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Online Journalism

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Felicity Feinman

on 18 February 2014

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Transcript of Online Journalism

J-Schools & Multimedia
- CarletonU

- University of Oregon

Jounalism schools need
to be ahead of the curve!
Online journalism
More content, less time
The rise of news aggregators
Writing for tablets and smartphones
Gathering news online
Measuring journalistic success
Multimedia & Online Reporting
- A Growing Area
- J-Schools & Multimedia
- New Ways to Tell a Story
- What does it mean for us?
- 3 Takeaway Messages

Writing for the web
Speed VS Accuracy
The Numbers
Smartphone vs Tablet vs Desktop
- smartphones suited for on-the-go consumption
- tablets better suited for longer reading, similar to magazines

"Tablets will eventually take over desktops." - Melanie Coulson, Ottawa Citizen
Mobile Devices and Tablets
- the fastest growing medium for news consumption
- more than half of North American adults own a smartphone or tablet and that number is growing
- 2/3 of those people access news through their devices (that number is also growing)
New Gathering for Online Journalism
What is different?
What are the new tools?
What is the same?
What traps should journalists avoid?
And how?
Measuring journalistic success
What makes online journalism successful?
high page views?
positive comments? lots of comments?
something else?

What is different about gathering news online?
Takes journalists places they normally cannot go
Places that are too dangerous, expensive or if there is not enough time
Can be the closest thing to being there
Example: Syria
Deadliest country in the world for reporters - Committee to Protect Journalists
Readership statistics
'Most Viewed' sections are now common on news websites
Bloomberg News and Gawker Media pay writers in part based on page views
Wall Street Journal
Starts story meetings by looking at statistics
Statistics decide what makes the homepage
Washington Post
Displays statistics for newsroom to see
Sets readership goals
Doesn't always let statistics dictate content
Uses statistics to decide who to fire
Canadian Geographic
Uses readership statistics to decide what to advertise on social media
New York Times
“We don’t let metrics dictate our assignments and play, because we believe readers come to us for our judgment, not the judgment of the crowd. We’re not American Idol. ” - Bill Keller, executive director, July 2003 - September 2011
Uses statistics to decide which blogs to keep
What are the new tools for gathering news online?
Comments - the new letter to the editor?
The Globe and Mail
Doesn't moderate comments
Instead, allows users to rate and report comments
Instituted a moderator for stories on the Gaza crisis in order to "control the hate speech"
Vancouver Sun
Uses comments to get crime tips
Toronto Star
Public editor handles complaints about stories
Ottawa Citizen
Must comment through Facebook
Canadian Geographic
Sabrina Doyle, social media editor, recommends leaving trolls alone
Alternative methods of measuring success
New York Times tries to adopt new metric
LA Times personality test
Balance need for high readership with your organization's and your own personal ethical code and news judgement
Ignore trolls
Respond to reasonable concerns, criticisms and questions in the comments
Require readers to identify themselves
Learn about different ways to evaluate journalistic success and keep a record of these metrics for your own work, so that you can justify your work to editors, publishers, advertisers, the public, etc.
The Rise of News Aggregators.
What are news aggregrators?
Online aggregators relationship with mainstream media
What are the debates surrounding news aggregation?
What roles do news aggregators play in the news and media industry today?
What remains the same about news gathering?
Traditional forms of news gathering are still important
Search engines do not always provide the most relevant or important information
Example: J.C. Penney
What are news aggregators?
A news aggregator is a website that collects information from multiple sources and displays it in a single space.
News aggregators can be grouped into four categories:
1.Feed Aggregators ( Google news)
2.Speciality Aggregators (Techmeme)
3.User Curated Aggregators ( Digg.com)
4.Blog Aggregators ( Huffington Post)
Debates surrounding news aggregators?
Content providers have argued that aggregation has reduced the potential market of copyrighted materials.
Whereas others, have urged legislature to come up with laws that will promote flexibility and free access to information.
Make sure to identify the source of your article
Make sure to always link to the original source of the article
It is always better to provide context or commentary for the material you use.
Impacts of News aggregators on news industry today and in the near future?

Media industries are joining forces and coming up with innovative ways to protect their content.
News aggregators promote public engagement.
More and more reporters are finding ways to establish and promote ethical ways of aggregating content.
News aggregator could serve as a lucrative business model for major media organizations .

