Tag Archives: social network

Social network for journalism researchers

Journalism lecturer and blogger at the Online Journalism Blog (OJB), Paul Bradshaw, has set up a rather nifty social network for journalism and news researchers using Ning:

“It’s an attempt to provide a way for journalism students and academics to get in touch with others researching the same area, exchange ideas and tips, and ask for help on everything from finding relevant literature to sourcing contacts and the best research methods.

“Research is traditionally a solitary, frustrating endeavour. It doesn’t need to be. If you work with journalism students, please encourage them to join the network and contribute a question or an answer,” writes Bradshaw on the OJB.

There are 139 members at time of writing, so go get yourself signed up.

NYTimes people get together with NYTimes people

‘Oh my god, we read the same newspaper!’ It’s like Guardian soulmates, but Stateside, and not necessarily for single people. Ok, so it’s not at all like a singles website at all.

In fact, today saw the public launch of the New York Times social network, TimesPeople. As we reported in June it’s a social network that links up the NY Times audience through their shared interests.

It’s a free service, which allows:

  • RSS feeds with the latest activities of other users in each network, which can be synced to their updates to their Facebook news
  • Users to join in public activities, including readers’ comments, recommendations, reviews, ratings

“We created TimesPeople as a community built around sharing news and information, giving our readers a way to connect with other like-minded readers,” said Marc Frons, chief technology officer of digital operations, at the New York Times, in the release.  “TimesPeople is a great way for our readers to discover content on the site they might not have otherwise.”

Online Journalism Scandinavia: How to kiss 713,000 teenagers and still make a profit

Norway’s largest city is in cyberspace, and its 713 000 ‘citizens’ are generating good revenues for the newspaper that owns it.

Schibsted-owned VG.no is not only Norway’s most read and most profitable news site, it also has a social network making a nice contribution to the news site’s admirable financial results.

A city of teenagers
VG is currently earning a gross margin of more than 50 per cent from this social network, called ‘Nettby‘ (Norwegian for NetCity), Jo Christian Oterhals, head of development, VG Multimedia & chairman of Nettby Community AS, Norway, told the audience at World Association of Newspapers (WAN) conference in Gothenburg last week.

The 713,000-strong city is in fact the biggest city in Norway, bigger than the capital, Oslo.

“Teenage girls are very active here, and we all know that if you get the girls, you also get teenage boys,” said Oterhals, who explained that Nettby’s 713 citizens make up for 61 per cent of all teenagers in Norway.

This demographic is obviously an attractive one for advertisers, but premium membership is also an important source of revenue. “Premium membership is really important for us now, we have more than 50,000 paying customers at any given time,” Oterhals added.

City guards key to success
Nettby is Norway’s second biggest social network after Facebook, but VG.no is not worried about the competition from the trendy website, because the users and purpose of the two social networks are so different:

“Nettby is a place you go to meet new people; on Facebook you keep up with existing friends,” Espen Egil Hansen, managing editor of VG.no, told me on a previous occasion.

Nettby is very much like a party where teenagers hang out, flirt and meet new friends.

“But you can’t just open the door, the best parties are well administered,” said Oterhals.

“That is why Nettby has city guards, volunteers who help moderate and control Nettby,” he explained, adding that these city guards were hand-picked by Nettby’s own people.

“To throw a good party you need good planning, a place, a host, basic rules, a bouncer, an invitation and a few introduction. We try to provide all this,” said Oterhals.

No recipe to make teenagers read news

“Currently there are almost no links between VG and Nettby other than the logo, as it was very important for us when we started Nettby that the kids who came in there did not get the impression that this was their fathers’ website,” said Oterhals.

In other words, Nettby has not been a recipe to get young readers reading newspapers – a topic much discussed during WAN.

Instead, Oterhals told journalism.co.uk, part of the rational for running this social network was to be part of what is happening on the web and to figure out how young readers use the web.

“What is your competitor online is not as easy to figure out online as in print – it could be Google, it could be Facebook – so we stay awake at night thinking about what the next big thing will be, who our new competitors are,” he said

VG.no has also launched the site in Sweden, where it failed due to many Norwegian teenagers hanging out there, and more recently in Spain, where it is an add-on to the online operation of 20 Minutos, Schibsted’s Spanish freesheet.

“Analysts said Nettby’s success will last for six years max, so the challenge for us is to look at how can we repackage and launch it as new products. I think that will be our strategy for the future,” said Oterhals.

WSJ launches business women’s section

The Wall Street Journal has added a new section to its site for women in business.

