Category Archives: mobile phone news

This simple piece of visualisation will have you rethinking what you know about impact and mobile

deadworkers

It’s not often I encounter a piece of data journalism which solves a common problem in the field – and it’s even rarer to find a piece of work which tackles two.

But that’s just what lean data journalism Ampp3d did last week when it published a piece of visualisation on the deaths of construction workers in Qatar.

The two problems? Creating impact on mobile – and making big numbers meaningful. Continue reading

Circa news app shows liveblogging’s rise and rise

Circa news app - image from TechCrunch

Circa news app – image from TechCrunch

Just how dominant can the liveblog format become? In Model for the 21st Century Newsroom Redux I noted how quickly the format has been adopted as a default mode of reporting (for example, how widely the format was being used to report on public sector strikes).

In March 2012 the relaunch of the ITV News website saw the format adopted as the default mode of presentation.

In August The Guardian’s horizontally-navigated Olympics liveblog caught my eye.

Now news app Circa is taking the concept back onto mobile (where most liveblogging starts), and adding a few twists, including push updates. Continue reading

A reading list for studying online journalism

As a new semester nears, I thought I would anticipate the ‘What should I read?’ enquiries by sharing an aggregated reading list from the classes I teach at both Birmingham City University and City University London. Here are 10 key topics with varying numbers of books for each – I’d very much welcome other suggestions:

  1. Working in networks: Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks; Richard Millington, The Proven Path (PDF)
  2. Content strategy: John Battelle, The Search; Bill Tancer, Click; David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect
  3. Platforms: Mark Luckie: The Digital Journalist’s Handbook
  4. Live and mobile journalism: Mark Briggs, Journalism Next; Dan Gillmor, Mediactive
  5. Multimedia: Janet Kolodzy, Convergence Journalism and Practicing Convergence Journalism; Atton & Hamilton, Alternative Journalism; Wilma de Jong, Creative Documentary
  6. UGC, social media and community management: Axel Bruns, Gatewatching; Andrew Lih, Wikipedia Revolution; Jeff Jarvis, What Would Google Do?
  7. Data journalism: Bradshaw and Rohumaa, The Online Journalism Handbook; Andrew Dilnot, The Tiger That Isn’t; Darrell Huff, How to Lie With Statistics; Dona Wong, The Wall Street Guide to Information Graphics; Nathan Yau, Visualize This; Paul Bradshaw, Scraping for Journalists
  8. Law, ethics and online journalism: Friend and Singer, Online Journalism Ethics; Lawrence Lessig, Code; O’Hara and Shadbolt, Spy in the Coffee Machine; Curran, Fenton & Freedman, Misunderstanding the Internet
  9. Experimentation: Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody (ch10: Failure for Free); Michalko, Thinkertoys chapter 9; Ian Bogost, Newsgames; Matt Mason, The Pirate’s Dilemma (ch5: Boundaries)
  10. Enterprise: Ken Doctor, Newsonomics; Simon Waldman, Creative Disruption; David Weinberger, Everything is Miscellaneous

You might also find previous posts useful:

Tales of a Video Blogger

In a guest post for OJB, cross-posted from Putney Debater, Michael Chanan explores his experiences of video blogging for the New Statesman and how it differs from conventional documentary.

Being written for presentation at ‘Marx at the Movies’, these notes address the topic from an angle which is rarely treated in film and video scholarship, that of the peculiar labour process and mode of production involved. 

When I started video blogging on the New Statesman, I don’t know if either the NS or myself quite knew what to expect. The main reason for not knowing: it was December 2010, it was clear that something momentous going on, that the protest movement was building, and the idea I had, which the NS agreed to go with, was simple enough: to go out and film stuff that was happening from a sympathetic point of view, and thus, almost week by week, build up a kind of ongoing documentary record of the events. I was thinking in terms of Glauber Rocha’s formula for Cinema Novo in Brazil—to go and make films with a camera in the hand and an idea in the head. I also had the idea from the outset of bringing these blogs together sometime later into a single long documentary (which duly appeared as Chronicle of Protest). Continue reading

Reduced Relevance – the downside of social, mobile news

Facebook Activity Plugin

News moves so quickly that your Facebook ‘friends’ just can’t keep up.

In a guest post for OJB, Neil Thurman highlights a new research report that suggests the increased availability of news on mobile platforms, and its harnessing of social networks—like Facebook—to power recommendations, comes at a price: stories that are less relevant to readers’ interests than those recommended by editors and found on news providers’ traditional websites.

Continue reading

Location, Location, Location

In this guest post, Damian Radcliffe highlights some recent developments in the intersection between hyper-local SoLoMo (social, location, mobile). His more detailed slides looking at 20 developments across the sector during the last two months of 2011 are cross-posted at the bottom of this article.

Facebook’s recent purchase of location-based service Gowalla (Slide 19 below,) suggests that the social network still thinks there is a future for this type of “check in” service. Touted as “the next big thing” ever since Foursquare launched at SXSW in 2009, to date Location Based Services (LBS) haven’t quite lived up to the hype.

