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Nieman: Zeega, ‘like Storify for multimedia’

The Nieman Journalism Lab has a post on Zeega, a storytelling web app that it describes as “like Storify for multimedia”. The people behind Zeega, which is not yet public, describe it as a whole different medium rather than simply new software.

Nieman describes the concept:

The still-in-alpha software feels like Storify for multimedia: As you travel across the web, use a simple bookmarklet to collect media fragments — a Flickr image, a YouTube video, a track from the Free Music Archive — and dump it into a project bin. You can share your project bin and invite others to collaborate on the story. The editor interface is simple: Select a few seconds from a video, cut it with a few seconds of another video, drop in a music track, and suddenly you have a little story. You can even prompt the user to call a number or send a text message, delivering a surprising bit of audio in return. The output is pure HTML5, no Flash.

The post also has details on the team behind Zeega and how this summer there were awarded a $420,000 Knight News Challenge grant.

Co-founder Jesse Shapins tells Nieman how he feels hacks should seek to collaborate with hackers and how journalists should develop a better understanding of the possibilities and limitations of specific technologies.

“I do think you should have a culture within journalism of creativity around interaction, around the ways in which code works, and what the code makes possible. That doesn’t mean making a journalist learn to write every single programming language that exists. If they’re able to have a rich understanding of the creative possibilities, they can creatively approach the projects that they create.”

There is more on how Zeega makes interactive storytelling simple here.

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Nieman: Blogs, SEO chief and Facebook comments result in traffic increase for LA Times

August 16th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Traffic

The Los Angeles Times is experiencing an increasing amount of traffic, which Nieman Journalism Lab is attributing to engaging with its audience using its blogs.

In March the site had more than 160 million pageviews; in May it was 189 million, bucking the downward trend of many other major US sites. The Nieman report states:

That doesn’t mean the LA Times is going to lap the New York Times or the Huffington Post when it comes to reader counts. But the numbers are still impressive, and more so when you consider the secret sauce at the heart of it all: a full embrace of blogging that adds voice in some corners, emphasises timeliness in others, and has opened new doors for reader engagement. On latimes.com, news is getting the blog treatment and blogs are getting the news treatment. “Most of our blogs are reported stories,” said Jimmy Orr, managing editor/online for the Times. “What we’re seeing is big increases in our blogs, and that’s where a lot of the breaking news is.

The post goes on to explain some other changes at the LA Times, too. The site has recently added an SEO chief, “who works on the copy desk to optimise headlines” resulting in a “65 per cent rise in traffic from search and a 41 per cent jump in traffic from Google as compared to this time last year”.

Another move by the LA Times is to make the site more social by adding Facebook comments to around 50 per cent of articles, a move that has resulted in a 450 per cent increase in referrals from Facebook, according to Nieman’s post.

It also plans to expand its use of Facebook as a commenting system because of encouraging results it’s seen so far. The goal is a virtuous circle: A bigger community leads to more traffic leads to more impact for the Times’ journalism.

It is worth reading the full post on the LA Times’ traffic report which lists examples of the LA Times blogs, including LA Now, “which looks like a blog, but is actually a driver for breaking news”.

 

 

 

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Global Radio News: Investing in local reporters before stories break

November 3rd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick

Nieman Reports has an interesting article by Henry Peirse, founder of Global Radio News, an online agency for reporters, in which he discusses how the organisation began and how it hopes to support foreign journalists.

As an agency, GRN aims to suggest stories for broadcasters to cover, based on ideas sent in on a daily basis from reporters across the world, Peirse says.

GRN tries as much as possible to use journalists who live where the story is taking place. Local journalists have the gift of institutional knowledge and this can set them apart from those who parachute into a story, though the old-timers can also be ready to leap in given the expertise they carry inside of them. When they were foreign correspondents, they settled in a region of the world and got to know their way around; they were ready when news broke. In this tweeting generation of journalists, deep digging isn’t valued so this kind of ingrained knowledge doesn’t grow. Of course this is understandable at a time when it’s the rare news organization that invests in having a reporter watch a story until it becomes news.

This is what Peirse says GRN aims to do, “to support reporters by finding them and investing in them before a story breaks in their backyard”. Once it has, GRN can connect them to broadcasters.

Read more from Peirse on the model here…

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