Citizen Media Watch

maj 13th, 2007

Robin Hamman on the pilot BBC project in Manchester

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Robin HammanThe BBC is a media company in the forefront when it comes to working with its users, letting them contribute in different ways. One of their projects that I’ve been following for a while is the Manchester blogging project, a pilot study where editors work closely with a community of local bloggers.
Last Thursday I had the privilege to meet with Robin Hamman, Senior Broadcast Journalist at the BBC, and one of the people behind the project in Manchester. We were both invited to speak at a seminar on citizen media at the University in Karlstad, along with web advisor Fredrik Wackå.
Robin has a friendly, bubbly personality and is easy to like, traits that no doubt is a great help both when working with fellow journalists and when workshopping with budding bloggers. Like me he runs several blogs, some private and some in his professional role.
The key features of the Manchester blogging projects, Robin said, are that the BBC has no ownership of the blogs and doesn’t manage any content.
Thus it is fairly cost efficient and they don’t have to worry about the legal aspects. Instead what they do is they help people get started blogging, then promote their stuff.
(Robin Hamman prefers the word ”stuff” to content, or worse ”UGC”. I can sympathize with that. I think we need new words for ”the stuff formerly known as user generated content”.)
The BBC hosts blogging workshops in Manchester where people can come and learn how to blog and why. To take part in the project, bloggers need to adhere to the BBC’s ethical rules. But they don’t seem too strict.
– Bloggers must care about the guidelines, Hamman said. The really, really bad ones.
Some small breaks of the rules seem okay, and Hamman also encourages the bloggers in the project to mail him if they plan to break the rules, so that he can remove the links.
One of the bloggers in the project has been employed by the BBC – their first ”blogging correspondent – but apart from that, they blog for free. What the bloggers get out of it is of course the traffic the links on the BBC Manchester website generate.

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april 27th, 2007

Verdens Gang: Online edition larger than the paper

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

VG NettMore people now read the Norwegian daily Verdens Gang on the net than read the paper edition, according to TNS Gallup.
– It’s a milestone, says VG Nett editor Torry Pedersen to in an interview.
VG Nett is now the largest news source in Norway. I think part of the success comes from VG’s strong reader focus. They started their blog services early, have a very active forum, and at Lesernes VG they bring all user activities together in an editorial context. The latest hit is of course Nettby, a user-created news site.

Disclosure disclaimer: VG is Aftonbladet’s sister paper, with many collaborations between the sites.

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mars 13th, 2007

MTV Movie Awards adds new category for user-generated content

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Mark Burnett Productions, Yahoo and MTV today announced a new category at the MTV Movie Awards for user-generated content, ”Best Movie Spoof”. The clips are to be parodies of films from the past year. Submissions for the award will be collected on a microsite that is to launch on April 23.
”The ability to create and interact with user-generated content is so important to today’s audience that this show simply had to include UGC as a major element in the creative experience,” said Mark Burnett to Online Media Daily.

In addition to the movie spoof award, MTV, Yahoo and Burnett are developing a section on the site where viewers can comment on the user-generated submissions, as well as post photos and videos. Content from the site will then be integrated into the live broadcast on a ”World Wide Web Wall.”

Users will also get to vote for categories such as ”Best Kiss” and ”Best Villain”.

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mars 2nd, 2007

Brazil's no. 1 online newspaper – and its bloggers | Guest post by Birgitta Wilén

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Birgitta Wilén visits Folha Online in São Paulo, finds out about how they work with blogs, and ends up eating and talking about great food.
I enjoyed reading Birgitta’s story and invited her to publish a guest post here at Citizen Media Watch.

Folha Online. Photo: Birgitta Wilén

Folha Online is the most important online newspaper in Brazil and the editorial office is situated in São Paulo.
Folha went online seven years ago. Fifty people work in shifts; there is always someone there to update the news, in the open landscape office.
The website has about 700 000–1 million visitors per day. The number of Internet users in Brazil, and their online time, is increasing fast.

I check in as a visitor and the information board in the lobby tells me that it takes about four buildings to host the Folha Online, the Folha Newspaper and the Internet portal OUL, which Folha Online is a part of.

