Weekend Reading

Weekend reading: Five interesting links which made me think

Why it’s time to change the newspaper

Key quote: “One of the most difficult part of the transformation of legacy media is not addressed in the Times Innovation report nor in the FT’s exposé. It pertains to the future of the physical newspapers itself (the layout of the Times remains terribly out-of-date): How should it evolve? What should be its primary goals in order to address and seduce a readership now overwhelmed by commodity news? What should be the main KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) of a modern newspapers? What about content: types of stories, length, timelessness, value-added? Should it actually remain a daily?”

Full article here

The death of the home page?

Key quote:  “The upshot is that the death of homepages isn’t just a blip. It’s helping to change how we make and read news in ways we’re only beginning to discover.”

Full article here

Dealing with Facebook rumours

Key quote: “As the story spreads, the comment correcting any untruths will travel with it. Research suggests that seeing a credible source debunk the rumour slows down how much it is shared. Public bodies will increasingly need to engage in other places on Facebook, rather than just post on their official Facebook pages that they manage themselves”

Full article here

What journalism can learn from marketing

Key quote: “Some news stories are naturally more emotional than others (try generating a lump in the throat over the latest trade figures). But there’s no doubt more that can be done in the telling, if not to heighten emotion (which sounds worryingly manipulative in a news context) then at least to maximise impact through careful storytelling.”

Full article here

New York Times v Naspers (via Linked:In)

Key quote: “What happens when your business is threatened with oblivion? A vivid comparison was just laid bare. One was the leak of a confidential memo assembled for the leadership of The New York Times that revealed, in gruesome detail, the plight of the company. The other was an earnings report that caused the stock of Naspers, the South African media company, to nudge towards its all-time high and attain a market value of about $44 billion, or almost 100 times what it was worth in 1994. By contrast, shares of The New York Times trade for about the same nominal value as in the mid 1980s, while the company’s market value is about $2 billion.”

Full article here

 

Five interesting things I’ve read this week…

1. Getting over a blogging breakdown < < < Headlines and Deadlines

Hurrah for my friend and colleague Alison Gow, who in this post, written as a letter to her blog, she explores the reasons behind a blogging breakdown – ie when you can’t think of anything to write. Alison also applies the same principle to dipping out various social media networks. I think anyone who has blogged will know where Alison is coming from – and perhaps the lesson is that there’s nothing wrong in saying nothing if you’ve nowt to say?

2. In the spotlight protecting the public < < < GMP blog

Greater Manchester Police chief Peter Fahy writes on his blog about the impact the media is having on major operations, looking especially at the Raoul Moat case. He argues it can’t be right for half of the commanding officer’s time to be spent handling the media, or that he/she has to consider how it might look on television as if he/she was a film director. While he’s also right to point out that some of the 24-hour news coverage went a bit too far, is it really unrealistic to expect that the commanding officer of a situation such as Raoul Moat has the media at the front and centre of his/her mind, given the media is the only sure-fire way to communicate with hundreds of thousands of people that there is a gunman on the loose? And as for having to think how any action will look, again, the media will communicate to the public and regardless of the angle the media put on a story, lets not forget that readers/viewers/users are capable of individual thought too.

3. News from the noticeboards < < < Talkaboutlocal

A really fun idea reported by Talkaboutlocal which has appeared on the Bournville Village website. Editor Dave Harte photographed a local community noticeboard and then reported what he’d learnt from it. I love this idea, and can’t help but think it’s something a lot of local  journalists should monitor too.

4. Why I Would  Do This < < < Arthur S. Brisbane

This is a fascinating column by the new public editor of the New York Times. It’s a job which, on the surface, seems a thankless one – acting as a representative of readers in the newsroom. But to me that’s exactly the sort of accountability which newsrooms need to embrace – especially given that we’ll be held to account elsewhere, more more frequently, whether we like it or not.

5. Why Tony Blair thinks he was an idiot < < < Open Secrets

The BBC’s Martin Rosenbaum looks at why Tony Blair, in his memoirs, feels introducing the Freedom of Information Act was such a bad idea. Probably for the same sort of reason that Chester and Cheshire West want to lock it behind a paywall – because it means they aren’t in control.

