In January I made the following presentation to the Association for Journalism Education, talking about how digital technologies can be used to facilitate research. Let me know if you have had any similar experiences with using digital technologies in research yourself.
The Sun has had more stories submitted to Fark, the social news site for stranger news stories, than any other UK newspaper. That may be no surprise, but it’s the Guardian wot’s runner up.
The graph is based on an analysis of the total submissions for each newspaper site to Fark. It shows that, just as with those other social news sites, the FT, Mirror and Express are trailling in last.
The Guardian has had more stories submitted to Reddit.com than any other major newspaper site.
The graph shows how many pages have been submitted to Reddit for each site. It’s based on an analysis of newspapers’ Reddit submissions that also suggests the Telegraph is catching up with the Guardian – they tied for the number of stories submitted over the last week.
The Daily Telegraph has more stories submitted to Digg, the social news website, than any other daily newspaper site.
Times Online may be winning at StumbleUpon, but the Telegraph has:
- had more stories submitted to Digg,
- more stories on the front pages of Digg,
- and its most-Digged story has more Diggs than any other newspaper site’s top story.
The graph shows how many pages have been submitted for each site that made the Digg ‘front pages’ (ie proved sufficiently popular).
It’s based on an analysis of newspaper site pages submitted to Digg (which also suggests that the reason for the success of the Telegraph and Mail is that their users are more likely to Digg than those of other newspaper sites).
All self-respecting newspaper sites have share and social-bookmarking functionality, such as links to Digg, Reddit, Fark etc.
But if the results of StumbleUpon are typical then:
- Times Online is miles ahead of its rivals when it comes to users sharing / bookmarking its pages.
- The FT has a lot of work to do.
- Adding icons for an individual service makes no difference to how often users submit a given page.
Above is an image representing how journalism has traditionally been done:
- You went and gathered your information
- You put it all together in an attractive package: the article, the broadcast package
- And someone else took that to the readers or viewers
That linear process is pretty much redundant online.
See the diagram below. I’ve found myself drawing this so often recently that I thought I should put it online and save some ink.
The point is clear. Thanks to networked technologies – and RSS in particular – there is no reason why newsgathering cannot also be news production, or news distribution. For example:
- You bookmark something on Delicious (newsgathering). That is published on Delicious, your blog, Twitter, and/or your news website (see Jemima Kiss’s PDA Newsbucket), and distributed via RSS which can be embedded anywhere
- You ask a question on Twitter (newsgathering). That is published on Twitter, and distributed via RSS – perhaps as a widget on your blog or Facebook.
- You film some raw material on your mobile phone using Qik. It’s published on Qik, with an update posted to Twitter too. The video feed is embedded on your blog or news site, and once again RSS distributes it anywhere you or someone else wants.
I could go on, but here are the implications: 1) a web-savvy journalist or news operation will seek to make as much of their activity visible in this way as possible, adding value to what they do and providing numerous access points for users. It’s for this reason I’m a massive fan of social bookmarking (it also makes it very easy to find things you read previously)
2) Journalism is becoming less polished, more iterative and more networked. Broadcast and print do the ‘finished version’ pretty well – online, we’re often happy with raw information, with the emphasis on ‘raw’.
3) As I’ve said before, the journalist (along with their readers) is now the distributor. You cannot leave that job to someone else. The more active, visible and social you are online, the better for your work both commercially and editorially.
Any thoughts? More examples?
Mashable has a very lengthy but equally illuminating overview of social bookmarking site Digg, following the service’s decision to ban many of its biggest users. It’s essential reading for anyone involved in reader communities and user generated content. Here are some of the highlights:
Users quickly realized that one way to get diggs for their submitted stories was to make someone your Friend and consistently digg that person’s stories. Reciprocal diggs would usually follow. Continue reading