Ricardo Feltrin. Photo: Birgitta WilénRicardo Feltrin, 44 years old and the chief web editor, shows me the editorial office.
– People want to read about gossip and, in second place, about news, he says.
Ricardo has been working as a journalist for 16 years and he runs the web TV show ”Ooops!”
It is all about national and international celebrities. The click rate is very good.
It is to be found on their Internet portal OUL. And Ricardo himself is a well-known character in São Paulo.

After being introduced to the staff and a quick walk through the website, it is time for lunch.
– What I would prefer to eat? You can find anything you want here in São Paulo, Ricardo says.
We grab a taxi and make the short trip from downtown SP to the part of the city that is called ”Liberdade”. It is the Japanese district and a result of the labour immigration from the Asian country during the 19th century. It made São Paulo the ”second city of Japan”.

We enjoy: dumplings, stuffed squid, extra ordinary sushi, and sashimi, while talking a bout life, travelling and Folha Online’s future.
Ricardo is worried. The owner of Folha (the Newspaper) and Folha Online is Octavio Friar de Oliviera. He is 94 years old and no one really knows what might happen when he is not around anymore.

Birgitta and Ricardo. Photo: Birgitta WilénWe are having tempura (deep fried) ice cream for desert. This is one of the best Japanese restaurant is São Paulo. The artist behind the counter creates wonderful little masterpieces and you are allowed to bring you own fish and get it prepared.

In the taxi back to the Folha, I ask Ricardo Feltrin if they are using any user generated material, like blogs, on Folha Online?
He tells me that they only have their own bloggers, which are already connected to Folha Online.
Their first blog was the political blog and the author Josias de Souza did his first posting in October 2005. He was followed by Sonia Francine Gaspar Marmo. She writes about sport, a culture blog, a blog about gay people and a seven more blogs.

Marcelo Katsuki. Photo: Birgitta WilénOne of the Folha online bloggers is Marcelo Katsuki. He is 38 years old and works as a graphic designer at the online paper.
The name of his blog is ”Comes & bebes” (food & drink). He tries to do at least one posting per day.
– I wanted to learn how to cook and did cookery course, he says and smiles.
Marcelo did hesitate when he was asked if he wanted to start a blog and write about food, drinks and cooking.
– There are people writing about gastronomy for the Folha newspaper and they are very good, but I decided to have a try, Marcelo says.
He did his first posting in August 2006.

His blog is divided in to a couple of different sections, which makes it possible to squeeze in about everything that falls with in the area of food.
He still has to buy the cookery books that he writes about.
– My friends tell me that I should not do that, but it is my hobby, Marcelo says.
His favourite cuisines are Thai, Brazilian-Bahian and Japanese.
– Normally I get about 5–10 comments on every posting. At first they were complaining about my writing, but now I am mostly getting positive comments, he says and gives me a kiss on the cheek, the way you do in Brazil, when we say good buy.

I guess I have to send a Swedish cookbook to Marcelo, when I get back to Stockholm. Even though Ricardo Feltrin tells me that he has heard that Sweden has got not quite so good food, but very nice women ; )

Birgitta Wilén, São Paulo, Brazil.

Read more about blogging and newspapers in Brazil at the International Symposium of Online Journalism

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februari 26th, 2007

One more tv channel launches video clip site

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

KlippshowenEverybody just has to have them, it seems. Social media in the shape of video clips from our fun everyday moments are hot. The next big media site to take the step is Sweden’s Kanal 5 (channel 5), who now have announced that Klippshowen is live on their site, and that it will be coupled by a tv show starting March 5.
I’m not sure if there’s a problem with the site or if I lack some plugin, but I’m not getting the videos to load.
From the titles and the presentation though, I can see that the focus is on ”crazy clips”. This seems to be the trend on most of the Swedish short clip sites. While it’s understandable, I wish we could see more diversity. I for one would love to see more art videos, short interviews, local coverage and people trying out the program format for creating their own home video shows, to name but a few areas for social video media.

