Tag Archives: the Olympics

FT scoops six prizes at SOPA awards

The Financial Times’ Chinese-language website, FTChinese.com, took the prize for best feature writing at the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) awards last night.

The site was one of six winners for the FT, which also took home gongs for newspaper design, digital journalism (for reporting on China and the Olympics) and scoop of the year.

FTChinese.com’s winning effort was an article on 30 years of reforms in China.

The title’s Mumbai correspondent, Joe Leahy, was also named journalist of the year at the event.

A full list of the award winners, which also saw the International Herald Tribune and Newsweek recognised, can be downloaded at this link.

Obama’s first 100 days: how the web is covering it

Some great multimedia coverage as US President Barack Obama completes his first 100 days in power.

The Washington Post has set up a ‘special package’ to mark the day – complete with videos, more than 300 photos arranged by topic (see below) and an interactive timeline of the period – with symbols marking the days key legislation was introduced.

(The Post has used Daylife previously to organise its photos – for example during the Olympics last year – so I’m wondering whether that’s the case here too.)

Screenshot of Washington Post's 100 days photo site

Similarly, the LA Times has its own 100 days site with the emphasis on readers’ views. The Times asked commuters for their video thoughts on Obama’s progress so far.

What I like in particular about this effort is the ability to filter videos by policy and the interactive calendar that dominates the top of the page – click on any date from the 100 for more information.

It’s a very clean layout with a nice feed of LA Times’ related articles too.

The White House is getting in on the act too with its own Flickr group of images depicting the start of the presidency.

Any more good examples of coverage?

UPDATE April 30:

Am reliably informed by Daylife that they’re not behind the Times’ photos – it’s being done internally – but their technology has had a hand in the Wall Street Journal’s coverage, which pulls together video, relevant articles, images and create interactive graphics.

Also enjoyed Slate highlighting the 100 days on Obama’s Facebook feed.

WAN Amsterdam: What have newspapers done to build new audiences?

The 11th Readership Conference is addressing building new print, as well as digital audiences (not just stopping the old readers running away). So how exactly have newspapers across the world successfully built up new audiences? (Quotes and information courtesy of the WAN conference updates)

The Telegraaf in the Netherlands has used sport and social networking

  • Using Hyves.net they used the network’s ‘send to a friend’ function and a widget for users’ home pages that allowed them to see how they were performing against their friends. The contest had 170,000 participants: 110,000 through Hyves and 60,000 through the Telegraaf’s sports site, Telesport.
  • For the Olympics, the Telegraaf provided editorial content to a Hyves web section dedicated to the events which included blogs from Telegraaf reporters in Beijing and other stories from the Telegraaf sports team in Amsterdam.

Lara Ankersmit, publisher for online media, at the paper, said the partnership provided strong branding tied to popular sports events, and more than 170,000 registrations and e-mail addresses.

The Verdens Gang newspaper company in Norway has increased revenue while losing readers

  • A graph of VG’s print circulation decline over the past several years looks like a ski slope – it dropped 20 percent since 2002. But, at the same time, profit increased from 270 million Norwegian krone (31 million euros) to 365 million krone (41 million euros).
  • The approach is ‘continuous product diversification and improving production efficiency considerably’ through new prodcucts such as social networks, and doing more marketing: VG spends 10 million euros annually on market examination.
  • It pays more attention to distribution. Ensuring good product placement at sales outlet is one important focus, as is establishing new outlets, such as coffee shops.

Torry Pederson, CEO of VG said that good journalism that attracts attention, on all platforms. “Don’t cut down on journalistic resources to cover the important stories,” he said.

The Bakersfield Californian is focusing on who isn’t reading the paper

  • In five years, it went from having no weekly newspapers to having three, from no magazines to three magazines, from one website to 11 websites. It created three subsidiaries and built its own social media software.
  • Alongside market research there was commitment to invest in new product development – at least 1 per cent of revenues each.
  • New products recaptured six of the eight percentage points in consumer reach lost by The Californian. It increased non-core revenue from 1 per cent to 12 per cent.

Mary Lou Fulton, vice president of audience development at the paper said “Before, we focused primarily on the circulation, profitability and content of our daily newspaper (…) The essential shift in thinking was to become interested in who was not reading the newspaper or advertising in it. That was a big wake-up call.”