Five interesting things I’ve read this week…

‘The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’: can the media separate fact from emotion?’ < < < Journalism.co.uk

While on holiday on the other side of the ‘pond,’ there was nothing on the news channels other than talk of the ‘Ground Zero Mosque.’ An emotive subject for sure, but one which would have benefitted from all the facts being reported, rather than just the facts which support the headline.

10 ways data is changing how we live < < < Daily Telegraph

Taken one by one, the impact data is having on our lives can feel small, but when looked at in the whole, which is what this post does, it’s clear that the impact is anything but small.

10 Characteristics of hyperlocal < < < Sarah Hartley

Sarah Hartley comes up with a list of 10 characteristics which mean something is likely to be hyperlocal. It’s a fascinating read, and maybe it’s proof of the impact the hyperlocal scene has had that it is such a broad, difficult church to describe. That said, marking out the ability to blur the line between comment and factual reporting as one of the 10 worries me a little. I think maintaining a clearly visible distinction between comment and fact is what separates a hyperlocal site from that of a more general blogger. To that end, InsidetheM60 is a good example of a site which provides both comment and fact-based reporting, but clearly labels the articles which are comment, so the reader knows exactly what they are getting.

10 cracking bakers in the north of England < < < Guardian Travel

Ok, so this one is a little random. I discovered Bury Market properly for the first time yesterday and it was brilliant. Then I saw a sign at Harry Muffin’s Bakery inside the market, hand written, which said ‘We’re one of the Guardian’s top 10 bakeries. Go to the Guardian website and search for Harry Muffin’s.’ Which I did. Perhaps the most random example of offline marketing?

11 Must-follow news photoblogs < < < 10,000 Words

11 great examples of brilliant news photoblogs from 10,000 Words’ Mark S. Luckie

Stuff I’ve been reading this week…

Freedom of Information Act: not the only option, but sometimes the only known option < < < Headlines and Deadlines

Councils and public bodies often bemoan the use of the FOI Act for things it wasn’t intended for. But if you’re a member of the public, how else do you ask for information? Alison Gow explores this issue here – and highlights some potentially absurd uses of FOI by councils to other councils and councillors within their own council. In short, FOI shouldn’t be the default method of receiving information, but for that to happen, councils need to be a little more open.

2. Editors: How we beat the chequebook journalists < < < Holdthefrontpage

Any regional journalist will be able to relate to the terror, excitement and general fear of being scooped which accompanies the arrival of the national media circus on the patch. That’s what the Trinity Mirror titles in Newcastle have been up against since Raoul Moat rampaged across its patch. In this post, the editors in Newcastle show how they beat chequebook journalism and maintained an air of authority when many other media were losing their heads over the story.

3. How To Write A Mind Blowing Headline For Twitter < < <jeffbullas.com

Yes, I know. We’re all busy and Twitterfeed does a very good job of helping us tell people what we’ve just published – but just as a web headline is different from a print headline, so, surely a headline on social media is different from a website headline? Jeff Bullas looks at the issue here.

4. No resources? No problem: How a local Russian paper took on the New York Times < < < 10,000 Words

A brilliant tale from the ever excellent 10,000 Words blog which explains how a very small newspaper in Russia managed to replicate a project which the (much better staffed) New York Times had undertaken.

5. Video: Can City overhaul United? Elvis the otter makes his prediction < < < Manchester Evening News

What do you do when Paul the octopus retires and you want him to predict which team in your city will come out on top? The MEN found Elvis the Otter – time will tell if he’s right and United do finish higher than City (the comments on the story are worth a look too.)

Stuff I’m reading…

A collection of links to posts I’ve read over the past few days

1. Council documents tell stories, not just FOI < < < Ed Walker

Colleague Ed Walker serves up a useful reminder of the value of council agendas. Ed’s points about scrutiny committees are particularly worth looking into – it’s an area of council life which councillors are often quick to dismiss as toothless, but I’ve found it’s often the place where the facts the ruling party don’t want to reveal tend to leak out.

