Tag Archives: The Guardian

A Guardian hotel? Publisher says it is ‘exploring options’

Guardian News and Media says it is “currently researching and exploring a range of options”, amid claims that it is thinking of developing a new hotel concept.

A post on the Washington-based Harry’s Place blog quoted a market research email which described the hotel idea as “an atmospheric place to unwind, broaden your mind and meet others”.

This would be much more than simply a place to stay and would offer an inspiring break for our guests.

The hotel would offer a diverse programme of activities and events including workshops, debates and classes featuring guest speakers, writers, artists, chefs and political commentators.

Or it could simply be a place to relax with others. A stay at the hotel would be a social experience with plenty of communal space. We are in the very early stages of forming this plan and your feedback will be valuable in helping us to shape it.

Guardian News and Media said in a statement today: “We are currently researching and exploring a range of options relating to our successful adult educational course – Masterclasses – and our travel offerings.”

Media release: Guardian announces it is opening its doors for a weekend

The Guardian has today announced the launch of a two-day festival with more than 300 speakers.

Its Open Weekend will take place on 24 and 25 March and be open to the paying public.

It will cover topics such as the phone-hacking scandal, which will hear from speakers including Guardian investigative journalist Nick Davies and Tom Watson MP.

In a release, the news outlet said speakers presenting at the event at its Kings Cross offices would will include “Guardian editors, writers and columnists will be speakers from all over the world – including Egypt, Pakistan, the US and India”.

Among those taking part are authors Ian McEwan, Robert Harris, Jeanette Winterson, Alain de Botton, Kamila Shamsie and Adhaf Soueif, the economist Jeff Sachs, the director Steve McQueen, the playwright David Hare, artists Grayson Perry and Jeremy Deller, broadcaster Jon Snow and politicians David Miliband, Tom Watson, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Lucas, Tristram Hunt and Chris Huhne.

The Guardian’s best-known faces will also be hosting a series of debates and conversations. These include Charlie Brooker, Marina Hyde, Polly Toynbee, Zoe Williams, Grace Dent, Michael White, Jackie Ashley, John Harris, Suzanne Moore, Jonathan Freedland, Simon Hoggart, Nick Davies, Deborah Orr, Simon Jenkins, Peter Bradshaw, Michael Billlington and Simon Hattenstone.

The event promises to “bring to life the Guardian’s uniquely open, collaborative and networked approach to publishing on the web, and will be a key moment in the Guardian’s forthcoming brand campaign”.

In the release, Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media, said:

We pride ourselves on our open and collaborative approach to journalism and what better way to demonstrate this than physically opening our doors to readers? The Guardian is at a pivotal moment in its history and our first-ever Open Weekend will give readers the opportunity to join us on our journey. Our top writers, editors and photographers will be there to speak, discuss and listen, and readers will be able to meet with some of their favourite Guardian faces.

Tickets cost £40 for a Saturday day pass, £30 for a Sunday pass or £60 for the weekend.

Media release: Guardian’s iPad app hits half a million downloads

The Guardian iPad edition has been downloaded more than half a million times since it launched in October 2011, with 23,000 downloads on Christmas day alone.

The Guardian has not released figures for the number of editions downloaded.

From Friday 13 January iPad readers will be asked to pay £9.99 for a monthly subscription. Content has been free of charge for users in the first three months since launch, due to a sponsorship deal with Channel 4.

From tomorrow (Saturday 7 January) the app will include the Guardian’s Weekend magazine for the first time. The new weekly section, accessible from the app’s top navigation bar, will feature content from the Guardian’s award-winning magazine supplement, including columnists and recipes.

In a release, Merope Mills, editor of the Guardian Weekend magazine, said: “Weekend magazine’s stunning photography perfectly suits the form and the clean, modern design of our app on iPad. From tomorrow, readers will be able to enjoy a leisurely read of our award-winning longform journalism, flick through the galleries of ‘Your Pictures’ or watch our brilliant fashion and beauty correspondents Jess Cartner-Morley and Sali Hughes, as they guide readers through the latest lifestyle trends.”

The release also states that Guardian six- and seven-day print subscribers will continue to receive free access to the app after the three month period via their current subscription. Users who download the app after 13 January will receive a week’s free trial before signing up for the monthly subscription.

