Tag Archives: user-generated content

Ten ways journalists can use SoundCloud

Audio platform SoundCloud has been around since 2007 but it is only this year that it has really taken off as a space for the spoken word as well as music.

Here are 10 ways it can be used by broadcast and digital journalists:

1. Record and share audio. You can do this from a computer or your smartphone or tablet. SoundCloud has apps for iPhone/iPad and Android but consider using one of the third-party iPhone apps that allow you to edit or trim before uploading directly to SoundCloud.

VC Audio Pro (£3.99) (a previous Journalism.co.uk app of the week) allows you to do a full multitrack edit before uploading to SoundCloud.

Try iRig Recorder (free for the basic app, £2.99 for the one with full functionality) and FiRe Studio (£2.99). Both allow you to trim and alter levels before uploading.

At Journalism.co.uk we’ve been uploading audio interviews and podcasts to our SoundCloud account, gathering over 2,800 followers and engaging with a new audience.

2. Search for sources. If you are looking for quotes or audio from a news event, search SoundCloud much in the way you would hunt down videos on YouTube. You will then be tasked with verifying the recordings, facing the same challenges as checking reports posted on Twitter and YouTube.

SoundCloud has an advanced search function which allows you to search the “spoken” category for a keyword. There is also an option of searching for content under a creative commons licence. Try searching for Japan earthquake, Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street to see the type of content available.

3. Discoverability. As with other platforms, SoundCloud hosts content that goes viral and has an embed option so you can post it to your site. Take this interview with US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. It is a message to her South Arizona constituents, her first since being shot in the head in January. It’s clocked up over 21,000 plays, and demonstrates the benefits of SoundCloud’s commenting system.

4. Create maps. You’ll need to get some help from SoundCloud, but the team can create a bespoke map to allow you to crowdsource audio or plot recordings from in-house reporters. Ben Fawkes from Soundcloud told Journalism.co.uk how you do this, explaining that all you will need to do is define a location and define a hashtag and audio will then be automatically plotted. Take a look at this example of a map created with audio from Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival.

5. Use the new HTML5 player. If you embed SoundCloud audio in blog posts you should be aware of the new HTML5 player. The standard player is Flash meaning it won’t work on iPhones and iPads. Instead, when copying the embed code click on the “customise player” and toggle through the tags to the HTML5 option.

6. Consider a customised player. There are options to customise the player, including adding photos, such as this example used on the London Literature Festival site.

7. Invite user-generated audio content. Encourage your audience to submit audio into a drop box. You can embed the SoundCloud drop box widget on your site and ask readers to upload their own audio. Here’s an example of NPR adding a widget to encourage listeners to share their summer music memories.

Another option is to consider an embeddable record button on your site. At present this will require some developer assistance but SoundCloud is now working on making an easy option so sites can add a button and encourage user-generated audio content to be submitted directly. Here is an example of a record button being used on a musician’s site. This is a different option, of a mapped audio tour guide of Dorchester, Boston, where readers can submit audio via a record button on the site. Go to site bupropion online .

There’s also the option of gathering audio via phone calls, as Chatter.fm has done by using Twilio technology.

Another option for user-generated content (UGC) is to use SoundCloud’s importer tool to allow readers/listeners (or your reporters) to submit audio via email or smartphone.

8. Prepare to add SoundCloud sharing to your news organisation’s app. SoundCloud is working on an iOS and Android sharing kit, which will mean you can submit audio to SoundCloud via your own app. You could encourage readers or reporters to submit stories/field recordings to your app and have the audio uploaded to SoundCloud so that it’s shareable, streamable and has all the relevant meta data.

9. Record a phone interview using SoundCloud. There are easier ways but this is a good option for when you need to record an interview and are armed only with a mobile phone. Make a three-way phonecall by calling this number, dial your interviewee and the SoundCloud line will then record your account. You can then upload the audio publicly or privately.

