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May 28 2013


Circa Hires Reuters' Anthony De Rosa as New Editor in Chief

Mobile news app Circa is hoping to push further into the breaking news space, announcing today that the startup behind the app has hired Anthony De Rosa, former social media editor at Reuters, to become its editor in chief.


Circa collects the "atomic units" of stories -- facts, quotes and images -- and puts them into running stories with alerts to updates. The startup was co-founded by Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh and his partner, Matt Galligan, and is under the editorial leadership of David Cohn, who was the founder and director of Spot.Us, a non-profit that pioneered "community funded reporting." Cohn has written about both Spot.Us and Circa here on Idea Lab.

"As the head of editorial I'm very excited to have Anthony come on board," Cohn said in an email. "I know he will bring a lot to the table and will help Circa push forward in the 'breaking news' space which, combined with our 'follow feature' really puts us in a unique position to serve a readers' needs."

De Rosa is owner of tumblog SoupSoup and co-founder of hyperlocal blogging tool Neighborhoodr. At Reuters, he trained staff to make use of live blogs and social media to try to produce a constant river of breaking news. In an article in 2011, The New York Times' Paul Boutin dubbed De Rosa the "undisputed King of Tumblr."

"There's a huge opportunity to present news in a way that's made for mobile. Nobody is thinking about this more than Circa and I'm thrilled to help move that mission forward," De Rosa said in a statement announcing his new position.

You can tune in on the recent Mediatwits podcast with Circa founder Huh on PBS MediaShift, and here's another Mediatwits podcast with Cohn, talking about the prospects for Circa now and in the future.

Desiree Everts is the associate editor for Idea Lab and PBS MediaShift. She's dabbled in digital media for the past decade including stints at CNET News and Wired magazine.

May 23 2013


More on the tech side of the Reuters.com redesign

Building on our piece on the Reuters.com rethink, Source went back to get the nerdier details from Paul Smalera. Of note is that it’s all built on a unified API called Media Connect that generates the content feeds for all its new platforms and products:

The other thing this setup lets us do is show off the depth of Reuters content. We produce, including videos, text, pictures, and other content types, something like 20,000 unique items per day. But our current website really didn’t let us show off the depth of our reporting. So one of the main functions of the CMS is really set up to allow editors to create and curate collections — we call them streams — of stories. This lets us get to the endless-scroll type behavior that Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and the rest have made popular as the new default behavior of the web.

Sponsored post

August 23 2012


The newsonomics of a New York Times + CNN combination

Mark Thompson faces a defining and daunting challenge: Lead The New York Times on that thin tightrope to a new stability, one tethered to the digital world. We’ve seen lots of good ideas already freely offered to the incoming NYT CEO. Let me offer a new one.

Let’s imagine what a New York Times/CNN combination would look like — and what it could do for both companies. Combination? Yes, a purposely squishy word. I’m not talking about a merger of the companies. I’m thinking about what each company offers the other strategically, at this point in media history, and how each could see its business advanced. We’ll leave the messy details of corporate development, of partnership, of joint venture, for a later day.

So why put these two entities closer together? Two big reasons provide some logic.

First, the marketplace is pushing companies toward convergence. The worlds of completely separate TV (video), newspapers/magazines (text), and radio (audio) have simply been overwhelmed by the reality of consumption devices that bring all three together for us — the iPad being the current crown of creation. But the legacy roots of each medium has made it really tough to either (re-)build truly multi-platform companies or forge newspaper/TV alliances (Tampa, Chicago, etc.) that work. Logic compels greater multi-platform creation; inevitably that will mean new combinations of legacy companies, even as legacy companies try to remake themselves internally.

Second, both CNN and The New York Times fill in numerous of the other’s weaknesses. At this digital moment when “mobile” and the tablet are tossing old habits up in the air and forcing consumers to re-form new ones, it’s a great time for both the Times and CNN to double down on their native advantages, and make their products no-brainer top-three places to go in the news everywhere-and-anywhere world.

