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Posts Tagged ‘online journalism’
Journalism is filled with ideas. Many of them ‘bold’. Some of them ‘great’. A few might even be ‘good’. But rarely are any ‘innovative’. There is a preconceived idea in many media companies that the future is what you follow, i.e. ‘we will do that when our competitor does that as well’.
With over 130 million blogs worldwide, Twitter users sending 50 million tweets per day and over 2 billion videos a day watched on YouTube it’s easy to get lost in the jungle of content. Rachel Pictor questions how we know what to trust on the web.
What is more interesting: the world economic downturn, or its immediate effect on your neighbourhood?
We at Media140 do not presume to preempt your news consumption choices, but based on our own – perhaps base – preferences, we are betting on the latter.
After a boom in global Internet news which has lasted the best part of a decade, it seems local perspectives have gained a kind of drawing power of which newspapers can only dream.
Nevertheless, magnificent Media140 blogger Peter Bouvier had never heard of hyper-local news until we asked him to look into the rise and rise of borough- and even block-based micro-sites.
Peter discovered that while they represent geographically small districts, hyper-local sites are taking over large tracts of the online news industry.
Peter works as the social media editor for Britain’s National Health Service, has delusions of grandeur and is currently working on a trilogy of epic children’s poems called the Tales of Tikulo.
We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a newsflash.
The monoliths of global and national news organisations are crumbling! Well, okay, that is admittedly not much of a newsflash, since it has been occurring for quite some time. However, it does beg the question; what is replacing them?
‘You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!’ says famed entrepreneurial scoundrel Charlie Croker played by Michael Caine in the 1969 British gold-heist classic, The Italian Job.
The film and that infamous line – which still ranks among Britain’s most quoted – are where my thoughts turn when I think about media140’s two upcoming events at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy from April 21 to 25.
Our version may not involve gold bullion, mini-skirts or breaking into jail, but we may be just ostentatious enough to imagine it has the potential to match the movie for energy, thrills and creativity.
For those who have not had the pleasure of seeing The Italian Job, it opens with a Lamborghini winding through the alps – just as the Media140 team shall too be heading into the beautiful Italian countryside – albeit in a marginally less glamorous minivan.
Perhaps this point of difference is a good thing, as that Lamborghini meets a spectacularly explosive fate at the hands of the mafia scarce minutes into the film.
The IJF (as it is affectionately known by those wishing to save characters) brings together an eclectic throng of journalists from Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Australia. This year’s keynote speaker is Al Gore – yes, the environmental activist who served as vice president of the United States under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001 and is oft credited with being instrumental in the rise of the Internet.
If Mr Gore is not enough reason to book your flight now, it is well worth a click-through to this list of literally dozens of international media executives, innovators and academics who will be sharing their ideas in Perugia – which is itself a vibrant hub of culture and progress.
In addition to presenting two days’ worth of speakers and panels at the IJF, Media140’s crew of specialised ‘backpacker reporters’ will cover the festival using only hand-held devices and online publishing tools. Flips, iPhones, Nokia N96s, audioBoo and Qik will be the kind of apparatus with which we break into the festival’s vault of brilliant ideas just like Croker and his crew – minus the criminality.
Lead editorially by the much more softly-spoken Claire Wardle, the Media140 team admittedly has little in common with Croker’s band of thieves apart from the unique and honed skills each one of them brings to the – err – job. Moreover, Croker had just one ‘computer specialist’ and Wardle will have a gaggle* of them.
media140 will not be blowing the doors off of anything, but we certainly plan to blow minds with a powerful fusion of social inquiry, journalism and technological exploration.
Tickets to the festival are – astonishingly – free. All you have to do is make your way to picturesque Umbria in late April, where spring will most probably just have sprung.
When Italians hope to meet again, they say ‘arrivederci’ – and that is what we bid you!
Ande Gregson – Founder, media140
*All suggestions for a collective noun for computer specialists are welcome in the comments section below …
Much anticipation in Sydney ahead of the day two keynote, live from New York, courtesy of Skype from respected commentator Jay Rosen. Guest live blogger Paul Farrell managed to post this lively summary and analysis of what was, by any criteria, a powerful and thought-provoking speech. Oh -& the tech all worked beautifully too!
Professor of journalism at New York University Jay Rosen, delivered a powerful talk on the way that new media was transforming the news system. His main initial point was that “the audience isn’t atomized any more, it’s connected horizontally”, and his discussion painted a bright picture about the democratization of information online. The very nature of the way that Jay’s talk was conducted, via webcam, seemed to prove the essence of his point.
But one topic of discussion that proved to be hard to swallow for the audience as they tweeted away was on the topic on filtering, and how “we have to get much better at creating intelligent filters” for information distribution across social media platforms. As soon as the word “filters” was thrown around, the bloggers in the audience collectively raised their hackles.
