Posts filed under ‘local newspapers’
That’s the question Birmingham Post reporter Joanna Geary has been asking herself, and has come up with the following rather lovely graphic:
Clickon the image for a larger, more readable version – you’ll see she’s looking for availability of email contacts, use of things like maps, blogs, bookmarking, video (is that interactive? Or multimedia?), email newsletters, mobile alerts, RSS, podcasts, chats, forums – and Twitter: “I know it’s not yet a mass communication device but I think it’s a good indicator of those who are thinking about the development of the market” (more…)
Now looks like this:
On the good side, at least it means the Reading Evening Post check on their YouTube videos (or perhaps the web person told them they were getting an unusual number of hits coming from YouTube).
But on the bad side, was it worth it? On the one hand, it’s clearly an attempt to stop people clicking through to the (at last count) three sites criticising the production and editorial values of the piece.
But did they think beyond that knee-jerk reaction?
Firstly, it means you’re not allowing people to look at the debate generated by video. And hold on – that means you’re also stopping people clicking through to your own site.
Wasn’t that the point of putting it on YouTube?
Secondly, someone – in this case Adam – is likely to spot the ruse and… oh yes, just when everyone was starting to forget about it, here we are still talking about that awful video.
And now we’re talking about some flawed decisions regarding online distribution too.
I won’t even touch on the censorship issues this raises, and the fuel this adds to the suspicion by readers that journalists can’t take criticism.
Anyway, let’s end on a more positive note: this video from the same YouTube channel may be a bit rough and ready but at least it’s got some ideas and leaves the office:
In fact, it even generated a follow-up.
A student writes: “I dont think the Reading Evening Post read your blog Paul. If they did, they didn’t pay much attention...”
Yes, the previous contender for Worst Newspaper Video have done it again. But this time, instead of Sports Editor David Wright, it’s young gun News Reporter Stuart White, who looks quite smart in the official picture that sits above a slightly less well-dressed moving picture version of the same.
The 1980s-era production style remains, with the same stock music, garish graphics – and this time, some appalling spinning, zooming, transition wipes.
Stuart’s challenge: to read out the day’s headlines “in just 60 seconds“. Yes, that’s some challenge. Perhaps someone should suggest that idea to BBC3.
One problem: when you take out the credits it’s not actually 60 seconds, which may be why Stuart is drowned out by the closing music at the end, just as David Wright was before him. Do they ever watch their own videos?
I’ll be more barbed: Stuart has the flat delivery of a 12-year-old reading ‘What I did on my summer holidays’, while his eyes flit below the camera like he’s checking his emails as well as reading the headlines. Presumably he’s reading a script. Doesn’t he know what the news is?
And what was that about a “sweet Haribo ring”? Some lessons in writing for broadcast needed.
Of course I’m being harsh, and as before this is not Stuart’s fault. Step up owners Surrey and Berkshire Newspapers Limited, part of the Guardian Media Group.
The one good thing is they’ve discovered YouTube, so unlike last time, I can embed it below for your convenience and their viewing figures. Let’s see if I can generate more views from this blog than from their own site – at least it will prove the value of making your video embeddable.
PS: As if by magic, Andy Dickinson has created his own video summarising the kind of thinking that leads to this stuff:
Last week I interviewed Mike Hill, Deputy Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, for an article on changing tools and approaches in local newsrooms (due to appear on Journalism.co.uk). Mike has some interesting plans on using surveys beyond the simple reader poll (since reported here), and experiences of the weaknesses of geotagging, among other things. The interview can be heard here - it’s around 10 minutes.
For many years the Association for Journalism Education (AJE) has debated whether its institutions should boycott the NCTJ. And for many years the NCTJ has all but ignored it. At this year’s AJE AGM the issue cropped up once again.
The complaints are copious, and I won’t list them all here, but revolve around some core issues: (more…)
Steve Yelvington writes a well constructed piece on the evolution of local newspapers: why they never really were that local in the first place, and why they need to rethink that. (more…)
The Press Gazette’s Student Online Journalist of the Year 2007, Jack Templeton, is now in his first job as a print/online journalist at The News & Star. In the first of a series of posts for the Online Journalism Blog, he writes about how he won a unique position as a print news reporter-cum-online consultant, and his fears of “being known as the ‘web guy’ in the corner who “does all that sort of internet stuff.””
My involvement with the News & Star began in early 2005 when then deputy-editor (now head of digital content development) Nick Turner made a plea on the website for readers to create a blog and regularly update it. Writing that first blog helped me develop writing skills I was currently learning: narrative, pyramid effect/hierarchy of events, use of quotes (effectively and humerously) and, most importantly for me, a personal style I was comfortable with. (more…)
Trinity Mirror have finally relaunched the first of their local newspaper websites, with the Liverpool Post and Liverpool Echo breaking free of that ‘icLiverpool’ brand and into individually branded sites that reflect their different markets.
It’s been a move the ‘ic’ sites have needed for a long time, and the contrast is considerable. The endless list of vertical navigation options has gone, replaced by a much clearer horizontal bar and the generally ‘bigger canvas’ look that most recent news website relaunches have adopted (larger images, fewer stories).
It’s no surprise to see video getting a stronger placing, while image galleries have become par for the course, although these are given a separate section rather than integrated with stories. And reader involvement is given top billing with four ‘calls to action’ on the banner – “Send your stories/videos/pics” and “Join a forum” (the latter too vague. It would be more productive to see specific forums promoted instead, but maybe that will come in time).
Web 2.0 is a keyword here, and the articles incorporate the facililty to ‘share’ via del.icio.us, Digg or Newsvine (with a helpful ‘What’s This?’ link for the majority of readers who’ll be thinking just that), along with reader comments, prominent RSS feed links and a fantastically comprehensive RSS service generally (well illustrated on the sitemap page).
Blogs are part of the package, and there’s some nice writing there, although someone ought to tell the
columnists bloggers about the importance of linking (a music blog that doesn’t link to any band websites/MySpace accounts is pretty criminal – UPDATE Mar 3 ’08: now no longer the case: see comments below), and it would be nice to see more engagement with the blogosphere generally – surely there are some excellent bloggers in Liverpool not on the Trinity Mirror payroll?
The ranking system is a nice idea that hasn’t been thought through enough: as an article’s ranking is only displayed on the article itself it’s not clear how this is useful for readers who have already made the effort to get there. There is a “Most popular” box on the homepage, for instance, but no sign of any place where you can find the “Highest ranked”; it might also be useful for readers to choose only to see stories above a particular rating, as Slashdot does.
And one final weakness is a registration system that doesn’t explain why you should register (elsewhere the call to receive email updates does the job better).
These picky issues aside, the redesign is a massive improvement and much more pleasurable to browse. Aesthetically it beats competitors such as the Lancashire Evening Post and Hull Daily Mail hands-down. Although those newspapers seem to have better grasped the possibilities of new media editorially, this relaunch suggests Trinity Mirror understand the technical possibilities. Most impressive is a tagging system which allows users to click through to articles on the same subject/person – potentially making the accompanying ‘Related articles’ box redundant.
Journalism.co.uk reports that the next websites to get the facelift will be the Journal and the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle, and the Middlesbrough-based Evening Gazette “to be followed by titles in South and North Wales, Yorkshire and Scotland.” Will these follow the template, or will there be more editorial freedom? The Post and Echo seem to be based on the same template, so I’m betting on the former, but there is enough freedom here to at least give the papers more identity than ‘icLiverpool’ ever did.