The Sun launches ‘multimedia studio’ with video webchat

Sun webchat

The Sun has launched a new “multimedia studio”, which it used this week to host a video webchat with actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The studio will not be in full-time use until February, but Schwarzenegger helped open the studio on Tuesday (22 January).

The 30 minute webchat used the Showcaster platform to provide live video from their new studio, alongside a chatbox in which users could post questions. The questions were moderated and put to Schwarzenegger by showbiz editor Gordon Smart.

A video of the interview was then posted on the Sun’s online ‘showbiz’ section, accompanied by a write-up of the interview focusing on the show-business related aspects of his answers.

European Journalism Centre to offer grants for innovative development reporting

euro notes

By CoreMedia Product on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Journalists can now apply for grants to help them produce innovative and in-depth coverage of “issues related to global development and the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals”.

According to a release from the European Journalism Centre, it recently received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which will help it offer up to 30 grants this year.

The press release adds:

The Centre will provide a selection of innovative reporting projects with the necessary funds to enable journalists, editors, and development stakeholders to perform thorough research and to develop entirely new and experimental reporting and presentation methods.

They will also be able to use multi-platform approaches and to think laterally across disciplines and techniques of journalistic storytelling.

Applications for grants should start from at least €8,000, with the centre expecting to give out grants of €20,000 on average. The deadline for applications is 15 March. More details on how to apply are on the grants website.

Hannah McLean, community manager at the European Journalism Centre said it is “looking for new ways of reporting that break outside the lines of the usual story”.

We encourage applicants to use multi-platform approaches and to think laterally across disciplines and techniques of journalistic storytelling.

We want applicants to experiment with new reporting and presentation methods. One of the ways they could accomplish this would be through digital storytelling.

Nic Newman: Journalism, media and technology predictions for 2013


Image by mararie on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Digital strategist Nic Newman has written a 30-page Google Doc on his predictions for journalism, media and technology this year.

The ex-BBC strategist provides a really good summary of key developments in digital journalism in 2012, and makes a few predictions for this year.

In addition to predicting the rise of mobile (he uses the buzzword of the week ‘phablet’, which has been used to describe the hybrid, larger phones that are approaching tablet size), he makes another point he makes is one of visual storytelling and the importance of images. That leads into him noting the rise of TV-style coverage by online news sites, including WSJ Live, the Huffington Post and the New York Times.

Following WSJ’s launch of WorldStream, a platform where reporters at the title share mobile phone footage to provide a behind-the-scene glimpse of the newsgathering process, Newman forecasts that in 2013 we’ll see “more experimentation with short-form video”, with this area offering “significant opportunities for newspapers and start-ups to disrupt traditional broadcasters”.

Another trend he notes is one of real-time news and he makes predictions around paywalls.

The Washington Post and at least two national UK newspapers will join the metered paywall club in 2013.

The full document is at this link.

Related: In this article, seven industry experts share their predictions for this year.

Amnesty International’s Media Awards open to entries, with digital innovation category

Bureau of Investigative Journalism custody

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism won the digital innovation category in 2012

Amnesty International UK has announced that entries can now be submitted to its annual Media Awards, which the organisation said in a release “recognise excellence in journalism that has made a significant contribution to the UK public’s greater awareness and understanding of human rights issues”.

One of the awards categories is for digital innovation. Last year’s winner was the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for “deaths in custody: a case to answer“.

In a release, Amnesty International UK added that “to encourage a wide range of entries, we have established a sponsorship fund to support a limited number of entries from freelance journalists and filmmakers, as well as small digital and broadcast outlets”.

Entries can be submitted until Friday 1 March. More details are available on the awards site.

How to respond to consultation on website operators clause of draft defamation bill


Image by alancleaver_2000 on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

An informal consultation on the section of the draft defamation bill that covers “operators of websites” has been launched to gather feedback.

According to The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog, the consultation relates to clause 5 of the bill which intends to “provide a new defence for website operators in circumstances where the claimant can pursue his claim for defamation against the person who posted the statement”.

The consultation, being run by the Ministry of Justice, will close on Thursday 31 January (the deadline has been extended).

Those who wish to respond can do so by emailing for more information.

Online journalism, data and social media: 22 short courses for journalists

tips image runs training courses for experienced journalists wanting to boost their skills. Several are created specifically for freelancers.

Click the links for more information.

