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Are you on the j-list? The leading innovators in journalism and media in 2010

July 22nd, 2010 | 14 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

Updated 05/08/2010

Recent industry lists ranking the great and good in journalism and the media fell a bit short of the mark for Journalism.co.uk. Where were the online innovators? Where were the journalists on the ground outside of the executives’ offices?

So we’ve compiled our own rundown listing those people we think are helping to build the future of journalism and the news media.

Some important points to note:

  • There are no rankings to this list – those included are from such varied areas of work it seemed pointless;
  • We will have missed some people out – let us know in the comments below or with the hashtag #jlist who you are working with that should be included;
  • We’ve listed groups as well as individuals – with individuals we hope you’ll see them as representing a wider team of people, who have worked together on something great;
  • And it’s not limited to 50 or 100 – we’ll see where it takes us…

So here’s the first batch. There’s a Twitter list of those included so far at this link and more will be added in the coming weeks.

Click on the ‘more’ link after these five to to see the full list.

Tomáš Bella

Tomáš Bella was editor-in-chief and deputy director of Sme.sk, the Slovak republic’s most popular news site. He was author of the first European newspaper-owned blogportal (blog.sme.sk, 2004) and the first digg-like service (vybrali.sme.sk, 2006). In April 2010 he co-founded Prague-based new media consultancy NextBig.cz and is working on a payment system to allow the access to all the premium content of major newspapers and TV stations with one payment.

Paul Steiger

While ProPublica’s not-for-profit, foundation-funded model may be something commercial news organisations can never share, its investment in and triumphing of investigative and data journalism cannot be overlooked. The way in which it involves a network of readers in its research and actively encourages other sites to “steal” its stories shows a new way of thinking about journalism’s watchdog role. Image courtesy of the Knight Foundation on Flickr.

Chris Taggart

Paul Bradshaw’s description of his fellow j-lister: “Chris has been working so hard on open data in 2010 I expect steam to pour from the soles of his shoes every time I see him. His ambition to free up local government data is laudable and, until recently, unfashionable. And he deserves all the support and recognition he gets.”

Ian Hislop/Private Eye

Not much to look at on the web perhaps, but the Eye’s successful mixture of satire, humour and heavyweight investigations has seen its circulation rise. It blaized a trail during the Carter-Ruck and Trafigura gagging ordeal and has even lent it’s support to j-list fellow the Hackney Citizen to protect press freedom from international to hyperlocal levels. Image courtesy of Nikki Montefiore on Flickr.

Brian Boyer

Amidst the talk of what journalists can learn from programmers and what coding skills, if any, journalists need, Brian Boyer was making the move the other way from programming to a programmer-journalist. His university and personal projects in this field have been innovative and have got him noticed by many a news organisation – not least the Chicago Tribune, where he now works as a news applications editor. He blogs at Hacker Journalist.

Ushahidi

Originally built to map reports from citizens of post-election violence in Kenya, Ushahidi’s development of interactive, collaborative and open source mapping technology has been adopted by aid agencies and news organisations alike. It’s a new means of storytelling and a project that’s likely to develop more tools for journalists in the future.

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PDA: Andrew Sparrow on liveblogging the general election

May 10th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

For the 2010 general election, the Guardian’s senior political correspondent Andrew Sparrow has been tasked with liveblogging the event on an almost daily basis. In this post for PDA he explains his approach, the practical considerations and the benefits for journalists and readers:

I live blog a lot and I believe the format – minute-by-minute updates, combining news, analysis and links – allows journalists to report events with more thoroughness and immediacy than if they are just writing stories (…) If journalism is the first draft of history, live blogging is the first draft of journalism. It’s not perfect, but it’s deeply rewarding – on any day, I was able to publish almost every snippet that I thought worth sharing, which is not the case for anyone who has to squeeze material into a newspaper – and it beats sitting on a battlebus.

