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paidContent: Managing editor of Huffington Post Media Group leaving for Yahoo

Managing editor of the Huffington Post Media Group Jai Singh, is leaving for a role as Yahoo Media Network editor in chief, paidContent reports.

At Yahoo, he will be responsible for increasing original content and performance across all platforms—and for all of YMN’s leading brands, not only Yahoo News.

Read more from paidContent on this here. Yahoo also reported the move itself.

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Online news, 2004 style

April 27th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

Inspired by (read: a complete rip off of) 10,000 Words’ recent Nostalgia post on US news websites, we’ve put together our own UK version.

There was no way, with the great and patriotic event fast approaching, that one could simply do with linking to a post about American sites. They weren’t the only newspaper publishers to head out into the great frontier of the internet, we had our own Boones and Crocketts of the web, etc. etc.

Sadly, online journalism’s latest frontiersman has prevented the Wayback Machine from crawling his sites. And a few, like Mail Online, are only indexed back to about 2008, which is no fun because they look pretty much like they do today.

But here is a small selection, mostly from 2004, of the UK’s own pioneering efforts.

1. The Guardian, June 14 2004. Amazingly, the EU is still standing, despite facing the might of Robert Kilroy-Silk seven years ago.

More »

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Beet.tv: Video news start up raises $1.5m in funding

US video news start-up site Newsy has raised $1.5 million in new funding, according to a report by Beet.tv of an interview with CEO Jim Spencer.

The funding will allow the site, which currently monitors, analyses and presents news coverage from across the world, to expand in terms of original programming, adding to staff and moving correspondents to different locations.

The company curates about 15 video segments a day which are compilations of clips from many news organizations. They are edited around a specific news topic. The segments are then introduced by a “host” in the Columbia studios. The news source of the videos are identified with links.

In the interview Spencer says the funding will help the site grow into a “true mobile news organisation”.

See the full video interview below:

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Professor suggests 24-hour delay before aggregators can link to content

Suggestions for changes to copyright law posted on the Business Insider by a US university professor and lawyer have come under fire after proposing that the direct reposting of news content from a weekly title online should be banned for a week following publication.

The article suggests that declines within the newspaper industry could be improved if intellectual property rights were to undergo “rethinking”.

Using aggregators like Google and others, I can access essentially in real time the lead paragraphs of almost any story from the New York Times, the Washington Post, or indeed any other major news service. Not surprisingly, traditional print media publications are dying, and not surprisingly their owners’ online dotcom alternatives are generating far too little revenue to pick up the slack; why pay for any content when the essence of everything is available immediately, and free, elsewhere.

The writers Eric Clemons and Nehal Madhani add that one solution could be to apply a waiting time on articles before they can be reposted online by external aggregators, unless it is only in commentary on the work.

A first suggestion would be to provide newspaper and other journalistic content special protection, so that no part of any story from any daily periodical could be reposted in an online aggregator, or used online for any use other than commentary on the article, for 24 hours; similarly, no part of any story from any weekly publication could be reposted in an online aggregator or for any use purpose other than commentary, for one week.

But these proposals have been strongly opposed by online news sites such as Techdirt.com, who said the issues facing newspapers is not the fault of news aggregators.

Revenue from those publications has been in decline for many years — well before Google and the internet existed. The biggest problem many of the bigger publications faced was taking on ridiculous debt loads. On top of that, most of them failed to provide value to their community, as competitors stepped in to serve those communities. That’s not about aggregators.

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Beet.TV: Senior VP for strategy and operations on BBC News website’s US edition

July 23rd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Miranda Cresswell, senior vice president for strategy and operations at BBC Online speaks to Beet.TV about the new US edition of the broadcaster’s news website:

“The impetus for the US edition of BBC news is really about building on momentum as a business (…) BBC is one of the world’s greatest story tellers and we tell incredible stories through news video (…) So video is really at the centrepiece of what we’re doing.”

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‘To the skimmer, all stories look the same and are worth the same’

July 23rd, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Nicholas Carr has an interesting piece on Nieman Reports discussing the speed of news consumption online and the impact on journalism.

According to Carr, “skimming” of news is a threat to serious journalism, which requires “deep, undistracted modes of reading and thinking”.

On the web, skimming is no longer a means to an end but an end in itself. That poses a huge problem for those who report and publish the news. To appreciate variations in the quality of journalism, a person has to be attentive, to be able to read and think deeply. To the skimmer, all stories look the same and are worth the same.

The practice turns news into a “fungible commodity”, he writes, where the lowest-cost provider “wins the day”.

