Let’s step back and look at an old-school device: the police blotter. Many newspapers have de-emphasized it, yet these short crime-related items are consistently among the most read, most talked-about stories in print and online. Of course, the blotter is hardly a creative offering, but it would be wise to consider these blotter qualities and adapt them to your own work:
Since journalists don’t make tangible objects, the product is defined by the user’s experience. It’s whatever the user interaction with the news is. It’s picking up the paper at breakfast, or watching CNN in bed, or waiting for your mobile app to update the headlines on the bus. And yes, the product includes the stories delivered by the medium, but those stories alone are not the product; they never were.
“Hate it – it’s mercenary, manipulative marketing at its worst. It’s a social network, not an automated one. People are the beating heart – millions of conversations prompted by an emotional response to a real-world incident or real-world tweet.”
Personally, the grey areas of law trouble me and I don’t think there could be enough support: I’d like to see more organised structures for legal help, a sort of Citizens Advice Bureau for bloggers, if you like. Informal advice is already spreading via social networks, as lawyers increasingly use Twitter and blogs to join the conversation.
Archive for September, 2010
For a while now I’ve been meaning to do a blog post about East Coast trains – and what the other rail operators could learn from them.
From the point of view of a passenger who travels by rail a lot, I’ve experienced many of the different operators and, given a choice of service, will go for East Coast every time.
It’s not just for the free wifi. But that was a big factor and now today, they’ve announced it’s demise.
An email to subscribers sent this morning explains:
“Following passenger feedback about our on-board Wi-Fi you’ll be pleased to know that, from early October, we’re introducing a new and improved service across all of our trains. The upgraded Wi-Fi system will be more reliable and you’ll be able to enjoy better upload and download speeds.
“To help us to deliver the best possible Wi-Fi service, we’re introducing a payment system for Standard Class passengers. The first 15 minutes of use is free, but if you need longer you’ll pay £4.95 for 60 minutes or £9.95 for a full 24 hours. More information about the payment system can be found here.
“First Class passengers will continue to receive the service free of charge. We hope you enjoy using the new Wi-Fi system next time you travel.”
So for someone like me who travels to London, Leeds and Edinburgh on a regular basis (and there does appear to be plenty of us), that’s effectively a hike of £5-10 per journey.
Only it isn’t, because the economics don’t stack up – a mifi will be the cheaper option – so the net result will be no extra revenue for East Coast and the loss of one of the reasons to choose its services over another.
I shall drop the company an email to ask them to reconsider as well as flagging the issue on Twitter – do let me know if you’re also concerned.
I was contacted today by a family who’ve been offered cash for their story for a human interest feature in a women’s magazine.
They had concerns about whether it was the right thing to do. It’s a big decision and one that’s worth drawing up a plan to deal with as it’s unlikely you’ll get the genie back in the bottle.
While we were talking I came up with the following list of considerations in weighing up the options.
Having googled around the advice presented around the search terms of selling stories – mostly red tops, women’s mags and PR agencies – there doesn’t seem to be much attention paid to what happens after that initial story goes out.
I hope these thoughts will help anyone in a similar situation;
Amplification of your issue of concern.
Connection – to a worldwide audience, experts, the powerful, decision makers.
Money – personal.
Money – for those affected more generally eg. charities, hospitals, campaigns.
Support – taps network of people similarly affected.
Serendipity – unexpected connection/outcomes/opportunities.
Everything family does is potentially moved into the public domain eg. Finances, relationship breakdown, births, deaths, marriages.
The whole family is in the public eye, not just subject.
Potential for revisit every anniversary/birthday/Christmas.
Online archive – friends, business associates, partners, new relationships etc. know this aspect of life forever.
Crazies, conmen and shysters come out of the woodwork.
Potential for future life and personality to be defined by this specific episode.
I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has advice to offer in this area – please do feel free to add your comments.
Update19.35: There’s now links to three other blog posts from the unconference posted into the comments at the bottom of this post which are well worth checking out, plus;
* The Twitter hating grumpy view from Erith posted in the brilliantly named Arthur Pewty’s Maggot Sandwich and said: “found the whole experience to be excellent, informative, entertaining and it also enabled me to meet and network with some friendly and like – minded people” and proves to be a man after my own heart by dedicating a good chunk of his write up to the catering.
* Networked Neighbourhoods says “the message is that the momentum behind the neighbourhoods online movement is gathering pace”.
A few notes inspired by yesterday’s London Neighbourhoods Unconference. The nature of an unconference means several sessions were underway at any one time so a full view of the day needs a little piecing together.
I’ll add links to blog posts on the topic as I see them – please do let me know if you’ve written one or seen one anywhere by dropping the link via the comments below to share with other interested parties.
I should just add that these are my notes and thoughts and not a report of proceedings. Feel free to pitch in with your comments/recollections/thoughts.
- The session I offered on working with mainstream media was lively. I listened….. and what I heard was some understandable cynicism towards the attitude and motivation of big media. Following on from the previous post, we did discuss as many of those topics as we could in the time with the majority of the conversations prompted by; ‘lifted’ content, payment, linking and copyright. (We didn’t get time for ‘newspaper structure’ which some people were interested in and so I’ll maybe return to that in a future post). On the hot topic of lifting content ie. where newspapers had used text and/or pictures without any permission, attribution or payment. As I mentioned at the session, this is the exact same accusation I often hear levelled about bloggers and hyperlocal website operators from newspaper journalists(!), so maybe time for a bit of reflection in this matter. Time to play nice. Show some respect on both sides before the opportunities this new news ecosphere presents retreat into a sea of resentments.
