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How the five journalists with the greatest online influence use social media

May 26th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Ben Goldacre, whose Bad Science blog and column in the Guardian keeps journalists writing about health in check; Hilary Alexander, fashion director of the Telegraph; Jemima Kiss, technology writer at the Guardian; Robert Peston, business editor for the BBC and Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch UK have all been ranked by PeerIndex as the five UK journalists with the greatest online influence.

PeerIndex measures social capital using a method very similar to that which Google uses to calculate its page rank. It automatically ranks those with a Twitter account but users can also add LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr and Quora accounts.

Here is a snapshot of stats on how the top five people in the list of the UK’s 100 most influential journalists online use social media.

1. Ben Goldacre @bengoldacre

In his own words: “Nerd cheerleader, Bad Science person, stats geek, research fellow in epidemiology, procrastinator.”
All his own tweets? Yes
Followers: More than 114,000
Total tweets: more than 13,500
Following: 765
Average number of tweets per day: 22
Average number of additional followers a day: 258
Facebook: a page with more than 11,000 likes
LinkedIn: no presence

Ben Goldacre’s Twitter account contains a mix of blog posts, retweets, personal opinions and conversations with other users. His behaviour is very active and social, making his feed entertaining and interesting.

2. Hilary Alexander @HilaryAlexander

In her own words: “Fashion and style news from the @Telegraph”
All her own tweets? No, they are also sent by other Telegraph fashion journalists
Followers: Almost 180,000
Total tweets: More than 5,600
Following: 165
Average number of tweets per day: 13
Average number of additional followers a day: 327
Facebook: a page with around 150 likes
LinkedIn: not active

Hilary Alexander is a name journalist who appears on television talking about fashion, hence the substantial following. Her Twitter feed consists of links to her column and comments. There is very little interaction.

3. Jemima Kiss @jemimakiss

In her own words: “Guardian writer, interwebbist and mother, not necessarily in that order. And totally offline, on sabbatical, until 28 May. Ain’t no tweetin’ going on ’til then.” We have spotted the odd rogue tweet, however
All her own tweets? Yes
Followers: More than 24,500
Total tweets: More than 18,000
Following: 581
Average number of tweets per day: 9
Average number of additional followers a day: 35
Facebook: a profile but no page
LinkedIn: 417 connections

Jemima Kiss was the most-followed British journalist on Twitter for a couple of years, but maternity leave allowed others to overtake her, even though she announced her son’s birth online within hours of the fact. When she is active her feed is a very social mix of articles, conversation, pictures and observations.

4. Robert Peston @peston

In his own words: “Business Editor for the BBC”
Followers: More than 36,000
Total tweets: More than 1,400
Following: 171
All his own tweets? Yes, some automated to send links of blog posts
Average number of tweets per day: 16
Average number of additional followers a day: 400
Facebook: a page with 482 likes
LinkedIn: not active

Robert Peston is another “name”. His Twitter account consists extensively of links to articles and observations. However, he does retweet and reference people in his observations even though he is not a conversational tweeter.

5. Mike Butcher @mikebutcher

In his own words: “Editor, TechCrunch Europe: @TCEurope Full bio: mbites.com/contact
All his own tweets? Yes
Followers: More than 24,000
Total tweets: Almost 20,000
Following: 4,429
Average number of tweets per day: 24
Average number of additional followers a day: 30
Facebook: a profile but no page
LinkedIn: +500 connections

Mike Butcher is another conversational tweeter. It can be difficult to find his articles on his Twitter account because he is always retweeting and chatting as well as writing his observations.

Additional reporting by Sarah Booker.

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TechCrunch editor on AOL, its new ‘sugar daddy’ parent

October 18th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Events, Online Journalism

At the AOP Digital Publishing Summit on Friday Journalism.co.uk caught up with editor of TechCrunch Europe Mike Butcher, to speak about the recent purchase of TechCrunch by AOL. Listen below to hear Butcher discuss TechCrunch’s dedication to independent editorial and the deal-breaker behind the purchase.