For CNN, a partnership could be part of a strategy to reclaim its mojo after seeing TV ratings drop to 21-year lows. For the Times, having turned small corners in the last year, it’s a way to increase its sense of momentum, separating itself from the pack of other top news sources.

The timing is near-perfect. Mark Thompson, after all, comes to the Times as a broadcaster. With a 33-year TV career, he knows TV, and he knows the Times is just beginning to escape its print roots. Scaling the wall of video/TV, where huge revenues still exist, is one of his daunting challenges. He is one of the few people who could have taken the job who brings both a broadcast background and one of airtight news credibility, given the BBC’s standards. He is the perfect person to imagine a strong video/TV presence for the next-gen Times. The Times is looking currently at what a major investment in video would look like; how does it climb the incremental mountain with the next generations of TimesCasts?

CNN is searching for recently resigned president Jim Walton’s successor. While the 32-year-old network’s staff debates the realities and fantasies, and CNN-directed truths, of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” the once top-of-the-heap TV news source faces a fundamental identity crisis and big strategic moment. It has wavered along hard/soft news lines and in programming choices, spun into a dither by Fox News’ Roger Ailes and MSNBC’s Phil Griffin.

Now the next CNN president must renew brand purpose and internal pride. Focus on news — especially adding to its forte of who, what, and where the why and how aspects of news as it has been edging into (The Freedom Project, an award-winning series on human trafficking, and Saving Aesha, for example) — or play with more entertainment/personality positioning? Worry about the Foxes and the MSNBCs, or grab the moment of the greatest potential global news reach technology and literacy has ever made possible?

There are smaller plays for both, to be sure. CNN’s been around the block with CBS News, talking news merger, but those talks foundered on issues of control and culture. The Times has tried all manner of tests, from longer-standing ones with Google to newer ones with Flipboard.

What both need is a game changer: a move that will simultaneously do three things:

  • Rocket it ahead of the news competition, as consumers decide those handful of must-go-to news sources they’ll visit each day, across their many screens.
  • Add a large new dimension of content to its current brand. While both the Times and CNN have lots of content, both — as is the case of all news companies — can use more to satisfy insatiable digital reading appetites.
  • Create a strong, new revenue line, as both see traditional lines weakened by market change.

Before I get to how a game-changer may work, let’s try this as a simplified chart to compare the two companies:

The New York Times CNN Brand Ascendant; mobile apps have now separated NYT from other “newspapers”; digital circulation has newly marked NYT as innovator Ubiquitous in U.S. and worldwide; its image — what it stands for — is unclear Top leadership CEO Mark Thompson begins in November Search on for replacement for President Jim Walton Audience Top-five web site; newspaper circulation flat Top-three web site; TV ratings at 21-year low Revenue Reader revenue, newly revived and growing, with all-access digital circulation programs; online advertising under pricing pressure, and by ad marketplace change; print advertising in 5-10 percent annual decline. Net loss of $39.7 million (2011) Cable/satellite fees, increasingly threatened by low ratings and the potential unbundling of forced consumer packages; advertising, on air and online, both under pricing pressure by ad marketplace change. Profit of $600 million (est. 2012) Global Times moving that way, with ~10 percent of paying digital-only customers outside U.S.; new China site By definition, global and recognized globally. Great worldwide distribution and name recognition TV culture/experience Experimenting, unevenly, with “video” It’s a TV company Text culture/experience It’s a newspaper company Experimenting, unevenly, with “text” Content Deep, authoritative, agenda-setting; fairly good breadth, but the deep web is exposing its areas of weakness Immediate, wide, truly global, largely authoritative; good breadth, and worldwide, though subpar to AP Access to TV platforms Minimal Ubiquitous Revenue sources Readers, advertisers Cable/satellite cos., advertisers Aggregator chops Little developed; a powerful potential for adding breadth to its brand Little developed, but it bought top-three tablet aggregator Zite Community-generated content Fledgling efforts have gone awry CNN’s iReport is a prototype for user-generated reporting; if those CNN/Mashable talks work their way to completion, CNN would have a leg up on social media journalism Wire Longstanding NYT wire and syndicate are mature Newer CNN wire fighting for place in market

There’s clearly a complementarity here that makes sense — on paper. How might it work in reality?

