Tag Archives: Martin Stabe

Press Gazette: Emap Inform will do away with online subscription charges

UPDATE: a Tweet from Martin Stabe alerts us that in fact most of the titles’ content is already free online: J.co.uk is on the case and will up date soon.

B2B publisher Emap ‘is to scrap subscription charges on a number of its website next year,’ reports Press Gazette. The changes affect the Emap Inform division, which includes Health Service Journal, Retail Week and Drapers.

NMK: ‘What happens to newspapers?’ – place your bets, please

Rounding off last night’s discussion panel hosted by New Media Knowledge on the future of the newspaper industry, panelists were asked what or who they would put their money on for success and survival over the next few years.

Martin Stabe, media blogger, former new media editor of Press Gazette and online editor of Retail Week, plumped for niche and expert content:

“I would bet on anyone who can create unique, high quality content. I’d bet on the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal – those corners of more generalist publications that become more expert,” he said.

Newspapers need to have ‘the ability to compete with all the freely produced expert content that is sometimes better than what is produced by the professionals’, he added.

Neil McIntosh, head of editorial development at Guardian.co.uk, agreed that niche coverage could help newspapers compete with the blogosphere.

“In areas where blogs are working really well, mainstream media has two options: to raise its game and start covering those niches better; or it can get out and as Jeff Jarvis says, ‘do what you do best, and link to the rest’,” said McIntosh

“Those are two areas where mainstream media can move forward but it’s about acknowledging that this world exists.”

Assistant editor at Telegraph Media Group, Justin Williams said trusted brands and content areas such as finance, politics and certain sports are best placed to survive.

“Brands that are trusted and valued no matter how they are produced, those brands will still be here in 10 years time. You’re looking at areas like finance, politics, certain kinds of sport, where we still thrive. During the financial crisis most of us have turned to established news outlets,” said Williams.

“We’re positioned in those markets already, if we can hone in on what’s important to our readers and deliver it in a smart way, then we [newspapers] can be here in 10 years time.”

Holy Mail: Village church will now supply local newspaper

Thanks to Martin Stabe for spotting this. Hartlepool Mail readers can now pick up their copy of the paper in church.

The parishioners will now be ‘getting their news from the pews,’ writes Tracey Walker over at the Hartlepool Mail today:

“The Mail has answered the prayers of people living in Hart, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, who were suffering a local news blackout after the Hart Post Office – which sold copies of the paper – closed in July.

The newspaper will now be delivered to St Mary Magdalene Church in the village after a plea from the Rev Janet Burbury and the Rev John Lund.”

Well, church membership and newspaper subscriptions are both down: it’s certainly one way of combining forces.

Three spheres of relevance for news online

Today’s a good day to point at three examples of how you can enhance the value of online news by linking it to additional, meaningful and relevant content.

I’m calling them the Three Spheres of relevance, three different approaches to creating news relevance: locally on a news site by bringing related content to a single destination, by using tagged metadata to enable better linking to relevant material and in the newsgathering process itself (stick with me, this might get into seriously tenuous segue territory).

Thomson Reuters has launched a new version of its semantic tagging tool Open Calais that broadly enhances and builds on its first round of development (hat tip Martin Stabe).

Open Calais has made publicly accessible a piece of internal software used by Thompson Reuters that automatically reads content and creates relationships between different articles, news pieces and reports based on the businesses, places, events, organisations and individuals mentioned in them.

External developers have been encouraged to play with the technology to create an additional level of metadata for their own sites that could offer users a more sophisticated level of additional content around news pieces and blog posts by relying on automatically generated semantic links rather than more rudimentary manual or algorithmically created versions.

The second round of development two has brought WordPress plugins and new modules for Drupal to allow developers to more easily integrate metadata into the applications and third-party tools they are building.

As part of round two, Thomson Reuters has also launched Calais Tagaroo, a WordPress plugin that automatically generates suggested tags for bloggers that want to incorporate additional relevant content to their posts.

This weekend has also seen the launch of New York Times’ Olympics blog, Rings, as a destination where readers can get a plethora of Times content about the Beijing games. The blog is the latest edition to the Times’ Olympics sub-site.

