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#editors13: Presentation on Snow Fall-like multimedia stories

June 4th, 2013 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Multimedia

Bangkok-opening-ceremony

This afternoon I gave a presentation at the World Editors Forum in Bangkok. Here are my slides, notes, and links to further examples and resources.

1. Title

My name is Sarah Marshall and I am technology editor at Journalism.co.uk, a news site reporting on innovations in the digital news space.

2. Logos
We run a digital journalism conference called news:rewired.

3.
The title of this talk is ‘new wave storytelling’ and I want to talk to you about why we should be ‘thinking outside the box’. So what do I mean by the box?

4.
Take a look at these three news stories – about David Beckham’s retirement. What do you see? Remove the mastheads and they all look the same: picture and text or video and text – each one uses inverted triangle way of telling a news story.

5. Box
Where magazines use powerful images and text to tell stories, the technological limitations of the digital space – and the CMS – mean that stories are generally told in within a box.

6. Open box
More recently we have seen that box opening up, news sites have been moving beyond the article, they have been breaking article boundaries. We are seeing new innovations in web-native storytelling.

7. Snow Fall video
The most famous example is Snow Fall. Snow Fall is an immersive reading experience.

It is about a deadly avalanche which claimed the lives of three very experienced skiers.

It is a 17,000 word feature told with the help of videos, moving graphics, picture slideshows, the recordings of 911 calls.

John Branch, the sports reporter who wrote it, won a Pulitzer for the words.

It took six months. John worked alone for one month, and then the second month was working alongside a videographer and photojournalist. His bosses at the New York Times saw the potential to make something extra special.

During the six months while Snow Fall was being worked on, there were some pretty major news stories to cover: the Olympics, Hurricane Sandy and the presidential elections.

8.
And the Snow Fall effect? Six days after publication the story had received 2.9 million visits. Up to 22,000 users visited Snow Fall at any given time. A quarter to a third of the hits were from new visitors to nytimes.com

9. Tweets
Six months on and it has been tweeted 10,000 times.

10. Facebook
And it’s has been shared more than 77,000 times on Facebook.

11. Clock
And the average time on site? 12 minutes. Any of you who check analytics on a daily basis will know that’s a lot.

Now if you have read Snow Fall, you will know that it takes a lot longer than that.

It took me about two or two-and-a-half hours.

So arguably a lot of people just looked at the whizzy graphics and fewer people went on the full journey.

Plenty of digital column inches have been written about Snow Fall. There has been criticism – and there has been praise.

12. Om Malik
Om Malik called it “one of the first truly post-tablet reading experiences”.

And it is interesting he said tablet. That, I would argue, is the best place to read Snow Fall. It makes you want to press play on the videos, on the audio, it makes you want to scroll.

And am I going to spend two-and-a-half hours sitting upright looking at my desktop?

Before we come onto some other examples, let’s think about how well the multimedia presentation works as a storytelling device.

13. Gallery
Have you ever been to an art gallery or museum and not known whether to first look at the art or artefact or read the caption? I was conscious that this might be the case with Snow Fall. Should I read to the end of the next paragraph or play the video now? A decision can be disruptive.

But for me Snow Fall did a pretty good job. In the same way a well-curated museum or gallery will lead the viewer by the hand, Snow Fall too achieved this on the whole.

And design is hugely helpful.

14. Aron Pilhofer
Aron Pilhofer from the New York Times mocked up what Snow Fall would look like if it was presented in the usual format. You can see why design matters.

The New York Times may have received much of the attention, but there are now lots of examples of news sites telling stories out side of the box.

15. Firestorm
Here is how the Guardian launched Guardian Australia last week. This is Firestorm, a multimedia project which provides a seamless and immersive experience.

It’s about a bushfire in Tasmania which destroyed a family’s house. They saved themselves by getting in the water under a jetty.

The Guardian has done a fantastic job here. Remember how I talked about the gallery or museum experience and having to decide where to go next? The Guardian leads the reader through, taking them on the journey.