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#followjourn: Mike Butcher/editor

February 18th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#followjourn: Mike Butcher

Who? Editor of TechCrunch Europe

What? Mike has previously written for the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Times and the New Statesman. He has also worked as the editor of New Media Age magazine. His personal blog is mbites.com.

Where? Read about TechCrunch and Mike Butcher here.

Contact? Follow @mikebutcher

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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Round-up: Media Futures conference 2009 – ‘Beyond Broadcast’

July 6th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events

“Gradually more power cuts – the future is more certain than you think (…) With 90 per cent certainty I can tell you that tomorrow will be Saturday.”
James Woudhuysen, professor of forecasting, De Montford University

“Content is not king, it’s about how people use it. SMS is one of the most expensive mediums but still massively popular.”
Matt Locke, commissioning editor, education new media, Channel 4

The above quotes were just a small sample of the varied and interesting points discussed at Media Futures 2009 in London last Friday.

The conference explored the future of the media as we move ‘beyond broadcast’.

Speakers and guests included the BBC’s Richard Sambrook, POLIS director Charlie Beckett and TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher.

Themes for discussion included desirable, feasible, challenging and viable futures for the industry.

Television
Video on Demand (VOD) was a popular topic, which divided opinions. Avner Ronen, founder of Boxee, a video service that connects your TV to online streaming media, argued that personal video recorders (PVR) were soon to be obsolete.

But as media analysts, including Toby Syfret from Enders, were quick to point out, TV still has a lot of life left in it. According to his analysis, despite the success of services such as the BBC iPlayer, watching streamed content remains a niche market with just 0.5 per cent of total viewing time being spent on computers.

Newspapers
Panellists were agreed on the future for local newspapers. Patrick Barwise, professor of management and marketing at London Business School said: “Local newspapers won’t come back, the classified advertising model that held them together has changed.”

After the conference I ran into Bill Thompson, the BBC’s technology columnist. Listen below to hear his views on the future for journalists:

Alex Wood is a multimedia journalist and social media consultant based in London. You can find him on twitter here.

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Media140: Twitter, newsgathering and trust

May 21st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Social media and blogging

“We are putting a massive amount of trust in one platform here. Twitter is throttling this mechanism obviously for its own commercial ends (…) If we put so much of our newsgathering onto one platform we’re in real danger,” said Mike Butcher, TechCrunch UK editor, yesterday as part of a panel on the ‘140-character story’.

While much of yesterday’s Media140 conference focused on best practice and how journalists can use microblogging tools such as Twitter, Butcher and his fellow panellists comments were a warning to news organisations tempted to jump on a social media bandwagon.

As journalists, ‘we always want the next big thing, because it validates the fact that we’ve written about them’, said fellow speaker Bill Thompson, referring to his own experience as a freelance technology writer.

But, added Thompson, if ‘old media’ rules are applied too readily to new media, organisations will ‘miss the essential quality of what Twitter is doing’.

Some ‘old’ guidelines still apply, suggested BBC technology editor Darren Waters: “We cannot get into a world where the real-time web means the ‘not wrong for long’ era.”

Listening to yesterday’s panel the issue of the personal/professional divide when journalists enter social media or online communities – indeed how ‘social’ they can be on these platforms – is still a work in progress.
The BBC is still working on its editorial policy towards personal social media use by journalists (and after all ‘social media’ is not some fixed, homogenous lump) – it has set out some guidelines at this link – the corporation must consider its relationship with its audience and to what extent personal content is seen as representing the BBC.

But – as panellist Jon Gripton, senior editor at Sky News Online, suggested – in terms of following up reports on Twitter and social media, for example of breaking news events, the same journalistic attitude towards fact-checking and verification apply.

A mantra from Thompson: “I don’t believe anything I see or read on Twitter, it tells me where to go.”

