where we only read news content we already agree with, and our political culture suffers as a result.

So. This is a shout out for news hackers, developers, and others to weigh in: How hard would it be to create a machine like this? How would you do it? Would you do it? I would really like to write a longer post on this, based on your replies. So feel free to chime in in the comments section, or email me directly with your thoughts. I’d like to include them in my next post.

March 15 2010

17:55

How Mark Luckie Created 'The Digital Journalist's Handbook'

It's an increasingly common story in the news business: Young journalist roars out of graduate school at Berkeley, gets a great job at a magazine in New York, works like mad, gets laid off when the economy tanks, turns to his blog and Twitter to brand himself a rock star in his field, publishes a book packed with the tips, tricks, and tutorials he's been blogging about, then gets a great gig with a non-profit news startup back in California.

Okay, so maybe it's not all that common a career path, but it's the way things have unfolded for Mark Luckie. These days, Mark is a multimedia producer at California Watch -- but you might know him best as the voice behind 10,000 Words. Now he's also the author of The Digital Journalist's Handbook. I recently spoke with him about how he turned his blog into a book.

Mark Luckie

Ryan Sholin: Mark, I've been following you on Twitter and on your blog for some time now, and you make a habit of sharing what seems like all your secrets, from tools to tips to tutorials. When did you decide to wrap all that together in a book, and how did you start gathering all the right pieces up?

Mark Luckie: I decided to start writing a book in the summer of 2009 when I was unemployed and had lots of free time. I spent weeks in the public library reading through old posts from the blog and reading what others had written about online journalism.

RS: How hard was it to make sure everything that landed in the print edition was evergreen?

ML: It was probably the hardest part... weeding out technologies and topics that could possibly be obsolete right after the book was printed. Twitter lists, for example, are a great tool for journalism, but they just debuted and it would be unwise to include them in a book when they're still so new and journalists are still finding ways to use them.

RS: Right, so instead of cataloging apps and widgets that could vanish next week, you took the approach of building what you call "a comprehensive guide to the fundamentals of digital journalism." But it's more than Photoshop and Final Cut tutorials, right? How do you take a common tool and explain the best practices for journalists armed with it?

ML: Absolutely... there's more to digital journalism than photos and video. There's slideshows, databases, maps and more. When I write, I try to break the topic down as simply as possible and try to omit technical jargon that it's easy to get intimidated by. I try to find real world examples that people can look to and say, 'Oh, that's what that is.'

Many professionals who teach online journalism use terms and examples that the beginning journalist isn't familiar with. It's all about making it as simple as possible.

RS: Let's rewind a bit here -- you wrote the book in the summer of 2009 while you were unemployed and had lots of time. What happened before that? When did you pick up multimedia and online journalism as a passion? (Michele McClellan wants to know if it was after spending time at the Knight Digital Media Center at Berkeley.)

ML: I didn't know there was such a thing as multimedia journalism until I attended grad school at UC Berkeley. I had known how to use the tools like video, photo and computer programming, but didn't know I could combine them with my love for journalism.

It was when I started teaching multimedia skills to other journalists through the Knight Digital Media Center that I realized how much I loved the craft and the ability to tell stories using many different media.

(Editor's Note: The Knight Digital Media Center is a sponsor of MediaShift and Idea Lab.)

RS: It seems natural now, of course, that you can move from teaching in person to your blog to your book. Not sure how many people would have seen that coming five or seven years ago. What do you think might be the next platform for journalists like Mark Luckie that want to share their knowledge with their peers?

ML: Good question. I still think there's a platform for blogging, but I'd like to see people take advantage of the various kinds of blogging like video blogging or live blogging.

I'm a big fan of tools like CoverItLive and Ustream that allow anyone to have live, ongoing discussions instead of static, one-way talks.

And that I think is the future for journalism, too.

RS: Speaking of tools, what's your general advice when it comes to free web-based applications vs. full-featured software?

ML: I rarely ever feature software on the blog, not only because there is a lot of sketchy software out there that can do damage to your computer, but also because it's hard to convince people to download, install, and try full-fledged programs.

I love web-based applications because it's an opportunity to try a new tool without investing too much time and effort into it. If you like it, you can keep using it and if not, you can just kinda move on. Also, if you really like a web-based tool you can always upgrade and grab professional software that offers more features.

RS: Do you think of yourself as someone who practices a degree of radical transparency? What secrets are you keeping for your next book?

ML: I think journalists often ask people some of the deepest, probing, and most personal questions they'll ever be asked, yet journalists are notorious for keeping their professional and personal lives under wraps. I don't see the harm in sharing personal information if it helps someone else out. I'm actually a very private person but I know that ultimately what I do share can potentially help someone else having the same kind of issues.

As for the next book, I never try to think too far ahead. When I went to undergrad I had no idea I'd become a journalist, and when I went to grad school I had no idea I'd leave a multimedia journalist. And I certainly had no idea I would ever write a book. So who knows what the future holds?

RS: Let's rephrase that question about the next book, then. What was the last thing you decided to leave out of 'The Digital Journalist's Handbook'?

ML: The one major thing I purposely left out was detailed tutorials for specific programs (they all exist online). Maybe the next step is a '...for Dummies' series of books, but I focused on what aspects of the programs journalists should use ...

