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10,000 Words: ‘How Twitter saved my journalism career’

August 26th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Jobs

An open and honest post from Mark S. Luckie, who was made redundant at the end of last year by his magazine employer, about searching for a new job and the impact of Twitter on his career since.

Despite numerous applications and ‘the fact that anyone who googled me would find the tweet “Someone should hire Mark Luckie”‘, he hadn’t found a new position, and was beginning to consider roles outside of journalism.

“[But] the most casual tweets, often written to take my mind off my situation, were retweeted hundreds of times, which lifted my spirits and made me feel like I still had the natural ability to spread the news,” writes Luckie, who has used his 10,000 words blog to explore the future of multimedia journalism and reporting.

He ramped up his search for jobs using Twitter and has now taken a multimedia producer position at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Full post at this link…

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#FollowJourn: @arunmarsh/content producer

August 14th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Arun Marsh

Who? Content producer/editor for LocalGov.co.uk.

What? Journalist and content producer on local government; blogger on media and beer

Where? @arunmarsh

Contact? Try his blog Truth’s Revenge.

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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Paying for podcasts? A Times Online poll

July 24th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

Interesting poll currently running (well, at 2:54pm on July 24 at least) on Times Online asking if and how much listeners would be willing to pay to listen to its podcast The Bugle.
Times Online podcast payment poll

Of course this means nothing more than the podcast’s producer’s curiosity over whether its audience would be willing to pay. So far, 41 per cent of respondents have suggested they would pay something; though 59 per cent say they wouldn’t cough up at all.

It’s also quite refreshing to see a newspaper site ask its users outright – whether this means there are any plans to charge or not.

According to a Bloomberg report today, Jonathan Miller, chief digital officer with News Corp, whose News International arm owns the Times, has suggested the group could start charging for news and entertainment online.

Back in June, MediaGuardian reports suggested the Times’ sister title, the Sunday Times, was considering setting up a paid-for standalone webiste.

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#FollowJourn: @jamesgoffin/Regional web producer

July 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: James Goffin

Who? Regional web producer for Archant.

What? He worked as a print journalist before switching to online.

Where? @jamesgoffin

Contact? His blog.

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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Jon Bernstein: Five lessons from a week in online video

July 22nd, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Multimedia

It’s now four years – give or take a few weeks – since broadband Britain reached its tipping point.

Halfway through 2005 there were finally more homes connected to the internet via high speed broadband than via achingly slow dial-up. Video on the web suddenly made a lot more sense.

And given that we’re still in the early stages of this particular media evolution, it’s not surprising that we are are still learning.

Here are five such moments from the last seven days:

1. If you build it they will come…
…provided you build something elegant and easy to use. And then market it like crazy.

This was the week that we learned how the hugely successful BBC iPlayer has overtaken MySpace to become the 20th most visited website in the UK . The iPlayer is now comfortably the second most popular video site even if its 13 per cent share is still dwarfed by YouTube’s 65 per cent.

If you want more evidence of success just look at the BBC’s terrestrial rivals. ITV, Five and even Channel 4 – which had a year’s head start over the BBC – are now aping the look, feel and functionality of the corporation’s efforts. No hefty applets to download – just click and play.

Of course, this model – a different player for each network – will look anachronistic within a few years. Maybe less. Hulu arrives on these shores soon.

2. Don’t do video unless you’re adding value
If you are going to put moving pictures on your newspaper website it’s a good idea to ask why? And the answer should be that it adds something to your storytelling.

Last week the Independent completed a deal that sees the Press Association providing more than 100 90-second clips a week, each focusing on a single news item.

Nothing wrong with the quality or content of the video that the Indy is getting, but where’s the added value? Unless the video has some killer footage or a must-see interview, why would a reader of a 500-word news article click play? I’m not sure they would.

As someone eloquently put it on my blog:

If it’s visual, it needs pictures and maybe video. If it’s verbal, sound will do. For everything else, words are cheaper for the producer and quicker for the consumer.

