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BBC Radio 4 Today: The Drum explains decision to publish Prince Harry images online

August 24th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

Following the Sun newspaper’s decision to print the nude images of Prince Harry today, despite a request from St James’s Palace lawyers earlier this week that they not be published, there has been widespread discussion in the media about the move.

Explaining its decision today, the Sun said “there is a clear public interest in publishing the Harry pictures, in order for the debate around them to be fully informed”.

The Sun adds that “it is absurd that in the internet age newspapers like the Sun could be stopped from publishing stories and pictures already seen by millions on the free-for-all that is the web”.

At the time of writing, the Guardian was reporting that more than 150 complaints have been made to the Press Complaints Commission, but not from the Palace’s lawyers.

A survey of 1000 UK adults today by Usurv who were asked about the Sun’s decision to publish the images, found 21 per cent agreed the photos were in the public interest, while 63 per cent did not agree with the decision.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, editor of marketing and media news site The Drum Gordon Young spoke about their decision to publish the images online alongside a column discussing the fact that British newspapers had not done so, at the time. The Today programme said The Drum had “claimed to be the first UK website” to publish the photos.

What’s very interesting is this was a very logical and easy decision for The Drum. We were surprised at the controversy relative to what an easy decision it was for us.

… It was such an obvious thing to do in the context of the column and the piece, the writer was basically criticising press for not having the backbone to release the pictures in the UK so we couldn’t run that and not had the backbone ourselves to do it.

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Guardian gives readers option to ‘hide Olympics’ section on homepage

July 26th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

The Guardian is offering its readers the option of hiding the part of its homepage dedicated to the majority of its Olympics coverage, in a move similar to that which it took during the Royal Wedding last year.

Back in April 2011 the Guardian also featured a button on its homepage to remove Royal Wedding related coverage.

And this feature is something that has been seen elsewhere during big news events. The website for Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet gave its readers the choice of a “Breivik-free” version during the trial of Anders Behring Breivik.

And just like the Guardian, Norwegian title, Verdens Gang, also offered a button for users to remove Royal Wedding coverage last year.

Hatip: @TheMediaTweets and @hayjane

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Student summer blog: Initial pointers for other journalists-in-training

July 25th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism, Training


Image by Wiertz Sébastien on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

This is the first of a number of features over the summer break looking at the challenges that trainee journalists face and the opportunities that may present themselves.

Danny Roberts is a sports journalism student at Leeds Trinity University College and tweets from @DannyRoberts74. In the post below and others to follow in the coming weeks he hopes to help people, through his own experiences and those of professionals, to further their study and get that little bit closer to becoming a successful journalist.

What is the most daunting thing for a student journalist? Being told that ‘it is a tough business’, ‘you may not make it’ and ‘you aren’t going to make much money’.

What I think you must do first is reject the notion that you are destined to fail. No matter what anyone tells you, if you are driven then you can get the opportunities you want and deserve. In a field that requires experience more than a degree level qualification you need to put yourself out there and experience the world. The next thing you should do is realise that you can work as a journalist now.

People train as journalists for many different reasons, many people are born into the trade with a full book of contacts, some have always wanted to write for the public, whereas others just want to follow celebrities around all day. It doesn’t matter what aspect of journalism you wish to work in, the knowledge you must have rarely differs.

The first thing I was taught about journalism was ‘read the news’. Whether you read the news online or buy a daily newspaper, it is important to know what is going on in the world around you. If you go into a job or placement interview in the future and they mention the news and you go silent, it isn’t a good first impression. It doesn’t matter if you don’t intend to go into news writing or not, being an avid reader of all things news helps you to further progress as a journalist.

Having a contact book is the next step on your way to success. It is never too early to start building relationships with people and companies from all walks of life, as you never know when you will need a quote or story from these contacts. This could be a ‘little black book’ or a huge pad, either way get them written down. You could use your phone to add these contacts to, but it is always a good idea to have a paper copy because phones can be so easily damaged or lost.

If you haven’t already, pick a specific aspect of journalism. Of course it may be good to be flexible and know a bit about each, but having a niche topic to write about will help your chances of becoming accepted and excelling as a journalist in your chosen field. To add to this idea, if you don’t have a specific field you should always remain open to different experiences and challenges as you never know what might take your fancy.

What else can you do? Start to hone your communication skills, learn to use the phone as well as email (they have to reply if you are speaking to them live), be open to rejections, read pieces by your favourite writers, don’t be afraid to ask questions, pitch ideas to editors, the list is endless.

Over the next few months, this blog will help to share experiences and offer advice and support to other trainee journalists.

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Time Out: Chicago Tribune clocks up 22K digital signups in three days

The Chicago Tribune clocked up 22,000 digital signups over the weekend, following the launch of the redesigned website, according to Time Out Chicago’s media blog.

Tribune readers are being asked for their zip code and email address ahead of the title starting to charge for some premium content, including opinions and reviews, reports from the watchdog team and content from The Economist.

More than 22,000 readers had registered their details between 6pm on Thursday and Sunday morning, according to Time Out.

