WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Wed - 30.07.2014


Web 2.0

This is a big week for Flipboard. After launching in China on Monday, today the social news reader app has finally released a version for the iPhone.

The new iPhone app does just what Flipboard on the iPad did; collect stories from social media accounts as well as other sources and present them to readers in a visually pleasing format.

But there are significant differences. For one thing, the iPhone app works by swiping up and down, rather than the old format of turning pages from right to left. More importantly, the phone app introduces "cover stories". This new section learns from your interaction with content so that it can deliver stories that are most interesting and relevant to you.

The differences are part of a drive to distinguish between the lean-back platform of the iPad, which most people use before bed, and the lean-forward platform of the iPhone, which users are more likely to access on the go or standing in queues.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2011-12-07 16:25

StumbleUpon has redesigned its website and the changes are of more than passing interest.

The 'social discovery engine', which asks users to register things they like and then guides them at random through to related sites, unrolled the changes yesterday.

The alterations follow a rise in visibility for StumbleUpon. In July GigaOm reported that StumbleUpon was sending more traffic to American websites than Facebook. Its number of regular users doubled in 16 months, now totaling more than 20 million. It boasts 33 million monthly unique visitors.

So what exactly is different?

Visuals

The site has moved from the old blue, green and white logo, to a cleaner looking dark orange and white one. More importantly, the site as a whole is more visually focused. There are big, high-quality images to accompany each interest on a user's homepage and the toolbar is less obtrusive and cleaner (perhaps it owes some inspiration to the Hootsuite toolbar?). The difference in visual appeal is striking when you compare screenshots posted by GigaOm.

'Explore' box

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2011-12-06 14:38

There's no doubt that social media has made its mark on journalism. Just think of the way that the news of Steve Jobs' death spread rapidly around the world.

These changes haven't just changed the way we read newspapers. They've also profoundly altered our relationship with television.

This was the subject of a talk given by Mike Proulx, co-author of the book Social TV, at "Les Nouvelle Pratiques du Journalisme" conference at Sciences Po, Paris, hosted in collaboration with Columbia Journalism School.

Proulx listed the four areas of broadcast news that have been affected by Twitter.

Breaking news.

All sorts of news is broken now on Twitter, from the earthquake on the US East Coast this August, to the fact that Billy Crystal was to replace Eddie Murphy as the host of this year's Oscars. The fact that news breaks on Twitter profoundly affects the way journalists work: many reporters monitor trending topics on to see what's happening, for example. They also mine social networks for information, pictures and videos about new stories. The famous photo of the jet which landed in the Hudson River was originally a twitpic.

Finding sources.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2011-12-02 17:03

What does journalism today have in common with the 1960s steel industry? Quite a lot, argued Dawn Williamson of Chartbeat, speaking today at "Les Nouvelles Pratiques du Journalisme" conference, hosted by the Ecole de journalisme de Sciences Po, Paris, in collaboration with Columbia Journalism School.

Before the 1960's the steel industry was dominated by big, inefficient, expensive steel plants. But then something changed. The industry was revolutionised by the introduction of "mini-mills" - smaller, cheaper, faster plants. Yet the big steel companies didn't want to adopt minimills, says Williamson. They were suspicious of the quality of their new competitors.

Today, Williamson argues, news sites like The Huffington Post, Gawker and Business Insider are the "mini mills of the journalism industry". Through a combination of news aggregation, blog hosting and user engagement, they're producing a journalism product that's faster and cheaper.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2011-12-02 12:13

Today has been another day in which core participants have given evidence at the Leveson Inquiry in London.

After yesterday's testimony from the Dowler family and Hugh Grant - whose witness statement includes details of how the mother of his child received anonymous phone calls while Grant was speaking out against News International on BBC Question Time - it was the turn of British comedian Steve Coogan, Elle Macpherson's former personal assistant Mary-Ellen Field and the parents of Diane Watson, who claim their murdered daughter was unjustly portrayed by The Glasgow Herald as a bully.

According to The Guardian, Field explained how her employer encouraged her to go to rehab and lost trust in her capabilities after she assumed it was her that was leaking information to the press, when in fact it was the result of phone hacking. The accusations also cost her a position at Chiltern, an accountancy firm.

Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-11-22 19:42

Are you ready to meet Siri's sister? No, not another shrill-voiced digital assistant, but in fact a new discovery engine, brought to you by Siri's sister company, Trapit. Like the iPhone 4S's voice command technology, Trap.it is the product of technologies developed in the CALO - Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes - project. Trapit is now its own company and has begun raising funds, including seeking capital from Horizon Ventures, one the sponsors of Facebook, Spotify and Siri.

