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Poynter: NY Times introduces unmoderated comments for ‘trusted commenters’

December 1st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Poynter has an interesting post highlighting the overhaul of the New York Times’ commenting system.

The news outlet has introduced “trusted commenters“, which the Times describes as an “invitation-only programme designed for our most valued commenters”.

Those who have proved to be trusted by consistently having comments approved will be allowed to leave comments that will be made live immediately without the need for moderation.

Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman explains the overhaul of the NY Times’ commenting system:

The trusted commenter programme is the most significant new feature, in my opinion. Those who join will have to submit and verify real names, a profile photo and hometown by connecting a Facebook account. (Some people object to using Facebook, so other identity verification methods may be supported later, [Sasha Koren, deputy editor of interactive news] said.)

In exchange they get instant commenting, as well as a higher profile on the site. With a special “trusted” logo attached to their color photo and full name, they stand out visually from the other commenters who usually have an anonymous username and no profile photo.

Sonderman’s full post on how New York Times’ overhaul of its comment system and how it grants privileges to trusted readers is at this link.

 

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Romenesko resigns from Poynter over attribution complaint

One of the most high-profile US media bloggers, Jim Romenesko, has resigned his post at media standards non-profit Poynter after questions were raised about his use of verbatim quotes.

Erika Fry, an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, contacted Poynter’s Julie Moos to point out that Romenesko was consistently using passages of text verbatim from pieces he was writing about without using quotation marks.

It should be made clear that he was prominently linking to the source material, but Moos said that this posed the risk that the words “may appear to belong to Jim when they in fact belong to another”.

This style represents Jim’s deliberate choice to be transparent about the information’s origins while using the source’s own words to represent his or her work. If only for quotation marks, it would be exactly right. Without those quotation marks, it is incomplete and inconsistent with our publishing practices and standards on Poynter.org.

Romenesko has been writing for Poynter for 12 years and – according to Moos – the practice has been “extensive”, with spot checks going back to 2005 showing “multiple examples”.

Part of the problem was that Romenesko was allowed to publish his posts straight to the Poynter website without being subbed. He was the only staffer to be allowed to do so, and although other editors at Poynter read his work and the original pieces, Moos said, none noticed the duplication.

Romenesko’s initial offer of his resignation, after being contacted by Moos about the practice, was refused, but a subsequent offer has now clearly been accepted.

Moos noted in her post that some may find Romenesko’s practice “entirely acceptable and disagree that it is unclear or incomplete”, while some may find it “abhorrent and a journalistic sin”.

What do you think? Let us know on Twitter @journalismnews or in the comments below, or by email to joel at journalism.co.uk.

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PolitiFact and Poynter team up to create the PolitiFact Lab

October 31st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

At the end of last week PolitiFact announced it had launched a partnership with the Poynter Institute to create the PolitiFact Lab: “an initiative that will oversee joint projects and educational programmes on fact-checking”.

According to a statement from PolitiFact the lab will promote best practice and carry out fact-checking research.

The partnership will be modelled after the success of joint programs that Poynter and PolitiFact created in 2010 for PolitiFact Florida, a unique partnership of the Times, the Miami Herald and other Florida newspapers. It was underwritten by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Collins Center for Public Policy and the Craigslist Charitable Fund.

Read more on how PolitiFact and the Poynter Institute have launched a partnership to create the PolitiFact Lab.

 

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What journalists and publishers need to know about the iPhone 4S and iOS 5

October 5th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Mobile

There are a three of posts worth reading if you want to work out which features unveiled in yesterday’s Apple announcements are relevant to journalists and the industry.

Poynter has a five things journalists need to know about the new iPhone 4S and iOS 5.

