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April 09 2013

11:00

How I Created the Ultimate Tweet with Text, Pictures and an Audio Report

Typing 140 characters and adding a link or photo is so 2010.

Too many news organizations merely place web or broadcast content on a Twitter screen and press tweet.

Why not create content for mobile devices tailored to the way people use their smartphones and tablets, as well as the devices' benefits and limitations?

Using the same content for broadcast, online, and in social media is not only repetitive and boring, it fails to take into consideration the mechanical and behavioral differences between a person watching TV, listening to the radio, reading a web story, or fidgeting with a phone or tablet.

Television news organizations have had decades to figure out how best to tell a story. Online journalists now know how to build multimedia pages that encourage the user to click on several elements to paint a complete picture.

So the question is, "How can I produce rich content that's best experienced by a person on a smartphone?

My answer? The Ultimate Tweet.

HOW TO CREATE CONTENT FOR MOBILE ON MOBILE

photo 3.jpg

First, consider how people digest content on smartphones or tablets -- generally in small doses, and while doing something else.

Having the ability to stream an entire movie on a phone is nice, when you have two hours to kill at an airport. But the reality is, that's not how most mobile users receive content.

Mobile users typically grab glances at their small screens often, while walking, sipping coffee, stopped at traffic lights, or behind their computer at work.

Don't create content that requires a phone or tablet user to scroll through and navigate your mobile site, searching for elements to click.

Instead, look for a way to provide the most content with the fewest numbers of clicks.

That's one of the reasons Vine is so popular -- its 6-second videos roll without a single click, once the video is centered on your phone screen.

But there is a better way for a reporter to produce nuanced, journalistically sound content.

CREATING THE ULTIMATE TWEET

My ultimate tweet contains 120 characters of text, three pictures, and a fully produced audio report, absorbed simultaneously, requiring a single click by the mobile user.

The user experience should feel familiar to any music lover who has listened to vinyl or a CD, while reading the liner notes and studying the pictures -- it all works to paint a complete picture. Here's a video explaining the process:

The PicFrame app (99 cents) in Apple's iTunes Store or Android's Google Play allow you to quickly build a montage of photos from your camera roll.

After creating the montage, you can post directly to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, or save the image to your own camera roll for future sharing.

I've found three images is enough to allow users to get an overview, or zoom in for details of a particular photograph, without making each image too small.

The challenge is: how to allow the smartphone or tablet user to see the photo montage and hear the audio report, without requiring a second click on a link within the tweet.

snowmontage.JPG

Enter SoundCloud, available for free for both Apple devices and Android.

SoundCloud allows a user to quickly upload a fully produced audio report to his or her SoundCloud account, which produces a URL that can be tweeted or otherwise shared.

The only problem: SoundCloud's mobile app doesn't currently allow a user to upload both audio and a photograph.

The workaround I figured out is to upload your photo montage as your SoundCloud Profile photo.

Once you've uploaded the montage, a single click allows the user to see the photo montage, and simultaneously listen to the audio report.

Unlike a video, which requires a user to watch the smartphone or tablet, the SoundCloud report can continue in the background while the user tweets, uses Facebook, writes email, or surfs the web.

See? Content created on a smartphone or tablet, to be consumed by a multitasking person on the go.

This story was adapted from a shorter post on Neal Augenstein's iPhoneReporting blog on Tumblr.

Neal Augenstein is an award-winning reporter with WTOP-FM and wtop.com in Washington, D.C. Since Feb. 2010, he's been the first major-market radio reporter to do all his field reporting on an iPhone. He lectures and consults on mobile and multi-platform journalism. Last year Neal and WTOP donated his iPhone to The Newseum . Neal is a frequent contributor to CBS News Radio. On Twitter, follow @AugensteinWTOP.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

March 25 2013

18:49

“Post Classic”: The Washington Post integrates its print edition into a new iPad app

What if you had an old-school newspaper newsroom where the digital producers were at the core of the operation, and the task of putting together the print newspaper was the side job?

The Washington Post’s Cory Haik, executive producer for digital news, says that’s “exactly what we are trying to do,” with the new iPad app the paper launched Monday as a step in that “one web” direction. (Disclosure: I freelance regularly for Post.)

washington-post-ipad-front-page

But the Post is also trying to find ways to bring along less digitally oriented readers. The new app includes a print replica edition — so you can still read the daily paper in its entirety from A1 to the back page — but with the display of each story still optimized for the tablet, rather than frozen in awkwardly static PDFs or in ungainly digital presentations. (The replica includes puzzles, comics, and Sunday magazine, plus a 14-day archive so you can dig back into recently published material.) Plenty of newspapers offer a replica edition for the iPad, but most are separate from their “traditional” iPad apps. (Can we say “traditional iPad app” yet?)

“The app features the new ‘Post Classic,’ which yes, is an entire replica of the broadsheet newspaper,” Haik told me in an email. “This was something users had been asking for since our first version of the iPad. They wanted the complete Washington Post. The mobile teams worked hard to create something that delivered across the board. It’s more than a PDF reader — we thought a lot about the UX and flow from the ‘Post Classic’ version into our iPad reading experience.”