3. You can’t control the message
Singer Chris Brown chose YouTube as the medium to deliver his first public pronouncements following February’s assault on his now ex-girlfriend Rihanna.

He plumped for the video-sharing site rather than a TV or newspaper interview presumably so he could control the message – no out-of-context editing of his words and no awkward follow-up questions.

To some extent he got his wish. Within 24 hours of posting his 120-second, unmediated mea culpa, it had been viewed nearly half-a-million times.

More significantly, however, the video had received over 12,000 comments and most were hostile.

4. Brands love YouTube
In an oddly defensive post on its YouTube Biz Blog, the people behind Google’s file-sharing site set about busting what it claims are five popular myths.

Putting ‘Myth 4’ to rest – namely that ‘Advertisers are afraid of YouTube’ – the post asserted:

Over 70 per cent of Ad Age Top 100 marketers ran campaigns on YouTube in 2008. They’re buying our homepage, Promoted Videos, overlays, and in-stream ads. Many are organizing contests that encourage the uploading of user videos to their brand channels, or running advertising exclusively on popular user partner content.

We wait, breathlessly, for a follow-up post so we can discover how many of these elite brands made a return on their YouTube investment.

5. Death becomes you
Nearly a month after his passing, Michael Jackson’s life is still being celebrated online. Eight out of this week’s viral video top 20 are either Jackson originals or owe their inspiration to the singer.

A case of the long tail occupying the head. For a few weeks at least.

Jon Bernstein is former multimedia editor of Channel 4 News. This is part of a series of regular columns for Journalism.co.uk. You can read his personal blog at this link.

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ThisisHampshire.co.uk: eInk producer Polymer Vision folds

Polymer Vision, the Dutch-owned technology company, has closed – taking with it its eInk product, Readius.

Readius was designed as a mobile phone screen, but the roll-screen technology had been touted as a possible electronic alternative to books and printed paper.

Plans for its release had been much delayed, reports jkOnTheRunJournalism.co.uk first reported on its development in 2004.

Full story at this link…

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Where does the BBC have bureaux and why?

Journalism.co.uk had been surprised to learn at last month’s Journalism in Crisis event that the BBC used only stringers to cover South America, according to director of news Helen Boaden.

The location of global bureaux ‘is something to do with your colonial past’ she said, adding to comments by BBC director-general Mark Thompson, when he was questioned by an irate audience member on the corporation’s lack of coverage in that part of the world (specifically Latin America).

Audio here:

Does the BBC really have no bureaux in Central and South America? Well, the BBC press office later told Journalism.co.uk, it depends how you define stringers and bureaux.

There is a distinction between ‘newsgathering hub’ bureaux and ‘non-hub’ regional bureaux the BBC spokesperson said. While there are no ‘newsgathering hub bureaux’ in South and Central Americas, there are four regional offices, located in Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Havana. How many in each, Journalism.co.uk asked.

Two in each of the four cities: one producer and one local fixer, both on sponsored stringer contracts with retainers. Other individual stringers cover the rest of the continent other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, with freelancers working from Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Chile and Jamaica.

It’s an interesting question: where are international news organisations’ bureaux and why? A particularly pertinent one to raise, given the difficulties in accessing material from Iran at the moment. The BBC office in Tehran remains open, but permanent correspondent Jon Leyne has been ordered to leave the country, the corporation reported yesterday.

While the BBC had two producers inside a Gaza office in 2008, it did not have any permanent crew on the ground and this affected its coverage of the crisis at the end of that year, and the early part of 2009.

It was helpful for Al Jazeera to have people already based in Gaza, as its two correspondents told Journalism.co.uk in a live-blog interview in April.

NB: Whether Al Jazeera were the ‘only’ English-language international broadcaster in the area for the 12-day media block is still a bone of contention: a journalist later reminded Journalism.co.uk that his employer, Iranian government-funded Press TV, was also reporting from the region during that period.

