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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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#followjourn: @marcreeves – editor

July 13th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#followjourn: @marcreeves

Who? Marc Reeves

Where? Marc is editor of theBusinessDesk.com West Midlands. He previously worked for a number of local newspaper companies including CN Group, Trinity Mirror, and BPM Media, and was editor of the Birmingham Post for more than three years. Marc is currently managing director of Reeves Associates. More information is available about his career on his LinkedIn page.

Contact? @marcreeves

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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Marc Reeves: Journalism’s old guard – ‘fighting the same battles with the same weapons’

April 12th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Local media

Using the West Midlands, where he edits TheBusinessDesk.com, as a microcosm of the publishing and journalism industries in this post on the future shape of media, Marc Reeves concludes that the only constants right now are “perpetual revolution and reinvention”.

Reeves’ post intelligently dissects the problems facing both the ‘old guard’ of traditional media and the ‘new old guard’:

The economics that sit behind great media engines like News International, Trinity Mirror and ITV have changed forever, but – just like the recession – that change comes with a very long tail, and its effects therefore will be felt for a long time to come (…) many players think the only sensible action is to keep on fighting the same battles will the same weapons.

(…) Anyone comfortably settling themselves in for a long career as ‘web publisher’ had better get real. Print monopolies may have lived high on the hog for a couple of hundred years or so, but the equivalent timespan in web publishing is measured in months.

And this is the real problem for the ‘old guard’. When they eventually get what the internet really means for their business, they’ll be seduced into thinking they’ve swapped the old certainties of print for the new certainties of digital.

Full post at this link…

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Marc Reeves: Why is GMG selling the cash cow?

February 9th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Newspapers

Marc Reeves, founder of the newly launched Business Desk West Midlands, blogs on news the Guardian Media Group is to sell Manchester Evening News (MEN) to his former employer Trinity Mirror:

[T]he key questions: what do GMG and Trinity Mirror get out of the deal? For the latter, I think it’s pretty clear. With declining revenues and circulation, another round of consolidation is probably an inevitable strategy for the biggest groups, whose scale demands  that de-duplicating resources and cutting costs are required to counter the exodus of readers and advertisers. There’s also a very handy strategic regional  fit for the Manchester titles alongside Trinity’s existing Merseyside titles.

For GMG, though, it’s less clear. Does the disposal allow the group to concentrate on the march towards digital dominance  spearheaded by the Guardian brand? Or perhaps GMG has just decided that the ‘cash cow’ role of the regionals simply doesn’t work any more in the new media economy, and it’s better off without the distraction. Whatever the case, my money is on a rise in the number of deals  amongst the major publishers following  the TM-GMG shuffle, as more try to optimise the geographical ‘sense’ of their sometimes disparate and accidental portfolios.

The acquisition of the Manchester Evening News by Trinity Mirror – publishers of my old paper the Birmingham Post – has baffled some of my former colleagues.

Why would Guardian Media Group, MEN’s owner, sell the very cash cow that existed only to keep the venerable – and loss making – Guardian newspaper alive?

Moreover, why would Trinity Mirror embark on yet another bout of corporate indigestion as they attempt to swallow yet another acquisition, with all the financial, cultural and managerial angst that goes with it.

I remember (yes dear reader, because I was there) spending many of the early years of this century as part of the team that was charged with incorporating the old Southnews group of weekly newspapers in London and the Home Counties into Trinity Mirror’s southern business.

That October 2000 acquisition came with a £285m price tag for around 60 free and paid-for newspapers (no one bought websites then – don’t you remember the dotcom bubble?). The deal announced this week, in which Trinity Mirror gets the Manchester Evening News, the Reading Post and a stable of other regional titles and websites for less than a fifth of that price. The Southnews deal came back to bite Trinity Mirror, as the early noughties advertising slump forced it to post a considerable write-down against the acquisition just a few years later.

Of course, the very economic foundation of the regional newspaper industry has shifted irreversibly since then, so comparisons are probably unfair.

However, back to the key questions: what do GMG and Trinity Mirror get out of the deal?

For the latter, I think it’s pretty clear. With declining revenues and circulation, another round of consolidation is probably an inevitable strategy for the biggest groups, whose scale demands that de-duplicating resources and cutting costs are required to counter the exodus of readers and advertisers. There’s also a very handy strategic regional fit for the Manchester titles alongside Trinity’s existing Merseyside titles.

For GMG, though, it’s less clear. Does the disposal allow the group to concentrate on the march towards digital dominance spearheaded by the Guardian brand? Or perhaps GMG has just decided that the ‘cash cow’ role of the regionals simply doesn’t work any more in the new media economy, and it’s better off without the distraction.