(Coke Classic jokes are left as an exercise for the reader.)

washington-post-ipad-replica

The app also represents a move to Newsstand for the Post, which means Apple will get a 30 percent cut of any subscription revenue generated using in-app purchases. (The app is free in the Apple Store for now, but the newspaper is rolling out a paywall this summer.) The Post’s decision to go that route had less to do with money, though, and more to do with giving readers what they want. Haik explains: “It’s part of Apple and delivering on the platform. We have to meet our users where they are.”

Not everyone is thrilled about the move. Commenters in the Post’s announcement about the app have already expressed annoyance that Android users are being left out. Here’s Haik: “As for other native tablet apps, those are surely conversations that are active. It was just time for an upgrade to our iPad product and Newsstand was a natural step for us.”

The meet-the-audience-where-it-is mentality is also what prompted the Post to bring its moderated commenting system, The Forum, from its politics iPad app to the new flagship app. “Our goal was to create a ‘lean-back’ and synthesized view for an iPad audience looking to digest the conversation without all the noise,” Haik said. In other words, it’s a way to foster engagement without subjecting Twitter-averse readers to the firehose of that platform.

“When we think about building out social, it’s important to think about users who are not on social as well,” Haik said in a later online chat. “And [The Forum] can be customized, but we tried to do the heavy lifting for folks.”

Other notable aspects you’ll find on the app: live video and live chats, photo galleries, sports scores, and the ability to read offline.

“We have an entire producer crew that is dedicated to desktop and mobile platforms — 24/7,” Haik said. “Right now there is a big focus on making sure the app is ready at night and then throughout the day.”

March 28 2012

12:06

Reduced Relevance – the downside of social, mobile news

Facebook Activity PluginNews moves so quickly that your Facebook ‘friends’ just can’t keep up.

I’m posting as a guest on OJB to highlight a new research report of mine that suggests the increased availability of news on mobile platforms, and its harnessing of social networks—like Facebook—to power recommendations, comes at a price: stories that are less relevant to readers’ interests than those recommended by editors and found on news providers’ traditional websites.

Given the modern software platforms that mobile devices offer and their ability to be location-aware, when my co-author, Prof Steve Schifferes, and I started work on this report we were expecting news providers’ mobile editions and ‘apps’ to be highly personalizable. In fact we found they offered, on average, 13 times fewer forms of personalization than news providers’ full web editions.

We think this might be a result of the relatively early stage of development of mobile news apps but also because mobile devices—like the iPad—are often used for passive rather than active consumption. We reached the conclusion that if you like to get your news filtered to your preferences you’re better sticking to news providers’ main websites.

We also found that social filters performed poorly against editors in their choice of stories readers wanted to see. Specifically the Facebook plug-in some news sites have used hasn’t done a good job of predicting readers’ interests. News moves so quickly that your Facebook ‘friends’ just can’t keep up, and we have fewer overlapping interests with those ‘friends’ than we think. Professional editors can still better predict the stories you’ll want to read than the social filters currently available on some news sites.

Although journalists have thus-far retained their gate keeping role, we do believe that social media is going to be increasingly crucial to the future of news. Our evidence suggests that there still is a gap in the market for effective social news filters, which research projects and commercial companies have not yet filled.

Our report surveyed eleven national news websites in the UK and US over a three and a half year period.

12:06

Reduced Relevance – the downside of social, mobile news

Facebook Activity PluginNews moves so quickly that your Facebook ‘friends’ just can’t keep up.

In a guest post for OJB, Neil Thurman highlights a new research report that suggests the increased availability of news on mobile platforms, and its harnessing of social networks—like Facebook—to power recommendations, comes at a price: stories that are less relevant to readers’ interests than those recommended by editors and found on news providers’ traditional websites.

Given the modern software platforms that mobile devices offer and their ability to be location-aware, when my co-author, Prof Steve Schifferes, and I started work on this report we were expecting news providers’ mobile editions and ‘apps’ to be highly personalizable. In fact we found they offered, on average, 13 times fewer forms of personalization than news providers’ full web editions.

We think this might be a result of the relatively early stage of development of mobile news apps but also because mobile devices—like the iPad—are often used for passive rather than active consumption. We reached the conclusion that if you like to get your news filtered to your preferences you’re better sticking to news providers’ main websites.

We also found that social filters performed poorly against editors in their choice of stories readers wanted to see. Specifically the Facebook plug-in some news sites have used hasn’t done a good job of predicting readers’ interests.

News moves so quickly that your Facebook ‘friends’ just can’t keep up, and we have fewer overlapping interests with those ‘friends’ than we think. Professional editors can still better predict the stories you’ll want to read than the social filters currently available on some news sites.

Although journalists have thus-far retained their gate keeping role, we do believe that social media is going to be increasingly crucial to the future of news. Our evidence suggests that there still is a gap in the market for effective social news filters, which research projects and commercial companies have not yet filled.

Our report surveyed eleven national news websites in the UK and US over a three and a half year period.

April 28 2011

16:30

Your handiest reporting tool may be the smartphone in your pocket

iPhone Voice Memos

Every journalist has found herself in some version of this situation: Bianca Vazquez Toness, a reporter for Boston’s WBUR public radio, drove about 40 minutes north of her office Tuesday to interview the controversial mayor of Lawrence, Mass. Only when she arrived did she realize she had forgotten her audio kit — recorder, microphone, cables, headphones, everything. Gah.

