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April 23 2012

15:37

Wall Street Journal dives into live, continuous coverage with its new Markets Pulse stream

The Wall Street Journal on Monday unveiled Markets Pulse, a platform for a continuous flow of news — including blog posts, articles, videos, tweets, photos, and other elements — that readers can dip into throughout the day from their computers or from a mobile device. The idea is to provide more choices to readers who are increasingly seeking news on-the-go.

Think of it as a daily liveblog of the markets: At this writing, Markets Pulse been updated 12 times in the past hour. Some of those are simply embeds of WSJ stories, which can be read in full without leaving the stream; others are updates of barely tweet length. (“Dow Down 150: All indexes are down more than 1.2%.”)

“This is just another way for them to access our content,” Raju Narisetti, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal’s Digital Network, told me. “Obviously, a lot of our readers are paid subscribers, so they should be able to get WSJ everywhere, wherever they want it.”

This isn’t the first time the newspaper has experimented with this kind of approach. It created a four-day stream for its Oscar coverage this February, and more recently it streamified its coverage of the presidential election in France. But Markets Pulse is built around an area of coverage rather than a finite event, which means it has the potential to be…neverending.

Creating an open-ended stream for markets coverage makes sense for a few reasons. It’s an area that a lot of Journal readers are already tracking, and one that lends itself to constant updates. “Markets is kind of an ongoing story all day, especially when the U.S. markets are open, and there’s an audience that follows it fairly religiously all the time,” Narisetti. “Rather than having to go to an article or a video in different, discrete places, this allows them to kind of have one place.” (It’s not for nothing that Bloomberg describes its terminals as a “massive data stream” — it’s a metaphor that works for the flow of a market day. Markets Stream would seem to be a decent candidate to be a second-screen companion to a Bloomberg terminal.)

Markets Pulse also includes an embed of the Journal’s video player right next to the content whenever a live show is on. With the newspaper’s big push in video, particularly live video, having a page that readers can treat as they’d treat CNBC — that is, always on — could help increase the return on that investment.

It also gives reporters a place to put all kinds of information — short updates, tweets, and other elements that don’t always fit in a traditional article. But the news stream approach is about more than creating a centralized hub of information. Streams are also about tailoring the experience to readers’ habits. When British network ITV unveiled its stream-based online redesign last month, ITV digital director Julian March described about the importance of recognizing the “skimming and digging” that people like to do online.

Here’s how he put it:

We think that roughly 80 percent of visits to websites are based on skimming behavior: You go to the news site asking, “Tell me what the news is today.”…Digging is where you come to the site and you’ve got a very specific kind of requirement: “I want to know what is going on in the Eurozone crisis,” or “I’ve just heard that Fabrice Muamba the footballer has collapsed, how is he doing?”

The format may also help drive traffic to Wall Street Journal content by fostering a habit of checking for frequent bite-sized updates the same way that people routinely check their email inboxes and Twitter feeds.

News streams also seem to have the advantage of stickiness — meaning readers spend time on streams longer than they do on traditional news sites. (Think of how sticky social streams like Facebook’s newsfeed or Twitter are, especially compared with traditional news sites.)

Narisetti, who started his job at the Journal in February after leaving The Washington Post, says there are more experiments like this one to come: “We’re going to experiment in multiple ways, and this just felt like one of the more interesting and fun ways to do it,” he said. The approach seems consistent with his mentality he described to us back in January: “I’m a big believer in newsrooms being in a permanent beta stage.”

August 01 2011

19:17

Q: Who owns a journalist’s Twitter account? A: The users

Screengrab of Laura Kuenssberg's Twitter settings renamed to ITV

image from Tom Callow's Wall blog

When Laura Kuenssberg announced she was leaving the BBC for ITV, much was made of what might happen to her Twitter account. Was @BBCLauraK owned by her employer? (After all, it was branded as such, promoted on TV, and tweets were ‘processed’ by BBC producers). Or should Laura be able to take it with her? (After all, it was Laura that people were following, rather than a generic BBC political news feed).

The implications for the ‘journalist as brand‘ meme were well explored too, while newly empowered journalists may have been concerned to read that companies are inserting social media clauses into contracts:

“To keep hold of the good will created by a brand personality. Recruiters, for example, are often required to hand over their LinkedIn accounts upon leaving, so their contacts remain with the employer.”

Amidst all the speculation, Tom Callow stood out in offering some hard facts:

“When she had earlier tweeted the details of a new separate ITV account to her then 59,000 followers, only around 1,000 of them started following the new account.”