It’s easiest to see how the two might exploit two green fields, areas so new neither has as much ego or business invested.

If we look at the coming five screens of access, it is the emerging two — connected TV and connected car — that are most virgin, while laptop/desktop, smartphone and tablet are already deeply competitive. Both connected TV and connected car offer many new product opportunities and access to new revenue. A partnership could focus on those two, as the least threatening way to combine smarts and assets.

More immediately, we could see a new focus on tablet and smartphone products. For starters:

  • Next-generation news video products for the tablet: The Wall Street Journal has burst out of its word box this year with a major emphasis on video. It has just begun to leverage its deep journalistic expertise, though the presentation is still more talking head than “TV.” Combining the beat expertise of New York Times journalists with CNN TV smarts — and its own formidable behind-the-scenes journalistic workforce — offers breakout potential for tablet video news. CNN’s journalist workforce numbers is a hard number to compare to the Times’ 1,150 journalists; how do you count those who provide the technology to present the journalism? Yet CNN’s journalists often get short shrift in the press, which favors endless Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper stories. Here’s one area where print is superior: In the breadth of The New York Times’ Sunday edition, for instance, you can see the great stretch of its journalistic talent. With the flat screen of the TV or the computer or tablet, you can’t see the rich CNN reporting behind its facade.
  • The leading global news product: Everyone from Bloomberg to the FT and BBC and from the Journal to the Times and the Guardian, is now moving on the vast global opportunity (English-speaking and otherwise). No longer must the Brits be satisfied with their one percent of the world market, or Americans with five percent. Here both CNN and the Times are among the top contenders. With 32 journalists outside the U.S. and 24 foreign bureaus, the Times has maintained a global presence, when most of its print brethren have severely cut back. CNN’s 33 foreign bureaus and vast carriage across the world lay continued claim to its birthright. If you are overseas and watch CNN International, it’s a night-and-day different product than CNN U.S.; adding the Times to the mix would lengthen its international lead.
  • Reinventing the “wire”: CNN’s wire, launched in 2009, marked its emergence from AP. The goal: compete with AP, leveraging its substantial journalistic investment with syndication, selling the same content to many, many others. That wire, like many competitors to AP and Reuters, has found tough going against the incumbents. Meanwhile, The New York Times’ wire and syndicate face the same struggles of most in that niche wire business: maturity at best, holding on to as much of the old, dwindling print world as they can. A combined “wire,” focusing on those next-generation syndicatable digital/mobile products, could harvest joint assets well.

Then, there’s the web in general and TV, the former where both engage in head-to-head combat and the latter in which CNN, though struggling, is the incumbent and NYT the wannabe. The hurdles to cooperation, there, are highest, though the payoff may be the greatest.

For CNN, the questions would be: How could TV people harness the added depth of The New York Times’ report and intelligence? How could it marry its video and text in new state-of-the-art ways?

While CNN is now much more profitable than the Times, the fragmentation and disruption of TV business models is happening quickly (see “The newsonomics of breakthrough digital TV, from Aereo to Dyle and MundoFox to Google Fiber TV”). A Times partnership could help CNN find ways to create new news and information products that consumers will pay for, as the Times has now nimbly done, with its digital circulation initiative.

For The New York Times, the questions would be: How could text-based journalists move into the next generation of multimedia storytelling, bringing over their craft and standards, but learning new skills? How could video be graft onto the Times DNA, make the Times the company it needs to be in the next age?

How could the Times tap into the revenue stream of TV access, either through programming that cable and satellite companies would pay then for, as they pay Time Warner/CNN? It isn’t as if Times reporters haven’t been well-used on broadcast. NPR does a masterful job of that, but the Times gets no revenue out of the relationship. That’s the key: wringing TV money out of a deal.

