Citizen Media Watch

juni 10th, 2008

Why journalists should be monitoring and responding to reader comments

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Excellent clip from WAN in Gothenburg, provided by Medievärlden. Pierre Haski of Rue89.com on how to take your readers seriously and get good quality comments and a good debate.

More at Medievärlden (in Swedish).


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mars 12th, 2008

Personal transparency, the eleventh change for journalists

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

A lot of comments have been made to Paul Bradshaw’s (read his blog too) excellent list of changes for journalists in the upcoming ten years in the Press Gazette lately. In short, the list is made up of:

1. From a lecture to a conversation
2. The rise of the amateur
3. Everyone’s a paperboy/girl now
4. Measurability
5. Hyperlocal, international
6. Multimedia
7. Really Simple Syndication
8. Maps
9. Databases
10. Just a click away

I’d like to add an eleventh change/challenge for journalists. One that is closely connected to no. 1, but I think it deserves it’s own mention.

11. Personal transparency

As a consequence of blogs, wikis and citizen media sites becoming more important sources of information for the general public, I think we’ll see a new awareness of the importance of trust, and knowing who your source of information is. Bloggers are often open about what their views are and who they are affiliated with. If they’re not, you bet someone else will find out and make it public.

I am convinced this openness will be demanded of journalists as well. You might not need to reveal details about your private life, but you will need to give your readers/viewers/listeners an idea och what you represent. This is an important distinction, since for instance journalists working with sensitive information, infiltrating or walraffing will need to remain fairly anonymous when it comes to for instance how they look and sometimes even what their names are in order to do their job well. But they can still build up trust. Swedish blogger Beta Alfa is a good example that you do not need to reveal your real name in order to achieve this. Being open about your affiliations, for instance, and anything else that might influence or be suspected to influence your work, is a good start. Also simple things like providing a list of links to what you’ve written before on a subject.
I call this personal transparency.


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mars 2nd, 2008

67 percent of Americans think journalism is "out of touch"

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

The results of a recent We Media/Zogby Interactive poll shows that two thirds of the American respondents think that traditional journalism is ”out of touch” with its audience and its needs. This despite the fact that almost half of the respondents use the internet as their primary news source.
There are indeed great challenges ahead for media sites, around the world. I think Nachison is right – quality is the key.

”For the second year in a row we have documented a crisis in American journalism that is far more serious than the industry’s business challenges – or maybe a consequence of them,” said Andrew Nachison, co-founder of iFOCOS. ”Americans recognize the value of journalism for their communities, and they are unsatisfied with what they see. While the U.S. news industry sheds expenses and frets about its future, Americans are dismayed by its present. Meanwhile, we see clearly the generational shift of digital natives from traditional to online news – so the challenge for traditional news companies is complex. They need to invest in new products and services – and they have. But they’ve also got to invest in quality, influence and impact. They need to invest in journalism that makes a difference in people’s lives. That’s a moral and leadership challenge – and a business opportunity for whoever can meet it.”


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november 3rd, 2007

Swedish version of Nettby to launch – but what will it be called?

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

A Swedish version of the Norwegian community site Nettby is to be launched shortly. Nettby is a success story with over 500 000 members. Now there’s a call for Swedish name suggestions at the site. Ironically, mostly Norwegians will name the Swedish site.

Here’s what the post on Nettby says (my translation):

If you have a suggestion for a Swedish name on a service like Nettby, send it to us! We will pick the top 10 suggestions and reward them with a 6 month Nettby Max subscription and Nettby t-shirts.
The person making the suggestion we decide to use will receive an Ipod Touch!


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november 1st, 2007

Joakim Jardenberg on dying papers and the future of journalism

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Joakim Jardenberg
Joakim Jardenberg
Joakim Jardenberg of Mindpark says that papers are dying. All trends show that.
The last paper will be publised in April 2040 according to Philip Meyer.
In Helsingborg newspaper reading has gone from 90 to 60 percent in only a few years.

We compensate by creating new channels, such as the website and free papers.
– We have expanded our reach at HD. The way we connect to people is not important. The important thing is that we keep on delivering eyeballs to our advertisers.

We still idealize paper publishing. Joakim turned to me to give the example of Aftonbladet’s blog service, where the key point is that you can be published in the paper (well, one of the benefits, I’d say having your blog post appear at aftonbladet.se’s main page is just as appealing). Another example is that Beata Wickbom is very happy about the Sime supplement in SvD (the above image).

The day we can utilize our journalists and have them collaborate with their audience we can use their competence much better, Jardenberg says.
– The old and new worlds are at war. Get over it!

Check out Jocke’s slides from Daytona Sessions here.


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oktober 24th, 2007

Aftonbladet.se's articles link to blog posts

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Finally Aftonbladet has started to automatically link to blog posts linking to its articles. Certainly not first in Sweden, but in my opinion one step further than the others. Big disclaimer: I am very much involved in this, so expect some bias.

Swedish company Primelabs has provided MSM with blog link widgets through its Twingly service since February. Dailies DN and SvD were first out, followed by among others Idg, Dagen and Mindpark. While this is a great service, some of the sites only show the headlines, without even mentioning from which blog the headline comes.
We wanted to do more, to provide a tool to give an instant idea of what the blogosphere is saying on a topic, and also to guide the readers so that they know before they click on a blog link not only which blog it is, but also who is behind it.

