Author Archives: Caroline White

Google launches new translation app for iPhone

Google has launched a new language translation app for the iPhone, enabling it to compete with its Android version.

Both allow users to translate speech in 15 languages and words and phrases into more than 50 languages, as well as listening to translations spoken aloud in 23 languages.

According to Mashable, the iPhone app enables better text readability through a new zoom function, while the Android offers SMS translation and an enhanced conversation mode.

Facebook fans – quantity or quality?

Should newsrooms and web journalists be cultivating as many Facebook fans as possible or concentrating on building the right kind of connections?

There are pros and cons to both, according to Journalistics. More fans equal more visitors to your site and more conversations. However, quality fans mean better conversations – potentially leading to better stories.

Full post on Journalistics at this link.

OJR: Promoted tweets – the AdWords for live news?

Al Jazeera has started paying for tweets to promote its English-language Egypt coverage in the US.

Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog compares the move to newspapers using Google Adwords to drive traffic to their sites – except that the sponsored tweets can be replied to and re-tweeted just like any other.

Twitter’s media team says Riyaad Minty, head of social media at Al Jazeera English, is operating the campaign like a news desk.

It also claims that Twitter has helped drive Al Jazeera site traffic up by 2,500 per cent in the last month and that the English language version is on course to triple its number of followers.

See the full story on Online Journalism Blog at this link.

Mashable launches new personalised news service

Technology site Mashable has launched a new personalised news service: Mashable Follow.

Mashable founder Pete Cashmore says the move is part of a shift away from a “purely editor-driven news site” to becoming a “true news community that seeks to engage our readers in the news process”.

Beyond personalization, we believe that curation is the next great wave in news, and empowering our community to choose the news of the day is the ultimate aim of the Follow project.

Full story on Mashable at this link.

LA Times: Huffington Post deal bad news for journalism

LA Times correspondent Tim Rutten predicts that editorial quality and pay for journalists will both fall as a result of the AOL Huffington Post buyout.

Rutten compares the Huffington Post’s business model to a “gallery rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates” where contributors often get paid less than US$50 for their contributions.

The bulk of the site’s content is provided by commentators, who work for nothing other than the opportunity to champion causes or ideas to which they’re devoted. Most of the rest of the content is “aggregated” — which is to say stolen — from the newspapers and television networks that pay journalists to gather and edit the news.

He also points to a memo from AOL CEO Tim Armstrong:

It’s fairly chilling reading, ordering the company’s editors to evaluate all future stories on the basis of “traffic potential, revenue potential, edit quality and turnaround time.” All stories, it stressed, are to be evaluated according to their “profitability consideration”.

Read the full post on the LA Times at this link.

Poynter: Online video proves big traffic generator for Miami Herald

The Miami Herald site has seen a 25 per cent increase in visitors as a direct result of using video – making movies the second biggest driver behind its stories.

And it claims part of its success is down to getting rid of reporters and replacing them with videographers.

Visual journalist Chuck Fadely, interviewed on, says having a designated video team frees up reporters to get on with writing and improves the quality of the video output:

Three or four years ago we were training reporters, but we discovered it was like teaching a pig to sing; it annoys the pig and frustrates the teacher. Back then we had a couple of reporters who got it. Since the staff reductions they don’t have time to work on videos, and the quality level was lower, so we’ve basically given up on reporter-produced videos.

While many news sites dismissed video as ineffectual and expensive, the Herald decided to use it to consolidate popular subject areas, increase the time people spent on the site and engage them in new ways.

After showing video for six years it found that sport and breaking news attracted the most viewings, so it concentrated on these areas rather than experimenting. It also started partnering with TV stations to expand its brand.

See the full story on Poynter at this link.

CJR: Strange Eruptions from the WikiLeaks Saga

At the end of last week, the Columbia School of Journalism has played host to the two newspaper editors credited with breaking the first major WikiLeaks stories.

The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger and the New York Times’ Bill Keller shared the stage to discuss their handling of the leaks.

It was not a night of revelations, except perhaps Keller going further than before in claiming that the email accounts of NYT staff working on the story had been “clearly hacked” around the time that the paper’s relations with WikiLeaks deteriorated.

WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Julian Assange is in Belmarsh Magistrates Court today to fight extradition to Sweden on charges of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion.

Full story on Columbia Journalism Review at this link.

Jon Snow to look at social media in Bob Friend memorial lecture

Channel Four presenter Jon Snow will look at social media’s impact on journalism when he gives the annual Bob Friend Memorial Lecture later this month.

Held at Kent University on February 25, the talk will be entitled ‘From film to Twitter – the media revolution: is the golden age of journalism come or gone?’

BBC general director Mark Thompson gave last year’s lecture, which he used to defend the corporation’s decision to axe two digital stations and cut the size of its website.

The event was established in 2009 in memory of Sky News reporter Bob Friend.

Daniel Pearl awards open for entries

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is calling on reporters from across the globe to enter its Daniel Pearl award scheme.

The competition is open to any journalist of any nationality working in any medium, as long as the story they submit involves reporting in at least two different countries on a topic of global significance.

The ICIJ awards were renamed in 2008 in memory of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was killed by Pakistan militants in 2002.

Two first prizes of US$5,000 go to a US-based and non-US reporter/news team. Five additional finalists will each receive US$1,000.

Last year’s winners included a group of reporters from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, the Guardian and the BBC, who exposed oil trader Trafigura for dumping toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire. There were  86 entries including stories covering more than 60 countries.

More information and entry forms here.

Journalist resigns from Egypt’s Nile TV over ‘propaganda’

Nile TV anchorwoman Shahira Amin resigned today in protest at the state run channel’s coverage of the Egyptian uprising. She spoke to pan-Arabic broadcaster Al Jazeera about the reasons behind her decision.

I am determined to be on the side of the people, not the regime. That’s why I’m here.

I walked out yesterday, I can’t be part of the propaganda machine. I’m not going to feed the public lies.

Amin claimed that Nile TV was showing footage of President Mubarak’s supporters only, and not footage of protests and violence in Tahrir Square.

Listen to the full interview on YouTube below.