Whatever the case, my money is on a rise in the number of deals amongst the major publishers following the TM-GMG shuffle, as more try to optimise the geographical ‘sense’ of their sometimes disparate and accidental portfolios.

Full post at this link…

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Former Birmingham Post editor launches West Midlands business news site

February 1st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

As reported ahead of launch by Journalism.co.uk last week, former editor of the Birmingham Post, Marc Reeves, has set up a West Midlands franchise of TheBusinessDesk.com: http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/.

TheBusinessDesk.com, currently operating in the north-west and Yorkshire, today announced it was continuing its expansion with the launch of a new West Midlands operation. It was set up in 2007 by former Yorkshire Post business editor, David Parkin.

As we reported last week, the West Midlands team will include Duncan Tift, former deputy business editor at the Birmingham Post. Today Lee-J Walker was also announced as business development manager.

Commercial launch partners in the West Midlands site include the international law firm Hammonds, the accountancy firm BDO and property specialists Bruntwood.

“As traditional media has struggled to remain viable, this concept which provides up-to-the-minute, informed regional business news free and direct to the user, is proving extremely popular with professionals and entrepreneurs alike,” said Marc Reeves.

“Having spent more than 25 years in newspapers, this is an exciting new venture for me which fits perfectly with my interest in online journalism and social media networks. I believe that TheBusinessDesk.com will fill a real need here for daily regional business news delivered in a clear and easily accessible format.”

One of the secrets of the TheBusinessDesk.com’s success, said David Parkin, is “bringing on board the very best regional journalists with the experience, real understanding and contacts to work closely with the business community”.

“As one of the best known and most respected journalists in the West Midlands, Marc will play a key part in helping us to replicate the success we have enjoyed elsewhere, helping us to provide a much-needed daily source of trusted business news.”

Full post at this link…

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Former Birmingham Post editor to launch West Midlands business site

January 27th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers, Online Journalism

It is thought that Marc Reeves, former editor of the Birmingham Post, is to launch a West Midlands franchise of TheBusinessdesk.com.

First publicly reported on Jon Slattery’s blog and on the Drum (in a story with a dead link), the news follows industry speculation and hints of pastures new on Reeves’ blog.

Journalism.co.uk has learned the site will be run by Reeves – who left the Post at the end of 2009 when the the Trinity Mirror title went weekly – and two other journalists. One of the journalists involved is believed to be the former Birmingham Post deputy business editor, Duncan Tift.

It is understood that Reeves has begun offering banner advertising for the new site.

Reeves, who we were unable to contact today, was recently appointed to the panel to decide the Independently Funded News Consortia pilots.

The Business Desk, who could not be contacted for comment today either, was launched in 2007 as business online-only news site for Yorkshire, by former Yorkshire Post business editor, David Parkin. Former Yorkshire Post journalists Ian Briggs and Anastasia Weiner also joined the site.

In 2008, the Business Desk also launched in the north west. At the time Parkin told Journalism.co.uk:

“We think it can work in every region in the country. We’ve got to see how it goes in the north west, but we don’t want to stop here.”

“We are purely online, that’s all we do. All the other players in the area have a print product to support,” he added.

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Ten things every journalist should know in 2010

January 4th, 2010 | 50 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

This is an update on a post I wrote at the beginning of last year – Ten things every journalist should know in 2009. I still stand by all those points I made then so consider the following 10 to be an addendum.

1. How to monitor Twitter and other social media networks for breaking news or general conversations in your subject area using tools such as TweetDeck. Understand and use hashtags.

2. You are in control. Don’t become a slave to technology, make it your slave instead. You will need to develop strategies to cope with information overload – filter, filter, filter!

3. You are a curator. Like it or not, part of your role will eventually be to aggregate content (but not indiscriminately). You will need to gather, interpret and archive material from around the web using tools like Publish2, Delicious and StumbleUpon. As Publish2 puts it: “Help your readers get news from social media. More signal. Less noise.”

4. Your beat will be online and you will be the community builder. Creating communities and maintaining their attention will increasingly be down to the efforts of individual journalists; you may no longer be able to rely on your employer’s brand to attract reader loyalty in a fickle and rapidly changing online world (see 7).

5. Core journalistic skills are still crucial. You can acquire as many multimedia and programming skills as you want, but if you are unable to tell a story in an accurate and compelling way, no one will want to consume your content.