For both, the tasty intangible: Would a combination of two of the best brands in news world reinforce and heighten each side’s? Of course, there are lots of reasons why it wouldn’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t work. Yet, it if did, it would give real meaning to convergence — finally — as the old demarcations of print and TV fast erode.

It’s easy to tick off the numerous factors that make it difficult: control, valuation and culture top the list. It’s at least, though, a whiteboard exercise that allocates strengths and deficits, opportunities and challenges over a five-year time span. That’s the level of thinking, and timespan, that Mark Thompson will need to bring to the Times, as will CNN’s new chief when she or he arrives in Atlanta.

August 16 2012


Daily Must Reads, August 16, 2012

The best stories across the web on media and technology, curated by Lily Leung

1. Reuters gets hacked for the third time in two weeks (Guardian)

2. An early review of HuffPost Live (Adweek)

3, TBD.com is no more (Washington Post)

4. Wired stands by Jonah Lehrer and his work (BuzzFeed)

5. 13 ways to view new social platform Medium (Nieman Lab)

Subscribe to Daily Must Reads newsletter

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Reuters blogging platform hacked again on Wednesday: False Saudi blog posted

The identity of the hacker(s) are unknown, but of course Reuters speculates on the reasons behind the recent attacks and ascribes it to "an intensifying conflict in cyberspace between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."

Reuters :: The blogging platform of the Reuters News website was hacked (on Wednesday) and a false posting saying Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal had died was illegally posted on a Reuters journalist's blog, the company said on Wednesday.

A report by Andrew Torchia, www.reuters.com


Tags: Reuters Syria

August 09 2012


Reuters, Gizmodo Hacks Are Cautionary Tales for News Orgs

The Syrian civil war is also a propaganda war. With the Assad regime and the rebels both attempting to assure their supporters and the world that they are on the brink of victory, how the facts are reported has become central to the struggle. Hackers working in support of Assad loyalists this week decided to take a shortcut, attacking the Reuters news agency's blogging platform and one of its Twitter accounts, and planting false stories about the vanquishing of rebel leaders and wavering support for them from abroad.

The stories and tweets were unconvincing, and none spread much further than their home sites. The majority of readers disseminating the repurposed Twitter stream appeared to be Assad partisans, either keen to spread the misconceptions or to believe them themselves.

The attacks demonstrate, however, how media institutions are at risk of targeted attacks by state-supported electronic activists -- and that hackers will attempt to leverage the outlying parts of a large organization to take wider control, or at least the appearance of wider control.

Neither Reuters' blogging site nor its minor Twitter accounts feed the company's authoritative wire service, but as a consequence they may not have the same levels of heavy protection against misuse. A weak password used by a single person could have granted an outsider the power to post publicly to either service.

Even individual journalists are at risk

Even when a hacker's target is an individual journalist and not his or her media organization, things can escalate to affect the institutions journalists work for. When the tech reporting site Gizmodo's Twitter account was taken over on Friday, it was through an attack on one of its former reporters, Mat Honan. Gizmodo's reporting has made it unpopular in some quarters, but Honan says that he was the target, and that Gizmodo was "collateral damage." His Twitter account was linked to Gizmodo's corporate account, and the attackers used one to post to the other.

Thumbnail image for mathonan.png

Honan's story should give anyone pause about their own digital safety, especially if they rely on external companies. His Twitter account was taken over by a hacker who persuaded a tech support line operator to reset the password to his Apple account. The attacker used this account to change his linked Gmail and Twitter account information, and then proceeded to use the "remote wipe" feature on the latest Apple iPhone and laptops to disable and delete the content of his phone, iPad and Macbook. As a
freelancer, Honan did not have offline backup of his work. (Honan says he is waiting for a response from Apple the company; meanwhile, Apple tech support is helping with damage control.)

Honan has corresponded with an individual who claims to be his hacker, and says that the real intent of the compromise was his three-letter Twitter account. Whether it's by common cybercriminals or state-supported propagandists, journalists are being targeted as individuals. The organizations that employ them need to invest resources and training to improve their cyber-security; not least because when one person's security is compromised, everyone who relies on that person is also under threat.

