Tag Archives: spain

‘Semantic news’ and the rise of the robots: Mario Tascón’s full interview

La Informacion's bizarre process triangle

Journalism.co.uk asked me to write an article about interesting online projects in the Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian publishing  markets, and  I decided to start with LaInformacion.com, a spanish online news website that has some special characteristics. I interviewed Mario Tascón, head of Diximedia, the company that runs the project, for the article, that you can read here. Below is the full interview, in the English version. Tascón also writes in 233grados, his blog about media. If you understand Spanish, check it out.

If you know other interesting and groundbreaking online news projects in any of these countries, let me know. Thanks.


Mario Tascón’s interview

-At first sight, La informacion seems like an ordinary news website. What makes it different?

The fact that it looks like a regular website when a big part of it is made by machines is already a difference. From 12.am until 6.30 in the morning, the editor in chief is an algorithm that selects and organizes the news that we get. It analyzes trends in real time in social networks and search engines. It’s a less expensive way to maintain a website during certain periods, and if you can’t notice it, it’s because it doesn’t work that bad

Another difference is the amount of information. More than 5.000 stories get into the system every day, among videos, texts and infographics. A website like elpais.com doesn’t have more than 1.000 stories like those each day.

I believe that usability and the design of the website make also a difference, that has been recognized by users and professionals (in such a short amount of time we had lots of international awards in both of those areas.)

The way the newsroom is designed is another difference. It’s a networked newsroom, as it is a network of partnerships with other players. As an example, a great deal of information about football is made with resultados-futbol.com, which is a social network with thousands of youngsters.

The international affairs are also covered mostly through the partnership with the Global Post, and the Technology news are covered with Microsiervos, which is the most well known blog about the subject in Spain.

The way we deal with the different channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc…) is different too. Most of the media treat them all the in same way, but for us, the language itself is quite specific.

-How does La Informacion work? It’s not a traditional process of journalistic newsgathering, but it’s not just aggregation. Where does the concept of “semantic news” fit in?

Lainformacion has a great technological frame that lists thousands of news in real time, so we use fewer resources regarding the “breaking news” traditional concept, to which the digital media dedicate so much effort. Breaking news are analyzed by the machines, using that “semantic intelligence”. Having that part of the job in the hands of the algorithms most of the journalistic resources are dedicated to search or elaborate stories and provide them added value when published, and also to try new narratives and experiment with different technologies:

a.- Panoramical Megafotos panorámicas of landscapes, monuments, events or exhibitions
http://blogs.lainformacion.com/megafotos/2010/01/12/el-palacio-de-cristal-bajo-la-nieve/
b.- tag clouds of political speeches

http://graficos.lainformacion.com/2010/01/bush-hablaba-de-guerra-obama-habla-de-economia/

c.-F1 drivers comparisons
http://graficos.lainformacion.com/2010/01/comparativa-de-pilotos-favoritos-para-el-mundial-de-formula-1/
d.- own production vídeos http://videos.lainformacion.com/
e.- special packages
http://graficos.lainformacion.com/2010/01/haiti-siete-dias-y-la-nada/
http://especiales.lainformacion.com/ciencia/hombre-en-la-luna-40-aniversario/

The semantic listing systems allow us to treat more than 100.00 pages in real time with information about 100.00 concepts from companies to people.
http://tags.lainformacion.com/steve-jobs_P_MyGx3iZlNvxaKogkbIOtb3/

Here you have collected the most important news about Apple, eliminating the noise and listing the news immediately. You have to remember that we don’t reproduce full texts, so the analysis work is complex but with an accuracy rate of 95%.

We eliminate the noise  (most of the news come from the wire and get repeated) and we select from each subject group within a category the best, the most interesting or complete. It’s impossible to do that work manually.

-Is user generated content a part of your sources? Why? What is the real value that UGC brings?

It’s one of the areas that we still haven’t developed in lainformacion and we have examples of what we want to do in that field with Praticopedia.com ,where we even share the ad revenue with the users.

-What has been the biggest investment in La informacion? I don’t have the idea you have much of your own multimedia content production, for example.

Technology and newsroom. There’s a lot of content that we create and buy.

-La informacion is just one year old, and it is freshly out of the beta phase. How has it been so far? I know it has been having a steady, fast growth in audience.

We have grown a lot in terms of audience (in December we had 1.6 million users in Nielsen’s ratings whereas elmundo.es had 6 million). Considering that we only launched officially in September (after a few months in beta) it’s a good number. We need to establish an audience, that visit us regularly and transfer the success we have on twitter and facebook to create a larger virtual community.

-What is your business model? Is it just based in advertising? What do you think about the pay wall proposals, can it happen with La Informacion?

It is mostly supported by publicity. [Pay walls] are not going to work for those who want to develop the business. If the main goal is to protect print let them shut down their websites but they will kill their brands by doing so. I ran elpais.com in the time where we set up a wall like that…

-What is the importance of social media in your strategy?

Paramount. It’s one of the keys to our success right now. We differentiate the channels, and apply to each one of them a specific language that we learn from our users every day.