Blog comments on Aftonbladet.se

In Aftonbladet’s blog listings, which come from the blog catalogue service Bloggportalen, you get the headline of the blog post (linked to the post), you get the name of the blog, and if you hover your cursor above it you get a photo and information about the blog/blogger. There’s also a three line excerpt from the post.

So far the initiative has received mainly positive feedback, though some concerns have been voiced that the blogosphere will become less interesting if it starts to follow the agenda set by MSM even more than today. I think this might be true to some extent, but I also think there are a lot of bloggers out there who blog not only for the traffic but because they have something important to say, and they will keep saying it.
I also hope that MSM will learn to showcase great examples of uniqe topics and angles from blogs. This is certainly my ambition in my work at Läsarbladet.

More about Aftonbladet’s blog links at my Swedish blog Bloggvärldsbloggen:
Smygpremiär för blogglänkar på Aftonbladets artiklar
Nästa steg: ytterligare tolv avdelningar har blogglänkar


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september 18th, 2007

Traditional media steps out on YouTube

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Swedish state television (SVT) now has a YouTube channel. Previously Norway’s state tv has established itself on YouTube too, along with the BBC, writes Martin Jönsson. Jönsson calls it a fumbling effort on SVT’s behalf, though. He writes (my translation):

It is of course too early to write a review, other than that it’s a good thing that SVT has understood that they can’t dictate the viewers’ options, but need a more open attitude. Most importantly, SVT needs to understand that they can’t have a YouTube channel that works as a branch of the press department, with trailers of upcoming shows only. There is a need for an active editor: someone who can find the gems in the daily production and publish them.
If they don’t do that, the viewers will do it themselves, and then the point of the channel is lost for SVT.

I’m inclined to agree. This first effort is a start, but it doesn’t take them a very long way. Yet I can’t even imagine how this step is perceived in the concrete bunker in which the SVT is housed. To many people there I’m sure it’s a revolution, and I suspect they are not all happy about it. Old organizations are usually not the fastest movers.


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juni 17th, 2007

Danish media's move to web-first publishing

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

A year ago, Danish newspaper Politiken moved their newsdesk online. Now Berlingske Tidende is taking it one step further. ALL journalists are to work for the web edition as well as for print. Stories will be published online first.

Behind the move is Berlingske’s new editor-in-chief, Lisbeth Knudsen. According to New Media Trends, she says the new strategy has ”earthquake” like dimensions.

As Jon Lund at New Media Trends points out, there are a number of challenges to face for Berlingske.
Having traditional journalists refocus on web publishing takes time and energy. One important aspect is that the print journalists will find out what it’s like to get instant feedback within seconds of writing an article, and they’ll learn to start to think of publishing as communication. The result will hopefully result in better products, both online and in print.


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maj 16th, 2007

Reports from the SJF debate on user generated content

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

I haven’t had time to write about the SJF panel debate on citizen media the other day, so I was happy to see that Media Culpa and Andreas Aspegren have done the job for me. And a good job too.

On the whole it was an odd situation, being in a debate with my employer’s main competitor suddenly on my side, and the other side consisting of representatives of my own trade union. These are strange times.
It was however a good and necessary debate which high-lighted for me some of the dangers of the conservatism in the press corps.


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maj 15th, 2007

Geo-stories, the result of the Brighton multimedia project

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

The bible found on the beachIn December I wrote about the multimedia project in Brighton which is a collaboration between the University of Brighton, Nokia, Ymogen and the BBC.
Today the result was released as Geo-stories, a set of geo-tagged photos and film clips brought together as a kind of multimedia story on this site.
If the goal was to ”create engaging stories” as Mark Hardwick put it, I’m sorry to say I am not that impressed.

Guerilla gardeningThere are two ways to explore the stories, either by clicking the ”play the story” button, in which case you get the full multimedia experience with a satellite image background, music and text, photos and video clips telling a step-by-step story. Unfortunately many of them are over-done, having music with lyrics in the background while you’re supposed to read small and quite blurred text which disappears too quickly. The most engaging story is The bible on the beach, though that one raises a lot of other questions. Nowhere do we get to know if this is a fictional or true story. If it’s true, there are a lot of objections to be made. If not, that should be made clear.
The Guerilla gardening story also works okay.

The other way of exploring the stories is by clicking the dots/signs on each story’s map. That doesn’t work well at all. The navigation leaves a lot to be asked for. It sometimes, for instance on the ”Tree Survey”, brings you away from the map of photos/video clips once you click to view one of them. In other places you still get to see the map with the geotagged photos, but if you’ve zoomed in you lose the zoom once you click on a photo and have to re-zoom (and re-zoom you have to, since the standard view of the map is so much zoomed out that the photo dots are on top of eachother). If you use the Next and Previous links there are no indications on the map which dot represent the photo your looking at.

However, it is an interesting experiment, and a first step towards using geotagging in story-telling. The main flaws in the second way of story exploration are actually due to less than perfect site building, not the way the students have carried out the projects.

With some more training, this could mature into something quite interesting. But it is important to remember that a web audience usually wants to be active – clicking the forward arrows in the multimedia needs to work flawlessly. And clicking your way around a map needs to work without the map reloading and zooming when you haven’t asked it to.

As for the ”citizen media” aspect, I see no way to contribute to the site, though it says you can comment as a registered user. That doesn’t seem to include the general public, or the link is well hidden. But I guess the citizen journalism part is referring to the students not being trained journalists.


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