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Social Media Journalist: “I’ve never met anyone who isn’t a media type who’s ever heard of Del.icio.us.,” Robert Hardie, Northcliffe Media

April 28th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Uncategorized

Journalism.co.uk talks to reporters across the globe working at the collision of journalism and social media about how they see it changing their industry. This week, Robert Hardie, from UK regional newspaper publisher Northcliffe Media.

image of robert hardie

1. Who are you and what do you do?
Robert Hardie, content strategy director for Northcliffe Media.

2. Which web or mobile-based social media tools do you use on a daily basis and why?
All Northcliffe’s 56 This Is websites for obvious reasons, LinkedIn, Facebook (probably weekly) and my Attensa for Outlook RSS reader.

We get 200,000+ interactions across the This Is network, which is an amazing insight into what normal people use UGC and social media for.

LinkedIn to keep aware of who’s doing what that we might benefit from, Facebook to see what it’s doing more than what my friends are doing (I just speak to them), Attensa for Outlook so that all my RSS feeds end up on my Blackberry.

3. Of the thousands of social media tools available, could you single one out as having the most potential for news either as a publishing or a news gathering tool?
Google News, it works for both readers and publishers and indexes better and wider than anyone else.

4. And the most overrated in your opinion?
Del.icio.us. I’ve never met anyone who isn’t a media type who’s ever heard of it, let alone used it.

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Social Media Journalist: “Our future isn’t traditional online but in mobile media platforms,” Steve Smith, Spokesman-Review

Journalism.co.uk talks to reporters across the globe working at the collision of journalism and social media about how they see it changing their industry. This week, Steve Smith from The Spokesman-Review, USA.

Steve Smith, editor of the Spokesman-Review

1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am the editor of The Spokesman-Review, a 90,000 circulation daily serving several counties in eastern Washington state and north Idaho.

As editor, I supervise all news and editorial operations, including our website, our other digital platforms and our radio operations.

I have a staff of 124 full-time employees in the newsroom and an annual budget of about $9 million. I have been here since July 2002.

Before coming here, I worked in a variety of roles at seven other newspapers in six different cities.

2. Which web or mobile-based social media tools do you use on a daily basis and why?
I use YouTube daily because we post all of our multimedia on the site and also are capable of embedding YouTube videos on our blogs, including my blog, “News is a Conversation”.

I use MySpace and Facebook when hiring. We check the profiles/pages of prospective employees and actually have rejected applicants because of questionable behavior observed on their pages.

I also go into MySpace frequently to check on the pages devoted to our entertainment magazine, “7”.

In addition, I check several industry blogs daily. Several times a day, I check Romenesko, the must-read industry blog on the Poynter Institute for Media Studies site.

I do very little of this on my mobile, though I do use it for blog work, reading and posting.

I’m still somewhat of a troglodyte (no MySpace page of my own) so I don’t use the mobile to access video or social networking sites.

The Spokesman-Review is the pioneer newspaper (in the United States at least) for transparency. Our transparent newsroom initiative is built around interaction with people in our communities. Blogging and the various blogging tools are critical to us.

We also webcast news meetings and provide as much two-way interaction as possible via chats and other real-time opportunities. Increasingly, we’re developing transparency systems that work on mobile devices.

3. Of the thousands of social media tools available, could you single one out as having the most potential for news either as a publishing or a news gathering tool?
Blogging from the field has the most potential for us at the moment. We’re in the process of developing ideas for 7 that would have real non-media people posting live reports from concerts, nightclubs and other events.

We’re also involved in some beta proposals for training citizen journalists and giving them publishing platforms.

I have no idea where all of this will lead. We’re experimenting with some developing Google applications such as Google Maps and Google Street View to see how they might enhance our blogs.

4. And the most overrated in your opinion?
Tough question. I am willing to try anything with any tool. Until something proves to be useless, I won’t dismiss it.

I do believe our future isn’t in traditional online but in mobile media platforms, the potential of which is yet to be understood. That may drive us to networking tools that enhance the mobile experience.

To reference one single overrated tool, as it were, I’d have to mention Wikipedia. There is an enormous amount of information there. I go to the site often for informal searches. But journalists beware. It is a bottomless quicksand pool that will easily send reporters and editors off in the wrong direction, at best wasting time and, at worst, producing factually inaccurate, even humiliating journalism.

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Social Media Journalist: ‘Services like ustream or qik that live stream video from DV cams and phones have huge potential’ Damon Kiesow

Journalism.co.uk talks to reporters across the globe working at the collision of journalism and social media about how they see it changing their industry. This week, Damon Kiesow, Nashua Telegraph.

image of Damon Kiesow

1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am the Managing Editor/Online at The Telegraph in Nashua, NH. I am responsible for the overall news presentation and strategy for our digital publications including NashuaTelegraph.com, NHPrimary.com, FeastNH.com and EncoreBuzz.com.

