A New Media Strategy for correspondents.org

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Concept for a bilingual training platform for journalists in North Africa

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A New Media Strategy for correspondents.org

  1. 1. A New Media Strategy for correspondents.org
  2. 2. Mapping Modularity Common Ground Context
  3. 3. correspondents.org will provide “comparative coverage, exchange and context” leitmotif
  4. 4. comparative coverage  Enable readers to make their own comparisons by suggesting earlier stories on a similar subject, pointing to background material available online, and including materials such as images, videos, maps, infographics, etc.  Encourage readers to submit their own images, videos, and stories by using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to ask specific questions about how an issue is seen by people in different countries and regions.  Historical comparisons can be facilitated by creating (interactive) timelines using tools such as dipity.com. Archival sources and historical quotes are also a good way of providing contextual information.  Encourage reporters from different countries and regions to provide featured comments on stories submitted by their colleagues.
  5. 5. exchange  Set up a forum in which suggestions for stories can be submitted, and voted upon. On an infrastructure level, it needs to be ascertained that voting is not abused, so standard IP address verification is highly recommended. In regard to content, submitters should provide a minimum amount of background to weed out spam.  While crowdfunded journalistic offerings such as spot.us are problematic insofar as they entail a certain bias on the part of the reporters, this does not necessarily apply to donations intended to allow journalists to travel. A system in the style of kickstarter.com could be used to increase the mobility of correspondents.  Training sessions and materials for journalists could be made available online (e.g. in the form of webinars) to allow other contributors to access these materials, and profit from the exchange of knowledge and skills.
  6. 6. exchange  Create standards for rewarding participation. To encourage a sustained high level of participation, acknowledge informal contributors whenever they share their content. Always attribute content to its creator, offer different licensing models (including Creative Commons), and provide feedback.  Create a striated reward structure. Consider creating different levels for informal contributors, which offer them status and greater levels of access. Contributors with a sustained record of high quality contributions could be rewarded with a featured comment, blog post, or photo/video essay.  In regard to journalistic standards, feedback, requests and support, editorial staff should initiate and maintain an ongoing conversation with the different shareholders. Social media such as Facebook and Google+ can be used to include users in this conversation and keep an ear to the ground.
  7. 7. context  Provide temporal context. Events and issues are presented within their historical context by providing links to earlier stories on the same topic, or similar topics. When reporting on a story with deep links in historical events, interactive scalable timelines can be used to enable readers to change from a macro to a micro perspective.  Provide spatial context. Ideally, local stories should be presented in a way that demonstrates how local issues correspond to regional, national, and supra-national issues. This can be achieved by providing links to stories that approach the same topic from a wider geographical vantage point, and by using interactive maps created with tools such as zeemaps.com.  Provide editorial context by linking stories to other stories by the same correspondent, stories on similar topics by other correspondents, or commissioning jointly written stories, dialogues, and journalistic exchanges.
  8. 8. context  Provide social context by allowing readers to comment on stories through social media such as Facebook or Google+, and by using these comments to initiate and maintain conversations with readers. Encourage readers to contribute content to provide more context to express contrasting views.  Provide media context by providing links to similar stories in other media, and by embedding readily available (e.g. Creative Commons) content from YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, and other sources. By attaching Twitter hashtags to stories, readers’ reactions to these stories can be tracked easily and efficiently.  Forge strategic alliances with bloggers, regional and national media, as well as international news organizations to create opportunities for syndication, and to establish a network of potential contributors.

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