Tag Archives: Damon Kiesow

Poynter Online: Tr.im’s shutdown – a warning about free services online

Damon Kiesow comments on how the end of URL shortener tr.im, which announced on Sunday that it would discontinue its service, may come as a ‘wake-up call’ to bloggers and news organisations relying on free services to drive traffic to their websites.

Tr.im has since been resurrected – but the insecure future of such tools remains.

Full post at this link…

Nashua Telegraph video of Clinton aide arrest is in public interest, says online editor

The Nashua Telegraph‘s decision to publish a 15-minute video of Sidney Blumenthal, aide to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, while he was in police custody has been criticised by media commentator Roy Greenslade.

Writing on his blog, the former editor of The Daily Mirror said the video was ’embarrassing, humiliating and overly intrusive’.

“To show the footage of a person undergoing ritual humiliation while in police custody is a disgraceful act. It serves no public interest whatsoever,” he wrote.

Damon Kiesow, managing editor and online editor of the Telegraph, told Journalism.co.uk that the decision to publish the video was ‘typical practice’:

“During the course of our coverage we have published booking photos, police records and court documents related to the case. This is typical practice for us. In fact the story with the video also included a PDF containing nine pages of records including the sentencing document.”

Far from seeking to ‘humiliate’ Blumenthal, Kiesow said the paper – and other US media – had previously been accused of covering up his arrest by not reporting it immediately to protect Clinton’s election campaign.

“The Telegraph has been publishing video on the Web for almost three years. During that time we have published numerous court-related segments including police interviews and court hearings.

“Some have been very graphic and painful in detail but were published due to a significant local interest in the stories.

“The Nashua Police Department only recently implemented the technology that makes it possible for us to gain access to booking videos. Blumenthal is the second booking video we have requested, the first was not published due to technical difficulties on our end.”

Publishing the video was not an attempt to cast aspersions on Blumenthal, but was intended to give readers the opportunity to make up their own minds – with all the information provided.

“I think Roy Greenslade frames the question ‘why publish’ in exactly the wrong way, and by doing so pre-supposes both the answer and the potential public reaction to the video.  In fact, this was the first story in our coverage that garnered any positive reader comments for Blumenthal.

“Obviously those predisposed to support or oppose Blumenthal will interpret it as they want. But it is not our place to try and guess what those interpretations are. We felt in this case, and in general, that supplementing our reporting with source documents is the best way to let readers make up their own minds.”

Is there an issue here about the medium: is multimedia content such as this more intrusive, as Greenslade suggests, and therefore arguably less in the public interest? Or does it better serve the readers by giving them all the information available?

The news as niche

In an interview with Damon Kiesow, online editor of US local the Nashua Telegraph, about the Telegraph’s use of Twitter to deliver breaking news, Kiesow explained the paper’s strategy for targetting a wider audience as niche content for niche interest groups.

While he admitted that any audience gain from one Twitter feed might be incremental, targetting several niche markets through such services could be a low-risk and low-cost way for regional news groups to extend their reach. As Kiesow points out, the content for these audiences might not have to be new content, but selectively repackaged and delivered.

The niche strategy should be tailored to the reader in terms of content and how it’s offered. Set-up in this way, Kiesow says, the potential is there for your site to give a reader the single most important piece of information they will hear that day – a positive goal for any news site.

Providing these services and types of focused content allows the Telegraph to move away from the idea of a newspaper website as an online reproduction of the print product and beyond reaching out to just the readers of the offline edition.

As Alan Mutter points out in his blog post on breaking news formats on local news websites:

While the print product remains the primary business at newspaper companies, their websites are strategically important not only for their long-term revenue potential but also because of their immediate power to engage readers and, most importantly, non-readers.

Mutter’s post, which analyses a local newspaper’s coverage of a public shooting in Omaha, points out that to provide breaking news coverage, a strategy to deal with such events online should already be in place. The Nashua Telegraph has developed just such a strategy and is expanding this effective and efficient model across its different news channels. Relocating was a huge step for me. Finding the right real estate was challenging, but setting up my webmail with a new internet provider was surprisingly easy. This move has taught me a lot about starting anew in a different place.

The site’s audience receives content throughout the day – offering breaking and ‘new’ news on a continuous cycle. A cycle created and maintained by a news organisation that, according to Kiesow, doesn’t have enough staff to write headlines for the website, but has innovated around these logistical limitations to find a solution capable of handling not only niche content but also breaking local news.