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.
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.
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”.
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 Poynter.org, says having a designated video team frees up reporters to get on with writing and improves the quality of the video output:
Threeor 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.
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.
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.