This sounds compelling until you remember that tweets are only seen for a relatively brief period of time by those followers who happen to be watching at that moment, and that a significant proportion of followers of celebrity/high profile accounts are likely to be idle or spam.

Still, it also highlights the fundamental weakness in all the debates about who ‘owns’ a Twitter account. One very important party is not being represented: the users.

Much of the commentary on Laura Kuenssberg’s move treated her 60,000 followers as an “audience”. But of course, they are not: they are users.

Some will be personal acquaintances; some will be fans of the BBC’s political coverage; and yes, some will be spam accounts or accounts set up by curious BBC viewers who forgot their password the next day. Some will follow her to ITV, some will follow her replacement at the BBC, and some never worked out how to click ‘unfollow’. (Kuenssberg’s successor - @BBCNormanS – had 5,824 followers after she tweeted a link, according to Paul Gregory, which means that only around 10% of her followers read either of those tweets and acted on them.)

Whether an employer claims ownership of a social media account or not, they cannot ‘own’ the relationship between users and that account. And there will be as many relationships as users. Some passive; some collaborative; some neglected; some exploitative.

It is those relationships that we should be concerned with developing, not the small print of an employee’s contract.

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September 28 2010

09:55

Jeremy Hunt: Providing local content should be condition of broadcasters’ licences

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt will say today that he intends to make the provision of local content a condition of the licences given to commercial broadcasters like ITV, Channel 4 and Five.

In a speech today to the Royal Television Society, Hunt will also tell those channels with a public service broadcasting remit (PSBs) that retaining a prime position in the Electronic Programme Guide or future equivalent would depend on their commitment to “content with a social or cultural benefit”.

I will begin the process of redefining public service broadcasting for the digital age by asking Ofcom to look at how we can ensure that enough emphasis is given to the delivery of local content.

Of course not all PSBs will want, or be able, to be local broadcasters. But I’m determined that we should recognise the public value in those that do.

Echoing the sentiments of his party’s ‘big society’ idea, Hunt will warn broadcasters about not investing in local news:

If we remain centralised, top-down and London-centric – in our media provision as in the rest of government – we will fail to reflect the real demand for stronger local identity that has always existed and that new technologies are now allowing us to meet.

Hunt will add that he has been “strongly encouraged by the serious thought that the BBC has been giving to how it might partner with new local media providers”.

He is expected to say that, despite the UK “fast becoming one of the most atomised societies in the world”, those looking back in the future will see its media as “deeply, desperately centralised.”

They will be astonished to find that three out of five programmes made by our public service broadcasters are produced in London.

They will note that there is nothing but national news on most of the main channels, beamed shamelessly from the centre.

And they will discover token regional news broadcasts that have increasingly been stretched across vast geographical areas – with viewers in Weymouth watching the same so-called “local” story as viewers in Oxford. Viewers in Watford watching the same story as viewers in Chelmsford.

Hunt will also set out his vision for local TV provision:

My vision is of a landscape of local TV services broadcasting for as little as one hour a day;

Free to affiliate to one another – formally or informally – in a way that brings down costs;

Free to offer nationwide deals to national advertisers;

Able to piggyback existing national networks – attracting new audiences and benefitting from inherited ones at the same time;

And able to exploit the potential of new platform technologies such as YouView and mobile TV to grow their service and improve their cost-effectiveness.

In June, Hunt scrapped plans for new local news networks set up by the previous government. Hunt called the plans for Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) in Tyne Tees and Borders, Scotland, and Wales “misguided” and claimed they “risked turning a whole generation of media companies into subsidy junkies, focusing all their efforts not on attracting viewers but on persuading ministers and regulators to give them more cash”.

Read Jeremy Hunt’s RTS speech in full here (PDF)Similar Posts:



June 15 2010

08:17

ITV Blogs: Why ITV stepped back from Cumbria shootings coverage

A thoughtful post from ITV’s crime correspondent Keir Simmons on why the broadcaster took the decision last week to reduce its coverage of the aftermath of the shootings in Cumbria two weeks ago:

Yesterday morning our editor Deborah Turness decided that the point had been reached when we should step back from covering the story in Cumbria on the national news. She asked that we now only report on the funerals with a short update – a picture of the person who lost their life and a couple of images of the funeral.

A good explanation of balancing a need for news with sensitivity – and a great example of how a journalist can use a blog to explain these company-wide decisions to viewers.

Full post at this link…

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April 30 2010

07:01

UK NATIONAL ELECTION TV DEBATES (3): THE RESULTS

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Cameron and Clegg: neck to neck.

Brown, toasted.

