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LIVE: Session 2B – Social media optimisation

Submitted by on February 3, 2012 – 12:06 pm | 4,971 views

As more journalists become active on social media platforms, now is the time to think about how to share news more effectively. This session will look at social media optimisation (SMO) – when best to share news on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, to maximise readership.

With: Nate Lanxon, editor, Wired.co.uk; Chris Hamilton, social media editor, BBC News; Martin Belam, user experience lead, the Guardian; and Darren Waters, head of devices and social media, MSN UK.


Last question from an audience member from Denmark, directed at Mills: “how do you cope with prioritising?” Mills says there aren’t always breaking news stories, so ITV uses this time to look for different angles, or find new stories. He says they try to not only report what’s happening right now, but create original content about what’s happening right now.


An audience member asks the panel where to draw the line between the importance of speed and the need to be accurate. Mackinnon says journalists could come to the humanitarian network to verify information.

Another question from the audience: are we losing the sense of what really is breaking news, considering many outlets put “breaking” in tweets to get people to click their links? Mills says ITV tries not to use the work “breaking” in tweets at all, because they report “what’s happening now”.


Question from the audience from Jason Mills: How does SEO link into breaking news? Mills’ answer points out that ITV is not good enough at SEO.


Question from the moderator, Laura Oliver (@LauraOliver), community manager at the Guardian: if you are not the first outlet to break a story, how do you approach it? Mills says you have to try to catch up, or a find a different angle. What’s going to make your content stand out?


He says breaking news is really about speed, and a stream really helps cover it better.


Jason Mills (@jasonmillsitv), web editor at ITV News, says breaking news is their DNA. Some 80 per cent of their audience are skimmers – their website caters to this audience by creating a sense of speed. ITV journalists are given a really simple and intuitive CMS to publish content.

He says content also needs to be accurate, but checking the content falls onto a different team. He says speed is about attributing and aggregating reliable sources, and that breaking news is “essentially a collaborative business”.



Quigley signs off by saying breaking news doesn’t have to be new to you, only to your audience.


NewsWhip tracks all the news stories and identifies those which get a higher velocity. There are three ways in which a story can be breaking news from the audience’s perspective:

1. Classic Break – audience is interested but the facts are newly in the public domain.

2. Audience Break – something the audience is interested in, but they won’t find out about it because it was published on a blog. Quigley says it will take a variety of sources for a story to get to its intended audience. These breaks can happen from obscurity, such as an image of a drunk elk in a tree which was snapped in Sweden but made its way around the world. Secondly, local events with national resonance can be picked up by followers, and lastly when news is translated into your language.

3. Perspective break – a story that is already out there, but certain facts have been overlooked.



Paul Quigley (@paulyq), chief executive of  NewsWhip, steps up next with a new perspective on breaking news. Historically, we understand it as the first time a story is published, but he wants to look at it from the audience’s perspective. He says a story doesn’t get to everyone the first time it’s published – it first gets picked up by blogs (5 per cent penetration), then by a regional paper (10 per cent) and following that by the BBC (60 per cent penetration).



Mackinnon tells the audience about a competition in the United States where people had to find 8 red weather balloons, and the first person to find all 8 would win ,000. It took the winner under 9 hours to track them down using Twitter.


Next up is Justine Mackinnon (@fidget02), co-founder of CrisisMappersUK, who asks the audience how many tweets do we think are useful to us? A guess from the audience says 2 per cent, but the answer turns out to be 0.001 per cent – based on tweets posted during Hurricane Sandy. The percentage counted for 15000 words.

She mentions the “mission impossible” assigned to her during Typhoon Pablo in the Philippines, when she had to collect all the tweets and geo-tag them. She says that out of millions of tweets, there could be one that could save a life. The platform created allows users to geo-locate tweets and categorise by damage or area. The first ever map produced by the UN in the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo was all sourced from social media. She says we have to listen to people because there is so much data out there. This is however a two-way task, because emergency responders need people affected to publish information on social media channels.


He finishes off by saying that the problem of truth and verification goes back a long way, far predating social media. He quotes a commentary about false news regarding the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, which blamed the situation on “irresponsible individuals seeking to provide news at all costs”. A message of caution to all “eager twitterers”.


Hamilton gives the audience an insight into how BBC News uses software to send single lines of copy to various breaking news platforms, which can then be tweeted or sent to the audience via SMS. He says social media is hugely important to getting news out to the audience fast. He brings up a tweet from Sky Sports which got more retweets than the BBC version of the same headline, saying how hashtags and Twitter handles mentioned in the text can make a difference in how your audience interacts with the content.


