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Online newsroom allows freelancers to pitch and get paid

Kapost, a new site for web publishers, is about to launch a mechanism for paying journalists a bonus if their articles clock up a certain number of web hits, retweets or Facebook ‘likes’.

What is Kapost?

Kapost is an online system for web publishers to manage all areas of production.

It works in conjunction with a site’s own CMS, such as WordPress, and allows freelancers to pitch story ideas and get paid in a single click via PayPal. An invoicing service is coming soon.

There is a calendar for managing workflows and a CMS for any publisher that does not want to use their existing system.

Editors can drill down to view the performance of stories by author, on a categorised topic (such as health or education), or by individual story and analyse the traffic generated. Organisations can then opt to pay reporters an additional bonus for popular stories.

Grace Boyle from Kapost spoke to Journalism.co.uk from the company’s base in Colorado:

We don’t want to replace Google Analytics but we are taking the most important analytics metrics and we show which of your contributors are giving you the most traffic.

She added that Kapost’s aim is to reduce the amount of administrative duties required of editors.

Kapost is free for organisations with three people or less; it is $8 per user per month for larger organisations.

To see a demo of Kapost, click on the video below.

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BBC News redesign architect gets technical about changes

If you are more interested in the cogs and wheels behind the BBC News site’s redesign than the end product, a post by their chief technical architect John O’Donovan this week should be of interest.

The BBC has one of the oldest and largest websites on the internet and one of the goals of the update to the News site was to also update some of the core systems that manage content for all our interactive services.

O’Donovan first outlines the reasoning behind keeping with a Content Production System (CPS), rather than moving over to Content Management System (CMS), before giving a detailed look at the latest model – version 6 – that they have opted for.

The CPS has been constantly evolving and we should say that, when looking at the requirements for the new news site and other services, we did consider whether we should take a trip to the Content Management System (CMS) Showroom and see what shiny new wheels we could get.

However there is an interesting thing about the CPS – most of our users (of which there are over 1,200) think it does a pretty good job [checks inbox for complaints]. Now I’m not saying they have a picture of it next to their kids on the mantelpiece at home, but compared to my experience with many organisations and their CMS, that is something to value highly.

The main improvements afforded by the new version, according to O’Donovan, include a more structured approach, an improved technical quality of content produced and an ability to use semantic data to define content and improve layouts.

See his full post here…

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E&P: Media companies in three countries now using controversial Atex system

Editor & Publisher this morning reports that a total of six media organisations, across three countries, have transferred to Atex’s advertising, editorial and Web content management system in recent weeks.

The controversial editorial CMS is now being used by the Erdee Media Groep in The Netherlands and The Sun in Arizona.

Just this week Journalism.co.uk reported that the NUJ had raised strong concerns over Johnston Press’s move to Atex, which it claimed “undermines the editorial independence of editors”.

Full story at this link…

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Johnston Press Atex system is bad news, but the death of the sub-editor is inevitable

Last month Johnston Press journalists, enraged by a new publishing strategy and online/print content management system (CMS) called Atex, voted for group-wide industrial action. Atex will make reporters responsible for subbing and editing their own newspaper stories using pre-made templates. The vote was thwarted by a High Court challenge; a re-ballot is underway.

Now several other companies including Archant are either using or considering using the same system.

The NUJ has a point when they say that with fewer staff and less checks and balances, more errors will get through – this aberration of a front page in the JP-owned Bedfordshire Times & Citizen recently is a classic example.

Yesterday I questioned exactly why the union was opposing Atex; included in the union’s greviances were baffling and unexplained “health and safety” concerns. The union later told Journalism.co.uk that they meant that it adds to staff stress levels.

But, I went on in conversations both online and privately, isn’t this part of a wider problem? The NUJ has a fundamental belief that sub-editors should sub stories and reporters write them. Like the pre-Wapping ihousen-printers that jealously guarded their very specific, outdated roles, the ideal outcome for the union is to maintain the status quo and protect jobs.

The reality isn’t quite that simple. Atex, as more than one person said, is far from the innovative answer that newspapers need. One person with knowledge of how Atex works, who works for a company that is planing to implement it and asked not to be named, put it to me like this:

We’re still in transition in my newsroom at the moment – we haven’t switched to using it for the web yet. However, if the system goes ahead as planned we will not be able to insert in-line links into stories, nor will we be able to embed content from anywhere else online. It’s possible to build link boxes that sit next to web stories, but it’s time consuming compared to in-line links – and if our current CMS is anything to go by, in the press of a busy newsroom, it won’t get done.

