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October 05 2010

14:19

OJR: What Whrrl and sitckybits can do for journalism

Robert Hernandez takes an interesting look at two new web tools over on the Online Journalism Review website, offering his thoughts on how new social media technologies could be used by the news industry for ‘real-world’ user engagement.

The first tool, Whrrl, collects images and notes and groups them geographically, enabling an individual to share and view their activities on a map. Hernandez discusses its basic use, to share for example the experience of a birthday with those who could not be there in person. Now swap the word ‘birthday’ to ‘election’, he says.

Reporters and citizens are posting their experiences — comments, photos, videos, etc. — at polling sites, leaving a virtual marker filled with content for others to add or re-live. This would also work for a sporting event, a protest/rally or any news event where people gather in one location. Collectively, we can capture the moment in real-time with rich multimedia. This doesn’t replace the article or video piece, but can really enhance them.

The second tool is stickybits, which is a way of attaching digital content to everyday objects using a sticker barcode which when scanned with a smartphone reveals the experiences of those who have already used the technology there.

Imagine going to a polling place where people can scan a sticker to read or leave messages. The only way to get that unique experience from that polling place is to be at that location.

From news to reviews, we could possibly embed our stories on anything and anywhere. And, more importantly, we can get user engagement. We’re not talking about from behind a computer, we’re talking about out in real life.

See his full post here…Similar Posts:



August 23 2010

10:42

OJR: Advice for new journalism students

Robert Niles, writing on the Online Journalism Review site, offers five top tips for students about to embark on a journalism course at university or college in the coming weeks.

In summary, his recommendations are:

  • Don’t believe that journalism school will help you prepare for your career. Why? Because your journalism career’s already started.
  • Audience equals power for journalism job-seekers. Start building your own online straight away.
  • Your career is only as strong as your network. Follow the right people.
  • Pursue your passion, and develop expertise within it. Become an expert in a field that stirs your passion.
  • Conduct yourself as a journalist, at all times.

The overall message from Niles is for students to use the internet to make their own opportunities – “never wait for someone to hire you before starting to work”.

See the full post here…Similar Posts:



August 13 2010

10:21

Denying press cards to citizen journalists a ‘disservice to news consumers’

Writing on the Online Journalism Review website, Jason Stverak, discusses the issue of press credentials and who gets them.

It’s another branch of an issue Journalism.co.uk reported on earlier this week after a citizen journalism news wire Demotix was criticised for handing out its own press passes to some of its contributors.

Stverak argues that staff cuts at traditional media mean the industry should be supporting those citizens and independent journalists who want to take on the role of holding those in power to account – and if press credentials could help them do that job and the content they produce is worthy, they should be equally entitled.

And while there is no one covering the meetings and hearings, and poring over public records, there are people forming to take on these stories. However, these non-profit reporters, citizen journalists and bloggers are often being shown the cold shoulder and being denied credentials because they don’t have a business card from a newspaper or television station.

Denying press credentials to independent, non-profit and citizen journalists who are working to get stories is doing a disservice to every news consumer. Many of these journalists are filling the void that is left when a local newspaper cuts back or closes. They do the same job that the legacy media reporters are sometimes are doing it without either a paycheck or title.

See his full post here…Similar Posts:



August 11 2010

10:27

OJR: Revenue is the only metric that truly matters

Revenue: how to build it, how to maintain it and how to increase it – this is the challenge facing every online news outlet owner or director looking to secure a future in the industry.

But according to a post by Robert Niles on the Online Journalism Review, some sites are getting caught up in the latest ‘metrics’ craze based on the perceived successes of others, whether it be page-views, unique visitors or time spent by browsers on the site. But none of this means anything if it doesn’t make you money, he says.

I’ve seen sites post phenomenal numbers for each of those categories, and fail. There’s one metric, and only one, that truly matters in determining your websites’s commercial success. Revenue.

Your visitors can spend hours per month on your website, but a huge “time on site” value by itself won’t entitle you to a dime (see Twitter). I suspect that one reason why various web metrics fall into and out of favor over the years is that managers talk up or down those metrics based on their website’s individual performance. Someone notices that people are spending more time, on average, on the website, then he or she gets on a panel at a news industry conference and – boom – “time on site” becomes the metric everyone needs to consider.

He advises instead that organisations do not look at these categories in isolation, instead with an eye to how they can be used to boost revenues through advertising and other means.

Of course, you need data in order to analyze it. That’s why smart news publishers ought to be experimenting, constantly. Try new topics, new writing forms, new functionality – then create new tracking channels to monitor those experiments, to build a database of information that can help guide you in making smarter decisions about the growth and maintenance of your website.

See his full post here…Similar Posts:



July 29 2010

08:00

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – online journalism how-to guides

The Online Journalism Review has a great resource of how-to guides for any journalist working on the web, from maintaining online communities to dealing with ethical matters. 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 05 2010

10:15

June 30 2010

13:04

Female online journalists on how the internet has changed the gender landscape

There is an interesting post on the Online Journalism Review site today following a gender and mass media class at the University of Iowa.

A group of students and their teacher, Pamela Creedon, have compiled an interview series featuring female online journalists around the world discussing experiences of gender bias.

The result is a wide-reaching archive of comments documenting the variations across continents and an insight into how the internet has changed the gender landscape.

Several comments of particular interest:

I actually consider being a female journalist to be one of my advantages. I think it’s because people consider women to be less aggressive, less hardcore. I feel like that stereotype really helped me to hide my true aggression, my true, hardcore journalism. When I go out to report I always try to show a very feminine side but inside I know I’m a hardnosed journalist. Xin Feng, journalist from China.

In terms of promotions, gender bias [exists] when assigning reporters in the field, men always send women to weaker assignments, give them weaker positions. I’ve been senior reporter for over five years and yet those coming in are being promoted on the basis of gender. Delphine Hampande, a senior reporter in Zambia.

In terms of countries like the US and the UK I consider men and women to play an equal role in the media already, and therefore in the years to come would like to see both working to high standards of respectable and reliable journalism… In developing countries and oppressive regimes I would love to see the number of female journalists continue to rise. Online journalism and blogging both have a huge scope for anonymity and so can (and should) be used to tell stories that would otherwise be kept hidden. Natalie Hart, an English freelance journalist.

The interviews have been transformed into an interactive source for students to access industry opinion, using OJR’s OurBlook.com platform.

The full interview series can be read here…Similar Posts:



November 13 2009

09:46

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – a checklist for news start-ups

A practical checklist for students or mid-career journalists - considering starting their own news website, compiled by the Online Journalism Review's Robert Niles. Tipster: Judith Townend. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


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