He follows by explaining that the BBC newsroom is set out in a way that puts social media at the heart of the news desk. The slides show the set up of a typical desk, with three monitors and “crucially, Tweetdeck”. Another challenge brought up is having to set up everything in due time in order to keep on top of the information coming in when a news story breaks.


Chris Hamilton (@chrishams), social media editor at BBC News starts off the second session by hailing user generated content (UGC) as the way to engourage user engagement at the BBC. One of the first challenges he points out is the overabundance of content that UGC creates, and how this can be integrated into the type of copy the audience expects to see.


And that’s it. Signing off, and time for a drink.


Mann says that on Twitter, content has about an hour lifetime, but on Facebook it can keep rolling forever. It’s about posting the key content of the day and harnessing the shares.


Different stories have a better resonance on Facebook; we don’t pump breaking news on to Facebook because people will unfollow us, says Tom McArthur.


Q: What happens when people talk back?

A, Mann: If you can engage your followers, it means you can ultimately work with people on a story. I don’t engage with those people that make threats, which happened when covering Libya.


Twitter and Facebook are not a replacement to traditional journalistic practices, according to Kuenssberg. If these services were shut down, we wouldn’t be crippled – these are additions to what we do, not replacements.


Q: Do you see that Twitter is becoming more “tribalisitic” – it doesn’t matter what the truth is, people will just follows one person and will defend that viewpoint.

A, Haddon: People have always clustered online around a viewpoint. I think it depends on the issue.

A, Kuenssberg: we have to remember that Twitter is a self-selected group of people, it’s not a full picture of society.


Q: Is the conversation changing as a result of the rise of Facebook comments?

A: The tone of comment is very different when people aren’t anonymous. It’s not they’re accountable, but they are identifiable.

Kuenssberg says that we should never limit the ways for people to comment, regardless of how they comment.


Q: What guidelines should there be from news organisations for freelancers strongly connected with that organisations?

A: Ultimately the same regulations apply, you should have the same rules as any full time staff. At Sky, everyone gets a copy of the social media guidelines, it’s just a part of what we do now, says Mann.


Q: How do we self-regulate? Laws of libel are close to being breached on social media.

A, Mann: We have to accept that we don’t have control over everything. But if we see something hit a node, such as a celebrity, and then it’s our job as journalists to step in.


Q: What’s the best way to break news?

A, Laura Kuenssberg: Whatever is the fastest way to do it. If you have a camera, do a live broadcast and tweet afterwards.


We’re now discussing “ownership” of followers and what happens when an employee moves company after having built a mass following.

Consensus is that no one owns the followers, and keeping the account within the company would be fairly useless – followers would most likely leave.


BreakingNews.com editor now speaking, Tom McArthur, says that attributing the source is important.

BreakingNews see themselves as curating the social web and the news that exists there. They admit it they dropped the ball by retweeting the recent Paterno death, but managed to limit damage by keeping the original tweets and sending new tweets and writing a blog post addressing the errors.


Haddon says they avoid tweeting breaking news because that’s the AFP business model – their clients pay for the wire, not so that they can see the news breaking on a free Twitter stream.


Katherine Haddon, who has been reporting from Afghanistan with AFP, cites social media as essential for confirming stories and gathering information – “did anyone hear an explosion at X near Y?”


Social media users aren’t stupid, we should remember that. We should treat social media as a very different platform to traditional broadcasting, even though it is still a form of broadcasting.


Mann: “Journalists should be the anchors in the rumour storm.”

Previously ITV, BBC, Sky would never report on rumours, but now we report that there are reports of rioting, for example, but when we knock something down and disprove it, we report that too.


Neal Mann is talking about how usage of social media has expanded since 2008. It became obvious that it needed to be used as a news gathering tool, but problems arose as there were no guidelines.

Kuenssberg and Mann both adhere to the policy: “If you wouldn’t say it on air, don’t post it to Twitter.”


We’re getting into the last session of today. It’s going to be more of a debate and discussion, so tweet questions to @newsrewired.

The panellists are: Laura Kuenssberg, business editor, ITV News, @ITVLauraKNeal Mann, digital news editor, Sky News, @fieldproducerKatherine Haddon, head of online, English, AFP, @khaddonTom McArthur, UK editor, Breakingnews.com, @TomMcArthur.

