Posts Tagged ‘Future of Journalism’

Future of Content and Journalism – Web 2.0 Summit 2009

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Just came across a couple of great videos on the future of content and journalism from the Web 2.0 Summit 2009. The first is titled The Future of Content, and can be viewed below:

The second is titled Whither Journalism, and is shown below:

Over a year old now. I think the debate has evolved a bit since these panels, but still quite relevant.



Behind the Scenes at Citizen Journalism startup AllVoices – Mediashift, September 2009

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

An interesting look behind the scenes at Citizen Journalism startup AllVoices – from PBS Mediashift:

There are some interesting observations and comments in this video that shed insight into the core competencies of the future news organization. From the first part of the video, a few observations:

  • Low cost structure – The company employees relatively few staff, where each person where a lot of different hats – the prototypical startup
  • Community Management – Strong emphasis on Community Management, and the role of the Community Manager
  • Copyright – A need to manage copyright violations – for both professional and user-generated content – which AllVoices manages by NLP algorithms (recognizing sequences of 5 identical terms)
  • Marketing – The Community has become the evangelist for AllVoices, which has helped AllVoices tremendously in creating buzz. People promote their content on Social Networks and other sites. AllVocies depends on their community to do their marketing for them … it’s all about the Community.

The second part of the video (starting at approx 5:29) is an interview with AllVoices’ CEO Amra Tareen and VP Social Media, Erik Sundelof. Some insightful quotes in this segment. Here’s a few:

Amra Tareen: So when AllVoices started, what we wanted to do was create a place where people could report regardless of where they are, from any device – cell phone, computer, using MMS, SMS, e-mail, or just going to the website.

When they send us something, what we want to do is geolocate – where exactly is it coming from? In AllVoices, we can detect locations down to any place greater than 500 people … So any city in the world we can detect where the message or report is coming from.

And then we try to geolocate, based on the IP address, based on the cell phone #, based on any tags the user adds to their text.


Amra Tareen: Now there are two types of content that come into AllVoices. One is “user reported”, the other is what our system aggregates from news sources and news feeds all around the world.

So, first, we geolocate, we categorize – whether you’re talking about Politics, Conflict and Tragedy, Sports, Entertainment. Then what we do is break it down, do contextual analysis to “bag of worlds“.

Then based on those bag of words, … we want to showcase the user report, as well as create context around that report by aggregating related information.

… Since we already break it down into keywords, we know what the tags are for that user report. But we let the user add the tags themselves. Because sometimes the machines are not always as accurate as the user is. And that’s what we’ve learned – AllVoices is based on Machine Learning and the Community, and the Community always corrects the Machine Learning.

So some interesting stuff here. Once again (that is, I have strongly advocated this position in previous posts), the future of Journalism will be significantly about a balance between Machine Learning and the Community … and the many, many technologies that support the interface between the two.

Let’s see what Erik Sundelof, AllVoices’ VP Social Media, has to say:

Erik Sundelof: If you are doing cell phone reporting or “in the field” reporting, you have to bring in the context, and [show people that context].

At All Voices, we try to bring in all the different content and media types … By doing this, you will also be able to determine how credible a particular report is.

If user content is coming in very short, very opinionated peices – which I really think is what Citizen Journalism should be about, bringing in the more emotional side, and telling what is really going on on the ground – that doesn’t mean that it’s fact checked. But you can’t fact check the complete flow of information in free-form. So you have to apply technology on top of it.

How does AllVoices’ system deal with “hoaxes” reported by the community?

Erik Sundelof: The way we are attacking the “hoaxes” problem is through “credibility”. A hoax is just another story. We’re still going to apply the same methodology, because everything is a computerized [algorithim]. So this means if the hoax comes in, and no one is talking about it, then it will just drop off the system. It will still have a page, because it’s a free publishing platform. So you will get your page, but it won’t show in the landing pages because no one will view it.

Amra Tareen: And each page has a credibility rating. So every report in AllVoice has a 5-bar credibility rating. So based on the activity level, based on similirity of content we find on AllVoices and off of AllVoices, I think the likelihood of a hoax being report is small, compared to some person individually fact-checking, and trying to figure it out.

Interesting perspectives – again, particular around the intersection of machine learning and the crowd-sourced journalism and content.

Tip of the hat to Stephen Konrath‘s blog News 3.0: The Future of Journalism, where I first came across this video in this post.


Fit to Print – Documenting the decline of the Newspaper Industry

January 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Fascinating. So first I just came across the website Newspaper Death Watch, and I must say I find its perspective fascinating. Secondly, while on the site, I came across an interview with two documentary filmmakers – Adam Chadwick and Bill Loerch – who are producing a documentary called Fit to Print, about the decline of the Newspaper industry in the U.S., I believe with a specific focus on the New York Times. Anyway, here’s the clip:

Interesting times, and yet a time that arouses compassion also.


