Monthly Archives: January 2008

Why journalists should use Twitter (Nico Luchsinger)

Nico Luchsinger writes about the microblogging tool. Based on an article he wrote for the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

I recently mentioned to a colleague of mine, who also is a freelance journalist, that I’m researching an article about Twitter. “I hope you really trash this service”, was his answer. “This is nothing else than verbal diarrhoea.”

This reaction is not untypical for people having never used the service – I remember that I thought more or less the same when I first heard about Twitter. That even the most ardent users of the service (which, by now, include me) are often at pains to explain what it really is that Twitter does, is of course not helping the case. Continue reading

More geotagging: sneak preview of prototype “BBC Local”

Following this week’s post about Archant’s experiences with geotagging, Andrew Williams looks at how the BBC is using the technology in its prototype hyperlocal web service. 

The latest incarnation of the BBC’s troubled local television scheme could be up and running by the end of the year, it was revealed last week. Academics and journalists at the Broadcast News and the Active Citizen Conference at Leeds University were given a sneak preview of a prototype BBC hyper-local web service which makes extensive use of mapping and geotagging in order to allow the audience to access a range of multimedia content linked to a local area of their own choosing.

BBC Yorkshire’s Catherine Hearne, who gave the talk, said, “The idea is that, subject to approval, we will be offering 60 local sites across the UK, and it will transform the way that people can actively engage with their local broadcaster.” Continue reading

On a panel at One World Week: Changing Face of the Media

On Monday I shall be on a panel at Warwick University’s One World Week discussing the ‘Changing Face of the Media‘. The blurb:

Traditional forms of media, such as print and television, are in decline as far as circulation and audience ratings are concerned. There is no consensus as to whether the cause is a greater variety of information sources, or whether the few that hold the power over large parts of the media sector are consolidating their influence. This debate will also question how the sector is responding to this challenge, seen as some would argue that the industry as a whole is not suffering, particularly in light of the meteoric rise of the internet as a source of information.

Other panellists include NCTJ chairman and former Independent on Sunday editor Kim Fletcher; broadcaster and professor Ivor Gaber; and TV producer Muddassar Ahmed. 

If you want to shout abuse at me, say hello, or just lurk, the talk runs 3:00pm-4:30pm (Monday 21st), at the University of Warwick Arts Centre – Cinema. As far as I can tell entrance is free.

Likewise, if you think there are any points you’d like me to make based on the above blurb, post them to the comments please!

Geotagging: the experiences of Archant’s Web Editor

Could 2008 be the year geotagging breaks through? Archant are the ones to watch in the UK with (delayedplans to geotag all their stories. I asked Suffolk’s Web Editor James Goffin to write a piece for the OJB on his experience with the process – and the opportunities it’s opening up. 

Journalists have always asked the question “Where?”. People are interested in news from where they live, and it’s a sad fact that tragedies abroad have more resonance when there’s a British passport holder involved.

As communities have become more mobile, those associations have become more complex – people reminisce about their home town, where they used to work; they are interested in where they live now, where their brothers and sisters have moved to. The world around them has become more complex too, as has the sheer amount of information being pumped out around them. Continue reading

Announcing the launch of Journalism


Today I am launching a sister site to the Online Journalism Blog: Journalism will review websites that are attempting to make money from journalism in the new media age. Consider it a TechCrunch of journalism startups.

Why am I doing this? Because journalism is changing, not only as a job and a process, but as an industry. How journalism – particularly good journalism – is going to survive in a world of free content is perhaps one of the biggest and most difficult questions of the moment.

There are so many experiments by so many people in so many fields – from journalists going it alone to large news organisations trying new projects, from amateurs who feel passionately about their field to non-profit organisations who see the potential of the web, and from internet startups to established new media players, I thought we needed a blog to keep track of it all and provide a place for debating the issues involved.

And I say “we”, because this is a team blog – in fact, I won’t be doing much of the writing at all. Reviews – which are done to a simple six-question format – are written by a team of bloggers from all over the world, who I’ve either invited to contribute, or who approached me as part of my appeal for virtual interns.

Membership of that team is very much open – if you want to contribute to Journalism (or indeed OJB), please contact me. You will then be invited to join a mailing list, through which leads will circulate. You volunteer for whatever you’re able to do, or interested in reviewing. 

You’ll notice that there are already almost a dozen reviews on the site.

If you know of a project you’d like us to review, contact In the meantime, please browse through the site, post your comments, and hope you find it stimulating.

The idea, by the way, is shamelessly stolen from my colleague Andrew Dubber’s similar site for music startups, New Music Ideas. I was toying with using a wiki to do this before Dubber knocked on my door, and his way of doing things seemed so much better. Thanks Andrew.

This post is part of a Carnival of Journalism, hosted this month by Adrian Monck.

Pay-for online venture aims at dethroning Le Monde

Former Le Monde editor, Edwy Plenel, is launching an ambitious news website, Mediapart. He aims at “reinventing journalism” and offering “information of record”, Le Monde-style. No less.

The pun in “Mediapart” refers to “participation”, but also to “à part”, French for “different”. Difference lies first and foremost in the price: Access to the site requires a 9€ (£7, $13) monthly subscription. Quality journalism must be paid for, they say. These subscriptions will feed forty journalists, many of them coming from major traditional outlets.

The barrier is also supposed to allow for more qualitative contributions. Trolls must all be greedy, then.

Continue reading

How important is it for new journalism graduates to have their own blog?

This isn’t my question, it’s Rian Merrill’s – he posted it on LinkedIn, but the thread is now closed. I’d like to re-open it.

Here’s his question:

I recently had a discussion with a few people who had just graduated from journalism school about the importance of blogging. Most of them acknowledged being told to blog by professors, however, none of them actually blogged. This is contrary to my personal view of things, and was wondering what other professionals in the industry thought.

It’s an experience I share: students blog while they’re told to, but the majority stop once the teaching ends. It’s like someone saying they want to be a musician, but refusing to play any gigs until they sign a record deal.
Thanks to Kerim Satirli for the link 

Who are you?

It helps to know who your readers are. So I’d like your help in completing a very tiny (four questions) survey I’ve created.

Click here to answer those four questions

I will publish the results here on the blog once I get 100 responses (anything below that wouldn’t be representative).

And to make it more entertaining, I’m going to make some guesses as to the results – and see just how far off I am. Feel free to join in the game – a prize to the closest guesses:

  • I think 20% of readers will be journalists, 20% management, 5% technical, 10% other, 25% educators and 20% students
  • The top five countries of readership: USA, UK, Australia, Ukraine, Brazil
  • 50% will not use RSS readers; 20% Google Reader; 15% Bloglines; 15% other
  • 50% won’t remember how they came across the blog; 15% links; 20% search; 10% Facebook; 5% blogroll

Many thanks for your help. Look forward to finding out how wrong I am…

Oh, and by the way: click here to answer those four questions. The survey is now closed.

UPDATE: The results are in.

News distribution in a new media world (A model for the 21st century newsroom pt4)

The fourth post of the Model for the 21st Century Newsroom looks at how distribution is changing from a push/pull model to a tripartite, push-pull-pass, one.

In the 20th century, commercial distribution of news was relatively straightforward: if you worked in print, you published a newspaper or magazine at a particular time, it was transported to outlets, and people picked it up (or it was delivered). If you worked in broadcast, you broadcast it at a particular time, and people watched or listened.


In the 21st century, the picture is a little more complicated. Continue reading