So Trapit has an impressive heritage, being descended from a $200 million artificial intelligence project, but what is it about Trapit that differentiates it from the ever-increasing amount of aggregators and discovery engines out there?

Conceptually it's not so different to Stumble Upon, a discovery engine that learns what you do and don't like. However, instead of flicking from page to page, Trapit simultaneously displays several panels related to different subjects- i.e. the trap - that the reader has said they are interested in or are likely to be interested in. When new information is found about those issues, Trapit updates the feed.

Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-11-16 17:58

Since October of this year, The Guardian has been nursing a fledgling online project in private beta testing; now that project is ready to be unveiled to the world at large.

The Guardian's community notice board, logically called n0tice, has now entered public beta testing and is available for the public to use. The service has been billed by many as the paper's attempt to branch into hyperlocal media; the notice board was described by GigaOm as "part blogging platform, part Craigslist, part communal Twitter stream, part forum, part event listing", yet it still manages to be something akin to the traditional community notice board.

The idea is that users join the network and create their own message boards, the appearance of which can be customized according to the user's preference. The user can then post details of upcoming events, share news and advertise things for sale. n0tice is structured by locality, so those users in a similar area will be able to see the content of all the message boards close to them. In this way, the service operates as a sort of Everyblock-style information sharing operation, with a bit of Craigslist-style hawking on the side.

Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-11-16 13:45

Advertising is crucial to the health of the news industry; it is the egg in the cake mixture, the crucial ingredient that binds everything together, even when print product sales are dropping. As the newspaper business navigates the transition to into the digital era, online advertising is becoming an ever more important revenue stream, much has been said about the necessity to 'stack those dimes' that trickle in from web ads in order to survive tough financial conditions.

In light of this situation, when someone proposes an alternative source of advertising, you can't blame news organisations for pricking up their ears and listening. What is this new source of ad revenue? The sponsored tweet.

'Great! Another way to grab some much needed cash!' you might think... but is it really a good idea for newspapers to issue sponsored material on their Twitter feeds?

Why could you argue that sponsored tweeting is a good idea?

1) MONEY. It's sad but true, newspapers need money. According to Nieman Lab, sponsored tweets can supposedly bring in $300 per day for a publication like The Statesman , which deals with news and entertainment in Austin, Texas. The publication puts out two clearly labelled sponsored tweets per day promoting local businesses and events. This is valuable revenue from 140 characters.

Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-11-15 15:37

Robot crowd control. No, it's not its not the title of a new disaster movie starring Will Smith. It's CrowdControl, a start-up, lauched today, which aims to judge the accuracy of crowd-sourced information using artificial intelligence technology.

Programs to work out how people are feeling on social media already exist, but they are based on algorhythms that often don't work very well. Machines can identify key words, but aren't as good at detecting sentiments behind words. Apart from anything else, robots don't get sarcasm. Humans, who do a better job, can't analyse the same volume of information so quickly, and they can be sloppy and make mistakes.

In an exclusive article, published today by GigaOm, Derrick Harris explains how CrowdControl works to analyse the 'sentiment' behind crowd-sourced information by combining human and machine. (Still sounds scary? Keep going)

The program is based on Amazon's Mechanical Turk - an existing platform that effectively crow-sources crowd-source analysis, using over 500,000 workers in 190 countries to analyse social media.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2011-11-14 19:35

It's a matter of fact that Twitter has become part of the regular news workflow. And this is also the case for mainstream media outlets.

But how do they really use it? And how often? What's their underlying strategy? Is Twitter used by traditional media as a self-promotional channel for their own links or has it become a real, independent reporting tool?

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs answered these and other questions in a study that analysed the relationship between 13 major U.S. news outlets and Twitter.

It emerged from the study that news organizations mainly use Twitter for auto-referral. In fact, their use is primarily limited to disseminating their own material, rather than developing real engagement with followers or adding to the general debate by sharing external content.

The research examined more than 3,600 tweets over the course of a typical news week (February 14th - 20th 2011). It looked at tweets from each outlet's main newsroom Twitter account, as well as tweets by journalists working for these outlets. The study analysed both reporters with the largest number of followers and niche reporters. In order to observe how niche reporters use Twitter, the researchers examined a health reporter at each organization, as, according to the study, health was one of the most consistent beats across these news sites.

Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-11-14 16:48

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