Jay went on to say that “we can build filters that are much more personalized”, and this tied into one of his other ideas that “transparency is the new objectivity”. New media is credible because of its honesty, and Jay says this is how people gain audiences and responses.
But what are the implications of this? What will happen when filters become more sophisticated and the ways that people view information with social media changes? It seems that this could have some potentially disastrous impacts for the democratization of information on the web.
Be honest – when was the last time you logged onto your Facebook profile? Have you deserted all your FB Friends, in favour of your Twitter network? Why would you do that?
Ahead of Media140 Sydney, Jenna Langer, one of the Oz-based team, reflects on her own conversion from stalking her friends to issue-based search. Any comments on similar experiences of Twitter taking over from other social networks, as ever, more than welcome!
As a college student, I used to spend a lot of time attempting to do assignments, but really? I was browsing Facebook. Checking out pictures from last weekend’s parties is much more entertaining than writing essays. Yet more recently, during my final semester, studying abroad in Sydney, instead of using Facebook for procrastination, I’ve been on Twitter. Have I really grown out of stalking my friends from home and seeing what I’ve been missing? Or was this recent Tweet closer to what I am really experiencing?
“I’m spending much more time on Twitter than Facebook lately. I must care more about real issues than what parties my friends are going to :)”
We have all heard and participated in the Facebook vs. Twitter debate. Most of my college-age friends are on Facebook and the very same group thinks that Twitter is “weird and pointless”. Their arguments usually run like this: “Why do I care what people are doing every second of the day?” or “I don’t want to follow people or have them follow me, that’s just creepy.”
I’ve attempted to explain Twitter, but it often feels like a waste of energy. I’ll just let them continue calling me a “Twitter Dork,” I don’t mind. I’m working on crafting an appropriate answer to the Twitter question, and once I do, hopefully I can change some people’s minds.
Like most people, I use Facebook and Twitter in completely different ways. I agree with many of the reasons set out by Soren Gordhamer in this piece: “When Do You Use Twitter Versus Facebook?” in an article on Mashable.
Twitter: Connecting with someone you don’t know, breaking news and new learning and discovery. Personally, I follow people with similar interests or bloggers writing about a topic about which I want to learn more. I can’t count the number of times I have discovered conferences, organizations, and websites that have sparked my interest and prompted me to take further action. That’s how I found out about Media140.
I refer to Twitter for breaking news, as many of us did during the protests after the Iran Election. I found out about the Hudson River Plane Landing on Twitter. The TwitPic of the rescue is now widely acknowledged as one of the first events that showed how Twitter can be used for real-time news by everyday people.
Facebook? I feel it is more for local news and events, connecting with someone you know or help on a specific issue.
The Iranian Elections in June saw Twitter jump into public consciousness as the government jammed mobile phones and blocked access to many other social networks. Twitter users changed their locations en masse to “Tehran” to protect those really tweeting from the Iranian capital while avatars acquired green ribbons and washes, in yet another sign of solidarity.
However, you might have well have missed the very first “Twitter Revolution” – which took place a couple of months earlier in April, in Moldova. Or did it? Below Daniel Bennett reflects on whether or not students really used Twitter to storm the Moldovan presidency or whether the picture, now distinctly clearer in retrospect, is rather more complex than the headline writers might have wanted it to be.
(These are Daniel’s own views and do not reflect those of the BBC.)
In April, Natalia Morari, investigative journalist and civil rights activist, sat down with a handful of friends in a cafe in Moldova. They had met to discuss the re-election of the ruling Communist Party and more specifically what should be done about it. Natalia Morari and her friends were convinced the election was fraudulent and believed another four years of Communist rule would be a disaster for Moldova. They decided to organise a peaceful protest: a candle-lit vigil of national mourning in the capital Chisinau.
Denied access to the Communist-controlled media, they spread the word using a variety of social media tools. Expecting several hundred to attend their ad hoc protest they were more than a little surprised to find that thousands had turned up to demonstrate their anger at fraud and government policy. Perhaps even more astonishingly the media world was watching because Moldova’s Twitterati had managed to get #pman (the acronym of the main square in the Moldovan capital Chisinau) to trend on Twitter.
After all, it was a great story and media organisations around the globe gobbled it up – Twitter used to organise mass demonstration and bring down Communist government. My favourite headline from the time was the Telegraph’s, ‘Students use Twitter to storm presidency in Moldova’, which sounded rather surreal to me.
We have already had an extremely heated discussion on this blog about the value of live, real-time, coverage of the many events of interest to the Media140 audience. In a debate which we dubbed “Sifting the News from the Noise” Brian Condon and Steve Jackson, not to mention several engaged commenters, engaged in a lively exchange of views on one of this forum’s busiest days to date.