What she had brought with her, though, was her iPhone. She had no choice but to try using that to record or risk losing a big interview.

When I heard the piece that turned out on WBUR’s air the next morning, I had no idea — nor would I have believed — that a cellphone had captured the sound coming through my radio. Sure, I knew a phone could record sound, but not broadcast-quality sound.

Toness (a friend and former colleague) had ended up using a $30 app called Report-IT Live, which includes advanced tools for live broadcasting and phone interviews. Any software, including Apple’s free Voice Memos app, works just as well, however. To maximize the sound quality, she advised, don’t use the crummy mike built into the phone’s Apple-supplied earbuds, just the phone itself, and hold it close (very, very close) to the person talking.

During her interviews Tuesday, Toness was a professional using, essentially, amateur equipment. But it’s not hard to imagine an amateur journalist using the same equipment in the same way. The web turned everyone into writers; inexpensive SLRs and point-and-shoot digicams turned everyone into photographers. The smartphone “could be the technology that turns everyone into a radio reporter,” Toness told me. “All my colleagues now — they heard it, and they’re like, ‘Why do we carry these huge kits around?’”

Public radio people can be pretty snobby about audio quality — I can say that, having worked in public radio for five years — but, given the alternatives proliferating in the market, it’s getting harder to justify the expense and bulk of pro kits for field work. Judge the audio quality of Toness’ piece for yourself. And remember, as you close your eyes and turn up the volume in your noise-canceling headphones, that most listeners hear radio stories over a cheap FM set while making breakfast, getting the kids dressed, or driving to work. News producers may be snobby about sound quality, but consumers, generally, are anything but.

Toness is by no means the first reporter to experiment with smartphone-based reporting. A year ago, WTOP reporter Neal Augenstein packed away all of his equipment — laptop, recorder, cameras, and all — to become “the first major-market radio reporter to do all his field reporting on an iPhone.” Augenstein recently reported on his iPhone-only experience for PBS MediaShift (an account, for all you nerds, that’s chock full of equipment details):

A year in, iPhone-only reporting isn’t perfect. While audio editing works great, with the phone’s built-in microphone I’d estimate the sound quality of my field reports is 92% as good as when I use bulky broadcast equipment. Getting better audio for my video is a real challenge. And if I ever have to cover a story from a subway tunnel or location where there’s no WiFi or cell coverage, I won’t be able to file until I resurface.

Media Bistro’s 10,000 Words recently published its own guide to the art of iPhone reporting. There are some good tips — switch on Airplane Mode to avoid interruptions, buy an adapter to plug in a real microphone — but the best advice is this: “Look like a legit journalist.”

Jerome Hubbard, a UC Berkeley journalism student, took the legitimacy question to the street — using his iPhone to record the video, of course. Can a reporter armed only with a smartphone be taken seriously? Hubbard’s unscientific finding was “yes.”

Said one man on the street:

I would take you seriously, Jerome, because you approached me very professionally. You’re very polite, you’re very kind. You asked my permission. You look like the journalist type. And you’re using modern technology.

So maybe professionalism is derived from old-fashioned manners, not the gear you’re slinging. (What’s that saying, the best camera is the one that’s with you?) And, besides, freedom from bulky gadgets may actually make for a better interview. All that equipment can be a hindrance, especially among sources who aren’t used to being sources.

“I actually feel like people were less intimidated or distracted by it,” Toness said of her makeshift recording kit. “Also, I don’t look quite as conspicuous on the street, which I like.”

There is an intriguing possibility that the entire production process can be executed on the road. At WBUR, reporters typically bring their sound back to professional engineers, who mix finished pieces. Even that can be done on a phone now. A $10 app called Monle is a four-track, non-linear audio editor for iPhone. And as Josh noted last month, the iPad can also be an all-in-one field kit with Apple’s GarageBand. That $5 app includes a fast, dead-simple, eight-track editor. A reporter in the field could conceivably record her interviews and voice tracks, mix a piece and send it back home, shoot photos and video, and, perhaps with the aid of a Bluetooth keyboard, type and file a script — all on one device that weighs less than two pounds.

Toness used her personal phone for the interview, an iPhone 4, since WBUR supplies its employees with BlackBerry devices. And now that they’ve heard her Lawrence story, she says, her co-workers are a little envious. “My colleagues said, ‘OK, when are we getting iPhones?’”

April 15 2011

04:06

February 25 2011

08:40

Mobile journalism: Section 44 is dead – long live Section 43

One of the pictures the student was taking at the time he was stopped by plain-clothes officers

An image taken by the student when he was stopped by plain-clothes officers

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 was an ongoing problem for photographers and journalists using mobile phones who would find themselves stopped, searched, and sometimes arrested by police. After ongoing pressure and a judgement in the European Court of Human Rights, the section was finally suspended last July.

Now Amateur Photographer reports on the Metropolitan Police defending officers’ decision to stop and search a student for merely taking photographs near a school (the image above was being taken when he was approached by police). The search was done under Section 43, which “can only be enforced if a police officer ‘reasonably suspects’ a person to be a terrorist.”

Meanwhile, police are seeking new powers to replace those given under Section 44.

