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Tag: news

New Media v. Old Media

Posted by Andrew at 6:30 AM on July 14, 2010

How social media points the way forward for journalism. It’s a real example of how traditional media are becoming social media-aware and are using Facebook, Twitter and their ilk to get the news stories out faster and with more information.

However, what really registered with me is at the very end of the article.

There is a word of caution that goes with trusting what we read on this great “word of mouth” network.  Recent rumour mill stories on Facebook on the private lives of footballers ended up in the press and were proven to be totally wrong. So while this new technology can speed up the newsgathering process, journalists will need to make sure they do what they have always done – double check the facts.

I have real concerns about the loss of the old news media.  Obviously there’s no single cause but the rise of new media, the Internet “no cost” expectation and the “now” culture are all taking the toll.    But what will be the cost to our society when we no longer have professional journalists?

What will happen to investigative journalism?  What will happen when hysterical but unfounded rumours sweep across the social networks?  How will politicians be held to account when there is no-one to report on their mistakes?  How much more easy will it be to cover stuff up?

I can’t think of a single other instance where it’s become acceptable for amateurs to take over the role of professionals.  Would you want an amateur doctor to treat you?  An amateur engineer to design a bridge?  An amateur firefighter to attend an emergency?  No, I want these people to study for years to become competent at what they do.  Why should journalism be any different?  Just because you can string a sentence together, doesn’t make you a journalist.

Now, you may think that it’s a bit rich coming from a blogger for a major new media site but to tie this back to the original news story, I think it genuinely points the way ahead.  We have to get away from old media v. new media, it has to be co-opetition not competition, symbiotic not parasitic, and we have to find a way to reward news organisations and professional journalists to keep doing what they’re doing.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know is that it will be social disaster if we lose professional journalists because we were too cheap to buy a newspaper.

The Impact of Twitter

Posted by Alan at 7:14 AM on July 11, 2010

I was pretty early in signing up for Twitter.  I don’t remember exactly when, but early.  I followed a few people, mostly ones in the tech world such as Leo Laporte, etc.  I didn’t check my account all that often and, when I did, there were too many posts to read back through.

After a while, I discovered Twitter desktop apps and things improved.  I think it was twhirl, but I couldn’t swear to it.  My use of Twitter went up with this new advance.  Now I could keep the app open on my desktop, in the background.  I started to follow a little more, post a little more, and was better able to keep up with the posts of those I was following.

Then I got an app for my phone.  After a while I changed to another and then yet another.  Currently I use TouchTwit.  This, the phone app, was the biggest revelation for me.  Now Twitter is always with me no matter where I am.  Now I no longer miss any posts from any of the people I follow.  And I post much more than ever.

This phone revelation, which began for me a couple of years ago, prompted more changes than those I just mentioned though.  It prompted me to really think about who I followed.  I made changes.  I added and I removed.  I discovered there were two distinctively different types of people (or in some cases entities) I was following.  There were those I followed for fun – some are my friends, some are pro athletes, some are tech journalists.  And then there were those I followed for news and information – for instance a local news radio station and local newspaper keep me up-to-date on local news, Breaking News keeps me informed of national and world news, ProCyclingLive keeps me up to the minute about what is going on during a bike race, AmazonMP3 and AmazonVideo give me deals on purchases and rentals (complete with the occasional coupon code for a discount), and this list goes on.

There is humor to be found – take a tweet I remember from a year or so ago from Lance Armstrong (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Dear ATT, it’s been two weeks since you said you’d fix my home phone.  Maybe tomorrow?”  Followed a few hours later by another tweet along the lines of “just returned from a training ride and there’s an ATT truck in front of my house.”  Not only was it amusing, but it also demonstrated the power that having a LOT of followers can have, even over a major corporation.

There’s the real human impact that came home to us last year when we all sat spellbound as the only news that we, or even the major outlets like CNN, could get about the Iranian Election protests came to us via the citizens of Iran as they posted to Twitter what was happening, complete with pictures and videos, in their country.  Their internet shut off by a dictatorial regime, they got word out to the world using Twitter apps and cellular connections.  They nearly brought down a tyrannical government using modern technology that these old-style regimes weren’t prepared to deal with.

