From news cycle to news spirograph


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A talk given by Judith Townend at Northampton University on 7 March 2013, at 'Imagine Journalism in 10 Years' time' conference

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From news cycle to news spirograph

  1. 1. From ‘news cycle’ to ‘news spirograph’:Disrupting patterns of consumption, production and distribution Judith Townend, Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, City University London (@jtownend)
  2. 2. Credit: Lorenz Lachauer /
  3. 3. Spirographs on sale, Istanbul, 2009
  4. 4. The ‘news spirograph’"The new picture of a news story’s life cyclelooks less like a tight loop that closes after 24hours. Instead, it enters a period of dormancyonly to return weeks later. The resulting chart ofa story’s attention trajectory looks more like aSpirograph — a large circular patternconstructed out of smaller loops."Mike Taylor, Fishbowl NY, Media Bistro (2010)
  5. 5. Changes to the news cycle?Similarly, Sophie Brendel, head of digital communications for the BBC has said:‘Social media have changed what we talk about, who we talk about and howquickly we talk. The 24-hour news cycle is dead, now its 24 seconds.’ (Magee,2012)
  6. 6. The ‘news spirograph’ can take different formsMore spirograph patterns on Flickr.
  7. 7. Public participationEveryone has the right to freedom of expression.This right shall include freedom to hold opinionsand to receive and impart information and ideaswithout interference by public authority andregardless of frontiers.Clause 1, Article 10, Human Rights Act 1998
  8. 8. The ‘news spirograph’The pattern of journalism in ten years’ time mayinclude a news cycle that looks very different from aneat 24 hour loop, with its small number ofinfluential media sources.Instead, changes in digital consumption, productionand distribution may transform it into a ‘newsspirograph’, with a greater number of sources, andnews stories that loop back at different points intime. In fact, we are likely to see transformation in thevery notion of the ‘news story’… It’s alreadyevolving.
  9. 9. As it was / is ….1. Write newspaper2. Print newspaper3. Wrap fish‘nchips in newspaper Slides from a talk by Martin Belam, 2011
  10. 10. As it was / is ….1. Write newspaper2. Print newspaper3. Wrap fish‘nchips in newspaper Slides from a talk by Martin Belam, 2011As it could be… 1. Produce content, drawing from more sources and across more topics 2. Publish on digital platforms, selectively and carefully with effective curation, labelling and contextulisation 3. See content gain new lease of life and inform future content
  11. 11. References• Belam, M. (2011) ‘How digital transformed the news cycle’,• Belam, M. (2012) ‘The Guardian’s Facebook app’,• Magee, K. (2012) ‘Beyond the 24 hr news cycle’, PR Week• Taylor, M. (2010) ‘The 24-Hour News Spirograph’, Fishbowl NY,• Tinworth, A. (2009) Our Real Problem: The Death of the News Package,• Wynne-Jones, R. (2012) ‘Enquirer: watching the hacks get hacked’,