If you use mobile technology in your journalism, it’s worth keeping the stop and search bust card about you.

h/t Ewen Rankin

February 10 2011

18:45

Sorry, hackers! Google now offers layered account security

Attention, journalists who keep your lives inside your smartphones: Starting today, Google Account users with mobile devices have the option of adding an extra layer of security to the Google sign-in process. Google has added a second verification step — the kind you might see, for example, with online banking and other sites that facilitate sensitive web transactions — to access Gmail, Google Docs, and other Google services. (It’s an expansion of the two-factor authentication system Google rolled out to its Google Apps users back in September.) 

Two-step verification requires you to provide two separate passwords, rather than just the one, before you can access your account: your self-generated password, plus a Google-generated code that’s obtained using your phone. The idea is to tie information security to a physical, mobile device — so that, even if your account gets hacked, your info will stay secure.

Particularly for Google account-using journalists, who trade in sensitive information even more than your average user, investing in the extra security layer could prove especially important. Journos, here and abroad, don’t just have their own info to protect; they have their sources’. As Sean Carlson, Google’s manager of news industry relations, told me in an email: “We hope this feature helps journalists better protect their private information.”

For those of you who still use passwords like, you know, “password” — or who, more likely, reuse the same password across various accounts (or who, for that matter, have commented on Gawker) — the extra security option could be invaluable. As Google engineer Matt Cutts put it in a tweet this afternoon: “*Everyone* should do this.”

December 10 2010

10:58

The photographer’s role in the age of citizen journalism: grab the guy filming on his mobile

The Guardian reports on the AP photographer whose image dominated the front pages today. The following passage on how he returned to his office with a member of the public who had filmed it on his mobile phone passes by without remark:

“The adrenaline was running by now. So I turned [the flash] on and took five pictures. I realised they were important and I saw another guy shooting video on his phone.

“So I got him into a taxi and we went back to AP’s offices in Camden.”

Worth noting.

November 24 2010

18:12

October 17 2010

16:41

Students newspapers should take mobile-first approach

You’re at a major intersection near the entrance to your campus and you see that a car has collided with a motorcycle. An ambulance is on the scene. What do you do?

If you don’t have a conventional camera, whip out your cell phone and snap a picture. Send it back to the newsroom with a text message reporting the basic details of the accident. Within seconds you can have a brief news report up

August 19 2010

09:08

August 12 2010

10:55

Video: CNN mobile event, the Frontline Club

“Mobile is as different to online as television is to radio,” CNN’s vice-president of mobile Louis Gump told an audience at the Frontline Club, in an event supported by Journalism.co.uk.

You can now watch video of the event below, including discussion of the role of mobile journalism in the newsroom and the opportunities offered to journalists by mobile technologies:



Related coverage on Journalism.co.uk:

Podcast from the CNN Mobile event

Blog round-up of mobile journalism discussion

CNN launches free international news app for iPhone and iPod TouchSimilar Posts:



August 06 2010

13:57

Are Android phones the best option for journalism students?

A few months ago I was asked what sort of mobile phone I would recommend for a journalism student. Knowing how tight student budgets are, and that any choice should have as much of an eye on the future as on the present, I recommended getting an Android phone.

The reasoning went like this: iPhones are great at certain things, and currently benefit from a wider range of applications than other mobile phones. But the contracts are expensive, the battery life poor, and Apple’s closed system problematic, for reasons I’ll expand on in a moment.

Currently, BlackBerry smartphones (apparently you can’t say ‘BlackBerries’) and high-end Nokias are probably the most popular phones for journalists. Both have excellent battery life and BlackBerry smartphones (yes, it gets annoying after the first time) have a particular strength in the way their email works.

But these are also expensive, and Symbian (the operating system for most high end Nokias) does not have a long term future, while its replacement, Maemo, has yet to build a present.

Which brings us to Android – the ‘Google’ phone – and the most affordable option for the student journalist looking at a multiplatform future.

  • With Google behind the technology, Android phones have excellent email integration – not quite as strong as a BlackBerry, but more than good enough.
  • Android’s app store – the ‘Market‘ – competes with Apple’s – and is catching up fast. Most of the must-have apps for journalists are already in there, and on this score it’s much stronger than BlackBerry or Nokia.
  • The biggest weakness is Android’s battery life, which is around the same as the iPhone (some tips on that here).
  • But apart from their affordability it is the openness of the Android platform which presents the strongest case for being the student journalist’s mobile of choice.

When I advised that student to get an Android phone, it was because I think that Android will seriously challenge iPhone both in terms of userbase (which is already happening) and app development.

Computerworld’s Jonny Evans (an “Apple Holic”) compares the situation to the struggle for the PC:

“[Apple's] insistence on a closed system means partnership deals aren’t open to it in the hardware space.

“So, where Android can deliver multiple devices for multiple niches at multiple price points to the market, Apple delivers a limited number of devices, hoping the quality of its software will make a difference. It seems to attract customers that way.

“As fellow blogger, Sharon Machlis, noted last week, the result of that strategy during the PC wars enabled Microsoft to seize monopoly-level market share on the desktop.

The game’s not over.

The same post, however, notes that “Apple’s key advantage against Android is its developer community”:

“Despite criticism of the way it curates its store, Apple does have an App Store that works, where 95 percent of apps are approved fast.