Jeff Sonderman states the five benefits of the iPhone 4S and iOS5 are:

1. A price drop for older models of iPhone;

2. An 8 megapixel camera;

3. Safari reading mode, enabling single-column reading and a ‘save for later’ Instapaper-style feature;

4. NewsStand, a development of interest to newspaper and magazine publishers. The Guardian explains what NewsStand means for publishers in this article written when the feature was announced in June;

5. Twitter integration.

The Next Web last night (Tuesday, October 4) published details of Apple’s US publisher partners for NewsStand. The New York Times, GQ, Wired, National Geographic are all on board, according to this post.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – newspaper lessons in using QR codes to drive traffic

September 1st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology, Mobile, Traffic

Newspapers interested in how to make use of QR codes (quick reader codes) could take a look at a post on Poynter which details the way six US newspapers have been using QR codes to drive traffic to their websites. By assessing the news organisations’ different approaches, Poynter’s post has some helpful advice for anyone trying to make QR codes, which allow users to scan a printed code with their smartphone to take them to a specific web page, work for them. One advantage of a QR code as opposed to a printed link is the ability to monitor the traffic from the code.

The post advises:

Be sure to provide information on how to use the codes.

[Danny Sanchez, online content manager at the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel] suggests putting production rules in place for the codes, making them no smaller than ¾” x ¾” and keeping them off the fold, “which makes it maddeningly difficult to scan”. Editors at the Sun-Sentinel also provide a standard URL redirect next to the code, for those who can’t or won’t scan it.

Creative examples in the post include that of the Washington Post, which has been putting QR codes on “could-be-viral stories” to let readers share them on their Facebook page or the Palm Beach Post, which used a QR code to link to an interactive quiz that let people take five sample questions from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test given to eighth grade students.

Poynter’s full post is at this link

Tipster: Sarah Marshall

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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Wall Street Journal uses Foursquare list feature for hurricane evacuation centres

August 31st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology, Mobile

As Hurricane Irene lashed the east coast of the US at the weekend, the Wall Street Journal used Foursquare’s recently-launched tip lists feature to provide details of the locations of New York City evacuation centres.

The tip lists were launched on 15 August and were used by the WSJ for a breaking news story less than a fortnight later.

Users of Foursquare, the mobile phone app and social network which has 10 million members worldwide, can check-in and share their location with their friends and contacts by using the WSJ’s NYC Hurricane Evacuation Centers Foursquare list.

A total of 130 people follow the evacuation centres on Foursquare, a low number when compared to other networks (the New York Times @NYTLive Twitter account accrued 22,000 followers in three days when reporting on the hurricane), but the WSJ’s innovative use of lists is another example how news publishers can interact with readers.

Eric Friedman, director of business development at Foursquare, told Journalism.co.uk how the WSJ list works:

This is a page that the Wall Street Journal can administer and actually people can follow the list, which is a great way for them to interact with their current fan base on Foursquare and also as resource for anyone else for a quick way to develop something that was extemely helful in a potentially very damaging storm.

Friedman went on to explain another way in which the WSJ has used the platform.

It’s a way for them to build a following on a new network, which is Foursquare, and for them to get really timely and relevant information attached to a place.

In the past they’ve use [their Foursquare page] to attach breaking news to a place, when something is going on in Times Square, for example. They’ve also used it in a way which is very interesting, for past historial events to let someone know “hey, I’m at the Brooklyn Bridge”, here’s what happened at this time on this date many, many years ago. So it’s a way of bringing the old Journal information to the forefront as well as a way bringing new information to someone in a breaking way.

Mashable has more information on user-generated tip lists allowing users to create crowdsourced lists.

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Poynter: How to set up Newsbeat, real-time analytics tool for news sites

August 22nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Traffic

Poynter has a handy eight-step guide for anyone wanting to test out Newsbeat, a recently launched real-time analytics tool specifically for news sites.

It comes with a hefty monthly price tag but there is a free trial on offer.

One of the advantages of Newsbeat, over free tools such as Google Analytics, is the ability to customise it for various members of the team, as Poynter’s post explains:

For example, managing editors can use it to see analytics for an entire site, section editors can personalise it to see analytics for the sections they edit, and reporters can use it to see analytics for their own stories. You can navigate through the tool to see smaller or bigger pictures of what’s going on within the site.

It also sends alerts when something unusual happens.

Newsbeat by default will send email alerts when traffic spikes above average, a page goes down or something else out of the ordinary happens.

But you can also set-up customized email or SMS (i.e. text) alerts that let you know whether people are reading or commenting on an article more than usual, or if a page is having problems loading.

The full Poynter ‘how to’ guide is at this link.

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Newsbeat, an analytics tool just for news sites, launches

Newsbeat, a real-time analytics tool for newsrooms, has launched in public beta.

