Tag Archives: Paul Balcerak

Paul Balcerak: Don’t just ask for news material via social media – offer help

Assistant editor of new media for a local news publisher in the US, Paul Balcerak looks at how a bread-and-butter bad weather story can use social media for more than just crowdsourcing images from readers by sharing information and answering their questions:

Essentially, I was trying to flip the information flow around (again), by asking, “What do you need?” and hyperfocus it down to an individual level. To me, that’s what social media is anyway: connecting one-to-one to help each other. If even just one person @ replied me and asked about where to find a place with power and free WiFi, that’s one person helped (and I’m betting a few more people would’ve been interested in the information anyway).

Full post at this link…

Wrapping up the #cfund debate

Yesterday’s #cfund debate on future business models for online news and journalism had plenty of ideas and voices in the mix.

Journalism.co.uk dipped in and out, but for those of you who want to read the whole thing there’s a Tweet stream and the CoverItLive version.

A handy round-up from participant Paul Balcerak, who writes on Wired Journalists about his key points in the debate:

  • ‘Let the market handle it’ = do nothing
  • Sponsorship for distribution e.g. people who care about journalism should invest in profitable industries outside of journalism and reinvest the profits in news
  • Someone needs to try something

Other interesting titbits:

  • A whopping 85 per cent against paying for news on a poll during the debate
  • Create an online/offline community around a news brand and that community will pay for news online (well it used to work for paid-for newspapers didn’t it?)
  • Micropayments have potential if they are used without building a wall around newspapers (from @NewspaperWorld)

Any other participants from the debate are welcome to leave comments/links to their blog posts on the debate.

Experiences of using Publish2 to report the Washington flooding

As reported on the Journalism.co.uk main site, Washington newspaper rivals have joined forces to publish shared links relating to extreme flooding in the Western Washington region, in one of the first examples of ‘networked link journalism’ in action.

Journalism.co.uk contacted Paul Balcerak, assistant editor of dynamic media at Sound Publishing, publisher of the PNWLocalNews.com site.

Further to his comments in the main piece, Balcerak shares here his thoughts on using Publish2, the link journalism site and application:

What does it have over other link applications (e.g Ma.gnolia/Delicious)?
“The big selling point for me is the create-a-widget that lets you bundle links by tag and embed them (via Javascript) on your web page. Sure, if we wanted to build our own Delicious widget we could have done that, but this was already there for us and allowed us to work a lot faster.”

What benefit is it to you to work with your competitors?
“It made our jobs a lot easier, too. Pnwlocalnews is an aggregate site for all the sites under the Sound Publishing umbrella (about 35 of them, which all represent small, community newspapers).

“Our newsroom staffs aren’t huge – some consist of only a couple or few people – and to be frank, there’s just no way for us to have all the breaking news, all the time.”

At the moment a lot of US regional journalists seem to be using it (hasn’t really taken off in UK yet) – do you think it suits that environment particularly?
“I can’t really say, as I’m really not aware of how the environment outside the U.S. differs.

“I think part of it might be that it’s sort of this ‘Delicious for Journalists,’ which appeals to those who are hesitant to embrace ‘citizen journalism,’ or whatever we’re calling it. It’s more exclusive.

“For my part, it’s just another aggregate network that a ton of great journalists are on – why wouldn’t I be there?”

How could Publish2 improve its service for journalists?
“There are a few little things that could be improved (I can’t seem to find a search function to look up other people on the network) but I think the only real downside is that, well, it’s another aggregate network.

“It’s another username/password that you have to remember and log into everyday. If the Publish2 people ‘Who Make Things Happen’ could get it listed in Shareaholic or ShareThis, that might make it a little more convenient.”