2012 – a year of irony for the media industry?

By Matt Buck, currently engaged as engraver to @tobiasgrubbe


1. Rupert Murdoch revives the News of the World, but online-only.

2. Nick Davies loses his job at the Guardian, but joins the revived News of the World as part of its investigative team.

3. The Guardian poaches the “fake sheikh” Mazher Mahmood from the Sunday Times.

4. A trend develops for floundering local newspapers to be bought out by local entrepreneurs, returning control and vested interest to their communities.

5. The Leveson inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the UK press concludes nothing needs to be done about unethical and/or illegal media practices, as they are redundant because everyone is publicly revealing everything about themselves on social media sites like Facebook anyway.

6. Journalists are officially declared to be bloggers, thereby ending a perennial (and very tedious) debate.

7. The Guardian launches a paywall.

8. Richard Desmond, founder of Northern & Shell and owner of Express Newspapers is knighted in the New Year Honour list and becomes chair of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

9. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is appointed National Security Adviser to the Obama administration.

10. Facebook buys the Daily Mail, as part of a number of strategic acquisitions of ‘accordant’ news outlets throughout the world.

Thanks to Matt Buck for permission to use his excellent cartoon.

Ten examples of games used to tell news stories

One of the sessions at news:rewired – media in motion will look at how newsgames and gaming mechanics are being used in journalism.

Shannon Perkins, editor of interactive technologies at Wired.com and who created Cutthroat Capitalism, a game where the player puts themselves in the position of a Somali pirate, will be coming over from the US to speak at news:rewired. In a Journalism.co.uk podcast he said a reader should “develop a deeper sense of the underlying themes of a story” by playing a game.

Another speaker presenting in the newsgames session at news:rewired is Bobby Schweizer, a doctoral student at the Georgia Institute of Technology and co-author of Newsgames: Journalism at Play. He will also be joining us from the US.

Here is a list of 10 newsgames to give an idea of how games can be used in storytelling.

1. The world at seven billion (BBC)

This BBC interactive, which uses gaming mechanics, is proof that newsgames go viral. The world at seven billion was the most shared and “liked” news story on Facebook of 2011 with 339,149 shares, comments and likes. It was also the most clicked story on Facebook this year and was the fourth most popular news story on Twitter in 2011 with 73,783 tweets.

2. Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway? (Guardian)

A newsgame was also the second most popular news story on Facebook in 2011, with 219,023 shares, likes and comments. It is the Guardian quotes quiz where readers are asked to guess whether a line is a quote from former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi or actor Charlie Sheen.

This one was “produced very quickly”, according to the Guardian, and is an idea that could inspire small news organisations without a budget for big game development.

3. Cutthroat Capitalism (Wired.com)

This newsgame was created by news:rewired speaker Shannon Perkins after reading an article in Wired Magazine. The player becomes a Somali pirate. The game states:

You are a pirate commander staked with $50,000 from local tribal leaders and other investors. Your job is to guide your pirate crew through raids in and around the Gulf of Aden, attack and capture a ship, and successfully negotiate a ransom.

4. Los 33 (Chilean miners) (Chilean design firm Root33)

This newsgame is based on the rescue of the Chilean miners trapped underground in 2010. According to Bobby Schweizer, who will be speaking at news:rewired, the game, which asks the player to rescue the miner, provides an insight into the slow process involved in rescuing each miner.

You perform the rescue 33 times if you want to finish the game – which is impossible really to complete. It’s trying to get across that concept that maybe you can’t explain in a written article.

When you see video clips edited together of each of the miners returning to the surface you have three to five seconds of each of their faces, you don’t get that real sense of how long it actually took. The game was able to express that in the way that other stories couldn’t.

5. How should I vote in the General Election? (Telegraph)

This is a game produced by the Telegraph. It asks users to answer a series of questions to find their values and concerns. The game then cross-checks responses with party pledges and the player is then told how they should be voting. This game received much attention as voters were often surprised by the results the game returned.

6. The budget calculator (most major news sites)

Perhaps the most widely used form of gaming mechanics used in news is the budget calculator. The viewer enters a salary, the fuel-type of their car, amount of alcohol units consumed per week and other details and then gets told how much better or worse off they will be based on the new budget.