- Next up I bobbed into the discussion about Local TV. This was led around a conversation about whether the right course of action is to send a letter to lobby culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to ensure that community television ventures are not sidelined. (To put this discussion into context, worth reading the recently released Ofcom Public service Broadcasting Annual Report ). The debate in this session raised the question about whether grant support i.e. tax payer’s money was a reasonable expectation for such ventures or whether projects needed to be commercially viable from self-generated revenue streams such as advertising. It struck me that this ‘future of local tv’ debate gets hung up on traditional delivery mechanisms in the way that the ‘future of journalism’ debates get hung up on print. And quickly to a deep niche (hyper) V mass audience (general) discussion. Sparked a thought about about scaleable hyper? It was interesting to see StvLocal represented at the event – maybe the StvLocal model is a disruptive model to shake telly things up?
- Big Society. What does it mean? I still don’t know how it relates. Answer on a postcard – or this pigeon might be more appropriate.
Other links I’ve seen on this event;
- Philip John has published this handy list of legal resources for hyperlocal sites.
- Philip John again (he’s a busy chap) and a tweetdoc of the discussions is here
- Arthur Pewty has published his pictures of the day on Flickr.
The hashtag for any other material published is #lno10. I’m looking forward to catching up with the other blog posts and pictures as the day progresses.
In some areas a thorny issue and one I’ve been asked to help explore at Saturday’s London Neighbourhoods Online Unconference.
This event will be the first opportunity that many community sites and blogs from across the capital have had to meet offline and get together to explore issues of mutual concern.
But of course many of their issues will be repeated up and down the country too.
So I’m asking hyperlocal site owners, community news publishers and neighbourhood bloggers, wherever you are – what issues do you have with mainstream media? How would you like to see things move forward?
You’re welcome to help with some input into this session even if you’re not going to be present (or London-based) by letting me know here.
I will also update this blog after the event to share what comes out from the session with you.
Topics I’m thinking about that might be of interest so far are;
- How newspapers are structured i.e. who to contact and how.
- What happens when things go wrong, how complaints are dealt with.
- Copyright and linking. Good practice and things to take into account.
Looking back at the live blog I was involved in at the, TAL unconference in Leeds in April, the session on big media was dominated by questions around content payment and problems with the lifting of content. Are those still big issues for you?
Please do let me know what you think and feel free to share any experiences in this area.
Involving audiences in the editorial process does not mean the end of traditional journalistic skills, it should mean the embracing of new ones. Social curation does not mean the end of editorial curation, it means the opportunity to combine both to make a better product.
Searching Twitter, I was able to find people sending updates from the Discovery Channel's zip code (Here are some highlights that I found). Using FourSquare, I was able to find someone who had "checked in" to the building before the incident.
These local community information spaces are what is meant by hyperlocal. And they could very well be the 21st century equivalent of the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Pawling News Chronicle.
Following detailed discussions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Nicholas Shott and his team, this report sets out the technical options for introducing local television services across the UK. The report provides a comparison of the benefits and costs of using the different platforms: terrestrial, satellite, cable and via broadband. Each platform offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages for carrying local television services.
Marie-Laure outlines a number different models for interactive storytelling. I have boiled it down to five models, which I think are a great starting point when you are planning your interactive project.
Judges and sheriffs are launching their own website in an attempt to provide better information about the work of Scotland's courts.
Sentencing statements and other decisions by judges will be published on the site.
With iReport, they activate the mass and turn the users into reliable sources. As we have seen with the Haiti earthquake, the results for their coverage used in web and for their TV reporting were impressive.
However, a lot of blogs (many hyperlocal publications are essentially blogs) put publishing ahead of reporting. Throw it up there and see if anyone reads it because – you know – you can. This is a natural result of the current fascination with social media as a shiny new object. People are publishing because it’s cool to publish. Five years from now, that novelty will have worn off and we’ll be figuring out what these new tools are really good for.
“Online newspapers have to be something very different from print,” said David Montgomery, chief executive of Mecom, the London company that acquired Edda four years ago. “The online proposition is infinite in terms of content.”
When the next big delivery platform comes along, is your organization going to pick up shop and change to make that the “first” delivery target? Are you going to go through the painful process of migrating your legacy content, rewriting your themes, retraining your staff, and rethinking your workflows? Why are we letting the delivery platform hold our content hostage?
Some useful points from Caroline Beavon
Qluso is an online app that allows news editors to bid for exclusive stories from freelance journalists.
Students will take over the Telegraph's community news pages in its print edition and be responsible for filing text and images for the section.
That’s why we will continue to bring concrete specifics to the discussion about new business models for news. And that’s why we will help create those businesses in and out of the school. We will also help lead the movement to teach journalists to be entrepreneurs at other schools. And we have other plans.
The tough part – and one of the most important – is interaction. Remember to keeping check your @ replies and responding to them. People appreciate it when you connect with them while on the scene — answering questions, acknowledging comments, etc., all in real-time. By doing that, you bring your live tweets to a whole new level.
No matter your approach, live tweeting can be a fun experience, both for you and your followers. And if you do it right, you’ll pick up some new followers too.
Representation of women is lowest in interactive content design (5 per cent, in 2009, compared to 32 per cent in 2006) and content for computer games (6 per cent). This is compared with women making up 46 per cent of the UK workforce.
Relevance: The realization that “chatter” or aimless broadcasting is not as effective as strategic communications and engagement.
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