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Adieu ‘Reporters’ Reporter’: John Mair’s memories of Charles Wheeler

January 21st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Journalism

John Mair, television producer and associate senior lecturer in journalism at Coventry University, shares his thoughts on Charles Wheeler, the legendary BBC journalist who died in July 2008. A memorial service was held in London yesterday.

Yesterday the great and the good of British broadcasting and journalism gathered at Westminster Abbey to honour Sir Charles Wheeler ‘the reporters’ reporter’ who died, aged 85, last year.

Wheeler devoted 60 plus years to great journalism; we all have our personal and professional memories of him. Mine date back to 2004, when I was asked to produce the Media Society dinner at the Savoy Hotel to give him its award and honour him. How do you salute a God?

I’d grown up with his work from America and elsewhere, been a producer in the BBC where he was treated with huge respect, and seen and heard his work.

I can especially remember a ‘so-so’ story on Newsnight in the 1980s about cops beating up a black man in Notting Hill, which was everyday stuff then, unfortunately. It was transformed to a different plane by Wheeler reporting on it: all of a sudden it had ‘bottom’. Charles sprinkled journalistic experience and gold dust on all he touched. That ‘so-so’ became a significant story. Charles Wheeler was like that.

Back to the Savoy Dinner: Charles was modesty itself and happy to go along with whoever came along. Everybody but everybody I approached to speak readily agreed to do so: Helen Boaden, then controller of BBC Radio 4, said no problem; Steve Anderson, then controller for news and current affairs at ITV and a former Wheeler producer at Newsnight, was gagging to be on the cast list; so too the great Peter Taylor, who said he would be ‘honoured’ to be part of such an event. Charles and his work had that sort of influence with even the very best of our trade.

But the icing on the Savoy cake proved to be one Boris Johnson, then a barely known Tory MP, Spectator columnist and part-time clown. Boris is also Wheeler’s son-in-law, and his speech on the night was a tour de force. Scribbled on the back of a Savoy napkin, it had scores of hardened hacks in stitches.

Wheeler was much more measured and contrite when it was his turn: apologising to his many producers for giving them a hard time (the sign of a good reporter – one who in involved enough to get angry); radiating modesty and sheer professionalism at one and the same time. Charles Wheeler was like that – he cared about every single word and every single picture to the bitter end of the film that he was working on – and his life.

Never mind Westminster Abbey, Sir Charles Wheeler’s (Charlie Wheeler to all) work on tape and on screen is his epitaph. That will be with us all for a long, long time to come. Adieu ‘Reporters’ Reporter’. You probably have your notebook out, finding the great stories and telling them.

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‘Trust and integrity in the modern media’ – Chris Cramer’s speech to Nottingham Trent University

This is the full transcript of a speech given by Chris Cramer, global head of multimedia for Reuters’ news operations, at Nottingham Trent University last night. Journalism.co.uk’s report on the address can be read at this link.

So I accepted this invitation shortly after I retired from CNN international – where I was managing director and where I’d been for 11 years or so.

I became a consultant for Reuters news in January and now, in the last few months, have become their first global editor for multimedia.

So, I’m talking to you today as a working journalist, broadcaster and manager for 43 years now and what I would like to talk about is ‘trust and integrity in the modern media’.

I also want to ask the question of you whether the media has maybe lost the message somewhere along the way?

More »

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Online video site, Masher.com, now live

November 12th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia

This week saw the beta launch of Masher.com, a site which allows you to mash together the content of different videos, and use a free BBC archive of generic content. It was originally developed by the BBC Motion Gallery, a press release said.

Masher.com’s chairman, Neil Fenton said, in the release, that for content owners, “Masher offers a completely new way for users to engage with their content, in which those users don’t just consume content online passively but become both producer and consumer in an application that is highly engaging and allows for the maximization of online advertising and sponsorship revenues.”

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