Archive for October, 2011
Mediafabric, afternoon sessions: Whistleblowing and Gaddafi plus content factories with the Superdesk
Notes taken during the afternoon sessions of the Mediafabric journalism conference in Prague. Follow it via the hashtag #mediafab
Ex M15 intelligence office Annie Machon said mistakes were made and people were able to lie in respect of N Ireland. The group backed in Libya in 1996 is the same one which overthrew Gaddafi. David Shayler was briefed about an operation by MI6. In 1996, heard reports of explosions in Libya – turned out that was no legal clearance for the activity which resulted in the deaths of citizens but not the target – Gadaffi. They resigned and decided to blow the whistle.
Flew back with a lawyer for Liberty. Was put on police bail for six months. She packed up and went to live with Shayler in France. Eventual court case – judge accepted that Shayler didn’t put lives at risk but press coverage made it sound the opposite.
MI5 employs ‘agents of influence’ in media organisations – spin stories, kills them divert attention. What should whistleblowers do? Apart from legal situation, difficult to know who to trust. Dangerous as well because the journalist could see the story as career-making. If Annie was at M15 now she would be tempted to go to wikileaks or an org of that ilk. No source has ever been outed by a failure of the technology.
Final speaker today is David Brewer – omnipresent news the content factory approach. Working on projects about freedom of expression in countries where that is difficult. In a lot of areas the mainstream got lazy and the bloggers became the real journalists. The reason for that is the ‘publish at’ model. That model is dead. The ‘engage with on our terms’ model is in its death throes. Social media has come along and pricked our bubble. Now in the ‘participate in’ model the “let loose to hold tight model”.
Building a content system to help a ‘superdesk’ a central desk where decisions are made. In Vietnam its done by screens.
It’s an intake and output process – a simple workflow model which takes from the Superdesk to the production desk and back.
Converged newsroom model with desk heads facing out from the decision desk into their teams.
Building a Superdesk is not costly, not disruptive. Stories will be more rewarding, there maybe less of them but they will be fine-tuned and more likely to resonate with audiences.
* These notes were compiled using the beta version of www.n0tice.com – if you’d like an invite to use the social local mobile community noticeboard too – sign up for an invite.
Mediafabric conference, 1st sessions: New business models, citizen journalism’s wake-up call and ‘it’s your voice’ with African radio
Here’s my (quick and dirty) notes taken during the morning sessions of the Mediafabric journalism conference in Prague. Follow it via the hashtag #mediafab
First speaker is Peter Kahler, station director of West African Democracy Radio.
Community Radio set up to provide an alternative to the ‘bad news is good news’ approach to reporting Africa.
WADR is on on air 24/7 in French and English; FM, Satellite, Online with live streaming, soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Affiliates.
Has input from local grassroot’s people – ‘It’s you speaking’
The challenges for the station include dwindling resources, funding for audience survey/perception study, technical and training.
The opportunities include growing web traffic, the huge sense of ownership/influence, service-oriented rather than a profit driven nature.
Soundcloud gave them more than 25,000 followers and all clips are pushed to Twitter and Facebook. WADR as been awarded the Knight Batten Award. Using social media has made them into an emerging key player on the media landscape of West Africa.
Second speaker is Kunda Dixit talking about journalism for citizens.
Started by telling us that he’s was no lover of tech and a sceptic of anything with E in front of it but that things have changed: “I have gone into the with the zeal of a born again technorati”
Flicked through the television channels and what was on every channel news – cricket. Not just in sport.
“Is there any point in training students any more. They just end up feeding the voracious appetite for this. Doesn’t deal with the fact it’s keeping us poor. The public service role of media is vanishing. Unspoken contract between advertisers and journalists.”
Mainstream has abdicated its public service role. We sometime get carried away by the medium itself. We lose track of what the technology is there to do. Citizen journalism is a wake up call to the mainstream. 200,000 Nepali young woman are trafficked yet the only sex the papers cover are adultury. People who die have to do so in sufficiently large numbers, have good visuals and the victims have to speak English.
Let’s not get distracted any more by the analogue V digital debate. There’s a school divide, a health divide – these are all divides that the mainstream media should be finding solutions work.
He makes the point that to protect our freedoms we have to ensure we are relevant to our audiences.
Third speaker is James Breiner talking about digital entrepreneurs and new business models.
Journalists need to be paid. Going to talk about how ‘newsmedia have to sell the magic’.
Example of someone who has found the magic given. 19 year old American started blogging, ten items a day on coverage of the Iraq war by looking at cable networks. Did it anonymously at first because he didn’t feel people would believe him. Was bought by MediaBistro who then paid him a salary – started to get fed info, leaks. He was doing bettter coverage of TV news industry than any other publication. Independent journalist, reliant on his audience, self-made and now hired by NY Times.
Alternative revenue sources: special events, premium content, direct sales eg. retail (Telegraph mentioned), SMS services, memberships (Texas Tribune has multi levels of membership), daily deals (Groupon), marketing consultant, web consultant (examples of this across Latin America), foundations, angels, contract publishing.
Unprepared entrepreneurs: At 54 Latin American web journalism sites; 20% have no revenue, 75% were not covering their costs, 57% launched with no financial plan.
Projects that can’t work (but have done)
Capitales.com pay to find out to south American economies. Costa Rica %300 yr subscription. Sells data to 3rd parties.
Malaysiakini.com pay for English, free versions in Chinese, Tamil and Malay. $48 a year for subscription. 1.6m uniques a month.
El Observatodo $2m annual revenues.18 localised news sites up and down Chile. Each site has mix of paid journos and citizens.
Guatemala sell premium headline service via SMS. 40,000 subscribers. 6 headlines a day. $60,000 USD a month.
Elfaro. Investigative journalism in El Salvador. Has found advertisers.
A non-digital example. African Eye News Service – co-op where journalists write articles and co-op sells them. Each piece to five different non-competing media.$2.5m USD revenue. No web presence.
* These notes were compiled using the beta version of www.n0tice.com – if you’d like an invite to use the social local mobile community noticeboard too – sign up for an invite at the address above.
I’m talking about the challenges for the future of UK hyperlocal media over in Prague tomorrow at an event which looks like a fascinating mix of journalism from around the world.
Alongside my tales of dog poo, democracy and the hunt for digital revenues (in which readers of this blog are well-versed) there are nine other ‘visual essays’ looking at diverse aspects of journalism.
I intend to blog here from the other talks as much as possible so check back if these topics interest you:
- Exposing the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan. Speaker: Chris Woods
- New forms of journalism in Asia. Speaker: Kunda Dixit
- New business models for digital entrepeneurs. Speaker: James Breiner
- Hypermedia for a hyperconnected world. Speaker: Leo Prieto
- Screen-scraping Latin American media. Speaker: Mariano Blejman
- Citizens vs. Governments in Latin America: the impact of social networks in the political landscape. Speaker: Luis Manuel Botello
- The future of intelligence, whistleblowing and journalism. Speaker: Annie Machon
- Omnipresent news, the content factory approach. Speaker: David Brewer
* I’ll round-up from the day on this blog but will also post updates during the day at www.n0tice.com,(the social/local/mobile noticeboard project I’m working on) so if you’re one of the beta users, search for Prague. If you’d like to be one of the beta users – sign up for an invite!