Tag Archives: journalism

“The best and most influential reporters are becoming brand names”

Just a quick thought:

Journalists are embracing the tools of social media to create online personas. They are breaking free of the constraints of traditional media to blog and tweet everything from deep thoughts to random musings to personal information that was considered verboten not too many years ago.

Not everyone can be a one man media conglomerate, but reporters are encouraged by their editors to be more transparent and accessible to readers offering new opportunities for engagement. Brand name reporters are far more accessible than their counterparts in the era of old media. You now have multiple avenues to get to know the most important reporters covering your business. Keep track of their musings through various social media tools and connect with them when appropriate.

A reporter’s tweet can become an entry point for a conversation outside of the usual give-and-take dictated by a breaking news story.

A world without newspapers

by David Schneiderman

Some other good ideas can found there.

Building a hyperlocal website: final thoughts

Keywords for hyperlocal

This is the final post about hyperlocal websites, that started with my own experience with HashBrum, as described in onetwo, three posts, and with the  special contribution of five sapient minds that work on hyperlocal endeavors. I learned a lot from my own efforts  – mine and the rest of the team’s – and also from  this reflection. It was interesting to analyze the list of characteristics presented by different people for hyperlocal websites and find common terms, common ideas, a common ground, even in the choice of words. Here’s what i learned, organized around a few main concepts. To understand them better, you should have read the previous posts of this series, but i think this will be quite clear and straight to the point.


Relevance

Why are hyperlocal news websites important? Why do people feel inclined to “backyard news”? Precisely. Proximity is the keyword here, and it’s not only a geographical concept, it’s also about the relationships that a hyperlocal blogger/journalist must have with the community (s)he covers. You have to live there, be a part of it, like Will Perrin said. You’ll beat any other local newspaper because of your knowledge, you know the ground better than them, the real problems, because they are your problems too. And since you are there, you can get to the news faster, and stay on them for a longer period of time, without deadline constraints: you have availability. And will the local media send a reporter for every story you find interesting? Not really, no. Your broken streetlight is not an issue for the general audience, but it is for the people who live in that street: granularity, or , it’s the small stuff that counts.

UX

Another good thing that hyperlocal websites are good at is by providing a better user experience. Innovation and experimentation in storytelling, using maps, multimedia, different ways to look at and navigate through the news. And without  the need for a huge investment, because most of the tools to create a website like this are free and open source, so only a small financial investment is required, the real expense here is time. But to be effective, the hyperlocal website’s technology must promote participation, allow people to offer their input, and  the users should be able to conform their experience through customization, getting the information they want, the way they want.

Attitude

At the core of hyperlocal behavior is passion. It’s your reality, or at least a reality that is right outside your front door. The level of engagement and commitment hyperlocal news websites have are huge, compared to the average reporter, who is assigned for a story and educated to be detached. Hyperlocal reporters are involved in the story and they can afford to be critical and assertive close to the local authorities,  and use their work to improve their community’s living standards and environment. It’s what matters to a few, that becomes really important.

Another relevant characteristic is adaptability. A good hyperlocal website is aware of it’s shortcomings and is constantly looking for new ways to do their work, something quite impossible to do in the bigger, slower structures of traditional media, and their sluggish procedures and bureaucracies. They can be built and developed fast, and still bring added value.

A new market is open for these projects: since it’s about and for the local community, it is also an advertising opportunity for local businesses, who can’t afford ads in the pages of a newspaper. If instructed to develop interaction and user experience like the hyperlocal website should do, there is a lot to get out of this, for local businesses.

The bottom line is, your neighborhood news matter, whether it’s a poorly made manhole, or a broken streetlight, or crime. It’s these bits of information that become important when you are living – or wanting to live – in a neighborhood. And if there’s a way to connect us back to our neighbors, whom we usually don’t know, and  join efforts to improve our real, every day life experience, it was well worth it. And if you want to do it, there isn’t much stopping you. All you have  to do is to talk to people who live next to you, see what is already being discussed online, and build a space to host the information that matters. All it takes is time, and quick thinking.

When we first thought about HashBrum, we believed we could create a small network of street level information, and let the different communities take part in the process. In the end we leaned towards reporting specific issues neglected by the local media, who didn’t have room in their agendas or the resources to cover them, or do comprehensive follow ups on the developments. It’s the idea that a brief article in local media can be a huge story for a community/hyperlocal website. And do you know what?, sometimes they’re huge for other communities too, that have the same problems, and what seemed to be an isolated event might be a more general issue within society.