I sat dumbfounded over my breakfast one morning as tweet after tweet rolled past revealing the horror of the Chilean earthquake and subsequent tsunami warnings.  The information leapfrogged the best news outlets we have because it came, first-person, from those who were there on the ground, in the middle of the devastation.

And, I will close with a gem (for me at least).  Recently my daughter celebrated a birthday.  She is also a huge football fan of, thankfully, the same team that I am a fan of.  I took a chance and tweeted to one of her favorite players that she was a fan and it was her birthday.  Within 20 minutes I received a reply from him wishing her, by name, a happy birthday.  She now has a printout of that tweet hanging on her wall.  I certainly can’t say that all such people in his position would have done this.  But it’s great that we have this way of communicating with even the famous and, if they want, they can communicate back with their fans.  (Note: I am not naming him because I wouldn’t want him to be swamped with requests.)

In a short time Twitter has gone from posts about what you had for breakfast to changing the world.  They may have fewer users than Facebook, but there’s a very real reason why many say Facebook has Twitter-envy.  They may have the power and the technology to change the world in very palpable ways, especially in places where governments have a vested interest in the suppression of information.

Do Paywalls Ever Make Sense?

Posted by tomwiles at 10:09 PM on June 27, 2010

PaywallThere was a recent article at Arstechnica.Com describing how The Times in the U.K. ended up cutting its web traffic in half by simply requiring registration so that viewers could read their articles. Prior to this, the articles on the site were freely available. The registration requirement is in anticipation of their future paywall plans.

I have to admit that I’m one of the people who left their site more than once when I clicked on a link and was presented with the registration requirement. I’ve done the same thing on other newspaper sites as well. Will people pay for online news?

At its essence, news is often glorified gossip.

There are plenty of successful paywall sites. Here are three sites that incorporate paywalls that I personally find worthwhile enough subscribe to: Netflix.Com,  Rushlimbaugh.Com and FHU.Com.

Netflix began life as a DVD rental service and most recently added a very popular streaming service as value-added subscriber benefit behind a paywall. The Netflix streaming service helped convince me to sign up and become a customer, as well as the availability of Blu-Ray discs. If Netflix had DVD’s only, I wouldn’t be a subscriber. Streaming and Blu-Ray make me willing to open my wallet.

Rushlimbaugh.Com puts the site’s massive and growing archive behind a paywall that includes access to the Rush Limbaugh podcast version of his radio show where they perform the courtesy of cutting out all of the network ads. Being able to receive the ad-free podcast of the daily Rush Limbaugh radio program is why I subscribe. I rarely sign into the site and go behind the paywall. I want the ad-free daily podcast, so I pay, even though I could get the program for free by listening on the radio.

FHU.Com also puts a massive and growing archive of radio programs, books and video behind a paywall. I want access to this material, and since it’s a charitable organization, I am willing to donate to gain access behind the paywall and support them.

I don’t envision myself ever paying for access to a newspaper website. I have never subscribed to a printed newspaper. I used to subscribe to a number of printed computer, stereo and photography magazines, but somehow that lost its appeal a number of years ago and I let the subscriptions run out.

For a paywall site to be successful, it must have something behind that wall that people want access to. They must offer something of value that revolves around the essence of what they do best.

The Ultimate Yacht Race

Posted by Andrew at 4:01 AM on January 31, 2010

The 33rd America’s Cup yacht race gets under way in a week’s time from Valencia in Spain, pitting two of the most hi-tech yachts against in each other in a series of races.  The defender is Switzerland’s Alinghi catamaran and the challenger is the US’s BMW Oracle Racing, a stunning trimaran with the world’s largest single wing at over 68m – a 747′s wing is 31m.

There are some great videos on both websites and the cost, complexity and technology on these boats is simply stunning.  The winged keels, the composite hulls, everything is being pushed to the limit….and when they go past it, it’s going to be spectacular.

There’s been a fair bit of legal wrangling going on about the race but I’m glad it’s finally going to be settled on the water rather than in the courtroom.

Keep an eye on the action via Twitter and may the best team win.

