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Reinventing Journalism: Trends, Innovations and Unanswered Questions


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A round-up of some key recent developments in the world of journalism related to evolving and emerging business models. These slides outline changes in consumption and advertising, as well as innovations in content creation, consumption and distribution. Finally, it also explores whether our concepts of journalism need to evolve and how the sector might move forward.

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Reinventing Journalism: Trends, Innovations and Unanswered Questions

  1. Damian Radcliffe July 2014 @damianradcliffe Reinventing Journalism Trends, Innovations and Unanswered Questions
  2. Damian Radcliffe is an Honorary Research Fellow and Doctoral Student at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He has written about journalism, technology and media innovation for a range of outlets including: Abramis Academic Publishing, BBC College of Journalism, Huffington Post,, Knowledge Bridge (Media Development Loan Fund), NESTA, Online Journalism Blog, Ofcom, StreetFight, Routledge, Talk About Local and ZDNet. View Damian’s extensive writing and research portfolio at: About the Author
  3. In this presentation: 1) Changes in consumption and advertising 2) Innovations in creation, consumption and distribution 3) Do our concepts of journalism need to evolve? 4) Ideas for moving forward
  4. Part 1. Journalism under threat (?)
  5. “…These days, being a journalist shares at least one quality with being a shark. If you‘re not moving forward, it's over.” Margaret Sullivan, public editor of The New York Times
  6. Well known story Including: 1. Cyclical vs Structural problems 2. Declining circulations 3. Declining revenues 4. Fewer jobs for journalists (?) 5. The impact of social 6. Resistance to change And more…
  7. New data shows the shift to mobile
  8. Print punching above it’s weight
  9. Newspaper reliance on print revenue
  10. Perhaps the most topical question is… Can legacy media “do” digital?
  11. It’s not that long ago that many people felt that the NYT had “nailed it”…
  12. What a difference a year makes…
  13. We cannot hold back the tide And shouldn’t try. Embrace and ride the wave! Reasons to be cheerful Technology, failing legacy models and new entrants have all provided a basis for innovation / evolution
  14. Part 2. The evolution of Journalism 10 recent trends and developments
  15. Obligatory use of this quote…
  16. 1. Emergence of new funders eBay founder Pierre Omidyar says his new flagship site for First Look Media will cover news, entertainment, sports and politics, plus “a family of digital magazines.” Jay Rosen reports Omidyar has committed $250m to the venture.
  17. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos meanwhile spends $250m buying the Washington Post…
  18. 2. New funding models CROWDFUNDING German project “Krautreporter” aims to find 15,000 people who commit to paying 60 Euros ($80) a year to fund the site. The Texas Tribune, used Kickstarter (+ a $10k matching pledge from the Knight Foundation) to purchase equipment to livestream the 2014 Texas governor’s race.
  19. 3. Big players acting like start-ups
  20. The rise of TV like content Increasingly regular feature On platforms who didn’t start out this way… 4. Newer entities acting like old media
  21. 5. Everyone embracing social "The challenge is not to get the story published, but to get the story into people’s feeds — into their Twitter timelines, into their inbox and into their chat." - Zach Seward, Quartz ----------------- Buzzfeed gets: • 50% referrals via mobile • 75% via social BBC News Video on Instagram
  22. Some news organizations have embraced new consumer realities and provide an editorial proposition reflecting this. As GigaOm pointed out, Circa stories are actually longform in disguise: “…since it allows users to “follow” a specific story, and get updates only about new developments on that story, it essentially is building a long- form news story over time — just in bite-size chunks.” 6. “Mobile First” approaches
  23. 7. “Video first” services • 25 staff • 8-10 videos each a day On all the usual social platforms. Plus Kindle Fire and Roku Which enable TV viewing
  24. “As soon as I saw Google Glass, I realised that it would allow me to do what I always do with this first-person live recording, but my hands would be free.” Tim Pool, Vice Pool used Glass as part of his coverage of 2013 protests in Istanbul, getting up to 750,000 views a day of his stream. 8. New storygathering tools
  25. 9. The impact of Big / Little Data 1. . The Bay Citizen Bike Accident Tracker Used data from 14,113 incidents reported to the police between January 2005 and December 2009. Can filter by road conditions, lighting and other factors such as ‘who is at fault’ to determine the safest routes to use and/or avoid. Single, searchable, database allowing users to search for physicians or medical centers to receive listings of all matching payments.