I am a business: A course for freelance journalists
Evening course, 23 Jan, led by Steve Bustin, cost: £95 (+VAT)

Online reporter 101: A web conversion course for print, radio and TV journalists
One-day course, 25 Jan, led by James Murray, cost: £200 (+VAT)

CV and interview clinic
One-day course, 26 Jan, led by Daniell Morrisey and Clare Davies, cost: £150 (+VAT)

Improve your blogging
Evening course, 28 Jan, led by Martin Belam, cost: £95 (+VAT)

Developing PR skills
Evening course, 29 Jan, led by Steve Bustin, cost: £95 (+VAT)

How to deal with breaking news online
Half-day course, 1 Feb, led by James Murray, cost: £125 (+VAT)

Online sub-editing
One-day course, 6 Feb, led by Emmanuelle Smith and Jane Wild, cost: £200 (+VAT)

Marketing course for freelancers
Evening course, 7 Feb, led by Steve Bustin, cost: £95 (+VAT)

SEO for journalists: a practical guide to getting your work found
One-day course, 11 Feb, led by Adam Tinworth, cost: £200 (+VAT)

Presenting and public speaking skills
Evening course, 19 Feb, led by Steve Bustin, cost: £95 (+VAT)

Your social media toolbox
Evening course, 26 Feb, led by Sue Llewellyn, cost: £95

Successful freelance journalism
Saturday course, 2 Mar, led by Olivia Gordon and Johanna Payton, cost: £200 (+VAT)

Online media law
One-day course, 5 Mar, led by David Banks, cost: £200 (+VAT)

Essential Twitter skills
Half-day course, 7 Mar, led by Sue Llewellyn, cost: £125 (+VAT)

Advanced Twitter skills
Half-day course, 7 Mar, led by Sue Llewellyn, cost: £125 (+VAT)

Out of thin air: How to find hundreds of new ideas every day
Evening course, 14 Mar, led by Ellie Levenson, cost: £95 (+VAT)

Adding a second string to your bow
Evening course, 17 April, led Steve Bustin, cost: £95 (+VAT)

Online video journalism*
One-day course, 18 April, led by Adam Westbrook, cost: £200 (+VAT)

Data visualisations*
One-day course, 18 April, led by Paul Bradshaw and Caroline Beavon, cost: £225 (+VAT)

Advanced research skills*
One-day course, 18 April, led by Colin Meek, cost: £200 (+VAT)

Introduction to data journalism: Taming the numbers
One-day course, 22 May, led by Paul Bradshaw, cost: £200 (+VAT)

Stiletto Bootcamp: Writing for women’s magazines
Six-week course, online, flexible start date, led by Tiffany Wright, cost: £250 (+VAT)

*The courses on 18 April are part of news:rewired PLUS, a two-day course which includes one day of our digital journalism conference on 19 April, and a choice of one of the three courses listed above.

news:rewired PLUS tickets are also available at an earlybird discount rate of £280 (+VAT). When all earlybird tickets have been sold, or by Friday 25 January, whichever comes first, news:rewired PLUS tickets will also rise to £310 (+VAT).

You can by buy news:rewired PLUS at this link. If you select a news:rewired PLUS ticket will contact you to confirm which training course you would like to attend on the 18 April.

Ofcom report: TV main source ‘of most types of news’ except celebrity news and gossip

By Brylle on Arte & Fotographia. Some rights reserved.

Consumer research by Ofcom released in a study on Thursday reports that TV is the main source of news across all the countries analysed in the research, except for celebrity news and gossip for which the internet came top.

The research was based on an online survey of at least 1000 respondents from each country included (UK, France, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Australia and Spain) who were asked about “which platform they used as their main source for different types of news: national, international, sports, and celebrity news”. Answers included TV, online, radio, newspapers, magazines and “from other people”.

The study reports that “online consumers in the UK are less likely to use the internet as a main source of national news than those in Italy and Spain”, and across all countries included in the report television “is the main source of most types of news”, apart from celebrity news and gossip which was more likely to be sourced from the internet.

Although the most-cited main sources of news for online users generally are TV and the internet, across the countries in the sample there are subtle differences in consumption patterns.

When asked about their main source for national news, the platform named most often was TV, followed by the internet. In the UK, almost half (48 per cent) selected TV as their main source of national news. Respondents in France were more likely to state that they used TV as their main source of national news, where almost six in ten (58 per cent) selected TV as their main source and 26 per cent selected the internet.

A similar picture emerges in Australia, where 53 per cent mainly access national news on TV and 31 per cent via the internet. This contrasts with Italy where the internet is more likely to be used as a main source of national news, with 48 per cent of respondents using this platform, compared to 40 per cent naming TV.