That sounds like a retrograde step. Far from holding back innovation, it sounds like JP journalists are right to oppose the move. This is from a company whose former chairman of nine years, Roger Parry, last week criticised the very board that he chaired for not investing enough in digital media (via Press Gazette). Exactly who else is there to blame?

But it gets worse:

For those of us who possess data skills and want to make mashups, visualisations and so on, this is a massive inhibition – even if we find the time to innovate or create something really special for our papers, we’ll have no outlet for it. It also means we can’t source video or images for our stories in innovative ways – no YouTube embeds or Flickr slideshows – cutting us off from huge resources that could save time, energy and money while enhancing our web offering.

It’s astonishing that we’re even considering such a backwards step to a presumably costly proprietory system when so many cheaper, more flexible, open source solutions exist for the web.

Regional reporters, web editors and even overall editors will read that and find this frustration of digital ideas by technical, budgetary limitations very familiar. The last point rings loudest of all: cheap, dynamic blogging solutions like WordPress and Typepad provide all newsrooms need to create a respectable news site. Publishing executives seem to find it hard to believe that something free to use can be any good, but just look at what’s coming in the in-beta WordPress 3.0 (via @CasJam on Mashable).

So the union’s misgivings in this case appear to be well placed. The drop in quality from Johnston’s cost-cutting is there for all to see in horrendous subbing errors, thinner editions and entire towns going without proper coverage.

Unfortunately, journalists have to accept that no amount of striking is going to bring back the staff that have gone and that times have changed. Carolyn McCall’s parting shot as CEO of Guardian Media Group was to repeat her prediction (via FT.com) that advertising revenues will never return to pre-recession levels – and don’t forget Claire Enders’ laugh-a-minute performance at the House of Commons media select committee, in which she predicted the death of half the country’s 1,300 local and regional titles in the next five years.

Regional publishers may not all have a solution that combines online editorial innovation with a digital business model right now. But to get to that point, reporters will have to cooperate and accept that their roles have changed forever – “sub-editor” may be a term journalists joining the industry in five years will never hear.

Patrick Smith is a freelance journalist, event organiser and formerly a correspondent for paidContent:UK and Press Gazette. He blogs at psmithjournalist.com and is @psmith on twitter.

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NPR: ‘Develop content management tools, not web publishing tools’

February 6th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Media and news organisations should look at building content management systems that do more than just creating webpages, says National Public Radio’s (NPR) Daniel Jacobson.

“In building our CMS at NPR, our goal was to make sure the tool could publish to anything, including NPR.org. If our focus did not consider other platforms, we could have ended up with a web publishing system that binds the content too closely to the website itself.”

Full story at this link…

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Andy Dickinson: Print organisations must make systems open source

January 15th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

In the second of his new year convictions, journalism lecturer and blogger Andy Dickinson says print organisations must break away from network-wide templates for their newspapers’ websites.

“[I]t hampers attempts to upskill journalists and softens the brands that are supposed to be so valuable,” writes Dickinson.

Full story…

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Derivadow.com: Using the web as a content-management system

Derivadow.com explains how the BBC has been experimenting with using the web as a CMS for its programmes and music sites.

Full story at this link…

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Online Journalism Scandinavia: Mecom’s Danish arm will cut costs with open-source CMS

December 23rd, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

Mecom-owned Berlingske Media, Denmark’s biggest daily newspaper publisher, has decided to ditch its costly online publishing system for open-source software Drupal.

As Journalism.co.uk reported earlier this year, Berlingske Media already runs some of its sites on Drupal – a free content management system (CMS).

After a long period of deliberation, the Danish division of Mecom, the ailing pan-European media group headed by former Mirror-boss David Montgomery, has decided to make Drupal its online publishing system of choice.

“It is no secret that economy means a lot to us, but if the system had been unstable and not user-friendly, the price would not have been decisive,” Berlingske’s CEO Lisbeth Knudesen told eJour (in Danish).

She particularly praised Drupal for being so much more flexible than traditional publishing platforms.

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