Category Archives: twitter

The Scarcity Principle: writing online headlines which ‘click’

Increasingly, when journalists now write headlines for the web or for social media, they specify the medium or format involved. They shout VIDEO and AUDIO in caps at the start of the tweet or post; MAPPED or INFOGRAPHIC; INTERVIEW or LIVEBLOG.

Sometimes the medium or format is implied more subtly, with a call to action: we urge users to ‘Watch’, ‘See’ and ‘Listen’. But we also invite them to ‘Join’, ‘Meet’ and ‘Find out’.

Users choose the medium as well as the message

Why do we do this? Part of it is that we recognise that the medium is something special; that users often make a choice based on the medium itself.

But I think putting the medium/format front and centre is about more than just user preference: it’s about abundance and scarcity. Continue reading

Curation vs aggregation, and why news organisations can’t be ‘the next LinkedIn’

“We are not a magazine company,” he exclaims, unprompted. “We are a media company with a portfolio.”  “We want to build the next LinkedIn, the next Gilt [a US commerce site], the next Facebook,”

M Scott Havens, senior vice president of digital, Time Inc

What does it mean to be a platform? Time Inc’s M Scott Havens is the latest to express a desire to move into the platform industry, telling The Guardian:

“We want to build the next LinkedIn, the next Gilt [a US commerce site], the next Facebook,”

Platforms came up at the BBC ‘Revival of Local Journalism‘ event last week too. Why weren’t regional newspaper publishers doing more to become ‘platforms’ for their local communities? Continue reading

Famous Twitter users: who gets the most click-throughs – and why?

Famous Tweeters - percentage of followers clicking through

Famous Tweeters – percentage of followers clicking through

In the third and final post of this series Patrick Scott had a look at the click-through rate (CTR) of some famous individual Twitter users and found that those who do best tend to be political.

Follow @Patrick_E_Scott

In the first post of this series we saw that regional newspapers that tend to do well on Twitter follow a larger proportion of people relative to the number of people following them.

Conversely, in the second post of the series we saw that this ratio of followers to followed is less significant for magazines. The successful magazine accounts tended to be more personable than personal and gave their followers a clear engagement pathway to go down.

In this post we will see that, like the regional newspapers, famous individuals with a higher CTR tend to have a better followers to followed ratio, although there are a couple of notable exceptions to this. Continue reading

The regional press on Twitter: interview with Johnston Press’s Mark Woodward

In a previous post, we saw that some regional newspapers do a lot better than others in terms of their Twitter click-through rate. Johnston Press titles, The Northampton Chronicle and Echo, The Scotsman and The Lancashire Evening Post tended to perform the best out of the 10 newspapers that we looked at in this regard.

The Online Journalism Blog talked to Mark Woodward, head of websites at Johnston Press, about the findings and about how Johnston Press sees Twitter as a whole.

Johnston Press Logo

Image: Johnston Press

How Johnston Press adapted to Twitter

The need to adapt to the evolving digital landscape is very important for regional newspapers as they attempt to reduce the well documented decline in readership.

A large part of this adaptation is concerned with the growth of social media and the ways that this can be used to drive traffic to a news site.

Out of all the papers analysed in the original post, the Johnston Press titles seemed to be doing this best.

Continue reading

Magazines on Twitter: who has the most click throughs – and why?

Magazines on Twitter - percentage of followers retweeting

Magazines on Twitter – percentage of followers retweeting – click for interactive version

Magazine Twitter accounts with the highest click-through rates tend to be aimed more directly at the reader and to give the reader a clearly defined reason to engage, according to an analysis by Patrick Scott in the second of a series of three posts.

When analysing the engagement on the Twitter accounts of regional newspapers we saw that one of the key factors was how conversational the newspaper was with its followers. But does this still apply when dealing with national publications? Continue reading

Newspapers on Twitter: who has the most click-throughs – and why?

Regional newspapers on Twitter - percentage of followers retweeting

Regional newspapers on Twitter – percentage of followers retweeting – click for interactive version

Newspaper Twitter accounts with the highest click-through rates tend to follow more people, customise tweets for Twitter and engage in more conversation, according to an analysis by Patrick Scott in the first of a series of three posts.

The number of followers a Twitter account has is often assumed to be representative of the influence they command. But is it what we should be measuring? Continue reading

There’s no such thing as a ‘student journalist’

Learner plate image by Michael Summers

Learner plate image by Michael Summers

The Carnival of Journalism is back, and this month is looking at student media. That gives me an excuse to talk about something I seem to find myself ranting every year: “You are not student journalists”.

It’s on Twitter profiles, blog ‘about’ pages, LinkedIn profiles and business cards. And it’s an anachronism.

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 is accessible 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.

Ignorance is bliss?

Describing yourself as a student journalist suggests that you haven’t noticed this.

But worse, it reinforces a similar ignorance in the people you talk to as you go about your business.

These are the press officers that say “We don’t deal with student journalists” and the election officers who stop you at the doors of the count – but also the sources who say “I didn’t realise what I said was going to be published.”

Journalism students need to be honest with the latter and forceful with the former. A large part of that means making a mental shift from ‘this is just an exercise’ to ‘this is a real story with real implications’. In other words that move from ‘I am a student’ to ‘I am a journalist-publisher’.

Not just an exercise

For a start, as a publisher you have to be aware of contempt of court, libel, and copyright. This is not an option – and the number one reason you can never think your work is ‘just an exercise’.

You also have to think about syndication: who you might supply your content to. I encourage my students to work as freelancers, and often put them in touch with different news organisations depending on the story.

I set up the Birmingham Datablog as just one way of facilitating that, but the ‘teaching hospital’ model of journalism schooling can be misleading: wherever students publish they are part of the same content ecosystem as traditional publishers.

So there is no such thing as a student journalist. There are only publishers, and non-publishers. Your story can be seen by a million people, or only one – but you should always prepare for the former. As should the press officers. And your sources.

So change that Twitter biography; that About page. And take your job seriously: because if you don’t, no one else will.

UPDATE: Martin Hirst replies in a guest cross-post here.

“In my view, if we do not acknowledge the student status of our students (no, that’s not a tautology), we are not being diligent in our duty of care (the pastoral role of all teachers at all levels) to ensure that we “first do no harm”. Yes, we have to, as Paul rightly points out, engage our students in the daily routines and socialisation of newsroom practice and we have to move beyond the newsroom model too; but in doing so, we have to be constantly mindful that our pupils must be kept safe.”

 

This prompted Victoria Baranetsky to publish a response of her own:

“Student journalists who are not afforded the rights of citizens nor the rights of journalists must be given some protection.  Thus, it is important we acknowledge their actions may transcend their status – whatever it may be.”