Periscope and Meerkat : The New ‘Twitter’ for Reporters

Periscope, Meerkat - New Twiter for ReportingBelieve it or not, Twitter has been around for nine years now. Shortly after Twitter launched in March of 2006, The American Journalism Review (AJR) published an article that referred to Twitter as “…the latest in an ever-lengthening list of overhyped technologies and cultural techno-fads stretching back to CB radio.” The industry largely doubted the viability of Twitter as a news platform. They will not repeat this mistake with Periscope and Meerkat, two new live-video apps that enable anyone with a smartphone to broadcast a live-video feed to their Twitter followers. Just as Twitter has become the first broadcast breaking news in text and photo formats, so too will it now bring us live-video coverage of news as it unfolds.

Back to the AJR article for a second – because it provides a great illustration for how news organizations have evolved their approach to new platforms and consumption patterns across their audiences – the author posed the question of whether Twitter was a fad, or if it could actually end up being useful for news distribution, reporting or source-building. It was a wait and see attitude that dominated an industry rooted in traditions and paralyzed by a lack of innovation and willingness to change.

In one of my first blog posts on Journalistics, nearly two years after the launch of Twitter, I shared the results of a survey I conducted with more than 100 professional journalists at the time. I interviewed reporters and producers about the biggest challenges facing them in preparing the news in a rapidly-changing media environment. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t a single mention of “learning how to use Twitter in my reporting.” I’ll say it again, that was two years after the launch of Twitter.

Fast-forward to 2015 and we’re witnessing the next transformation in social media-based reporting with the launch of Meerkat and Periscope. These services launched over the course of the past couple of weeks. Every minute, news organizations, reporters and a bunch of other early adopters are starting to leverage these new platforms to broadcast their live-video feeds to anyone that will watch. If you aren’t yet familiar with how this works, once you click a button to begin the stream, your Twitter followers are notified that you’re broadcasting. They just have to click the link and their preferred device becomes the new window into the world of breaking news (or anything else publishers choose to broadcast). [Read more…]

Use Community to Drive Impressions and Revenue

It’s no secret that media properties—newspapers, in particular—are facing disruptive challenges today. These include the physical cost of newsprint, the explosion of the Internet for information consumption, falling revenues from classified advertising, the loss of print advertising to the web and a general uncertainty of the future of print.  This impact has been significant in the U.S. and Europe with ad revenues down 30 percent and job cuts and wage freezes being the norm for the past few years.

The most dramatic of these challenges has no doubt been the uncertainty caused by the shift in consumer attention from print to the online content.  This has required media groups worldwide to investigate and experiment with new business models and content strategies aimed at retaining their audience while finding ways in which to effectively monetize their content assets.

With consumers expecting content to be accessible across a myriad of devices (smartphones, the iPad, laptops etc.) it’s vital for media businesses to engage their customers as individuals across all touch points.  They must also support the demand of both corporate and user-generated digital content in growing communities – faster, efficiently and more consistently.

Today’s news properties compete aggressively online for the attention of consumers and are compelled to move beyond their traditional news delivery capabilities to support this rapid transition to online content consumption and communication. News outlets are now required to offer a trustworthy engaging community-driven experience with the delivery of personalized content, offers and promotions, in order to increase readership and create new revenue opportunities. [Read more…]

91 Journalism Blogs and Websites You Will Love

If you read Journalistics a lot, you know we love us some journalism. We know you love journalism too. The truth is, there are a lot of other journalism blogs and websites out there that do a better job at it than we do. If it weren’t for the 91 journalism blogs and websites on this list, we’d be clueless about what’s going on out there.

There is no ranking or secret formula to this list. We’ve done our best to break this list into some bite-sized categories (big bites), but there is no science behind our organization. It’s just a list of journalism blogs and websites we like – many of which you probably know about already. Then again, your new favorite blog might be on this list. There’s only one way to find out…

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The Problem with Citizen Journalism

Want to get a professional journalist fired up? Tell them how much you love citizen journalism and how it’s going to put them out of a job. Sure, it’s a sweeping generalization, but every time I talk mention citizen journalism in a post or tweet, I get some at least one message from a journalist that says “it’s not journalism.” I think the problem most professional journalists have with the term “citizen journalism” is the word “journalism.” If we just called it “people blogging or tweeting stuff that’s going on right now”, or if we called it an “eyewitness account”, there would probably be less controversy around the subject. [Read more…]

YouTube’s Reporters’ Center to Help You Report the News

YouTube’s Reporters’ Center couldn’t come at a better time in the evolution of citizen journalism. Citizens of countries around the world now play a more pivotal role in the gathering of facts and reporting of news than ever before. The value of citizen journalism has been clearly demonstrated in recent weeks, as many of us have witnessed Iranian citizens protesting their national election. In parts of the world where journalists are blocked from covering the news, or imprisoned for their efforts, brave citizens have stepped into the void to bring us stories from a perspective we’ve rarely seen in modern reporting.

Services like Twitter, Skype and other citizen journalism platforms like CNN’s iReport have been at the center of the action, providing citizens with the media tools they need to upload and broadcast their content to the world. With the launch of YouTube’s Reporters’ Center, citizens now have a new tool to use, on the world’s largest online video platform. What’s most impressive about YouTube’s Reporters’ Center is its focus on making you (and me) better citizen journalists. To coincide with the launch of its new service, YouTube put together an impressive selection of videos from respected journalists, aimed at providing regular Joes and Janes like us with a crash course in reporting. [Read more…]

Process Journalism and Its Twitter Enabler

Michael Arrington recently wrote about an interview he did with NPR about the idea of Process Journalism. In the post, Arrington says “Process Journalism is the posting of a story before it’s fully baked, something the New York Times officially despises, but they do it to.” The Times jab is a reference to a recent article that suggested blogs like TechCrunch posts rumors before a story is verified.

It’s hard to single out any media outlet for being more guilty of rumor mongering than the other these days. While TechCrunch may roll with a story faster than traditional media outlets might, that’s part of the reason blogs like TechCrunch have transformed the way we get our information (and why we love them so much). [Read more…]

Community Funded Journalism – The Spot.Us Model

I recently stumbled across the website for Spot.Us, an interesting model in news production. Spot.Us is a nonprofit project of the Center for Media Change. It’s goal is to pioneer “community funded reporting” – enabling the public to commission journalists to do investigations on important and perhaps overlooked stories.

It’s an interesting concept, but on the surface it seems flawed on several levels – at least based on my basic understanding of media ethics. I have never met a journalist that would write a story that somebody paid for. Okay, I take that back – there are plenty of outlets that ‘secretly’ operate on the pay-to-play model, but that’s a topic for another post. It’s not common – at least not that I know of – at the mainstream media level.

Here’s how it works (based on what I could gather from the Spot.Us website). Let’s say there’s a story I think needs to be told, and the media isn’t covering it. I can pitch the story and commit funds to sponsor the production of the story. In turn, reporters can commit to doing the story. Now if the news organization buys the rights to the story, my tax deductible donation is reimbursed. So that is an approach media organizations can use to get around the payment issue. [Read more…]