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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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#Podcast – Lessons in long-form video journalism from the Guardian and Vice

August 17th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Podcast
Copyright: jsawkins on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Copyright: jsawkins on Flickr. Some rights reserved

News outlets have been producing online video for several years, with most organisations favouring short clips responding to viewers who favour one, two, five and 10-minute films.

But as technology delivers higher broadband speeds, platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo, and devices such as iPads and connected TV, viewers are increasingly watching long-form online video, often at home, often in the evening, and news outlets are responding.

This podcast looks at how the Guardian and Vice have found success with long-form video documentaries and discusses the various commercial options to make video pay.

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

  • Dan’l Hewitt, general manager, AdVice, a division of Vice Media
  • Stephen Folwell, business director, multimedia and brand extensions, Guardian News & Media

Last week’s podcast looked at digital opportunities in long-form journalism, focusing on written content.

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

 

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#GEN2012: Will we still have digital development editors in 10 years?

May 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Multimedia

Newspaper publishers need to “keep looking outwards” and make changes – even the titles that are the most digitally advanced – the Guardian’s digital development editor told editors at the World News Summit in Paris today.

Asked at the conference whether jobs like hers – helping newsrooms find and implement new processes and tools – would still be needed once newspapers had migrated further towards digital, Joanna Geary replied:

I’d like to hope that in the future it’s something that every journalist would play a role in and would start to understand and have an interest and curiosity in how they connect with readers in meaningful ways.

I still think there is a need to be honest and open with ourselves that this is not a communication revolution that is going to slow down any time soon. If that means we have to have a role that is constantly looking outwards at how our readers are changing, I think there is always going to be a need for this.

She later added:

The Guardian has a very unique culture, specifically about embracing new ideas and understanding new platforms and seek opportunities from new tools. When you see journalists work closely with developers, what’s great is watching both sides learn what’s possible.

For anyone who’s working on internal change it’s so easy to become internal looking and focused on internal structures and politics. My own bit of advice would be to keep looking outwards.

Guardian network editor Clare Margetson said there were still some journalists who needed a hand getting to grips with digital.

When I was on the newsdesk 10 years ago it seemed like a very different place. One of our best reporters would sit smoking a pipe and would not touch a computer. He would call in his story. It seems a world away.

There are still some who need help and some for whom Facebook is still quite a scary thing to use, but it’s quite collaborative and you find the younger reporters on a bank of desks will help out the older ones.

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Guardian: Biography claims David Cameron texted Rebekah Brooks before she quit NI

May 9th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Copyright Lewis Whyld/PA

The Guardian has reported today that an updated biography of the prime minister claims David Cameron texted Rebekah Brooks before she quit as News International’s chief executive.

An article on the Guardian‘s website reports that Cameron allegedly texted Brooks “to tell her to keep her head up” days before she resigned from News International.

It has also emerged that he agreed to meet her at a point-to-point horse race so long as they were not seen together, and that he also pressed the Metropolitan police to review the Madeleine McCann case in May last year following pressure from Brooks.

The prime minister then sent an intermediary to Brooks to explain why contacts had to be brought to an abrupt halt after she resigned. The authors say the gist of that message was: “Sorry I couldn’t have been as loyal to you as you have been to me, but Ed Miliband had me on the run.”

The revelations were made in the updated version of Cameron: Practically a Conservative by Francis Elliot and James Hanning. Brooks is due to appear before the Leveson inquiry on Friday.

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Guardian to disclose funding arrangements for travel articles

April 16th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

The Guardian has announced it is to disclose the full details of who paid for journalists’ transport, accommodation and other expenses at the bottom of travel articles.

The new policy has arisen following a recent complaint from a reader about an article in which the reporter’s expenses were covered by environmental campaign group Greenpeace.

The reader said: “In my opinion it crosses an ethical line for purely financial reasons and I would be very interested to learn the paper’s position.”

Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz responded:

I think that in many circumstances it is fine to accept trips funded by governments, NGOs or lobby groups, though in all cases we should declare them at end of the piece. All funded trips should be authorised by a senior editor and the judgment we should make is, ‘What would the reader, armed with the information about how the trip was funded, make of it?’ If the answer to that is that the reader would probably consider it dodgy, or somehow contaminating of our coverage, then we shouldn’t take it.

