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Video by The Times outlines thinking behind Olympic wraps and community reaction

August 14th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Photography

The Times has published a video today on YouTube which hears from deputy editor Keith Blackmore, design editor Jon Hill and deputy picture editor Elizabeth Orcutt, as well as communities editor Ben Whitelaw, about the thinking behind its Olympic wraps. As Blackmore says:

The first one was terrifying. Once you made a commitment to do it, and we’d committed right from the start to do this every single day of the Olympic games … you’ve got to do it.

The video includes a look at the decision behind the very first wrap, which wanted to visualise the dawning of the Olympics in London. The Times sent a photographer out every morning the week ahead of the Olympics to photograph the sun coming up over the Olympic stadium, before it was decided a shot of the London Bridge with its Olympic rings was the better shot for the job.

The video, which can be played below, also talks about the reaction to the wraps on social media from the community.

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#Podcast – Lessons in podcasting from The Times, Economist and SoundCloud

August 3rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Podcast
Image by M. Keefe on Flickr

Image by M. Keefe on Flickr. Some rights reserved

News outlets may have been creating podcasts for a number of years but they continue to evolve and innovate in their audio offerings and the platforms on which they distribute.

This podcast examines different styles of podcasting, and includes tips for news outlets thinking of experimenting in audio. technology editor Sarah Marshall speaks to:

  • Chris Skinner, producer and presenter of the Olympic Games podcast from The Times
  • Tom Standage, digital editor at the Economist
  • Ben Fawkes, audio content manager as SoundCloud

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

For more on podcasting here is a guide on how to become a podcaster. It may be from 2006 but much of it is still relevant.

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#jpod – How to engage a subscriber community: Lessons from the Times and Financial Times

Image by Dreamer, via Wikimedia Commons

Community management is a key part of an online news outlet’s operation, and in this week’s podcast we speak to two people at the heart of community operations at the Times and Financial Times, to offer a unique insight into engagement strategies for subscriber communities.

Ben Whitelaw, communities editor at the Times and Rebecca Heptinstall, community manager at the Financial Times, discuss how subscribers use comment facilities to interact with journalists, the ways to recognise the value of subscriber through greater interaction and involvement in feedback and what community engagement really means both on the news website and on social media platforms.

For more on the topic of community engagement, this previous podcast looks in more detail at managing reader comments and here’s a feature on how the New York Times is using social media for “deeper” engagement.

And here is a link to the FT’s LinkedIn Readers’ Group referred to by Rebecca in this week’s podcast.

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

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Shortlists out for British Sports Journalism Awards

February 24th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Awards, Journalism

The Times has picked up 12 nominations in the writing categories for this year’s Sports Journalism Awards, more than any other news outlet.

The winners will be announced on March 12, alongside the entries in the photography and broadcasting categories (the shortlists for which have already been announced).

Chairman of the judges Jon Ryan said:

I don’t recall a time when so many of our judges have commented on the high quality of the entries. I am also delighted that the number of entries kept up during what has not been the easiest time for newspapers.

If you want to show anyone why newspapers are important, why they matter and why journalists should be respected for their writing, news reporting and investigative skills then you need to look no further than the SJA awards. I would like to thank our team of judges for their thoroughness and diligence in reaching their decisions.

The full shortlist can be found on the SJA website.

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#soe11: Editors of the Mirror and Times on phone-hacking coverage

November 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

Editors of the Mirror and the Times were today questioned at the Society of Editors conference about their coverage of the phone-hacking scandal.

Editor of the Times James Harding said earlier on in the scandal that the newspaper’s decisions were informed by “a combination of the company denying it, police saying there was nothing to see and an issue of rivalry”.

I look back and think why didn’t we jump on it? There’s often the sense that there’s an agenda there so I think when that story broke in the Guardian there was a tendency to see that and when news broke the police came out and said there’s nothing to see here. That did inform the thinking.

It was only as a few more pieces fell into place … I remember thinking there is something that is seriously wrong here.

He said following more allegations of wrongdoing the “engines fired up a bit” at the Times and there was “a real attempt to ensure we were reporting on it as any other story.”

Editor of the Mirror Richard Wallace added that when it first started “it was very much a meeja story”.

We didn’t think our readers were interested in it and frankly they weren’t.

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News International: ‘no decision made on Sun paywall’

October 17th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Online Journalism

News International has responded to reports that it has decided not to introduce a paywall at the Sun, as it has for the Times, Sunday Times, and did for the now-defunct News of the World site, denying that a decision has been made over charges.