Moderated by Kevin Anderson, journalist and digital strategist,@kevglobal.


Sorry about the lack of questions there, WiFi issues.

Q: Are newsgames having an effect of the type of journalism your organisations are doing?

Answer from Al Trivino, NI:
No, we treat them as a separate entity currently.

And that’s it for newsgames and gamification.


Q: Are newsgames having an effect of thee types of journalism your organisations are producing?



Opening up for questions now.


We’re moving on to the infamous “Curse of the Cow Clicker.” The text was a critique of Farmville, but there was a game built into the article. When readers clicked the word cow, a large cow image popped up. To complete the game, readers had to figure out the order to click the 94 instances of the word cow.

It’s got deliberate horrible Facebook sharing, all to build on the article’s criticisms of Farmville.


And once you go multiplatform, there are new readers waiting for you.


Interactive editions are “sexy, expensive and the future!”

But at the moment they’re difficult for both art editors and advertising – no one’s really done it yet. Goldsmith says start with a digital replica and begin that conversation with your reader before developing interactive…


But games aren’t limited to things that are quantifiable. There was a game where users had to relight candles as they faded, connected to the Madrid bombings. The underlying message? Remembrance is a simple act, but it requires constant renewal.


Interactive editions are developer-friendly and perform well for conversion. They’re great for big online brands that already produce lots of interactive and multimedia.


Both games and economic systems are governed by rules. Therefore economics fits well into games, as shown in Cutthroat Capitalism –  a game about the economics of being a Somalian pirate.


Digital replicas, Goldsmith concludes, are a great first entry into multiplatform strategy but they are NOT a long-term solution for the biggest brands.

Instead, there are interactive editions for a very sexy user experience!


Shannon Perkins, Wired.com, speaks next on the topic of what do games represent well?


The Guardian is trying to create a standard way of laying out data, so that it can be  entered into standard visualisations. This offers embeddable widgets and infographics, and also allows other newsrooms and users to put their own content it. It’s all open source, and developments with the project can be followed via twitter: @ajdant.


He says, unfortunately, digital replicas are still seen as a poor relation – although tablets are changing that. They’ve started to really make sense over the last year.


Sharing with friends is important. Ask the right questions and post it on a Friday afternoon and you can get a big audience.


Digital newsstands are a GOOD thing for magazine publishers, he says.

Digital replicas look beautiful – very inportant for consumer magazines – and encourage people to actually pay for content.


One of the most popular posts is just quotes from Sheen and Gadaffi, pick who said what. It went viral because it was so simple, topical, and entertaining.

Ironically this took very little to work to make, and was invented by someone on the newsdesk.


Data is a great starting point for games. Government spending cuts were made into an infographic, and then redesigned as a game where readers had to make their own cuts to make the required savings. Readers could then share their own unique pathway with friends.


And last but not least, we have Mike Goldsmith from Future Publishing…


He’s talking about game mechanics now. It’s about making someone feel like they are moving, and progressing.

Simple reward mechanisms make content a lot more engaging – he references Zynga and Farmville. The user is carrying out mundane tasks but it is incentivised.


He opens by asking what’s changed?

Puzzles have always existed in print (crosswords etc), but online opens up a far more wide-reaching experience.


They use the weekly print edition to go in depth into the background to the stories they’re covering as they break daily online.


Next up is Alastair Dant, Lead Interative Technologist at the Guardian.



– newsgames drive engagement, and moves news from passive to active consumption.

– audio effects, voice and music etc., help to deliver an informative experience.

– motion graphics help create a solid narrative


He cites an amazing case study: the editors of Basel Zeitung walked out when the paper was sold to a right wing politician. Swiss citizens came out in support of the editors, who then decided to set up their own democratic community paper – helped by Sourcefabric.

The new organisation sees itself as a news website which happens to put out a print edition – not the other way round.

Open source really helped them as a startup because they didn’t have to pay for a license for software.


Q: “How long did the app take to make?”

A: “8 weeks. But we wern’t targeting the Olympics, it’s about seeing if we can create content that will outlast the 24 hour news cycle that operate in.”


He’s now lunging around the stage, phone in hand, attacking an invisible opponent. He’s rewarded with a silver medal after several assaults. Not one to play in public, perhaps?


Sourcefabric help smaller and less wealthy newsrooms to “punch above their weight”. Often this is achieved using “the least sexy side” of online journalism – manipulating the back end of websites, etc. They put content first and build the workflow around it. That’s more important than being limited to specific platforms – “must be ready for anything!”