Hurricane Sandy and verification: 4 key takeaways from Storyful Hangout

Copyright: Image by MTA Long Island Rail Road on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Hurricane Sandy presented a challenge to journalists using social media channels: how can you be sure that the content you are seeing is accurate?

Storyful, an organisation that specialises in finding verifiable news on social media, hosted a Google+ Hangout yesterday on verification during Hurricane Sandy.

The guests were Adam Blenford, the online news editor at BBC News; Liz Heron, social media director at the Wall Street Journal; Aine Kerr, the US politics director at Storyful; Tom Phillips, the international editor at MSN, Craig Silverman, who writes the Regret the Error blog at Poynter; Paul Watson, chief technical officer at Storyful and a group of students from Griffith College Dublin. was listening in. Here are four main points that came out of the discussion:

1. Users care about the accuracy of the information they receive from news organisations.

Adam Blenford said: “If they don’t think they’re worried about verification per se as a concept, they’re worried about the trustworthiness of the organisations that they’re using to get their news from.”

Liz Heron said every time the Wall Street Journal posts a photo on Facebook – which will have first been verified by the news outlet – users will still question the authenticity of the image, even if taken by a professional photographer.

“There’s such high suspicion now among our readers and viewers that I think it’s really important, especially in a situation like covering Sandy, to be really obvious and clear about the fact that this has been verified. There’s huge suspicion out there about this kind of stuff, even for professional photography,” she said.

2. To get people interested in the verification process, it has to be as compelling as the fake content.

Craig Silverman mentioned The Atlantic, which embedded a “verdict” on images, and Buzzfeed, which put together a quiz on real and fake images, as examples of organisations that had done something a bit different with their verification processes.

“This is content people are really interested in, it’s useful to them but there are also ways to make it fun and interesting. I think that’s actually been very key to helping the real images or at least the verdict on the fake ones spread,” he said.

Tom Phillips agreed, saying there is a “need to make the verification process as compelling in terms of content as the thing it’s verifying, because if we’re not doing that then it’s going to get lost.”

3. Journalists should be wary of broadcasting debunked fake content because there is a risk users may misinterpret it as genuine.

Craig Silverman added: “The risk that is always there, however, [is] that when you actually put that tweet out there, even if you’re noting it as false, there are people who are still going to read it and who then may actually retweet it without that context of saying it’s false”.

4. A few fundamental journalistic principles can help ensure you are not fooled by fake content.

Liz Heron gave the example of using the live video stream of the New York Stock Exchange, which proved that the rumour it was under three feet of water was untrue. She added that often the simplest way to verify something was to contact the original source directly.

Adam Blenford also added that “it appears that the closer and more finely-tuned your Twitter lists and your Twitter stream was towards New York on the night of the storm, the less likely you were to get hoaxed”.

“That’s the old adage if you can get closer to the story, you’re more likely to get it right.”

In other news…

While on the subject of social media sharing, Twitter stated on Sunday (9 December) that Instagram photos would no longer appear integrated on the platform. Tweets will instead only link to an Instagram picture. In a statement published by the BBC, Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom said it was felt that “the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives”.

Markham Nolan, managing editor at Storyful, told this was an “inconvenience” for journalists specialising in verification.

“It was very easy to click in and out, have a quick glance and do the initial check,” he said.

But he added that he did not think it would “slow down the deeper verification”.

“It just means you have to click out of your Twitter stream every time you want to see an Instagram picture to see if it’s useful or see if it’s something worth verifying,” he added.

Pricing of the i newspaper: Editor on why 20p, and not free

The editor of the i newspaper, Stefano Hatfield, was asked at the Society of Editors conference today why the newspaper was priced at 20p and not given away free.

The i first launched in October 2010. Now, more than two years on, Hatfield said the pricing point “works both to establish a quality proposition and it’s also helpful in supermarkets establishing a value proposition”.

If you’d have gone free, in consumers mind [it would have] immediately been up against Metro and we didn’t want to be up against Metro, we wanted to be up against the Guardian, Times, Telegraph.

He added that when the newspaper is sold in supermarkets, therefore, the 20p pricing “is an advantage”.

He added that the “key thing is it’s an active choice to purchase the paper … rather than having it just given to you.”

The latest results from the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which published national newspaper circulation reports for October on Friday (9 November), showed a 44 per cent increase year-on-year in average daily circulation for the i, which reached 304,691 in October this year.

This also represented a 7.7 per cent increase month-on-month.