With the fragmentation brought by the internet, the rule is no longer defined by the majority. It”s the individual’s rules and needs that matter, and we can customize them in size, subject and location. With all this power, citizens can start improving the world, starting at their doorsteps. Or just have their garbage collected more often. If you have your own ideas on this, please, do share them in the comment box below. If you aren’t already starting to build your own hyperlocal news thing…

news:rewired – nudges and conclusions

the view of @drawnalism over #newsrw

I must confess i hate conferences. Well, i’ve been hating them, since i’ve never been to so many of them in such a short period of time, and because i’m not making the most of attending to these things. Conferences are not only places of discussion and learning with some of the best minds in a specific field, but mostly a place to interact with them, network with like minded people, make new friends, get into someone else’s list of professional contacts. Lately i’ve been feeling like a teenager avoiding all the cool kids. I’m starting to think i’m losing people’s skills, or my charm doesn’t work around here. I come from a different culture, and you brits sometimes don’t make it easy. But some do, actually, as i found out after the end of the conference, over a few beers.

I was approached by John Thompson, publisher and owner of Journalism.co.uk, so, the man in charge of the operations. He kindly put up with my ranting about what i thought Journalism.co.uk could do when covering the Journiverse, while i thanked him for my (nowadays undeserved) presence in their list of the best journalism blogs. John and his team do some of the best work i see related to the industry, and i’m constantly recommending their work. Another huge mistake i keep doing is not having a camera available to interview people, my Samsung Omnia has terrible video and sound quality, so i didn’t even tried, but my conversation with John could have been registered and posted here, instead of having to describe it using just words. Not much multimedia of me…

Other people that i managed to talk to IRL (in real life) for the first time we’re Laura Oliver, from journalism.co.uk, but i failed to meet Judith Townend. I got to “e-talk” with them a bit in the last two years, so it’s easy to have the “i kinda know you” feeling. Another great moment was when I intercepted Andy Dickinson, whom i must convince to taste some Portuguese wines, I owe him a bottle anyway. But if you’ve ever been to these events, you know it’s all three minute conversations, then change counterparts. After three beers in a nearly empty stomach i was feeling like a pinball (so unprofessional of me…) but i got to talk to Dave Lee, Adam Westbrook, Josh Halliday, and Phillip John that i already knew from Birmingham. But it was nice to get to talk to these guys in person, they are what i thought of them: smart and to be followed in their online presences, there is a lot to be learned from them.

It was a great day anyway, and the bullet points were the following:

– journalists can’t do everything, they need to find what they need to know;

– journalists need to be entrepreneurial;

-journalism is changing faster than we can be aware of that;

-journalism is still the same thing as it was before, but there is a plethora of new ways to do it, monetize it, distribute it, work on it;

You should check these websites to get a better picture of what happened during the conference: news:rewired, of course, with all the profiles of the speakers and some accounts on the sessions; Andy Dickinson talks about one of the sessions he attended; Adam Tinworth also reports on the sessions he attended.

Now i’m working on my assignments for the MA and looking for a place to work for the Labs phase next semester. This was a useful event for me, nonetheless, and i might profit from it in the near future. At least that’s what i hope. And if you see me at one of these things, please approach me, i might not recognize you, be offline, or just too shy that day.

Here are some images of the conference.

[UPDATE: Check this list of links for a broader coverage on the event]

news:rewired – the start

News Rewired eventLast Thursday i attended the news:rewired event, organized by the great Journalism.co.uk team. I have to say that the source of most of my excitment when i got to the London City University, where the conference was held, was the fact that i’d see in the flesh many of my twitter contacts. But it seems i’m 16 again and i’m not able to engage in a conversation at conference foyers. Being dead tired after a long day, in panic because i’m really late with my assignments for the MA and nearly broke doesn’t help, but i’m always good at finding excuses (you can hire me if you need someone for that). It was a good place to network in a more active way, and i failed. My charm doesn’t seem to work around here. But the presentations were good, the event had a main idea running throughout the day, and the crowd was diverse and knowledgeable about media, with different backgrounds and expertises. And that already made the event a winner.

