Judge bans reporter from live tweeting trial

May 7, 2009 at 10:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

News sites have been increasingly using Weblogs to cover breaking and ongoing news stories and the trial of John Allen Muhammad in Virginia Beach, Va. is only the latest example.

Gazette reporter David Abrams is doing a fine job posting to a Weblog a few times each day — but Kerry Sipe, online news coordinator for The Virginian-Pilot, has taken the concept to a new level. He’s using wireless technology to file minute-by-minute Weblog updates on the court proceedings, something no other reporter in no other medium is doing because cameras are not allowed in the courtroom.

He then, acting on a lawsuit filed by Light owner Robert Plotkin, Marin County Superior Court Judge John A. Sutro issued an injunction forbidding Dave Mitchell, the Light’s former publisher, from posting his “Sparsely, Sage and Timely” column on the Navigator’s Web site. He further barred him from helping the Navigator in its West Marin coverage.

In court papers, Plotkin claims that his newspaper, which also maintains a Web presence, would suffer “irreparable harm” if Mitchell is allowed to write for the Navigator.

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Media Insiders say Internet Hurts Journalism

May 7, 2009 at 10:42 pm (Uncategorized)

The Atlantic,  the online news site, recently had an article about the internet and how it has hurt the journalisim.

The article discussed a poll taken by the  The Atlantic and National Journal.

It asked 43 media insiders whether, on balance, journalism has been helped more or hurt more by the rise of news consumption online. Sixty-five percent said journalism has been hurt more, while 34 percent said it has been helped more.

The media insiders were also asked about coverage of President Obama. Of 45 respondents, 71 percent say it has been “about right,” 22 percent say it’s been “too easy” and 7 percent say it has been “too tough.”

Those who say that news consumption on the Internet is, on balance, hurting journalism note the way the online experience is changing reader habits.The “hurt more” group also says that while the Internet offers benefits, the cost to traditional media and news-gathering is too high.

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Web Production and News Judgment

May 7, 2009 at 10:27 pm (Uncategorized)

How is citizen journalism understood? How does new technology help us understand our audience? These are questions Chris Anderson posed to the audience at the beginning of his panel.

His paper documents a new form of news work that has emerged in online newsrooms as well as the conflicting set of variables that are turning the newsjudgments of these workers towards a greater and greater focus on quantitative metrics ofaudience behavior.

He emphasizes  that web production is a form of newswork that transcendsinstitutional – deinstitutional boundaries, and defines the work as the aggregation, prioritization, interlinking,and bundling of web content.

Anderson looked at the relationship between a quantifiable audience (which can be measured in numbers, visits and clicks) and an active audience (a productive audience which at least rhetorically is creative/productive/engages in acts of production); a passive versus active producer of journalism.

The differences between these two audiences are not always distinct. The rhetoric around these audiences are intertwined, and technology impacts editorial processes. “What I’m talking about in this study is how I saw in newsrooms the emergence of a certain type of metric–driven news judgment,” he said. Online data can be used by managers of newsrooms to make decisions, management deliberately putting out the numbers of traffic for people to see, and encourage news behavior in the newsroom.

“As aggregators, hierarchies, interlinkers and illustrators of web-content,” he said. These are people who are finding content, bundling it, packaging it, etc. He also said that the money for news media is dependent on metrics, and concluded by questioning the meaning of users who are producers of content.

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Visual storytelling online

May 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm (Uncategorized)

In 1999, Fred Ritchin created PixelPress. PixelPress works with humanitarian groups to eradicate polio, explain humanitarian law, and explore the juvenile justice system. PixelPress also publishes an online journal which received the Pictures of the Year International award for best multimedia publication (small circulation) in 2003.

He has discussed efficient ways of creating visual storytelling online.  The digital environment is composed of “discrete chunks” meaning online multimedia should be treated differently than in a continuous analog one.  Storytelling on the web should be more like a conversation which can be achieved by using hypertext.  The narrative moves in different directions like taking hypertext links to move through a story.

Ritchin believes that what is missing from a lot of the journalism done today is perspective.

“I started to understand journalism the day I left it,” he said.

Online news serves as a search function instead of being used to browse topics.  A browser friendly website can give voice to the subjects of the piece in a way that traditional pages cannot.

Ritchin proposes that images used online should have a four corner system in which each of the corners contextualizes the image in some way.  For example, the top right corner may show an image of what happened before the dominant image occurred.

The idea is to give the reader a more interactive view of the subject to keep them engaged in the story.

These tips are helpful in designing blogs.

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Good web headlines/ Bad Web headlines

May 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm (Uncategorized)

Finding the right headline for your Web story is nearly as important as the story itself. If no one knows what it is about, then no one will read it.

This in my opinion is a good web headline, from todays Irish times.

‘High redundancy levy ruled out’

It’s short, includes important search words, and follows the subject-verb guidelines. It’s also in active voice and lets readers know the most important part of the story they are about to read.

