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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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Beet.tv: The role of YouTube as a platform for citizen reporters

April 27th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick

The interesting video below, from Beet.tv, features an interview with Olivia Ma, manager of news at YouTube, who talks about the site’s role as a platform for raw video of newsworthy events, such as the Middle East uprisings, both to the general public and news organisations.

YouTube doesn’t actually do any vetting of this material, we simply provide a distribution platform for people to get the word out and to upload their videos so the world can see them … Everyone can be a reporter, everyone has the power to bear witness to the events that are happening around them and document that and share it with the world.

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Nieman: AP Interactive and a visual future for breaking news

April 27th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Design and graphics, Editors' pick

Nieman Journalism Lab’s Justin Ellis has written an interesting post on the development of Associated Press’ interactive output, which has nearly doubled over the past two years.

Among other things, Ellis touches on on the work of the AP Interactive department covering breaking news stories with graphics:

The trick in being able to roll out these features so quickly (and likely another reason the department has increased its output) is the usage of templates, Nessa said. That basic form allows the artists, programmers, and others on staff to publish graphics quickly — and to continuously update them as more information comes in from reporters. That’s why when events like Japan’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit, you could find not only breaking reports from the AP, in text, but also incredible photography and interactive graphics that harnessed reporting from correspondents as well as accounts and images from on-the-ground witnesses.

See the full post at this link.

Interactives, graphics and visualisation are among a range of essential topics for modern journalists that will be covered at Journalism.co.uk’s upcoming news:rewired conference. See the full agenda at this link.

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Inc.com: TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington on breaking news and building trust

Great interview with TechCrunch founder and serial entrepreneur Michael Arrington on his approach to publishing, journalism and work.

On breaking news:

We break more big stories than everyone else combined in tech – and that’s not prebriefed news or something that was handed to us. I judge my own performance based on that. When we break a story, that’s a point. When someone else breaks a story, we’re minus a point. And I want to be positive points.

On dealing with sensitive information:

Negotiating with companies over how news breaks is a big part of what we do. I don’t think traditional journalists would do this or admit to it, but a source might say, “Yeah, we just got bought, but can you please not write about it for a week, because it might kill the deal?” Unless I know lots of other journalists are sniffing around, I generally defer to the entrepreneur. We probably lose half of those stories, but it’s the right thing to do. It builds trust. People aren’t going to tell you things if they don’t trust you.

Full post on Inc.com at this link…

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Twitter and breaking news – a match made in heaven, or hell?

A post by Herman Manson on Memeburn.com looks at the difficulties of juggling the need for immediacy online with well researched and accurate journalism.

People in the news business love breaking news. This is why we are arming more and more journalists with the equipment to live tweet and blog major news events. And it is entirely true that newspapers and news sites lag Twitter in breaking news. That is because it takes time to write anything longer than 140 characters, to get it fact-checked, and then, to publish/broadcast it to a wider world.

He focuses on the issue of what to do when an incorrect tweet gets blurted out into the cyberworld, and the danger of the ‘retweet’.

With Twitter able to deliver news quickly and to a potentially huge audience due to its viral nature, already-pressured newsrooms are under increasing pressure to get content out, and to get it out fast.

But few are asking what this is doing to journalistic ethics. For example, can media organisations and journalists delete inaccurate tweets that were posted without revealing they did so?

With journalists under pressure to be first online, Manson says he also worries quality journalism could be at risk, as reporters try to cut “thought-provoking voices into 140 character sound bytes, typed on the go”.

Read the full post here…

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BBC College of Journalism: YouTube and the flaws of ‘unstructured’ network news

June 17th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

The BBC College of Journalism’s Kevin Marsh reacts to YouTube’s launch of a breaking news feed, suggesting that “the proposition is as simple as it’s flawed”.

Marsh raises concerns about verification and the skewed news agenda that might surface through this feed:

Citizen Tube doesn’t tackle these questions or anxieties – to be fair, it doesn’t claim to. But that’s part of the problem.

