WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Sun - 21.09.2014


user-generated content

When Google changed its search algorithm last month, Demand Media took a serious hit. According to a comparison by Conductor, the search visibility of Demand Media's eHow site dropped significantly, which explains why the company saw a notable drop also in stock value. The rumours around the company were so pessimistic that it was forced to issue a statement defending its finances.

The California-based Demand Media, which according to Reuters has 13,000 freelancers writing to its sites such as eHow and LiveStrong, is now taking measures to step up the content of its sites. In an interview with MediaShift, Larry Fitzgibbon and Jeremy Reed from Demand Media described the course the company is next taking. Some of the changes sound very much like steps towards a more traditional journalistic model.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2011-05-09 19:10

Clay Shirky, well-known 'Internet Guru' and New York University professor, believes that both journalism and democracy in general have much to gain from the "cognitive surplus" that the new media world is giving us. Technological developments mean that journalism has the potential to be at its best, if it can find a way to support itself. Shirky was speaking at an event organised by Microsoft's Regard sur le numérique (Eye on digital) project in Paris.

The idea behind the Cognitive Surplus - the title of Shirky's 2010 book - is that as we switch from passive television watchers to online content creators, there is so much content in all its different forms being generated at all times that we should be able to make this valuable, particularly in light of our interconnectedness.

The public is no longer simply consuming information supplied by those with authority, but is generating it and the way in which it comes together can actually make a difference. Shirky brought up the example of Ushahidi, a crowd-sourcing platform which allows anybody to contribute reports that are then marked on a maps - on post-election violence or rigging, for example, or on storm damage - and hence creates a useful resource out of scattered pieces of information.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2011-01-31 16:38

Last week in Paris, Social Media Club France hosted an event titled "Audience Engagement and Monetisation: Social Gaming, a model to follow?" where the crème-de-la-crème of France's fast-emerging social gaming sector partook in a fascinating panel discussion. Presenters included notables such as KRDS, one of only two agencies in France to be included in Facebook's Preferred Developers Consultant Program, and IFeelGoods, which is the first platform that lets retailers provide Facebook Credits as marketing incentives.

Moderated by Benoit Raphael, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Le Post.fr, the discussions covered the elements of success for social games and Facebook apps, as well as the enormous potential for virtual credits to revolutionize the way money is exchanged online. Highlights of the panel discussion can be found here, what this post is about is how this lesson in game dynamics can be applied to news sites.

Author

Garrett Goodman

Date

2010-11-12 12:38

With the plethora of online comments, newspapers are having difficultly editing responses from their users. Reuters recently noted this problem, claiming the importance of encouraging comments that advance the content of the story while simultaneously blocking tasteless responses. "I've become increasingly concerned about the quality of discourse in comments on news stories on Reuters.com and on other major news sites," reports Dean Wright. "On some stories, the 'conversation' has been little more than partisans slinging invective at each other under the cloak of anonymity," Wright refers to how Richard Baum, Reuters Global Editor for Consumer Media, is handling the comment dilemma.

Baum affirms that newspapers need to have control over what users publish onto professional news sites. He explains that comments which contain racist language, incitement to violence, uncivil behavior towards other users are plainly unacceptable. Other types of comments where there is excessive use of capital letters, spelling and grammar errors, or irrelevant responses to the story reflect poorly on the newspaper industry. "When we block comments of this nature, it's because of issues of repetition, taste or legal risk, not political bias," says Baum.

Author

Stefanie Chernow

Date

2010-09-29 12:35

The Huffington Post's most touted citizen journalist, Mayhill Fowler, has quit the Huffington Post, according to a blog posted on Washington Post. She is known for scooping the pros twice during the 2008 presidential campaign, recording Bill Clinton's tirade against Vanity Fair writer Todd Purdum and quoting Barack Obama saying working class voters "cling to guns or religion."

Fowler took to her own blog to explain why she quit: "I want to be paid for my time and effort - or at a minimum, to get a little remuneration in return for the money I spend myself in order to do original reportage. I would not expect to be paid for punditry. The Huffington Post business model is to provide a platform for 6,000 opinionators to hold forth. Point of view is cheap. I would never expect to be paid there when the other 5,999 are not. However, the journalism pieces I have done in the past year seem to me as good as anything HuffPost's paid reporters Sam Stein and Ryan Grim produce. Why do they get money, and I do not? I don't recall either of them writing the story about Barack Obama waxing large on "clinging to guns and religion," which seems more and more as time goes by to be the one big story out of the last presidential election to live on. Or at least it is the one that journalists and pundits are quoting regularly now."