Danny O'Brien is the Internet advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. O'Brien has been at the forefront of the fight for digital rights worldwide, serving as an activist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He was an original staff member for Wired UK magazine and co-founded the Open Rights Group, a British digital rights organization. He's also worked as a journalist covering technology and culture for the New Scientist, The Sunday Times of London, and The Irish Times. Follow on Twitter: @danny_at_cpj

cpj-logo-name.jpgA version of this post originally appeared on CPJ's Internet Channel. The Committee to Protect Journalists is a New York-based, independent, non-profit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. You can learn more at CPJ.org or follow the CPJ on Twitter @pressfreedom or on Facebook here.

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August 05 2012


Second security breach: @ReutersTech was hacked and changed to @ReutersME

The Next Web :: New agency Thomson Reuters suffered its second Web security breach in 48 hours after hackers took control of its Twitter account dedicated to technology news, changing the focus to the Middle East and posting a series of pro-Syrian government tweets to its 17,500 followers.

Earlier today @reuterstech was hacked and changed to @reutersme. The account has been suspended and is currently under investigation

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 5, 2012

A report by Jon Russell, thenextweb.com

July 28 2012


Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa: Twitter is a “beacon” leading to more in-depth reporting

TPM Idea Lab :: Reuters Social Media Editor Anthony De Rosa recently talked to TPM about Twitter, verifying digital information and unplugging on weekends.

Interview by David Taintor, idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com

April 27 2012


Twitter case studies: Reuters made Davos attendees into citizen reporters

Twitter Developers :: When the Reuters editorial team had its kickoff meeting for Davos, the objective for their 2012 conference was clear: surface the best articles, blog posts, videos and photos from the event so everyone could see the active conversation happening at the event. Alex Leo, Reuters' Director of News Products, faced a familiar challenge. Reuters wanted to capture both the day-to-day networking, conversations, and on-line commentary taking place at the World Economic Forum, and the pictures and videos that offered viewers a deeper insight into the conference.

[Seth Bindernagel, Twitter: ] Today, we are launching eight cases studies that highlight the impact that Twitter can provide a website or mobile app when used properly.

HT: Jolie O'Dell, Venture Beat

Continue to read dev.twitter.com

Twitter's news case studies hub

Tags: Reuters

April 20 2012


The challenges for journalism start-ups in Europe

Online journalism start-ups in Europe are struggling, according to a report from the Reuters Institute for the study of Journalism.

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen presented the results of the study, Survival is Sucess, co-authored by Nicola Bruno, at ISOJ.

They found that journalism start-ups are facing a challenging time.

First, news is still dominated by legacy businesses, with national differences. In Germany, there is a strong but declining legacy news media, whereas in France and Italy, there is a weak and rapidly declining legacy media.

Secondly, the market for online advertising is tough, with low Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) rates. And it is dominated by a few very large US-based players which capture much of the search and display advertising in Europe.

The journalism start-ups found it hard to survive just based on advertising. The report suggests that “though internet use and online advertising is growing rapidly across Europe, it is not clear that this alone will provide the basis for a new generation of innovative and sustainable journalistic start-ups.”

There are individual examples of success, such as Mediapart, an investigative news website operating behind a paywall in France. But the track record in Europe has been less than inspiring, said Nielsen.

The report concludes:

Based on the countries and cases examined here it seems that at this juncture the journalistic start- ups most likely to thrive are those that deliver a distinct, quality product, operate with lean organisations, have diverse revenue streams, and are oriented towards niche audiences poorly served by existing legacy media.


April 17 2012


Reuters Institute hosts a debate taking stock of the crisis in British (U.S.) journalism

Capital New York :: In the short time during which The Leveson Inquiry in Britain has been investigating the practice of phone-hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s News International employees, the revelations have been as shocking as the resignations have been numerous. Unscrupulous editors, crooked reporters, bribe-accepting policemen, corrupt government officials, the head of Scotland Yard, the News of the World itself: all participants in and casualties of this historic scandal.