This however, is an example of a headline gone wrong, from the Derry Journal.

“Dishonest Boastings about the the Republic thats coming”.

It’s not specific enough for a search engine, and it dosn’t covey what the article is about.


Don’t let your great headlines turn into bad headlines. Tell your readers what they want to know — what your story is about.

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Blogging: Is it a threat, challenge or opportunity for Journalism?

May 7, 2009 at 5:45 pm (Uncategorized)

“The industry once thought that blogging would somehow replace journalism. It turns out the threat to journalism is something bigger,” writes Chris Lau (blogs.itworldcanada.com).


Is there unique values to blogging? Of course! The unique value, he says, is virtual interaction. The interaction from readers through comments has generated further discussions. Blogging is therefore a modernised version of group message forums, but without moderator intervention or fixed subjects.

Agnes Poirier from The Guardian (theguardian.co.uk), believes that to think that blogging is Journalism seems dangerous and certainly misleading. Journalism is a profession, not a hobby. It usually requires research and some care in its execution. I have always thought blogging was a more spontaneous, informal way of feeding (or blocking) debate. Silly at worst, thought-provoking at best. To blog seems a little like to take a shower: the experience is quick, fun and energising and its good effects last but a few hours.”

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The impact of newspaper closures on independent local journalism

May 7, 2009 at 5:30 pm (Uncategorized)

Writing in the Observer in April, Henry Porter discussed the closure of independent local newspapers. For many who work there, the death of newspapers is disastrous for access to local information, not least due to the historical positions those papers have held.

The closures of the Glasgow East News and Ayrshire Extra, the Black Country Mail Extra, Wolverhampton AdNews, Daventry Post and Ashby Herald, the Lincoln Chronicle, the Northallerton, Thirsk and Bedale Times, and dozens of others that have either closed or felt the swingeing impact of mergers and office cuts, are devastating for their communities. These papers have been the homes for ‘hard’ journalism – reporting of the essential court and council stories that really matter to local lives.

Los Angeles Times reporter, Joe Matthews, quoted widely on this, has made clear the dire implications for democracy of the loss of quality journalism. Matthews wrote: “Much of the carnage of the ongoing media industry can’t be measured or seen: corruption undiscovered, events not witnessed, tips about problems that never reach anyone’s ears because those ears have left the newsroom.”

As they say on the OJB blog, ‘Those trained ears may have left the newsroom – but are they the only ears open to the whispers of local corruption?’

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The Age of Immediancy

May 7, 2009 at 5:22 pm (Uncategorized)

Julie Ní Gháibhain recently wrote and interesting post about the need for immediate information. Like Julie, with broadband and quicker internet access, such as on my phone, i can receive information instantly about anything that interests me.

But actually is there a downside to having such vast amount of information available to us at our fingertips, as she says?

In this age of instantaneous information, we come to expect instantaneous results; but is that a bad thing?

With sites like google and wikipedia, i find myself more educated about issues that otherwise, with limited internet access, id be ignorant to.

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US Newspapers need to adapt in order to survive

May 1, 2009 at 10:29 am (Uncategorized)

In Americas confluence of declining revenue has led to the biggest cuts in newspaper history. The Seattle Post Intelligencer stopped the presses after 145 years last month to go entirely digital while the Ann Arbor News in Michigan announced it would do so in July. In Denver, the Rocky Mountain News closed entirely, just weeks short of its 150th anniversary. The Detroit Free Press has come up with an alternative strategy of only offering home delivery three days a week – there goes the paper boy – while selling editions every day at news stands.

The owner of The Chicago Sun-Times filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of March with the chilling prediction that it expects advertising revenue to plummet a further 30 per cent this year.

In December, the Tribune company, which owns the Chicago Tribune , the Los Angeles Times and several other big papers, went into bankruptcy too.

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Susan Boyle on Youtube

April 29, 2009 at 8:10 pm (Uncategorized)

Stephen Mangan made an interesting point about the rights over internet content.

‘Although over 100 million people have viewed Susan Boyle’s performance on Britain’s got Talent, but neither YouTube or ITV is making any money from the hit ratio because of a disagreement over terms of rights.

ITV has reportedly lost £1 million because it can’t cultivate YouTube hits into a direct profit – one can’t help but feel that Michael Grade might have extended his stay of execution as executive chairman of ITV had the station calculated income in this instance.’

A YouTube spokesman confirmed that the video isn’t running a single ad against all of the Susan Boyle clips people have uploaded. User-uploaded videos don’t have ads placed with them, and even YouTube’s content partners can choose whether or not they want to run ads against their videos, the spokesman added. So far, no one who’s uploaded a clip of Susan Boyle singing has allowed YouTube to run an ad against the clip.

Wired figures, “if Google sold a decent amount of video overlays on the video (earning an estimated $20 per thousand views), [Simon] Cowell[, who co-produces Britain’s Got Talent,] and company would be owed millions more in revenue sharing.”

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