Online Journalism in China: Can the Olympics change the Chinese media?

Freelance journalist Dave Green reports for Journalism.co.uk from Beijing:

With the Olympic Games under way in Beijing, the political controversies surrounding the competition have taken a backseat while the world’s elite athletes grab the headlines.

There is a mood of optimism here that is difficult to define and a sense on the ground that the opening ceremony was a defining moment in history, one which it can be hoped will give China the confidence to move forward with the openness to question its past and, perhaps, admit to some mistakes.

Yet old media habits die hard: even foreign China Daily columnist Brendan John Worrell‘s assessment of the investment in “vital infrastructure” that has contributed to one of the most remarkable urban facelifts in history ignores the fact that many people have had their homes destroyed or walls constructed around their unsightly communities in the process.

Worrell conveniently ignores the protests in Tiananmen Square – perhaps unsurprising as the women marching against enforced relocations were given no coverage in the commercial press here – but he does go on to make a good point about China’s need to address “new pressing goals.”

Over on the country’s newsdesks, it took the influence of foreign editors to ensure the reporting of a US tourist’s murder received due prominence on the front pages and was not buried. Other coverage did not benefit from the same influence: the Xinhua News Agency’s report of five Tibet protesters detained in Tiananmen Square on the same day was tacked onto the bottom of the same reports of the tourist attack.

Perhaps the sheer insanity of protesting against repression in Tibet can justifiably be likened to that of stabbing three people and then committing suicide? Or perhaps it’s just because searching for the article online using the terms ‘Tibet’ and ‘protest’ will garner no references at all.

As Western eyes begin to adjust to the dark fact that the overwhelming security presence in Beijing may well be a necessary precaution given the attacks in the western Xinjiang Province, the media here is celebrating the mobilization of around 400,000 street-level forces. Yet you can’t help but feel that relishing the deployment of a 70,000–strong army of grandma vigilantes, as China Daily does, is a bridge too far.

The China Daily piece strikes an uneasy tone that veers between sinister and depreciating:

“Mind the suspicious strangers. You see one smoking guy over there is glancing this way and that, watch him, and report to the police station immediately once something is wrong,” it quotes 65-year-old Sun Li as saying.

“[C]atching bad guys is a policeman’s job but we’re here to help out and drink more water to prevent us fainting in this sunshine,” it concludes.

There are more serious issues to be resolved, in particular protests by the International Federation of Journalists over the constant presence of plainclothes police in the capital allegedly monitoring journalists, and more demonstrations will surely follow.

But, as Beijing’s media and its people feel the push and pull of global forces, it is safe to say that progress of a sort is being made. The key question remains what will happen after the circus leaves town, and will there will be enough residual pressure to keep the concessions that have already been made in place?

IFJ launches Olympics website to help journalists

The International Federation of Journalists has teamed up with the non-profit Play the Game initiative to create an online resource for journalists covering the Beijing Olympics.

The Play the Game for Open Journalism site features: a list of reporters guides from industry groups such as Human Rights Watch; forums for journalists to discuss their experiences; and background information on Beijing.

The organisers will also be operating a helpline for journalists in China during the Olympics, who are facing pressure from authorities because of their work. The number for emergency assistance is + 32 475 76 13 92. To report

LOUD3R adds to network, sees 200,000 unique users

Niche online publisher LOUD3R is to launch a series of new sites, as part of its plans to create 10 new websites a month on its network.

The new additions include: PREGG3R, for pregnancy; SHUTT3R, for photography; and SUMM3R, for the Olympics.

The semantic engine automatically aggregates and filters multimedia content from a ’source list’ of websites selected by editors. A glossary of terms is created to teach the engine how to identify that content.

The existing network of 25 sites recorded 200,000 unique users over 30 days, according to a press release from the publisher.

Three spheres of relevance for news online

Today’s a good day to point at three examples of how you can enhance the value of online news by linking it to additional, meaningful and relevant content.

I’m calling them the Three Spheres of relevance, three different approaches to creating news relevance: locally on a news site by bringing related content to a single destination, by using tagged metadata to enable better linking to relevant material and in the newsgathering process itself (stick with me, this might get into seriously tenuous segue territory).