  26. 10. J-School evolution • Computational Journalism • Data Journalism • Entrepreneurial Journalism Case Study: Cardiff University's Community Journalism MOOC • 8,828 learners signed up for the course • Learners came from over 113 countries worldwide • Over 13,400 comments throughout the course • #Flcommunityjourno was tweeted out over 900 times
  27. Part 3. Unanswered Questions 10 emerging issues to consider
  28. 1. What is 21st Century Journalism? Issues include: * Changing reading habits * Discoverability * Branded content * Joining up your business * Getting - and keeping - audience attention Does our concept need to be updated?
  29. Using analytics to shape story length Aka why Quartz does not publish 500 - 800 word articles…
  30. Explanatory journalism – creatively informing audiences e.g. Ampp3d explained recent British elections, using Lego bricks…
  31. Tech can automatically repurpose your content Wibbitz automatically turns text into video
  32. 2. Are other people doing our job? A number of NGOs are doing great work in terms of: • Promoting independent media • Publishing untold stories • Driving media – and information – literacy • Holding authority to account • Developing next generation tools • Using this for social change/impact What can we learn from them re: content creation, distribution and empowering audiences? How we can work together?
  33. Makes websites and tools to empower citizens in the UK and around the world TheyWorkForYou • Who your local MP is, summaries of how they voted, written questions submitted to government departments, and the answers they’ve got back. FixMyStreet • Report a problem in your area. Reports automatically go to the people in charge of fixing them. Data published online for sharing / discussion.
  34. “Now near-indispensable source or insight and reference for anyone covering international affairs. I class this as content innovation because they are doing what news media should be doing and aren't. They're making sense of things. They're also doing it with fluency, economy and a good editorial sense. By far and away the best NGO website on the planet.” George Brock Former Managing Editor of The Times , Board Member World Editors Forum
  35. 3. Can regulation keep up? Examples include: 1. Drone Journalism 2. Internet of Things 3. Aereo FACT: Disrupters will always be ahead of regulators and policy makers… …And incumbents won’t like it!
  36. 4. How do we measure success? Circulation, TV ratings and page views aren’t enough… Engagement including: – Social comments / shares – Time spent online – Perception of brand – Impact on communities We need new metrics to reflect new consumer realities
  37. 5. Privacy post-Snowden Post-Snowden – and in a world of ever increasing connected devices – these issues will continue to loom large. Examples include: 1. Ensuring Anonymity for sources. 2. The right to be forgotten. 3. Filming/consent via Google Glass. And evolving issues around verification…
  38. 6. Can a pivot to digital save print? German media giant Axel Springer has acquired one company per month since 2006 as part of a move to use digital income to support/underpin (or slowly shed?) their print business. They are divesting of some title however, such as their
  39. 7. How can we be proactive? Identifying what are fads and what are trends. • Experimenting e.g. with new social networks • Home Entertainment e.g. virtual reality • Adding news/civic dimensions to apps WhatsApp sharing button Oculus Rift headset Google owned Waze
  40. 8. The impact of wearable tech Cisco predicts the number of wearable devices in use will jump from less than 22 million in 2013 to almost 177 million by 2018. What might this mean for journalism? e.g. Combined with push notifications and content using location based triggers?
