Linking gets more specific at the New York Times: link to an individual paragraph or sentence

Users can now link to and highlight individual sentences and paragraphs in stories on the New York Times site, notes TNW Media:

“While it could be a tad complicated for an average reader, it’s a great tool for writers and bloggers who frequently link to NYTimes stories.
[…]
To simplify things, if you hit your shift key twice on a Times story, small icons appear next to every paragraph. Click on one of them and it’ll place the paragraph linked URL up in the address bar of your browser.

Using the Times’ new hyperlinking system might mean a little more work for the linker, but I like how it adds a new layer of specificity and clarify to a linked post. And it is definitely cool to see that the hyperlink is still evolving.”

Read more here [link]

iPad apps are our flagship newspaper products, says News Corp’s James Murdoch

James Murdoch highlights the revenue potential but also the risks of iPad apps, in an interview at the Monaco Media Forum: “Our flagship newspaper products are now the iPad apps,” Murdoch said, and they pose a greater risk. “The problem with the apps is they’re much more directly cannabilistic of the core print product than the web site.” He added, “People interact more. They don’t dip in and out. The key is to get the advertising yields” to be the same. Combine that with the lower production costs, and the business model for apps could be highly attractive.

Read more here [link]

Expensive, long-form journalism can be a hit online

Simplistic preductions about journalism and the internet are futile, and there’s evidence that good quality (more expensive), long-form writing attracts more hits online, says John Naughton in The Observer:

‘”Ah, yes,” say the sceptics, “but where’s the business model to support such expensive writing?” And here’s an interesting development. The online magazine Slate decided to allocate resources to encourage some journalists to produce long, long pieces – for example Tim Noah’s analysis of why there hasn’t been another 9/11-type attack. These pieces have attracted astonishing levels of reader attention, with page views in the 3-4 million range. And the editor of the New York Times magazine has made the same discovery. “Contrary to conventional wisdom,” he says, “it’s our longest pieces that attract the most online traffic.”‘

Article: Good journalism will thrive, whatever the format | Technology | The Observer

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Providing the information you didn’t know you wanted — Google CEO Eric Schmidt on newspapers, monetisation and the semantic web

Snippets from a Wall Street Journal interview with Schmidt:

Says Mr. Schmidt, a generation of powerful handheld devices is just around the corner that will be adept at surprising you with information that you didn’t know you wanted to know. “The thing that makes newspapers so fundamentally fascinating—that serendipity—can be calculated now. We can actually produce it electronically,” Mr. Schmidt says.[…]

On one thing, however, Google is willing to bet: “The only way the problem [of insufficient revenue for news gathering] is going to be solved is by increasing monetization, and the only way I know of to increase monetization is through targeted ads. That’s our business.”[…]

“As you go from the search box [to the next phase of Google], you really want to go from syntax to semantics, from what you typed to what you meant. And that’s basically the role of [Artificial Intelligence]. I think we will be the world leader in that for a long time.”

Read more here [link]

Five questions for news organisations preparing to do data journalism

These are the five pertinent points raised by Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust, in the wake of WikiLeaks’ release of the Afghan War logs, and the resulting stories by The Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel. He predicts that massive data releases of this kind are likely to accelerate — so news organisations need to get their act together and ask themselves the following:

1. How do we harness public intelligence to generate a long tail of stories?
2. How do we make it personal?
3. How can use the data to increase trust?
4. How do we best — and quickly — filter the data (and work out what, and what not, to publish)?
5. How can we ensure future whistleblowers bring their data to us?

Read more here [link]

How young people use social networks for news, particularly on Facebook

Some edited highlights from a BBC focus group of 19-39-year-olds:

*very clear understanding of what they wanted from Facebook (Twitter barely mentioned)

*sophisticated appreciation of the image they projected through FB… most used it for both personal and professional reasons

*used it on both their mobiles and their PCs, but to do different things. Mobile usage is about need; PCs about choice and pleasure

*all saw comment and discussion as a key component of enjoying news on FB

*very mixed view too on what kind of news should be posted by news organisations on FB (light vs serious). Most accepted that it was probably a good idea for media organisations to ‘put it all out there’ and let people pick and choose for themselves.

Having said that, nobody really believed what they read on Facebook, even if it had mainstream media branding all over it. If they wanted to know about a particular story, they would go directly to a mainstream media website either first, or via FB

Read more here [link]

Mobile breakthrough? Footage from cameraphones is now widely accepted

On a documentary about Neda Agha Soltan, who was shot in demonstrations in Tehran last summer (BBC College of Journalism blog):

“The home video feel of the conversations with her mother, sister and father meshes well with the footage from the streets filmed on mobile phones and uploaded to You Tube and Facebook.

The film has gone viral in Iran with the active support of HBO. So far it’s not been seen on British television, but you can watch it on You Tube.

After a recent screening at the Frontline Club in London, its director, Anthony Thomas, answered questions.
[…]
…the wider audience is far more accepting of You Tube quality footage than documentary buffs might think. It is now the raw material of news and therefore of documentaries – and Thomas and his team made great use if it.

When even a highly-produced programme like the BBC’s Imagine includes an interview with Canadian writer Margaret Atwood on Skype, in its recent profile of Diana Athill, you know that shift is permanent.”

Read more here [link]

Data journalism: how much — and what — do journalists need to know?

Some pertinent points on data journalism from Mary Hamilton’s Metamedia blog, reiterating the importance of journalists’ ability to make sense of data:

“We need to know our way around a spreadsheet. We need to be able to spot patterns in data and understand not only what they mean but also how we can use them to reveal stories that are not only relevant but useful.

We need to know where our skills can get us. We need to know our capabilities and our limits – and, crucially, we must be aware of what we don’t know. […]

Journalism is about asking the right questions. We research stories before we interview subjects so that we can ask pertinent questions whose answers will illuminate the subject. We need to be able to do the same thing with our data – we need to know what questions to ask and how, so that even if we can’t make the tools ourselves we can hand over the task to someone else without asking the impossible or wasting their time.”

Read more here [link]

Students suffer media withdrawal: clue to future of journalism?

Regina McCombs reports: “Students use the language of addiction and withdrawal in talking about their experiences going without technology for 24 hours during a study at the University of Maryland’s Phillip Merrill College of Journalism.

‘I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening,’ said one student. ‘Although I started the day feeling good, I noticed my mood started to change around noon. I started to feel isolated and lonely,’ said another. […]??Students equated technology with media — the phones, iPods, computers, laptops and televisions were just a means to get to information, whether that information was about the world around them, or about their friends. And much of that technology is mobile. Phones in particular […] ‘A truer mapping of those pathways could provide direction to journalists in their search for relevance in the century ahead’. ”

Read more here [link]

Easy solutions to web production’s most common problems

A great problem-solving round-up by Mark Luckie of 10,000 Words:

“In my role as multimedia producer for California Watch and in other newsrooms where I’ve worked, I am frequently approached by reporters to help them with web-related issues. Often it’s how to post content on the web, how to edit something, or how to do something I’ve never heard of (which I later google).

Here are some of the most common question I’m asked — and if you are a web producer, you are too — and the answers to those questions.”

Read more here [link]