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Nieman Reports: Latest edition focuses on journalism and social media

This quarter’s Nieman Reports, from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, has too many good articles in one place to select just one as an Editor’s Pick – so here’s a link to the whole index of pieces on journalism and social media.

Some highlights include:

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#FollowJourn: @mathewi/communities editor

August 18th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Mathew Ingram

Who? Communities editor.

What? Works for the Globe and Mail, a prolific Twitterer on all things journalism and technology blogger.

Where? @matthewi

Contact? Take a look at his blog or email mathew [at] mathewingram.com.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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Twitter workshop for journalists shared – courtesy of Globe & Mail’s Matthew Ingram

That’s the spirit! The slides from a Twitter workshop for journalists are shared online at this link, and also embedded below.

Matthew Ingram, communities editor at the Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper, ran a training session for his colleagues recently on how to get the most out of Twitter. He writes on his blog:

“I tried to make a number of points in the workshop, among them that Twitter is extremely simple to use (so why not give it a shot); that yes, it has a silly name, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful or valuable (Google had a silly name at one point too); that it is a great way of a) reaching out to and connecting with users, b) promoting our stories and c) finding sources for stories (otherwise known as ‘real people’); and that there are a number of tools that can make it even more useful (Tweetdeck, etc.).”

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Nieman Journalism Lab: Globe and Mail on setting up a news wiki

Matthew Ingram, communities editor at the Globe and Mail in Canada, discusses the highs and lows of setting up a Public Policy Wiki on the paper’s website.

Full story at this link…

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Times are changing: an online jobs shuffle at Times Online

October 7th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

So, it’s all change at the Times and Times Online.

Anne Spackman, as reported last week, is now the comment editor of the main paper, after a spell as editor-in-chief at Times Online since 2006.

That role is not being replaced. Instead:

  • Tom Whitwell, who is currently communities editor at Times Online, will be assistant editor of Times Online.
  • Hector Arthur, who was previously the head of content development for Times Online, is the new head of digital development for the website.

Speaking in a press release, the Times’ editor, James Harding said:  “Anne Spackman has done an extraordinary job at Times Online bringing our journalism to more people than at any time in our history.

“She has expanded the nature of what we do as a news organisation, introducing a 24/7 newsroom, launching The Times Archive and developing our podcasts, video and reader comments online”, he said.

Praising the new online assistant editor, Harding said that Tom Whitwell had “been one of the driving forces behind the phenomenal growth of Times journalism online and our audiences worldwide.”

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Times creates Google Calendar for news agenda

September 5th, 2008 | 6 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Tom Whitwell, communities editor for TimesOnline, dropped me a line to say he and intern John McGovern have created a Google Calendar diarising all of the title’s news agendas.

The calendar merges events published in the Times Agenda covering world affairs, business, arts and sport – all colour-coded.

Data from other news sections will be added and if you’ve already got a personal Google calendar you can add dates from the agenda to your own.

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First video ‘splash’ for Telegraph.co.uk

July 23rd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

An update to Twitter from Telegraph.co.uk communities editor Shane Richmond suggests the paper is breaking more new ground with its videojournalism.

News of the sentencing of John Darwin, who faked his own disappearance in 2002, and his wife Anne was broken on the site using the video below:

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Guardian publishes string of anti-Telegraph stories – cue spat

May 28th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Traffic

While the Daily Mail allegedly has a gentlemen’s agreement with the Telegraph not to write about each other’s parent company, it hardly seems worth pointing out that no such pact exists between the Guardian and the Telegraph online.

Over the last month a series of articles published by Guardian.co.uk has alleged various problems with or criticised Telegraph.co.uk.

The latest links the MyTelegraph section with the BNP for a second time in little over a week, detailing a blog post on the platform by BNP member Richard Barnbrook entitled ‘Blame the immigrants’.

The Guardian first made the connection between the party and MyTelegraph with an article looking into managing online communities that discussed MyT under the provocative headline ‘Platform for free speech … or hate?’ and went on to say one user ‘publishes BNP campaign literature and flyers’ on the site.

On both occasions the Telegraph emphasised the free speech ethos behind MyT, which is policed by readers who are relied upon to report offensive material.

The policy seems to be working – Barnbrook’s post has attracted over 30 comments including several from the hang ‘um and flog ‘um brigade alongside more measured anti-BNP responses.