In addition to covering the sporting competition the blog – like the Times’ sub-site – draws in reporting from Times’ sports, foreign and business desks, as well as taking pieces from bureaux in China.

Compare this with the Olympics destination the BBC is running for the games. It could easily draw sporting coverage together with relevant material from the news pages but it has chosen not to make that link and instead leave its users to drift off elsewhere to find out about the other issues surrounding the games. It doesn’t make the most of pulling all the relevant and related material togther in the way the Times does with its blogs and sub-site.

The final example of news organisations working on relevance comes before any of that content is even written.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger told the Press Gazette that as part of the newspaper’s adoption of an integrated print and digital news production process reporting staff would abandon the traditional newsdesk structure to instead ape the set-up of Guardian.co.uk reporting staff and be rearranged into subject-specific teams or ‘pods’ to allow closer working between reporters and the ability file for both the web and the print edition as the story demands.

NUJ to recruit first full-time blogger?

According to Martin Stabe, the National Union of Journalists’ London Freelance branch will tonight consider the application of Engadget freelance contributor Conrad Quilty-Harper.

Read more about all the hoops Mr Quilty-Harper has already had to jump through on his own blog here.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear has already boasted on his blog that “Membership in new media was up almost 11% over the past year” and asks “Who says we’re not attracting new media workers?”

Who indeed.

Breaking news coverage on Twitter of fire in East London

London-based twitterers have broken the news of a huge fire in East London.

Tweets describing the spread of a black cloud of smoke in the Stratford area of the city are the first reports of the incident – before any accounts online from the mainstream media.

The first tweet Journalism.co.uk saw on the fire came from the Guardian’s head of blogging Kevin Anderson shortly before 12:30pm. Anderson has also posted pictures to Flickr and at 12:45pm posted an entry on the events to his Guardian blog.

Again according to Twitter The Press Association has now put up pictures of fire.

Sky News are now showing live coverage on the site and a quick search on Google News suggests Sky was the first mainstream media to file on the story at 12:34pm. Sky seem to have been the first news organisation on the scene and are now providing regular updates and a map pinpointing the location of the fire.

A ticker across the top of the BBC News site promises “more soon” reporting a “large plume of smoke” rising from a fire in East London”.

A brief report on Reuters also appeared at 12:39pm.

Tweets from Martin Stabe, new media correspondent with the Press Gazette, say the smoke cloud is now covering PG’s offices based in Underwood Street. (As Martin points out in a comment below, the cloud appeared to be covering the PG’s offices, but was actually further away. Still, he updated his Twitter accordingly and very quickly.)

Was anyone covering it earlier than the Twitter correspondents mentioned here?

UPDATE: reports are that the fire began in a disused bus depot – here’s a view of what the site looked like before it started.

The NUJ and new media: What’s all the fuss about?

The ‘fuss’ was started by an article from Donnacha Delong, a member of the NUJ‘s multimedia commission, published in the Journalist (we’re still waiting for our copy because of the postal strikes, but you can read the whole thing on Delong’s blog).

The article is an introduction to a report by the NUJ’s commission on multimedia working to be released in full next month and, according to the blogosphere, it makes some sweeping arguments that suggest the NUJ is anti-digital media.

Communities editor of Telegraph.co.uk Shane Richmond’s initial reaction to the article on his blog described it as ‘scaremongering’, ‘reactionary’ and ‘badly-argued’.

In a further blog post, Richmond takes to task the whole spread of articles on convergence in the Journalist in which Delong’s article features. He challenges several of the ideas it raises, including:

  • that journalists need protection from new media
  • that online publishers replicate their competitors producing “a dull uniformity of content and presentation”
  • that the online medium restricts design and opportunities for user experience

Jeff Jarvis, whose first reaction to the NUJ’s article was that it was a “whiny, territorial, ass-covering, protecting-the-priesthood, preservation-instead-of-innovation faux” report, is now urging a different approach.

In an updated post on Buzzmachine Jarvis writes that “if you’re a union representing journalists today, you probably don’t know which way is up and who’s the enemy and what you’re fighting for. All the old reflexes and relationships are archaic.”