But my next project, whatever it is, will definitely be based on the response and feedback from this first book, and whatever journalists' needs are.

RS: Sounds like a great idea. Here's the last question: What's the one tip you'd give to journalists that are still behind when it comes to building their multimedia and online skills?

The Digital Journalist's Handbook

ML: Besides buy the book? ... I'd say don't wait for someone to come around and teach you multimedia skills. If you really want a future in journalism you have to start using online tutorials to start learning some of the programs and then start practicing on your own.

A couple of years ago, there was a huge barrier to learning new technology because of the expense, but nowadays multimedia tools are incredibly inexpensive and the Internet is a free platform where anyone can experiment with various media.

RS: Mark, thanks for taking the time to do this. I hope your book helps out lots of journalists, whether they're freelancers trying to string together gigs into something full-time, or veteran editors looking to learn something new.

ML: Thanks Ryan. I'm excited to see where journalism is headed.

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January 18 2010

09:41

#FollowJourn: @10000words / multimedia reporter

#FollowJourn: Mark S. Luckie

Who? Multimedia producer for California Watch, part of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

What? Developed the 10,000 Words blog while unemployed, describing and detailing multimedia journalism techniques.

Where? You can read more on his blog, his website and follow his work on California Watch.

Contact? Follow him on @10000words or via info [at] 10000words.net.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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January 05 2010

18:00

California Watch: The latest entrant in the dot-org journalism boom

“Ten years ago,” says Mark Katches, editorial director of California Watch, “there were 85 reporters covering the California state house; today there are fewer than 25.”

Katches sees California Watch, which officially launched yesterday after a soft launch period and months of preparation, as stepping into a “big void in doing investigative work in California.” Katches has assembled the largest investigative team in the state: seven reporters, two multimedia producers, and two editors.

The site is focused on investigative watchdog journalism. It won’t cover the ins and outs of the California legislature or other governmental minutiae, aiming instead to “expose injustice, waste, mismanagement, wrongdoing, questionable practices and corruption, so that those responsible can be held to account and the public is armed with the information it needs to debate solutions and spark change.” Besides political topics, the site will cover higher education, health and welfare, and criminal justice.

Assembling the team

Based in Berkeley, California Watch has a four-person team in Sacramento, and hopes to open a Los Angeles office as well. 

The team’s credentials are impressive. Katches is a California native who lived in the state most of his life; he directed investigative teams at The Orange County Register and for the past two years at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The team’s director is Louis Freedberg, a longtime reporter on California affairs for the San Francisco Chronicle and other state and national publications. Senior editor Robert Salladay is a veteran of the L. A. Times; senior reporter Lance Williams has 32 years of California coverage experience and was one of the two reporters at the Chronicle who uncovered the Barry Bonds-BALCO steroid doping scandal.  Web entrepreneur Susan Mernit, a veteran of AOL, Netscape and Yahoo, supplies web strategy. Multimedia guru Mark Luckie (of 10,000 Words fame) is producing content. And longtime Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Robert Rosenthal, director of CIR, and others on the CIR staff supply development and administrative support.

I asked Katches whether California Watch is doling out the kind of salaries reported to be going to the top talent at recent nonprofit startup Texas Tribune ($315,000 to CEO Evan Smith, $90,000 to top reporter Brian Thevenot). “Not even close,” he said. Top California Watch executives are paid closer to what Texas Tribune reporters get, but Katches says the pay scales are competitive and appropriate for the levels of talent and scope of management involved.

The model

The site aims for up to a dozen updates every weekday, including daily blog entries by most staffers. A rotation of four top stories are featured front and center, followed by the “WatchBlog” and an inside-the-newsroom feature. Like The Texas Tribune, the site offers an extensive data center, currently featuring information about stimulus-funding distribution, campaign finance, educational costs, and wildfires. It’s not as extensive or interactive as the Texas Trib databases and document collection, but the intent is to build up its contents over time.

California Watch is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, the oldest nonprofit investigative news organization in the country (founded 1977), and joins a growing list of state and regional nonprofits that have in common a serious journalistic mission but take a variety of approaches to funding, coverage and distribution. The highest profile, best-funded members of that list now include The Texas Tribune, MinnPost, the St. Louis Beacon, Voice of San Diego, and (at a national level) ProPublica. “The dot-org boom” is really one of the top journalism stories of 2009, Katches says.

CIR garnered about $3.5 million in funding to start California Watch (roughly the same amount as The Texas Tribune), enough for more than two years of operations at its $1.5 million annual budget. Major funding came from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation [also a supporter of this site —Ed.], the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.

Going forward, California Watch plans to develop a business model that includes continued philanthropic support, along with revenue from sponsorship, individual memberships, advertising, and licensing. The site is offering its content to the state’s newspapers and other media on a fee basis. One of its first stories during the development period was carried by 25 of the state’s papers, all on the front page. (This fee-based model differs from The Texas Tribune, which is offering its content free to Texas media outlets for now; Texas Tribune also covers day-to-day politics in addition to doing investigative journalism.) California Watch partners with KQED in San Francisco for radio and TV distribution; with the Associated Press for distribution through its Exchange marketplace; and with New America Media for distribution of translated versions to ethnic media.

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