Certainly there’s plenty of data to suggest that the public don’t quite share the enthusiasm of many Silicon Valley investors. Yet.

Part of their challenge is that not only is awareness of services relatively low – just 30% of respondents in a survey of 37,000 people by Forrester (Slide 27) – but their benefits are also not necessarily clearly understood.

In 2011, a study by youth marketing agency Dubit found about half of UK teenagers are not aware of location-based social networking services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places, with 58% of those who had heard of them saying they “do not see the point” of sharing geographic information.

Safety concerns may not be the primary concern of Dubit’s respondents, but as the “Please Rob Me” website says: “….on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home… The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home.”

Reinforcing this concern are several stories from both the UK and the US of insurers refusing to pay out after a domestic burglary, where victims have announced via social networks that they were away on holiday – or having a beer downtown.

For LBS to go truly mass market – and Forrester (see Slide 27) found that only 5% of mobile users were monthly LBS users – smartphone growth will be a key part of the puzzle. Recent Ofcom data reported that:

  • Ownership nearly doubled in the UK between February 2010 and August 2011 (from 24% to 46%).
  • 46% of UK internet users also used their phones to go online in October 2011.

For now at least, most of our location based activity would seem to be based on previous online behaviours. So, search continues to dominate.

Google in a recent blog post described local search ads as “so hot right now” (Slide 22, Sept-Oct 2011 update). The search giant launched hyper-local search ads a year ago, along with a “News Near You” feature in May 2011. (See: April-May 2011 update, Slide 27.)

Meanwhile, BIA/Kelsey forecast that local search advertising revenues in the US will increase from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $8.2 billion in 2015. Their figures suggest by 2015, 30% of search will be local.

The other notable growth area, location based mobile advertising, also offers a different slant on the typical “check in” service which Gowalla et al tend to specialise in. Borrell forerecasts this space will increase 66% in the US during 2012 (Slide 22).

The most high profile example of this service in the UK is O2 More, which triggers advertising or deals when a user passes through certain locations – offering a clear financial incentive for sharing your location.

Perhaps this – along with tailored news and information manifest in services such as News Near You, Postcode Gazette and India’s Taazza – is the way forward.

Jiepang, China’s leading Location-Based Social Mobile App, offered a recent example of how to do this. Late last year they partnered with Starbucks, offering users a virtual Starbucks badge if they “checked-in” at a Starbucks store in the Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. When the number of badges issued hit 20,000, all badge holders got a free festive upgrade to a larger cup size. When coupled with the ease of NFC technology deployed to allow users to “check in” then it’s easy to understand the consumer benefit of such a service.

Mine’s a venti gingerbread latte. No cream. Xièxiè.

A case study in crowdsourcing investigative journalism (part 4): The London Weekly

Continuing the serialisation of the research underpinning a new Help Me Investigate project, in this fourth part I describe how one particular investigation took shape. Previous parts are linked below:

Case study: the London Weekly investigation

In early 2010 Andy Brightwell and I conducted some research into one particular successful investigation on the site. The objective was to identify what had made the investigation successful – and how (or if) those conditions might be replicated for other investigations both on the site and elsewhere online.

The investigation chosen for the case study was ‘What do you know about The London Weekly?’ – an investigation into a free newspaper that was, the owners claimed (part of the investigation was to establish if the claim was a hoax), about to launch in London.

The people behind The London Weekly had made a number of claims about planned circulation, staffing and investment which went unchallenged in specialist media. Journalists Martin Stabe, James Ball and Judith Townend, however, wanted to dig deeper. So, after an exchange on Twitter, Judith logged onto Help Me Investigate and started an investigation.

A month later members of the investigation (most of whom were non-journalists) had unearthed a wealth of detail about the people behind The London Weekly and the facts behind their claims. Some of the information was reported in MediaWeek and The Guardian podcast Media Talk; some formed the basis for posts on James Ball’s blog, Journalism.co.uk and the Online Journalism Blog. Some has, for legal reasons, remained unpublished.

Methodology

Andrew Brightwell conducted a number of semi-structured interviews with contributors to the investigation. The sample was randomly selected but representative of the mix of contributors, who were categorised as either ‘alpha’ contributors (over 6 contributions), ‘active’ (2-6 contributions) and ‘lurkers’ (whose only contribution was to join the investigation). These interviews formed the qualitative basis for the research.

Complementing this data was quantitative information about users of the site as a whole. This was taken from two user surveys – one conducted when the site was three months’ old and another at 12 months – and analysis of analytics taken from the investigation (such as numbers and types of actions, frequency, etc.)

In the next part I explore some of the characteristics of a crowdsourced investigation and how these relate to the wider literature around crowdsourcing in general.

A Storify of what Android phones people recommended on Twitter

Yesterday I asked – on this blog, on my Facebook page, and on Twitter – what Android phones were best for a journalism student who didn’t want to buy an iPhone or BlackBerry. The blog post comments are particularly informative on the key features to look out for, while the tweets provide a good overview of who recommends what, and why. I’ve used Storify to organise those below:

View “What Android phone would you recommend to a student journalist?” on Storify