Tag Archives: indie journalism

The risks of self-publishing

Last week, following deadly events on the Kurdish-Turkish border, a ‘spontaneous’ demonstration occurred in front of the American embassy in Brussels. Blogger and freelance journalist Mehmet Köksal was on the scene when some Grey Wolves (a jingoistic youth organisation) recognised him and tried to lynch him. He escaped, severely beaten.

No English-speaking media reported it except for some hard-line Armenian sites.

On Monday, Köksal wrote his last post. He quits blogging, “victim of [his] blog’s success” and intimidation. Without downplaying his long-lasting courage and works, one cannot but notice he ceases publication to protect himself and his family.

Continue reading

Blogs and Investigative Journalism: conclusion

The concluding part of this draft book chapter sums up some of the key points and looks at the future paths of investigative journalism in a new media age. I would welcome any corrections, extra information or comments.

Conclusion

Blogs and new media have undoubtedly changed the landscape of investigative journalism. In terms of its form, journalism as a whole has become more conversational, and iterative, as readers seek to contribute to the story, and journalists open more of their processes to public view. The time and space offered by the internet has provided opportunities for these conversations to take place, and for journalists to make raw material available to fuel them. And the networked nature of the Web has facilitated coordination of contributors across borders and industries, along with a now global distribution of material. Continue reading

Blogs and Investigative journalism: fundraising

Part five of this draft book chapter looks at how blogs have changed the funding of journalism through their ability to attract reader donations, as well as other increasingly important sources such as licensing and foundations. I would welcome any corrections, extra information or comments.

Fundraising

Just as new media technologies are challenging publishing and distribution conventions, traditional business models have also been disrupted in a news industry which has, at least in the West, been facing declines in readership and advertising revenue for decades (Meyer, 2004). In this environment investigative journalism has been one of the first to suffer from cuts to staff and resources (Knightley, 2004; Outing, 2005; Freola, 2007), or to be targeted towards the more profitable areas of celebrity coverage.

In response to this decline in funding, blogs have offered a new way to finance investigative journalism. Continue reading

The OJB Digest: 7th Sept ’07

  1. The Rake Today: Lambert to the Slaughter

    “Next Monday appears to be the date for former Star Tribune editor and publisher Joel Kramer to reveal his plans for the launch of a professionally edited and reported online newspaper.”

    to onlinejournalism independentjournalism

  2. Newspaper offer readers ‘Riddle’
    A British indie feature is rewriting distribution rules by becoming the first to preem as a “covermount” DVD given away free with a newspaper.
    to televisioninteractivity covermounts film dailymail
  3. USA Today Distributes News by ‘Widget': Financial News – Yahoo! Finance

    “USA Today is plunging into a hot new Internet technology, offering its online users the ability to install “widgets” on their blogs and personal Web pages that contain news updates and other information from the newspaper.”

    to onlinejournalism usatoday widgets blogs

  4. OK! Relaunches Website with Eyes on TMZ | Folio Magazine

    “Celebrity glossy wunderkind OK! magazine relaunched its Web site today with an Escalade’s worth of features—“web exclusive, continuously updated breaking news, celebrity updates, photo galleries, videos, reviews, blogs and numerous interactive features…”

    to onlinejournalism newmediamagazines onlinevideo blogs galleries

  5. Why Glossies Went Mass – Forbes.com

    “On Web sites such as Style.com, consumers can see looks from September’s shows an hour after they are premiered on the runway. Followers don’t have to have some high-ranking editor in New York to tell them what was hot or not. They can see and decide for…”

    to newmediamagazines onlinejournalism onlinevideo

  6. Blogging Without the Time Sink

    Blog your initial brainstorming. Blog your research. Blog your interactions.

    to blogs onlinejournalismsaved by 2 other people

  7. Conversational Journalism: Credibility Gained or Status Lost?
    In a sense, clinging to objectivity as an achievable goal denies our humanity. That puts us in awkward situations almost daily. And don’t think our audiences and communities don’t recognize that. Often, they’re laughing at us for it.
    to onlinejournalism ethics transparency community conversation objectivity

Independent music magazine shows a web-savvy business model

A former student of mine, Gareth Main, has launched his own magazine, and on the whole I’m pretty impressed with his business model and online approach. Bearded Magazine covers the independent music industry, is free and distributed through shops, and already has a website and (well designed) MySpace page. Users can subscribe to receive email updates, view online PDFs (with hyperlinks – although these could be better signposted), sign up to an RSS feed, talk on the forum, browse the photo gallery (by band, venue, category or photographer – nice touch), and listen to podcasts. The user can also order a physical copy of the mag through a Paypal link