This budget calculator from the BBC shows gaming mechanics in online news is nothing new – going back at least 10 years. Here are BBC examples from 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

7. Christmas on the high street: retail winners and losers (Guardian)

At the beginning of this year the Guardian produced an interactive based on the Monopoly board. By clicking on each retailer the player finds out how business faired last Christmas.

8. Obameter (PolitiFact)

PolitiFact also uses gaming mechanics, such as with its Obameter, which tracks the US President’s campaign promises, the Truth-O-Meter (which also comes in app form) to test politicians’ and the GOP Pledge-O-Meter to rank political promises.

Speaking at the World Editors Forum in October founder and editor of the site Bill Adair said he felt there was “a tremendous lack of imagination” in the news industry in how to take advantage of new publishing platforms.

It’s like we’ve been given a brand new canvas with this whole palette of colours and we’re only painting in grey. We need to bring all the other colours to this new canvas.

9. Dollars for Docs (ProPublica)

US investigative news site ProPublica regularly uses gaming mechanics in news stories, such as with Dollars for Docs which enables people to find out whether their health professional has received money from drugs companies. Speaking at the World Editors Forum Scott Klein, editor of news applications, told the conference that as well as adding context, a news app has the ability to personalise and place the user at the centre of the story and offer them the ability to see the impact on them. “It doesn’t just tell a story, it tells your story,” he said.

10.  Fix the deficit (New York Times)

Here’s a budget puzzle from the New York Times. The reader is asked to work out where to make spending cuts to balance the books and hopefully get a sense of the financial challenges, tough decisions and the size of the shortfall.

Want to find out more about newsgames? Book a ticket for news:rewired here.

Recommended reading, viewing and listening:

This is a cross-post from news:rewired.

Guardian’s n0tice launches advertising platform

New online noticeboard, n0tice, which is owned by the Guardian Media Group, today announced the launch of an advertising platform which will enable noticeboard owners to earn revenue.

According to a post on the site, which also enables community groups, individuals, hyperlocals and bloggers to post announcements, event information and local news, noticeboard “owners” can now “earn revenue by selling featured positions for classified listings or ‘offers’.”

Outlining the model n0tice says owners will take an 85 per cent revenue cut, while the platform gets the remaining 15 per cent.

Posting an offer on a noticeboard is self-serve and free for n0tice participants. Offers can then be upgraded to a Featured placement for £1/day (or the equivalent base-level regional currency). Featured positioning includes both a visual enhancement and priority ranking on the page.

Alongside the new revenue platform, n0tice also announced the addition of other new features in today’s post, including geoRSS and the ability for each user to have a number of noticeboards.

Read more on n0tice here.

Top 10 Twitter news stories of 2011

After taking a look at the top 10 Facebook news stories of 2011 yesterday, today we are publishing a list of the year’s top Twitter stories.

This list is based on data from SEO and social data tool Searchmetrics.

A liveblog makes it in at number two, plus there are photo stories and a news game (see number four).

1. Independent: Why the Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl = 83,529

2. BBC: LIVE: Osama Bin Laden dead = 77,853

3. Mail Online: The big pictures: The moment Japan’s cataclysmic tsunami engulfed a nation =  74,835

4. BBC: The world at seven billion = 73,783

5. BBC: Apple holding more cash than USA = 70,202

6. Guardian: Top 100 women = 48,250

7. BBC: Malawi row over whether new law bans farting = 38,861

8. Mail: Back from the dead: Astonishing pictures show how Japan is recovering just three months after tsunami = 31,750

9. BBC: Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales = 28,253

10. BBC: Sacrebleu! = 27,377

Data was gathered using Searchmetrics and downloaded for analysis on 6 December. The news outlets included were: BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Mail Online, the Sun, the Mirror. You can see the downloaded Twitter data here.

Top 10 Facebook news stories of 2011

Facebook last week published a list of the most shared articles on Facebook in 2011. That list included only US publishers – so we decided to create a list of the most shared, liked and commented articles from UK news outlets.

This list is based on data from SEO and social data tool Searchmetrics.

