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Juanita

  1. 1. By Juanita Leon International perspectives on online journalism 8th International Symposium on Online Journalism
  2. 2. By Juanita Leon click
  3. 3. By Juanita Leon Small staff for a younger local audience  Staff: one editor, 3 reporters, one designer, 1 intern  We have an average of 350.000 users, 1.2 million visits and 5.8 million page views a month.  Each visit accounts for 5 page views, according to the last report of Google Analytics.  40 % of our audience is 35 years or younger  65 % live in Colombia, and 15 per cent in the U.S  56 % come to our page directly, while 20 percent come through Google and 10 per cent from El Tiempo.  Online revenues account for 15 % of the operation. 20 % of the revenue comes from Google ads, the rest from advertising.
  4. 4. By Juanita Leon Main debates around Semana.com  Is Internet an opportunity or a threat? : from fear to hope  Editorial control  Scoops  Circulation  Sustainability  Should newsrooms converge? : easier said than done  Incentives for print journalists  Reeducation in a new way of thinking  How controlled should users’s participation be? Who is using who?  Comments, columns, articles, blogs
  5. 5. By Juanita Leon Where are we going? • Experiment with new narratives – Tell stories through interactive tests http://admin.semana.com/utilitarios/semana/test/candidato.jsp click
  6. 6. By Juanita Leon Where are we going? Use more humor, mash ups BRUTO WILLIS http://www.semana.com/multimedia/md_43/PRINCIPAL1.swf click
  7. 7. By Juanita Leon Where are we going? Use more galleries, graphics, video and audio http://www.semana.com/wf_VerMultimedia.aspx? IdArt=96603&IdMlt=86&Res=Alta click
  8. 8. By Juanita Leon The site as a platform to bring people together Chats with paramilitary and guerrilla leaders http://www.semana.com/wf_InfoArticulo.aspx?IdArt=84449 Where are we going? click
  9. 9. By Juanita Leon Users won the debate • More people are going online • Comments are the second most popular section. • Stories written with our users are the most popular. (Examples) • Se acabaron los paras:http://www.semana.com/wf_InfoArticulo.aspx?IdArt=94148 click
  10. 10. By Juanita Leon •Caida interactiva delucho: http://portal2.semana.com/utilitarios/bogota/home.html Users won the debate click
  11. 11. By Juanita Leon Museo virtual: http://portal2.semana.com/utilitarios/museo/home_voz2.html Users won the debate click

Editor's Notes

  • Semana.com was set up in 1998. Originally, we just uploaded the print magazine. Then, we started linking documents to the articles, and had some chats. In 2006, we launched the new site, as a daily news edition, editorially independent from the magazine. We report and write about the most important events of the day keeping the analytical approach of the magazine. We have weekly multimedia stories. Users can still navigate the print magazine through this icon. We have almost 60 columnists, and about 12 bloggers who blog every week. We have a gallery of pictures with the international news of the day, and a video columnist almost every day.
    Because Colombia is a country with only one national newspaper, the existence of another media has made an impact, because in a way we broke the monopoly of information. And sometimes we even set the agenda of the magazine.
  • After we launched the new page, Semana.com has begun to be noticed by Semana reporters and by the owner. We are cited often as an independent source, and we have our own audience,take on the news, and a slightly different news agenda from the magazine. We write more about minorities, we use more humor and our angles and headlines are usually less politically correct than the magazine´s. All these, has created some tension and sparked a big debate over control. Especially, if the editor in chief of the magazine should oversee the online operation and if we should have the same take on the news. But we soon realized it was impossible. It´s too much work, everything happens too fast, and we have different audiences.
    With reporters, there is a discussion about scoops. Semana reporters, who are great, get lots of leaks and scoops, and there’s always some debate as to where to publish them. Sometimes if they wait, El Tiempo will come up with it before.
    The circulation manager of the magazine was worried about losing circulation to Internet.
    Our biggest debate now is about sustainability. The owner has invested a lot of money in the online operations of all the magazines. But there is still a big worry about how to sustain these costly teams. We had hoped to sell our archive, but that has been more difficult than expected, and advertising is not turning online as fast as the users are. So, we are working at it.
    Newsroom convergence has not happened yet. The magazine journalists feel that they would have to work much more for the same money. We need training, but mostly we need the leadership to understand the importance of the web for the business as a whole.
    In a polarized country like Colombia, the participation of users is more sensitive. My policy, when I was running the site, was to filter every comment, leaving out those where threats were made or crimes attributed to someone. Now, the new person in charge is filtering the comments after they are published.
    Our columnists have gained some recognition, and two have gone to become one of the most popular columnists of El Tiempo. So, I see Semana.com also as a platform for new voices and for discovery of talent.
  • One of the things we have tried is to make a lot of mistakes, because we want to experiment with new narratives.
    Before elections, we helped our users find their right candidate by making the citizen think about her position on the main political issues of the country. After voting on the issues, we told them who they should elect. Curiously enough, the virtual election was quite similar to the real election.
  • When Bruce Willis suggested that the solution for the War on Drugs failure was to invade Colombia and destroy all the coca fields, we did this mashup imagining what our heroe would do once he arrived in the country.
  • This multimedia article on the presence of paramilitary groups in a Bogota neighborhood won the Premio Rey de Espa;a for multimedia stories in Spain. It uses video, audio, and interactive graphics.
  • In a war torn country like Colombia, Internet can become an important tool to bring people together. When the negotiations with the paramilitary started, we convinced Salvatore Mancuso, the paramilitary leader, to talk to the users. We agreed on filtering everything but the questions. 105 people participated, and it has been so far the best interview that has been made to him.
    We do feel that building communities around our site is key to its future.
  • When the government announced the total demobilization of the paramilitary groups, we run the story and asked our users if that was their experience in their towns. With the stories they sent us, we interviewed the Minister of the Interior on these claims, and the government had to go on the record acknowledging that there were still hundreds of armed men from the paramilitary. Only that now they were just ‘criminals’.
  • In this story we asked users to vote on the cause in the high drop in the Bogota Mayor’s popularity. Internet becomes, also, the place to write long stories.
  • After a brief scandal, because the National Art Salon had been reduced to a few participants, we decided to launch our own Art Salon, only that more democratic. We asked users to send their art. With their pictures, we curated a virtual exhibition, and then users voted for their favorite art piece. This is how it looked.
    The success of these stories showed us that this is probably the way to go. Is not plain journalism and it’s not just crowd sourcing. It’s something in between.
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