Category Archives: blogging

FAQ: Hyperlocal sustainability

The latest in the series of Frequently Asked Questions comes from a UK student, who has questions about hyperlocal blogging.

In the long term, how sustainable is a hyperlocal site economically?

It depends on the business model, the wider market, and the individuals involved in the business. Continue reading

FAQ: What does blogging add to journalism?

Its been a while since I posted a post answering Frequently Asked Questions. This one comes from a student in Holland, whose thesis revolves around the idea that ‘Blogging adds little to journalism

What’s the difference between blogging and traditional journalism?

I’ve answered this and similar questions in a previous FAQ on journalism vs blogging.

What are the pros and cons of blogging compared to other forms of journalism?

That post and other older FAQs probably give some further answers, but a short answer is: blogging provides an extra space to invite people into your journalism and provide opportunities for them to contribute additional information, suggested avenues of inquiry, etc.

It helps build the relationship between journalist and source in a way that standard formats don’t always provide. Continue reading

Guest post: Student journalists are not “journalists”, they are students #Jcarn

Martin Hirst has written a thoughtful response to my post on the ‘student journalist’ title which he also offered as a guest post. I’m happy to cross-publish it here. You can see my comments on Martin’s version.

A few days ago, my English colleague Paul Bradshaw wrote a piece “There’s no such thing as a ‘student journalist’” on his Online Journalism blog. He argues that there should be no distinction between journalists or students of journalism (presumably training to be employed as journalists after graduation) because they are both publishers of information and the students carry out the actions of journalists — they are effectively “doing” journalism — while they learn the skills, technologies and attitudes of the profession.

Students are experiencing first hand the culture of journalism, the experience of journalism and the social consequences of what they do. Paul writes:

There is no such thing as a ‘student journalist’.

Students of journalism no longer practise their work in the seclusion of a classroom. They do not write solely for lecturers, or even for each other.

Any student on a course with some awareness of the modern media world publishes their own blogs; their student media isaccessible around the world. They contribute to networks, and build communities.

Even if their course provides no opportunities to do any of these things, they will have Twitter accounts, or Facebook accounts.

All of which means that they are publishers.

I don’t disagree with this in principle. Certainly any journalism course worthy of the name would be requiring students to participate in what I like to call “live fire” news exercises. These are usually done under close supervision. However, writing a blog as part of coursework (and for many students it is an onerous requirement of their study, rather than something they enjoy or immediately see the benefits of) is not journalism. Blogging is not journalism and I thought that debate was settled years ago. Continue reading

Guest post: Columbia University students’ Project Wordsworth: How much is a good story worth?

17 students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City came together to perform an experiment in 21st century journalism. I invited them to write about the results.

How much is journalism worth? Throughout the past semester, under the tutelage of our professor, Michael Shapiro, we have had endless discussions about how journalism is changing, what we can do to keep up, and how journalists can make a living when so much Internet content is free. To answer that simple question, we set up a website.

Instead of a paywall, we offered our 17 stories to the public for free. At the end of each story, there is a pay option. If the reader enjoys the story, we hope he or she will pay for it. How much? The reader decides.

Projectwordsworth.com was launched on May 9. By May 10, we had made over $1,200 and seen over 20,000 unique site visitors.

Some people donated $1. Others donated $50. Our experiment lasted one week. On May 16, we hoped to discover something new about how people consume and pay for stories. Do readers respond positively when you ask them to pay rather than force them? Do readers who pay for stories also share stories on social media? And last but not least, how much is a good story worth?

Please visit our site to learn more. Check out some stories. Share them. If you like them, pay for them. And if you want to hear about the results of our experiment, feel free to email us at project.wordsworth@gmail.com. Happy reading!

Why I stopped working with print publishers (for a while)

Scraping for Journalists book

This was first published on the BBC College of Journalism website:

I have just spent 10 months publishing an ebook. Not ‘writing’, or ‘producing’, but 10 months publishing. Just as the internet helped flatten the news industry – making reporters into publishers and distributors – it has done the same to the book industry. The question I wanted to ask was: how does that change the book?