He is now demoing several minigames that are blended with informative audio, for example telling us about the mask and a minigame that involves pulling down the  mask over your phone touchscreen to put it on.

Based on performance, the game then rewards you with a medal/certificate.


Douglas Arellanes from NGO Sourcefabric has taken to the stage… He’s here to tell us about his efforts to ‘open source the newsroom’


We’re now learning about Olympic fencing, while Travino talks about how he wants to look at music next. It’s a space to watch.

He says visual representation is important – aesthetics are essential for holding someone’s attention.


The Times is proud to be Angry Birds in downloads!


Trivino is now demoing their Olympic Visual Dictionary.

It lets you learn about Olympic sports, practice techniques, and lets you collect medals, and compare with friends. All on your phone.


Adams thinks launching a largely static newspaper app in an age of rolling news was a bold move. She thinks readers like a break from reading online where they’re continually asked to make decisions about what and how they read.


He has several objectives in his current post at NI:

1 – use sensors to enhance the personal experience.

2 – explore traditional and interactive graphics, and whether they can evolve into motion graphics.

3- gaming narratives and educational formats.

4 – explore collectable models.


Now we’ve got Lucia Adams, web development editor at the Times. She’s talking about the plunge behind the paywall and helping to launch the iPad in the UK.


Al Trivino, director of innovation at News International, is speaking now. He says we need to start thinking about innovative content now, not in three years. Newsgames are innovative.


In other words, multiplatform strategy must take into account and be part of the organisation’s “business goals”


Try something new; newsgames can seem a little weird and off the beaten path, but experimentation can be fruitful.

Video games can yield good journalism.

As a journalist, we should be explaining things in detail, and a game can be the best way to achieve that explanation.


The Economist uses tablet versions to offer tasters of Economist books which in turn may entice people to read the magazine. Multiplatform strategy is all about creating continuity but also using difference in media to create hook-ins.


The Economist already uses data to produce books such as ‘The World in Figures’ and ‘Which MBA?’ They are also interactive data books, like apps – not a passive reading experience.


They’re looking at ways to socialise their audio. iTunes is too much of a ‘closed garden’ he says – not enough incentive to share and interact.

The Economist also want to take data from the magazine and turn it into apps that readers can use.


There is also a news game based on rescuing the Chillean miners, that involves spinning a wheel to winch up the miners, one by one.


Newsgames can  also teach – insidedisaster.com/haiti/experience



Our first speaker is Ron Diorio from the Economist group. Did you know they produce an audio book version of the Economist every week?! They also use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr…


Newsgames editorialise, and can raise awareness.

Games based on real events like the Hudson river crash, raise awareness and engage readers in a new way.


Bobby Schweizer is opening the session, and poses the question, “what is a news game?”

Current events games, and infographics that allow you explore data are two examples.


Peter Clifton’s first experience of multiplatform strategy? Ceefax at the BBC! How far we’ve come…


We’re about to kick off on multiplatform strategy. Hope the wifi holds out!



“Aggregation is NOT the same as curation.” Payne’s favourite platform for intelligent curation is Storify – but he warns against getting comfortable as you never know when a company will go under. He is looking forward to more decentralised, open source software. We can’t become completely reliant on corporations that are in it for the money, not for the story!


And we’ll be back in an hour for lunch. Thanks for following.


Q: What about rumour spreading?

A: It’s our job to stop that, we need to verify. Panel agreement.


Nate Lanxon says that if he had a choice between the main Wired account and his personal account, he would choose the personal account. It’s far more important and personal is important.


Social media is not a “here today, gone tomorrow” says Chris Hamilton. It has become part of our working life.


“Aggregation is NOT the same as curation.” Payne’s favourite platform for intelligent curation is Storife – but he warns against getting comfortable as you never know when a company will go under. He is looking forward to more decentralised, open source software.


He started off using the ubiquitous Hipstamatic app to make photos look a little more interesting.

He relies on email when reporting on the road because it’s stable. He emails blog posts to Posterous, etc. He’s also a massive fan of geotagging – it’s another way for people to stumble upon and engage with your content.

He thinks journalists should be demanding more from companies like Apple so that apps keep up with the way we work.


Frictionless sharing is being raised now. How many complaints have their been? Is it an issue?

A: People will very quickly get used to it. And at times, people will hesitate to click links because of the results, but we have to remember that the main user – a younger demographic – react in a completely different way.


