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 →
Here, then, are some reflections on the 10 pieces which did best in 2016 (there were 100 posts across the year), plus the older posts which keep on giving, and a comparison of some pieces which did far better on Medium than on OJB. Continue reading →
If there was always a suspicion that it would happen eventually, this year it was confirmed: in 2016 platforms from Facebook to Snapchat, Twitter to Tumblr, all took significant steps towards becoming fully blown publishers. Here are 7 things that happened this year that swung it. Continue reading →
I recently hosted a podcast discussion at Birmingham City University for my MA Online Journalism students on ‘platform publishing‘: in other words, journalism on platforms other than traditional websites.
My guests discussed their experiences of publishing for email, SnapChat, Tumblr, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They were: Continue reading →
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 →