How news changes – the UK experience


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Presentation to Dutch editors, October 2009

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  • AudioBoo is a platform for capturing and sharing audio using the iPhone. AudioBoo enables users to record audio clips that are up to three minutes long, and then share them online like a kind of sonic Twitter. It is being developed in London by a company called BestBefore, in partnership with Channel 4’s new media investment arm 4IP.According to the BestBefore blog: “We saw value in having a publishing process and a platform that had the potential to do for the spoken word what Flickr did for images and Youtube did for video. That could be local journalists, twitter style musings, lectures, babies singing or a word of the day from President Obama.”The journalistic potential of this service is perhaps still untapped, but, potentially, it could be pretty wild.
  • The Manchester Evening News won plaudits from media commentators recently for their coverage of a demo by the far-right English Defence League in Central Manchester using Twitter aggregation service Coveritlive.MEN had up to four reporters on the ground around Manchester firing short Tweets via personal accounts, which were picked up by Coveritlive and published as a live feed on to the MEN website.Unlike previous attempts made by newspapers to cover live events, Coveritlive allows a genuinely live blog that updates itself on screen. And while the MEN reporters darted around the city centre, staff back in the newsroom were on hand moderating comments and adding rich content like photos.Coveritlive figures on the day reported 17,000 people logged on.
  • The Manchester Evening News has a rudimentary video section created by simply embedding YouTube clips on to a page of their website. YouTube now allows text ads on their videos – although I think that these are actually just relevant ads driven by Google, rather than the papers own advertising sales team.They also have various stories enriched with .mp3 files. These are not of reporting, but of source materials relevant to the story, e.g. “Screams of carjacking victim caught on tape”.
  • The West Midlands paper The Express and Star uses Livestream, an American service, to embed streaming video on its website. Obviously YouTube is rather inelegant for a professional news outfit; this alternative, Livestream, is relatively new tool that allows users to create their own streaming, looping TV channel. The service can be free, if you don’t mind them embedding their own adverts. Pro-packages start from just a few hundred dollars and allow the user to either dispense with the advertising or, perhaps more usefully, place their own advertising – as the Express and Star have done.The packages that they have created for their channel contain original content gathered by their own reporters on local issues.
  • How news changes – the UK experience

    1. 1. How news changes – the UK experience<br />Professor George Brock<br /> Head of Journalism<br />City University London<br />3D, Utrecht 30th October 2009<br />
    2. 2. The British model<br />Local and “national” papers<br />High readership per head: 12th highest in world<br />Sizeable advertising market for print and TV: £6.8bn and £4.4bn in 2008<br />Cross-media ownership limited<br />Elephant in the room: the BBC<br />
    3. 3. How did we get here?<br />The crisis is about local papers and TV<br />Threatened because of (classified) advertising demand fall <br />Enders: 48% fall of print ad income 2007-13<br />Demand for print journalism not the issue<br />…except among the young<br />
    4. 4. Long-range shifts<br />Rising affluence<br />Security and peace<br />TV culture + passivity<br />Explosion of channels and info<br />
    5. 5. Effects<br />Perceived value of journalism is lower<br />Journalism is less formal<br />More accessible and flexible<br />Less disciplined<br />Local accountability isn’t working<br />Online business models untested<br />Habits change slowly<br />
    6. 6. To summarise…<br />Print will shrink <br />Sustainable online business models are the key<br />Paywall wars to come<br />New grammar for storytelling<br />Something valuable is being lost. It needs replacing.<br />But because of the news media’s reputation, few people care.<br />
    7. 7. UK: throwing spaghetti at the wall<br />The forgotten element: news agency<br />National player goes local<br />hyperlocal<br />investigative<br />
    8. 8. Press Association local pilot<br /><ul><li>Launching “public service reporting” pilot
    9. 9. Aimed at replacing dwindling local news coverage of meetings such as councils + courts
    10. 10. First trial in Merseyside with Trinity Mirror this Autumn</li></li></ul><li>The Guardian goes local<br /><ul><li>Hyper-local blogs to be launched in Cardiff, Edinburgh & Leeds in early 2010
    11. 11. “There is a risk that the decline of local news could allow corruption in public institutions to grow” The Guardian
    12. 12. Sarah Hartley, the Guardian Local launch editor : “This experimental project reflects both the shifting nature of journalism and the reality on the ground."</li></li></ul><li>Grassroots hyperlocal blogs (1)<br />
    13. 13. Hyperlocal blogs (2)<br />
    14. 14. Hyperlocal blogs (3)<br />
    15. 15. Associated Northcliffe Digital<br />
    16. 16. Help me investigate – Paul Bradshaw<br />
    17. 17. Help me investigate – Paul Bradshaw<br /><ul><li>Open-source investigative journalism platform
    18. 18. "People can contribute their expertise to answer specific questions, and journalists with no resources could use the site to call on the community for help."</li></li></ul><li>Local broadcasting<br />Local broadcast journalism is lags behind print<br />Initial capital and technical expertise is still beyond the average citizen journalist. <br />
    19. 19. AudioBoo (sonic Twitter)<br />Users to record audio clips up to three minutes long then share them online. <br />
    20. 20. Manchester Evening News +Coveritlive<br />Coverage of a far right demo in Central Manchester using Twitter aggregation service Coveritlive.<br />
    21. 21. MEN, mp3 and YouTube <br />Rudimentary video page of embedded YouTube clips. <br />
    22. 22. Express and Star and Livestream<br />The West Midlands paper uses Livestream to embed streaming. <br />
    23. 23. Data mining and APIs<br />
    24. 24. Issues to face<br />State support? <br />Shirky’s First Law: the future will be weird<br />The importance of trust<br />Does the bundle survive?<br />Balancing fact and analysis<br />Words vs sound & pictures<br />Training in versatility needed<br />Business training even more important<br />Citizen journalism: curating becomes a job.<br />
    25. 25. State support?<br /><ul><li>Columbia Journalism Report “The Reconstruction of American Journalism” by Len Downie & Michael Schudson
    26. 26. Tax reform to allow local news organisations to receive deductible donations
    27. 27. Public broadcasting to go local
    28. 28. Universities and colleges to become bases for local accountability reporting
    29. 29. Fund for Local News fed by tax on ISPs or telco users</li></li></ul><li>Questions to answer<br />How will citizens get the information they need for democracy to function?<br />What value does established, mainstream media add?<br />Do trained journalists play a role?<br />How will those who gather democratically useful information be compensated for their work?<br />
    30. 30. George BrockProfessor and Head of JournalismCity University<br /><br /><br /><br />