BBC wins versus ITV and SKY on best set and best presenter.

The Guardian, pro-Labour but now pro-Liberal Democrat, makes Cameron the winner with this column written by his associate editor Martin Kettle:

The central character in the three-man drama that has so energised British politics this month is neither Brown nor Clegg but David Cameron. It is Cameron who, after a bad debut two weeks ago came back with a stronger performance last week and who, in Jeremy Hunt’s phrase, faced the most important job interview of his life.

April 16 2010

10:35

Will the leader’s election debates engage first time voters?

Elizabeth Davies is a freelance journalist and recent graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She reviews the first of the Leaders’ Debates and asks: can the format engage young, first time voters? This post is also featured on her blog.

The BBC grandiosely declared Thursday 15 May to be “the day the skies went quiet”. It was not, unfortunately, because the entire population was glued to ITV’s broadcast of the first of the Leaders’ Debates. It was because a great plume of plane-endangering volcanic ash was infiltrating our airspace, just at a time when news organisations were doing their best to provide audiences with nothing but wall-to-wall debate ‘preview’ pieces.

I was not glued to my television, but only because I don’t have one. Like a significant fraction of the population – a fraction dominated by young first-time voters like myself – I chose to watch the debate online. Unfortunately the quality of ITV’s live stream made it difficult to remain captivated for long. It’s one thing to engage with social media to encourage meaningful online discussion, but quite another to slap so many cursory widgets on the page that no-one is able to load anything.

I’m not a great case study for a first-time voter, merely because I am such a political geek that I watched all of the US presidential primary debates live online back in those days before anyone had heard of Sarah Palin. That does, however, make me something of an expert in pre-election debates.

Last month, following BBC Three’s First Time Voters’ Question Time, I suggested that the Leaders’ Debates were the kind of media spectacle needed to engage young voters in the political process. On that front, ITV failed spectacularly.

Alastair Stewart was a poor choice of moderator, too little known among the country’s young voters to really fire them up. The studio, along with David Cameron, looked like it would drag us back to the 1980s, and the directing suggested one of the cameramen was frequently having a kind of spasm.

Those visual things matter, superficial as they are, because they make the difference in the split second that someone decides to check out what’s happening rather than flicking over to a Friends re-run. That difference is particularly pronounced when you’re trying to engage those who’ve never had the opportunity to vote before; those who are registered in record low numbers and who might proudly attest to not being interested in politics because it’s boring.

Aside from the lack of glamour, the format was a failure. The questions selected for the debate were insipid, formulaic and, frankly, boring. David Cameron told ITN that he worried the debates would be “slow and sluggish”. Never one to fail to deliver on a promise, Cameron himself ensured the debate was both slow and sluggish by displaying almost no personality whatsoever. Gordon Brown performed much better than I expected, but Ipsos Mori’s ‘worm’ showed dial groups just don’t warm to what he’s saying.

It was Nick Clegg’s debate, and the snap polls seem to back that up. He came across largely as a normal human being – impassioned, but not in a fake politician-type way, and as someone whose own frustrations with the current political situation reflected those of the electorate. It is plausible that a significant number of voters who claimed previously to be “undecided” will now be telling the pollsters they’re climbing into the Lib Dem camp. But if the remaining debates are similar to the first, how many of those will be 18 to 25 year olds?

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April 15 2010

12:03
11:45

LIVE TV DEBATES: THE 76 RULES TO PREVENT REAL DEBATES

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Tonight in Manchester we will have the first Prime Ministerial TV Debates before the UK General Elections.

They will broadcast live… but they will not be real debates.

Just look at these 76 rules and you will understand why politicians rule over TV journalists and the voters.

Audience selection

1. The objective is to select an audience which is broadly a demographic cross section of the country.

2. the audience to be made up of roughly 200 people, subject to venue capacity.

3. ICM has been appointed as an external recruitment agency and the methods of recruitment are based on their expert advice. In broad terms, we will aim to:

4. recruit within a 30 mile radius of the host city, mindful of administrative borders on either side of that radius based on the revised ICM list of constituencies.

5. recruit according to gender, age, ethnicity and social class to best reflect the broader voting-age population. The recruitment procedure will be transparent, and its methodology will be available to the parties for comment.

6. ensure around 80% of the audience is made up of voters who express a voting intention at the time of recruitment.

7. These will be subdivided into ratios which reflect a ratio of 7 Labour, 7 Conservative, 5 LibDem .The political ratios will take precedence over the demographic in the final selection of the audience by ICM.

8. within the 80% (see point 6) the broadcasters retain the right to recruit some audience members who express an intention to vote for smaller parties.