(via Beta Alfa)

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februari 23rd, 2007

Aftonbladet Plus subscribers invited to upload videos to "Mitt klipp"

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Mitt klippAftonbladet‘s new video clip site ”Mitt klipp” (”My clip”) is up and running. Now members of the paid subscription service ”Plus” can upload videos. Anyone can visit the site and look at the clips.

I see this as the next step from the successful video clip toplists such as ”Klipptoppen”, ”Bebistoppen” and ”Resatoppen”.

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februari 13th, 2007

The Twingly effect

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Beta Alfa writes about the increase in the number of links to Svenska Dagbladet articles after the launch of the Twingly link boxes. Bloggers have noticed they get increased traffic if they link to articles where they get pingback links, which is only natural. But the system can have a negative effect if blog posts link to articles just to get an inflow of readers, and without the post being much about the article at all.
Wille writes in the comments that this is a sign of a lacking objectivity in the blogosphere; bloggers write and refer to things that gain the blog and the blogger, but not the blog’s visitors.
Yep, bloggers are not journalists, and should not be forced to be. Though I do fear that backlash.

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februari 13th, 2007

AP and NowPublic partnership brings local cit-journ into big media

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Interesting partnership between the Associated Press and citizen journalism site for local news. In a press release the two companies wrote that ”the goal of the effort is to expand the world’s access to news as it happens”. CyberJournalist has more.

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februari 11th, 2007

Swedish news sites narrowing the gap to the blogosphere

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

This week saw the entry of Twingly-powered link boxes on Swedish newspaper sites Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) and Dagens Nyheter (DN). The two competing dailies both link to blog posts that comment their articles, the same functionality that Aftonbladet has in its blog portal, but more automatically integrated in the news sites. So far the link boxes only appear on select articles though.

Twingly is developed by Primelabs, a Swedish research-oriented IT company. Here’s how they describe Twingly (my translation):

Twingly is a blog search engine and ping service which is the missing link between the blogging world and media. Twingly collects blogs from all over the world – already more than ten million blogs.
At you can search among the Swedish blogs in our index.

It’s interesting to see that more and more news sites become aware of the importance to get closer to their readers. Linking to blogs is a good way of doing this, and twingly seems like a pretty good tool. Some questions have been raised about the news sites filtering the results though. The blogs featured in the link boxes are supposed to be the ”most interesting” among those that link to the specific article. The sorting is done by Twingly, by relevance and what they call ”blog authority”, along with the number of links from other blogs. Swedish blog internetbrus writes (my translation):

Whether it really is the most interesting posts [that appear in the link boxes] is hard to tell when you haven’t seen the posts that have been filtered out. Sure you can do a link search to find more posts, but as we wrote yesterday there are flaws in search engines’ link searches.

Media Culpa
also reacts against the selection:

Apparently DN does not show all the incoming links that Twingly has in its database. In the Help section on the site, DN writes that you can find ”a list of all blogs that link to an article on”. For some reason DN chooses to list only a selection of links. If this process turns out to filter out negative articles, then I expect an uproar in the blogosphere when bloggers find out they are being ”censored”. Should DN continue to leave out a large part of the conversation they will most certainly open up for criticism.

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februari 1st, 2007

"20 million editors" became 400

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Netzeitung, an online newspaper in Germany, started its citizen journalsim project ”The Readers Edition” in June 2006. When announcing the project, they called out for ”20 million editors”. What they got was around 400 regulars. Which is probably for the better – with 20 million people the content would be much harder to grasp.
The numbers come from NewAssignment, where joha also writes:

With Germany’s biggest online presence, Spiegel Online making money, German publishers have figured out that the Web is here to stay. But citizen journalism has been slow to catch on and some of the hesitancy may be cultural.
“Germany’s civil society is not very familiar with the idea of one feeling entitled to publicly articulate himself,” said Christoph Neuberger, from the university of Muenster, “and journalism in Germany is always reproached with seeing its audience more like objects of influence than as responsible individuals that just want to inform themselves.”

Interestingly enough the Reader’s Edition uses WordPress. (I’ve been looking at different CMSs for a hobby project lately, hence my interest. Right now I’m leaning towards Drupal. But WordPress is still an option.)

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