WSAZ Iphone Application Review

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 10:16 AM on December 30, 2009

WSAZ is the local TV station  that services the Huntington and Charleston, WV area.  I must admit that I don’t watch a lot of local news on TV.  I usually only catch it when I can’t find the remote.  However  this doesn’t mean I am not interested  in local news, I just don’t have the time or desire to sit in front of the TV at the same time every night.   Unfortunately for local news I don’t think I am unique.  They could have just thrown up there hands and given up on viewers like me.  They didn’t do that though, they looked around and realized that people like me spend a lot of time on our smart phone.  They had a company create an Iphone application for them.

It is a really good application and I use it daily.  You can look at local news, sports, weather and business.  They provide videos which play through the Youtube  application.  You can share  a story by email, Facebook or Twitter   If you observe a local news story, you can upload video or pictures to WSAZ through the application.   If you click on weather you can look at the forecast, watch the radar or check for local alerts.  Under sports they have news and scores from Marshall and WVU.  They also provide scores and schedules for high schools in the area.

Basically it has got everything you need to follow local news.  The only complaint I have is I wish it would update more often.  If you live in the Charleston-Huntington area I would recommend downloading the application.  If you live some other area then go to the Iphone app store and put in your local news station call sign. If an application is available download it, you may learn things you didn’t know about your area.

Paying for Online News

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 9:43 AM on November 17, 2009

Newspaper boy

Are you willing to pay for the news. That is what Rupert Murdoch maybe betting on. Rupert Murdoch is the owner of a media empire which includes the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones. Lately he has been talking about removing his news empire from Google Search and putting them behind a pay wall

Clearly for this to work it would depend on if people are willing to pay for their news. I found an article on Technologizer that said that 45% of people surveyed were willing to pay for news. When I saw this article red flags immediately went up in my head, based on what I had previously heard and read. I wanted to find out more about this survey. The original article came from the New York Times, upon reading the Times’ article I found that the survey was done by the Boston Consulting Group.

I went to their Web site, where there was a fuller explanation of the survey. People are willing to pay for the news, but only under narrow and specific circumstances. This is the key paragraph that the New York Times and Tech chose to ignore.

“• Unique, such as local news (67 percent overall are interested; 72 percent of U.S. respondents) or specialized coverage (63 percent overall are interested; 73 percent of U.S. respondents)

• Timely, such as a continual news alert service (54 percent overall are interested; 61 percent of U.S. respondents)

• Conveniently accessible on a device of choice.”

Consumer, however are not willing to pay for news that is freely available all over the Internet. The consumers that are most willing to pay for their news are those that are already paying for newspaper. I suspect that this is an older and increasingly smaller audience. Even if consumer are willing to pay for their subscription, they are not willing to pay enough to make up for the lost of advertisement that newspapers have been dealing with. A pay wall might slow the decline but it will not stop it. The only way that newspapers can survive is to adapt to the new world, the old model is no longer viable and to try to save it is doom to fail

Web Reporting. Can doesn’t equal should.

Posted by GNC at 5:04 AM on November 8, 2009

1178168_54262801 2-250rdWatching the news has always been a necessary evil.  It seems filled with tragic and depressing stories.  On occasion I have doubted the wisdom in showing what is shown.  In an unofficial and unresearched opinion, it seems to me that the more murder suicide stories they show about a man and his family, the more that occur.  Sick people are not helped and deterred by seeing the stories.  Healthy people are no safer.  I’ve had the unfortunate task of going with the police to give news of a murder suicide to a family.  Should I Twitter, Facebook, or blog about it?
Paul Carr over at Tech Crunch has written a second time about the subject of unwise and foolish micro-bloggers.  My summary:  Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  We have had storm chasers, now we have Twitter and blogging chasers?  It frightens me.  Many times I’ve heard Todd Cochrane, the host of GNC, say “I’m not ready to comment on this until I’ve thought it through.”  How can we pass on some of Todd’s common sense to the rest of the world?
Censorship and regulation frightens us.  Anarchy and absence of accountability  scares me much more.  I have friends who are citizens of countries other than the United States.  They know what it is like to live in a dictatorship or close to it.  As a matter of fact I am currently touring countries with much less freedom.  I am not speaking without a foreign awareness.  The same freedom of the press and freedom of speech that we hold dear, we could be using as a weapon of destruction upon ourselves.  We must act responsibly.  Hold our tongue.  Getting the news out is secondary to immediate concern for the people involved.
This week in Florida a missing baby was found alive.  Further news revealed that the mother was part of the disappearance.  That baby will forever be etched in the inter-webs and sought after for interviews when she is a teen.  “How does it feel to have had your mother fake your kidnapping when you were a child?”  Maybe it should be a live Twitter interview.
Well enough of the rant.  Next article I’ll give some of my opinions on responsible blogging and micro-blogging.  Thanks for reading and taking a few minutes to think through it all before you react.

