For the other short-listed entries and Finbarr’s words of acceptance, as voiced by former Reuters Africa Editor Barry Moody, see this video:
He told the audience that, amongst other things, the terms ‘news’, ‘journalist’ and ‘journalism’ were being rendered meaningless by the democratisation of content via low-cost production tools on the Web.
How should news websites cater for the appetite of news-hungry audiences for running commentary during major breaking stories like Iran’s post-election turmoil? The challenge here is to match what TV stations can do when they switch between news bulletins to rolling 24 hour coverage. Only the web ought to be able to do so much more given its scope for interactivity.
In an ideal world you’d want to provide the fastest, most thoroughly verified reports around the clock whether they or not they are from conventional journalists. And as a user I think you’d also want to be pointed in the direction of where you can find out more. If all this was easy then it would have been done by now. But it’s a lot of work. And all news organisations have had to strike compromises on one or more of those counts.
Zach Seward of the Nieman Journalism Lab has a great piece of evidence for the ‘nothing new under the sun’ debate. The ‘Telepot’ competition in the Penny Illustrated Newspaper of 1913 encouraged readers to condense telegrams into just 12 words.
If you share the view that the telegraph was the Victorian internet then perhaps this was the (very late) Edwardian Twitter.
Alan Patrick has an interesting post on his Broadstuff blog that reduces the complexities of social media dynamics to two lines — supply (red line) as measured by the volume of social media produced as more of the available populaton gets involved, and demand as measured by the average amount of time each user devotes to social media.
The chart captures well a couple of things that I keep coming across — 1) that early adopters of social media devote the greatest amount of time to it; and 2) that you need a reasonable proportion of people producing before the activity makes sense in terms of the value of the output being worth more than the value of the input.
Last week at Media140 — Britain’s first ever conference devoted entirely to Twitter — I was asked to discuss the successes and failures of Twitter within Reuters News. It’s a bit early in the game to be talking about successes and failures but we have been experimenting with the micro-blogging service for a year or so, and it’s perhaps not a bad time to take stock on what we’ve learnt.
We’ve come up with at least five ways in which Twitter is being used within Reuters News:
Last Wednesday, I spent the morning with a group of British diplomats at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who are experimenting with blogging (blogplomats?).
I was a bit surprised that diplomats blog at all — popular culture has them using elegantly-turned but guarded language that seems at odds with the in-your-face nature of blogging.
Last week’s Reuters NewsMaker with Financial Services Authority Chief Executive Hector Sants in London was opened up to all-comers via the micro-blogging service Twitter and attracted the interest of CNN‘s ‘International Correspondents‘ show.
CNN knows a bit about Twitter — the fast growing service that lets you broadcast SMS-length texts and which, with the help of ‘tweeters’ from President Obama to TV personality Stephen Fry, is rapidly entering the mainstream.