Tag Archives: Ruth Barnett

Digital news editor @fieldproducer leaving Sky News

Sky News’s digital news editor Neal Mann, known to 43,000 people on Twitter as @fieldproducer, has announced he has decided to leave the broadcaster.

Mann announced on Twitter on Friday night:

Another Sky colleague, former social media correspondent Ruth Barnett, is also leaving to become head of communications for Android app producer SwiftKey. She wrote on Friday:

Sky News introduced new guidelines for journalists about the use of Twitter last month, including the line: “Do not retweet information posted by other journalists or people on Twitter. Such information could be wrong and has not been through the Sky News editorial process.”

Reuters’ Anthony de Rosa commented at the time:

These new rules will hamstring Neal and make it difficult, if not impossible, for him to continue to do what he did to garner so much appreciation from people like me. I suspect Sky will come to their senses and realize the error of their ways. If not, they’re going to lose one of their best ambassadors in Neal, and I would suspect many people working at Sky may wonder if they’re working for an organization that is writing policies that will drive them into obsolescence.

FT.com: Social media editors and community managers – a new two-way dialogue

Sky News’ ‘Twitter correspondent’, aka Ruth Barnett, is among those cited in a Financial Times article looking at the emerging ‘social media editor’ and ‘community manager’ roles at media organisations.

Ms Barnett sends pictures and eyewitness reports back to her colleagues, aware that it is often tricky to verify their authenticity.

“It’s a new role, a very diverse one and still evolving,” she says. “I’m very careful about what I say.”

Full story at this link…

Ruth Barnett will be talking at Journalism.co.uk’s news:rewired, Thursday 14 January 2010 (supported by the BBC College of Journalism and the Press Association; sponsored by AudioBoo). Tickets available at this link…

#soe09: Live coverage online – opportunities for audience and money?

The benefits of using social media sites, predominantly Twitter, to cover live news events, newsgather and let the readers in were stressed by speakers from Sky News, Trinity Mirror, NWN Media and Northcliffe in a session at the Society of Editors conference today.

Sky’s social media correspondent (once titled ‘Twitter correspondent’) Ruth Barnett explained what had been learned since her role was created:

“We’d be very foolish as journalists not to be part of this interaction (…) I use it as a newswire – not one as valuable verifiable and reliable as PA, but as a good source of leads, eye witnesses and trends.

“If we can tweet our own breaking news it allows us to be proud of it, own it and direct traffic back to us.”

But there’s more to come: Trinity Mirror multimedia head David Higgerson emphasised the need to work with the audience to improve the use of tools such as CoveritLive.

“The big lesson that we need to learn is that we need to involve the audience more. If people want more passive coverage we’ve got the BBC, which is not to be critical of the BBC, but it can be hard to interact with it,” said Higgerson.

There needs to be experiments with livestreaming video into liveblogs, he added, and newspapers should start looking at the potential of  tools like Audioboo. There’s no reason Audioboo, for example, couldn’t be used for more in-depth reporting, such as livecasting election results, he explained.

But the biggest challenge is finding a way to work with the ‘army of citizen journalists’:

“We need to go to them and our reporters need to be building relationships with them. If we can engage with them on local terms we can create a potent force for live news.”

But it was Hull Daily Mail editor John Meehan who suggested that liveblogging and live-tweeting could be a revenue opportunity for news groups:

“If paid content on the web is part of our salvation we have an obligation to develop services that go far beyond news and traditional reporting (…) It used to be paid-for live coverage in print (…) Covering it live on the web, real-time and interactive, may be one of the keys to earning revenue from content published online,” said Meehan, who used the Mail’s coverage of transfer deadline day in September as an example (500 posts on CoveritLive by journalists; 6,200 comments received on all-day liveblog).

“We’ve got no plans to make them pay for it, but I think we as an industry should have an eye on where we can make money from. If that many people are going to spend that much time on a service, they really value that service (…) Mainstream news is a commodity; we need to find the things that aren’t commoditised.”

#FollowJourn: @ruthbarnett/Sky News correspondent

#FollowJourn: Ruth Barnett

Who? Correspondent for Sky News with a particular focus on online reporting.

What? Recently added Twitter correspondent to her list of duties.

Where? @ruthbarnett.

Contact? newsonline [at] bskyb [dot] com.

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.

‘Twinterview’ with @RuthBarnett – Sky News’ new Twitter correspondent

From 9.30am (GMT) @journalism_live will be interviewing @RuthBarnettTwitter correspondent for Sky News, about her new job. Follow the conversation here, and please drop in your own questions with the tag #SkyRB. After 30 minutes answering questions from @journalism_live she will answer the questions from the ‘audience’.

Update: and here’s how it went. The live updated stream has now been replaced by the conversation that took place (slight changes for ease of reading):

journalism_live: @ruthbarnett to be interviewed via Twitter and @journalism_live shortly…

RuthBarnett: #skyRB Hi I’m here and ready to go!

journalism_live: Morning @ruthbarnett! Thanks for finding time in your Twitter day. Followers – please tag yr Qs #SkyRB and she’ll take them after 30 mins

journalism_live: @ruthbarnett Firstly: You’re ‘really’ a Twitter correspondent for Sky News: is that the actual job title on the business card?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live I still have my old business cards which say multimedia producer! But it would be cool to get Twitter ones.

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett so what does yr day involve? You must do other stuff, as well as scan Twitter all day?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live Yup I look for stories, write things up for skynews.com, live tweet from events eg Google launch, do some TV

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett How did it get suggested? Was it your idea?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live Its really the brainchild of news ed @jongrip but it followed conversations we’d had about Twitter, new media etc

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett There’s been a lot of online attention about yr appt: do people ‘get’ what you’re doing?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live I think most people do. Its about being part of the conversation – listening and responding. Coverage was a shock!