A report today by paidContent suggests that new chief executive Tom Mockridge has decided against a paywall.

News International has finally decided against introducing usage fees for The Sun’s website and is performing a restructure to place more emphasis on advertising sales, paidContent understands.

The Sun will introduce a paid mobile content app imminently; it is currently consulting with readers on the appropriate fee. But it will not be following Rupert Murdoch’s edict in which he appeared to say that all his news titles’ websites should charge.

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Forbes: Times and NY Times paywall figures compared

Forbes reports on encouraging subscriber stats for the New York Times, the second set of figures released since it went behind a porous paywall in March.

Since then, the paper has amassed some 224,000 digital-only subscribers. Another 57,000 subscribe to replica editions delivered on e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. On top of that, there are the 100,000 people getting e-subscriptions sponsored by Lincoln.

Jeff Bercovici goes on to compare the NY Times with the Times.

The Times of London launched its own, very different pay model about nine months before the [New York] Times. (Briefly: the Times [of London] has an impermeable paywall, while the New York Times uses a metered system that allows non-subscribers 20 free pageviews a month.) It only recently hit the 100,000 mark. The Times of London is smaller, but not all that much so: it has a weekday circulation of about 500,000 and a Sunday circulation of 1.2 million, versus 900,000 and 1.3 million for the [New York] Times.

Importantly, the [New York] Times managed to add a new leg to its business without significantly cannibalising its existing web audience. [The site] averaged 33 million unique visitors per month in the second quarter, in line with its average for the preceding 11 months, said CEO Janet Robinson on a call with analysts.

Forbes’ full post goes on to explain the challenges facing the New York Times.

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Select committees: Reaction to appearances by police, the Murdochs and Brooks

July 20th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Politics

The focus on Twitter seemed to be entirely on the appearance of Murdoch and son, Rebekah Brooks and two senior Metropolitan police officers at two parliament select committees yesterday (19 July).

Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates appeared before the home affairs select committee, before Rupert and James Murdoch – and then Rebekah Brooks – came before the culture, media and sport committee.

Below is a Storify to show some of the reaction on Twitter to MPs’ questions and the responses MPs received.

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News International sites targeted by hackers

July 19th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

Lulzsec's faked Sun website featuring the false story about Rupert Murdoch

Hackers last night (July 18) targeted the Sun’s website and put up a false story announcing the death of Rupert Murdoch.

The group behind the attack, Lulzsec, also redirected all traffic to its Twitter feed.

Visitors to the site were greeted by the headline ‘Media moguls (sic) body discovered’ – a story that alleged Murdoch had ‘ingested a large quantity’ of radioactive palladium, before ‘stumbling into his topiary garden’.

On Twitter, LulzSec also claimed to have hacked into email accounts and began posting what appeared to be passwords to individual email addresses as well as mobile numbers for editorial staff.

People trying to access the Sun website were directed to, a News International-owned domain.

The group gloated of their success last night, tweeting: “The Sun’s homepage now redirects to the Murdoch death story on the recently-owned New Times website. Can you spell success, gentlemen?”

The hackers did not explicitly say why they hacked the site, but various tweets suggested it was linked to the phone hacking scandal.

It remains to be seen whether this will be the last of the action after the group tweeted: “…expect the lulz to flow in coming days.”

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Guardian: Phone-hacking round-up from the papers

Roy Greenslade has written a thorough round-up on how the weekend newspapers covered the News of the World phone hacking apology. He also looks at the coverage – and non-coverage – in today’s papers.

But where will those headlines appear (and which papers will remain silent)? There is a clue in today’s papers.

The Guardian carries a page one story, Civil service blocked hacking probe. The Independent runs two pages under the headline Lawyer claims up to 7,000 may have had phones hacked, plus a leader – Saying sorry is not enough – and a column by Donald Trelford (the ex-editor who thinks hacking isn’t much of a story).

Elsewhere, silence. Well, not quite. Boris Johnson pops up in the Telegraph to argue the News of the World was not the only paper to have hacked.

In a piece which makes light of hacking while calling on “every editor and every proprietor to appear before an inquiry and confess” to having been involved in such activities.

This was just what the Times wanted to hear. It quickly drew on Johnson’s column to run a news story on page 4, Johnson calls on editors to tell the whole truth on hacking.

This is nothing more than the continuation of a News International strategy to deflect from its own paper’s misbehaviour – and its accompanying cover-up operation – by spreading the muck.

Greenslade’s full blog post is at this link.

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