16. Daft Punk
This example is from music site Pitchfork.

You’ll be starting to see by now that there are some common features of these ‘beyond the article’-type stories. There’s often moving graphics, there is video, attractive typefaces.

17. Chicago Tribune
And this is an example from the Chicago Tribune.

18. ESPN
And here we have ESPN. Another common trait is that these multimedia presentations are all long-form, thousands of words, probably because of the investment of time in coding, they’ve chosen in-depth investigations or features.

19. Mobile
All of the examples we have seen so far are how they appear on a desktop. But I said earlier, perhaps the reader wants to lean back with a tablet device or perhaps read on their a mobile.

20. Bat for Lashes
And while this example, again from Pitchfork, works on the desktop…

21. Bat for Lashes tablet
It is more problematic on a tablet, particularly on 3G where it is jumpy.

22. Bat for Lashes mobile
And if you view this story on a mobile, you are delivered a simple, single column story.

Pitchfork’s audience is young and highly mobile. Therefore a proportion of the audience will not be getting the full experience that Pitchfork has invested in.

But I don’t want to be too critical of those innovating in the newsroom.

23. Washington Post
Elsewhere and the Washington Post recently published a multimedia story called The Prophets of Oak Ridge. It has been designed for desktop, tablet and mobile as the site is fully responsive.

24. Advertising
So I know what some of you are thinking. How does this digital stuff – which may take 6 months to build and require designers, developers, photojournalists, videographers, oh and someone to write the tens of thousands of words – pay for itself?

25. Snow Fall
You might have noticed that Snow Fall includes advertising – including advertising a subscription of the New York Times.

Om Malik has argued that it would be better to have Land Rover ads in there or something more topical.

Those of you here who are responsible for the bottom line probably understand why that decision was taken to put ads in.

26. Mark Thompson
But when Mark Thomspon, chief executive of the Times saw Snow Fall he did question the decision.

And of course what the New York Times got was an amazing branding experience.

More than 10,000 people were tweeting, most of them saying how amazing this thing was that the New York Times had created.

So arguably you can keep such a presentation outside the paywall, leave ads out and use it as a branding opportunity to show the news outlet’s potential.

You could of course do it in conjunction with sponsorship. But a ski company or Land Rover? It might jar. After all, Snow Fall was reporting on an accident and three people died.

27. Washington Post
Elsewhere and the Washington Post has opted for a pre-roll ad.

28. Chicago Tribune
And the Chicago Tribune uses multimedia to entice new subscribers. This one is outside the paywall, but readers are promised more of the same if they sign up and pay.

29. e-books
And the Guardian and New York Times are selling Firestorm and Snowfall as ebooks.

30. New York Times
So, I bet some of you are thinking, “it’s all very well the Grey Lady spending six months on Snow Fall, but they are the New York Times and have the staff and the money”.

It will no doubt get easier and quicker to create such stories which break article boundaries.

Indeed the new Newsweek site – NewsBeast – is said to follow this type of design.

31. Scroll Kit
In fact there are more DIY options already available. This is Scroll Kit, it’s like InDesign for the browser.

You can drag images around, videos and create a multimedia experience with no coding skills.

There’s also a tool which launched last month called Soo Meta.

32. Nasa

And I want to leave you with a final thought. What have these three things have in common? A Black and Decker Dustbuster, memory foam, and, this may give it a way slightly, it’s freeze dried ice-cream.

They were all spin-offs or by-products of NASA inventions.

So my final thought for you, and it is actually not my own but one suggested to me by Benji Lanyado, a journalist and freelance creator of such visuals and multimedia products.

His view is that if you spend the time, effort and resources one one project and start thinking beyond the article, you’ll be able to re-use some of the code, you’ll be able to create other such stories more easily and quickly – and there will be other spin-offs for your news outlet.

34.
Thank you. I’m sharing a link here. I’ve put together a list of stories – such as Snow Fall, Firestorm and there’s one from The Verge – which you can explore.