We have a staff of about 50 in the newsroom and nashuatelegraph.com was a finalist in two categories in this year’s Newspaper Association of America Digital Edge Awards.

2. Which web or mobile-based social media tools do you use on a daily basis and why?
On a typical day:

I use each for a variety of reasons. Delicious is my reigning favourite due to the huge filtering and early warning effect it provides. I follow about 78 people, mostly digital media professionals.

A few times per day I review their most recent bookmarks to keep up to date on what they are thinking about and what new tools and toys they have discovered.

I know many of them do the same and some of my ‘best’ ideas we have implemented at the paper have come from those bookmarks.

Twitter serves a similar purpose – and I am following many of the same people as on Delicious. But I like Twitter for the flexibility (IM, phone, PC, Web) and both the immediacy and asynchronous nature of the service.

It is just a great way to stay in touch with people without the burden of reading or responding to email or phone calls.

I use Ning mostly every day to visit sites like wiredjournalists.com, and we have created several Ning sites for the newspaper including Encorebuzz.ning.com.

I have been on LinkedIn for 5 – 6 years and it is still the best place to accumulate business contacts. I probably do not use it every day, but a few times a week I get requests to connect.

Facebook is one I use just due to the critical mass of people they have online. I check it every day and we do have a few small applications running on the service that feed out breaking news from the newspaper. Most of my time there is spent ignoring Zombie and Pirate invitations.

3. Of the thousands of social media tools available, could you single one out as having the most potential for news either as a publishing or a news gathering tool?
If I had to choose from just the tools I use regularly – I would pick Twitter. They have really focused on a core concept and seem very open to letting people expand on it.

It is too early to say if Twitter will be a huge hit for us as a newspaper but we pick up a few followers a week and the trend seems to be increasing.

I like the fact that we can use it both simply to push content (using twitterfeed.com) and as a two-way conversation with readers. We follow anyone who follows us and try to be responsive to questions or comments that come in via our Twitter friends.

In terms of other products – I think the most likely winners this year will be services like ustream.tv or qik.com that allow live streaming video from DV cameras and cell phones respectively.

This has huge potential both as a newsgathering tool and as a social media/self publishing phenomena. We are just starting to experiment with both of these services.

4. And the most overrated in your opinion?
At the moment I consider Facebook to be the most overrated. Things are beginning to change but it is still a walled garden for the most part.

I would not be comfortable investing a lot time or effort in using Facebook as a social media platform for the newspaper without some continued opening up of their API and clarification of their terms of service.

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Social Media Journalist: “BBC journalists are increasingly using Del.icio.us to collaborate and turn research into content” Robin Hamman, BBC Senior Broadcast Journalist

Journalism.co.uk talks to journalists across the globe about social media and how they see it changing their industry. This week, Robin Hamman of the BBC.

Image of Robin Hamman, senior broadcast journalist BBC

1) Who are you and what do you do?
Robin Hamman, I’m a Senior Broadcast Journalist at the BBC where I spend much of my time showing people how to use social media and blogging as part of their ordinary programme and content making processes.

2) Which web or mobile-based social media tools do you use on a daily basis and why?
Most of them! My day starts with a visit to my web-based RSS reader that pulls in all the new content from around 90 blogs and other sources I subscribe to.

Some of those feeds are also things like Technorati, Icerocket and Google blog searches on various keywords. This means I very rarely have to proactively seek out content on the web anymore.

As I read through my RSS feeds I use Del.icio.us to bookmark and share the interesting content I find. This, in turn, publishes into my blog automatically at lunchtime – again, creating content out of something I’d do anyway.

If I’m out and about I’ll use Zonetag on my mobile to tag, location stamp and upload photos to Flickr. I also use Twitter to stay in touch with my friends and contacts, something via mobile, other times online.

If I’m planning to go out of town for work or a conference I put the details into Dopplr so I can see if any of my contacts are also going to be in town. I’m also a big user of Facebook – it, along with Twitter, has pretty much taken the place of email for me recently. I’m also experimenting with a few other social media tools such as qik, which broadcasts live video from my phone to the web, and some RSS aggregation tools like Yahoo Pipes.

3) Of the thousands of social media tools available could you single one out as having the most potential for news either as a publishing or news-gathering tool?
If the question had been simply about online tools, then RSS would be my choice, but as you’ve asked about social tools, Del.icio.us is the one I’d highlight as having a lot of potential.

Get over to the CommonCraft video about it and you’ll soon understand. BBC Journalists and production teams are increasingly discovering and using this great tool to collaborate more easily whilst researching and to turn their research process into content.

4) And the most overrated in your opinion?
Anything to do with video online – I just don’t get it. The only reason I shoot and post video online, aside from when I’m demonstrating how to do it, is to save my hands from having to transcribe a conference presentation that I’m live blogging.

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