News Aggregators and Mainstream Media.
News aggregators consider themselves as being a complimentary service to news industries.
Major news organizations continue to question the legality behind online aggregation.
The aggregation of online content has become a controversial digital copyright issue .
Online Journalism
Positive Changes

- Unlimited space for journalists
- How we read the news
- Citizen journalism
- Increased public access to information
- Creating a two-way conversation
- The news never sleeps
Negative changes
- Speed versus accuracy
- Reliablitity and credibility
- Unsubstantiated opinions and rumors
- Plagiarism

What does this mean for us?
"The distinction between a print journalist, a radio journalist and a TV journalist just dosen't exist anymore."
New Ways to Tell a Story
- Storify

- Supplementing print stories

- Audio Slideshows
New Roles
3 Reccomendations
• Know it all

• Be flexible

• Have fun and be creative!

- All-rounders

- Basic competence

- Can’t just say, ‘I’m a writer.’

- When you go cover an event, you need to be able to think, ‘what is the BEST way to tell this story?’

False scoops can come from unreliable sources
Or from reliable sources like other media outlets that have made a mistake
Gordon Lightfoot death debacle
Reported by Canwest News, Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen and Calgary Herald
Always fact check, even when facing time restraints
- accuracy over speed
- traditional rules still apply
- edit, edit, edit
Finding a balance between accuracy and speed.
What traps should journalist avoid? And how?
Recommendations for journalists
How to prepare for gathering news online
Use the web and social media to reach unreachable places
Try out new tools available online
Search further than Google
Take the time to fact check
- numbers current as of 2012
- they have continued to increase

Lower prices in late 2011 have contributed to the surge in tablet sales.

Rather than replace old devices, tablets offer a "multi-platform" experience when combined with desktops or smart phones.
Mobile "Snacking"
- trend developing in smartphone users
- people using news apps more frequently
- less time spent per session

Users scroll through headlines and open one that catches their eye. They will likely read the first two or three paragraphs and move on to a new story.
The Importance of Headlines
- often the only chance to get a click
- balance between search engine-friendly and share-friendly
"More and more, headlines need to be 'share-friendly'. People aren't getting stories from websites exclusively, their getting them from Twitter feeds." - Melanie Coulson
The Tablet Model
- replacing the print model
- 58% of tablet users prefer a "print-style" reading experience
- browsers preferred over news apps on tablets
- browsers are more user-friendly on tablets than smartphones
A Blogger's Code of Ethics
- Be honest and fair in gathering, reporting, and interpreting information
- Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly
- Minimize harm by treating sources and subject with respect
- Be accountable
- If material exists online, link it to when you reference it
- Promote interactivity on your blog
- Answer your critics or supporters

Live-Blogging and Tweeting
"Tablets are laid back devices. You pick them up at the end of the day to do longer readings. It's more of a magazine style." - Melanie Coulson

- Tweet key information
- Ask permission when posting content that is not yours
- Always attribute
- Provide links
- Hashtags should be researched and adverstised in advance

Constant Use (study)
- average person uses an internet connected device 34 times a day
- 2 hours and 12 minutes per day on such devices
- used 2 or more devices at once 46% of that time
- 62% of 18-30 year-olds check their devices rather than sit and do nothing
- Internet Advertising Bureau, September 2013
Conclusions / Recommendations
- smartphones are becoming the main resource for breaking news
- write quick hits with eye-catching headlines to let readers get what they need to know on the go

- tablets are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to magazine reading
- save the writer's craft for tablets
- they are better suited for longer reading and multi-media integration
Sourcing and Verification:
Do not post about internal plans, potential business moves, personnel matters, or financial considerations
Always seek permission to use the content and always cite the source when using
Traditional rules still apply...
Always seek multiple sources for both confirmation and balance
Handle corrections diligently no matter the platform
Case Study
Incorrect reports of Gabrielle Giffords' death
Accuracy checklist:
• Is every name and title correctly spelled?
• Are the quotes accurate and properly attributed?
• Have I reviewed my spelling and grammar?
• Is every number and calculation correct?
• Are all the terms being used correctly?
• Does every fact in the story match the information with any photos or graphics associated with it?
• Do I need to check a source’s “fact” against what others are saying?
• Is the story fair?
• Does it hang together?

Full transcript