After so long watching The Guardian take all the plaudits, The Telegraph website is starting to show some real innovation of its own. Following last week’s football Flash stat attack, Marcus Warren posts about their mashup/database-driven A level coverage including a league table of schools’ performance updated in real time “(almost)”. And a map of schools who have sent in results “with links back to their position in our list.” (shown above)
Here’s what I’m reading today… Continue reading
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
Steve Yelvington writes a well constructed piece on the evolution of local newspapers: why they never really were that local in the first place, and why they need to rethink that. Continue reading
The Telegraph is showing some impressive innovation over at its football pages – video highlights of the weekend’s matches is one thing, but more impressive for me is the Flash application that allows you to look at match stats you wouldn’t even get on Sky: preferred passes, ‘density’, orientation (percentage in attack or defence), balls played, possession winning, and even personal statistics for each player. It’s like having your own ProZone.
What the Telegraph clearly understand is just how sad and anal us football fans are. Now I can see that new Bolton signing Jlloyd Samuel made 21 good passes out of 34, whereas the much-maligned Nicky Hunt made 30 from 38. (Next time you meet me, make a mental note not to mention the football.) The Guardian looks very, very flat indeed by comparison.
The latest batch of statistics from the Center for Media Research includes some interesting findings on media consumption. Firstly: readers/viewers apparently have an A-level-essay approach to news: ‘compare and contrast’:
“respondents reported using many of those brands daily or, in the case of Internet news sites, many times a day. The reasons given for visiting a number of sources included “every news event has at least two sides,” to “get all the facts,” to “form my own opinion,” or to find specific types of content, such as local news.”
Secondly, the internet is the second “most useful” medium, after television – 8% ahead of newspapers.
There’s some cute categorisation of news consumers based on motivation: “citizen readers,” “news lovers,” and “digital cynics” make up a combined 75%, with the other quarter consisting of “traditionalists”, “headliners”, “uninvolved”, and “few main sources” (not quite so catchy, that one). Click the link for more pigeonholing.
If you want to see the future of UK journalism, it’s often best to look at America. So it’s interesting to see the following statistic to come from research by David Wendelken:
“even the smallest commercial newspapers, with 10,000 readers or fewer, are looking for reporting candidates with experience writing for the Web and uploading stories to the Internet, according to a survey of newspaper managing editors conducted by Wendelken and Toni B. Mehling of James Madison University. Of nine respondents in the “large daily newspaper” category (those with a circulation of 44,000 and above), eight required reporters to have skills in capturing audio while four required audio editing skills. Five required reporters to have skills in capturing video, while one required video editing expertise. Major newspapers, said Wendelken, “are looking at reporters to do these things from the start.”
And the problem isn’t just those who think teaching journalists Dreamweaver is ‘online journalism’. It’s students’ own dated conceptions of the journalism industry:
“A lot of college students select their medium in high school. When they come onto campus, they’re already a TV person or a radio person or a newspaper person,” said Wendelken.
“I’m a print journalist,” he continued, imitating the attitude of many aspiring journalists. “Why do I need to learn video?”
Of course we’ve had people like Trinity Mirror’s Head of Multimedia saying they want people who know their RSS from their elbow* for months now, but this is the first survey with some concrete figures from people on the ground. It underlines the fact that journalism courses shouldn’t be teaching online journalism as an additional ‘option’ any more. An understanding of new media has become essential.
*The first and last time I will use that hackneyed phrase. Honest.
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
“In an experiment in applying consumer-level social media tools to newsgathering, Teddler used his Blackberry to send 140-character text-message updates to the microblogging site Twitter and emailed pictures taken using the phone’s camera to the photo-sharing site Flickr.”
The experiment seems to be part of a growing trend among news organisations away from relying on in-house systems, and using freely available tools like Twitter (Guardian, etc.), Google Maps (BBC Berkshire), Facebook (Mail & Guardian, Sky), YouTube (The Mirror, BBC’s Ben Hammersley, etc.) and even WordPress (various local paper blogs). As Julian March,Sky.com’s editor, says: “The attraction is that a reporter can update his story or his page directly from his mobile phone without having to go through the CMS or someone who has access to the CMS back at base.”
It’s also part of the new “iterative” journalism – a journalism that is always “work in progress”, that conversation-not-lecture that Dan Gillmor identified. Seems those ideas are finally taking shape.