  41. 9. How can we use LBS? HypARlocal was a UK pilot using augmented reality to blend local media content through Layar. Geo-tagging content will therefore become an important part of your content’s metadata. They are divesting of some title however, such as their
  42. 10. Next generation UGC But: new Tow report shows UGC is only used when other content is not available to tell the story; and labeling including credits for creators is poor and inconsistent. Do attitudes towards UGC need to change? CNN announced in May 2014 that citizen journalists can interact with their newsroom directly via Google Glass app. The Nokia Lumia 1020 offers a 41MP camera sensor, full HD video and stereo audio recording.
  43. Part 4. Moving forward A few quick thoughts….
  44. 1. Innovation is happening globally… We need to cast our gaze wider…
  45. 1. x. Rappler (Philippines) trains young people as citizen journalists. It combines social action with journalism. Meanwhile Project Agos is a data, social and visualisation project providing: “a unified information platform that will bridge disaster preparedness and response initiatives of the government, civil society, and the citizens.” Look at Rappler in the Philippines
  46. Netherlands: “All articles of all newspapers and all important magazines are available in one web app, with one pay wall.” “…users will only have to pay for the articles they read. We think that unbundling of journalism is the Holy Grail in getting young people to pay for journalism again.” Blendle in the Netherlands
  47. As well as examples closer to home Clark Gilbert speaking at Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation last year revealed that at Deseret Media: "In 2009, legacy revenue accounted for 90 percent of the business and digital came only from 10 percent. In 2012, he said that legacy revenue channels would account for only 33 percent of overall revenue."
  48. 2. We must avoid the usual suspects By learning from other people and industries They can all contribute to the debate
  49. This includes…. NGOs Blending independent journalism and/or access to information to promote civic engagement in creative and innovative ways. Examples include: • BBC Media Action • Code for America • Internews • Frontline SMS • Media Development Investment Fund • Open Society Foundations • Sunlight Foundation
  50. SimSim-Participation Citoyenne (Morocco) • Nouabook, a web platform facilitating MP - citizen engagement in Morocco. Focal Integrity Team for Cameroon (FITCAM) • ‘Project to monitor schools’ expenditure via SMS. iWatchLive (Nigeria) • Web application allowing citizens to access Nigerian government budget data and report back on incidences of corruption and poor service delivery.
  51. Advertising, PR and Digital Insights into changing – and emerging - consumer behaviors, which are applicable to publishers. Why? • Transferable audience insight • Proactive • Not Reactive NYT innovation report showed that these sides don’t necessarily talk to one another. And that they need to!
  52. Retailers What can we learn from them re LBS? 1. Content/offer needs to be valuable e.g. discounts, reviews etc. 2. This is a growing market. Is it a potential source of revenue that news publishers can tap into?
  53. And other businesses And those constantly exploring changing consumer habits • Coca-Cola • Pepsi • McDonalds Like: • Music • Publishing And other legacy industries which have been disrupted by digital
  54. Only by getting into unusual spaces… Can we think differently… • CES • IBC • • “Gig City” - Chattanooga Talk to: • Trend watchers • Ethnographers • Anthropologists
  55. 3. Partnerships are essential For Storygathering…. Journalists, Hackers and Open Data supporters brought together by the World Bank Institute’s Global Media Development program to create OpenData Latinoamérica.
  56. For effective business models… Such as the merger between St. Louis Beacon (web) and St. Louis Public Radio.
  57. For distribution… The Washington Post’s new partner program offers digital content for free to other newspapers’ paid subscribers.
  58. “In fact, I think in the long run, we’re going to look back at many facets of old media and realize that we were living in a desert disguised as a rain forest.” Steven Johnson There’s going to be a few bumps, But I do believe the future is bright…
  59. QUESTIONS? Thank you for reading Email: Twitter: @damianradcliffe Thanks for new ideas and inspiration: Kevin Anderson, Paul Bradshaw, George Brock, Bart Brouwers, Tom Glaisyer, Zahera Harb, Abraham Kamarck, Jan Keulen , Jon Kingsbury, Chris Lawrence, Andy Martin, Charles Miller, Nic Newman, John Owen, Ramaa Sharma, Judith Townend and Claire Wardle.