9. ensure that around 20% of the audience will be undecided but will be politically engaged. ICM’s definition of undecided voters to be the basis of this selection.

10. reserve a small number of seats for participants from outside the ICM selected audience, whose questions have been pre-submitted and selected by the broadcaster’s editorial panel. The broadcasters may use a variety of methods to encourage the submission of such questions from across the UK in the build up to the debates.

11. the number of questions from outside the ICM selected audience will be a maximum of four per debate.

12. over-recruit by a small margin to accommodate “drop outs” or “no shows”

13. issue audience members with a protocol of rules, including security procedures for entry and conduct during the debates. The protocol will be agreed by the parties.

Audience role

14. The objective is to ensure maximum debate between the party leaders — the distinctive characteristic of these programmes — whilst allowing the audience’s voices to be heard directly posing questions.

15. Each broadcaster will nominate a panel to choose the questions for its debate. The panel’s membership will be public, but they will meet in private.

16. Each selection panel will include a member to oversee compliance. List of names of panel members attached 17. The objective of each panel shall be to ensure fair question selection in order to frame a balanced debate within the rules of our agreements.

18. The panel will meet confidentially in the weeks running up to their debate.

19. All questions submitted by the ICM selected audience will be seen by a member of the panel. Email questions will be sifted and a selection given to the panel.

20. Initially, each panel will sift through a selection of questions drawn from those submitted by members of the public.

21. They will narrow down their selections in a series of meetings up to and including the day of the debate.

22. Each panel will have five to seven members, including a designated chair who would have a casting vote if necessary.

23. The panel cannot be quorate with fewer than three of its members present.

24. In selecting its questions, the panel will take full account of the following:

25. each question will be relevant to all three party leaders.

26. no question shall focus on one party or one leader.

27. all questions will be based on election issues

28. audience members will be made aware of these rules before submitting their final questions.

29. half the programme will be based on the agreed theme. Within that portion of the programme, a maximum of three questions will be selected on a single sub-theme (as listed in point 65 of this document).

30. half the programme will be unthemed. In this portion of the programme, a maximum of two questions will be selected on a single subject.

31. the range of questions chosen will reflect the broadcasters’ legal and compliance responsibilities for due impartiality and fairness.

32. the panel will use its editorial judgement to select questions and will take into account factors such as the prominence of certain issues in the campaign, the distinctiveness of the different parties’ policies on election issues, voters’ interest and issues relevant to the role of the Prime Minister.

33. Within these rules, the editorial independence of the panel shall be paramount, because each broadcaster is answerable to its regulator for its programme content.

34. Questions may be selected by the editorial selection panel up to the start of the debate.

35. The selected questions will not be shown to anyone outside the editorial team in advance of the programmes.

36. Members of the audience will ask their questions. The moderator will ask the leaders to respond. The moderator may read email questions.

37. All questions will be addressed to and answered by all three leaders.

38. The audience members will be restricted to asking the selected questions.

39. There will be an option of viewer involvement via emails read by the moderator.

40. In order to maximise the time available for viewers to hear the leaders discussing election issues with each other, the studio audience will be asked not to applaud during the debate. There will be opportunities to do so both at the beginning and at the end of each programme.

Structure of programme

41. the programme will start with all three leaders on set and standing at their podiums.

42. The moderator will have a podium/desk and will move within a small area to allow eyeline with the audience and the leaders.

43. The moderator will introduce the leaders.

44. The first half of the programme will be on the agreed theme but with the agreement of all the parties, in case of a major national or international event not included in the theme of the debate, the moderator will ask the leaders for their reaction to the development at the start of the programme before moving on to the theme.

45. The time taken for the reaction to such an event will be added to the time available for the themed part of the debate, unless the event is clearly part of the theme of the debate, in which case the reaction will be counted as part of the time allotted to the theme.

46. Each leader will make an opening statement on the theme of the debate lasting for 1 minute. After the three opening statements the moderator will take the first question on the agreed theme. There will be closing statements of 1 minute 30 seconds from all three leaders at the end of the 90 minutes.

47. Each leader will have 1 minute to answer the question.

48. Each leader will then have 1 minute to respond to the answers.

49. The moderator may then open the discussion to free debate between the leaders for up to 4 minutes on merit.

50. The length of the debate on each question will be decided by the programme editor.

51. The programme editor will use their best endeavours to keep to the 4 minute time allowance but it may need to be extended in the interest of equality of treatment.

52. Questions will be taken on the theme until around half way through the programme, depending on timing and ensuring fair treatment of all three leaders.