Gareth takes up the story: Continue reading

Indie journalism: an interview with SoGlos founders on business models and plans for version 2

I’m calling it Indie Journalism: journalists going it alone with new business models for the new media era. And having interviewed indie football journalist Rick Waghorn recently on his relaunch, I thought I’d do the same with James Fryer, who, with fellow journalist Michelle Byrne, recently launched SoGlos, a local online-only magazine for Gloucestershire. Continue reading

Rick Waghorn on going solo, the importance of advertising, and where next for ‘My Football Writer’

As solo sports journalist Rick Waghorn relaunches his Norwich City news website in the first step towards franchising the service, I spoke to him about going solo, the importance of advertising, and the likely first places for the franchise to expand.

Originally, Waghorn says, the plan was to offer a franchise “in much the same way as you would set up a bathroom shop and people would buy the kit off the shelf from you.” But the plan has changed.

“I’m not sure that’s realistic in that perhaps that works for someone with a redundancy package to self-start a franchise from us, but I think the way it may work is: I’ve got some funding that we use to actually pay salaried journalists to open a Sheffield bureau or a Manchester bureau rather than someone actually buying a franchise off me.”

The new-look site is an impressive effort from a team of three people – putting most local newspaper sites to shame with clear layout and even up-to-the-minute features such as the ‘most read’ section, podcasts, blogs and a text service. Most impressive is a set of RSS feeds from what, in old media, would have been called ‘the competition’ – Waghorn clearly recognises that making your site a destination is more important than pretending the competition doesn’t exist. “If people only have ten minutes at lunch to go online, they’ll want a site that has all the details.”

In the 14 months since launching RickWaghorn.co.uk with money from a redundancy package, the site has exceeded Rick’s “wildest expectations”.

“It is very much hard work. In year one we roughly took about £35-40,000 which was done on a commission split with my ad man. It has been a huge voyage of discovery.”

Now Waghorn is planning “another voyage of discovery.”

“The theory is that what we’ve done with Norwich should be equally applicable to most other provincial football clubs,” says Waghorn, “so we’re starting to have discussions with different regional journalists. Now the question is how you service that in an advertising sense, but one of the interesting things is if you can start offering, if you like, regionality, then I can start offering, say, advertising in Suffolk to companies in Norfolk.

“Or, let’s say we looked at the three Championship sides in South Yorkshire. If we had those we could serve them all with one advertising rep, but offer someone advertising on all three, and do a bundle sale.”

Teaming up with senior advertising executive Kevin O’Gorman has been crucial, with O’Gorman working “the local beat, bringing little local firms onto the internet who have built their own websites and need to market them.

“We give them a friendly face – someone they’ve been dealing with on a local basis in the last few years, and he holds their hand and helps them online. I do the editorial and he services the advertisers in a very old-fashioned newspaper sense – and then you find a mate with a background in web design and get the lucky breaks, but I’ve found a ‘Team Rick’ which has worked well so far.”

Another key to the site’s success has been its flexibility, and speed.

“It’s very peculiar for football because few regional papers have a Sunday edition, and at Norwich Evening News I was the last match report anyone ever read – at 5 o’clock Monday night when the paperboy put the paper through the door it was 48 hours after the event. In the age of rolling news that doesn’t make sense. Now, arguably after the official club site, I’m the first match report they read because my match report goes up on the website five minutes after the match finishes. All of a sudden I become a Sunday newspaper because I put out my match report, my interviews on Sunday. Now that presents a challenge to local newspapers because what are they going to put in their Monday night newspapers?

“Also, when you’re not part of a local newspaper group you’re nimble. I can hold my hand up to dozens of mistakes we’ve made but because you’re only two or three people we can say ‘Oh, that didn’t work, let’s try that,’ and I think that nimbleness is another of the key factors in dealing with the internet.”

Rick’s advice to journalists wanting to go it alone is to recognise the importance of advertising. “Start talking to your advertising department, because just as much as the editorial department is suffering from redundancies, so is the advertising department. Most journalists will tell you that the only time you bump into anyone from the advertising department is at the Christmas party when you’re trying to get off with one. But these people have skills and contacts, and you bolt the two of us together and that’s where it’s worked, so I’d start taking your friend from the advertising department out for a drink.”