WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

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Fri - 19.01.2018


communities

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Are moderation and participation the future of news? A panel discussion moderated by Justin Peters of the Columbia Journalism Review Online at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia debated the right way to get the community to participate in life of the news organization.

Most all news organisations these days say that they take their communities pretty seriously, said Peters in his introduction, but they are still trying to find the right way to participate in and to moderate these communities.

Often the problem seems to be that comments turn into a shouting match, underlined Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics.

“It’s something we hear all the time. Journalists write beautiful articles and along comes the public and writes something critical, offensive, and journalists get upset about that”. But this is something that has always happened, Beckett stressed, it used to happen in the real world, but journalists only started to experience it first-hand when it started to happen online..

Author

Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-04-27 13:48

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Are comment sections really all they’re made out to be? While most news organizations welcome user feedback in some form or another, the debate is far from settled as to whether comments help or hurt online newspapers. Intended to encourage intelligent online discussion—but often dominated by vicious trolls, or users who post inflammatory statements for no reason other than to provoke others—comment sections clearly have both their pros and cons.

In an article from the Animal New York website, which is currently redesigning its format, Joel Johnson asserts that most comments are not intellectually stimulating or educational, but rather just spam and “drive-by internet hate.”

“Comments are a dinner party,” Johnson writes. “If I’ve invited you to have a seat at my table, at least have the courtesy to not call me an idiot for serving you food slightly different than you preferred…”

Johnson also suggests that the cost of monitoring comments outweighs the editorial benefit that insightful comments might bring.

He writes, “comments are likely a cost-of-doing-business for most content sites, not a revenue generator. This has been somewhat known for years for any high-volume site that is forced to require human content moderation—humans cost money, whether they are hand-moderating content, shepherding conversation, or building automated tools to allow user-moderated content.”

Author

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-11 14:59

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Media companies are increasingly encouraged to engage with their audience via social media. But this basic engagement can just be a first step. In an ideal world, the members of that audience will also interact with each other, continuing the debate started by the news organisation, deepening the impact of news stories, and building loyalty around the media brand to make sure it survives in the future.

This is all very well, but how do you do it? Well, it’s not always easy, argued the panel on community building at the Social Media World Forum in London yesterday. 

Nick Reynolds, the public accountability executive for BBC Online, advised caution when building a community from scratch. “Just because you have a marketing budget to spend, don’t think that’s going to result in a community,” he said. Instead, he urged professionals to think about whether they’re appealing to a genuine interest group. Mark Coatney, director at Tumblr also emphasised that, whatever you do in terms of community building, it is important to have clear goals and to understand the motivations of the group that you’re trying to reach. When adding a new feature, ask yourself, “Would I do this? Why would I do this?” he advised.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-03-29 10:42

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UK publishing group Extra Newspapers announced Wednesday that it will be launching its first three hyper-local newspapers for the towns of Corby, Wellingburough and Kettering in Northamptonshire, according to a press release.

Extra spent 14 months researching and developing the newspapers, which are “designed to appeal to the traditional newsprint reader as well as the younger, digital savvy readership,” the release said.

Each newspaper will begin circulation in April at 10,500 copies and will cost 50 pence apiece.

Editor Judith Halliday emphasized in the release that the communities themselves will be the focus of each publication.

“Extra aims to prove that small and local can be beautiful,” she said. “We will be right there on the corner with the local community—watching, reporting and sharing all the news.”

Members of the respective communities are invited to contribute news and opinions to the paper as well, the release said.

Managing Director Stuart Parker explained in the release that, before now, Corby did not have its own local newspaper.

The Corby Extra will give Corby what it wants most of all and that’s a voice across the community,” he said.

Author

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-23 17:29

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A team of eight journalists has created a local news cooperative to tackle the closure of the traditional media in their South Wales town of Port Talbot, and to continue to provide community's news coverage (hat tip to the Guardian's Roy Greenslade.)

After Trinity Mirror's Port Talbot Guardian, the community radio station and the local council freesheet all closed down, this group of volunteer journalists launched the Port Talbot Magnet, a local news site which carries news sourced by professional journalists and members of the community, as NUJ Freelance bulletin reported.

Port Talbot Magnet is a not-for-profit community based on a cooperative principle: volunteer professional journalists collaborate with citizens who suggest, participate and fund coverage on local news.

It incorporates a 'Pitch-In' scheme, with members of the community contributing by donating money, suggesting ideas, sending pictures and helping to pay professional reporters to carry out the news coverage.

