As 2018 comes to an end, in an extract from the introduction to Mobile-First Journalism I look at how the past few years have shaped the current face of mobile and social-native journalism — and what that means for its future.
The mood around mobile and social changed dramatically in 2018. To those working in the field, it could sometimes feel like being caught in the crossfire of a battle. Fake news, Russian trolls, concerns over filter bubbles and hoaxes, censorship, algorithms and profit warnings have all shown that the path to mobile-first publishing is going to be anything but an easy one.
Like any new territory, the mobile landscape is being fought over fiercely. But take a step back from the crossfire and you will see that different actors are fighting over different things, in different ways: and there isn’t just one battle — but three. Continue reading →
Because he sends me an email every December, Nic Newmanhas a tag all of his own on this blog. So as this year’s email lands in my inbox here’s my annual reply around what I’ve noticed in the last 12 months — along with some inevitably doomed predictions of what might happen in the next year…
Surprising in 2017: horizontal storytelling and Facebook disappointments
What a pleasant surprise to visit a profile page on The Guardian website and see a big, prominent link to the member of staff’s public key. Is this routine? It seems it is: an advanced search for profile pages mentioning “public key” brings up over 1000 results. Continue reading →
The media’s reaction to David Bowie‘s death from cancer early this morning demonstrates just how widely curation has become in journalism practice – and specifically, how it has become the web native version of the obituary. Below I’ve done a bit of curation of my own: 8 13 16 ways that different publications used curation to mark the death of a legend. If you have seen others, please let me know.
We are in the golden age of verification: a generation of journalists trained to process content rather than check it; the culling of the subs who used to; and a generation raised on bullshit with the means to check it and the networks to exchange notes. Continue reading →
Until recently a journalism trainer in the UK could safely berate a trainee for Writing Headlines Where Every Word Began With A Capital.
It is a style of headline writing common in US publications, but non-existent in the UK, where newspapers have traditionally fit into one of two camps: the SHOUTY SHOUTY REDTOPS and the broadsheets who Only make the first letter uppercase unless there’s a proper noun.
(The mid-markets, as might be expected, took the best of both worlds, reserving shouting for the front pages and lower case for the inside pages).
So a journalism trainee who Wrote Like This had likely never paid much attention to newspapers, or only when they appeared in Hollywood films.
Or perhaps they just read Guido Fawkes, who, for whatever reason appears to have followed the Hollywood style of headline writing:
Curation is a relatively new term in journalism, but the practice is as old as journalism itself. Every act of journalism is an act of curation: think of how a news report or feature selects and combines elements from a range of sources (first hand sources, background facts, first or second hand colour). Not only that: every act of publishing is, too: selecting and combining different types of content to ensure a news or content ‘mix’.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ in his talk to employees at the Washington Post said: “People will buy a package … they will not pay for a story.” Previously that package was limited to what your staff produced, and wire copy. But as more content becomes digitised, it is possible to combine more content from a wider variety of sources in a range of media – and on any one of a number of platforms.
Curation is nothing new – but it is becoming harder.
Choosing the tools
I’ve identified at least three distinct types of curation (you may think of more):
Curation as distribution or relay: this is curation at the platform level: think of Twitter accounts that relay the most useful links and tweets from elsewhere. Or Tumblr blogs that pass on the best images, video and quotes. Or UsVsTh3m.
Curation as aggregation or combination: seen in linkblogging and news roundups, or galleries, or news aggregators (even creating an algorithm or filter is a journalistic act of selection).
Curation as filter or distillation: this often comes in the form of the list: Buzzfeed is a master of these, distilling conversations from Reddit and complementing them with images.
There are also a number of ways in which the journalist adds value (again, you may think of more):
Through illustrating (as Buzzfeed, above, does with images to liven up highlights from a text discussion)
Through following up
As a journalist operating online, you are both reporter and publisher, able to curate content both at the article level and that of ‘publication’ – whether that’s a Twitter stream, a Tumblr blog, or a Flipboard magazine. Here are some suggestions for tools and techniques: Continue reading →