Belam: “Facebook doesn’t follow the news cycle.”

For example, the biggest story at the minute on the Facebook app is the “5 most common regrets when you die”. Right now, it’s making up about 20% of the app traffic. It’s just not a platform for breaking news.


He aims to finish the stories that the big news organisations start and then abandon.


Now we’ve got Christian Payne, mobile story maker from documentally.com

He starts by telling social media journalists NEVER to change their avatar! It’s part of your brand, so choose carefully and then stick with it…


Klout? MSN measure the Klout of their various accounts, but they don’t put too much emphasis on the numbers.


It’s important that we differentiate content across networks. Wired uses more light hearted content on Facebook, Twitter for slightly more serious content.


General agreement amongst the panellists that Facebook insights are both a blessing and a curse.

Some of the numbers offered by insights could be accused of being “vanity metrics”.


“record is the new QWERTY!”


Sound Cloud integrates with Storify – some journalists curated collections of audio ‘notes’ and clips of Occupy Wall Street which went viral.


The ultimate goal is to combine live news, social elements, traditional reporting, and editorial curation. Then we’ll have got social media optimised.


He’s showing us how Sound Cloud allows users to add meta data, such as images, text and geotag, to audio.


MSN now have their live blogs embedded into Facebook, and allow the users to contribute their comments.


On the website, some additions are making the experience more social. “Recommended reading” and adding a “Trending” widget are two examples.


We’re now hearing from Ben Fawkes, audio content manager from Sound Cloud.


MSN are in the process of building a foundation for social, because if they “engage with us on social media, they then become loyal users of MSN.”


Uses Report-It and Bambuser for live broadcasting audio and video.


Waters says that optimisation is tricky because there are so many contributors to the discussion. How do we make sense of it all?


He’s showing off a nifty iPhone tripod. Provides stability and a base to clip on microphones, etc.

But he says even these were inappropriate during the riots, when he saw cameramen assaulted and their equipment stolen. Sky cameramen were told to stay slightly outside while the reporters went into the action, armed only with inconspicuous mobile phones.


Head of devices and social media at MSN is talking next, I believe: Darren Waters.


He encourages journalists to PRACTISsymbolise reportage – practice makes perfect! – but also to use equipment that will enable better reporting, such as an iPhone tripod and add-on microphones/XLRs.

But, he says, you need to “take the rough with the smooth” when it comes to mobile reportage. Telling the story is the most important thing and, for Sky News’s rolling news, to tell the story AS it happens.


“We want our stories to share themselves”

Wired.co.uk are getting rid of their own comment system, and building in Facebook comments.


When do we post to Facebook?

First thing, lunchtime, 3pm in the afternoon (when things winding down), and 5pm when people get home.

Twitter doesn’t matter so much.


We’re moving our share buttons up to the top of the articles, because people will share an article based on the headline.


He’s showing us footage shot during the riots using only an iPhone.


This isn’t about driving fans to Wired. It’s about driving Wired to fans.


One example – our roof falling in and taking a picture got more interaction than the biggest news in a long time, Facebook going public.


Now we’re hearing from Nick Martin, Sky News correspondent. He’s talking about using apps such as Skype as a way to get material back to the newsroom as fast as possible.


Traffic is not the focus for the Wired Facebook page. It’s more about posting pictures and giving a “behind the scenes” look.


Lanxon has whipped out a big photo of Mark Zuckerberg. It stays on his desk, and serves as a reminder to A) use Facebook, and B) you’re not doing as well as him.

Post something interesting, not an RSS of headlines.


Nate Lanxon, editor of Wired.co.uk, will speak next.


MEN has used Bambuser for live streaming mobile video.



MEN offered a prize to the journalist who could produce the most-watched video. One offering included a “virtual bumpy ride along Oldham’s most potholed ride” with thecombine camera strapped to the bottom of his car!
Another reporter captured the arrest of a protestor at the student fees protest. A commenter on YouTube identified the arrestee as a lecturer in political violence, providing a great follow up story.
During the August riots, journalists and TV crew vans were attacked. Mobile phones were a great way to capture footage while blending into the crowd.


On to Google+, again we’re talking about hangouts and how to differentiate yourselves from the competition. A lot of agreement with Liz Heron’s keynote earlier.

The BBC is placing a lot of emphasis on shareability – it got some of the most shared comments on Facebook from the UK media. Facebook will be a focus for this year.