2. Five ways to annoys reporters < < < Viva PR blog

Just the five? Any regional journalist will nod as you read this – and, I suspect, probably be able to add a few more.

3. The “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks

I knew a sub editor who hated the fact that his newspaper’s bill boards couldn’t print speech marks or apostrophies, so he’d spend his lunch break going round town adding them. This blog is the opposite of that, highlights the equally annoying habit people have of using speechmarks too often.

4. Train Etiquette – A grumpy 22-year-old’s guide to locomotive conduct < < < James Dunn’s blog

I found this via the WordPress home page. It’s another nod-as-you-go-along post for anyone who spends far too much of their life (like me) on trains

5. A Right Dressing Down < < < Seven Streets Blog

A scandalous series of events reported by the Seven Streets Blog involving a man who was required to wear a hat after head surgery being told to remove it, or get out, by a publican determined to maintain his warped dress code.

Weekend reading: Five things I want to share

I’ve not done this for a while, but will try to do it more often…

Can anyone replace the local beat reporter? < < <The Atlantic

An interesting look at beat reporter v unpaid volunteer in the role of watchdog – it also looks at the option for beat report and unpaid volunteer working together if the matter interests the volunteer.

Why it’s time to throw away the dummy < < < Alison Gow

Colleague Alison Gow argues the the dummy, or flatplan, in newsrooms restricts the ability to be creative online. Getting rid of it might not work at the moment, but trying not to be so led by it might help.

What ever you think hyperlocal is, you’re wrong < < < Journal Local

Perhaps the most sensible blog post to come out of the nonsense surrounding the reaction to David Ottewell’s piece about hyperlocal journalists. Authored by Philip John, it sets out the challenges and opportunities excellently, with David Ottewell among those replying and pointing out that, regardless of tag or label, most of us want the same thing.

On Comments < < < David Ottewell

David’s follow up blog to the outrage caused by the fact he wasn’t on hand to instantly moderate comments posted in reaction to his piece questioning the role of some hyperlocal sites. As I have commented to David on this post, much of the reaction failed to acknowledge his support for the Salford Star, or indeed the fact his assertions about hyperlocal were clearly labelled as his own experiences. Is this a sign that one trait of journalism, to always go for the negative and sensationalist, lives on?

The anti-propaganda propaganda machine keeps crowing < < <853

Fascinating looks at the ongoing row between the News Shopper and Greenwich Council, which insists on publishing a council newspaper on a weekly basis which competes unfairly against said News Shopper. Darryl Chamberlain makes the point that the argument about it damaging the local media, which helps hold the council to account, only works if the media is currently attempting to hold the council to account. However, even if a paper’s coverage of the council is found to be lacking, having a council newspaper isn’t the solution.

Weekend reading: Five blog posts I’ve read this week

Newspapers v councils < < < Tom Calver

Blackburn with Darwen Council press officer Tom Calver  offers a different perspective on the council newspapers debate. He argues the decline of newspapers is more to do with the fact that reporters do nothing than churn out press releases and write stories and ‘take calls from complaining members of the public and attack the local council.’ The post is part contradictory, because he earlier said that journalists no longer talk to members of the public anymore. He adds: ‘he result is newspapers whose prime quality is a grinding negativity: crime and grime, overblown petty (and often pretty groundless) complaints, rent-a-gob criticism which people get fed up of.’ I’m not sure councils churning out publications which look and act just like newspapers, but which seek to push out a pro-council line, is the solution. But it’s an interesting insight all the same – even if his criticism of local newspapers doesn’t really resemble any paper I know in the Blackburn area.

Twitter time management < < < Steve Buttry

It’s a common question for people first exploring Twitter: How much time is too much time, and how do you find the time to Twitter? I think we all know people who spend too much time on Twitter, and probably say too much on Twitter, and hopefully the tips from Steve will stop that from happening in the future.

Starring Stories in Google News < < < Google News Blog

A potentially significant update from Google News for journalists – the ability to star stories as you go along. Why? Well, when you star a story in Google News, it’s one way to let us know that you’re interested in that subject. When there are significant updates, we will alert you by putting the headline in bold so you can get more information. You can also follow your 20 most recent starred stories in the “Starred” section of Google News. For breaking news, it could become very useful.