10. Get your audio transcribed. Speaker Text is a transcription company that is integrated with SoundCloud. It takes 48-72 hours to be transcribed and costs 99 cents a minute. It’s a way of making audio search engine optimised but you can also link to a certain sentence within the audio, for example referencing a quote or comment.

Related posts: News organisations are increasingly using SoundCloud, says founder

BBC News Android app now lets users submit stories, videos and photos

The BBC News Android app has been updated to accept user-generated content and encourage people to send in their photographs and videos of a news event, something user of the BBC News iPhone app had already been able to do.

The Android app, which has been downloaded more than two million times globally since its launch in May, has also been updated to include the addition of homescreen widgets, improved personalisation and the ability to store the app on the SD card.

A BBC Internet Blog post details the changes.

Citizen journalism site expands after getting £1 million funding

UK citizen journalism site Blottr.com is to expand into five new cities this month, as the company behind the site celebrates securing funding of £1 million.

The platform, founded by Adam Baker, enables users to create and break news stories, as well as contribute towards other peoples’ posts. The company this week closed a round of funding by Mark Pearson, as TechCrunch reported yesterday

Pearson has so far invested £250,000 into the site, with the remaining £750,000 to follow providing the business meets certain “milestones”, such as increasing traffic and engagement with the audience.

Today Baker told Journalism.co.uk the site will be expanding into five new cities in the next couple of weeks: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh and Manchester. The plan to expand was already in motion before the funding came through, but he added that the financial boost “definitely helped it”.

As part of the expansion, the site is undergoing a redesign to include the added functionality to enable users to add content to their own pages for areas not currently catered for. Blottr is also planning on launching a free iPhone app next week, which will enable users to report on events from the ground using the platform.

Baker said the next step would be to monetise the platform, such as by licensing it out to publishers and media organisations interested in integrating user generated content.

We’ve got a product that does a number of things that publishers and media companies want. In internal conversations they say ‘we know we need to get in user generated content’ but there are a whole bunch of legal issues, and then the other ongoing conversation is how do we make more money and how do we get more unique content?

With the platform they can start to deeply build their audience, get really good content that’s unique to them and then they get pages that they can start to monetise.

Baker added that the US market “is definitely on the radar” but that for now the focus is on the UK and Europe.

Beet.tv: Broadcasters discuss use of user generated content

In the video below, from Beet.tv, US broadcasters debate the “challenge” of using user-generated content to cover breaking news and the importance of verification in this process.

Kevin Roach from the Associated Press talks about how the news agency dealt with content being sent in during the Egyptian protests, and the dangers of not verifying UGC material. CNN.com’s Mike Toppo adds that he feels the best way to approach user generated content is with the aim of building a community, such as it does with iReport.

BBC CoJo: Working with user-generated content

The latest edition of the ‘Inside BBC Journalism’ series, on the BBC College of Journalism website, looks at the role of journalists working with user generated content (UGC).

Trushar Barot, a senior broadcast journalist in the UGC Hub in the BBC’s London newsroom says he thinks the future of journalism is going to be much more about journalists who work with social media becoming trusted editors of UGC, he says.

We are the ones that have the skills, hopefully, to be able to analyse what’s coming in, give it the context and then report that context.

So a lot of the work we do at the hub in the newsroom is not just about taking content, getting permission and putting it on air, but it’s about trying to authenticate it as well.

OJB: UGC, the Giffords shooting and how ‘inaction can be newsworthy’

Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog has an interesting look at user-generated content and comment moderation, and the stories they can produce.

Bradshaw looks specifically at Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, which has been subject to strict moderation in the wake of the assassination attempt on Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. He points out that the decisions to remove certain comments and let others stand can be seen as representative of the page owner’s stance and could potentially give rise to a story.

Bradshaw also warns that trawling through comment threads on political pages is not the same as treading the streets. What you see there is not unadulterated content, it is closer to carefully edited campaign material.

Worth reading in full.

Full post on the Online Journalism Blog at this link.