Yes, both citizens and their journalists need some way of bringing this particular kind of personal news into the news continuum. And Citizen Tube isn’t too bad a first stab.

But, at the moment, it falls way short and demonstrates at the same time the essential weaknesses in unstructured networks that aim to provide ‘news’. And it adds to that regret some of us have that Big Journalism just never got the web when it was really important that it did.

And that the world of ‘personal journalism’ is – for the time being at least – failing to deliver what can reasonably be called journalism as assuredly as Big Journalism is failing to understand or adapt to the personal.

Full post at this link…

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‘Breaking News': a play by a company that’s not a company

May 14th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

“Breaking News might be documentary theatre. It might be more technically absorbing than (strictly speaking) poetically engaging or playful. It might, in truth be a very long way from Aeschylus. But Aeschylus was an inventor, a radical maker, two and a half thousand years ago, of a new thing called drama. In all their work, and most ambitiously to date in Breaking News, Rimini Protokoll have created live spectacles that are similarly new for the media-orientated 21st century.” (James Woodall, Breaking News programme, 2009)

A friend recently went on holiday and emailed another of our friends an update: she had redefined the trip as ‘educational visit’ and now was enjoying it much better.

I undertook a similar exercise at the theatre at the weekend: once I’d redefined ‘Breaking News’ as two hours (without an interval) of informative, rather than necessarily entertaining, activity, I was much more settled in my seat at the Theatre Royal in Brighton last Saturday.

Rimini Protokoll is the German company (‘the sort of outfit that probably could come only from Germany’), except they don’t call themselves a ‘company’, which produces Breaking News, their latest ‘documentary’ theatre endeavour – visiting Brighton for its UK premiere.

“[G]enerally, they use neither actors nor published texts; and because they do not really consider themselves a company. So what is left? What are they? What do they make?”

Good question from theatre critic, James Woodall, in his introductory notes in the programme. On this occasion, Rimini Protokoll have brought together eight international ‘news people’, all based in Germany, onto one stage, to live-interpret the news from their variously angled satellite dishes. The ninth contributor is an exception: Ray, from Ship Street in Brighton. Perhaps they found him in the Cricketers.

The company improvises in a ‘arrangement of stage spontaneity’ – and this is the first time it has been done in English – their reactions to, and interpretations of, the news on various international news channels that they consume at their individual televisions, or computer (in the Icelander’s case). Intermittently, they take turns to ascend a podium to read extracts from Aeschylus’ The Persions.

breakingnews

So, what did I learn from my educational excursion to the theatre? These are some of the nuggets gleaned:

  • Iceland likes a giggle during its news: The Icelanders take the end of the news bulletin ‘lollypop’ very seriously: for Saturday’s performance, we caught an item on the success of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra’s Maximus the Musical Mouse. It’s very important that ‘you don’t leave your news audience depressed’, explains Simon Birgisson, who was once an investigative journalist for the DV newspaper. I was also tickled by Iceland’s TV channel history: its first ever station, Sjónvarpið, translated directly as ‘television’. Its second was called 2.
  • Al Jazeera has its critics: Djengizkhan Hasso, a Kurdish interpreter, and president of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish National Congress, criticised the channel for its emotive use of language in some of its reports. He also added that it would be very difficult to perform a play like Breaking News in an Arab country. Hasso’s performance was particularly memorable for the role-play of the time he met George Bush. He told the other actors what they had to say, and they solemnly repeated it back, so the audience got each segment of the conversation twice.
  • What counts as a high ‘alarm’ story for press agencies is very subjective. Andreas Osterhaus, a news editor at Agence France Presse (AFP) in Berlin said he raised such an alarm on the day of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, but his colleagues thought he had acted a little hastily. Previous alerts included the Princess Diana car crash, the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, and the capture of Saddam Hussein.
  • We also learnt that Sushila Sharma-Haque, who watches various Indian and Pakistani, as well as German, news channels, goes to bed at 10pm promptly. She did just this on the night of the performance, making at an early exit from the stage at around 9.30pm. She did, however, pop back to take a bow.

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