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VentureBeat: Twitter launching commercial accounts

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has said the company is starting to toll out commercial accounts for business users, who will pay for premium services such as more detailed analytics.

The aim is to help businesses who want to make more profit from the service.

Could such accounts give news organisations the Twitter edge? Any use of analytics would have to be carefully handled to maintain relations with followers.

Full story at this link…

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Recovering Journalist: Growthspur – supporting local media entrepreneurs

August 3rd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Mark Potts, founder of hyperlocal venture Backfence, discusses his latest venture: Growthspur, a new company aimed at finding new business models to support local news and information sources.

Jeff Jarvis helped develop the concept and Potts also has former Microsoft executive Dave Chase and co-founder of the Yale Entreprenuerial Insititute, Jennifer McFadden, on board.

Full post at this link…

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MediaShift: What’s the future of cit-j photo agencies?

As we’ve documented on Journalism.co.uk, the citizen journalism photo agency, Demotix can boast numerous high profile photo-sale successes during recent global news events. Its industry recognition has grown fast since launch in September 2008, as it forms various collaborations with strong media brands.

But what do the experiences of earlier cit-j photo agencies signify for the chances of Demotix’s future expansion and financial growth? That’s what MediaShift’s Mark Glaser asks in a lengthy blog post published yesterday. He looks to Scoopt, the agency that shut its doors in February this year.

Scoopt, co-founder, Kyle MacRae casts doubts on Demotix’s future: “I’d say their chances of acquiring significant volumes of content with commercial value – where value is largely driven by timeliness – are slim to zero,” MacRae tells Glaser in an email.

But Turi Munthe, Demotix CEO would argue that his model is very different from Scoopt’s.

Full post at this link…

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The Shiny Media story: what’s going on?

July 23rd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Since news broke that Shiny Media had gone into adminstration, Journalism.co.uk has been trying to gather more information – especially in regards to the details of the new buyer. Unfortunately, calls and emails to its remaining founder Chris Price have gone unanswered. We’ve called the administrators, Wilson Field, and they promise to keep us posted if a statement is put out.

  • Also at at Telegraph.co.uk: Why Brightstation Venture’s Dan Wagner is fighting the Shiny Media administration.

We have not been able to reach Price’s co-founder Ashley Norris, who left the company last year. The other co-founder, Katie Lee, has provided some information via her Twitter feed and in the comments on paidContent, and now she’s provided even fuller detail about her experiences at Shiny for a blog post on Telegraph.co.uk.

We hope to post more news soon.

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The Blog Herald reports that Shiny Media has gone into administration

Early this morning, Andy Merrett, who formerly worked for some of the Shiny network’s blog titles, reported on the Blog Herald that Shiny Media has gone into administration.

Journalism.co.uk is trying to obtain more information.

Merrett wrote:

“Despite this year’s cutbacks and new additions, it doesn’t seem to have been enough to save the company.”

Full story at this link…

Interestingly, Shiny’s co-founder,  Katie Lee claims today, via Twitter, that Shiny Media never received the reported $4.5m of funding from Bright Station Ventures in 2007, an amount confirmed here on Shiny’s own blog.

Lee, who left the company in February, wrote today:

“$4.5m was incorrectly reported in the press and we were told to stick with the story. Was mortified.”

Lee also said she thought the company had already been bought:

“As far as I know, Shiny Media has already been bought (before I even knew it had gone into administration). So hopefully some jobs OK.”



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Essential journalism links for students

June 30th, 2009 | 9 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Training

This list is doing the rounds under the headline 100 Best Blogs for Journalism Students… and we’re not on it. Nope, not even a smidgeon of link-love for poor old Journalism.co.uk there.

The BachelorsDegreeOnline site appears to be part of e-Learners.com, but it’s not clear who put the list together. Despite their omission of our content and their rather odd descriptions (e.g: Adrian Monck: ‘Adrian Monck writes this blog about how we inform ourselves and why we do it’), we admit it is a pretty comprehensive list; excellent people and organisations we feature on the site, our blog roll and Best of Blogs mix – including many UK-based ones. There were also ones we hadn’t come across before.

In true web 2.0 self-promotional style, here are our own links which any future list-compilers might like to consider as helpful links for journalism students:

And here are some blogs/sites also left off the list which immediately spring to mind as important reading for any (particularly UK-based) journalism students:

Organisations

  • Crikey.com: news from down under that’s not Murdoch, or Fairfax produced.
  • Press Review Blog (a Media Standards Trust project) – it’s a newbie, but already in the favourites.
  • StinkyJournalism: it’s passionate and has produced many high-profile stories

Individuals

  • CurryBet – Martin Belam’s links are canny, and provocative and break down the division between tech and journalism.
  • Malcolm Coles – for SEO tips and off-the-beaten track spottings.
  • Dave Lee – facilitating conversations journalists could never have had in the days before blogs.
  • Marc Vallee – photography freedom issues from the protest frontline.
  • FleetStreetBlues: an anonymous industry insider with jobs, witty titbits and a healthy dose of online cynicism.
  • Sarah Hartley previously as above, now with more online strategy thrown in.
  • Charles Arthur – for lively debate on PR strategy, among other things

Writing this has only brought home further the realisation that omissions are par for the course with list-compilation, but it does inspire us to do our own 101 essential links for global online journalists – trainees or otherwise. We’d also like to make our list inclusive of material that is useful for, but not necessarily about, journalists: MySociety for example.

