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Saturday, 7 June 2008

Google Reader clips catch up

Roy Greenslade has been doing lots of reports from WAN 2008, a newspaper gathering in Sweden.

He says that many small newspapers are doing very well with hyper-localised sites.
"News travels fast in small villages but the news in our village never made it into the local newspaper, it was considered to small to make it in," Olofsson said. That changed one year ago when she established Heartproject, a series of eight hyperlocal sites, one for each community in the region. Online reporters file local news for the sites, which had at their heart have 101 reader blogs. The 101 bloggers were given set of rules about blogging and asked to write about their local village. None are paid.
My point, exactly. Hyper-local is a logical web growth point. is a very successful online only French news site with a unique use of 'citizen journalists'.
The motto is "information with three voices, journalists, experts and readers, working together in the news-gathering process," Haski said. One third of the content comes from non-professional sources, in the form of alerts, testimony and commentaries, but professional journalists have the final say on what goes online.
Young people are consuming news differently, and badly.
One fascinating insight: news stories, by their nature, lack resolution, unlike sports and entertainment which generally have a rapid middle and end. This lack of a conclusion is a major reason for boredom among the young.

The study has certainly been taken up enthusiastically by AP. Kennedy says the agency has since designed a new model for news delivery to meet the needs of young adults.

It has resulted in what he calls "1-2-3 filing," starting with a news alert for breaking news, followed by a short present-tense story for the web. The third step is to add details and to format stories in ways most appropriate for various platforms. (This echoes the way in which the Daily Telegraph - and, to an extent, the Financial Times - have approached integrated daily news strategies).
But Greenslade notes that the over-riding theme at the conference was 'Publishers and editors clash over illusion and reality'.
They genuinely believe that digital missionaries, like me, have helped to influence investors and advertisers to turn their backs on newsprint. (I just wish we had that kind of power). They are right to say that newsprint is still the most profitable media sector, as it will be for at least the next five years. But the trend, the future, is online. Editors know that, which is why so much of the forum was taken up with presentations about multi-media journalism.
Simon Dickson picked up on the BBC’s Jem Stone's perspective on BBC blogs:
[Dickson] There are very valuable lessons here for many similar ‘transparency through blogging’ initiatives, not least in government and politics:

[Stone] We’ve found that [engagement with readers' feedback] is possible (and I’m talking about the BBC mgt internet blog here but I’d say it applies to other similar propositions) but only when we’ve had two factors in place:

a) Strong ownership (buy in from senior management even when criticism from users is a “s**tstorm” as Ashley Highfield dubbed the initial BBC iPlayer/Mac period the other day) and

b) Investment in community facilitation, monitoring and hosting. Monitoring feedback and having the antennae to alert issues to teams (and thus the knowledge of the tools that makes this now a lot easier) is often overlooked. Doing this well can’t be done by magic.
Simon also noted the lack of quality amidst the New Statesman's New Media Awards this year.
Most nominees have only received a single nomination, in many cases by themselves, judging by the frequent use of the words ‘I’ and ‘we’. Most are pretty straightforward uses of off-the-shelf technology, by ‘one man band’ operations. And from a technical and/or creative perspective, most frankly aren’t great.
James Ball picked up on some investigative reporting in The Times that found that the Culture of spin costs UK police £39m.
Police forces have stepped up spending on marketing since the Home Office began measuring their performance against public perceptions of crime. Senior officers insist that most marketing is aimed at crime prevention and providing accurate information to inform the public. But there are concerns that forces are withholding information about serious crime in an effort to manipulate the news agenda.
ClickZ on TechPresident reports that the online ad spend by Obama is rapidly evolving, though others have noted how small it is proportionally in marketing spend and others have noted how Clinton ignored it completely and this may have been because of Media Directors vested interests.
Like countless commercial advertisers, the Obama camp has gravitated towards performance-based ad buys, and not only on Google. The other top recipients of his campaign's online ad dollars specialize in cost-per-action ads as well.

While it appears the bulk of Obama's online ad budget was spent on Google and other performance-based media, a small portion did flow towards direct buys on Web sites including Politico ($36,000), ($24,000), and Gothamist ($2,800). Those most likely involved CPM-based display ads.
Jack Pickard picks up on a report which says: "a 10-minute ebreak a day can have significant benefits but, despite this, many bosses are banning them in the fear they distract employees."
If you ban your employees from using the net for personal use, you’ll actual harm productivity… and that the British economy is potentially being damaged to the tune of £ 4 billion per year because of this.

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