Monthly Archives: March 2007

Students launch kids’ news website

A group of third year students on our journalism degree are running a live website all week. 4 You is aimed at 11-16 year olds and the group are finding writing for the audience hard.

Melissa Marshall, fashion and features editor for the group said: “We are only in our second day of the website but already it is pretty stressful! The hardest thing is trying to write stories that our target audience will be able to digest easily and will actually find interesting; but so far it’s been a great experience.”

Melissa is working with four other final year students – Richard Green, Eliot Mullett, Matthew King and Daniel Bardell – to update the site with breaking news. Each student has a specialist role, ranging from website designer to section editors.

In addition to the news items, the website has a news blog, editor’s blog and a sports blog, where readers are able to interact with the 4 You team and discuss different stories.

To make the site even more interactive, the team have set up message boards and are in the process of recording audio and video both for the blogs and for stories.

But as news editor Eliot Mullett states, this hasn’t been easy: “The more interactive we want to become, or the better we strive the website to be, the less time we seem to have in our editing role.

“Take Tuesday for example: I spent most of it sorting out the technical side of the website and helping the other guys do theirs. But when I finished for the day I hadn’t actually posted any stories at all!”

The students will not only be producing a live website, but also a magazine offering a more reflective angle on the news, as well as numerous features that are of interest to children.

Elliott says the team welcomes any comments or criticism about individual news items or design.

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Guardian wants online video and audio staff – and Emap invests in web projects

The Guardian is to recruit online video and audio staff, reports the paper:

“Guardian Unlimited, the title’s online operation, is looking to hire five staff for its internet video unit to work on footage of breaking news, as well as “developing mini documentaries and video elements within larger, cross media projects”.”As well as the five online video staff, GU is looking to recruit a head of audio and two audio producers as it expands its year-old podcast operation.”

And in the same edition, Emap is reported to be “ramping up its digital strategy by launching new media “incubator” projects for Motorcycle News, Today’s Golfer and Empire magazines and appointing three new digital directors”:

“Mr Mistry said he has interviewed nearly 50 digital media specialists, including people from search firms and entrepreneurs with up to 10 years’ experience in launching digital brands.”

But here’s a stat to bore your print journalism friends with:

“rock magazine Kerrang!, for example, now makes less than 25% of its revenue through the original print product. Kerrang! has music TV, digital radio, mobile and live event offerings.”

Rocketboom may charge for shows

Advertisers aren’t interested in 200,000 users, reports MarketWatch:

“So, how does Rocketboom keep the lights on? Baron says the video blog has become kind of a loss leader and a promotional device for the real money. Like a blog, he says he has established the Rocketboom team as experts in using video on the Web. “We get consulting opportunities, conferences give honorariums. For us, there are many off-shoots.””

Media website editors network site – a plug

“Online resource and discussion area for media website editors” the Digital Editors Network gets a plug in the latest Press Gazette letters page. It’s pretty quiet at the moment, both in terms of posts and comments, and it’s not clear whether media website editors have been invited to post to the site, or only comment (I’m guessing the latter). As word gets around (and I hope I’m helping here) it may be one to watch, particularly with regard to Johnston Press.

Slate taps into database power for election prediction

Slate is tapping into three “political prediction markets” to put together a ‘wisdom of crowds’ prediction for the 2008 election:

“If a single prediction market is wiser than the pundits and the polls, imagine how wise all the prediction markets are together. That’s the idea behind Slate’s “Political Futures,” which offers a comprehensive guide to all the big political prediction markets. From now until Election Day 2008, we’ll publish regular updates of the key data from Iowa Electronic Markets, Intrade.com, and Casualobserver.net.”

Express relaunches online, Star to follow

Express website 19 April 07Journalism.co.uk reports on the relaunch of the Express, with the Daily Star to follow, including:

  • “unique content and an archive which allows readers to search past stories and the community areas of the site.
  • “a string of blogs from its Sunday and Daily journalists.
  • “MYExpress facility that enables users to have their own space on the site. This area can be to personalised by filtering some content, such as weather and horoscopes, and uploading pictures. It will also be possible for users to browse through other users’ profiles.”
  • And “a deal had been done with a video supplier and that video and podcasts would be added to the mix in the coming weeks once the initial launch was completed.”

Sounds pretty good for a Desmond-owned publication (not difficult, admittedly), although in reality it’s a website that looks like it was created by someone who was once told what this web 2.0 thing is all about, but wasn’t really listening. Or, in other words, new media through an old media hack’s eyes.

The blogs are basically opinion columns (no links), I can’t find the “community areas”, and of course there’s no video yet. MYExpress is the most impressive – I can imagine Express readers too dazzled by MySpace social networking away with other Disgusteds, although there’s not much to it apart from a blogging service, personalised homepage and ability to search other profiles. Oh, and the online journalists are ghettoised in a separate team.

Anyway, welcome to the 21st century, Express.