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Federica Cherubini

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Italian daily la Repubblica has launched a new platform for users to submit videos. Reporter, as the project is called, is open to everyone, from citizen reporters to video-makers to semi-professional journalists, who can upload their content onto the website. Photos are accepted also but the platform is more focused on video.

Repubblica’s Reporter aims “to turn users into 'aerials' on the ground to contribute to live reporting on Italy”, the website explained.

In order to enlarge and develop its video content, Repubblica is turning to citizens and users with the eventual aim of creating a circle of video-makers who will be available to Repubblica: a network of potential freelancers with a sprinkle of citizen journalists.

The Editors Weblog spoke to Repubblica’s Riccardo Staglianò who explained that Reporter is an improvement of the already existing spontaneous wave of contributions to the paper from readers and non-professional journalists. Before, they could only send an email suggesting a subject or submitting a video, while now Reporter gives readers and video-makers a more organized and formalized structure to contribute to the paper.

The technical platform is provided by Userfarm, which is owned by TheBlogTV, a social media company specialised in video crowdsourcing content.

Users can not only spontaneously upload videos and photos but also answer specific calls for material which are published on the website. At the moment, for example, readers are invited to submit their contributions regarding the campaign #salvaciclisti, videoraccontaci le bici della tua città (#savethebikers, video-report on bikes in your city).

Contributions can vary from traditional citizen journalism content such as citizens who record a video with their smart-phones of a newsworthy event they have witnessed, to a more structured reporting based on a real journalistic investigative storytelling.

Another element of the project is the Repubblica Academy, a six months training course in video-journalism. The twenty participants, who will attend the course for free, will be selected from among those who submit their contributions during the first month of the project. The Academy students at the end of the training will remain part of the Repubblica’s freelancer video-correspondents.

Repubblica's Reporter echos other crowdsourcing journalistic experiences such as CNN iReport or Metro Reporter by Metro France.

However, significant differences exist, starting with the fact that while CNN iReport and Metro Reporter have an interactive platform where user generated content is visible even before the editorial editing and fact-checking process of the news organization, Reporter is so far just a platform for users to upload their contributions. The videos are published just after an editorial validation process realized by the video desk at Repubblica, which edits the daily video production of the website. 

Those who participate regularly will be classified in an internal rating of the most popular and frequent contributors.

“Reporter is a new creature which is still developing," Staglianò said. "We might do more in terms of users interaction, such as adding a space for comments," he continued, adding that technical details such as the ideal video resolution or the max length of the contributions will be released soon.

Videomakers will be paid for the videos that are selected by the newsroom and published on the website. Amongst the early reactions to the launch there was a debate about a note appeared in the terms and conditions which mentioned the minimum pay for video of 5€: critics argued that Reporter might be a way to obtain journalistic contribution without compensating journalists appropriately. Staglianò and an update on the Repubblica page clarified that pay rates have not yet been decided.

Sources: Reporter, Repubblica, original interview, Il Fatto Quotidiano   

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-04-12 18:49

Which publications are read where? A collaboration between Forbes and Bitly analysed millions of clicks on Bitly shortened links shared on the Web to explore which news sources are read where across the US.

Bitly is a website which shortens URLs, making it easier to share them on the Web. It is widely used on Twitter for example, where saving space is crucial to get the most out of 140 characters. Bitly provides also tools to track links: by adding a + at the end of a link, it’s possible to see how many times the link was clicked on, Bitly explains.

The data collected for Forbes have been aggregated to form an interactive map showing America’s most influential news outlets.

As Forbes’ Jon Bruner explains, Bitly’s dataset consists of every click on every Bitly link on the Web mainly shared on social networks like Facebook or Twitter. For Forbes – Bitly said – they investigated how people consume news by looking at how people in different states differ in their preference for news sites.

The map uses different colours to display the dominant news source in each state. Clicking on the source allows users to see a heat map that shows where its links are particularly popular and then by clicking on a headline it is possible to see the article stats showing where in particular that story did well, the article explains.

Some results are quite obvious, like the Los Angeles Times being dominant in California and the Chicago Tribune in Illinois. The data although pointed out also that, while some national news publishers are widely read across the country, like the New York Times, others such as the Washington Post are confined in a more restricted diffusion despite national aspirations.

The map is intended to be a regular feature on Forbes: an updating will be published at the beginning of each month, the magazine announced.

Sources: Forbes (1), (2), Bitly

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-28 16:54

Do you want to improve your Twitter skiils? The USA Today College put together a list of nine Twitter "experts" who have their fingers on the pulse of modern journalism.

The American press is "complacent," "self-regarding" and "too up themselves" says Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre in an interview he gave to New Yorker's Lauren Collins, the Guardian reported. Read the whole interview on the New Yorker here.

Google announced its collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory with the aim of helping "to preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents, photographs and videos about Nelson Mandela".

The Poynter Institute and the European Journalism Centre are collaborating on an new e-learning course on “Reporting & Writing About Development in the World” for 40 journalism students from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, EJC announced.

For more industry news, please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service.

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-27 18:03

A few days ago, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson switched the name of his official Twitter account @MayorofLondon to @Boris Johnson, just at the start of the formal election period and his re-election campaign. This provoked heated accusations that he had hijacked the official account by transferring the 253,144 followers tracking the activities of the London mayor's office to his re-election campaign, reported the Guardian.

In fact, when someone changes his or her Twitter handle (the @name associated with the account), all the other profile information – followers and following – remains the same.

The electoral debate aside, the Guardian took the opportunity to reflect on the nature of social media identities and the “ownership” of journalists’ Twitter accounts.

The case have some journalistic precedents for example the episode when Laura Kuenssberg, formerly the BBC’s chief political correspondent, moved to become ITV business editor, and transferred her 60,000 followers to her new account.

The story opened a discussion about who owns the Twitter account, the journalist or the news organization?

There is no one single social media policy that is valid for all news organisations, attitudes toward toughening the editorial control over content shared by journalists on Twitter vary a lot, and the guidelines for the Twitter names are not defined. Some media outlets like Sky News – the article explains - encourage their journalists to incorporate the brand of their news organization in their twitter names while others, such as the Guardian itself, treat the reporters and editors’ feeds as largely personal, whether they’re tagged as employees of the paper or not.

It’s impossible to tell with any certainty whether a user decides to follow a journalist for the personal touch he or she adds to tweets or for the position he or she holds in a media organization. The two components are probably inherently linked.

Journalists build their reputation based on their coverage, the way they write articles, the brand for which they write and nowadays also on the way they use Twitter and social media. Trust is a big issue on Twitter, but it is difficult to draw the line between how much credibility comes from writing for a trustworthy news organisation and how much comes from the reputation of the individual -  especially because on social media personal relationships count for so much.

Did Andy Carvin become famous because of his detailed coverage of the Arab Spring and the number of followers he attracted? Or was it because he was reporting and covering the issue for NPR? Probably both are true.

As the lines defining who owns content and Twitter accounts is still not clearly defined, we still have to ask ourselves – has the journalist become the brand?

Sources: Guardian (1), (2)

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-22 18:20

The Daily Mail was awarded "newspaper of the year" at the UK 2012 Press Awards yesterday and its journalist Craig Brown took home the awards for columnist and best humour writer and as well as critic of the year for his Mail on Sunday writing, the Guardian reported. Scoop of the year went to the Guardian's Nick Davies and Amelia Hill for their "Milly Dowler phone hacked" exclusive. Press Gazette published the list of all the winners here.

Time has picked an (early!) list of the “The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2012.” Jim Romenesko publishes those selected in the category “News and Information” on his blog. Among the winners are Andy Carvin or NPR, Brian Stelter of the New York Times, The Economist and BBC Breaking.

The two British journalists imprisoned in Libya for three weeks on accusations of spying, have spoken to the press about their experiences, reports journalism.co.uk. Press TV cameraman Gareth Montgomery-Johnson told WalesOnline he had "understood it was a dangerous place to work but you hope this will not happen to you".

Nieman Lab takes a look at the effectiveness of Gawker’s editorial strategy of dividing journalists’ time between pageview-grabbing stories (sample headline “The Top Nine Videos Of Babies Farting And/Or Laughing With Kittens”) and more substantive journalism.

For more industry news please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service.

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-21 18:34

The French online-only newsite OWNI and the Algerian daily El Watan have created Mémoires d’Algérie (Memories of Algeria), an application that aims to be a “developing digital museum” on the Algerian war.

“The application hopes to act as a bridge between Algiers and Paris”, an introduction on OWNI explains, collecting thousands of archive documents from the war. It is a result of "daily close cooperation" between the two newsrooms, involving fifteen people.

The joint project was launched on March 19th, the 50th anniversary of the Évian Accords that ratified the end of the Algerian war.

The goal is to give a voice to the protagonists of what has been seen as a civil war, a war of liberation or a straightforward war – OWNI explains – making witnesses the narrators through private documents such as photos to letters, together with still-classified documents from the former Secretary of State for Algerian Affairs and the French Ministry of Defense.

Mémoires d’Algérie stores memories in the attempt to provide a better knowledge of the past, overtaking misunderstandings, in order to build a better future.

Documents are organized on both a chart view and a timeline where documents are classified by themes, cities, dates or names cited in it and sources.

The project will be progressively updated with new documents until 5 July, Algeria's independence day.

Sources: OWNI, EL WATAN, Mémoires d’Algérie,

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-20 18:16

Guardian's Ruaridh Nicoll interviewed Tyler Brûlé, editor of the magazine Monocle and "the man who sold the world," according to the article. Read the article here.

What are the biggest daily obstacles journalists face in getting things done? The answer in a word cloud by Digital First's John Paton (via Poynter).

Media Business reports that The Wall Street Journal launches its first online show produced outside of the US.

For more industry news please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-19 19:13

A 30-minute video advocacy campaign exposing Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony got viral last week on the web reaching 17 million views on Vimeo and about 80 million views on YouTube.

The Kony 2012 video, realised by Invisible Children, generated a huge debate, amongst others, about how to conduct an advocacy campaign, how to cover complex issues trying to reach a wide audience or how to report on Uganda problems.

From a journalistic point of view, what was most interesting is how the video went viral so quickly thanks to the role of social media and online sharing.

An article on Forbes illustrated the 12 lessons we can learn from the video about how powerful social media can be in aiming for social changes.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project published a survey about the role social media played amongst young people, ages 18-29, in sharing the video. It was based on telephone interviews conducted 9-11 March 2012, among a national sample of 814 adults 18 years of age or older living in the continental United States, the report says.

The survey shows that young adults were more likely than older adults to have heard a lot about the “Kony 2012”.

Unsurprisingly, the survey shows also that the Internet was more than three times more important as a news-learning platform for young adults than traditional media.

In addition to hearing a lot about the video, young adults were much more likely than older adults to have watched the video: 23% of adults ages 18-29 watched it, compared with 11% of those 30-49, 8% of those 50-64, and 13% of those 65 and older, the survey says.

The survey confirms that the strategy of the advocacy group in promoting and sharing the video on social media. According to the survey in fact, “Invisible Children noted that one of its goals in launching the video was to capture attention for it through campaigns in social media to encourage celebrity Twitter users to post about it. Those who did tweet included Oprah Winfrey, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Bieber, Alec Baldwin and Taylor Swift”.

Twitter in particular played an important role as the analysis found that there were nearly 5 million tweets about the video in the week after it was posted online on 5 March.

The survey also analysed the tone of the conversation about the video, highlighting that while it was almost supporting in the first days, it shifted a bit later on. “The first two days after the video was online, when attention on Twitter was relatively modest, 77% of the Twitter conversation was supportive compared with only 7% that was skeptical or negative. Since 7 March, when the response picked up dramatically, the percentage of tweets reflecting skepticism or criticism rose to 17%”, the report says.

Click here to read all the report.

Sources: Forbes, Pew Reserach Center

Image source: Pew survey

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-16 18:52

French news site Rue89 is giving up its monthly print magazine.

As Les Echos reported, the site is returning to its original identity of a pure online player and ceasing the printed issue, which launched in June 2010.

Pierre Haski, the site's co-founder, confirmed the news on Twitter, underlining that the return to an  online-only reality is more coherent with the original identity of Rue89.

Rue89 has followed an uncommon path: after being launched online-only in 2007, it started publishing a selection of the site's content in a print monthly edition with the aim of creating a new revenue stream both from sales and advertising in print.

The print magazine for Rue89 was an experiment, not a core activity, Pierre Haski explained in an interview with Editors Weblog.

The idea was to find a new audience, trying to reach people who were not usually online readers by offering them a selection of the best online content of the previous month. At the same time, the magazine hoped to find also a second revenue source from advertising in print.

However, “we underestimated the difficulty of surviving in the abundance or over-abundance of titles in the newsstands in France”, Haski explained. “At kiosks in France there are plenty of magazines and you find yourself disappearing after four or five days as new covers are taking over the space. Unless you have the money to buy advertising space for the magazine or special display within the newsstand, you just vanish. So we were facing the contradiction that the only place where we were able to advertise the magazine was on our website, despite the fact the audience we were trying to reach was completely different, to avoid that same audience being offered just a duplication of reading the same content online and on print.”

Rue89 reached the point where the print circulation and subscriptions were breaking even, but no more, and the monthly product was taking up significant human resources. In the meantime, Haski continued, the tablet started to become a key sector of development.

In last June the paper began another experiment, launching the first magazine tablet app based on the print monthly. “We had this weird situation in which our stories were going from the web to the print and from the print to the tablet. This made us reflect on why we were spending the energy and the money of going through the print edition, and why not to go straight from the web to the tablet. So that was the decision we took”, Haski commented.

Haski also explained that although tablet circulation will initially be lower than the print, it has more strategic potential and it is more coherent with the original identity of the paper. 

Later last year Rue89 was purchased by Nouvel Observateur group, a media group that publishes the weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.

Haski stressed that the discussion about closing the print edition had already started a while before it joined Nouvel Obs, but he admitted that going back to focusing just on online makes more strategic sense as it is now part of a magazine group which already has a strong print presence.

“They, like us, have more interest in us being a vibrant digital company rather than spending so much energy trying to survive on print”.

Talking about the ingredients for being successful and profitable online, Haski noted that at the moment the economic model for a pure player is still difficult to find because advertising is not enough to make a company viable to pay salaries for a newsroom of a significant size. One alternative way is to diversify, which is what Rue89 is doing with its training department and web development for other clients, and which it tried to do with the print edition.

Even that was not enough, however, and thus Rue89 decided it would be a good move to join a bigger group. “The real difficult is that the online advertising market is not completely mature and the economic environment is pretty tough as well. The old economic model of the press is dying and the new economic model of the online media is still uncertain. We find ourselves in a time of transition," Haski said.

Sources: Les Echos, Rue89,  original interview 

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-14 19:21

New York Times editor Jill Abramson spoke on Monday at the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin and discussed the future and the changes of the paper, the Huffington Post reported.

The Guardian reports that former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has been arrested, along with her husband Charlie, on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The arrests were part of Operation Weeting, in connection with the ongoing investigation into phone hacking.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported that Meixco’s national Senate is very close to passing an amendment to the constitution that would make the murder of a journalist a constitutional offence. CPJ writes that the change would mean “the typically less corrupt and more effective federal police and prosecutors would move aside state authorities to tackle cases of murdered journalists.”

Journalism.co.uk writes that the Huffington Post UK Facebook app has already reached 20,000 users, after being introduced two weeks ago.

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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-03-13 19:14

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