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett yes, you’re enjoying Twitter fame! so, how’s the first week gone: what have you done?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live I’ve made my first two TV appearances, written stories for online, let followers give their views on stories + more

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett not bad! any really good scoops sourced via Twitter yet?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live We were v quick off the mark on the London fire and pix. Also people have been in touch about their real lives

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett Interesting – how does it shift dynamics of your relationship with users and viewers?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live eg this story today www.tinyurl.com/tillygeorge came from a tweet.

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live I hope it makes us easier to approach, you can give feedback to us v quickly, its a genuine interaction.

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett There’s so much noise on Twitter – are you able to filter out the bad stuff and find the gems?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live Yeah I hope so. And people are quick to let me know if they think I’ve missed something which is useful!

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett well we cd go on but we’ll open to the floor…. Any questions for the professional Twitterer?

journalism_live: @ruthbarnett maybe start with a Q from @1DimensionalMan: What do you think of the idea of a premium version of Twitter? Its impact?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live I thought that had been outed as a hoax this week? I may be wrong. I’m not sure it would work to be honest

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live It would change the way the community worked and perhaps people would move to another service? What do you think?

journalismnews: @ruthbarnett is now taking questions from the Twitter masses: what do you want to ask about Sky News use of Twitter?

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live @PoppyVix asked if I also look for stories as well as tweet. Yes – from breaking news to interesting quirky stories

hfitz: @journalism_live  What do you think of PR people using Twitter? Is it intrusive or do you encourage it?

RuthBarnett: @hfitz If they do it in an open way it can be useful. But people will unfollow if they just push their product, no?

NewspaperWorld: @ruthbarnett has there been an increase in readers accessing sky news since twitter?

RuthBarnett: @NewspaperWorld Too early for me to comment on that but I believe we are reaching out to new readers which is great.

Partois: @ruthbarnett Twitter still appears to be a North American fad. Can it really take off in Europe?

RuthBarnett: @Partois Its true many users seem to be from the US but anecdotally I think its really growing in the UK

makemusicnotwar: @ruthbarnett Some say you dnt need a “twitter correspondent”. Shouldn’t all skynews journos just use twitter to hunt for stories etc?

RuthBarnett: @makemusicnotwar Colleagues do! But useful to have one point of contact & give that person time to invest in it

RuthBarnett: Any more questions you’d like to ask? Thanks for all sent so far, interesting to hear what you’re curious about #skyRB

GoooRooo: @ruthbarnett if I @ you can you sort out my rubbish Sky customer service?

RuthBarnett: @GoooRooo Don’t think so I’m afraid. Surprised to hear that as I’ve always had a good experience and fast response

NewspaperWorld: @ruthbarnett could you further explain the benefits of having one twitter correspondent instead of many journalists on twit?

RuthBarnett: @NewspaperWorld Sure. Helps you know who to contact. Means we one person delve deeper, devote more time, + interact

NewspaperWorld: @ruthbarnett Thanks. What do you think of interviews on twitter? effective?

RuthBarnett: @NewspaperWorld Yes because its quick and simple and reaches more people. It’s been an interesting experience.

makemusicnotwar: @RuthBarnett Has having a journo devoted to twitter paid off? Hav u found stories, involved users & done things your colleagues cudnt?

RuthBarnett: @makemusicnotwar Yes I hope so. But I’m only five days in! Will always listen to how I can do better.

makemusicnotwar: @RuthBarnett Thanks. It’s been very interesting to hear from you. I will be following your progress with great interest.

RuthBarnett: @journalism_live Thanks Jude at Journalism.co.uk for hosting today.

journalism_live: @RuthBarnett our pleasure! Thanks for your time. Happy Tweeting and speak again soon…

Friday 9.30am GMT: ‘Twinterview’ with @RuthBarnett, Sky’s new Twitter correspondent

Ruth Barnett has caused a bit of a stir in online news with her new job: as Sky News’s Twitter correspondent.

Using her Twitter account, @RuthBarnett, Barnett sources news stories on Twitter and feeds them back to the Sky News team.

Tomorrow, Journalism.co.uk will interview @RuthBarnett via @journalism_live, our event and live-interviewing Twitter account. From 9.30 am – 10.30 am she will answer questions using the hashtag #SkyRB.

It will be the end of her first week in the role and she’ll be telling us all about her new job: why, how and what.

Please pitch in with your own questions via Twitter, labelling them #SkyRB and she will answer them after the first 30 minutes of the interview with @journalism_live.

We’ll also be streaming the conversation here on the blog.

SoE08: Younger voices at the Society of Editors conference

It made a nice change to hear from some multimedia journalists working at the frontline of the industry in the training session at the Society of Editors (SoE) conference today.

Ruth Barnett, a multimedia producer for Sky News, described how the industry had changed between starting her journalism training in 2005 and graduating a year later.

“I’ve been able to adapt to working in a multimedia, multi-platform way because this is precisely how I consume news myself,” she explained.

“I understand that not everyone in a newsroom can work in this way – I need experience of other journalists in the newsroom.”

Fellow panellist and multimedia reporter with the Western Morning News, Jane Omara, was initially trained as a web journalist and has been given training by her employer in more traditional skills such as media law and shorthand.

She explained to Journalism.co.uk that there was still ‘room for maneouvre’ for trainees when it came to learning new digital skills: