Friday, 28 March 2008

The Wikipedia experience

This How to Be a Wikipedia Editor 101 article strikes a chord with me.

My own experience of first tentatively dipping my toe into the Wikipedia editing waters was to have my changes undone. Friends have had this experience too. Seems like it's quite a common occurrence.

I might have another bash now that I've read the article, but I have to say that I'd be far more keen if they'd introduce some kind of WYSIWYG editing interface to deal with all the horrible code.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Video outsourcing

Are you still in doubt about the magic of video? My thanks to colleague Nicholas Coombes for drawing my attention to this fantastic video on YouTube which attempts to get to the essence of just how engaging online video can be.

I've ordered an immediate outsourcing of all our in-house video production to Fred and Sharon.

Serious lesson: you can never be over-dressed for video.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

TechCrunch round-up of UK video shows

Essential reading for people looking for tips on creating online video shows from Mike Butcher aTechCrunchUK. Nice to have a focus on UK productions.

Schedule for handling breaking news in digital journalism

While taking a gander at the European Journalism Centre's Video for Newspaper Journalists course, I came across this report from the recent DNA 2008 event.

It's interesting for the detail of an ideal schedule for how the Daily Telegraph would handle breaking news:

The Daily Telegraph is considered a front-runner when it comes to the implementation of video on the web. Edward Roussel, a digital editor for the Telegraph Media Group, outlined several strategies his company has implemented to best benefit from the digital storm.

The Telegraph encourages video by holding editors accountable for the corresponding section of the website – even compensating editors financially for jobs well done.

For each breaking story, a “story owner” is assigned. It is this person’s job to plan, commission and monitor each story across all platforms.

Roussel said his vision of a successful website is one which has it all. He displayed an ideal schedule for how the Telegraph would successfully handle breaking news:

* 11:15: Send out alerts via SMS/e-mail/desktop widgets
* 11:25: Have 150 words online, begin soliciting readers’ help
* 12:15: Update story, add images and audio
* 13:15: Add analysis, topic page
* 15:15: Have multiple angles, analysis, opinion (from readers), multi-media (picture galleries, video, graphics)

“In four hours you want to feel you’ve covered multiple angles of the story,” Roussel said.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Building brand and reputation

My intrapreneurial colleague Martin Couzins ran an in-house seminar this morning. It was a combined digital journalism/career development programme in which he entreated people to embrace the digital age for the sake of their own careers if nothing else. Very brave to stand up and do that.

I was touched that he employed the Digital Journalism Manifesto evolving through comments on this blog post of mine.

But I digress. The point of this post is to draw attention to this short video he showed in which he interviews Kevin May, editor of Travolution.

Kevin has built this e-travel brand - and his own reputation in the field - quickly and effectively and in this video he talks about the importance of getting involved in other people's online discussions.

UK Doritos ad competition

Doritos are running a user generated content video competition in the UK. They've done it in the US before with some fantastic results, but as far as I'm aware, this is the first time in the UK so it will be interesting to see the up-take and the results.

Create a Doritos ad, upload it to the site and you could win £20,000 and have it shown on TV.

More details on their deeply annoying Flash website.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Ribbed for their pleasure

I'm being ribbed over at one of the Computer Weekly blogs- Downtime.

Affectionately, I hope.

They say...

User-generated content of every kind is all the rage in the meeja right now, and nowhere more so than online, where every website wants to prove it's passed Engagement 101 with flying colours. So much so that the trend is now officially a source of mainstream parody. Just watch this from the BBC's Mitchell and Webb show...

Friday, 14 March 2008

Turning the editorial process into content

I'm always last to find these things, aren't I? Really useful post from Robin Hamman about how editors and journalists can create content out of the work process.

It has always struck me as a blogging approach which should be easy to sell in to traditional editors and journalists (or at least since the process of traditional editors and journalists no ceased to involve half a day in the pub).

While a glimpse behind the scenes of a B2B magazine might not have quite the same glamour as that of the BBC, I think the (apparent) transparency and honesty is rather engaging.

The editor of Farmers Weekly, Jane King now has a blog in the heart of the magazine's online community in which she introduces "behind the scenes" news such as changes in personnel or why certain decisions have been taken. I think it's a great idea.

Anyway, as Robin is following up a previous post, I hope he won't mind me quoting his ideas and examples from that:

  1. make your RSS subscriptions publicly visible (example: BBC Manchester Blog)
  2. use or another social bookmarking service to store and share links to your background research (example: Jemima Kiss / Guardian PDA Newsbucket)
  3. share your rough notes, meeting minutes and preliminary results as soon as you can (example: iPM)
  4. post photos, audio and video as and of your work (example: Reuters Mobile Reporting Kit
  5. don't just reply privately to emails and comments, quote from them and respond publicly (example: BBC Internet Blog)
  6. spread your content around automatically using the import feature of the different blogging and social media services you use
  7. use your downtime to microblog, giving audiences a sense of immediacy (example: twitter feed for the BBC Rugby World Cup Blog)
  8. blog site statistics (ranging from user numbers to social network friends - I'll probably use TechPresident as my example)

Don't "read more"

Apologies for the annoying "Read More" at the bottom of every post.

I've tried to undo the split posting I set up and can't for the life of me remember where the "Read More..." bit came from so it just sits at the bottom and lures trusting readers to the thing they've just read. Sorry. If anyone has any ideas....

Successful beatblogging saves, not costs, reporters their time

Nicely expressed by Daniel Victor in a post called "Why I'm beat blogging: It helps the print product too":

In a fraction of the time and effort, it accomplishes all these goals that any reporter would share:

* It can drastically increase your quantity of sources
* It can drastically increase the diversity of your sources
* It can positively develop your relationship with sources
* It allows you to stay in constant contact with those sources without picking up the phone and calling them individually
* It encourages those sources to share story ideas or current happenings
* It can lead you into background or context to your stories you wouldn’t otherwise know about

Along with these additional benefits that the new-media types love:

* It encourages a sense of community
* It gets information to people in the form that they choose
* It allows for a depth that the print product can’t achieve
* It makes the news a conversation instead of a declaration
And while you're there, read Daniel's marvellous rebuttal of some precious anti-blogging nonsense.

Broadcast standards

Everyone is drawing attention to this. And with good reason:

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Journlaism: back to basics (not a deliberate mis-spelling but it seems appropriate to leave it)

I've suggested before that those of us who deliberately entered journalism probably imagined ourselves to be a potential Bob Woodward or Hildy Johnson (right).

Alas, I have never worn a hat like Rosalind Russell's but it has been fun nonetheless.

And it's really exciting being in the midst of so much change (although that is easy for me to say as I'm no longer a journalist).

Anyway, all of which is a long winded intro to a fabulous video uncovered by DigiDave who offers some analysis.

I, however, offer merely entertainment and nostalgia for a time even I don't remember (except to say: note the emphasis on words; a tyranny that lives on).

Web video is not television

Goodness. I should get this title tattooed onto my forehead to save my voice. Robert Montgomery's post belies a similar frustration, I feel. His argument is well put.

Journalists and online etiquette

I always feel a bit foolish blogging about a blog about a blog, but I recommend Andy Dickinson's post about some peeved Guardian journalists whose community interaction received a robust reaction. You can just imagine them crying "but I'm a journalist!" when they were encouraged to participate in social media and then again when they were disagreed with.

It's tough: journalists didn't become journalists to do this kind of thing because journalism has moved on and (many) journalists haven't. You can understand their horror.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Landslide victory for Farmers Weekly Interactive

It just goes to show that in the digital age a set of pictures paints several thousand words.

Farmers Weekly Interactive was sent some pictures (of which this is one) of an extraordinary landslide occurrence in Cheshire:

All the pictures are available in a slideshow on the site and the story is admirably succinct in deference to the majesty of the pictures:

Tractor Driver James Fletcher who works for Chester-based contractor Mike Harley, had a lucky esacpe when the field he was ploughing gave way beneath him. He was on the final run of a sloping field near Alvaney, Widnes, when the bank he was on collapsed, sending an estimated 15,000 tonnes of soil sliding down the slope.

Mr Fletcher's tractor and plough was carried a quarter of a mile, through 360 degrees, crossing two fields and ended up being half buried in soil. Amazingly, the tractor started again once dug out, but had to be taken away on a low-loader.

And the Internet is indeed a wondrous thing. Professor David Petley - an authority on landslides - picks up the story in his Landslide Blog and recognises the unusual nature of this event in the UK and pledges to investigate further. And so the story rolls on.


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Live video streaming from a mobile phone

OK, so this panel discussion might not be the most watchable or listenable-to (?) piece of video you've ever seen but that's not really surprising.

What is quite mind-blowing is that it was taken with a 3G mobile phone and was streamed live (and recorded for posterity) using a service called Qik.

It was taken by Robin Hamman at the Digital News Affairs conference in Brussels yesterday.

It kind of reminds me of the earliest television broadcasts (not that I'm old enough to remember them of course) - not brilliant quality but the potential is mind-blowing.

As Hamman says:

The potential for this is incredible. From now on, every journalist will have the ability to get usable video content on air almost instantly using nothing but a mobile phone that fits easily in their pocket. Activists will be able to stream live from protests. Concert goers can share their front row seats with friends at home. Privacy concerns aside, the ability to stream live video from a cameraphone, and for that video to be instantly available around the world via the internet, really is awesome.