As with the US list, stories range from hard news to quirky (or “cute”, as Facebook describes them). Interestingly, the two top stories are newsgames, where the reader is invited to participate using gaming mechanics. (It’s worth mentioning here that there will be a session on newsgames and gaming mechanics at our news:rewired conference for journalists, for which the agenda is here.) The list also includes online video (another news:rewired topic).

The top 10 most shared, commented and liked Facebook news articles of 2011:

1. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 339,149 (shares, comments and likes)

2. Guardian: Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway? = 219,023

3. Mail Online: Amy Winehouse, 27, found dead at her London flat after suspected ‘drug overdose’ = 190,498

4. BBC: Austrian driver allowed ‘pastafarian’ headgear photo = 167,754

5. BBC: Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east = 159,023

6. BBC: Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden = 149,509

7. BBC: Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda leader, dead – Barack Obama = 146,244

8. BBC: Drunk Swedish elk found in apple tree near Gothenburg = 146,182

9. Mail Online: Robber who broke into hair salon is beaten by its black-belt owner and kept as a sex slave for three days… fed only Viagra = 145,413

10. BBC: London rioters: ‘Showing the rich we do what we want’ = 131,839


Top 10 most shared news articles on Facebook in 2011

1. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 147,000

2. Guardian: Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway? = 65,820

3. BBC: Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east = 60,238

4. BBC: Austrian driver allowed ‘pastafarian’ headgear photo = 54,800

5. BBC: Drunk Swedish elk found in apple tree near Gothenburg = 44,700

6. BBC: Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda leader, dead – Barack Obama = 38,891

7. BBC: Speed-of-light results under scrutiny at Cern = 36,700

8. BBC: London rioters: ‘Showing the rich we do what we want’ = 36,500

9. Mail Online: Meet the blind Great Dane in need of a home (but you’ll need to make space for HER huge guide dog) = 34,600

10. BBC: Amy Winehouse: Tributes paid to dead singer = 31,400


Top 10 most ‘liked’ articles on Facebook

1. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 75,619

2. Mail Online: The 9/11 rescue dogs: Portraits of the last surviving animals who scoured Ground Zero one decade on = 62,458

3. BBC: Austrian driver allowed ‘pastafarian’ headgear photo = 61,306

4. BBC: Drunk Swedish elk found in apple tree near Gothenburg = 51,618

5. BBC: Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda leader, dead – Barack Obama = 49,882

6. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 47,449

7. Mail Online – Beauty in every grain: For the first time remarkable photographs reveal hidden charms of ordinary SAND = 43,760

8. Mail Online: Robber who broke into hair salon is beaten by its black-belt owner and kept as a sex slave for three days… fed only Viagra = 42799

9. Mail Online: Cheeky monkey! Macaque borrows photographer’s camera to take hilarious self-portraits

10. The Sun: Frankie Cocozza 
kicked off X Factor


Top 10 most commented news articles on Facebook in 2011

1. Mail Online: Amy Winehouse, 27, found dead at her London flat after suspected ‘drug overdose’ = 127,396

2. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 116,530

3. BBC: Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden = 108,258

4. Guardian: Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway? = 105,754

5. BBC: London rioters: ‘Showing the rich we do what we want’ = 73,350

6. BBC: Amy Winehouse: Tributes paid to dead singer = 72,313

7. Mail Online: Robber who broke into hair salon is beaten by its black-belt owner and kept as a sex slave for three days… fed only Viagra = 71,514

8. BBC: Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east = 68,830

9. Independent: US preacher warns end of the world is nigh: 21 May, around 6pm, to be precise = 67,388

10. BBC: Speed-of-light results under scrutiny at Cern = 59,824

Data was gathered using Searchmetrics and downloaded for analysis on 6 December. The news outlets included were: BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Mail Online, the Sun, the Mirror. You can see the downloaded Facebook data here.

Guardian’s Facebook app delivering 1m extra hits a day

The Guardian’s Facebook app is generating almost a million extra page impressions per day, according to figures released by the news outlet and by Facebook.

Two months on from its launch at Facebook’s f8 conference in London the app has been installed by over four million users.

The news outlet also believes that the app is engaging a younger audience, as over half (56.7 per cent) of the app’s users are 24 and under and 16.7 per cent are 17 and under.

