Tag Archives: bbc

Designing journalism for a modern market

16 Apr

Journalism’s evolution as a business has progressed just as much as another form of social media. The presentation of the news is just as important as the news itself to readers, and a journalist’s ability to understand and incorporate this new idea is the core of his or her success. BBC business editor Robert Peston spoke about the future of journalism and the idea of the total journalist.

The total journalist does not specialize in television broadcast or print, but is versatile enough to contribute to any medium their readers may desire. Newspapers’ competitors are not limited to other papers, but also morning news shows and citizen journalist-fueled blogs. Peston’s blog, Peston’s Picks, is the central nervous system of his work, but it also connects all the other aspects of his contribution to the media.

Just as the beginning of broadcast journalism involved the rote reading of wire copy on-air, online media is still bumbling around like a newborn giraffe. However, each passing year gives us a more definitive idea of how to best utilize all this technology to reach the broadest audience possible through both good quality in-house content and the integration of outside resources. Stimulating readers to find news just as interesting as browsing Facebook  has proven to be a difficult task, but understanding how to personalize the news can prove to be just as worth reading as the Facebook status from that girl you met at freshman orientation you haven’t spoken to since that one time you saw her in the dining hall and you had nothing to talk about.

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Case Study 7 & 7.1: Twitter as a window to the human experience

13 Mar

Live-tweeting has become one of the most popular ways to maximize Twitter’s microblogging functionality. From awards shows to sporting events, users can get second-t0-second updates about almost anything. However, sometimes the citizen journalism mentality can toe the line. Web developer Andy Boyle took it upon himself to live-tweet a breakup between a married couple in a Burger King, complete with a video recording uploaded to yFrog and multiple Instagram photos taken from his mobile phone. The primary ethical question involves the invasion of privacy of this couple’s problematic moment, as well as taking photos and recording them without their consent. However, these ethical issues are generally regarded as standards to maintain journalistic integrity — but is this actually journalism in the first place? I’d have to say no.

A journalist is generally defined by one who pursues news for a career or established media outlet. However, the idea of “citizen journalism” means the Average Joe with a smartphone can capture important events and news. But what does that loose term even mean in the first place? Personally, I feel the intrinsic definition of journalism is some higher obligation to the public to provide people with information they should know. International affairs and celebrity gossip alike share the ideal that the information they provide to the public will, in some way, serve them well. Therefore, true citizen journalists too share this idea.

The information Boyle presented in his multimedia bonanza was hardly imperative to the public, and I believe he viewed it merely as an amusing anecdote that he had the ability to capture. Therefore, his ethical choices are highly personal and not rooted in journalistic standards. Boyle’s choice to publish the story was more amusing than distasteful (and the fact that it took place in a very public forum doesn’t make it unethical in my opinion since it was their choice to air their dirty laundry in a family restaurant), but I do believe the fact that he chose to include incriminating photos and video that could possibly identify the couple to a national audience was in very poor taste.

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Breaking news in the Twitter age means a quick dispersion of information, and news outlets are now using this to their advantage. CNN has their iReport system in place specifically for people to send in photos and video they capture on their mobile device, and news outlets have also been tweeting news almost immediately as it’s made available. BBC Breaking made a call to people who may have been in the Liege area during the grenade attack in December and had initially reported “several men” involved in the incident (which they later corrected in their web article to only one). BBC’s web article was also published with the same immediacy as the tweets, whereas RTE News seemed to wait a couple hours before posting any information.

Although it is understandable that the BBC would want to get the story out as soon as possible, not taking the time to confirm facts before letting them loose on the web opened themselves up for multiple fact errors. Reuters has been responsible for the same kind of tweet-before-you-think inaccuracies, such as perpetuating the rumor that Rep. Gabrielle Gifford died after being shot. NPR also took a lot of heat after retweeting Reuters without checking the facts any further themselves. Entirely false reports often lead to rumors of celebrities‘ deaths who are alive and well (which has inexplicably happened to Bill Cosby multiple times and has prompted actor Jeff Goldblum to respond on Comedy Central). In the wake of incidents like these, BBC News has instituted a new guideline to not break stories on Twitter before consulting their colleagues in the newsroom. Sky News has also recently instituted a policy that forbids their journalists to retweet or post information from Twitter users who are not fellow Sky News employees.

If Twitter continues to report news unchecked, it must surrender claim as a reliable news source and admit its true form: a meaningless caricature of blogging. – Michael Roe, The Mirador

Just as the case with the Jimmy’s World and Eagle Snatches Dog case studies, the lesson learned the hard way involves the editors simply not giving fact checking the diligence it is due for these stories. Especially in these times in which information is circulated quickly without a filter, journalists have a responsibility to the public to convey facts and a sense of credibility and responsibility, potentially at the expense of breaking the story first.

Hyperlinking for non-linear storytelling

29 Feb

After discussing aggregation, it would only make sense to address how this idea is influenced by good hyperlinking and curation practices. The New York Times has capitalized on this by dedicating an entire blog to hyperlinking to other stories on various topics. Using links followed by brief summaries of stories and issues allows readers to quickly brush up on a topic and then explore it through a multitude of different sources. Many other big-name sources are linking to other sites as well in a demonstration of how “link journalism” is giving readers well-rounded coverage at the expense of the old notion that news outlets should never divert traffic away from its own content.