53. At the end of the themed period, the moderator will open the debate to general questions selected by the broadcaster’s panel from the audience or via email.

54. The same timing format will apply to the general questions i.e. each leader will have 1 minute to answer the question. Each leader will then have 1 minute to respond. The moderator will then open the discussion to free debate between the leaders for up to 4 minutes on merit

55. There will be a clock indicating the time remaining for statements, answers to questions and responses. This will be visible to the candidates and moderator but not to the audience in the debate or on screen.

56. The order of speakers, based on an agreed grid, has been determined by the parties drawing lots.

57. At the end of the programme the three leaders will shake hands (Oh, boy!)

Role of the moderator

58. To moderate the programme

59. To keep the leaders to the agreed time limits

60. To ensure free-flowing debate being fair to all candidates over the course of the programme.

61. To ensure fairness on the direction of the programme editor

62. To seek factual clarification where necessary 63. It is not the moderator’s role to criticise or comment on the leaders’ answers.

64. The candidates accept the authority of the moderator to referee the rules on stage and ensure a free flowing, fair debate conducted within the agreed rules

Themes

65. Order of themed debates. The order of the themes for the first half of each programme was determined by the broadcasters drawing lots. The order is as follows:

1. Domestic affairs including but not exclusively: NHS; Education; Immigration; Law and Order; Family; Constitution; Trust in politics; Political reform;

2. International affairs including but not exclusively; International relations; Afghanistan; Iraq; Iran; Middle East; UK defence; International terrorism; Europe; Climate change; China; International Development

3. Economic affairs including but not exclusively: financing of public services; Taxation; Debt; Deficit; Public finances; Recession; Recovery; Banking and finance; Business; Pensions; Jobs;

Set

66. The leaders will stand at podiums throughout the debate. The positions of the three leaders during the debates are to be determined by agreement with all parties.

67. The moderator will have a podium/desk and will move within a small area to allow eyeline with the audience and the leaders.

68. Each broadcaster responsible for their own titles, music, branding etc.

Audience cutaways

69. The purpose of the programmes are for the viewers to see and hear the party leaders engaging in debate with each other and answering questions from the audience. The audience is a key element of the programmes and has to be seen by the viewers but there will not be undue concentration of the reactions of individual audience members.

70. There will be a close up of the questioner while he/she is asking a question.

71. There will be no close-up cutaways of a single individual audience member while the leaders are speaking.

72. However if one of the leaders directly addresses an individual audience member, a close-up shot of that individual can be shown e.g. if a leader answers a question by directly addressing the questioner.

73. There may be group shots and wide shots of the audience during the programme.

74. The programme will be confined to events inside the debate studio.

75. Breaking News straps will not be put over live coverage of the debate. On news channels (Sky News, BBC News channel), the scrolling news tickers will offer other news but will not cover breaking news lines from the debates while the debates are taking place.

76. Each party will have the right to recall the negotiating panel made up of representatives from the broadcasters and the parties, during the campaign to discuss issues arising from the debates.

April 08 2010

08:15

Media Guardian: Regional news consortia will miss election contract deadline

Attempts to rush through plans for Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) to replace regional news provision by ITV ahead of the general election on 6 May have failed.

The winning bids for the IFNC pilots in Tyne Tees/Border region, Scotland and Wales were announced on 25 March, but contracts for the scheme will not be signed before the election date, a spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed to the Guardian.

Those involved will now have to hope for a Labour victory on polling day as the Conservative party has said it will scrap the IFNC plans.

Full post at this link…

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January 06 2010

15:44

IFNC pilot will launch Newcastle University’s events on journalism

Newcastle University will this month hold the first in a series of seminars exploring ethnic diversity in the news industry workforce.

The seminar Widening Ethnic Diversity in the News Industry Workforce: Towards Solutions will coincide with the launch of the Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) pilot schemes; an initiative in which interested parties are invited to bid to produce local content to replace the ITV regional news network.

Newspaper and broadcasting companies, independent producers and universities have formed Independently Financed News Consortia (IFNCs) to bid for around £21m to run three multi-platform pilot news services in Wales, Scotland and the Tyne Tees and Borders region.

But the news industry as a whole has a poor record of reflecting in its workforce the cultural and ethnic diversity of British society – and minority communities are entitled to expect changes if they are sharing the costs of this project.

Speakers at the event on 20 January at Newcastle University include International Federation of Journalists president Jim Boumelha and Bob Satchwell of the Society of Editors.

The two-year series of seminars, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will take place at six universities across England and Wales.

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