Archive for April, 2008

links for 2008-04-30

Andy Campbell from the Liverpool Echo presents to the class:


Andy talks about his project to the Trinity Mirror Leaders Course at UCLAN in Preston. Today has been good. Learnt a lot about audience monitoring and social media.

As an aside, this picture was uploaded whilst I was in class using ShoZu. The application, which I’ve downloaded onto my Nokia N95, is great for instantaneously uploading pictures to my blog (although the default sizing is a bit rubbish). I can see how it could be a great way of getting live pics up onto a news website. What is also great, for the money-minded, is that it only ever charges to upload the first photo. If you want to send it anywhere else (blog, Flickr, YouTube, Picassa, etc) it’s free.

Posted by ShoZu

links for 2008-04-29

Preston Returns: Day 2

What a brill day!

I have learnt so much about marketing and, once again, had the chance to speak to some very intelligent people about the future of journalism. Many of those people are still downstairs in the Holiday Inn bar, so I will only be giving a quick summary and then will be down to join them!

The start of the day was going over some of the basics of marketing theory, which interestingly concluded that if our readers don’t trust us as a brand then we have no product. This, of course, rang true with me as I have been banging on about the trust lark for some time.

The afternoon was a talk to our group from Karen Swan, marketing head for Trinity Mirror Regionals. She introduced us to a whole host of interesting tools that can be used to gather stats about our audience – both online and in print. It has certainly convinced me I need to talk to our marketing department more.

Then we had the Journalism Leaders Forum with a panel that included Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail. He was interesting but the other panellists that spoke after him… well I’ll leave it for you to decide as I streamed the whole thing on Bambuser.

I get annoyed when people suggest that the only people who can deliver news to the public are newspaper journalists. I believe that is an arrogance based upon fear.

So cross was I, I tweeted a link to a quote taken from the chair of the US southern newspapers association in 1933 on the rise of radio:

The newspapers of the country, through their own trained representatives and through the respective news organizations are the only ones equipped to do an honest and accurate job of news reporting.

This was then quoted to the panel by Markmedia who, it appears, was even more disgruntled with the discussion than I was!

Preston Returns: Journalism and the Market

So today we spent the day with Jeanne Hill learning about the art of good marketing and about the need to get editorial and marketing departments in newspapers talking to each other more.

I think it has become a universial stereotype that marketers and journalists are hardly the perfect image of interdepartmental communication bliss. Journalists often mistake marketers for salespeople and take a “holier than thou” attitude to their supposed editorial integrity. Marketers, I think, assume editorial are incapable of grasping much more than a pen and paper, when it comes to the fundementals of running a newspaper.

But, of course, we’re all in the same business and today was a great insight into how marketing can be used to better understand and then target a readership.

We also assessed the way in which readers are referred to in the newsroom. This sparked a conversation on Seesmic where I asked the community how they wanted to be percieved by journalists (wish this would embed).

Some very interesting repsonses are here (Documentally), here (solobasssteve), here (Pete Ashton), here (Cataspanglish) and here (Hache). There were many more that raised very interesting points, but you’ll have to log onto Seesmic to see the full conversation!

What comes out a lot is that if a reader feels even slightly as if a journalist is not respecting the reader then they will simply go elsewhere. There is an acceptance that objectivity is a myth and that social media provides an opportunity to critique journalists and build a relationship with them, which then provides context to their work.

Obviously most of these guys (and they are all guys) are early adopters, but it was certainly an interesting exercise.

links for 2008-04-27

My graph is going to be published!

The graph I created looking at the interactive features of UK business news websites has recieved a surprising amount of attention in recent weeks.

I had put it online to get some feedback, but it was picked up by Paul Bradshaw, who then wrote an article on it for Poynter Online. Then the study was replicated in Romania!

Now the World Editors’ Forum has contacted me and asked if I would let them publish it in their annual report!

Of course, I said yes but I want to wait to get my essay reviewed first before I give the final ok. Plus, I have changed the graph a bit and added another website (click on the graph to see the full-size version):

Graph showing the online tools used by UK regional and national business news websites.

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Being slightly on the nervous side, and having never published anything like this before, I’d appreciate anyone willing to give it a quick squiz to see if they see any glaring mistakes

I have had suggestions that I should by grouping the online tools (e.g. subscriptions, comments) by colour, but I have tried and this seems to confuse the graph. I would, if I had more time, like to regroup the categories into those that encourage “short tail” repsonses from users and those that encourage a “long tail” response. (Read more about these concepts on Paul Bradshaw’s description of the News Diamond).

Oh, and if people are more interested in the popularity of online tools amongst business news sites, this graph may be better (again, click to enlarge):

Graph to show the popularity of online tools amongst regional and nation business news websites in the UKg

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