Andrew Miller, chief executive officer of Guardian Media Group, said in a statement:

As well as increasing traffic, the app is making our journalism visible to new audiences. Over half of the app’s users are 24 and under – traditionally a very hard-to-reach demographic for news organisations

The Independent, the other UK-based news outlet to launch a Facebook app following f8 on 22 September, is reporting that it has more than one million monthly active users connecting their Facebook accounts.

The integration has bumped up older articles that have gone viral through social distribution, according to the Facebook post detailing the statistics.

The news organisation found that many of the “most shared” and “most viewed” stories on the site have been from the late 1990s, “a result of the increased social virality”.

The Guardian and Independent both took a different approach when building their Facebook apps. The Guardian focused on the reading experience within Facebook, the shared reading experience for the Independent takes place on the news site.

Yahoo! News, which like the Independent integrated the app into its site, has reported that 10 million people are using the app, with Yahoo! News experiencing a 600 per cent increase in traffic coming from Facebook as a result.

People who connect to Facebook on Yahoo! read more articles than the average user, the Facebook post states.

Like the Guardian, the Washington Post built a social reader app for Facebook as a companion for its website with the social sharing taking place within Facebook. It has drawn more than 3.5 million monthly active users so far. The Facebook post states that the social reader is growing, especially among international audiences and younger readers, with 83 per cent of readers under 35 years old.

According to Facebook, the statistics released last night show that the apps do five things:

1. Show recommendations to increase engagement. Keep people engaged by prominently showing friends’ recent activity on your main pages and pages with high exit rates. When no social content is available, surface personalised recommendations based on users’ interests on Facebook and clearly explain why you’re showing each recommendation.

2. Create compelling objects. Maximise the click through rates of your stories by specifying Open Graph tags for all your articles and including compelling images, titles and descriptions. Avoid misleading images or titles to prevent your app from being marked as spam, which will negatively impact your app’s distribution in news feed.

3. Leverage your existing user base. If you have an existing site, be sure to make connecting a prominent option for existing users. And if people are already sharing your content on Facebook, consider sending referral traffic from Facebook into a flow that makes it easy for people to have a social experience on your site.

4. Make the benefits of sharing clear. Open Graph apps are designed for people that want to share. In your app, you should clearly explain how your app works and the benefits of adding your app to their timeline. Choose an approach that makes the most sense for your users, whether that’s an informative dialog, in-line marketing messaging, house ad inventory, and/or a learn more page.

5.  Keep users in control. As we’ve previously highlighted, people are more active when they are in control. In addition to the privacy controls on Facebook, we encourage you to build controls into your app that fit how people use your app.

Hyperlocals can now create noticeboards using the Guardian’s n0tice

Online noticeboard n0tice has today opened to all community groups and hyperlocal sites after testing the technology with a limited number of users.

Groups can now create their own customised page, choosing a domain and can start to moderate activity. The platform is still being developed but there are plans to later introduce revenue-sharing between n0tice, owned by the Guardian Media Group, and page owners, such as hyperlocal news sites and bloggers.

notice is like a cross between a village noticeboard, Gumtree and Foursquare in that it is a space for users to post small ads, local news and announcements and that information can be pushed to location-enabled mobile phones and devices. There is more on how and why n0tice was created at this link and how it will make money by charging users for promoted, location-based small ads.

Following a recent invitation roll-out, hyperlocals, bloggers and community groups can now create their n0tice page, measure performance and activity with social analytics tools, and “moderate community activity in order to encourage the kind of behaviour they want to see on their noticeboard”, Sarah Hartley, one of the team behind n0tice told Journalism.co.uk.

She added:

This service is designed to serve community groups of all shapes and sizes, active local champions and community leaders, local publishers and bloggers, interest groups and hobbyists, and anyone who wants to manage a community noticeboard. We are focused on serving UK-based community groups, but it works anywhere in the world.

The service is still in development, and we have a lot we plan to add in the near future.

For example, we will develop revenue sharing opportunities via the classified advertising platform so that noticeboard owners can earn money. We will also develop a private, restricted access community noticeboard service which will be offered for a fee.

We don’t have a date when these services will be launched, but we release new capabilities on a regular basis.  You can follow @n0tice to stay in touch with the team.

Access to n0tice.com is open, but community participation is currently by invitation only. There are details on the technologies used to create n0tice here.