Leonard Brody – How Journalism and News Media must change

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

In a recent post, I highlighted a presentation delivered by Leonard Brody on Change and Entrepreneuralism. Here’s another presentation given by Brody in January 2009 in Qatar on how Journalism and News Media are changing in a 24×7 connected world:

Brody is the co-founder of NowPublic, which was recently acquired by the Clarity Digital Group which owns and operates

He’s a great speaker I might add.


User-generated Content (UGC) a core part of BBC’s news-gathering operations

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

An interesting post by Alfred Hermida – Professor of Journalism at UBC, and former multimedia journalist at the BBC – on how managing User-generated content is now a core part of the BBC’s news gathering operations/workflow. Hermida references a study that was presented by Claire Wardle, Andrew Williams and Karin Wahl-Jorgensen at the Future of Journalism conference in Cardiff.

Quoting Hermida:

The BBC has a dedicated UGC hub that has grown from three people in 2005 to 23 now, and it is physically located by newsgathering, at the heart of the corporation’s news operations.

The researchers found that the UGC hub trawl through comments and submissions for news content and for eyewitnesses to pass on to radio and TV as potential interviewees.

… The researchers concluded that UGC has become institutionalised at the BBC as a form of newsgathering, consolidating the existing relationship between journalists and the audience.

The transformation of news media will continue to see dramatic changes to traditional newsroom editorial workflows, and it’s interesting to see how organizations like the BBC are implementing change in their operations.


The Blog is at the core of everything I do – BBC Journalist Robert Peston

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Just read a nice piece from Alfred Hermida – Professor of Journalism at UBC, and ex BBC Multimedia Journalist – from August 2009 on How Blogs became part of BBC News.

In his post, he references a presentation by Robert Peston, the BBC’s Business Editor, on the Future of Media and Journalism. It’s an interesting presentation, but here’s my favorite part. Quoting Peston:

For me, the blog is at the core of everything I do, it is the bedrock of my output. The discipline of doing it shapes my thoughts. It disseminates to a wider world the stories and themes that I think matter. But it also spreads the word within the BBC – which is no coincidence, because it started life as an internal email for editors and staff. It gives me unlimited space to publish the kind of detail on an important story that I can’t get into a three minute two-way on Today or a two-minutes-forty-seconds package on the Ten O’Clock News.

It connects me to the audience in a very important way. The comments left by readers contain useful insights – and they help me understand what really matters to people. That is not to say that I give them only what they want. I retain an old-fashioned view that in the end the licence fee pays for my putative skills in making judgements about what matters. Most important of all, the blog allows me and the BBC to own a big story and create a community of interested people around it. Sharing information – some of it hugely important, some of it less so – with a big and interested audience delivers that ownership and creates that committed community.

As a Business Architect for a large Canadian publishing company, I’m not sure the Blog format has quite this prominence for our Journalists and their audiences. But it is most certainly, to my mind, where we must move, and quickly.

A couple more quick snippets from the interview, on the changing world of today’s journalist:

For men – usually men of a certain age – there is no greater pleasure than watching the Dutch football team of the 1970s, total football. The point about that Dutch team, but especially the inspirational captain, Johan Cruyff, is that all of them could more or less play in every position. And my argument is that hacks like me increasingly have to become total journalists.

When I started in journalism, I wrote one or two stories a week on a clunky mechanical typewriter – it was the last century but it really wasn’t that long ago. Now I write up to five or six blogs in a single day, I broadcast on the Today programme, the Ten O’Clock News, as the broadcasting pillars of my output – and up to 20 or so other channels and programmes in a single day.

Certainly my strong advice to any young person thinking of becoming a journalist is to acquire all the skills, don’t think of themselves as wanting to be broadcast journalists, or radio journalists or print journalists: increasingly it’s all the same thing. What matters is what has always mattered – the facts, the story. The skill for a journalist is unearthing information that matters to people and then communicating it as clearly, accurately – and if possible as entertainingly – as possible.

For additional insight into the emergence of blogging at the BBC, please see:


Dave Winer heads to NYU – Year Zero for Journalism

January 24, 2010 Leave a comment

There is certainly an enormous amount of energy being applied to “reinventing Journalism” – both the trade and the business – for the digital age.

Case in point, Dave Winer announced on January 14 2010 that he just accepted a Visting Scholar position at NYU, working under Jay Rosen.

Quoting Winer in his blog post from January 14th:

I have the same feeling about journalism today that I had about computer science in the 1970s. … Today, 2010, is Year Zero for journalism the way 1970 was the dawn of modern computer science.

He may be right.

Here’s the same announcement from Jay Rosen.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Rosen and Winer have collaborated. Check out their weekly podcast Rebooting the News.