Tabbloid – Your Website Magazine

Posted by GNC at 12:14 AM on October 2, 2009

Many people are still very simple in their use of the internet.  They check email and a handful of websites on a regular basis.  They are not users who follow large numbers of RSS feeds or use an RSS reader.  For those people let me give you an option that I have used on occasion.

tabbloiddotcom

I follow maybe six or eight tech sites on a regular basis.  My brother recommended Tabbloid.com.  Tabbloid delivers you a daily electronic magazine composed of the RSS stories from your chosen favorite sites.  You put in the website addresses you desire and Tabbloid does the rest.  An easy to read PDF document, Tabbloid, is delivered to your inbox at the chosen time. For me that is in the morning.  With a quick easy glance I can read through the headlines and stories from my favorite sites.  Maybe you have a certain type of web content you don’t check every day, Tabbloid is like the newspaper and magazine that waits for you.  No more looking way down the list of titles or sifting through the archives of sites.  Just open and read.

tabbloidsample

This is not for the power RSS user, but for the basic user it may be perfect.  Registration is quick and easy using the email address you want it delivered to.  Everything is so easy and slick you may be astounded that its free.  The site does one thing and does it well.  It is website content delivered to the common man.

Want to see an Internet Oxymoron?

Posted by J Powers at 9:47 AM on September 8, 2009

Check out this screenshot. Tell me why it’s an Oxymoron:

The Internet Oxymoron

If you said “This is an Associated Press article – I CANNOT share it on Mixx, Buzz, Digg, Reddit, Facebook or Newswire”, then you are correct!

If you go to the A.P.s site, you do not see any sharing widgets. However, if you go to the sites that pay for the content, they could have these little add-ons to try and promote their brand. But with these widgets, they could be in breech of their contract.

The Associated Press has said it doesn’t want to squelch new media, but it will go after sites that post it’s content and make money on it. Isn’t that like EVERY site on the Internet?

Back in June, the AP told their reporters to police social media like Facebook and Twitter. The idea would be to identify and irradicate any posts that violate their usage policies. So you could get a take down notice if you post  or “Re Tweet” those A.P. articles.

If you have a website and you have A.P. content on it, you might want to think about those little blurbs to suggest sharing the articles. You may be inadvertently breaching your contract.

I wonder if someone should start a list of Websites that use A.P. so we all know not to share the data from it. Of course, I am not going to rock that boat. However, if you know of a website that is an Associated Press site, you might want to comment on it below…

The Onion strikes…. Again.

Posted by J Powers at 8:07 AM on September 6, 2009

The origins of the Onion newspaper come from my hometown. In fact, I worked with a few of the staffers at other local University newspapers. I did do a couple “Satire” articles for the Onion, but nothing was published.

Apparently, the Onion has a great reach – even to those who don’t understand. Another article was re-published as actual news. This time it was a Bangladesh newspaper – The Daily Manab Zamin – which then was picked up by the New Nation.

The articles talked about a (supposed) news story that Neil Armstrong was quoted “the Moon landings were fake…” The two news agencies soon after learning the Onion is a satirical paper, apologized for the misinformation.You can read the Onion article here

This is not the first time the Onion has influenced another writer. in 2004, the Beijing News first didn’t site the Onion until pressured. The news article was about how Congress won’t resume until a new “Modern” capitol was built. So not only did they use misinformation, they plagiarized it.

It’s interesting how the web can spread a hoax. There was another, also in 2004, where a man beheaded himself on a video. It was posted to see how fast the video could be made into news. An Arab station picked it up and the wheels were set in motion.

As for the Onion, please understand it is not a real news source. It is satire. If I remember correctly, there was only one issue that actually reported real news. But that was years ago and no one remembers it.