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Thailand to host World Editors Forum in June 2013

September 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events

Image from Google Maps

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has today announced that the World Editors Forum will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2 to 5 June next year.

The invitation was issued at this year’s conference in Kiev, Ukraine.

Journalism.co.uk was has been at the World Editors Forum; you can see all our coverage from #WEF12 by following this link.

More than 1,000 newspaper publishers, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives attended the Kiev meetings, WAN-IFRA said in a release, which explains that it is the first time Thailand and Southeast Asia is hosting the event, which runs along side the World Newspaper Congress.

Chavarong Limpattamapanee, president of the Thai Journalists Association said in a statement:

Thailand has so many vibrant newspapers. Journalists here enjoy their freedom and are very excited with the opportunity to exchange views on the future of journalists and newspapers with guests in this upcoming historic World Newspapers Congress in Bangkok.

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#wef12 – WAN-IFRA publishes ‘report on violence against Mexico’s press’

September 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Press freedom and ethics

Image by Christian Frausto Bernal on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

WAN-IFRA has this week published a report called “a death threat to freedom”, which looks at “violence against Mexico’s press”.

The report was published on Tuesday (4 September), a day after the organisation’s World Editors Forum presented the Golden Pen of Freedom to Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez.

The report calls on the government to “take urgent action to guarantee the safety of journalists and media professionals”.

Receiving her award yesterday, Hernandez urged the international community to not “just stand and watch”.

“I do not want to be another number on the list,” she said. “I do not want to be another dead journalist, I want to be one of those who fought to live and who survives.”

I dedicate and symbolically award this prize to all the Mexican journalists whose voices have been silenced by death, forced disappearance or censorship.

I also dedicate it to all those Mexican journalists who daily continue to set an example in their duty to inform and denounce at whatever cost.

Here is a link to her full acceptance speech.

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#wef11: ‘Newspapers need to work out what makes them unique and invest in it’

October 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Newspapers

At the World Editors Forum in Vienna today there was a session which asked the question: what content should print newspapers focus on in order to survive and thrive?

Members of the panel shared a number of examples of the content which has worked for them, including special editions, building platforms for discussion and greater use of visualisation to explain complicated images.

But the overriding message was for newspapers to know what makes them unique and invest in this content, as outlined in detail by Han Fook Kwang, editor of the Straits Times in Singapore.

While other news outlets are cutting foreign correspondents, the Straits Times did the opposite.

We decided to invest heavily in our foreign correspondents and our ambition is to be the best English-language newspaper covering Asia. We believe we’re uniquely placed to do that.

You need to be clear about your focus and invest resources in it.

He also reiterated the point that in keeping this focus journalists must also make sure they fulfil their basic duty to make sense of the news.

You need to write stories in way readers understand and how it impacts their lives. We struggle with this every day when we report stories out of Europe.

Some papers do this very well. The Financial Times does a terrific job, not just in reporting but commentating, analysing and explaining to readers the complexity of issues.

There is a great opportunity. The world is a much more complex place. There are many issues that affect readers and newspapers should try to capitalise on it but they have to do it well.

In an age when there is instant communication, when everyone wants to be the first, preferably in 140 characters or less, newspapers also need to go back to core skills, to what they do well.

I don’t think newspapers are best are putting out news the minute it happens but we’re great storytellers and the reason why is because we have the tradition and resources to do this. In summary we should focus on good journalism, that hasn’t changed, but to do this you have to invest in good journalists. This starts from knowing your readers well and knowing what you mean to your users and what you represent to them.

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#wef11 audio: Jim Brady of Journal Register Company talks open newsrooms

October 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism, Local media, Newspapers

During the building communities session at the World Editors Forum in Vienna today, editor-in-chief of the Journal Register Company Jim Brady discussed a number of ways in which you can build communities and importantly, greater engagement with your audience.

