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August 02 2011

08:33

August Net2 Think Tank: Surveying Your Community

As changemakers in our communities, it's important to take the time to learn from the communities that we serve about their impressions of our services. Whether your community is of volunteers, members of the public, internal stakeholders, or international organizations, it is valuable to ask them what they think of your work and invite them to help shape the future of your programs. In this month's Net2 Think Tank, we look forward to learning from you about surveying your community!

Topic:

What are your tips for creating community surveys? What types of questions are valuable? What distribution tools are available? What are the best ways to use community surveys to inspire a positive change to services? And, if you have an example of your own community survey, please share that too!

Deadline:  Saturday, August 20th

How to contribute:

  • Post your response online: Leave a comment below, write on your own blog or website, post on the NetSquared Community Blog, or share your feedback on Facebook or Linkedin.
  • Tag your post, comment, or tweet with net2thinktank.
  • Email Claire Sale the link to your post.
  • Have you written about this topic in the past? Great! Simply add the net2thinktank tag to your post and email us the link.

Be sure to get your submission in by emailing Claire the link to your post by Saturday, August 20th.

The roundup of contributions will be posted on the NetSquared blog on Monday, August 22nd.

About the Net2 Think Tank:

The Net2 Think Tank is a monthly blogging/social networking event open to anyone and is a great way to participate in an exchange of ideas.  We post a question or topic to the NetSquared community and participants submit responses either on their own blogs, the NetSquared Community Blog, or using social media.  Tag your post with "net2thinktank" and email a link to us to be included. At the end of the month, the entries get pulled together in the Net2 Think Tank Round-Up.

March 02 2011

13:24

Signals of churnalism?

Journalism warning labels

Journalism warning labels by Tom Scott

On Friday I had quite a bit of fun with Churnalism.com, a new site from the Media Standards Trust which allows you to test how much of a particular press release has been reproduced verbatim by media outlets.

The site has an API, which got me thinking whether you might be able to ‘mash’ it with an RSS feed from Google News to check particular types of articles – and what ‘signals’ you might use to choose those articles.

I started with that classic PR trick: the survey. A search on Google News for “a survey * found” (the * is a wildcard, meaning it can be anything) brings some interesting results to start investigating.

Jon Bounds added a favourite of his: “hailed a success”.

And then it continued:

  • “Research commissioned by”
  • “A spokesperson said”
  • “Can increase your risk of” and “Can reduce your risk of”

On Twitter, Andy Williams added the use of taxonomies of consumers – although it was difficult to pin that down to a phrase. He also added “independent researchers

Contributors to the MySociety mailing list added:

  • “Proud to announce”
  • “Today launches”
  • “Revolutionary new”
  • “It was revealed today” (Andy Mabbett)
  • “According to research”, “research published today” and “according to a new report”

And of course there is “A press release said”.

Signal – or sign?

The idea kicked off a discussion on Twitter on whether certain phrases were signals of churnalism, or just journalistic cliches. The answer, of course, is both.

By brainstorming for ‘signals’ I wasn’t arguing that any material using these phrases would be guilty of churnalism – or even the majority – just that they might be represent one way of narrowing your sample. Once you have a feed of stories containing “Revolutionary new” you can then use the API to test what proportion of those articles are identical to the text in a press release – or another news outlet.

The signal determines the sample, the API calculates the results.

Indeed, there’s an interesting research project to be done – perhaps using the Churnalism API – on whether the phrases above are more likely to contain passages copied wholesale from press releases, than a general feed of stories from Google News.

(Another research project might involve looking at press releases to identify common phrases used by press officers that might be used by the API)

You may have another opinion of course – or other phrases you might suggest?

June 03 2010

16:02

What kind of data do you want to get from your audience in a reader survey?

I'm thinking about putting together a rather large UGC news site's first reader survey, and am trying to think of what sorts of questions to ask.

So far, I'm planning on:

  • Most favorite/least favorite vendors
  • What other news sources they read
  • What kinds of content they find most helpful and least helpful
  • Which features they actively use
  • Whether they know certain features even exist

We're not a local news source, but I figured others are doing these kinds of surveys and might have some tips from experience, or could learn something from our mistakes.

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