Readers’ editor Chris Elliott wrote in his column today:

The Guardian is going to take a step further towards openness in the area of travel writing. In future, travel features will specify which aspects of a trip were paid for and by whom at the end of such features. Across the rest of the paper, on each desk, there are plans to log any trips taken, to ensure that such trips are tracked and signed off by a senior editor.

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Alan Rusbridger and Nick Davies to receive Media Society award

April 4th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Awards

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, and Nick Davies, the journalist who uncovered the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World, are to be this year’s recipients of the Media Society award.

In a release, the Media Society, a charity that campaigns for freedom of expression and the encouragement of high standards in journalism, said:

The Guardian’s revelations about phone hacking at the News of the World have not only been the biggest media story of the year, but have also triggered a public debate about the practices of the press, with potentially far-reaching consequences.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian since the mid-1990s, has presided over the paper’s development from a broadsheet to its current Berliner format, and its embrace of online journalism. He is an eloquent defender of the importance of journalism for holding power to account.

Nick Davies, meanwhile, has demonstrated the highest qualities of persistence in his following of the biggest media stories in recent years, while his concern for the health and future of his craft is manifest: he is an outstanding advocate of the importance of good reporting as the basis for good journalism.

Last year’s Media Society award went to Michael Grade and the 2010 honour went to Melvin Bragg.

Nick Davies has been handed several awards in the past year, including the Paul Foot Award, journalist of the year at the Foreign Press Association Media Awards 2011 and the Frontline Club award.

In February it was announced that Rusbridger was to receive Harvard University’s Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Rusbridger and Davies will be honoured at a Media Society dinner on 24 May.

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How the Guardian’s community of commentators contributes to the story

March 25th, 2012 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Online Journalism

A community of commentators provides the Guardian storytelling process with “cross-fertilisation from below the line”, David Shariatmadari, deputy editor of Comment is Free (CiF), the Guardian’s comment, analysis and discussion platform, told readers at the Guardian Open Weekend event today.

In a session called “digital revolution: how publishing is becoming collaborative”, Shariatmadari explained how 400 non-Guardian staff are commissioned to contribute to CiF every month.

In addition to commissioned commentators, a post-moderated commenting system,  and reposting content from niche blogs, the “opening processes” provided by social media results in “unearthing unexpected gems from the readership”.

“It’s difficult to say where the future of digital collaboration might go next,” Shariatmadari said, but feels “moderation will always be necessary”.

The Guardian trys to reduce the need by moderators by “managing the conversation”, with journalists, community coordinators and moderators joining the debate.

Laura Oliver, a community manager who is one of those “embedded” within the news room and areas such as CiF,  works to reduce the need for moderation by encouraging a healthy community of moderators.

Oliver sees her role as to represent and be the “voice of the reader”, encouraging a “two-way conversation” and broadening the overage.

Once a story is published, that’s not the end of it as that’s where the readers come in.

The Guardian wants to build a returning community, Oliver said, beyond asking readers to “send in pictures of snow”.

She gave the example of ensuring the team “connected” with those contributing from North Africa during the height of the uprisings and ensuring those commentators “would come back to us”.

She also highlighted the collaboration from readers and expert commentators during the daily blog on the Health and Social Care Bill, run during the debate around the amendments to the bill, the pause and its passage through parliament.

Claire Armitstead, literary editor of the Guardian, talked about crowdsourcing and call outs for reader responses and how they influence the sections such as Books.

What this new journalism has opened up is new ways of responding to criticism within the arts.

Dan Roberts, national editor of the Guardian, the chair of the debate, explained how his team started trying to capture witnesses to events, harnessing citizen journalists, and has evolved into opening up to publishing the daily newslist.

The idea is that publishing the list encourages feedback, Roberts said, “in the hope we get some advice and help”.

That way we know that we are chasing the things that readers care about.

