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#Outlook2010: Germany’s WAZ media – learning from bigger players and going open source

October 30th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Multimedia, Newspapers

Last week Journalism.co.uk attended the INMA and Online Publishers Association (OPA) Europe’s annual conference Outlook 2010 – the event focused on innovation, transformation and making money for media businesses. Follow our coverage at this link.

Regional newspaper WAZ Media has learned to punch above its weight online by looking at what bigger publishers are doing digitally and seeking out free and open source software and platforms to use, explains the outgoing CEO of its new media Katharina Borchert.

Starting with video the group supplied reporters with Flip cameras to capture original video news and began using a bank of freelancers to edit the footage.

The group has also joined forces with another regional publisher to create The Media Lab – a small company that invests at a really early stage in local online start-ups that add something interesting to the market, explains Borchert.

This has already spawned an online-to-print publishing solution for printed user-generated papers in areas not covered by WAZ’s titles – after a year-and-a-half the group expects this project to be in profit by next year.

Listen to Borchert’s talk on video, Twitter and regional media innovation online below:

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DNA09: Twitter – a few more questions for the panel

March 5th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

A couple of crowd-sourced questions were taken by the Twitter panel, but some were missed. We’ll post them here and hope the panelists will answer them via Twitter or in the comments below.

  • Noodlepie: @jamierussell be interested to know if the panel are looking at ways to increase “retweetness”. Very big traffic driver, no? #dna09 #dna140
  • gemmanewby: #dna140 do you think it possible to make an entire news programme using only twitter and first person tweets as your source?
  • ernstpoulsen: Question: What’s the difference between the conversation on twitter and facebook’s status-updates? #dna140 dna#09
  • hatmandu: #DNA140 The question should be: “why *can’t* you tell the news in 140 characters?”

Journalism.co.uk’s very own @lauraoliver was on a panel led by Wired UK’s associate editor @benhammersley at Digital News Affairs 2009. The others were Jeff Jarvis, blogger at BuzzMachine (@jeffjarvis); Robin Hamman, senior social media consultant at Headshift (@cybersoc); Darren Waters, technology editor at BBC News website (@darrenwaters); Bert Brouwers, editor-in-chief of Sp!ts (@brewbart); Katharina Borchert, editor-in-chief of Der Westen and MD of WAZ media (@lyssaslounge).

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DNA09: Twittering – is it possible to tell the news in 140 characters or fewer?

March 5th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

Journalism.co.uk’s very own @lauraoliver is joining a panel led by Wired.com associate editor @benhammersley at Digital News Affairs 2009. The others are Jeff Jarvis, blogger at BuzzMachine (@jeffjarvis); Robin Hamman, senior social media consultant at Headshift (@cybersoc); Darren Waters, technology editor at BBC News website (@darrenwaters); Bert Brouwers, editor-in-chief of Sp!ts (@brewbart); Katharina Borchert, editor-in-chief of Der Westen and MD of WAZ media (@lyssaslounge).

Watch live video from johncthompson’s channel on Justin.tv

Tag your tweets for this session #dna140 and follow here when it kicks off at 13.30 (Brussels time):

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DNA09 – Economically distressed but making the most of it

March 4th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

It started off bleakly, but the talk got more positive as the participants warmed up. These are four digital leaders, driving forward ambitious online projects in their respective countries:

  • Eric Echikson, Google’s senior manager for communications in Brussels
  • Katharina Borchert, chief editor of the online newspaper DerWesten.de and also the managing director of WAZ NewMedia
  • Pierre Haski, president of the society and editor-in-chief of the online French newspaper, Rue89

In a discussion led by Richard Gizbert, the panel discussed their hopes for opportunism in a dire economic climate.

Starting with a gloomy video reminder of the demise of the Rocky Mountain News, the panel were then probed on their own thoughts and experiences.

Katharina Borchert, from WAZ media, said the last 3-5 years have been a real opportunity, despite the fact they’re currently laying off a third of their staff.

To be using user-generated content in the way they are would have been unthinkable three years ago, she said.

Web is no longer an add-on, she said. There’s ‘more freedom to create content for the web’.

Video is the most popular content on their site, she added.

Pierre Haski, who left his job at Liberation newspaper to set up the independent French newspaper, realised the opportunity for different types of conversations with readers.

“Through blogging you reconnect with your readers. We tried to develop a model of participative news website, where readers could contribute to news process,” he explained.

After failing to sell the idea to Liberation, he and other colleagues left to launch Rue89.

“Not only will we survive the crisis but we will make money next year,” he said.

Then, Munthe, who set up his agency Demotix in a bid to source citizen journalism from around the world to counter what he perceived as a lack of original foreign news content.

“The flip side of the doom and gloom there are all sorts of opportunities out there,” he said.

He’s not worried about the content control, as editing happens within the process. “Who figured out three columns of smoke was wrong? Bloggers. That’s exactly what Demotix is trying to replicate.”

Demotix tries to bring together collaborative voices to self-correct stories and content, Munthe explained.

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