Top tweets from last year:

Top two were on the Japanese tsunami.

Science and technology tweets also do well, such as about CERN.

Pictures and adding hashtags also helps, and makes sure you’re part on the conversation.


The Evening News has used geotagging to tol news stories such as road accidents and congestion, as well as following coach loads of City fans on their way to the Manchester United v City clash – helped to build up the atmosphere!


Focus on your strengths – RT’ing correspondents, offering live news, video coverage.

Also amplifying popular programs to show the depth of what the BBC does.


The BBC run three core Twitter accounts. It used to be feed driven, but recently introduced a more human element.

We focussed on the quality on the tweeting.

We wanted a consistent tone, and not to just say what everyone else was saying. It’s important to build on the headlines- adding value is essential.


Chris Hamilton, social media editor at the BBC is now talking. He will attempt to cover what the BBC is doing on Twitter, and then move on to Facebook and Google +.



Journalists can curate liveblogs which include video and photos. Has enabled the Evening News to capture breaking stories such as protestors storming a council meeting.



Paul Gallagher, head of online content at the Manchester Evening News, is appearing via Skype thanks to the train cancellations!

He says it’s impossible for journalists to do their job properly without a smartphone. The Manchester Evening News uses mobile-shot photos from its journalists even in the print edition. They are also used to continuously update online galleries of events such as the public sector strike.


The content is embedded in the app is all from the Guardian, embedded in an iFrame. This means that any adverts, barring a few Facebook ones down the side, are the Guardian’s – it is a revenue stream.


However, there are problems with archive content. What about news content? readers need to know, so there’s been iterations to make the date clearer.


The app gives a platform for old archived content to really bloom with contemporary content. Old articles have gone viral and had hundreds of new comments.


“It’s been a love it/hate it proposition” – it’s been divisive, but it’s worth it says Belam.


The app was built on the Guardian Open Platform API, which means it was built in 5 weeks.

The more of your friends’ faces you can see, the more likely you are to bee engaged, say Facebook.

Guardian are now very close to 6M app installs. Most interestingly, the demographic of the app, the majority are in the 18-24 age bracket.


Martin Belam, Lead UX at the Guardian, is starting the session, discussing their Facebook app.

They now have all content- audio, video etc in their Facebook app.

They aimed to improve one thing: 77% of people coming from Facebook only viewed one page before leaving. The Guardian website “interrupts” Facebook.


We’re done here, next post up in a second.


Standage says that the Guardian is gearing up to monetise its foreign readership, cites expanding to the US.

He says it needs to trim down its workforce drastically.


Questions now.

Q: “If you were running the Guardian, what would you do.”

A: “They have a confused approach. I can read it for free everyday. I can look at it on Flipboard, rather than pay £9.99 for it.”

Standage is discussing Francois’ views on reciprocation. We’re going off on a tangent.

Back on online payments, there is plenty of money online. But Nel says we’re not looking for it in the right places or ways.



Heilmann says “the only metric we should care about is people’s attention span online” – this is why online video must differ from TV news.


“We need to grow up!” Reciprocity needs to be a part of the ongoing relationship.

We need to share to make our business models work.


Nel says that the MailOnline offers a complementary strategy.

The Guardian is cannibalisation though. For example, their iPad app advertises as “today’s paper, beautifull delivered.” They are dwindling their own print edition.


Video “remixed” with google maps, sound cloud, Flickr, video and tweets to make these “living videos”. The results can be humorous – Buffy remixed with Twilight – or informative – a local documentary about the Black Panther party and the history of a neighbourhood.


The Mail have a two distinct products – print and website.



The timestamp can match tweets to footage for a record of reactions in real time.

Heilmann is now showing us some user generated interactive video projects made using Popcorn to mix content. Exciting stuff! He calls it “a living documentary”.


The Guardian is down 14% year-on-year for their print edition. They, again, are up 31% online.

But they are spending a huge amount of effort on their output (Facebook app, for example). Their losses are huge though, what’s going on?



With HTML5 the video becomes just another page element which can be edited and overlayed. “The timestamp is the glue.”


Over the last year, the Mail has declined by 4.6% in it’s print edition. Online, however, it’s readership has grown by nearly 60%.  MailOnline’s rise has been “meteoric”.


There have always been differing price points and pricing strategies. We’re now going to look at the most successful news websites (traffic-wise) in the UK: MailOnline and the Guardian.