Having written books for traditional publishers before, my plunge into self-publishing was prompted when I decided I wanted to write a book for journalists about scraping: the technique of grabbing and combining information from online documents. Continue reading

Launch of new survey on the legal experiences and views of journalists and online publishers

A new survey for journalists, bloggers and online publishers, which can be found at this link, aims to collect information about their experiences of and views on libel and privacy law

A system of arbitration is at the heart of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations, and different versions are included in the the government’s draft Royal Charter and the industry’s own proposals [PDF].

The suggestion is that an arbitration service could deal with libel and privacy complaints that would otherwise go to court.

Last minute amendments to the Crime and Courts bill (now Act) would allow for bloggers to opt into the regulatory arbitration system and receive costs benefits.

Additionally and separately, recommendations have also been made for Mediation and Early Resolution in defamation disputes.

However, there is very little solid data about the nature and quantity of legal claims made against the media, including small bloggers. Because the majority of libel claims, for example, are believed to be resolved out of court, there is no complete record of disputes.

In short, little is known about bloggers’ and journalists’ actual legal experiences and opinions.

In an effort to build a better picture and to help inform the development of new alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, I am launching a survey as the final part of my doctoral project at the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism (CLJJ), City University London.

This questionnaire is open to all types of journalists and online writers who expect their readership to be predominantly based in England and/or Wales.

Please take part and share your experiences and encourage your colleagues and friends to participate as well.

All data will be collected anonymously with no identification of organisations or individuals.

The questionnaire can be found here:

Many thanks for your help! If you have any questions you can email me: (judith.townend.1@city.ac.uk) or tweet  (@jtownend).

About the project

This survey is part of Judith Townend’s doctoral project at the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism (CLJJ), City University London. The research project, which has been given ethical approval by the CLJJ, explores how journalists and online writers are affected by libel and privacy law, as well as other social and legal factors. It will draw attention to the issues faced by online writers and journalists, and help inform the development of resources in this area.

About this questionnaire

  • The questionnaire is open to all types of journalists and online writers who expect their readership to be predominantly based in England and/or Wales.
  • It should take between 10 and 30 minutes to complete, depending on your experiences and views. Some questions require an answer so you can be taken to the next relevant question.
  • All data will be collected anonymously with no identification of organisations or individuals.
  • The information you have submitted will included in a final report to be published in 2013/14, which may be used for future online and print publications.
  • Please contact Judith Townend with any questions, or to obtain the final results.

Contact details:

Judith Townend, c/o Peter Aggar, Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, City University London, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB, Tel: +44 (0)20 7040 8167

E-mail: judith.townend.1@city.ac.uk

Web video awards – OMG FYI

German web video awards logo

This year marks the third German Web Video Awards - the first awards of its kind in Europe.

The awards cover Austria and Switzerland as well as Germany, and are organised by the European Web Video Academy, a group of German journalists and web enthusiasts based in Düsseldorf, directed by Markus Hündgen and Dimitrios Argirakos and supported by Julius Endert and Daniel Pahl (disclaimer: I’m working there at the moment).

Their aim: help web video grow stronger, consult (media) companies and promote a new generation of young, talented web video producers.  Continue reading

How to use content strategy for better journalism, not just publishing

strategy

image by ChessNetwork

Content strategy is often talked about in terms of increasing a site’s metrics: the amount of traffic it gets, or time spent by users, or engagement (here’s a previous post about it).

But there’s another type of content strategy, one that improves a journalist’s reporting. It’s a strategy that increases the numbers of contacts that you have, or their diversity. It’s a strategy that improves your reputation with those contacts, or increases the chance that one will approach you with new information. Continue reading

Alternatives to Google Reader – which one will you use? (Comment call)

So Google Reader is closing down. Quickly getting the denial, anger and bargaining out of the way, which service will you switch to?

I’ve started an open* spreadsheet so you can add the alternatives you know of, and look at the features of others. (This worked particularly well when Delicious was being sold)

You can also vote for your preferred service here.

*After 24 hours I had to restrict access to the spreadsheet and restore an earlier version after 20 rows were deleted. The sheet is now available for editing by request.