Lost Remote has a post on another media issue to emerge from the Giffords shooting: the spreading of inaccurate claims on Twitter that Giffords had died, and subsequent removal of tweets by news organisations.

Full post on Lost Remote at this link.

Looking back on the 7/7 bombings and the birth of user-generated content

Five years on from the 7 July bombings in London, Matthew Eltringham from the BBC College of Journalism remembers the day that sparked the future of user-generated content.

[W]e ‘stuck a postform’ on the first take of the News website’s story and waited to see what would come in. Within minutes our email inbox was out of control – it was clear that something was happening, but we had no idea how to manage the huge number of emails we were receiving and the information they were giving us.

By the end of the day we had received several hundred images and videos along with several thousand emails. It was only with hindsight that we were able to make sense of them and the impact they were likely to have on our journalism.

Since then, the UGC project has grown to a team of more than 20 people, working around the clock and developing “an incredibly sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the ‘who, what, when, where and whys’ of ‘social newsgathering’ or put another way, ‘finding good stuff on the web’.”

There have been many lessons along the way too, leading the BBC to ruthlessly check every piece of user content which gets sent their way.

We always check out each and every image, video or key contact before we broadcast them, to make sure they are genuine and to resolve any copyright issues. When it’s impossible to do that – such as with content sent from Iran or Burma, when contacting the contributors is very hard to do or might put them in danger, we interrogate the images, using BBC colleagues who know the area and the story to help identify them.

Read the full post here…

UGC links for Chile earthquake recovery

A few examples of user-led news initiatives around the Chile earthquake. We’ll add to this as we spot other user-generated content (UGC) examples.

  • New York Times Facebook group: “The New York Times is providing resources and news updates from our journalists in South America and from other sources around the web about the recovery efforts after the 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile on Feb. 27, 2010.”

And commentary:

#Outlook2010: LePost.fr – horizontal, not vertical, news

Last week Journalism.co.uk attended the INMA and Online Publishers Association (OPA) Europe’s annual conference Outlook 2010 – the event focused on innovation, transformation and making money for media businesses. Follow our coverage at this link.

Two years since its launch user-generated site LePost.fr – launched by Le Monde – attracts 2.5 million unique users a month (not a lot less than Le Monde’s online efforts at 3.5 million).

A team of six specialised journalists, two editors, one videojournalist and one investigative journalist are responsible for producing around 10 per cent of the site’s content – the rest is down to the users, who produce around 500 posts a day. It’s an integration of professional and amateur news – with teams of amateurs ‘coached’ by professionals, says the team.

More from LePost on how the site operates in the audio below:

“Our idea was to put a newsroom at the most dynamic part of the web (…) social media,” the site’s editor-in-chief, Benoit Raphael, says.

“We believe that people are no longer satisfied with vertical news. Traditional journalists choose and produce stories and deliver them to readers. In a networked media like LePost we let people co-choose and co-produce stories.”

Raphael says LePost produces ‘horizontal news’ – news to be shared, commented upon and added to.

Related reading: LePost.fr: How amateurs produce valuable journalism

HTFP: Newsquest wins court ruling in defence of user-generated content

A court ruling obtained by UK regional newspaper group Newsquest could have a significant impact on the issue of what protection publishers have in legal cases based on user-generated content on their sites.

In a defamation action, Newsquest had been sued by a solicitor Imran Karim following a report that he had been struck off by the Law Society.

The story attracted a range of comments, both in support and critical of Karim, which were removed by Newsquest as soon as the legal claim from Karim was received.

“Mr Justice Eady concluded that Newsquest websites were acting as hosts of the reader comments for the purposes of Regulation 19 of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 and therefore would not be liable for any damages even if the material was unlawful,” reports HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.

“He said Newsquest had fulfilled the conditions for protection under Regulation 19, namely that the comments had been posted directly to the sites by third-party contributors without intervention by Newsquest, and that they had acted expeditiously to remove access to the material.”

Full story at this link…