Lainformacion.com is the only medium in the world that has its “status” in the header. It’s a declaration of principles.

-The market and the technology are developing faster than any model has time to establish itself. What are the next steps for La informacion?

To be fast and focus on what we know how to do best. And in the rest associate with those who do it well […]. Invest more in new contents and apps for news contents.

Spain’s new newspaper – the Factual truth | O novo jornal de Espanha – a verdade Factual

music by gmz

There is a new news project in Spain. Factual.es is the child of the journalist Arcadi Espada and intends to be different from the rest of the media.

First of all, they’re charging 50€ for an anual subscription. They are not conventional in the way they depict themselves, or in the way they present their content (check video above). They respect a contract, where the main idea is to stand for the truth whenever possible, and follow the mantra: “El periodismo no se vende. El periodismo se compra”.

It is an interesting project, and i’m looking forward for new developments and editions, to see what they’re made of. So far, i like them. Mucha suerte.

Below is the email i got from them by the end of their first day, it’s worth reading.

Há um novo projecto informativo em Espanha. Factual.es é a criação do jornalista Arcadi Espada e pretende se diferente dos restantes média.

Antes de mais, eles estão a cobrar 50€ por uma assinatura anual. Não são convencionais na maneira como se mostram, ou na maneira como apresentam o conteúdo (ver video acima). Eles seguem um contrato, onde a ideia principal é dar a verdade sempre que possível, e recitam o seguinte lema: “El periodismo no se vende. El periodismo se compra”.

É um projecto interessante e estou curioso em assistir aos  desenvolvimentos e edições seguintes, e ver do que são feitos. Para já, gosto deles. Mucha suerte.

Abaixo está o email que recebi deles no final do seu primeiro dia a sério, vale a pena ler.

Lunes, 30 de noviembre de 2009
Los lunes son días tranquilos en las redacciones. Si el domingo no secuestran a un grupo de cooperantes, ni se celebran sorprendentes elecciones suizas contra los minaretes, ni a Montilla se le calienta el morrete, que hay que ver cómo se está creciendo el cordobés.

Los lunes son días tranquilos, sobre todo, si no es el primer día.

Hoy era el primer día. Al menos, el primer ‘día vista’, como dicen las agendas, porque en Factual llevamos dos meses publicando (para nadie) números cero. Y, claro, han sido números suficientes para que yo llegue a una serie de conclusiones que les resumiré a continuación.

1. Arcadi Espada es, ciertamente, un excéntrico. Para lo bueno, y para lo otro. Además, hace trampas: piensa.
2. Viva Gutemberg.
3. La de Factual es una redacción de treintañeros.

Y aquí va mi segunda clasificación del día, si me permiten, que tengo yo mucha necesidad de orden con todas estas cosas que suceden a mi alrededor:

1. Una redacción de veinteañeros es una leonera donde todo el mundo va a lo suyo, que si conciertos, que si granos.
2. Una redacción de cuarentones es un rebaño donde todo el mundo va a lo suyo, que si llego tarde a casa, que si nos tomamos la penúltima, que si la oveja negra.
3. Una redacción de treintañeros, Factual o sea, es una orgía donde todo el mundo está en edad de fornicar, engendrar, formar parejas.

Así que yo voy a lanzar al mundo cada día una crónica (ésta) mitad tratado de periodismo borde, mitad ensayo sobre el apareamiento nuevo siglo. Me lo estoy oliendo.

En fin, que Factual ya está en la calle

y mañana será otro día. Exactamente el segundo.

Buenas noches.

soitu.es: the end | o fim

soitu
Soitu.es Newsroom | Redacção do Soitu.es

One of the most interesting news projects going on the web is now closed. The spanish based Soitu.es is gone, after only 22 months after its launch. In between they won two Online News Association awards, a place in the News Museum in  Washington, and saw their design distinguished by the Society for News Design. It was interesting, intense, risky, but it failed.

Juan Antonio Giner shares in his view on the closing of Soitu the opinion of  AFP’s Eric Scherer in Rue89:

He says “that there are three lessons to be learned from the death of soitu.es:

1. Don’t depend only from one shareholder (specially if it is a bank)

2. Start small.

3. Don’t depend only from advertising.”

For Giner, “soitu.es made all these three mistakes.”  I wish the Soitu team the best of luck for the future.

Um dos projectos informativos mais interessantes na web acabou. O site espanhol Soitu.es fechou apenas 22 meses depois do seu lançamento. Pelo meio ganharam dois prémios da Online News Association, um lugar no News Museum em  Washington,e viram o seu design ser reconhecido pela Society of News Design. Foi interessante, intenso, arriscado, mas falhou.

Juan Antonio Giner partilha na sua visão do encerramento do Soitu a opinião de Eric Scherer da AFP, no Rue89:

Ele diz que “há três lições a retirar da morte do Soitu.es:

1. Não dependam de um uníco accionista (especialmente se for um banco)

2. Comecem pequeno.

3. Não dependam apenas de publicidade”.

Para Giner “soitu.es cometeu todos estes erros.” Desejo à equipa do soitu a melhor sorte para o futuro.