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-09-29 10:45

Following reports that CBC is considering putting an end to anonymous comments on news stories, the old argument concerning anonymity or identity for online comments has resurfaced. Jeff Keay of CBC's media relations put forward a possible model: "People have to sign their real name," he explained, "and the newspapers, for example, will check and verify the identity of the person.

In an interview with The Guardian, MP Shawn Murphy supported banning anonymous comments, stating that they "are getting nastier and nastier." He implored news websites to go the old fashioned way of not accepting "unnamed letters," especially since user anonymity is only an illusion. "There have been many court cases in the last year," he said, and "it is very easy for one to get the ISP numbers of the computer that those comments came from through a court order."

Author

Dawn Osakue

Date

2010-09-16 10:55

Roy Greene, senior assistant metro editor at the Boston Globe, explained in an article on Poynter.org how the paper used crowdsourcing to complement its World Cup coverage.

He described the four steps the Globe took, starting with creating a simple, web-based questionnaire, to identify Boston.com readers who were travelling to South Africa. The questionnaire asked for information including full name, hometown, email address, job, plans for the tournament and favourite team, and asked whether respondents would be willing to speak to a reporter. The form was posted on the home page and the soccer page just before the launch of the World Cup, and Greene saved the responses that he thought could be valuable: about a dozen, he specified.

He emailed these people to confirm details and seek photos, and then invited those who "showed potential" to contribute dispatches from South Africa. He explained what the Globe was looking for, "an interesting vignette or encounter during a game or with fans, something compelling about where they were staying or visiting."

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-07-19 13:54

Ushahidi is a crowdsourcing mapping platform created by Kenyan lawyer and blogger Ory Okolloh in the aftermath of the 2007 Kenyan general elections. The idea is that with enough input from users, the platform can use the aggregated information to monitor situations such as riots, or natural disasters and help to provide a useful overview of the situation, via a map. Ollokoh received $70,000 from the Knight News Challenge in 2009 to develop Ushahidi further.

Nieman Lab's Megan Garber spoke to Ushahidi's director of crisis mapping and strategic partnerships, Patrick Meier, about how media outlets can use the platform. Meier gave Al Jazeera's work in Gaza as an example: its journalists were texting and tweeting direct to an Ushahidi map and the news outlet directed its audience to the map as their "first stop." The map was then opened up to the public in Gaza to add their own information. Meier found this combination of professional and amateur coverage very interesting, particularly as comparing reports made it possible to start to detect who were the more credible members of the crowd.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-07-16 18:06

Media experts have recently given a considerable amount of attention to the potential behind the practice of crowd sourcing. As a journalistic technique, crowd sourcing is heralded as a way to enhance journalism by capitalizing on citizen's desire to participate as a means of improving news coverage. Although the technique remains relatively new and untapped by individual journalists, major news outlets have started developing methods of capturing the output of user-generated content. Working for the Nieman Journalism Lab, Jonathan Stray recently had the opportunity to interview Sylvia Costeloe, a young journalist working for the BBC's User Generated Content (UGC) Hub.

Author

Robert Eisenhart

Date

2010-05-11 14:15

The Telegraph hopes to offer a unique insight into the policy priorities of U.K. citizens through their new crowdsourcing website, a collaboration between clowd computing provider Salesforce.com and the Telegraph.co.uk site. According to journalism.co.uk, the website, Debate2010, was launched officially on Monday and aims to foster focused debate in the public sphere while also creating a road map of priorities for MP candidates during the election.

The Debate2010 editorial team will post questions for debate that will last on the site, depending upon their popularity, for 1-3 days. Users will be able to respond to questions, vote for and against and comment on other user responses. The home page of the site shows all open debates, as well as popular responses and a key user quote selected by the editorial team as indicative of the tone of the overall debate.
The website's crowdsourcing technology reflects that used by the Obama-Biden campaign and transition team during the 2008 U.S. elections, but Telegraph.co.uk editor Marcus Warren sees the site as a new way to gauge public opinion.

"It's a real-time opinion poll - not a poll of policy intentions, but of policy ideas," he said.

Author

Alexandra Jaffe

Date

2010-03-25 12:30

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