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Media140: Follow the event where microblogging meets journalism

Updated May 20: There’s a great line-up of speakers at tomorrow’s today’s Media140 conference and Journalism.co.uk is proud to be involved as a media sponsor.

Panels featuring, amongst others, the Guardian’s blogs editor Kevin Anderson, Sky News Online senior editor Jon Gripton and TechCrunch editor Mike Butcher, will discuss how Twitter and social media work as tools for journalists and news organisations.

A full agenda can be viewed on the Media140 site.

If you’re not attending there are plenty of ways to follow online including: a Flickr group, a roster of bloggers (including Mike Atherton, Vikki Chowney, Dan Thornton and Kate Day) and – in the spirit of the event using the hashtag #media140.

You can watch the livestream below:

If you’re an Audioboo user – why not tag your boos with #media140 too?

Sky News will be running a liveblog on the event and you can see a Twitter stream of updates with hashtag below:

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TechCrunch: Shiny Media slashes staff – last founder left

“Of the three main [Shiny Media] founders only one now remains, Chris Price. Katie Lee leaves today, as do staff on several of their blog titles,” TechCrunch reports.

TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher is ‘trying to confirm numbers and which titles will suffer.’

Full story here…

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AOP 2008: At yesterday’s digital sweetshop – best of the rest

October 2nd, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

It was all a bit kids in a sweetshop at yesterday’s AOP Digital Publishing Summit, if we forget all the problems with wifi, of course.

The main aim, for most attendees, In all likelihood, was to talk to all the people they know in online life, but rarely get the chance to talk to in person – over coffee (and odd looking cake/pastries) and lunch during the day, and drinks in the evening.

The programme ranged from panels to energetic speakers with a broad range of digital publishing topics covered – though perhaps not as much new discussion was initiated as some participants hoped, despite Peter Bale from Microsoft attempt to get some answers from YouTube’s Jonathan Gillespie.

A few additional highlights to add to our coverage so far:

Emily’s Bell’s vision for Guardian’s international reach: In the panel introducing ‘the digital pioneers,’ Bell, director of digital content for Guardian News & Media, said the group sees now as a ‘uniquely’ timed opportunity for the brand to expand internationally – and to do so before their rivals do.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk afterwards, Bell elaborated on her example of the Economist’s well-established grasp of the international market.  Although it happened for the Economist over a 20-year period, she told me that a similar endeavour in 2008 is ‘compressed’ by the web.

Bell also pointed out during the panel that the Chinese words for ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’ are one and the same (I tried to keep that in mind as my laptop charger physically broke and the wifi went down).

The Guardian’s move stateside was also referred to by Saul Klein, partner of Index Ventures and moderator of later panel ‘Growing in the Digital World’.

Quoting Simon Waldman, Guardian Media Group’s director of digital strategy and development (and Emily Bell’s boss), Klein said the Guardian’s acquisition of ContentNext was ‘well set up to exploit’. Waldman explained how moves like that prepared the group for a US audience.

The ‘Unlocking the mobile internet’ panel: In the spirit of the thing, TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher gave out his mobile number for questions before probing the panel on their respective views on mobile internet’s future.

Is 2009 the year of mobile? Melissa Goodwin, controller of mobile at ITV says not: “I don’t think it’s next year, I’m hoping it’s 2010.”

“We just want to give you anything you may want,” she said of ITV’s mobile strategy, though she admitted that building advertising revenue was very much an ongoing issue.

Goodwin also revealed that consumers can look forward to Friends Reunited on two iPhone applications in the first part of next year, as reported in more depth over at PaidContent.

Stefano Maruzzi, president of CondeNet International, on outlining Conde’s digital development: As reported over at MediaGuardian and PaidContent, CondeNet, the online arm of Conde Nast, has got lots of ideas about lots of things:

  • Rolling out a Wired website worldwide (and in different languages, he told PaidContent)
  • Keeping Tatler’s online presence minimal
  • Engaging with the iPod user audience
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