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#Podcast: Growing social media communities

Image by Thinkstock

Image by Thinkstock

This week’s podcast looks at:

  • How Future builds social media communities before launching a new product;
  • How a wedding title retains brides-to-be within their social media communities after their big day;
  • Tips on community building from the Guardian, which this week passed the 1 million followers milestone on its @Guardian flagship account.

Journalism.co.uk technology editor Sarah Marshall speaks to:

  • Katherine Radarecht, group publisher at Future 
  • Victoria Joy, online editor at YouAndYourWedding.co.uk, an Immediate Media title
  • Laura Oliver, community manager, the Guardian

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

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The Guardian’s Matt Wells on live blogging the Egypt protests, in Arabic

Followers of the Guardian’s Egypt protests live blog in the last few days may have noticed short passages of Arabic text appearing amid the blog’s customary roster of updates, summaries and other multimedia.

Then later an entire news article or two appearing on the site in the unfamiliar language.

I spoke to blogs editor Matt Wells about the decision to translate the Guardian’s coverage into Arabic.

It began a few days back when one of the newspaper’s journalists suggested embedding Google’s translate button, which automatically translates any webpage, into the live blog. With independent news organisations such as Al Jazeera harassed by the state and foreign journalists reportedly suffering obstruction and detention, impartial Arabic-language news is not necessarily readily available in Egypt.

“The news there is dominated by state-run media,” Wells said, “and unofficial sources are mostly in English or under-resourced.”

Online translation services, however, are generally not very accuarate, even if Google has come a long way since the early days of Yahoo’s BabelFish.

The Guardian asked a native Arabic speaker in the office to take a look, and she confirmed that it “wasn’t exactly 100 per cent accurate”.

Then the blogs team put it to the readers, asking, what do you think of the Google translate service? We’ve had our native Arabic speaker cast her eye over it and don’t think it’s accurate enough.

Proving that reader comments aren’t the trash they get slated as by some, one reader joined the dots that the staff hadn’t.

If you have a native Arabic speaker, why don’t you translate some of it yourself?, they asked.

And so the Guardian started publishing live blog summaries in Arabic, and will be translating two or three news articles a day with the help of a professional service, Wells said.

“Clearly we are not going to become an Arabic news service, but we saw it as a useful feature.

“It is more of a gesture to our readers to show that we are appreciative of our audience in that region and of the fantastic response we’ve had.”

Wells said that the Guardian’s commitment to community management was key to the live blogging strategy, especially with coverage like that of the Egypt protests. The paper has two dedicated community managers – Laura Oliver and James Walsh – who sit and work with the news teams but “have the specific brief of engaging with readers in the comments below the line and on Twitter.”

That means flagging up useful information posted by users, pulling material into the live blogs from elsewhere and responding to comments or letting reporters know when it might be best for them to do so. It is a role that the Guardian is serious about developing, Wells said.

“It results in a much more engaged and two-way conversation with the users.”

As for the live blogging, there is no doubt that the Guardian likes, and does a lot of it. With more than 250,000 hits a day for the Egypt live blog alone, Wells called it the “centrepiece” of the paper’s coverage.

“This time it really feels like we’ve pushed on the form again.”

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – optimising your website for Google News

September 22nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

SEO: Google News has released a series of tips and video advice on optimising your website for Google News. The video at this link helps explain how the aggregator works and how to get your content found. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – a guide to multimedia proficiency

September 18th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Training: Mindy McAdams’ fantastic guide to multimedia proficiency can now be downloaded in one handy PDF document. The 42-page booklet covers audio, video and slideshows, and has even been translated into Spanish. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – tracking stories with Yahoo pipes

September 16th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Newsgathering: Health Service Journal correspondent Dave West has used Yahoo Pipes to track health stories on the BBC’s Today programme. Useful for health journalists, but can also be adapted to other topics if you know how to use Yahoo Pipes. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – sub-editing for online

September 15th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Sub-editing: Want to brush up on the basics of sub-editing work for online publication? Check out our two-part guide that covers the main points you should be considering including headlines, keywords and formatting. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – tools for organising your research

September 14th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Research: Investigative journalism site Help Me Investigate.com has posted a guide to the best browser-based tools for organising your research – including Groowe, Evernote and Interclue, which it describes as a serious time-saver. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – searching UK newspaper articles

September 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

Search: Chipwrapper provides a search refined to UK newspaper articles – a good way to see who else might be reporting on your story. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – looking for a career in online journalism?

Training: Looking to start a career in online journalism or make the switch to digital? The Guardian’s Q&A discussion on the topic has first-hand advice from BBC, Guardian, VNet, Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Daily Post journalists. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – multimedia tips for freelancers

Freelance: Multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook has created a six-part guide for freelance journalists covering branding, business, ‘making things happen’, audio, video and storytelling. It’s packed with helpful tips and resources. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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