Tag Archives: dna09

DNA09: Event host Richard Gizbert on making a living from media-gazing

Al Jazeera’s Richard Gizbert co-hosted this week’s Digital News and Affairs 2009 conference, leading sessions, asking questions and throwing in a bit of his own perspective. Journalism.co.uk managed to catch him for a quick chat.

Gizbert presents a weekly show called ‘The Listening Post,’ which looks at how the news is covered by the world’s media. The programme looks at the impact of blogs, online video and podcasts, as well as media in traditional formats. How did that come about?   

In the 18 months between when Gizbert pitched the programme to Al Jazeera, and when the Channel launched in November 2006, all the online video sites really started taking off, he explains. It was a bit of a no-brainer, then, to use video and digital content in its programme: “let’s adapt to something where we don’t need people, and it doesn’t cost us any money – even I can figure that one out,” Gizbert jokes.

“In addition to that, the new media stuff keeps coming.” Gizbert has a ‘fairly young team on show’ and they respond to new material and ‘take it as  it comes’. However, ‘we’re not really all that charged up with technology for technology’s sake,’ he adds.

Media is often too bogged-down by technological conventions, he says, citing as an example TV reporters’ obsession with reporting live from scenes where it makes no difference whether they’re there or not.

And why the media as a subject? Media is a powerful institution but compare that with coverage media does of media,” he answers. There simply is very little media analysis of media, he explains, adding that Al Jazeera English as a channel provided him with the freedom he wanted for the show. The channel ‘allows us to tell the stories we want to tell,’ he says.

The stories are there to be told, and it’s just as important right now, he said. “The media is misbehaving, and it’s going to get worse because everything is splintering. People are panicking (…) There’s an over-reliance on celebrity because that’s cookie-cutter stuff, they can get it and it’s cheap.”

Another gripe he has is with the concept of ‘media loyalty’. “I don’t want them to watch us [Al Jazeera] 24-7.” Watch other channels alongside, Gizbert says. “What I don’t get are ‘viewing habits’.

When people tell him ‘I take the Guardian’ or ‘I take the Telegraph’ he says ‘yeah, why don’t you read something else?’. “Why are consumers, who are so selective and open-minded about the other things in their life, so narrow-minded when it comes to media consumption?” Gizbert says.

DNA09: Twitter – a few more questions for the panel

A couple of crowd-sourced questions were taken by the Twitter panel, but some were missed. We’ll post them here and hope the panelists will answer them via Twitter or in the comments below.

  • Noodlepie: @jamierussell be interested to know if the panel are looking at ways to increase “retweetness”. Very big traffic driver, no? #dna09 #dna140
  • gemmanewby: #dna140 do you think it possible to make an entire news programme using only twitter and first person tweets as your source?
  • ernstpoulsen: Question: What’s the difference between the conversation on twitter and facebook’s status-updates? #dna140 dna#09
  • hatmandu: #DNA140 The question should be: “why *can’t* you tell the news in 140 characters?”

Journalism.co.uk’s very own @lauraoliver was on a panel led by Wired UK’s associate editor @benhammersley at Digital News Affairs 2009. The others were Jeff Jarvis, blogger at BuzzMachine (@jeffjarvis); Robin Hamman, senior social media consultant at Headshift (@cybersoc); Darren Waters, technology editor at BBC News website (@darrenwaters); Bert Brouwers, editor-in-chief of Sp!ts (@brewbart); Katharina Borchert, editor-in-chief of Der Westen and MD of WAZ media (@lyssaslounge).

DNA09: Twittering – is it possible to tell the news in 140 characters or fewer?

Journalism.co.uk’s very own @lauraoliver is joining a panel led by Wired.com associate editor @benhammersley at Digital News Affairs 2009. The others are Jeff Jarvis, blogger at BuzzMachine (@jeffjarvis); Robin Hamman, senior social media consultant at Headshift (@cybersoc); Darren Waters, technology editor at BBC News website (@darrenwaters); Bert Brouwers, editor-in-chief of Sp!ts (@brewbart); Katharina Borchert, editor-in-chief of Der Westen and MD of WAZ media (@lyssaslounge).