“That is far beyond our wildest dreams, especially with holiday traffic levels,” Bill Adee, vice president of digital media and operations, told Time Out’s Robert Feder.

Adee also confirmed that Bloomberg Business News soon would be added as part of the free content on the site. At some point in the future, those who’ve registered will have the option to pay for premium content, including material from the Tribune, the Economist and Forbes.

Details of the paywall plan will be determined by feedback from users, Adee said.

The Tribune’s digital membership page says those who opt to pay will get additional services.

We will be creating new apps, special events and e-books and other features that will be included in your digital membership.

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#Activateldn: Four innovations and ideas in ‘multilayered storytelling’

June 27th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Events, Online Journalism

One of the sessions at today’s Guardian Activate Summit looked at how data and social media are influencing storytelling.

Here are four innovations, shared by Phil Fearnley, general manager, Future Media News & Knowledge, BBC; Stew Langille, CEO of Visually; Neal Mann, social media editor at the Wall Street Journal; and Simon Rogers, editor of the Guardian’s Datablog and Datastore.

1. The BBC gets ready for Olympic storytelling

The BBC site for the London Olympics gives every athlete, venue and sport its own page and apart from the homepage all are updated automatically with with the latest video and story content on that particular topic.

The Olympics site also focuses on personalisation, giving the audience the ability to favourite an athlete or sport and follow.

Fearnley said the development of the site started two years ago.

We had to satisfy the ‘main eventers’ and the ‘sports fanatics’. And we wanted to give the idea that you were never missing a moment.

The other innovation shared by Phil Fearnley was the BBC’s “live event video player”.

Viewers can use the interactive video player to jump back to a particular point in an event, such as a triple jump win, and then switch back to a live report.

With “up to 24 live events at once”, the player gives an experience that, according to Fearnley audiences say “is better than TV”.

We are transforming the way we tell video stories to our audiences.

2. Visually is allowing journalists to create their own data visualisations.

Visually launched last year “to democratise the way people use and consume data”. Today, the site has more than 11,000 infographics, 4,000 designers, and around 2 million visitors per month. In March, it launched Visually Create, a collection of self-service tools that allow anyone to create beautiful infographics.

Stew Langille, CEO of Visually told the conference that the team is now developing further tools which will allow journalists or anyone interested in creating a visualisation to do so.

3. Ideas in ‘multilayered storytelling’

Neal Mann, social media editor at the Wall Street Journal (@fieldproducer on Twitter) talked of the potential of “multilayered storytelling”.

Before taking up his new role at the WSJ, Mann went to Burkina Faso.

He worked with Storyful, which built a map which added his social media updates, photos (Mann is also a photographer) which was auto updated and which he shared with his large social media following.

“It allowed people to engage,” Mann said, explaining that updates from a less reported area were “continuously dropping onto people’s phones”.

The map got five times as many hits as a Guardian’s long-form piece of journalism from Mozambique, he said.

Other ways journalists are sharing “background” to text stories are by taking 360 degree images from a location.

His thought is that if you marry the two storytelling techniques, a social media map and long-form journalism, it would be even more powerful.

If you can combine the two it’s a great way news organisations can get people to engage in long-form journalism. The next level for me is that multilayered storytelling.

4. Open journalism, open data

Simon Rogers, editor of the Guardian Datastore and Datablog, shared examples of the Guardian’s data journalism.

He spoke of the conversations that went on before the launch of the Datastore where there was a view that people would not be interested in the raw data. Three years on and it has one million viewers a month

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New record for Storify as US bus monitor Storify gets more than 1.5m views

Digital storytelling platform Storify has announced that a Storify produced by US journalist and student Ben Doernberg, which curated the latest responses and reaction to a video in which a bus monitor is seen being taunted (there’s more on this story from the BBC at this link), has hit a new record for Storify by recording more than 1.5 million views.

At the time of writing the number of views stood at 1,575,345. More than $650,000 has also been raised after an Indiegogo page was set up to give the bus monitor a holiday.

See the Storify about the record here.

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#MarketBriefing: How audience measurement has increased digital revenues for Incisive Media

B2B publisher Incisive Media’s improved understanding of analytics has resulted in an increase in digital revenue and profit over the past two years, according to Jon Bentley, head of online commercial development.

Bentley told a conference on ‘audience revenue tools for online publishers’ today that Incisive has achieved an average of 10.34 minutes “dwell time” on its “gated” paid subscription sites, when the average dwell time is  7.55 minutes, according to analysis by AOP.

So what does Incisive do differently?

It measures analytics closely, both for subscription sites and those which do not require readers to pay, Bentley explained. In an introduction to the event, Patrick Smith, editor and chief analyst of TheMediaBriefing.com had put forward this idea saying:

It’s only through the measurement and analytics that you realise who might pay and why they might pay.

Incisive uses Web Analytics and Google Analytics and is starting to talk to Scout Analytics. Bentley detailed what Incisive has done over the past two years to improve the understanding of the audience:

  • It has improved governance and reviewed all analytics.
  • Defined and re-defined the business needs. It has done this by talking to people within the publishing business.
  • Incisive re-wrote its tagging strategy, technically categorising content types.
  • Integrated digital and offline data, merging email and web databases.
  • Developed communications.
  • Set up regular reviews.