6. Journalism needs a business model. If you don’t understand business, especially the business you work for, then it’s time to wake up. The reality for most journalists is that they can no longer exist in a vacuum, as if what they do in their profession is somehow disconnected from the commercial enterprise that pays their wages (one side effect of journalists’ attempts to ‘professionalise’ themselves, according to Robert G Picard). That does not mean compromising journalistic integrity, or turning into solo entrepreneurs; rather it means gaining an understanding of the business they are in and playing a part in moving it forward.

As former Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves said in his excellent speech to Warwick Business School last year: “You cannot be an editor in today’s media environment without also being a businessman. It might say editor on my business card, but really, I am in the business of making news profitable and budgets, targets and performance are as important to me as words and newsprint.”

OK, you may not be an editor yet but that is no excuse, and it is probably easier to innovate while you are still working on the coalface without managerial responsibilities. Plus, in some cases, your editor may be part of the problem.

7. You are your own brand – brand yourself online! I’m not talking bylines here – you need to build yourself an online persona, one that earns you a reputation of trustworthiness and one that allows you to build fruitful relationships with your readers and contacts. You can no longer necessarily rely on having a good reputation by proxy of association with your employer’s brand. And your reputation is no longer fleeting, as good as your last big story – there is an entire archive of your content building online that anyone can potentially access.

Obvious ways to do this: Twitter, Facebook, personal blogging, but you can also build a reputation by sharing what you are reading online using social bookmarking sites like Publish2 and delicious (see 3).

8. You need to collaborate! Mashable suggests seven ways news organisations could become more collaborative outside of their own organisations, but this could also mean working with other journalists in your own organisation on, for example, multimedia projects as MultimediaShooter suggests or hook up with other journalists from other publications as Adam Westbrook suggests to learn and share new ideas.

9. Stories do not have to end once they are published online. Don’t be afraid to revise and evolve a story or feature published online, but do it transparently – show the revisions. And don’t bury mistakes; the pressure to publish quickly can lead to mistakes but if you admit them honestly and openly you can only gain the respect of your readers.

10. Technology is unavoidable, but it is nothing to fear and anyone of any age can master the basics. If you do nothing else, set up a WordPress blog and experiment with different templates and plugins – I promise you will be amazed at what you can achieve and what you can learn in the process.

    Learn more practical advice on the future of journalism at our news:rewired event at City University in London on 14 January 2010.

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    A video every regional newspaper editor (and journalist) should watch

    January 2nd, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Multimedia, Newspapers

    Former Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves made the following speech “Does business news no longer make for a good business?” to Warwick Business School back in October 2009 (while he was still in post).

    Although ostensibly focused on business journalism, it is also a succinct analysis of the current state of newspaper publishing and the true nature of its economic model, with some suggestions for what could well become a blueprint for the future recovery of the industry.

    You can also read a full transcript of the speech on Reeves’ own blog.

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    The Drum: Marc Reeves on leaving the Birmingham Post

    December 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

    On New Year’s Day 2010, I will for the first time in 25 years not be employed by a newspaper publisher.

    Marc Reeves, outgoing editor of the Birmingham Post, describes his reasons for not only leaving the paper, but leaving the newspaper industry altogether.

    (…) I’ve decided to get out, not because I think there’s no future in newspapers, but because I believe that they and and a whole new generation of media brands and services are more sustainable if they’re unencumbered by the legacy and costly infrastructure of the big media owners.

    Reeves does think there could be a reversal in fortunes for some large regional groups, but adds:

    There may even be newspapers that, having taken radical steps to meet the challenge, will improve their circulation performance (note performance – not sales). The trick for the big companies is to keep all these plates spinning long enough to reach the moment when revenue from their digital operations is sufficient to underpin the whole business.

    Full post at this link…

    Also worth a read is departing Birmingham Post journalist Jo Ind’s farewell blog post: http://blogs.birminghampost.net/lifestyle/2009/12/bye-bye-birmingham-post.html

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    Marc Reeves on why he’s stepping down as editor at the Birmingham Post

    October 21st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

    Yesterday it was announced that 40 redundancies would be made at Trinity Mirror’s Birmingham titles. Among those due to leave are Steve Dyson, editor of the Birmingham Mail, and Marc Reeves, editor of the Post.

    Reeves writes about the changes on his blog:

    “As a member of the editorial team, I was also under consultation, and I thought it was very important that I should make a clear decision whether to stay and see the changes through – or to go and give the paper a fresh start under a new editor.

    “I believe that to stay I would have to commit to be editor for a considerable period into the future, but that after almost four years in the job already, the time is right for a new pair of hands to pick up the reins.”

    Full post at this link…

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