Thomson Reuters has launched a new version of its semantic tagging tool Open Calais that broadly enhances and builds on its first round of development (hat tip Martin Stabe).

Open Calais has made publicly accessible a piece of internal software used by Thompson Reuters that automatically reads content and creates relationships between different articles, news pieces and reports based on the businesses, places, events, organisations and individuals mentioned in them.

External developers have been encouraged to play with the technology to create an additional level of metadata for their own sites that could offer users a more sophisticated level of additional content around news pieces and blog posts by relying on automatically generated semantic links rather than more rudimentary manual or algorithmically created versions.

The second round of development two has brought WordPress plugins and new modules for Drupal to allow developers to more easily integrate metadata into the applications and third-party tools they are building.

As part of round two, Thomson Reuters has also launched Calais Tagaroo, a WordPress plugin that automatically generates suggested tags for bloggers that want to incorporate additional relevant content to their posts.

This weekend has also seen the launch of New York Times’ Olympics blog, Rings, as a destination where readers can get a plethora of Times content about the Beijing games. The blog is the latest edition to the Times’ Olympics sub-site.

In addition to covering the sporting competition the blog – like the Times’ sub-site – draws in reporting from Times’ sports, foreign and business desks, as well as taking pieces from bureaux in China.

Compare this with the Olympics destination the BBC is running for the games. It could easily draw sporting coverage together with relevant material from the news pages but it has chosen not to make that link and instead leave its users to drift off elsewhere to find out about the other issues surrounding the games. It doesn’t make the most of pulling all the relevant and related material togther in the way the Times does with its blogs and sub-site.

The final example of news organisations working on relevance comes before any of that content is even written.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger told the Press Gazette that as part of the newspaper’s adoption of an integrated print and digital news production process reporting staff would abandon the traditional newsdesk structure to instead ape the set-up of Guardian.co.uk reporting staff and be rearranged into subject-specific teams or ‘pods’ to allow closer working between reporters and the ability file for both the web and the print edition as the story demands.

Rusbridger attacks Chinese ‘censorship’ as Tibetan riots quelled

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has written to the Chinese ambassador in the UK attacking China’s censoring of foreign news websites – including Guardian.co.uk – in the wake of the Tibetan riots.

Mr Rusbridger asked for the ambassador’s assistance in unblocking his website back online and ensuring that access to it remained free of interference.

“As you will be aware, the blackout has coincided with media coverage of the recent unrest in Tibet, forcing the conclusion that this is an act of deliberate and wholly unacceptable censorship,” wrote Mr Rusbridger.

“We are dismayed that Beijing should curtail international press freedom, particularly in Olympic year.”

The move comes in the wake of a violent crackdown on protests in Tibet by Chinese authorities that have also attempted to block the media from reporting what was going on.

Tibetan exiles say at least 80 protesters died in the clashes as reporters were being forced to leave.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China reported that as many as two-dozen reporters have been turned away from or forced to leave Tibetan areas and government censorship of the internet and television broadcasts was also hampering journalists’ work.

“Reporting interference is not in the interest of the Chinese government which is trying to show a more open, transparent and accountable image to the world,” said FCCC President Melinda Liu, in a piece carried on the FCCC website.

“Such interference is not in keeping with reporting regulations adopted during the Olympics period – and is especially not in keeping with the international community’s expectations of an Olympic host nation,” added Liu.

Writing for the Telegraph.co.uk Richard Spencer claimed to have been ordered to leave the Tibetan town he was staying in by local police (Spencer also points to some bloggers who are managing to get information onto the net about the crackdown)

The Honk Kong Journalists Association (hat tip Roy Greenslade) is also reporting that journalists from at least six Hong Kong media organisations have been placed under escort and ordered out of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.

News articles today on Journalism.co.uk

NUJ to offer free legal support for members’ copyright actions
Deal with Thompsons Solicitors will allow members to pursue copyright infringements at no personal cost

Times Mobile appoints Brigid Callaghan as its new editor
Brigid Callaghan becomes editor of Times Mobile

Chinese digital news under attack in run-up to Olympics, says press freedoms report
Reporters Without Boarders report on press freedoms says 55 reporters and internet-users have been arrested in China since the country was awarded the Olympics

‘Local online news is changing, but not fast enough’ Paul Bradshaw
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