On a typical day the site’s liveblog generated between 100,000 and 150,000 page views, rising to 2 million on election night, adds Sparrow.

Full post at this link…

See the results of our poll on the best journalists, tweeters and bloggers of #ge2010…

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#ge2010 poll: Who were the best tweeters, journalists and bloggers?

Forget about the politicians and their wives, which journalist has done it for you during the general election? In this completely unofficial set of polls, let us know whose coverage you’ve enjoyed the most. If you’ve got notable mentions to add, drop us a line [judith at journalism.co.uk], tweet [@journalismnews] or comment below. Nominations were compiled using our readers’ suggestions – but add your own to the poll too!

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ComRes stats: Who’s to blame for misreported Lib Dem leap frog poll? ITV points finger at outside journalist

Earlier today [Friday] media news sites, bloggers and tweeters reported that Liberal Democrats had leap frogged Labour with supporting rising by 14 per cent in a ITV/ComRes poll, to 35 per cent.

For example:

But this figure was soon amended and given some context. ComRes actually reports in its “final analysis” that Liberal Democrats remain in third place, with a cut of 24 per cent.

How did the misunderstanding occur?

ITN claims, in a statement to Journalism.co.uk: “A headline figure of the ComRes/ITV News poll was overheard by a journalist outside of ITV News.”

“Other media outlets ran with this information without verifying. The full figures were released in their full context almost immediately by ComRes and ITV News to all media.”

If you read ComRes’ press statement – published on the Independent’s blog here – it states:

The final analysis of the ComRes instant poll for last night’s ITV News at Ten among those watching the First Election Debate, extrapolated across the GB adult population as a whole, puts the Conservatives on 35 per cent, Labour on 28 per cent and Liberal Democrats on 24 per cent.

(…)

Of the 4,000 viewers sampled, before the poll was weighted across the population, their voting intentions are now Conservative 36 per cent, Labour 24 cent and Lib Dems 35 per cent.

(…)

[T]he national vote share result takes into account ComRes’s latest voting intention figures published on Wednesday 14th April and the voting intention of respondents who watched the debate polled on 15th April.

But it was the latter unweighted sample that caught the headlines, before being quickly updated when the full results were release.

According to the Telegraph’s Robert Colvile it was a case of “egg on pollster face”. But ComRes told Journalism.co.uk it only ever released the full results – with context and weighting.

ConservativeHome’s Jonathan Isaby blamed a tweet from ITV correspondent Lucy Manning (@lucymanning).

But she denied she was the first, and tweeted (in an open message to Guardian political journalist Andrew Sparrow): “Not true many more tweeted them before me. thought id clarify!”

Sparrow justifies sharing the initial poll results, acquired via Twitter, on Guardian.co.uk. He writes:

“Twitter is a wonderful source of information (if we didn’t use it, this blog would be slower and far less information) and the figures were released by journalists who are normally reliable. But on this occasion the information was misleading. I should have waited until I had spoken to ComRes before going into overdrive. I’m sorry about that.”

But weighting or no weighting, is the poll’s methodology sound? Journalist James Ball tweets that weighting a poll like that is “very problematic”.

“Not only is direct audience for debate small, it’s untypical of general population,” he claims. He says it’s “staggeringly poor methodology” for ComRes, “at a time rife for misinterpretation.”

Full ComRes press release:

The final analysis of the ComRes instant poll for last night’s ITV News at Ten among those watching the First Election Debate, extrapolated across the GB adult population as a whole, puts the Conservatives on 35 per cent, Labour on 28 per cent and Liberal Democrats on 24 per cent. This compares to the ComRes poll broadcast on ITV News at Ten on 14th April showing Conservatives on 35 per cent, Labour on 29 per cent and Liberal Democrats on 21 per cent.

Of the 4,000 sample of viewers who watched the debate, their voting intentions are now Conservative 36 per cent, Labour 24 per cent and Lib Dems 35 per cent. This compares to their stated voting intentions prior to the debate which stood at Conservative 39 per cent, Labour at 27 per cent and Liberal Democrat 21 per cent.