“This means developers already have a reliable and profitable route to market at 100 million iOS users – set to climb with the addition of at least 24 million more iPhone 4 users this year.

“Android developers may be able to develop more openly, but development is fragmented by the need to develop for multiple devices.”

Apple alienated parts of their community earlier this year when they released a new developer agreement. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Google provided a platform for a whole new community when it announced the launch of a tool that can only challenge Apple’s dominance: the App Inventor for Android:

“To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a developer. App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.”

For the student journalist, this tool also offers an opportunity to experiment with mobile journalism and publishing in the same way that Blogger allowed you to experiment with online publishing and distribution, or Yahoo! Pipes allowed you to play with mashups (TechCrunch’s MG Siegler compares it with GeoCities). Tony Hirst has already written a series of posts exploring how the tool works (it’s currently in invite-only beta), which are worth bookmarking.

This tool seals the deal for me – it’s the difference between doing the job now and redefining it for the future.

But what do you think? What features do Android phones lack? What advantages do other phones hold?

For the record, I use an iPhone and an old N95. I use the N95 for phonecalls, texts and streaming video (because of its long battery life) and the iPhone for web browsing and apps – particularly RSS readers, Audioboo, editing blog posts and checking comments, Twitter, and email. Each handset is with a different operator, which gives me better 3G coverage options too. I also pay for an Android phone (a HTC Magic) in my household.


July 26 2010

15:39

Podcast: CNN mobile journalism event at the Frontline Club

Journalists came together at the Frontline Club last week to discuss mobile journalism today and in the future.

The panel debate covered most of the ongoing issues surrounding mobile journalism, from the role a device plays in the image of a journalist to the debate over how such content should be used by ‘professional’ video journalists. Journalism.co.uk caught up with the panel (Louis Gump, CNN; Andy Dickinson University of Central Lancashire; Alex Wood, Not on the Wires; and Jonathan Hewett, City University) at the end of the debate to talk more.



Note: Due to technical problems during recording some audio is reduced quality.Similar Posts:



July 23 2010

13:28

‘There’s a killer app on your phone. It’s called a phone’: Journalists talk mobile at CNN event

Journalists from across all media platforms came together at the Frontline Club last night to discuss the impact of mobile on the newsroom and the wider media world.

“Mobile is as different to online as television is to radio,” CNN’s vice-president of mobile Louis Gump told the Frontline audience.

In the beginning people took someone who was sitting in the radio studio and put a camera on it. Then realised they didn’t have to do it that way. I think that’s what happening now.

He told Journalism.co.uk that the near future of mobile content needs to look at original content, rather than just using it as a new platform for existing material.

The biggest change I think will happen at CNN over the next two years is we are going to start creating content just for mobile devices. Right now most of what you see on a mobile from CNN you can also find on other platforms, but we will have more original programming.

The panel debate covered most of the ongoing issues surrounding mobile journalism, from the role a device plays in the image of a journalist to the debate over how such content should be used by ‘professional’ video journalists. Andy Dickinson, course leader of BA Digital Journalism Production at University of Central Lancashire, said it was a “mistake” to expect large news organisations to adopt the same production processes as smaller outlets.

I think it is a mistake to always be talking about what’s happening outside mainstream media, it won’t work for us. We can’t do it because of our agenda and personal and professional things get in the way of that. Now and then our big spotlight will land on it. But citizen journalism is not there to replace, it’s there to amplify.

Gump agreed, saying that the rise of citizen journalism “increases the value” of professional journalists, by “filling in the gaps”, but would not be a replacement: “We are still telling the hard news, [citizen journalism] enriches the overall offering”. Alex Wood, freelance mobile journalist and co-founder of Not on the Wires, added that mobiles were simply another platform to leverage the story. But he said in his own work, such as when he organised mass coverage of the G20 summit by mobile phones, the journalistic talent still had to shine through.

I always try to keep the integrity of the story and still worked very hard to make it journalistic. People tend to obsess about technology being one thing after another. Why not use your mobile phone to do your vox pops. There’s nothing wrong with you then putting that into a more traditional package. It’s another tool in the ever expanding toolkit that journalists have now. We can still take things from broadcast, for example framing a good shot and having good audio. Let’s go back to the basics but use them in the new technology.

He added that as a journalist using user generated content, old rules of fact-checking must still apply.

People can manipulate technology very easily and its still a worry. Journalists still need to pick up the phone and speak to the person if they have submitted media. We should always keep to those standards.

Jonathan Hewett, director of the newspaper journalism course at City University, agreed: “We are not going to chuck out the old stuff and forget the valuable lessons”. Prompting Dickinson to respond: “There’s a killer app on your phone that will allow you to check if something is right. It’s called your phone.”

Hewett said mobile has created opportunities for newspapers who do not have the visual reputation of a broadcaster, but more needs to be done.

Newspapers have been slower to catch up with more innovative stuff, but they are getting to realise mobile reporting is one way where a newspaper website can be different. It isn’t too fussed about quality of footage (…) We are still at early stage with mobiles full stop. We need to keep throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Wood commented near the end of the panel debate that he wanted to see more innovation from iPad apps, which he claimed had so far been “disappointing”, telling Journalism.co.uk to expect to see some exciting stuff from him in the near future.

