Head of BBC Newsroom Peter Horrocks spent most of his session fielding questions from employees concerned about how their particular corner of the corporation would be affected by multimedia newsrooms. That aside, general themes from his presentation and responses to questions included:
a need for a broader range of skills, such as information design and software development
While strong single-platform performers will be encouraged to continue doing well on that platform, everyone else will be encouraged to work across platforms
a need to reach audiences the BBC (and other news organisations) are struggling to engage with, particularly young C2 audiences
“Bild has joined up with discount supermarket chain Lidl to sell a basic digital camera to a legion of citizen journalists, who the tabloid hopes will contribute images to its coverage.
“”We can’t cover everything,” said Michael Paustian, a Bild managing editor. “We think it is an advance for journalism.”
“The pocket-sized camera has 2GB of memory, can shoot still pictures and video, and costs €69.99 (£60). It comes with software and a USB port that allows “reader-reporters” to upload content directly to editors who will be assigned to review it for publication.”
Information is changing. The news industry was born in a time of information scarcity – and any understanding of the laws of supply and demand will tell you that that made information valuable.
But the past 30 years have seen that the erosion of that scarcity. Not only have the barriers to publishing, broadcast and distribution been lowered by desktop publishing, satellite and digital technologies, and the web – but a booming PR industry has grown up to provide these news organisations with ‘cheap’ news.
Information is changing. Increasingly, we are not seeking information out – instead, it finds us. The scarcity is not in information, but in our time to wade through it, make meaning of it, and act on it.
The iPhone is overrated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Yes, it’s got great usability, but for a journalist it just doesn’t compete. And here are 10 reasons why:
A crappy camera. 2 megapixels is terrible – the N95 has 5. Not to mention auto-focus, flash, etc. etc.
No video camera. Inexcusable in the YouTube age. Yes there are workarounds but…
You have to jailbreak the iPhone to use streaming services like Qik. Installing Qik (or Bambuser, or Shozu) on the N95 is pretty straightforward. The fact you have to jailbreak the iPhone at all says a lot about Apple’s attitude. Nokia’s Symbian operating system is open (if not open source yet).
You can’t save webpages. Once again, you can on the N95.
No alternative browser. Opera Mini is great on the N95.
Battery power. You can at least have a spare battery for the N95.
No recording of audio. You can on an N95, and email it to Posterous for instant podcast.
Walled garden for apps. Apps on the N95? Get them anywhere, without the worry that Nokia will lock them out in the future.
Fiddly keyboard. Particularly difficult when there are…
No external keyboards. You can buy a number of cute bluetooth keyboards for the N95 which make it possible to type updates and blog posts very quickly.
And that’s not to mention bloody expensive. If you know of any solutions to these weaknesses, let me know. You see, I do have an iPod Touch…
Media organisations are still barely getting their heads around social media. They look at a conversation and see ‘vox pops’; they look at a community and see a market. They ask for ‘Your pictures’ and then complain when they get 1000 images of a mild snowfall.
They ghettoise viewers into 60 second slots at the end of the news bulletin, or ‘Have Your Say’ sections on the website. They can see the use of blogs and Twitter when they can’t access a disaster area and are desperate for news, but the rest of the time complain that they’re ‘only for geeks’ or ‘full of rumour’. And they advertise, when they should socialise. Continue reading →
Successful journalists not only know where to find the great stories – but how to make great stories find them. They know lots of people, and know the right people; they hang out in the right places, and they make themselves available.
On the internet you’d call it search engine optimisation (SEO), but while many news organisations now focus on optimising stories for search engines, most journalists fail to realise they should also be search engine optimising themselves.
A search engine optimised journalist is findable, connected, and visible. Your sources and potential sources are moving online – and what’s the first thing they do when they want to connect with someone about a particular issue they feel is becoming important? Google it. Or failing that, they go to their social networks.
If you don’t have a strong presence on either, you’re missing out.
It is a great question. On the surface that’s what would appear to be happening: in posting alerts and blog drafts you are inviting the input of the audience and therefore being more reactive. Continue reading →
I was privileged to be asked to speak at the BBC’s Future of Journalism conference last week. A largely internal event organised by the BBC College of Journalism, the event had little outside publicity and consequently very few people from outside the corporation attending. This was a shame, as not only were there some fascinating contributions from speakers both inside and outside of the BBC, but it also meant no one could contribute to the discussion via email unless they were watching the intranet video stream. Continue reading →