Why do you optimise content for search and social? 4 reasons and a mnemomic to boot

Content strategies are one of the many things that used to be the preserve of publishers and editors. We didn’t call it ‘content strategy’ then: we ‘chose angles’ or adopted an ‘editorial approach’.

Now of course every journalist is a publisher, an editor, and a distributor. We control our Twitter platform, Facebook page, perhaps a professional blog and other platforms to boot. We are expected to be web first in all sorts of ways.

That means new responsibilities. We have to make choices about style, medium, timing and platform that we never had to think about before. Why? Because we want people to engage with what we are reporting on.

Read these other posts on content strategy:

It’s as simple as that. That engagement is what defines us as journalists, and not just people who enjoy writing. What also defines us is the speed at which we have to do that. And to make editorial decisions quickly most journalists use content strategies.

For example, we choose this subject over another because it is more important to our audience. We choose this angle over another because it is more relevant to our audience. We choose this time because that’s when our audience is online. We choose this platform because that’s where the audience is at that time.

But I come back to ‘why’. Because it isn’t quite as simple as just getting people to read. Continue reading

Hyperlocal Voices: Mark Baynes, Love Wapping

In our latest interview with hyperlocal practitioners, Damian Radcliffe speaks to Mark Baynes from Love Wapping.  A journalist, professional photographer and user experience designer; Mark explains how his mutual love of data and wildlife has manifested itself in this East London  hyperlocal site.

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Who are the people behind the blog?

Just me! Fortunately I have an odd mix of professional skills that are invaluable for hyperlocal work: photography, journalism, print production and web design and development. Continue reading

Thinking of doing your student project online? Here are 5 mistakes to avoid

Journalism courses often expect students to spend a large part of their final year or semester producing an independent project. Here, for those about to embark on such a project online, or putting together a proposal for one, I list some common pitfalls to watch out for… Continue reading

Hyperlocal Voices: Jack Davies, Tongwynlais

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We’re back to Wales for the latest interview in our Hyperlocal Voices series; as Jack Davies tells Damian Radcliffe about the community website for Tongwynlais in Cardiff. Launched in Summer 2012, the site covers a village in the north of the Welsh capital.

1. Who were the people behind the blog?

I created and continue to run the site entirely on my own. I’ve considered recruiting new contributors but at the moment I have the time and energy to do it myself.

2. What made you decide to set up the blog?

I moved to the village three years ago and felt it wasn’t being adequately promoted as a place to live and to visit.

Many people don’t realise we are in Cardiff. Continue reading

16 reasons why this research will change how you look at news consumption

Most research on news consumption annoys me. Most research on news consumption – like Pew’s State of the News Mediarelies on surveys of people self-reporting how they consume news. But surveys can only answer the questions that they ask. And as any journalist with a decent bullshit detector should know: the problem is people misremember, people forget, and people lie.

The most interesting news consumption research uses ethnography: this involves watching people and measuring what they actually do – not what they say they do. To this end AP’s 2008 report A New Model for News is still one of the most insightful pieces of research into news consumption you’ll ever read – because it picks out details like the role that email and desktop widgets play, or the reasons why people check the news in the first place (they’re bored at work, for example).

Now six years on two Dutch researchers have published a paper summarising various pieces of ethnographic and interview-based consumption research (£) over the last decade – providing some genuine insights into just how varied news ‘consumption’ actually is.

Irene Costera Meijer and Tim Groot Kormelink‘s focus is not on what medium people use, or when they use it, but rather on how engaged people are with the news.

To do this they have identified 16 different news consumption practices which they give the following very specific names:

  1. Reading
  2. Watching
  3. Viewing
  4. Listening
  5. Checking
  6. Snacking
  7. Scanning
  8. Monitoring
  9. Searching
  10. Clicking
  11. Linking
  12. Sharing
  13. Liking
  14. Recommending
  15. Commenting
  16. Voting

Below is my attempt to summarise those activities, why they’re important for journalists and publishers, and the key issues they raise for the way that we publish. Continue reading

Audio: UK Conference of Science Journalists panel on tools for journalists

Back in June I took part in a panel at the UK Conference of Science Journalists conference, discussing tools for reporters alongside BBC Trending’s Mukul Devichand and Digital Science’s community manager Laura Wheeler.

The conference website has just published audio of the session, including chair Daniel Clery’s tips and recommendations. You can listen to the clip below.

The Great British Bake Off copyright grab: We can use your #ExtraSlice Twitter images but not give you credit

Images shared on the #ExtraSlice hashtag. I don't know who took these - they waived their moral rights

Images shared on the #ExtraSlice hashtag. I don’t know who took these* – they waived their moral rights

This year’s series of The Great British Bake Off has a social media-savvy spin-off: An Extra Slice.

It’s a mix of interviews, punditry and contributions from audience members and viewers. But the programme makers have a curious approach to copyright law which users of Twitter and Instagram may be ‘agreeing’ to without knowing about it. Continue reading