Watch live video from johncthompson’s channel on Justin.tv

Tag your tweets for this session #dna140 and follow here when it kicks off at 13.30 (Brussels time):

DNA09: If advertisers ruled the world

What would an ad exec do if he took over a newspaper organisation? Tear up the advertising model, so says Jonathan MacDonald from OgilvyOne to today’s Digital News Affairs 2009 (DNA) audience.

“Take the Profit & Loss (P&L) plan that is based on the next five years of traditional advertising and tear it up,” says MacDonald.

Publishers have to accept the fact that there are six times as many people reading their content that they’ll never know about or be able to monetise, he added.

“These readers are also passing this content to other people you won’t know about or be able to monetise.”

Content producers and news organisations have to consider:

  • What their users want – and give it to them; this is content they’ll be able to charge for
  • Look to who else is providing that content – and partner with them to create a new

“You need to rethink your business model – create an agnostic layer of aggregate inventory between partners in your space and become a facilitator for advertisers,” he added.

Watch live video from johncthompson’s channel on Justin.tv

DNA09: Return of the Eyeborg – an appeal for money

As reported on this blog before, Rob Spence aka Eyeborg is going to some serious lengths for his profession. He’s on a mission to to install a wireless video camera in his prosthetic eye.

Journalism.co.uk interviewed him last month and last night got to meet the man in person. This morning Spence spoke to the Digital News Affairs 2009 audience. The project is not quite there yet, it turns out…

He needs $50,000 to complete the eye project, and a funder for the documentary about surveillance he’s making alongside. He’s ‘trying to lock up the funding’ for the ‘Eye for an Eye’ documentary right now and is keen to hear about any potential journalistic opportunities.

As we’ve reported on him before, we won’t dwell too long on the specifics but here’s a couple of the things he said:

“There’s quite a buzz on the online prosthetic eye community.”

“There’s something very human about… [the project] what is a person, if not their eye?”

“I tend to posit myself as a superhero in my stories – you get to fight for justice but you end up being a villain in the public’s view.”

“It’s just a way of blending in, as someone who looks completely normal.”

DNA09: Vandermeersch on the seven bees

In a keynote speech at the DNA conference, Peter Vandermeersch, editor of De Standaard, a Belgian newspaper, outlined his ideas about where his – and other papers – are going wrong and right.

The Seven Bees: “We have four bees: brains, brands, big organisations, broad public … but we need to be bright, bold and brave.”

Mobile: “We firmly believe in our third platform, mobile. Mobile is taking off very quickly and we believe in it.”

Advertising split: online ads – 9 per cent / print ads – 91 per cent.

Optimism: “We’re still alive and kicking… but struggling.”

“We reach more people than we ever did.”

“We’re convinced that unique content we can produce is going to save us in next couple of years ahead.”

Editorial and sales relationship:

“Integration of newsrooms, sales and marketing forces is a must.”

His paper musn’t…

“The fear of cannibalisation shouldn’t be within our four walls.”

What it does wrong:

Not good enough at hiring new people and training new people

Not unique enough in the kind of content we produce … re-doing what’s been done yesterday.

Not creative enough.

Not smart enough in using leverage of social networks.

Not quick enough.

“We are not bold enough in reinventing ourselves.”

DNA09: Who made Obama President – More the candidate than the campaign?

Much has been made of Barack Obama’s use of new media to mobilise voters and generate microdonations to support his presidential campaign.

Speaking at today’s Digital News Affairs 2009 (DNA) Jodi Williams, press lead for the Obama Campaign, explained the team’s use of the internet as a tool to connect people ‘who otherwise wouldn’t have been connected’.

This meant building a presence for Obama on social networks, coordinating online donation schemes and collecting information on potential voters so that directions to polling stations and offers of transport could be made via text on voting day.

