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Jonathan Stray: Digital news needs better products, not just emulations of old media

September 28th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Online Journalism

Professional journalist and computer scientist Jonathan Stray argues in this thoughtful blog post that journalism and news organisations should create products to better support civic culture and “the people who are actually changing the world”. He looks at the existing state of product design in journalism and how it could be improved:

Newspaper stories online and streaming video on a tablet are not those tools. They are transplantations of what was possible with paper and television (…) Much of the ongoing future-of-journalism discussion focuses on how reporting needs to change, and rightly so. But that analysis stops short of the user, and how journalism is actually used – or could be used.

Digital news product design has so far mostly been about emulation of previous media. Newspaper web sites and apps look like newspapers. “Multimedia” journalism has mostly been about clicking somewhere to get slideshows and videos. This is a little like the dawn of TV news, when anchors read wire copy on air. Digital media gives us an explosion of product design possibilities, but the envisioned interaction modes have so far stayed mostly the same.

News and journalism “products” need to consider who will be using them and what those users’ expectations will be – news outlets’ current perception of what they are offering and to whom is not matched by users’ behaviour on their sites, the post explains.

Full post on Jonathan Stray’s website…

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Google ends Radio Ads scheme – cites same reasons as Print ads closure

February 13th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Search

After the search giant announced the end of its Print Ads scheme, Journalism.co.uk contacted Google about the future of its audio and TV ad initiatives.

Would they be affected? A resounding no from the Google spokesman.

Well, yesterday Google announced it will be closing its Radio Ads programme – citing similar reasons to the print scheme closure:

“While we’ve devoted substantial resources to developing these products and learned a lot along the way, we haven’t had the impact we hoped for.”

Instead Google will focus on online audio streaming and advertising around this, phasing out the existing audio ads by May 31 and selling Google Radio Automation – the software that automates broadcast radio programming.

Up to 40 staff involved with the project are expected to lose their jobs, said Susan Wojcicki, vice-president of product management, in the blog announcement.

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New York Times expands video online

October 24th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Newspapers

NYTimes.com has developed a new video player to allow clips to be embedded in more sections of the site.

The player, which uses technology from Brightcove, will make video available on the homepage, individual article pages and on the site’s blogs, a release from the title said. The player also lets users send footage to social networks and bookmarking sites, including Digg, Facebook and LinkedIn.

As part of a video overhaul, the Times’ video library has been redesigned and a regularly updated list of ‘most viewed’ clips now features on the site.

“Demand for high-quality video is on the rise across the web from both our users and our advertisers,” said Nicholas Ascheim, vice president of product management for NYTimes.com, in the release.

“To meet this need, we have upgraded our technology, increased our production values and given video even more prominence across the site.”

According to the release, the Times produces 100 videos a month, while also featuring content from Reuters, CNBC, MSNBC and Bloggingheads.tv.

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