The monthly analytics review “clinics”, which feature those from the web, commercial and editorial teams sitting round a table, are “probably the most successful thing we’ve done”, Bentley added.

As well as looking at unique users, page impressions, visits, active email addresses, – which are “one of the most valuable indicators you have” – Incisive also focuses on the sell-through rate, which “is one of the key indicators for revenue”.

Bentley echoed Patrick Smith who said earlier that “the measure of success is no longer about reach”.

It matters but who readers are and what they do is just as important.

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#MarketBriefing: How the FT is measuring its shift to mobile

Multichannel analytics is key for the Financial Times, which is well known as a leader in understanding its audience and using the data to increase revenues.

The FT, which has 4.5 million registered users of its digital offering and 285,000 paying digital subscribers, has a team of 30 people focusing on web analytics, data and digital marketing for the title.

The digital subscriber base grew by 29 per cent last year, demonstrating how understanding the audience pays off.

Why audience analytics is key

Tom Betts, head of web anaytics as the FT, told today’s ‘audience revenue tools for online publishers’ conference how it has grown its subscriber base and used data to help “fuel” their shift to mobile.

One of the things the FT has been doing for the past two or three years, Betts said, is personalising the communications with readers based on the types of editorial content they are are interested in.

The FT looks at customer DNA, at how much of each type of content, such as “markets”, “world”, “personal finance”, they read.

The FT can then tailor newsletters “to personalise the experience that people have with us”, Betts explained.

How mobile alters the digital landscape

But simply looking at digital analytics is not enough. Platform-specific data can give a better picture of the individual.

For example, Betts explained how if a reader has not read “weekend” or “personal finance” content online, it might be that they read it on a tablet or mobile when they are at home.

Mobile is altering the way our customers read our content.

And this information can turn into revenue. At least 20 per cent of new FT subscriptions comes from behaviour-driven data marketing, Betts said.

He also said it is essential to understand whether if people are engaging across platforms.

“Are the platforms generating a new audience or are we just moving the audience from one platform to another?” Betts asks the data, as that will dictate how much it is worth investing in digital offerings for different devices.

The FT famously created a web app in order to have a direct relationship with the customer, which it was not able to do with its previous iOS native iPad app.

As well as providing data from the web app and bypassing Apple’s 30 per cent levy, the technology behind the app also makes “deployment easier”, Betts said.

“HTML5 makes deployment easier” as the “core remains the same with different wrap-arounds” overlaid for the Android and Windows 8 native apps.

And looking at the data demonstrating when the various devices are used is also beneficial.

Betts demonstrated with a graph to show the main smartphone and tablet usage peaks at breakfast, with another rise in the evening.

Existing subscribers are not just reading during the business day.

They therefore get better value of their subscriptions and less likely to cancel.

Update: This post initially quoted Tom Betts as saying “everything we’ve done that has been successful at the FT has been related to data”. The FT would like to clarify that Betts was referring to the fact that “the intelligent use of data has been a significant driver of our commercial success”.

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Knight News Challenge 2012 ‘networks’ winners to be announced later today #newschallenge #civicmedia

June 18th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

The winners of the first Knight News Challenge round for this year are due to be announced later today, under the “networks” theme.

Journalism.co.uk reported last year that the Knight Foundation was to continue its News Challenge project beyond the initial five-year experiment, and was to offer it three times a year based on different topics.

The project – which awards up to $5 million a year for “breakthrough ideas in news and information” – is running the first round under the banner of “networks”, with the winners due to be announced from 1pm (Eastern Time) today.

A livestream of the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference where the winners will be announced can be viewed at this link.

The second News Challenge which is focused on data and is open until 21 June, is “looking for new ways of collecting, understanding, visualizing and helping the public use the large amounts of information generated each day”. The contest will announce the winners of the third round in September and more information on the third challenge will be announced later this year.

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MSN UK study release: Quarter of respondents ‘overwhelmed by the volume of news each day’

MSN UK recently commissioned a survey of 2,000 people (carried out by OnePoll) which looks at audience behaviour in certain news situations, as part of its Best of Now marketing campaign.

The findings including looking at the sources people turn to for breaking news coverage. This found that the majority (40 per cent) of respondents (who were able to select more than one answer), chose online news sites as their source. This was followed by newspapers with 30 per cent and social media with 20 per cent of respondents.

The survey also asked what news sources were most trusted by respondents, which saw broadcast television and radio come top with 43 per cent, followed by online news sites with 19 per cent, newspapers with 15 per cent and magazines with 9.1 per cent. Social networks were named as most trusted by just under five per cent.

A quarter of respondents highlighted in the survey that they can be “overwhelmed by the volume of news each day and demand quality, not quantity”, according to a press release. And when it comes to time spent consuming news, with the survey finding that on average 10 years ago respondents felt they would spend around 10 minutes a day consuming news, compared to an average of 15 minutes today.

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