“video is a black hole on the web” – Google cannot find the content. To make it more ‘findable’ we must use a great headline and separate our content out from the presentation. If the text can be separated it out from the video (eg using Universal Subtitles) you can edit text after publishing video. Google can find the text and it helps readers to skip to the bit of the video they want.

HTML5 video allows for all of that.


Nel says that we need to drop the binary arguments: to paywall or not to paywall is not a good question.

It’s too simplistic.


Social, local, and mobile are the key areas for the future in the eyes of media executives. But at what price?



He says when it comes to video online, shorter is better – otherwise people get fidgety and start checking Twitter or FarmVille!

Now it’s Chris Heilmann of Mozilla Popcorn – he says he has a background in radio.


Sorry, slight crossing of live blogs here. Sorting to fix things.



David Dunkley Gyimah is up next – a video journalist, academic and artist in residence at the Southbank, apparently!
Reportage in 1991/2 was “the YouTube of the BBC back then” – young and disruptive.
It all comes back to cinema. You need to get people to feel something, and to do that you need to experiment with image and movement and how best to capture that.


He wants to look at experimentation, and whether there are underlying principles that are essential for understanding online business models.



“we’re prone to following trends when we should also focus on exemplars” – Gyimah studies legendary cinematic directors. He also recommends Media Storm as an exemplar for online video.



David Dunkley Gyimah is up next – a video journalist, academic and artist in residence at the Southbank, apparently!
Reportage in 1991/2 was “the YouTube of the BBC back then” – young and disruptive.
It all comes back to cinema. You need to get people to feel something, and to do that you need to experiment with image and movement and how best to capture that.


Overall, make it easy and people will pay! Streamlining the payment experience is essential is seems.

Francois Nel is now taking the stage. He is an academic at UCLan. He says he will be talking about the “alchemy of paid content innovations”. Yeah.



Question: “isn’t the FT just putting TV news online?”

A: we have a mixture of polished content and more raw, on the ground news. That seems to be what the FT audience want, but again, it’s an evolving medium. We definitely aim for much short videos online – almost always under 5 minutes.


Previously, Premium SMS was the best way to do mobile payments – this is clunky and readers also don’t want to be waiting around for a text.


Impulse Pay’s alternative is a one-click approach, where the cost is added to your mobile phone bill.


People don’t like filling in forms, they are tedious and boring. The average credit card payment takes 120 character strokes – it’s too much effort for readers!


Now speaking: Chris Newell, founder of Impulse Pay.


Standage is talking about about their web presence now, and the strengths of a metered paywall.


“The human face is absolutely crucial” – the individual details that help you to understand the wider story.

Josh de la Mare closes by reminding us that “nothing is sacred” – the medium is still evolving and there’s no stable formula for producing online video.


The Economist call this “finishability” approach Lean Back 2.0.


Standage says there is a catharsis in finishability. And this is still available on their apps, whereas you can’t find that on the web, because there is always more information available.


The FT has had a studio for about 3 years. FT video produces short comment and interview clips that go deeper into niche angles of the broader story.

FT also use on-site camera crews and provide theirjournalists with flip cams, encouraging them to shoot footage all over the world.


Currently, readers prefer print over digital (80 – 20), but in two years the split will be 70 -30 in favour of digital.


When we ask people why they cancel their print subscriptions, they largely say it’s because they see them piling up and they don’t have the time to read.

They are addressing this with digital, by offering it in app form, and in audio. You can read it on your iPhone in a cramped train carriage with one hand, or listen when you’re on a run.



Josh de la Mare: FT mostly uses talking heads because that’s most appropriate for our audience.
Video can get to the emotional heart of a story. The FT used video to represent the human side to the impact of 9/11.


Tom Standage, digital editor of the Economist is now speaking. They have about 1.5 M print readers, of which a third use their apps as well. Largely digital users, are digital only.



User generated content (UGC) is not a free and easy way to get great video clips!

The Guardian is exploring ways to engage with readers using multimedia. Domokos shows us an example which worked – people speaking out against disability living allowance cuts. These videos worked because the subjects had a real personal reason to produce them. The raw result is also not something a traditional camera crew could ever have got by treating them as “case studies”. 

Every time we use video, we must be using it because it’s the RIGHT way to tell the story, not the easy way


Questions now: “What about Android apps?”

Answer: “We’ve not done so much with Android. In Newsstand, Apple have created a retail experience, which is something that we think Google are missing.”