Media140 regular Caitlin Fitzsimmons has already posted valuable tips about Twitter for bloggers, #FollowFriday and other thorny matters of web etiquette. Here, she suggests some original ways to carry on live covering, without drowning out the rest of “the Conversation” –
If you are going to a conference and you use Twitter, then you may be tempted to tweet about what’s going on at the conference. But if you want to add value and not annoy your followers, then you should think carefully about the why and the how. Personally, I think Twitter can be a fabulous tool for conferences, but most people should think twice before using their own accounts for this purpose.
Live-tweeting is a controversial issue and we’ve heard from two opposing viewpoints on this blog already. Brian Condon (aka @brian_condon) explained why tweeting conferences and live events has value, while Steve Jackson (aka @ourman) argued that a lot of it is just noise and crawling to Twitter powerbrokers.
I think they are both right. I also think there is an easy solution.
There is no doubt in my mind that Twitter can enhance a conference experience and extend its reach. There will generally be a conference hashtag set up for any tweets about the event, so it can provide an immediate camaraderie and means to communicate and collaborate. Tweeting about what is said in sessions can amplify the salient points and spark discussion and debate and further questions. If there is a critical mass of people tweeting then it can help break the ice – after all, one of the biggest reasons to go to many conferences, is the opportunity to network with other attendees.
Hopefully, so the theory goes, the Twitter back channel can also bring the conference to a wider audience. It lets people who are interested but couldn’t attend in person know what is going on and feed back their own thoughts and questions.
The problem is that Twitter is a broadcast medium so it is also reaches a lot of people who are not interested. It’s all very well to say that you can always unfollow someone – this is true, but not very useful advice when any one of your followers may attend a conference and suddenly start tweeting like crazy at any moment in time. You may also want to follow the conference-attending tweeter on any other day of the year, when they are not at a conference. Supposedly the Twitter Snooze tool, which lets you temporarily unfollow someone, can help with this, but it didn’t work the one time I tried it.
One alternative is live-blogging, which is 100% opt-in and offers a permanent record of what happened at the conference. The disadvantage is that it’s not as collaborative and fun as tweeting.
I think setting up a separate Twitter account for the conference is the obvious answer. I’ve done this twice and it works beautifully.
Can one hashtag really force an established law firm to back down? The Twitter vs Carter Ruck debate is likely to rumble on for a while. For Media140, Journalism.co.uk’s Laura Oliver charts how the story broke on the blogosphere and explains how her own Twitter and Social Media network helped to hone her own perspective on what was really going on:
Some may be proclaiming it a Twitter victory, but I am not going to go quite that far.
But the U-turn by media law firm Carter-Ruck on its attempt to gag the media from reporting a parliamentary question felt like a turning point for social media and my use of Twitter as a journalist.
For many, it was the Guardian that broke the story but I heard the news of Carter Ruck’s action on Twitter first. This is not the first time this has happened with a news story and, as a journalist who reports on the media industry, it is no surprise that plenty of the people I follow on Twitter would be interested in the story.
But what made this story different for me was the value that my Twitter network added to the story:
· I was getting a feed of updates on the story from a range of online sources as they happened;
· I was getting links to comment and analysis from personally recommended blogs;
· Plus links to background material on libel law, the Guardian’s reporting on Trafigura and Carter-Ruck’s previous history with the paper;
· Links to visualisations of the story as it trended on Twitter.
Twitter as a communication tool and as an online community made my job as a reporter infinitely easier.
“Never disagree when you can crawl instead?” As a tsunami of live-tweets by various attendees of last week’s Frontline Club On the Media event “Access Denied” filled – (some might say clogged) the Twitter feed, a lively discussion developed in tandem – and more or less simultaneously – on the propriety, usefulness and sheer etiquette of this type of hashtag frenzy.
Here, in a characteristically forthright post, Steve Jackson – whom many readers will know as @ourman on Twitter – argues that the proliferation of social media tools and the exponential rise of those of us using them has decimated genuine “news” values, encouraged a culture of back-slapping sycophancy and self-promotion and comprehensively undermined the value of the Social Media “Conversation”.
Spend any time at all following any number of journalists on Twitter and you’ll never be too far away from PR-bashing.
The essential stereotype is normally “how did they think this was news?” or “why did they send this to me?”
In short, the accusations are of no news sense and a scattergun approach.
It’s interesting then that when its hacks running the show, and no one to edit, a different tact is taken when social media is involved.
Suddenly there is no concept of news values. Only just how many tools can we use to spread the thin story just about as thinly as possible? There is never any thought of “what is this worth?” or “is this a story?”
Just keep on spreading.
I say this following my disagreement to a bout of sustained tweeting surrounding the Frontline Club. You can read more here. But essentially, such was the glee of the assorted Media Twitterati that the usual social media niceties were dispensed with.
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