One of the ways is through opening up the newsroom, referring to the Register Citizen in Torrington, which opened up a newsroom cafe open to the public at the end of last year.

Members of the community are welcome to get involved either virtually, such as by attending news meetings via Skype or physcially by coming into the newsroom to talk to reporters over a coffee.

I spoke to Jim at the end of the session to find out more about the project, and how it has developed in its first year.

Jim Brady, Journal Register Company by journalismnews

Another member of the panel, Anette Novak, editor-in-chief of Norran in Sweden, also discussed a similar project they run online, called eEditor, which you can find more on here. There will be more tips on building communities from the World Editors Forum session on Journalism.co.uk tomorrow.

The topic of enhancing community engagement was also discussed at Journalism.co.uk’s own event news:rewired, which took place in London last week. You can see a liveblog of that session here, and a copy of the presentations from those speakers is available at this link.

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#wef11: Journalists must become more aggressive, says Daniel Domscheit-Berg

German journalist and co-founder of OpenLeaks Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who set up the whistleblowing platform after leaving WikiLeaks, called on journalists at the World Editors Forum in Vienna to become “more aggressive” in publishing public interest information.

Speaking on a panel titled ‘After WikiLeaks: The next step for newspapers’, Domscheit-Berg highlighted the importance of the role of journalists in extracting the stories from leaked material while WikiLeaks offers whistleblowers an ease of digital data-dumping not available through news organisations.

WikiLeaks offers part of the aggression that the civilians expect from you people but you don’t give it back to them.

The only new thing I think about the whole WikiLeaks story is that it offered people a means to submit large amounts of information that was easier than contacting you, by just a few clicks online. In the digital society this is what you as an industry needs.

The OpenLeaks model, which is not currently live, works on the premise that its role is to provide the technology for whistleblowers to pass on material to specific organisations, news outlets and NGOs, based on the needs of the source.

Domscheit-Berg said the platform was set live for five days in August which proved to be “quite successful”.

We want to be facilitators. We don’t ever want to get in situation of having information and then deciding who to give it to.

At WikiLeaks we had this big cache of documents and we wanted to collaborate with a few newspapers. So if you are an outfit that enables whistleblowers then you will have the trouble of not being political in who you work with.

A source of OpenLeaks can pick the organisation they think is good, and we pass it on. They decide how to go along with making this public. This will enable a more robust process.

Near the end of the session he also called on journalists to share information more freely.

I believe that we’re living in an information age, developing into an information age and in that age information is the currency so it’s very important that because of this world being so complex that we share this information.

It wouldn’t be right to offer a mechanism to make sure journalists get more papers and then put them in a drawer and the public will not know.

You need to be more aggressive in the way you’re publishing, being transparent and showing that you’ve done a good job. This will not only be better for everybody it will also make sure you get more credibility.

This is part of what the future needs, that we give out more information.

He added that OpenLeaks has mechanisms in place to ensure that, with the source’s permission, even if information is given to one organisation, it will be shared with others.

This is so the media do not depend on copying stories from each other but use source material from each other. This sharing is what the future needs.

He added that in the future the platform will also look to bringing in the wider community to help in the investigative process of working through larger batches of material.

Daniel Domscheit-Berg, co-founder of OpenLeaks by journalismnews

There will be more from this panel on Journalism.co.uk soon.

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#wef11: ‘News industry is in the vortex of a fast changing world’

October 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Press freedom and ethics

Newspapers are “in a vortex of a fast changing world”, the new president of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers Jacob Mathew, who was elected in April, said today (Thursday, 13 October) as he opened the World Editors Forum in Vienna.

His speech focused on calling for greater press freedom and new business ideas. “Soaring costs are a challenge that we should meet with innovation”, he said.

He also touched on the issue of ethics in relation to the UK phone-hacking scandal, calling for self-regulation of the press to be maintained. The print media enjoys the highest credibility, he said, and while there have been calls for new legislation it was important to note that “increased government regulation is not the answer”.