 

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Social predicted to overtake search as Guardian traffic driver

The Guardian’s Facebook app has been downloaded eight million times since it was launched six months ago, seeing around 40,000 downloads a day.

Speaking at the Guardian Changing Media Summit, Tanya Cordrey, director of digital development at Guardian News and Media, said the news outlet has been “blown away by the results”.

The “frictionless sharing” app works by readers opting in to share all articles they read with their Facebook friends, generating more traffic for the news site with “no editorial curation”.

She later explained that the Guardian has generated more money through ad revenue from the app than the news organisation spent on building it.

Six months ago Google provided 40 per cent of the Guardian’s traffic. The launch of the Facebook app resulted in a “seismic shift” with social exceeding search as a driver on several occasions in February (see above photograph).

Cordrey predicted:

It’s only a matter of time until social overtakes search for the Guardian.

She said that the audience becomes more global everyday, providing “an amazing opportunity to learn about this new audience”.

It’s the audience we want to learn about rather than the platform [Facebook]

Readers are in “habitual grazing mode”, Cordrey said, traffic peaking in “the middle of the afternoon”.

Addressing those who believe the app has implications for privacy, Cordrey said “we are acutely aware of the critics” but readers are not being driven away or removing content they have read from their Facebook timeline.

“Once people have it, they use it,” Cordrey said, explaining “only a tiny percentage of people” have taken up the option of hiding their reading habits.

Earlier in the day Karla Geci, strategic partner development for Facebook said that it would be “just weird and awkward to read a whole article inside of Facebook”, saying Facebook’s role is enabling “distribution and discovery” rather than taking traffic away from publishers.

Asking herself if frictionless sharing “is creepy”, Geci said:

People are quite interested in being an influencer in their circles. Sharing what you are reading is something you did any way.

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Guardian launches Streetstories, an app for King’s Cross

March 21st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile

The Guardian has launched Streetstories, an iPhone and Android app, providing audio stories based on the phone’s location.

The app is another Guardian project focusing on social, local mobile and is launched the day after the public release of n0tice, another move by the news organisation into the SoLoMo space.

Launched ahead of the Guardian’s Open Weekend event this weekend, the Streetstories app provides a guide to King’s Cross,the area of London where King’s Place, the Guardian building where the event will take place, is located.

Francesca Panetta, the app’s creator, has blogged about it.

Streetstories is a free app for iPhone and Android which triggers audio relevant to your location - your smartphone knows where you are, and plays the stories automatically. The way the app works is you plug in your headphones, start up the ‘autoplay’ mode and put your smartphone in your pocket. The app will find where you are and start playing the clips, so you don’t need to press any buttons, just wander anywhere in the area and your route will create your own narrative

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Guardian hyperlocal platform n0tice now open to all

March 21st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Mobile

The Guardian’s latest venture into hyperlocal publishing is now open to all with the “full open release” of n0tice.

Matt McAlister, director of digital strategy for the Guardian Media Group, presented the social, local, mobile offering at today’s Changing Media Summit.

The seed of the idea came out of a Guardian Hack Day project inspired by geolocation services.

McAlister explained the concept to Journalism.co.uk, which has tracked the progress of n0tice:

If the phone knows where you are and if I see something interesting around me, why can’t I report on that and be an active citizen journalist or participant?

The team evolved the idea into “a community service explicitly tied to a location, almost as a navigation or a filter for finding information”.

Since accepting members by invitation only, early users have been influencing its development.

The platform has opportunities for hyperlocal news sites, which can brand a noticeboard, tracking interaction using web analytics.

Some hyperlocals have adopted n0tice as “their events database, essentially submitting events directly onto notice but with their brand and look and feel”.

McAlister explained that it can increase engagement for hyperlocals.

WordPress is a wonderful publishing environment but it’s not as good as crowdsourcing reports. You can get someone to comment on something you’ve written but it’s not as good for letting anyone share anything original directly into a community space.

The platform also has wider opportunities for hyperlocals and other users: they can potentially make money by creating a noticeboard.

Based on a classifieds system with users paying for premium ads, noticeboard owners keep 85 per cent of the revenue generated.

Here Matt McAlister explains the project’s development:

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