MyTelegraph’s problems at the end of last year, as the technology firm behind its development went into administration, were also documented recently by the Guardian:

“Telegraph Media Group’s community media site MyTelegraph ‘is on life support’ until it receives an overhaul this summer, the company’s communities editor said today.

“Shane Richmond told the PPA Magazines 2008 conference that the site had suffered periodic downtime, slow page-loads and instability since the company which built it, Interesource, went in to administration late last year.”

I was there, he did say that, but then again he’d already blogged about it months before.

But then again, again. He DID say it, so it’s fair to report him saying it.

In addition to this last month’s ABCe figures showing that the Telegraph site passed the Guardian for the first time to become the UK’s most popular newspaper website in terms of unique users, seem only to have fanned the competitive fire.

The Guardian was the first to delve into the Telegraph’s recent rapid growth in unique users – from 12,283,835 in February to 17,036,081 in March, and 18,646,112 in April – suggesting a switch in internal measurement tools may have prompted the surge.

Continuing the series of pieces on the Telegraph’s online traffic – and there are a few of them now – the Guardian suggests that a review of online traffic measurement announced by JICWEBS last week was sparked by publishers concerns over the Telegraph’s recent growth.

All fair news pieces from the Guardian? Surely there can be no complaint with their reporting factual news? Well, yes there can.

After the publication of the latest Guardian piece today, Telegraph communities editor Shane Richmond came out fighting, accusing the Guardian of hypocrisy and arguing that if the charge leveled at the Telegraph is one of giving a platform to racists and fanatics then it is a charge that could well be applied to the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog.

“How about we take the view that when you have an open platform, whether it’s My Telegraph, Comment Is Free, or the internet itself, then you have to accept that a multiplicity of views will be expressed on it and that some of those views will be unpalatable to some people,” he wrote.

“If the Guardian’s attacks on our site are motivated by genuine concern, then they should look closer to home first. However, I suspect that this sustained criticism has more to do with sour grapes over recent audience trends.”

Stories about other publishers are fair game and healthy competition between the titles is to be encouraged.

But take the BNP stories and the numerous stories about the Telegraph’s web advances en masse and one may begin to wonder when healthy news reporting begins to border on the obsessive?

UPDATE – the ‘debate’ continues with a post from Shane Richmond in response to a comment left by Comment is Free editor Matt Seaton on his Telegraph.co.uk blog

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Guardian review of MyTelegraph is ‘out of touch with internet age’

May 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

Speaking in a blog post of Friday, Shane Richmond, communities editor of Telegraph.co.uk, explained that staff from the Guardian had been putting questions to users of MyTelegraph in preparation for an article about the blogging site.

To pre-empt the attack article, Richmond posted the answers to the questions asked of the site, which covered alleged links between MyT and BNP propaganda and Enoch Powell, while also asking for examples of the best blog posts contributed.

“To me, the tone they strike is politically correct and out of touch with the internet age. The internet encourages free speech, has lower barriers to entry and places greater onus on individuals to decide for themselves what is acceptable. Is it the case that Comment Is Free only within Guardian-approved limitations?” wrote Richmond.

The aforementioned article, published today by MediaGuardian, compares and contrasts MyT with the Guardian’s own Comment Is Free platform and the Sun’s MySun.

“A cursory glance reveals that while it has some powerful and well-written blogs, My Telegraph is also inhabited by some very unsavoury characters. . . Such comments appear on all websites, the Guardian included. The difference with My Telegraph and similar sites overseas is that the newspaper is providing the platform for others to start the debate. On most comment sites, bloggers sanctioned by the newspaper group typically do so,” it reads.

While it’s interesting to consider the different approaches taken to moderation and user-generated content by the Telegraph and the Guardian, in the spirit of open debate on the subject, wouldn’t it be worth mentioning the Guardian’s recent debacle with one of its ‘sanctioned’ bloggers? The debate started by this blogger, wasn’t allowed to continue – I wonder if this would have been the case if the post had appeared on MyT.

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PPA Magazines 2008: Community stats for Telegraph.co.uk

May 7th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

According to Shane Richmond, communities editor of Telegraph.co.uk, articles on the site’s Your View section receive an average of 166 comments a day, while 2,000 comments a day are recorded across the main site.

MyTelegraph, which is one year old on Friday, now has 18,000 registered users and will be rebuilt this summer with new tools for uploading content introduced and plans to integrate MyT content across the main site.

Richmond added that a feature rating the posts of other MyT bloggers, which had been scrapped at the request of users, was something he hoped to reintroduce to the site.

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