Journal Women – aimed at ‘ambitious professional and executive women’ – will feature discussion boards, a blog, video content and online polls.

The new section comes after Forbes.com announced plans earlier this week of a social network for female business executives.

Aftonbladet rolls out social network for readers

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has soft launched a new community for users called Snack, Media Culpa reports.

It is hoped the site, which lets users share comments, images and videos, will be populated by readers acting under their own names rather than anonymous pseudonyms.

According to Media Culpa, the newspaper will soon open up commenting facilities across its online articles to encourage even more user interaction with the site.

Social Media Journalist: “The problem with most news organisations is a lack of editorial understanding of social media” Kevin Anderson, Guardian blogs editor

Journalism.co.uk talks to reporters across the globe working at the collision of journalism and social media about how they see it changing their industry. This week, Kevin Anderson, Guardian.co.uk.

image of Kevin Anderson

1) Who are you and what do you do?
Kevin Anderson, blogs editor at Guardian.co.uk.

My title is misnomer seeing as desk editors handle most of the commissioning.

My role is two-fold. I spot newsworthy items bubbling up in social media – blogs, social news sites, Twitter, etc – and report on that or pass it along to the appropriate site editor.

I also seed and develop strategies to promote Guardian content in those social networks. My current focus is what I call real-time innovation. I use emerging tools for editorial purposes and feed back lessons we learn into our editorial development process.

2) Which web or mobile-based social media tools do you use on a daily basis and why?
People ask me how I stay on top of it all, and I say that my network is my filter. I have Twhirl and IM on constantly, sitting in the background. New media professionals and contacts around the world pass me things I need to read or stories I need to follow up on through Skype, Twitter, IM and Del.icio.us.

Popurls.com is a great one-stop site for buzz, especially for the US elections, which I’m following right now. NetNewsWire, Flock and Ecto are my blogging tools of choice.

The Flock browser is good in a number of ways. Its Flickr uploader is great – better than Flickr’s until recently. It also allows you to add sites to multiple Del.icio.us accounts.

You can go from reading your RSS feeds to blogging instantly in Flock, as it pulls NetNewsWire functionality into the browser too.

For publishing, a combination of Ecto and any good blogging platform creates the best multimedia journalism tool that I’ve ever used.

I recently got a Nokia N82. With its stellar camera and integrated Flickr uploader it has a lot of promise , but it’s hampered by poor data plans in the UK.

The mobile carriers are focusing on USB-based data plans to link computers to the mobile web, which maybe a good start, but there are still too few good data plans for phones.

I end up relying on WiFi, which on the N82 is much better than on previous phones.

3) Of the thousands of social media tools available could you single one out as having the most potential for news either as a publishing or newsgathering tool?
I think in terms of editorial objectives and then find an applicable tool. In 12 years of doing online journalism, I’ve had to learn hundreds of desktop tools, content management systems and now a dizzying range of social media tools.

You have to be aware of them to work effectively. Knowing about the tools allows me to do something on deadline without worrying whether it can be developed on time.

However, the problem with most news organisations isn’t a lack of tools or technology but a cultural lack of editorial understanding of social media, internet media and internet culture.

Most news organisations continue to try to force their existing editorial strategies into the social media space instead of considering editorial strategies that are appropriate for the space.

Online video isn’t television on the internet, just as blogs are not about publishing a newspaper with comments.

I can use Twitter both as a newsgathering and promotional tool, or I can just use it to broadcast headlines at people.

Social media can increase loyalty from visitors to a site and increase the time they spend on the site, but it’s not about the tools but the way that journalists use them.

4) And the most overrated in your opinion?
I hate to sound like a broken record because others have said this before, but I really think Facebook is overrated for the majority of our audiences.

Traditional journalists who had never seen, much less used a social network before, hyped it because it was a revelation to them.

However, for those who had used social networks before, it was YASN – yet another social network – only shinier, with 20 per cent more Web 2.0 goodness.

I believe in freeing content and making it available where the audiences are, so it makes sense for content to be easily available to Facebook users and for news organisations to have a presence there.

News organisations can learn things from the success of Facebook, but they should also study the life cycle of social networks and learn not only from their successes but also from their failures.

Allowing like-minded readers or viewers to connect and interact using your content as a focus is a good social media strategy.

Hosting and taking an active role in the conversations around your content is also a good social media strategy.

Building a site or service that externalises community and keeps the ‘unwashed masses’ at a safe distance from journalists creates nasty overheads. It also means managing communities and brings nothing to your journalism and very little to your site visitors.

Why would Facebook users decide to move to InsertNewspaperHere-book?