Add suggestions below, via @journalismnews or drop judith at journalism.co.uk an email.

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Beet.tv: Politico to make profit this year, says founder

June 15th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Politico, the ad-supported political news site founded in 2006, will become profitable this year, according to co-founder John Harris.

In the video below, Harris tells Beet.tv about Politico’s ‘new’ syndication model involving regional and national newspapers:

Full story at this link…

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Paid content round-up: Newport Daily News, ESPN and thoughts from Salon

June 9th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

The long-running debate around pay walls for online news sites seems to be moving into reality.

Following recent announcements by the Sunday Times and News International, Nieman Journalism Lab has this report on Rhode Island’s Newport Daily News.

The 12,000-circulation paper has introduced a three-tier pricing structure for print/online subscriptions (see the video below).

Meanwhile, paidContent.org reports that ESPN The Magazine is introduced paid-for online content.

On the subject, Salon co-founder Scott Rosenberg’s post is well worth a read (via Mark Potts). Rosenberg has experience in the field – “[A]t Salon we tried every online revenue strategy you can imagine,” he writes.

“Yes, 2009 is different from 2000-2002. But the fundamental lesson remains: you can get some revenue from readers, and there’s nothing wrong with trying; but if in doing so you cut yourself off from the rest of the web in any way, you are dooming yourself to irrelevance and financial decline.”

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Libel, privacy, the ‘chilling effect’ and NGOs

June 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Press freedom and ethics

In its last evidence session for its inquiry into press standards, privacy and libel, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee today heard from not-for-profit campaign organisation Global Witness’ co-founder Charmian Gooch and Mark Stephens, a lawyer from Finers Stephens Innocent, who has represented non-profit organisations previously.

Most significant were Gooch’s comments on the impact of UK libel and privacy laws, high legal costs and conditional fee arrangements (CFAs) on media organisations compared with not-for-profit organisations.

As journalistic resources, in particular the investigative units of news organisations, are cut back, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are increasingly filling that reporting space, said Gooch.

They must work under the same legislation as for-profit organisations, but have very different interests at heart, she added.

“This is long-term work, often years of work, attacking and trying to change vested interest. It’s not just the publication of a damning and very good article; it’s about trying to change behaviour. That can cause the loss of millions of pounds for a company or individual. That means these individuals might respond in a very different way to non-media organsiations than they would do to media organisations,” explained Gooch.

She said all researchers/reporters at Global Witness were trained in defamation and libel, and a Reynolds defence is considered at all stages of research and every point of publication.

Yet Stephens said he was yet to see an NGO that, despite having a good Reynolds defence, would win at trial with it.

“The problem is the cost of fighting it,” he said – around £100-200,000 or the equivalent of two researchers for an NGO.

High level public interest stories are denuded by high costs, added Stephens, who said his firm had NGOs coming through its doors concerned that they would be sued.

The cost of fighting on a Reynolds defence in the UK is ‘out of kilter’ with the rest of Europe, added Gooch.

However, Stephens said, it is not necessary to put Reynolds into statute:

“What wil happen is that the claimant’s lawyers at the libel bar will attempt to erode that defence by chopping at it and eroding it slowly but surely. That’s what I’m concerned about. If it is left in the common law, as it is at the moment, the judiciary have the option to resist that erosion,” he said.

Libel tourism was also described by the representatives as a threat to the press freedom of NGOs.

“Claimants who have an overseas domicile should be required to put a significant cash deposit down or the chances of doing justice are very slim,” added Gooch.

“For governments, that are serious about and claim they want to make poverty history, not to tackle this massive abuse and facilitate corruption is a long-term problem.”

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Media140: Pat Kane on using social media and journalism

May 20th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Social media and blogging

“Reading a newspaper on a street corner might be seen as banal. What’s becoming just as banal is producing news on that street corner,” Pat Kane, co-founder of the Sunday Herald and author of ‘The Play ethic’, said in his opener at today’s Media140 conference.

The growth of social media and online publishing is showing ‘just how quotidian and everyday the practice of journalism becomes in this everyday environment’, he added.

Speaking at the microblogging and journalism event, Kane said there are some key reasons/benefits for journalists using social media tools:

  • Beat reporting
  • Early warning system– communities decide what’s the news. “Twitter’s the canary in the coal mine – Overlap with trad journalism
  • Real-time content
  • Traceable sources/interviewees/leads – “How much better can journalism practice be in a civic space?” asked Kane. Social media can be ‘an enrichment of a classic journalistic process’.
  • Can you help? – asking readers for tips, feedback etc
  • As a promotional tool
  • An expertise archive – “Used to be called desk research, now it’s handheld device responsiveness.”

But asks Kane:

“How distributive and collaborative are journalists prepared to be?”

“To what extent might the Darwinian acid that new media is throwing onto organisations transform them?

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