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Rusbridger: Guardian paywall ‘has not been ruled out’

March 25th, 2012 | 7 Comments | Posted by in Paid-for content

Part of a cartoon wall being created at the Guardian Open Weekend

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, today asked readers what they were prepared to give back to the news group in return for journalism: money, time or data.

The first option, to ask readers to pay for an online subscription, “has not been ruled out”, Rusbridger told a session called “what might the Guardian’s future look like?” at the Guardian Open Weekend.

He suggested readers could give their time, perhaps volunteering to work shifts when they would moderate comments from fellow readers, a suggestion that is perhaps equally as surprising and seemingly unlikely as the idea of the Guardian putting up a paywall.

The third option Rusbridger proposed was that readers share personal data, such as their postcode.

All three options aim to make or save money, helping to compensate for the “£40 million-a-year which walked out the door” with the rapid decline in newspaper advertising.

You have to work on the basis that [revenue] is never going to come back.

Rusbridger added:

There are huge opportunities for journalism but it’s going to be a period of intense change.

In the same session, Andrew Miller, CEO of Guardian Media Group, explained the group is focussing on brand building, saying sustainability via digital relies on far more than “banners and buttons”.

Miller said:

The newspaper is fantastic product but is one of many products that people use to consume news.

Miller commented on the revenue generated by the Guardian’s Facebook app, launched in September - which has been downloaded by eight million users in six months and which saw Facebook users read 19 million articles via the app last month – saying “we only make a few hundred thousand pounds” via the app.

Earlier this week Journalism.co.uk reported that the Guardian app has generated more money than it cost to build.

Also speaking in the session was Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of the Guardian US operation who seven months ago “took the Guardian-ness and put it in America”.

She talked about how the “audience is growing substantially” in the US.

We are trying to make [the audience] feel they are part of the international army of Guardian readers.

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Cutline: Nick Davies to join Guardian US operation

August 10th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers, Online Journalism

Nick Davies addresses a parliamentary select committee on phone hacking. Image: PA

Guardian investigative journalist Nick Davies, the driving force behind the recent phone hacking revelations, is to join the paper’s fledgling US operation, Yahoo’s Cutline blog reports.

Davies has been in the US for the past week or so, ostensibly to work on the US dimension of the phone hacking scandal. Earlier this month, the FBI launched an investigation into allegations that the mobile phones of 9/11 victims had been hacked by people working for News Corp.

Davies told the Cutline blog:

“The Guardian have asked me to join a group of journalists who they are sending from London to the U.S. to increase our coverage of U.S. stories. So, apart from looking at the hacking story here, the other purpose of the trip is to make decisions about exactly where I would be based if I were to come here. I’m still exploring that, too.”

“My job here would be to do investigations,” he added.

The Guardian announced the new US operation in April, naming former guardian.co.uk editor Janine Gibson as its editor. It coincides with the Guardian’s shift towards a new “digital first” strategy. According to the Guardian it has an online audience of around eight million unique users in the US, based on statistics from Comscore for February 2011. Recent reports from the Audit Bureau of Circulations suggest that 60 per cent of traffic to the Guardian site is from outside the UK.

Full story on the Cutline blog at this link.

 

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New Guardian.co.uk homepage adds multimedia and flexible storytelling to design

March 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

The Guardian has today launched a new homepage for its website, Guardian.co.uk.

While the design is similar to other pages on the site, it has been revamped to give more prominence to long-running stories and to allow more flexibility for incorporating multimedia and breaking news coverage.

Explaining the changes in a blog post, Guardian.co.uk editor Janine Gibson also makes a dig at News International’s recently announced paywall plan for the Times and Sunday Times online:

We wanted to be able to convey the importance of stories using different methods of presentation and we’re aware that sometimes it’s been hard to find our coverage of a long-running story if nothing new has happened today so we’ve introduced spaces to keep important subjects alive. We also wanted to be able to embed live stats in the front page as we inch towards a UK election and, perhaps most importantly, we need the front page to be a more flexible space so we can change what we’re doing in response to events. In a way that seems incredibly symbolic in today’s context, but didn’t at all when we started thinking about the front page many months ago, we wanted it to be very open, and to change shape to reflect stories, communities and what the wider web is up to. The opposite of putting it behind a wall.

New features include a “trending” section, directing users to content on the key topics of the day, and a “campaigns and investigations” box towards the top of the page. The “latest multimedia” section gives audio and video content pride of place, while a “what you’re saying” panel further down the page gives users more prominence, says Gibson.

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How did readers react to the Observer relaunch?

February 22nd, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

It was goodbye to the horoscopes and hello to the New Review, but did the Observer readers like the newly relaunched and redesigned Sunday paper? You can see around 200 comments (at the time of writing) under editor John Mulholland’s introductory piece here. Guardian.co.uk editor Janine Gibson thanks users for feedback and assures them that all comments will be read. Stephen Pritchard, the readers’ editor also jumped straight in with some responses.