Methodology statement:

Instant Poll
ComRes interviewed 4032 GB adults on 15th April by an automated telephone survey immediately after the ITV1 Leaders’ Debate. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults and weighted by past vote recall. Respondents were selected from a pre-recruited panel of people who agreed to be contacted by telephone following the leaders’ debates to give their views. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables will be available shortly at www.comres.co.uk.

National Voting Intention
To extrapolate the impact of the change in voting intention figures for viewers of the debates the national voting intention is modelled taking into account: (i) viewing figures for the debate (Peak of 10 million – approximately 21 per cent of the population); (ii) projected turnout –nationally and among viewers.  Therefore, the national vote share result takes into account ComRes’s latest voting intention figures published on Wednesday 14th April and the voting intention of respondents who watched the debate polled on 15th April.

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Online commenters are like ‘particularly aggressive sub-editors’ says Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow

Bloggers and journalists discussed their shifting roles and relationships in the context of online political blogging at Monday’s Voices Online blogging conference at City University, organised by the Next Century Foundation.

Blogging is improving the quality of journalism by forcing reporters to be more honest about their sources the Guardian’s senior political correspondent, Andrew Sparrow, said yesterday.

Sparrow said that traditional journalistic secrecy had become ‘hard to justify in the blogosphere’ because readers act as ‘particularly aggressive sub-editors’.

“There’s an expectation that you will be more upfront about your sources, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

“In a conventional news story, you can never own up to doubt. In a blog, it’s perfectly acceptable to say what you know and what you don’t know.”

Sparrow also suggested that political bloggers have raised the bar of competition for traditional news organisations.

“I don’t see myself as part of the blogging community in the way that Paul Staines or Nick Fielding are,” he said. “I view blogging as a tool that we use [at the Guardian] for our mainstream journalism. But I worry if the amateurs are doing it better than we are.”

However, in an earlier panel, Paul Staines questioned whether drawing a distinction between ‘journalist’ and ‘bloggers’ is still relevant.

“How long is it before we stop asking that question?” he said. “With converging digital platforms, there may no longer be a difference.”

Sparrow, who has previously reported on the political arena for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, said that he had been frustrated by ‘the limited way you could tell stories’ in traditional print media.

“The internet has an immediacy that you don’t always get in mainstream media. I like the commentability, but it makes many journalists uncomfortable,” he said.

He added that digital media has improved the range of sources available to journalists. “Once, you might have had to spend the morning ringing ten people to find out what they thought about something, whereas now, you can subscribe to ten RSS feeds,” he said.

However, Sparrow also said that the Guardian ensures its blogs ‘report in accordance with its journalistic values and the public interest’, and acknowledged that the wider blogging community ‘survives on subjectivity’ which is at odd with traditional journalistic notions of balance.

But Mick Fealty, creator of the Slugger O’Toole blog and who also blogs at the Telegraph and the Guardian sites, insisted this did not compromise the quality and integrity of blogging. “The journalists who make good bloggers are the ones who know they’re only interjecting into a larger conversation. There is a value in being challenged,” he said.

“Truth is more useful than balance. One truth at a time is enough.”

Journalism.co.uk reported live from the Voices Online Blogging conference 2009. Follow @journalism_live on Twitter for updates from a wide array of media events.

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Event – Voices Online: Blogging Conference today

Journalism.co.uk is attending the Voices Online: Blogging conference today. Speakers at the event include Mark Jones, global community editor at Reuters; Demotix’s Turi Munthe; political blogger Guido Fawkes a.k.a. Paul Staines; and Andrew Sparrow: senior political correspondent for the Guardian and recent Orwell Prize blogging nominee.

The full agenda for the day is available at this link.

Follow updates on Twitter @journalism_live and via the hashtag #voicesconf.

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