Many of the techniques could be applied to Europe for candidates in the forthcoming European Parliament elections, particularly because of deeper broadband presentation, added Williams.

Really? Could Obama’s campaign have been as successful without that key component – the candidate himself. Is there anyone in European politics who inspires the same debate/feeling/mass participation?

Fortunately Stephen Clark, representing the European Parliament on the panel, conceded this point:

“It can’t be denied that it [Obama’s campaign] was about candidate and political situation at that time.

“It’s very difficult to find a political figure known across Europe. In a parliamentary system perhaps the issues are the way to go.”

DNA09: ‘The Established Media React’

A look at how mainstream media (MSM) is seizing upon, or resisting technological changes.

A panel chaired by Wired Magazine’s Ben Hammersley. He is joined by:

  • Guido Baumhauer, director of marketing, sales and distribution at Deutshe Welle.

Hammersley points out this been happening for a long time. So why are we still having the same conversations about the mainstream media reacting? There wasn’t really an answer to that one but there were some other big questions raised:

Are ‘publishers’ and broadcasters ending up in the same space
It’s not really a relevant distinction, the BBC’s Loughrey tells Journalism.co.uk after the discussion.

“I do not see myself as part of the established media,” Hans Laroes is keen to point out at the beginning.

The broadcast enterprise is still quite a separate one from the web at Sky, says Bucks – although web users already have some influence on television content, and maybe, the future could see online increasingly dictating television content.

What on earth is ‘database journalism’?
Neil McIntosh said that while ‘it has to be said it’s being used for extremely boring journalism,’ it’s about pulling together raw material in exciting ways, such as in crime mapping. There is lots of potential for the Wall Street Journal, he added. https://klgirls.net

How do we manage editorial, strategy and sales relationships?

Following on from his keynote speech, Vandermeersch stresses that editorial, sales and strategy will have to work closer together.

However, how far that goes is up for debate he says: for example, do you drop stories which are less good commercially?

Meanwhile, at Deutsche Welle, marketing team, editorial and media sales representatives are meeting in small ‘competence teams’  in order to address monetising and editorial issues in different countries (they have 4,500 media partners worldwide), explains Baumhauer.

DNA09 – Economically distressed but making the most of it

It started off bleakly, but the talk got more positive as the participants warmed up. These are four digital leaders, driving forward ambitious online projects in their respective countries:

  • Eric Echikson, Google’s senior manager for communications in Brussels
  • Katharina Borchert, chief editor of the online newspaper DerWesten.de and also the managing director of WAZ NewMedia
  • Pierre Haski, president of the society and editor-in-chief of the online French newspaper, Rue89

In a discussion led by Richard Gizbert, the panel discussed their hopes for opportunism in a dire economic climate.

Starting with a gloomy video reminder of the demise of the Rocky Mountain News, the panel were then probed on their own thoughts and experiences.

Katharina Borchert, from WAZ media, said the last 3-5 years have been a real opportunity, despite the fact they’re currently laying off a third of their staff.

To be using user-generated content in the way they are would have been unthinkable three years ago, she said.

Web is no longer an add-on, she said. There’s ‘more freedom to create content for the web’.

Video is the most popular content on their site, she added.

Pierre Haski, who left his job at Liberation newspaper to set up the independent French newspaper, realised the opportunity for different types of conversations with readers.

“Through blogging you reconnect with your readers. We tried to develop a model of participative news website, where readers could contribute to news process,” he explained.

After failing to sell the idea to Liberation, he and other colleagues left to launch Rue89.

“Not only will we survive the crisis but we will make money next year,” he said.

Then, Munthe, who set up his agency Demotix in a bid to source citizen journalism from around the world to counter what he perceived as a lack of original foreign news content.

“The flip side of the doom and gloom there are all sorts of opportunities out there,” he said.

He’s not worried about the content control, as editing happens within the process. “Who figured out three columns of smoke was wrong? Bloggers. That’s exactly what Demotix is trying to replicate.”

Demotix tries to bring together collaborative voices to self-correct stories and content, Munthe explained.