The team behind analytics tool Chartbeat has “spent the last six months working with publishers from the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, to Fast Company and Time, to create a service that thinks the same way editors, producers, and content creators do – and gives them the tools they need to build a new kind of newsroom”, according to a post on Chartbeat’s blog.


Newsbeat promises great things for newsrooms.

When something unusual happens, like a spike in traffic, you’ll be immediately alerted by SMS or email and be in the best position to respond.

Chevrons denoting acceleration of new visitors to your pages also appear on the dashboard, giving you an early warning signal that a story is about to blow up, or is losing its heat.

One of the key features of newsbeat is the ability to create personalised dashboards for every person on your team. The sports editor no longer has to wade through data on politics and world news to find the data that’s important to her. She can log in and immediately see her traffic, her stories and her referrers.

But it comes with a high price tag of $199, $499 or $899 a month. There is a free 30 day trial on offer if you want to test it out. You will have to submit your details to the team and wait for the team to respond.

Here’s the Newsbeat video tour.

There’s also a helpful post on Poynter which picks out some of the most promising features.

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Poynter: How to get more people to share news from your site

Poynter has been looking at the results of a large survey commissioned by the New York Times and has come up with five reasons why people share news and six ways to encourage more readers to do so.

One of the key lessons is making it easy for readers to share news by email.

The survey collected the views of 2,500 sharers, not all of them tweeting, liking, recommending and emailing links from the NY Times.

Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman has analysed the results and made suggestions as to what news organisations can learn from the survey.

According to Sonderman, the five primary motivations for sharing are:

1. Altruism
2. Self-definition
3. Empathy
4. Connectedness
5. Evangelism

The research has come up with a number of terms to describe sharers:

  • Altruists, who tend to be female and share on email and Facebook;
  • Careerists, who like to share serious, useful content via email and LinkedIn;
  • Hipsters, who tend to be young and male and like to start conversations using Twitter and Facebook;
  • Boomerangs, who want to get a reaction and tend to share on many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, email and blogs;
  • Connectors, who are mostly female, and share to stay close with their friends and tend to share on email and Facebook;
  • Selectives, who are older and more traditional and tend to share on email.

Sonderman’s six implications for any news site hoping to increase sharing activity are:

1. Think of your users’ relationships. Create content that can help someone strengthen a personal or professional relationship. Think useful, fun, humorous, controversial, actionable.
2. Keep it simple. Many of your readers are sharing to get a response or to show how smart they are. Those people won’t share something they’re not sure they understand, or that their friends may not understand.
3. Reconsider your Facebook button. This research may suggest that Facebook’s ‘recommend’ button is subconsciously more appealing than its ‘like’ button, even though they do the same thing. Recommending is a social activity targeting your friends, while liking is just an individual expression.
4. Share on the right networks. When you share your own content, choose networks that make sense. If your story appeals to hipsters, use Twitter. For careerists be sure to use LinkedIn. To target connectors, use your Facebook page.
5. Remember email. It is still the number one sharing method, the survey found. Though many social networks have blossomed, none has surpassed the simplicity and universal reach of email.
6. Customise sharing options. Should different types of stories emphasise different sharing options to the reader? For example, your business template may feature LinkedIn and email share buttons, while your features template pushes Facebook sharing.

The full Poynter post is at this link

 

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Poynter: Journalism student creates iPad app for recording interviews

Poynter has an interesting post on SoundNote, an iPad app for recording interviews.

It tells the story of how David Estes, a journalism student studying in Seattle, created the application, paid off his student loan with his earnings from the $5.99 app, and moved to a West Village apartment.

The post explains how the app works.

SoundNote is a simple note-taking application that lets you record from the iPad’s internal microphone. It matches your notes with the timeline of the audio recording, so you just click on a word in your notes to jump to the related point in the audio. If you’re interviewing someone, you point the iPad in the direction of your subject and jot down a few keywords as the person answers.

It is also worth reading the post for the back story of how the app came about.

Estes’ development of the app is a lesson in innovation. Instead of going through a formal process of soliciting requirements or getting multiple people to sign off on wireframes, a 21-year-old student thought about how a device like the iPad could make his life easier — as a journalist and student — and he just made it.

The full post is on Poynter at this link.

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