What does this mean for the international journalistic community?

Continue to read Lauren Kirchner, www.capitalnewyork.com

March 30 2012


Iran suspends accreditation for Reuters in Tehran

Reuters :: The Iranian government has suspended the press accreditation for Reuters staff in Tehran after the publication of a video story on women's martial arts training which contained an error. Reuters, the news arm of Thomson Reuters, the global news and information group, corrected the story after the martial arts club where the video was filmed made a complaint.

Continue to read www.reuters.com

Tags: Iran Reuters

February 09 2012


Caution on Thomson Reuters' FT acquisition, a rumor put forth by Michael Wolff

Politico :: Senior staffers at Reuters write in to provide some context for a rumor put forth by Michael Wolff today that Thomson Reuters is in talks with the Financial Times to buy the salmon-colored daily:

"That rumor has been around for years," one senior staffer told me. "Wolff hedges quite a bit... It appears he says with some certainty that talks are now on, then says it's very informal, then says it might not amount to anything." "Some version of the FT rumor has been floating around for a long time," another wrote. "Much depends on what the selling price would be, and whether the Thomson Reuters board and shareholders, who've been dealing with an underperforming stock for some time, would be willing to support it." Part of the problem here is that Wolff's source is a single senior executive at Thomson Reuters, who also appears to be hedging.

Continue to read Dylan Byers, www.politico.com

February 08 2012


Reuters UK journalists will not strike

Dylan Byers :: Thompson Reuters has reached a deal with the National Union of Journalists, who will now call off a two-day strike scheduled to begin tonight at midnight. "As you know, the National Union of Journalists had scheduled an industrial action to begin at midnight tonight in London," Reuters News editor-in-chief Stephen Adler wrote in an internal email. "I was very pleased to hear that we reached an agreement with the NUJ earlier today, approved by the union membership, and have been able to avoid a strike."

Continue to read Dylan Byers, www.politico.com

Tags: Reuters

January 22 2012


Launch of the first ever Data Journalism Awards, London, 19 January 2012

Press Release :: The Global Editors Network (GEN) is proud to announce the launch of the first annual Data Journalism Awards (DJA), the international competition recognizing outstanding work in the growing field of data journalism. The GEN initiative is supported by Google and is organized in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre

An international jury of data journalism and media experts will select the six winning submissions. Jury members have been selected from prestigious international media companies including the New York Times, Reuters, and Les Echos and the president of the Jury is Paul Steiger, founder of ProPublica

[Paul Steiger:] ... journalists and media organisations increasingly use numerical data and databases to gather, organize and produce relevant information. The Data Journalism Awards champions the evolution of this field by rewarding editorial excellence and highlighting best practices in data journalism.

Data Journalism Awards candidates can apply to one of those three categories:

1. Data-driven investigative journalism

2. Data visualisation & storytelling

3. Data-driven applications

Both National/International and Local/Regional projects are welcome and will be judged separately. The work submitted must have been published or aired between 11 April 2011 and 10 April 2012.

A total of €45,000 (around $57,000) will be awarded to the six winning projects

As of today, applicants can submit their best data journalism projects at http://www.datajournalismawards.org. The competition is open to media companies, non-profit organisations, freelancers and individuals until 10 April 2012. The six winning projects will be announced by jury members at the annual News World Summit (NEWS!) being held in Paris, France, from 30 May to 01 June 2012 and hosted by the Global Editors Network.

At Google, we’re keen to help support and stimulate innovation in digital journalism,” said Peter Barron, Director of External Relations.  “We see exciting possibilities of leveraging data to produce award-winning journalism.

Media partners of the Data Journalism Awards are the Online News Association, journalism.co.uk, OWNI, Wired Italy, AHREF and the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (other media partners added later). 