The underlying idea is that news has a price and it's worth it to the community to pay for it as it it adds value to their lives.

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Author

Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-02-21 18:17

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Engage. Listen to your readers. Build a community.

All good advice coming in newspapers' direction. But when it comes to responding to comments on their websites, disappointingly few are putting it into practice.

The Washington Post is one of the exceptions. Nieman Lab recently reported that the paper is encouraging its reporters to take part in the conversation on its website. In addition to the six people dedicated to comments full-time, over 40 reporters have contributed to the comment threads over recent weeks, Joe DeNunzio, the Post's interactivity editor, wrote in a blog post.

"The interactivity team here started taking a more active approach to getting reporters into the comments late last year because we were pretty sure it could help the comment threads - and the journalism," DeNunzio told Nieman. Based on the evidence so far, it appears that this is exactly what has happened.

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Author

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2012-02-10 16:55

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Somalia is usually in the limelight for crises: civil war, famine, drought, Somalian pirates attacking international shipping... And when the spotlight turns off it's hard to maintain the international community's attention focused on the country.

This is the aim of Somalia Speaks, a project launched recently by a joint team of partners "to catalyze global media attention on Somalia by letting Somali voices take center stage", as Patrick Meier of Ushahidi, one of the founder organizations, explained - and all this via SMS services.

Somalia Speaks is the result of multiple efforts. It is hosted - and publicised - by Al Jazeera; the SMS messaging service is provided by Souktel, a Palestinian-based organization, while Ushahidi - whose role is well-known in crisis mapping - and Crowdflower - a crowdsourcing platform - translate, categorize and map the incoming responses.

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Author

Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-10 12:30

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The Guardian's new community platform, n0tice, has announced new revenue sharing model that will allow users who set up their own online notice boards to share the advertising revenue generated from their board.

The site allows people to create an online notice board that will link them to the rest of their local community. This board can then become a place to advertise upcoming events, buy or sell goods or just share what's going on in the neighbourhood. The service is free, but it costs approximately £1 per day for the ad to be placed in a featured spot on the site, where it will be displayed to users within a one-mile radius of the advertiser's location. The price increases depending on the advertisement's geographical distribution, the size and how long it is displayed for.

Users who host ads on their notice boards will now be able to claim 85% of the revenue generated by these advertisements, the other 15% going to The Guardian. The revenue can be viewed on the 'admin' tab of a user's notice board and there is an option to send all revenue directly to charity.

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Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-12-13 19:10

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As other prestigious publications struggle to break even in an increasingly harsh economic climate, The Economist announced record profits this year - £63m to be precise. Part of the Economist's growth has been digital. While the Financial Times has around 429,000 Twitter followers, and The Spectator has just under 14,000, The Economist tweets daily to almost 1.2 million people. Likewise, The Economist has over 800,000 Facebook fans compared to The Guardian's 121,000 and The FT's 262,000. There's no doubt that the publication is an online force to be reckoned with.

How does a publication achieve this kind of success? Mark Johnson, who joined the Economist as Community Editor in 2010, talks here about the magazine's policies. Building a community requires ambition and remaining true to your brand, he tells WAN-IFRA, while using social media can be about challenging your readers, not dumbing down your voice.

Johnson will speak at the 18th World Editors Forum in Vienna as part of the panel "How to build a community around your publication".

WAN-IFRA: What is your role as Community Editor of the Economist? Has it changed?

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Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2011-09-30 11:41

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Jim Brady is the newly-appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Journal Register Company, a news organization that owns over 350 multi-platform publications. The company has been hailed as a digital success story: it filed for bankruptcy in 2009, but after embracing CEO John Paton's 'digital first' strategy it turned a profit of more than $40 million in 2010.

The company unites digital technology with a very focused local approach. One of the JRC's initiatives has been the Register Citizen Newsroom Café in Torrington, Connecticut, a project that invites members of the public into the newsroom and encourages them to contribute to the news.

Brady, formerly of The Washington Post and TBD, joined the JRC in March 2011 to lead 'Project Thunderdome', a plan to centralize national content and hence give local reporters more time to stick to local stories.

Brady will be speaking at the 18th World Editors Forum in Vienna about how to build a community around your publication.

WAN-IFRA: The JRC's CEO John Paton, has really plugged 'digital first'. What does it mean in practice?

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Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2011-09-05 18:44

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The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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