Here is some other Observer reaction as seen on Twitter:

“New observer is amazing – fashion, recipes, Chat articles, what polly vernon bought + a news section” (Robin Ince, comedian)

“It nearly achieved the impossible. selling a smaller product for same price. but very crowded esp review and the mag a mess..” (John Mair, Journalism lecturer)

“@nickcohen2 there’s no room for me! what’ll go in the pages that were full of AR this week btw? is it ≈ long columns by you?” (former Observer political editor, Gaby Hinsliff)

“The Observer have lost me as a reader, I have been buying this paper for as long as I can remember, but what they did yesterday was shameless” (LindaMarric, Labour supporter, student – and former reader)

“It’s interesting how the Observer‘s Brown story is snowballing when the relaunch seems designed to pave way for The New Review viewspaper” (Laura Slattery, journalist)

“The new Observer seemed to be almost entirely back to front. What were they thinking? Desperate Times indeed.” (Richard Cree, editor of Director Magazine)

I liked the new Observer – can they keep up the content though? (Andrew Howell)

First thing they teach you in editing school: mess with the horoscope at your peril. Do The Observer know something we don’t? (David Hepworth)

What did you think? Please leave your own thoughts below, or tweet to @journalismnews.
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Let the expenses data war commence: Telegraph begins its document drip feed

Andy Dickinson from the Department of Journalism at UCLAN sums up today’s announcement in this tweet: ‘Telegraph to drip-publish MP expenses online’.

[Update #1: Editor of Telegraph.co.uk, Marcus Warren, responded like this: 'Drip-publish? The whole cabinet at once....that's a minor flood, I think']

Yes, let the data war commence. The Guardian yesterday released its ‘major crowdsourcing tool’ as reported by Journalism.co.uk at this link. As described by one of its developers, Simon Willison, on his own blog, the Guardian is ‘crowdsourcing the analysis of the 700,000+ scanned [official] MP expenses documents’. It’s the Guardian’s ‘first live Django-powered application’. It’s also the first time the news site has hosted something on Amazon EC2, he says. Within 90 minutes of launch, 1700 users had ‘audited’ its data, reported the editor of Guardian.co.uk, Janine Gibson.

The Telegraph was keeping mum, save a few teasing tweets from Telegraph.co.uk editor Marcus Warren. A version of its ‘uncensored’ data was coming, but they would not say what and how much.

Now we know a bit more. As well as printing its data in a print supplement with Saturday’s newspaper they will gradually release the information online. As yet, copies of claim forms have been published using Issuu software, underneath each cabinet member’s name. See David Miliband’s 2005-6 expenses here, for example. From the Telegraph’s announcement:

  • Complete records of expense claims made by every Cabinet minister have been published by The Telegraph for the first time.”
  • “In the coming weeks the expense claims of every MP, searchable by name and constituency, will be published on this website.”
  • “There will be weekly releases region by region and a full schedule will be published on Tuesday.”
  • “Tomorrow [Saturday], the Daily Telegraph will publish a comprehensive 68-page supplement setting out a summary of the claims of every sitting MP.”

Details of what’s included but not included in the official data at this link.  “Sensitive information, such as precise home addresses, phone numbers and bank account details, has been removed from the files by the Telegraph’s expenses investigation team,” the Telegraph reports.

So who is winning in the data wars? Here’s what Paul Bradshaw had to say earlier this morning:

“We may see more stories, we may see interesting mashups, and this will give The Guardian an edge over the newspaper that bought the unredacted data – The Telegraph. When – or if – they release their data online, you can only hope the two sets of data will be easy to merge.”

Update #2: Finally, Martin Belam’s post on open and closed journalism (published Thursday 18th) ended like this:

“I think the Telegraph’s bunkered attitude to their scoop, and their insistence that they alone determined what was ‘in the public interest’ from the documents is a marked contrast to the approach taken by The Guardian. The Telegraph are physically publishing a selection of their data on Saturday, but there is, as yet, no sign of it being made online in machine readable format.

“Both are news organisations passionately committed to what they do, and both have a strategy that they believe will deliver their digital future. As I say, I have a massive admiration for the scoop that The Telegraph pulled off, and I’m a strong believer in media plurality. As we endlessly debate ‘the future of news™’ I think both approaches have a role to play in our media landscape. I don’t expect this to be the last time we end up debating the pros and cons of the ‘closed’ and ‘open’ approaches to data driven journalism.”

It has provoked an interesting comment from Ian Douglas, the Telegraph’s head of digital production.

“I think you’re missing the fundamental difference in source material. No publisher would have released the completely unredacted scans for crowdsourced investigation, there was far too much on there that could never be considered as being in the public interest and could be damaging to private individuals (contact details of people who work for the MPs, for example, or suppliers). The Guardian, good as their project is, is working solely with government-approved information.”

“Perhaps you’ll change your mind when you see the cabinet expenses in full on the Telegraph website today [Friday], and other resources to come.”

Related Journalism.co.uk links:

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Guardian.co.uk: Subbing own Guardian blog is not the norm, says Janine Gibson

It would seem that Roy Greenslade is in a ‘small handful of journalists’ who blog straight-to-screen at the Guardian. Today in the Guardian, Siobhain Butterworth’s weekly column looks at the media regulation debate following the publication of the Media Standards Trust report.

This part, near the end of the article, is particularly interesting, given Roy Greenslade’s comments last week:

“The trust reports that many newspapers are giving journalists responsibility for their own editing and that this is increasing the risk of inaccuracies. Janine Gibson, editor of the Guardian’s website, says this is not true of the Guardian: “The majority of our blogs are edited and subbed before publication. I can only think of a small handful of journalists who blog direct to the web without being either desked or subbed first. We don’t publish news stories undesked and although our journalists can publish pictures direct to blogs, they rarely do.”” Open door, Guardian.co.uk 16/02/09

According to Press Gazette’s report from last week’s Publishing Expo, Roy Greenslade said that he subs his own blog:

“I write my blog every day, I don’t need a sub to get in the way,” said the former Daily Mirror editor turned Guardian blogger.

“I produce copy that goes straight on screen – why can’t anyone else do that? You can eliminate a whole structure.

“It’s not perfect, not how I would want it to be – but the thing is, commercially, we have to do it.” PressGazette.co.uk, 13/02/09

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