CNN also announced the launch of a new international iPhone app featuring their iReport platform at the event. See our report here, and catch up with tweets from the event with the #cnnfrontline hashtag.Similar Posts:



July 15 2010

12:32

iPhone 4 a ‘serviceable web video camera in breaking news situations’

Len De Groot, from the Knight Digital Media Center, has a useful first-hand account of using the iPhone 4 for reporting news.

Having taken his new iPhone out with him at lunch to put its tools to the test, he agreed it would prove a valuable tool for reporters.

Suddenly, the iPhone can be a serviceable web video camera in breaking news situations or unplanned interviews. It allows you to shoot and edit video, add lower thirds and titles and upload directly to the web.

It will not replace professionals and professional equipment, however. It fits into “the best camera is the one you have on you” category.

In his post he discusses his experiences of audio quality, uploading a full HD video to quicktime and then getting the clips onto youtube and vimeo as viewing platforms.

See the full post here…

Related reading on Journalism.co.uk: iPhone 4 developments herald a mobile future for newsSimilar Posts:



July 06 2010

08:00

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – tools for mobile journalism

Mobile journalism: The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has rounded up some great links on how to use mobile phones and smartphones for journalism. A great starting point for anyone's mobile news strategy. Tipster: Laura Oliver. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


April 16 2010

13:20

This Week in Review: News talk and tips at ASNE, iPad’s ‘walled garden,’ and news execs look for revenue

[Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week’s top stories about the future of news and the debates that grew up around them. —Josh]

Schmidt and Huffington’s advice for news execs: This week wasn’t a terribly eventful one in the future-of-journalism world, but a decent amount of the interesting stuff that was said came out of Washington D.C., site of the annual American Society of News Editors conference. The most talked-about session there was Sunday night’s keynote address by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who told the news execs there that their industry is in trouble because it hasn’t found a way to sustain itself financially, not because its way of producing or delivering news is broken. “We have a business-model problem, we don’t have a news problem,” Schmidt said.

After buttering the crowd up a bit, Schmidt urged them to produce news for an environment that’s driven largely by mobile devices, immediacy, and personalization, and he gave them a glimpse of what those priorities look like at Google. Politico and the Lab’s Megan Garber have summaries of the talk, and paidContent has video.

There were bunches more sessions and panels (American Journalism Review’s Rem Rieder really liked them), but two I want to highlight in particular. One was a panel with New York Times media critic David Carr, new-media titan Ariana Huffington and the Orlando Sentinel’s Mark Russell on the “24/7 news cycle.” The Lab’s report on the session focused on four themes, with one emerging most prominently — the need for context to make sense out of the modern stream of news. St. Petersburg Times media critic Eric Deggans and University of Maryland student Adam Kerlin also zeroed in on the panelists’ call to develop deeper trust and participation among readers.

The second was a presentation by Allbritton’s Steve Buttry that provides a perfect fleshing-out of the mobile-centric vision Schmidt gave in his keynote. Poynter’s Damon Kiesow had a short preview, and Buttry has a longer one that includes a good list of practical suggestions for newsrooms to start a mobile transformation. (He also has slides from his talk, and he posted a comprehensive mobile strategy for news orgs back in November, if you want to dive in deep.)

There was plenty of other food for thought, too: Joel Kramer of the Twin Cities nonprofit news org MinnPost shared his experiences with building community, and one “where do we go from here?” panel seemed to capture news execs’ ambivalence about the future of their industry. Students from local universities also put together a blog on the conference with a Twitter stream and short recaps of just about every session, and it’s worth a look-through. Two panels of particular interest: One on government subsidies for news and another with Kelly McBride of Poynter’s thoughts on the “fifth estate” of citizen journalists, bloggers, nonprofits and others.

Is a closed iPad bad for news?: In the second week after the iPad’s release, much of the commentary centered once again on Apple’s control over the device. In a long, thoughtful post, Media watcher Dan Gillmor focused on Apple’s close relationship with The New York Times, posing a couple of arresting questions for news orgs creating iPad apps: Does Apple have the unilateral right to remove your app for any reason it wants, and why are you OK with that kind of control?

On Thursday he got a perfect example, when the Lab’s Laura McGann reported that Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore’s iPhone app was rejected in December because it “contains content that ridicules public figures.” Several other folks echoed Gillmor’s alarm, with pomo blogger Terry Heaton asserting that the iPad is a move by the status quo to retake what it believes is its rightful place in the culture. O’Reilly Radar’s Jim Stogdill says that if you bought an iPad, you aren’t really getting a computer so much as “a 16GB Walmart store shelf that fits on your lap … and Apple got you to pay for the building.” And blogging/RSS/podcasting pioneer Dave Winer says the iPad doesn’t change much for news because it’s so difficult to create media with.

But in a column for The New York Times, web thinker Steven Johnson adds an important caveat: While he’s long been an advocate of open systems, he notes that the iPhone software platform has been the most innovative in the history in computing, despite being closed. He attributes that to simpler use for its consumers, as well as simpler tasks for developers. While Johnson still has serious misgivings about the Apple’s closed policy from a control standpoint, he concludes that “sometimes, if you get the conditions right, a walled garden can turn into a rain forest.”

