#newsrw: A round-up of the best blogs from news:rewired – noise to signal

Nicola Hughes (@DataMinerUK) speaking during the sorting the social media chaos session at news:rewired – noise to signal


Stories of battles for information, experiments with data journalism tools, and discovering ways to use social media inspired delegates and speakers at last week’s news:rewired to turn to their blogs.

Here is a selection of some of the posts about the day, as well as links to our own coverage.

The best round-up from the event is perhaps this Storify from Mark Jones on the Reuters Blog. He attended the sorting the social media chaos session, social media strategy and liveblogging, plus Heather Brooke’s keynote speech.

Not only is it a fine example of how best to use Storify, but it includes Jones’ own personal reflections on the day:

The highlight of the entire day for me was Paul Gallagher, digital editor of the Manchester Evening News. Here was an online journalist using social media techniques, having a real impact on a community and with plenty of war stories to prove it.

For a detailed round-up of some of the sessions see Adam Tinworth’s liveblog coverage on One Man and His Blog. Tinworth’s post on sorting the social media chaos is here, his liveblog of the social media strategy session is here and the audience data session is here. Tinworth also liveblogged Brooke’s keynote speech and, possibly risking some kind of space-time continuum issues, liveblogged the liveblogging session.

Patrick Smith has a good summary post of the keynote speech: Heather Brooke on the PR gatekeepers of officialdom.

Martin Belam’s Currybetdotnet blog has a great summary of what he saw on the day. Belam was in the sorting the social media chaos session, the developing the data story session and in the local data session. He’s written a concise summary of those sessions with a couple of Guardian anecdotes thrown in:

Alex Gubbay from the BBC gave a great talk about how they verify social media contributions, including things like whether the shadows in a video look right for the claimed time of day, using Google Street View to try and recreate a point of view shot, and how they check with the BBC’s Arabic and Persian services whether the accents of foreign contributions are appropriate.

He said the BBC were lucky to have those resources available to them, and it does throw some things into sharp relief if you are outside the BBC. At the Guardian, when the Japanese tsunami story broke, one of our brilliant designers who I work with closely ended up sitting on the news desk sifting through social media content because she is a native Japanese speaker. We were very proud of our coverage, and she did an amazing job, but we may not be so lucky if a similar disaster hit Sri Lanka or Indonesia. It simply isn’t the same as having BBC Monitoring on the end of the phone.

He has written a separate post on the liveblogging session, which is here.

Belam’s favourite speaker was Nicola Hughes (@DataMinerUK, pictured above), who has written an excellent summary of her talk, complete with tips on tools. Her full blog post is here where she explains her reasoning behind the DataMinerUK brand:

To get started you need to subscribe to the mantra: ‘The best pace to make a name for yourself is the web but you’ll never make your name on the web’.

This may appear contradictory but the key to unlocking its meaning is in the prepositions. No one would search for Nicola Hughes and if they did they’d find a theatre actress and a Miss Ireland wannabe slag. Nicola Hughes means nothing on Twitter.

It may mean something to the people who know me in real life but they are not an online niche. DataMinerUK has meaning and context. DataMinerUK implies a niche, implies functionality and more so implies a social service. I only blog and tweet about media related data and tools.

For all those who ask me non-data related issues on Twitter I will only DM, as my Twitter stream functions as a filter for data-related news for my followers. I don’t want to generate noise. I want to work as their semantic web to bring relevancy and link all the data journalism related social spheres (that’s the mission anyhow!).

Sarah Howard’s has blogged about her musings on news:rewired and the journalism revolution on Vertical Leap. She discusses the changing face of news.

Is the news revolution striving ahead? Yes for the most part, journalists and publishers seem keen to learn more about producing great online content, utilising social channels and analytics. Events such as news:rewired only serve to whet journalists’ appetites to learning more about the future of their industry – a future which undoubtedly lies online.

Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel that PR agencies and brands hold more power in this time of change, placing emphasis on ROI, reach and scope of stories as well as good-quality editorial content. Brands and PR companies are now employing in-house journalists to craft news that will attract consumers to their site and raise their profile from mere brand to top online news provider.

Publishers once relied on attracting readers with big-name journalists, now they must change their mindset to create online communities of interest for readers who really are spoilt for choice when it comes to news sources.  As well as their kin, news publishers are now up against brands which are producing well-educated content about their specialist area, prompting readers to go straight to the experts. There will always be a demand for newspaper/magazine content but publishers need to be aware of the emerging threat from brands and the decline of print media, responding in a modern way. Only by engaging, measuring and innovating can publishers really win this revolution.

There is more information on two other speakers: Neal Mann (@fieldproducer) and Fergus Bell (@fergb) on the Mediating Conflict blog.

Paul Bradshaw has used his Online Journalism Blog on Facebook for his notes on Alex Gubbay’s tips on verifying information. Bradshaw’s presentation was the focus for this post Idio’s blog: How can journalists future-proof their content. Idio has also added a very helpful post summarising its part in the presentation on ‘knowing your audience’.

You can also find full coverage of each session on the news:rewired site:

A liveblog and post on Heather Brooke’s keynote speech

A liveblog and post on session 1A: the data journalism toolkit

A liveblog and post on session 1B: Sorting the social media chaos

A liveblog and post on session 2A: Developing the data story

A liveblog and post on session 2B: Social media strategy

A liveblog and post on session 3A: Local data

A liveblog and post on session 3b: Knowing your audience

A liveblog and post on the final session: Is liveblogging rewriting journalism?

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