About the Global Editors Network

Founded in 2011, the Global Editors Network (GEN) is the first non-profit, non-governmental association that brings together editors-in-chief and senior news executives from all platforms – print, digital, mobile and broadcast. By breaking down the barriers between traditional and new media, GEN aims to define an open journalism model for the future and to create new journalistic concepts and tools. GEN brings together like-minded people that are forward thinking and enthusiastic about defining tomorrow’s journalism.


January 20 2012


It’s not TV, it’s Reuters TV: Rethinking a news channel for online audiences

“We are deliberately not doing television on the web.”

As strategies go, that sounds like a solid start for Reuters TV, which launched this week as a YouTube channel and a new destination on Reuters.com. But what Barclay Palmer, Reuters global executive producer, was getting at is that, while sharing some commonalities with cable and network news, Reuters TV won’t just be CNN, MSNBC, or FOX News recreated for YouTube.

That’s because Reuters TV is an experiment in just what exactly online video news could become. It’s territory still largely uncharted, with the bulk of online news video coming from network and cable news, comprised of show segments and individual reports sliced up in easily digestible bits. (And online news video is, of course, just a tiny fraction of all web video.) For networks, that has meant carrying over much of the classic TV form — shot selection, editing, story length, set design — to the web, whether or not it matches up with the desires of online audiences.

That’s likely one of the reasons YouTube, which is branching out into original programming through partnerships, wanted a friend like Reuters. YouTube offers reach, Reuters offers the global news-gathering operation: Reuters + YouTube = the potential for a next generation news network. When I talked with Palmer, whose TV experience includes The NewsHour on PBS, Anderson Cooper 360, and others, he said Reuters has a chance to create a whole new experience for news video online.

“Reuters has this great tradition of providing smart content to news outlets, but it hadn’t really been in this business,” he said. “There’s a great opportunity to bring Reuters into online programming.”

What they plan to offer on the new channel is a mix of news and analysis on politics, finance, technology and other news from Reuters personalities like Chrystia Freeland, Felix Salmon, and Anthony De Rosa. Along with more interview-driven fare, they’ll also produce shows based around the U.S. presidential election, investigative reporting, and video from journalists in the field. It’s TV-esque — up to a point. There will be people chatting mingled with rich visuals, but the production style will be more casual, with less of a network polish and more of the energy of an upstart, Palmer said.

The advantage for Reuters is that there are few hard and fast rules for what works in original online video when it comes to news. “I think that in television, people are used to an architecture of the way programming works that gives a sense of familiarity and predictability that is comforting,” he said. None of that exists online, and that’s a good thing to Palmer. Take length: There’s a widespread belief that online video must be short in order to keep viewers attention — but Hulu and Netflix have proven people will happily watch something longer than two minutes on the web (yes, it’s entertainment content, but still). Reuters TV shows will be tailored both in shorter clips and in full programs to give viewers options and to make the content more sharable. On the production side, Palmer said, that’s a plus. “The advantage of online programming is you’re not held to 60 minutes or 48 minutes of programming,” he said. “You can end wherever it feels right to end.”

One way TV and online mirror each other is in the emphasis on personalities. Viewers want to feel like they can make a connection and be in contact with journalists, Palmer said, which is one reason YouTube is a useful platform for a news channel. It helps that a chunk of Reuters TV’s talent already have healthy Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr followings. “You need authentic people who are compelling,” he said. “You don’t need a $300 hairdo or a voice you think could be Shakespearian. People have to connect with viewers in a genuine way.”

Reuters has been spending a lot of money in recent years beefing up their news division, and investing money in launching an online TV channel — even one using existing talent — isn’t cheap. Think of it as buying pre-distressed jeans at the Gap: They’re spending money, but they don’t want to look like it. In Reuters’ case, that’s because they want to fit the aesthetics of web video, a look that’s a little rougher around the edges but one that’s inviting to audiences.

Nielsen is reporting that more people are watching video across multiple platforms, from their TVs to laptops, tablets and phones. At the same time, TV manufacturers are increasing the production of Internet-capable sets, and companies like Apple and Google are developing TV offerings not dependent on traditional networks. Meanwhile, Netflix and Hulu are focused on developing original scripted shows (or bringing back old ones — come on!).

