Tag Archives: Society of Professional Journalists

US student journalism awards open for entries

Entries can now be submitted to the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Mark of Excellence Awards for 2011 which recognise the best student journalism in the US.

The awards – which include 39 categories across print, radio, television and online journalism – will first be judged by region, with the winners then put forward for the national competition.

The contest is open to anyone enrolled in a college or university in the US studying for an academic degree in 2010. Students who have had full-time, professional journalism experience, outside of internships, are not eligible. Entries must have been published or broadcast during the 2010 calendar year.

The deadline for entries is 26 January. There are more details on the competition website.

‘There is a future for journalism, but it is a very expansive future,’ says conference organiser

Glyn Mottershead teaches newspaper journalism at the University of Cardiff. He blogs at http://egrommet.net/ and is @egrommet on Twitter.

Journalism will survive – but there’s no simple solution for how it gets there, or who is going to pay for it. That was the key message that underpinned the Future of Journalism conference at the Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural studies last week.

Delegates from 42 countries gathered in the city to hear over 100 papers looking at the industry from a range of aspects:

  • New media technologies, blogs and UGC;
  • Sources; Ethics; Regulation; and Journalism practice;
  • Global journalism;
  • Education, training and employment of journalists; History
  • Business; Citizen/activist journalism

James Curran (professor of communications at Goldsmith’s College) and Bettina Peters (director of the Global Forum for Media Development) kicked off proceedings with their plenary address.

Curran’s plenary focused on different views of the future: the survivalists, the new media romantics and those who believe there is a crisis of democracy afoot.

Being passive is not an option for the industry or academics, he argued. It is futile to try and predict the future: the focus should be on moulding and shaping the future where the two can work together to keep journalism alive.

Bettina Peters of the Global Forum for Media Development questioned whether it was appropriate to try and export business models from the developed world to the developing world. She discussed the need for collaboration between the northern and southern hemispheres. Journalism needs to be looking at mixed funding models, she said.

She too was concerned that journalists and educators needed to engage in a global discussion to share ideas and solutions and that the conversations shouldn’t just be about money or tools – two key strands of current industry discussion both on- and off-line.

Jon Bramley from Thomson Reuters, John Horgan the Irish press ombudsman, and Kevin Z. Smith, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, were among the participants presenting papers. A full timetable can be found at this link [PDF].

Conference organiser Professor Bob Franklin, of the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, was keen to stress that this wasn’t an academic talking shop – but a key place where journalists and those studying journalism can get together to share research and ideas from around the globe, something crucial given the massive changes taking place in the industry.

His view was that the conference showed there is no single future for journalism. This was echoed in roundtable talks with journalism educators who were finding it difficult to determine what media organisations need, while journalists in the room stated that the media didn’t know what it wants.

Professor Franklin, like many others at the conference, believes the key to the future of journalism depends on the platform and location: while newspapers are in decline in Europe and America they are thriving in India, and there is a rise in daily tabloids in urban South Africa – with a thriving market in used copies of newspapers.

“The conference was about the future of journalism, and that future looks very different from where you are standing,” said Franklin. “We were talking about possibilities, not about sowing gems of wisdom. There is a future for journalism, but it is a very expansive future.”

Video: Professor Alfred Hermida on the Future of Journalism

Helium community earns more than $1 million

Contributors to Helium, the citizen-journalism/amateur writing site, have broken the $1 million mark for total earnings.

The site has 150,000 members earn cash from upfront payments and as part of a revenue share.

“We have about 10,000 who have proven to be talented writers. This is the group that are earning on our site,” Mark Ranalli, CEO of Helium, told Journalism.co.uk.

“Some of our best writers are making $5,000 per year already, and these sums continue to climb as the site continues to grow.

“This milestone represents definitive proof that there is a real market for writers to be compensated for their work online. In the midst of increasing volatility in the traditional media industry, Helium is attracting thousands of publishers and connecting them with high quality subject matter experts on a regular basis,” added Ranalli in a press release.

Helium already has a technology partnership set up with Hearst Newspapers and its members are now allowed access to The Society of Professional Journalists.

SpinSpotter: unspinning online news?

Aimed at uncovering ‘bias and inaccuracy’ in online news stories, new service SpinSpotter has gone live.

The site, which describes itself as ‘very beta’, lets users install a special toolbar – Spinoculars – to identify, share and edit online articles, which they consider biased.

“I believe that journalism has become spin-heavy because journalists operate in an echo chamber. They eat with other journalists, socialize with them, and ride in cabs together. Closeness of groups can drive closeness of opinion and intellectual laziness,” said Todd Herman, founder and chief creative officer of SpinSpotter, in an open letter.

SpinSpotter has attempted to create an objective criteria for what is and what is not biased by working with US journalism schools and using the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

“Their [the journalism schools’] expert knowledge (…) were then combined with guided user input and sophisticated algorithms to identify each instance of bias and inaccuracy in online media, whether it is a reporter stating opinion as fact, an unattributed adjective, a paragraph lifted from a press release, or an expert source with a clear conflict of interest,” a press release from SpinSpotter said (it’s okay, I’ve flagged it up and linked to the release).

Looks like the Spinoculars are only available for Firefox at the minute. Once downloaded and turned on they’ll identify if elements of a news story have previously been identified by another SpinSpotter user.

You can also use them to select and report articles or parts of stories that are biased according to different ‘rules of spin’, whether its as a result of the reporter’s voice or a lack of balance.

SpinSpotter comes hot on the heels of NewsCred – a site aiming to gauge the credibility of news sources – launched late last month.