The idea that the NUJ’s structure as a union body needs to be adapted to better accommodate online journalism is echoed by Roy Greenslade, who has resigned from the NUJ in reaction to its approach to digital media.

As Greenslade says in his blog:

“[Shane] Richmond rightly points to the NUJ’s underlying assumption that the net is a threat to journalism when, of course, it is much more a threat to the union itself. Why? Because the union, as with the print unions of old, cannot possibly adapt to meet the revolutionary demands of a new technology.”

The debate is spreading – as a round-up by Shane Richmond shows even US site Valleywag has picked it up.

Final verdicts await given that the full report won’t be available until mid-November we are assured.

In the mean time take a look at Martin Stabe’s summary of the commission’s initial findings, which points out the following:

“The commission’s survey on NUJ chapels found that 50 per cent of chapels had experienced redundancies since the web operation was introduced; 75 per cent of chapels said their workloads had increased; 37 per cent said journalists were working longer hours. Only 34 per cent said the quality of new media was professional, 52 per cent called it adequate, and 14 per cent said it was poor.”

While the union’s structure and attitude to online journalism should and is being scrutinised throughout the blogosphere, if some of the experiences of journalists found by the commission and reported by Stabe are true then these are worrying developments that the industry must act upon. Unfortunately, these articles suggest that the NUJ may not be fit to do this.

For disaster reporting – change your site template and turn on social media mode

The wildfires that are raging through California and have caused half-a-million people to be ordered from their homes have encouraged news providers to ditch their normal website formats and go into wholly innovative crisis-reporting mode.

Having a design format for breaking news that’s significantly different from the usual run of breaking news helps draw attention to the scale and importance of the story.

Cluttered websites like 10news.com and KNBC.com – Cory Bergman at Lost Remote points out – have failed to get over the magnitude of the events.

Adopting a unique layout for the home page – Corry adds – can also allow more content to surface:

“If you build a breaking news layout ahead of time, it’s not that much work to execute it when the story breaks. Just flick the switch. TV sites should own breaking news, and a flexible, content-driven design plays a big part.”

It’s something BBC News also does for big stories. It abandons the usual format of running a lead and to sub-lead stories, replacing them with a single large image to direct attention to a specific story.

Sites like the LA Times and MSNBC have adopted a similar approach for the fires. The Times has a photo gallery on its front page, along with links to its interactive maps, evacuation info and quick stats on the carnage the fires are causing.

Homepage design aside, devices for reporting the breaking news On The Fly have caused some news providers to ditch the usual tools and wing it with social media.

As we posted yesterday, radio station KPBS is using Twitter to do ‘Real-Time Updates’ on its website and to direct readers to local authority announcements, its Google Map of the fires, traffic updates and addresses for evacuation centres.

News 8, a CBS affiliate in San Diego, has even (thanks to Martin Stabe @ the Press Gazette for the point) taken down its normal website and replaced it with a rolling news blog, with links to YouTube videos and necessary/emergency information.

One of those uploaded videos is from journalist Larry Himmel, who reports on his own house being destroyed:


Guardian seeks professional content tagger

The Guardian is advertising for a keyword manager to look after the labelling of its online content and ‘ensure that it is consistent with the needs of the reader and the editorial values of the Guardian and Observer’.

As we reported from last week’s AOP conference, Meg Pickard, head of communities at Guardian Unlimited, stressed the growing importance of keywords and said that the Guardian wanted to extend its use of keywords to provide more opportunities for user curation on the site.

According to the listing, which Martin Stabe kindly pointed out, the ideal candidate will be a journalist with a particular interest in archiving and a keen editorial sense, who can work across a variety of media.

Better still – encourage journalists/editors to incorporate this keywording practice into their daily routine?

Video blogging hits Shropshire

Local rag The Shropshire Star has an entertaining blog from video journalist James Shaw.

Shaw, who started the blog in January, posts on the trials and tribulations of being a video journalist in the making.

Top tips include:

  1. Try not to laugh when operating a hand-held device;
  2. Always check your kit before starting a job;
  3. Don’t get jealous of other people’s cameras.

Might sound obvious, but these are the sort of things you only find out when it’s already too late.

Good luck James, and thanks to Martin Stabe for pointing this out.