Looking through my notes, i find some terrific quotes that by themselves define the spirit of the event. “Professor of chaos”, that’s how George Brock, Professor and Head of Journalism at London City University, defined himself. But big events in History are surrounded by chaos, and this one in news industry is no exception. Brock then said we had to be “spaghetti throwers”, which as a foreigner, looks like a great image to me. He then gave way to Kevin Marsh, editor of the BBC College of Journalism, that explained to the audience how the BBC made online the center of their news operation, in the biggest multimedia newsroom in the world. Marsh said the evolution process inside the newsroom was so fast they couldn’t even reflect on what was going on, and he took a great lesson out of that experience: “If you think you know the answer, it’s because you didn’t got the question.”

“Entrepreneurial journalism won’t replace big journalism” could sound like a statement against the main current at news:rewired, but it is a great warning for those who are getting the wrong picture about new media. Marsh defends multimedia skills will not suplant journalistic skills but “they suplement the core skills of journalism”. He said there’s no room for a PanMedia journalist, but for journalists with specific skills. We can think this is a step back in the new media philosophy, but i’m also joining this bandwagon. It’s good to know a bit about everything, but we need to be specialists in something. Kevin Marsh also left some good advices for journo students and pros:

-keep learning;
-think like a journalist when you look at the skill set that you need;
-think about what you do well and how the new skills fit with the old ones;
-if the skill is not working for you, drop it.When you stop innovating you should move on.

And he reinforced these ideas by saying “Skills are means to an end”, we spend too much time talking about applications and not about what they can do. But if God is in the details, he gave a final warning: “Don’t lose sight of the big picture.”

The man is right. Check his keynote in full below.

In the next posts i’ll talk about how the rest of the day went. There is a post about Marsh’s ideas here, but you might want to check Nigel Barlow’s insights too.

Looking back, looking forward | Olhar para trás, ver em frente

burning newspapers

This is the  time of the year where we look back and see how much we have accomplished, and where we are headed, or, at least, when we try to set a route for the next times. I always do that, but nowadays i’m basically going with the flow. Less talking, more doing, that has been my mantra.

But since i did a lot of talking (blogging) before about journalism, i wanted to recover a blog post i wrote 20 months ago. I think i wasn’t that far off from the truth, since i’ve been reading a lot of posts from smarter people than i am saying pretty much the same. Here’s a summary:

“There are five keypoints where changes must occur. Maybe there are more, but i’ll leave the others to you:

Method -> newspapers need to change the way news are gathered and presented;

Posture -> newspapers must change their editorial guidelines;

Involvement -> newspapers need to interact with the audience, not only regarding them as users or readers, but as people;

Investment -> newspapers need to spend money to make money, and charge less to more;

Technology -> use technology to make better, faster, unique;”

It’s newspaper oriented, but i guess it applies to any medium. Read the whole thing and let me know where i got it right and wrong.

Meanwhile, i’ll keep meditating on the path that led me where i am now, a small break for breath on the side of the road. I’ll resume my voyage soon. Happy New Year.

Esta é aquela altura do ano em que olhamos patra trás e vemos o que conseguimos fazer, e para onde vamos, ou, pelo menos, tentamos estabelecer uma rota para os tempos mais próximos. Eu faço sempre isso, mas hoje em dia ando ao sabor da corrente. Falar menos, fazer mais é o meu mantra actual.

Mas já que falei (bloguei) muito antes sobre jornalismo, queria recuperar um post que escrevi há 20 meses atrás. Penso que não estava assim tão longe da verdade, já que tenho lido muitos posts de gente mais inteligente que eu a dizer o mesmo. Aqui fica um pequeno sumário:

“Existem cinco pontos-chave onde são necessárias mudanças. Talvez hajam mais, mas vou deixar as outras sugestões para vocês:

Método -> Os jornais precisam de alterar a forma como recolhem e apresentam as notícias;

Postura -> Os jornais precisam de alterar as suas linhas editoriais;

Envolvimento -> Os jornais precisam de interagir com os seus leitores, não olhando para eles como utilizadores mas como pessoas;

Investimento -> Os jornais precisam de gastar dinheiro para fazer dinheiro,e cobrar menos a mais;

Tecnologia-> Os jornais têm que recorrer à tecnologia para fazer melhor, mais rápido e único;”

É sobre jornais, mas acho que se aplica a qualquer meio. Leiam o texto por inteiro e digam-me onde é que acertei e errei.

Entretanto, vou continuar a reflectir no caminho que me trouxe até onde estou agora, uma pequena pausa para ganhar fôlego à beira da estrada. Volto a fazer-me ao caminho em breve. Feliz Ano Novo.