The news organization committed to quality becomes a niche player, fated to watch its niche continue to shrink. If serious journalism is going to survive as something more than a product for a small and shrinking elite, news organizations will need to do more than simply adapt to the net. They’re going to have to be a counterweight to the net.

See his full post here…

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NYTimes.com most visited newspaper site in US last month

NYTimes.com was the most visited newspaper site in the US last month, according to statistics released by comScore.

The New York Times website had more than 32 million visitors and 719 million page views in May, with the average visitor to the site viewing 22 pages of content.

A short way behind was Tribune Newspapers, with 24.8 million visitors.

Jeff Hackett, comScore senior vice president, says the numbers prove online news is the future.

“The good news for publishers is that even as print circulation declines, Americans are actually consuming as much news as ever – it’s just being consumed across more media,” he said. “The internet has become an essential channel in the way the majority of Americans consume news content today with nearly three out of five internet users reading newspapers online each month.”

See the full statistics here.

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Coventry Conversations: The birth of BBC News Online

March 18th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

BBC News Online was initially devised in 1997 as a response to CNN’s online news page, claims its creator and former Editor-in-Chief, Mike Smartt.

“The reason that the BBC decided to go online was that CNN went online in 1996. And because the BBC doesn’t do anything in a hurry, it took it a very long time to actually make the decision.”

Speaking at the University of Coventry as part of its ‘Coventry Conversations’ series, Smartt told of the early days of online news and the difficulties faced by both designers and journalists.

Online journalism had to wait for technology to permit it to expand to its full potential, he said. Deadlines were demolished and journalists were regularly spending over half an hour to write a code with their story, only to have to go back again when a space, comma or any other character wasn’t in place.

The BBC were very wary of going online at first, Smartt said. “Initially, in the BBC, the journalists rejected the idea for two reasons: the money that was used to finance it was obviously coming from radio and television, so there was some resentment, and the internet was seen, amongst the people in the more traditional media, as competition,” he confessed.

When they did push ahead with the idea, experience was obviously thin on the ground. “My only qualification was that I used one of these” he said, showing a picture of his laptop back in 1997. The initial website was running from a server similar both in size and internal technology to his original laptop, he said. “Actually, for three weeks when we first launched the server, big in theory, … looked like this, that’s what we served News Online from, for three weeks, in the corner of the Newsroom.”

He also spoke of the problem of deciding what a story should look like online, whether going on the internet meant that people were looking for “three Ceefax sentences” or something more in-depth. The BBC’s 1996 ‘Online News Concept’ outlined goals that are beginning to be met only recently: valuable text, high-quality pictures that load fast, high-quality audio, full screen videos and full interactivity.

The content of the first test pages was mostly made up of jokes, but the team, led by Smartt, had to redesign the site again and again until the first BBC News Online page was finally agreed upon. He showed one version of the front page with a lively design and a high number of images, but explained why they couldn’t go with it: “If you remember back then you had dial-up, and you literally rang them up, and then this sound came along, and then you were connected, and only later up came the site, very, very slowly.”

Smartt finished with a warning to those who are not prepared to embrace new forms of journalism: “If you can’t handle multi-media, and you will have to in future, you are doomed in this business.”

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Journalism 2.0: ‘Patience is a virtue when building a local audience’

December 15th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Events, Online Journalism

Mark Briggs shares his jottings from last week’s Interactive Local Media conference in Los Angeles, with some noteworthy nuggets from those behind successful and emerging news models. For example, advice from local community news/review site Yelp (also growing in the UK):

Patience is a virtue when building a local audience. Yelp COO Geoff Donaker said it takes 18-36 months for a new Yelp site to reach critical mass with reviews, even with staff ‘on the street’ in every Yelp market. Yelp has nearly doubled its audience in the past year to about 11 million uniques per month.

Full post at this link…

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PCUK/Harris Poll: Readers want to spend as close to nothing as possible for online news

September 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Perhaps unsurprisingly – given Monday’s results indicating that only five per cent of 1,188 users polled by paidContent:UK and Harris Interactive would pay for their preferred news website – people do not want to spend very much either.

“When asked the maximum amount they would be prepared to pay, respondents who read a free news site at least once a month gave us the lowest possible amount in each category – annual subscriptions under £10, a day pass costing under £0.25 and per-article fees of between 1p and 2p.”

Furthermore, PCUK’s Robert Andrews reminds us to bear in mind ‘that most of these readers said they did not want to pay – their answers suggest they may pay even less or not at all’.

Full PCUK findings at this link…

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