It’s worth producing a high quality product, because users will rate you highly, and Apple will give you access to promo spots if you offer a good experience.


Moving forward, it’s important to note that Apple will sell more iPhones and iPads.


John Domokos, video producer at the Guardian, showing clips from the student protests where he got to know and followed a group of first time protestors. Videos showed an alternative side of the protests when the main ‘traditional’ media story was the attack on Charles and Camilla’s car.

Online video doesn’t have the resources of broadcast but is finding its own special place – raw, microcosm approach – not the top-down, broad view presented on TV.


One problem with apps though is that people want to be able to sample, but making an issue free can cause surges in downloads that have unpredictable effects – like melting servers.

Technical support queries are also overwhelming at times, and iOS users traditionally expect bulletproof reliability and high production values.

You’ll be judged against Flipboard, even if you’re Landrover Monthly.


“Newsstand completely redefined “doing well””

3.5 M app downloads since the launch of Newsstand, across a range of titles. And revenue is up to – 0, 000 – even after VAT and the Apple cut.

Consumer attention is high.


Alex Watson, Dennis Publishing is talking first, about how the Apple Newsstand is changing magazine online publishing.


Katie King, senior product manager, Portal & Partners, MSN UK, is introducing the panel for this session, which you can take a look at here: http://www.newsrewired.com/agenda-6/.


The Online Video session has kicked off with moderator David Hayward from BBC College of Journalism.

Follow the twitter hash tag #newsrw


And that’s it. We’ll be back in the next two sessions in 20 minutes.


Questions: “Are there any emerging platforms that NYT are excited about?”

A: “Pinterest is one up and coming platform, but we’re still figuring out what the community wants there and how we can deliver something new. You’ll see us there soon.”


Several Facebook questions coming in now. Will try and keep up with all of these.

1. Why are more journalists using Twitter over Facebook Subscribe?

– It’s newer.
– it involved opening up a public profile, and privacy needs to be approached with care.
– It’s worth it though, and we’re increasingly seeing people harnessing it.

2. Are Facebook pages redundant?

– Pages felt very isolated, and Heron agrees with Facebook that they aren’t appropriate to single people.
– Subscribe is more personal, and far more effective for crowdsourcing.
– Pages are becoming a social curation hub, where Subscribe journalists can amplify their message, and boost a crowdsharing effort.

3. What about apps, eg. the Guardian?

– NYT is still deciding what to do here.
– Nothing coming soon.


Questions now. “How do we scour Twitter tweets of relevance?”

The NYT are using a tool called Mass Relevance, previously Tweet River. It allows them to filter down mass information to the tweets that count; tweets are then hand-picked from there. The NYT are not archiving tweets yet.


On to Google+ now. Heron says it was an unknown, and they didn’t want to replicate the NYT site on to Google+.

But hangouts are proving revolutionary. She’s touches briefly on tumblr and others, and wraps up by saying that we shouldn’t be afraid to experiment on the social media landscape that is changing the way we do journalism.


Heron says that Facebook is a “conversational hub.” All reporters are being encouraged to try out Facebook Subscribe, but those that are foreign correspondents are being particularly encouraged.

Facebook offers great crowdsouring opportunities, and can yield insightful comments and debates.


But enough about Twitter – what about Pinterest, Reddit, and others? How should we be approaching emerging platforms?

Ask: “What can we bring to the platform that is different?”


Campaign titles are now decided by coming up with a strong hashtag – it can help a story go viral, and crystallise traditional Times’ reporting.


NYT have been embracing Storify, to add context and complement it with opinion. They also are increasingly utilising Facebook and Google+ -they often host hour long chats and hangouts.


“In the new landscape, the question is no longer whether we do social media, the question is how. How can we make our social media experiences stand out?”

There are issues of scale, which networks to prioritise, etc.


With 400+ NYT journalists on Twitter, and over 50 now growing Facebook Subscriptions streams, the NYT is ranked the most “social” company in the US in recent rankings.


She says social media is a new landscape; one where anyone can get President Obama to address drone attacks… in a Google+ hangout.


And Liz Heron takes to the stage, who says she is going to be telling us what the NYTimes is doing with social media.


Video now rolling on MSN’s new features. Then we’ll be moving on to our keynote, from Liz Heron, of the New York Times.


Pete Clifton, executive producer at MSN, is kicking things off here. He’s talking about the recent MSN redesign, and how they are focussing on their strengths.


On Twitter, please follow the hashtag #newsrw.


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