Media companies are looking at this and responding, with the New York Times TimesCast series, the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live, and more. This past week, rumors perked up about the possibility of a Huffington Post streaming news channel. Reuters and the rest of these organizations are chasing the dream: A new market for online news video, bringing in new advertising and reach new audiences, but built in part on the same news-gathering staff already in place. “There is an increased offering of video online from news outlets and we can see a slow, but massive movement of people taking in video news online,” Palmer said.

One question hanging over the collaboration between YouTube and Reuters, is how well YouTube — normally a diversionary network of memes, old music videos, and clips from 1980s TV shows — can work as a news portal. Will it be able to build a persistent audience for news — not just fly-by users who pass through searching for specific clips (like, say, when I’m trying to remember what was the theme from Harcastle & McCormick)? Or will there at least be enough fly-bys to matter? (At posting, the 10 most recent Reuters TV clips on YouTube had a total of 1,265 views. The clip above, from an interview with Russian billionaire/New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, had 7.) Will people deliberately go to YouTube for news? Again, here is where Palmer sees the problem of distinction: If the audience has already changed the way it consumes video, either through delayed watching on DVRs and Tivo, or on-demand video through cable or the Internet, there’s no real measure yet of how a project like this will succeed. If there’s a seismic change coming in video, and Palmer believes there is, Reuters TV is playing the long game. “Cable took years to make money,” Palmer said. “As the distinction between broadcast and cable is eroding, so will the distinction between broadcast, cable and online.”

January 17 2012


Reuters launches YouTube web TV channel

TechCrunch :: The move to bring original programming to the web continues to heat up this week, with today’s announcement of Reuters TV, a new YouTube channel featuring ten new commentary and analysis shows from the news and media division of Thomson Reuters. The new channel joins nearly 100 other media partners on YouTube who are delivering original content, including a few big names like eHow, Motor Trend, Pitchfork TV, TED, The Onion, WSJ, WWE and more.

Continue to read Sarah Perez, techcrunch.com

December 21 2011


Marcus Brauchli and Post loyalists discuss the current state of the Washington Post

Huffington Post :: The Washington Post newsroom has changed dramatically in recent years, with hundreds of staffers leaving in a series of buyouts and numerous star reporters and editors decamping to established competitors, such as the New York Times, or starting their own, like Politico. Just this past week, four Post staffers left the paper's National desk for other news organizations, including Reuters, NPR and NBC News.

But there are still a few drops of institutional memory in the Post reservoir, into which executive editor Marcus Brauchli recently tried to tap, in order to squeeze out ideas for using the paper's past to improve its future. On Dec. 4, Brauchli, who arrived at the Post only three years ago, invited a half-dozen Post loyalists for lunch at his home to discuss the current state of the paper and how they might contribute more in 2012, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting.

Continue to read Michael Calderone, www.huffingtonpost.com

December 13 2011


AP's new strategy: "The New Disctinctiveness" or the pressure of now

Huffington Post :: As AP's traditional rivals like Bloomberg and Reuters ramp up opinion and analysis -- and as competition increased from the rest of the web -- AP executives realized the organization needed to provide more smart and immediate analysis, video, and interactive features that expand upon the day's news. Senior managing editor Michael Oreskes presented Tuesday in a memo to 3,000 AP staffers worldwide AP's new strategy. It's called "The New Distinctiveness."

Continue to read Michael Calderone, www.huffingtonpost.com

October 06 2011


LIVE: Final session – The future of collaboration in digital journalism

A panel of digital journalism experts discuss the key issues raised in this environment of participatory journalism: adopting a “digital-first” mentality, the values and standards of the link-economy and the role and responsibilities of journalists and news organisation as active members of the open-web community.

With Steve Herrmann, editor, BBC News Online; Anthony De Rosa, social media editor, Reuters (via Skype), Duncan Hooper, managing editor, news and sport, MSN UK and Momoko Price, communications director, BuzzData. Moderated by Torin Douglas, media correspondent, BBC.

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