However, linking is more than clicking “activate” — it has the same kind of standards and important things to consider like a regular news story. For example, there should be transparency for the kind of content that would be in the links once clicked. It would be frustrating for readers to divert away from the story they were reading only to be directed to something they believe to be irrelevant without proper set-up and context. It is also the responsibility of the reporter and editors to make sure the links they direct readers to are live. The BBC drafted a section about external linking within editorial content to maintain a set of standards and to have protocol against linking for profit and linking to unsuitable sources. The Miami Herald is a prime example of using linking irresponsibly — although the context of the link was established as pornographic, the nature of the publication would not lend itself to make readers think they needed to be wary of the links they clicked within stories.

We need to ensure a process by which we understand the sources of the content, the understanding that not all links are created equal. We need to guarantee the expertise. The standards those sources apply for balance and news judgment. – Carolyn Washburn, Publishing 2.0 thread comment

If the post is not for an aggregation-based service, it’s best to decide beforehand whether the story merits linking. A test of two New York Times stories (one with the inverted pyramid style  and one with background information presented early, both versions having two sets of links for traditional related sites and explanatory text) showed that readers preferred stories that paired explanatory text with explanatory links and traditional article writing with traditional links. Moral of the story: Prepare to link a story the same way you would prepare to write one — think ahead and consider the story’s context.

This idea of non-linear storytelling eliminates the need for readers to sift through information that they don’t find interesting or relevant. The Internet has not lessened our attention spans, but rather made audiences more picky about the information they choose to consume. Curation means that the audience can act as their own filters for the news they read and we as journalists simply supply them the tools to make their own decisions.

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MARISSA PRIETO

2008 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; top 10 in her class

Journalism major at the University of Florida

Managing Editor (Online) at The Independent Florida Alligator

Studied abroad in Berlin and Salmanca, Spain

(954) 895-****

**** SW 35th Place

Gainesville, FL 32608

DOB: 05/14/90

Social Media

  1. Google+ : https://plus.google.com/102492261231737561893
  2. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=772802188
  3. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marissa-prieto/40/575/11
  4. Twitter: https://twitter.com/marissa_prieto
  5. Quora: http://www.quora.com/Marissa-Prieto

Writing/Clips

  1. WordPress blog: http://marissaprieto.wordpress.com/
  2. Berlin Soundslides: http://www.jou.ufl.edu/people/faculty/jfreeman/Berlin2010/marissa_publish_to_web/index.html
  3. Alligator: http://www.alligator.org/search/?t=article&q=marissa+prieto&x=0&y=0
  4. CPCU: http://northcentflorida.cpcusociety.org/file_depot/0-10000000/0-10000/8259/folder/103725/2010+Tournament$2C+Home+Magazine+Article.PDF
  5. UF News Bureau: http://news.ufl.edu/snapshots/2011/10/17/

Academic

  1. Study abroad: http://www.jou.ufl.edu/people/faculty/jfreeman/BerlinGroup2010.htm
  2. High School newsletter: http://www.cghsfl.org/Insight/May2008.pdf
  3. Track & Field (high school): http://www.directathletics.com/athletes/track/912652.html

Other

  1. Background info: http://www.spokeo.com/search?q=Marissa+Prieto,+Gainesville,+FL&s0=c#:6078901941

LAURA ROSENAU

2008 graduate of Brandon Senior High School, Brandon, Fla.

Journalism major at the University of Florida

**** Timber Pond Dr.

Brandon, FL 332510

(813) 684-****

DOB: 01/08/90

 

Social Media

  1. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1094310032&sk=info
  2. Twitter: http://twitter.com/LauraRocks
  3. WordPress: http://rosenau4202blog.wordpress.com

Academic

  1. Blog comments: http://sportsmedia4930.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/should-bloggers-get-press-credentials/, http://sportsmedia4930.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/pearlman-in-class/
  2. Class groups: http://www.facebook.com/groups/148696698494610/

Video

  1. Humor: http://www.youtube.ug/watch?v=38IeWPS4WLA

Other

  1. Cleaning Albert and Alberta: http://magazine.ufl.edu/2010/10/clean-up-crew/http://news.ufl.edu/snapshots/2010/10/08/
  2. http://www.facebook.com/groups/34550788064/
  3. Hometown presence: http://www.robeksbrandon.com/Documents/Robeks_Trio.pdf
  4. Background info: http://www.spokeo.com/search?q=Laura+Rosenau&s0=c#:2669307531

My first choice for both Laura and Marissa was to put their name in quotes to make sure I got search results for those specific full names, as opposed to their first or last names. The first search results yielding social networking pages like Facebook and Google+, likely because I was logged my profiles at the time and we’re all in each other’s circles. As journalism students, it was easy to find clips in newspapers and magazines. After I sifted through those results, I narrowed my search down even more by including “UF” and their high schools to get older information that would be buried under more current updates. One of the more difficult aspects of the search was deciding if a piece of information was about one of them or someone by the same name. Oftentimes I would find just as much information about another Marissa Prieto in Kansas as I would about the Marissa Prieto in my group.