In related iPad issues, DigitalBeat’s Subrahmanyam KVJ takes a step back and looks at control issues with Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Florida j-prof Mindy McAdams has a detailed examination of the future of HTML5 and Flash in light of Adobe’s battle with Adobe over the iPad. Oh yeah, and to the surprise of no one, a bunch of companies, including Google, are developing iPad competitors.

News editors’ pessimism: A survey released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism presented a striking glimpse into the minds of America’s news executives. Perhaps most arresting (and depressing) was the finding that nearly half of the editors surveyed said that without a significant new revenue stream, their news orgs would go under within a decade, and nearly a third gave their org five years or less.

While some editors are looking at putting up paywalls online as that new revenue source, the nation’s news execs aren’t exactly overwhelmed at that prospect: 10 percent are actively working on building paywalls, and 32 percent are considering it. Much higher percentages of execs are working on online advertising, non-news products, local search and niche products as revenue sources.

One form of revenue that most news heads are definitely not crazy about is government subsidy: Three quarters of them, including nearly 90 percent of newspaper editors, had “serious reservations” about that kind of funding (the highest level of concern they could choose). The numbers were lower for tax subsidies, but even then, only 19 percent said they’d be open to it.

The report itself makes for a pretty fascinating read, and The New York Times has a good summary, too. The St. Pete Times’ Eric Deggans wonders how bad things would have to get before execs would be willing to accept government subsidies (pretty bad), and the Knight Digital Media Center’s Amy Gahran highlights the statistics on editors’ thoughts on what went wrong in their industry.

Twitter rolls out paid search: This week was a big one for Twitter: We finally found out some of the key stats about the microblogging service, including how many users it has (105,779,710), and the U.S. Library of Congress announced it’s archiving all of everyone’s tweets, ever.

But the biggest news was Twitter’s announcement that it will implement what it calls Promoted Tweets — its first major step toward its long-anticipated sustainable revenue plan. As The New York Times explains, Promoted Tweets are paid advertisements that will show up first when you search on Twitter and, down the road, as part of your regular stream if they’re contextually relevant. Or, in Search Engine Land’s words, it’s paid search, at least initially.

Search blogger John Battelle has some initial thoughts on the move: He thinks Twitter seems to be going about things the right way, but the key shift is that this “will mark the first time, ever, that users of the service will see a tweet from someone they have not explicitly decided to follow.Alex Wilhelm of The Next Web gives us a helpful roadmap of where Twitter’s heading with all of its developments.

Anonymity and comments: A quick addendum to last month’s discussion about anonymous comments on news sites (which really has been ongoing since then, just very slowly): The New York Times’ Richard Perez-Pena wrote about many news organizations’ debates over whether to allow anonymous comments, and The Guardian’s Nigel Willmott explained why his paper’s site will still include anonymous commenting.

Meanwhile, former Salon-er Scott Rosenberg told media companies that they’d better treat it like a valuable conversation if they want it to be one (that means managing and directing it), rather than wondering what the heck’s the problem with those crazy commenters. And here at The Lab, Joshua Benton found that when the blogging empire Gawker made its comments a tiered system, their quality and quantity improved.

Reading roundup: This week I have three handy resources, three ideas worth pondering, and one final thought.

Three resources: If you’re looking for a zoomed-out perspective on the last year or two in journalism in transition, Daniel Bachhuber’s “canonical” reading list is a fine place to start. PaidContent has a nifty list of local newspapers that charge for news online, and Twitter went public with Twitter Media, a new blog to help media folks use Twitter to its fullest.

Three ideas worth pondering: Scott Lewis of the nonprofit news org Voice of San Diego talks to the Lab about how “explainers” for concepts and big news stories could be part of their business model, analysts Frederic Filloux and Alan Mutter take a close look at online news audiences and advertising, and Journal Register Co. head John Paton details his company’s plan to have one newspaper produce one day’s paper with only free web tools. (Jeff Jarvis, an adviser, shows how it might work and why he’s excited.)

One final thought: British j-prof Paul Bradshaw decries the “zero-sum game” attitude by professional journalists toward user-generated content that views any gain for UGC as a loss for the pros. He concludes with a wonderful piece of advice: “If you think the web is useless, make it useful. … Along the way, you might just find that there are hundreds of thousands of people doing exactly the same thing.”

April 12 2010

12:28

The future is mobile, and other thoughts from Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s speech at ASNE

Yes, he got the inevitable “shouldn’t you pay content providers?” question from an audience member. And, yes, he gave the inevitable “most news organizations actually want the traffic we provide” answer. But for the most part, though it tread familiar territory, Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s speech last night — delivered to a packed half-ballroom at the American Society of News Editors conference in DC — was an impressive feat of rhetorical tight-rope-walking. (Text: You, news editors, are guardians of democracy. Subtext: You, news editors, should probably rethink your patrol systems.)

So was the speech well-received? My read: the crowd reception to the uber-exec and his thoughts was cordial, but — despite the many, many compliments Schmidt paid to journalism and journalists during the course of the talk — not overly friendly. (Usually, at a speech like this, there’d be a vibrant back-channel conversation, via Twitter, that would allow a more nuanced assessment. Last night’s speech didn’t have that back-talk; relatively few people were tweeting it, though many were taking notes on reporters’ pads.)