The media would be better governed by a self regulatory mechanism which holds its journalists to account, he added.

Mathew also called on print publishers to join together in the battle to protect intellectual property rights.

It is time that the print publishers get together to strategize to prevent others from freeloading on their content. We need to monetise and not lose out.

Our industry is in the vortex of a fast changing world. The challenges and the opportunities are greater than ever before.

Follow the #wef11 hashtag on Twitter and @journalism_live for updates from the World Editors Forum in Vienna over the next few days.

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#wef11: ‘Publishers need to focus on quality journalism on all platforms’

October 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

Opening the World Editors Forum in Vienna today, Dr Hans Gasser, president of Austrian Newspaper Association, paid tribute to the country’s newspaper market, calling on journalists to meet industry challenges with innovation.

This global summit meeting of publishers, CEOs and editors-in-chief in dialogue with distinguished experts of our industry is embedded in highly exciting times.

The agenda of the three days is characterised by the power of innovation, by the energy with which our industry faces up to the challenges, using the opportunities to transfer its core competances to use cross media offerings … to accomodate media users in their changed consumption behaviours.

He added that following the crisis on financial markets the journalists’ democratic function “is as important as ever”.

We need to increasingly focus on our quality-based strengths, using quality journalism on all platforms to offer people visible added value because only then will they be prepared to invest their time and money.

Closing with reference to Austria’s own market, Dr Gasser defined it as “extremely competitive” and despite its relatively small size “very innovative”.

By international standards we have high reaches and circulation numbers continue to be stable due to a high amount of subscriptions with a very strong regional focus and boasting a print market share of 55.6 per cent in advertisng and this depsite the ever increasing competition.

This is why the small country of Autria is one of the big newspaper and magazine countries of this world.

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#wef11: Follow the World Editors Forum in Vienna

October 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

Copyright: Reed Messe Wien/Christian Husar

For the rest of this week I will be reporting from the World Editors Forum in Vienna, covering the panel sessions, report presentations and debates which kick off today. This year’s conference will look at “the multiple facets of an editor’s job”, from businessman to community manager, and the ways to perform best in each role while maintaining good content.

The digital world of news is rapidly changing and the opportunities for newspapers, as well as the challenges that accompany them, are undergoing constant evolution. How can newspapers continue to fulfill their core mission of producing high quality journalism, and even improve on it, despite the myriad of new responsibilities of their editors?

Coverage of the event will be posted on Journalism.co.uk and the Editors’ Blog, and you can also follow my tweets on some of the sessions from @journalism_live.

See the full programme for the event here.

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#su2011: Forget hyperlocal, the future’s ‘hyperpersonal’

June 28th, 2011 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Events, Hyperlocal

A new era of online publishing where readers are served ‘hyperpersonal’ news directly linked to their interests is taking shape, according to a consultant for world publishing body WAN-IFRA.

Stephan Minard told the organisation’s summer university in Paris, that personalisation would be the key element that will make modern news websites successful in the coming years.

Publishers needed to learn more about their readers, build up data on them and then serve an experience that is unique to them. Algorithms, not editors, were the new gatekeepers, he said.

Minard said news organisations could learn a lot from the world of marketing and e-commerce: “Personalisation is not science-fiction. It’s everywhere on the web – Google, Facebook, Amazon.”

Combining subscriber data, behavioural research and other data on a reader’s interests and habits, sites should be able to build a reliable picture of a user and serve content that is personalised to them.

Minard gave the example of the Washington Post, which launched personalised social news site Trove in April, which relies on a user’s Facebook interests to define their profile.

However, he issued a warning about offering content that was too personalised. There was a risk of isolating users in a “web of one” by only serving them material about a very tightly defined subject and cutting them off from the wider world.

Related content:

#su2011: iPad creates new demand for evening news

#su11: Swedish newspaper has massive hit with online open newsroom

City University research shows rapid grown of personalised news services

#mobilemedia11: Over 55s with iPads are sweet spot for the Telegraph

 

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