Five tools for the Mobile Journalist < < < Mashable

Further essential reading from the ever excellent Mashable

Basic shooting tips < < < Advancing the Story

Great advice from a New York Times VJ which covers how to avoid some basic errors which can ruin video.

Weekend reading: Five blog posts I’ve read this week…

1. Paper review: Manchester Evening News < < < Dyson at Large

One day, I’ll remember to blog about why I think Steve Dyson was wrong to argue that by providing online only content on its website, the Nottingham Evening Post is damaging for newspaper sales. But in the meantime, I’ll just link to his weekly blog on Holdthefrontpage. This week’s subject was the MEN, a paper which it seems everyone in the media has an opinion about. But it makes a change to see someone talking about the actual newspaper, rather than other issues like distribution, Channel M and putting all the weeklies into head office.

2. Local Media Predictions for 2010 < < < Philip John

Great post from Phil with three big predictions for 2010.

3. Speakers presentations < < < news:rewired

Heard about news:rewired? If you weren’t there, then here are the presentations

4. How to create video storytelling which actually tells a story < < < 10,000 Words

I don’t think newspaper websites have yet explored all the ways they can use video to tell stories. Mark Luckie has some good ideas.

5. Why didn’t our budget blogs work? < < < Ask The Echo

A  blog which allows readers to have their say on the product is an obvious idea, but doing it in a way which makes it more than just lip services to the idea or reader interaction is much harder. The Echo in Dorset seems to have it cracked, and in this post asks users why its live blogs discussing proposed council budget cuts weren’t well used. I’ve some ideas, which I’d post in the comments section, but I really don’t like blogs on newspaper websites which insist I register with them first.

Weekend reading: Five great posts I’ve seen this week

1. Web Journalism Roundup: Haitian earthquake coverage < < < Web Journalist Blog

Robert Hernandez, aka WebJournalist, and Mark Luckie from 10,000 words blog, round up the different ways online news organisations are covering the Haitian earthquake coverage.

2. news:rewired crowdsourcing session < < < Freelance Unbound

The crowdsourcing session at news:rewired quickly became a talking point around the conference as talk of rows over what a citizen journalist really was spread. Freelance Unbound puts that to one side and looks at the lessons learnt during the session

3. Citizens? Journalists? Fight! < < < Sarah Hartley

Sarah Hartley, also at news:rewired, touches on an undercurrent from some quarters about a possible perceived threate from “citizen journalists.”

4. User Generated Content < < < Online Journalism Blog

Paul Bradshaw has posted part of a chapter of his forthcoming book. This chapter looks at UGC – what it is, and how online UGC differs from from ‘traditional’ UGC such as the letters page.

5. The Twitter Guidebook < < < Mashable

For anyone looking to convince a colleague that Twitter is for them, or who feels they might be missing out despite being on Twitter, this guide from Mashable looks as though it covers everything

Weekend reading: Five great blog posts I’ve read this week

1. What’s Murdoch’s endgame? < < < Peter Kirwan

At a guess, thousands of blogs have been written about Rupert Murdoch and News International’s tussle with Google, but few go beyond the “Who does Murdoch think he is, taking on Google” argument. Peter Kirwan’s blog post goes much further than that and is well worth a read.

2. 25 Online photo editing and fun maker websites < < < Mostlyblog

I don’t know about the fun maker bit, but proof there’s life beyound Photoshop is here

3. Freedom of Information Requests: Useful standard paragraphs < < < Wardman Wire

Handy batch of paragraphs which limit the wriggle room of the small number of Freedom of Information officers who would rather be called “Keep all the Information to  myself, you nosey sod” officers

4. Citizen journalists give national journalists a run for their money < < < Stuffhappeningnow

A refreshingly original look at the growth of hyperlocal which addresses where existing media players fit in, where they’re going wrong at the moment and which, crucially, doesn’t play up to stereotypes which often dominate the hyperlocal discussion.

5. 10 Adobe AIR apps which simplify our lives

AIR is one of those things it is easy to forget about it – but it’s enabled some great tools. Mashabe lists ‘em