Below, I’ve excerpted the sections of the talk that I found most interesting; they’re listed in chronological order to give you an idea of the arc of the speech.

On newspapers and discovery:
I love newspapers. I love of reading them — that when you’re finished, you’re done, and you know what’s going on. I love the notion of discovery that newspapers represent…. Newspapers are fundamental, not just in America, but around the world.

On information and democracy:
We have goals in common. Google believes in the power of information. We believe that it’s better to have more information than less. We also understand that information can annoy governments and annoy people…but that ultimately the world is a better place with more information available to more and more people. And the flow of accurate information, of the diverse views and debate that we’re so used to, is really, really fundamental to a functioning democracy.

On criticism (and sympathy):
You all get criticized all the time. On the left, you get criticized for being too liberal. On the right, you get criticized for being too conservative. In our case, we just get kicked out of China. Same thought.

On journalism as an art form:
We’re not in the news business, and I’m not here to tell you how to run a newspaper. We are computer scientists. And trust me, if we were in charge of the news, it would be incredibly accurate, incredibly organized, and incredibly boring. There is an art to what you do. And if you’re ever confused as to the value of newspaper editors, look at the blog world. That’s all you need to see. So we understand how fundamental tradition and the things you care about are.

On the best of times, the worst of times:
You have more readers than ever; you have more sources than ever, for sure; you have more ways to report. And new forms of making money will develop. And they’re underway now…. So we have a business model problem. We don’t have a news problem. That’s ultimately my view.

On our new emphasis on now-ness:
What do our children know now that our parents did not know when they were the age of our children? They know about now. They know about precisely now, in a way that our parents’ generation did not. That this now-ness drives everything…and what happens is, you experience the reality of the moment in a way that’s much, much more intense.

On the implications of now-ness:
It’s creating a problem which I’m going to call “the ersatz experience problem.” On the one hand, you have a sense of connectedness to everything — literally, every event globally…but you also have a false sense of actual experience, since you’re not really there. So the trade-off is that you know everything, but you’re not physically in any one place. And that shift is actually a pretty profound one in the way society’s going to consume media and news and so forth. And all of us are part of it. And Google is obviously moving it forward.

On Google’s “mobile-first” focus:
It’s important to understand that three things are coming together: the powerful mobile devices that …are paired with the tremendous performance that we can now get on computers…it is the sum of that, and the capabilities and the technologies that will exploit the sum of that, that will define the next ten or twenty years for all of us. So when I say “Internet first,” I mean “mobile first.”

Now, some of the most clever engineers are working on mobile applications ahead of personal computer applications. People are literally moving to that because that’s where the action is, that’s where the growth is, there’s a completely unwashed landscape, you have no idea where folks are going to go.

On news’ mobile/personal/multi-platform future:
Google is making the Android phone, we have the Kindle, of course, and we have the iPad. Each of these form factors with the tablet represent in many ways your future….: they’re personal. They’re personal in a really fundamental way. They know who you are. So imagine that the next version of a news reader will not only know who you are, but it’ll know what you’ve read…and it’ll be more interactive. And it’ll have more video. And it’ll be more real-time. Because of this principle of “now.”

When I go to a news site, I want that site to know me, to know about me: what I care about, and so forth. I don’t want to be treated as a stranger, which is what happens today. So, remember me. Show me what I like. But I also want you to challenge me. I want you to say, “Here’s something new. Here’s something you didn’t know.”

On the sheer volume of information out there today:
The Internet is about scale. I was studying this, because I was trying to figure out how big this thing is. Between the dawn of humanity and 2003, roughly 5 Exabytes of information were created. (An Exabyte is roughly a million gigabytes.) We generate that amount in every two days now…. So there is a data explosion. And the data explosion is overwhelming all of us. Of course, this is good business for Google and others who try to sort all this out.

On the future of display ads:
If you think about it in this context — you have this explosion of mobile devices, you have this connection, and so forth — what does this mean for the business world? Well, it’s obvious that advertising, which is the business Google is in, is going to do very well in this space. Because advertising works well when it’s very targeted. Well, these devices are very targeted. So we can give a personalized ad.

Furthermore, Google — and others — are busy building vertical display ads that look an awful lot like the ads that look an awful lot like the ads that are in traditional newspapers…. In the next few years, you should be able to do very, very successful display advertising against this kind of content. You may not be able to do it against murders, because it’s very difficult to get the right targeted ad in that case — what, are you going to advertise a knife? It’s obviously terrible. I’m not trying to make a joke about it; it’s a real business problem.

On the future of subscriptions:
We and others are working on ubiquitous ways in which subscriptions can be bundled, packaged, and delivered. We’re seeing this today with both the Kindle and the iPad. Both of which have this subscription model which you can test. You can actually find out, “What will people pay for this?” And eventually that model should have higher profitability. Because it has a low cost of goods, right, because you don’t have the newspaper and the printing and distribution costs. So there’s every reason to believe that eventually we’ll solve this and ultimately bring some significant money into this thing.

On the need for experimentation:
A Ralph Waldo Emerson quote is, “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions; life is an experiment.” On the Internet, there is never a single solution…. The fact of the matter is there are no simple solutions to these complex problems. And in order to really find them, we’re going to have to run lots of experiments.

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