#newsrw: Connected journalism in 10 points

I was at news:rewired last week talking about community management and while there are already some great round-ups of the sessions available, I wanted to share the things I took away. In no particular order of importance:

1) The Telegraph’s Kate Day made the salient point that communities around a newspaper brand are nothing new – feeling a sense of belonging to a certain newspaper’s club has been around for some time.

2) IPC Media’s Cathy Ma told us that A T-shirt competition engaging with Horse & Hound’s Facebook fans generated a five-figure profit for the title.

3) MSN’s Pete Clifton on newsroom architecture reminded us that getting your departments or different teams into the same working space is only half the battle. You have to work hard to ensure that the same divides (e.g. Between web and print) don’t reform.

4) Storify’s Xavier Damman: “Everybody is a reporter but not everyone is a journalist. Without journalists those voices would get lost in the noise, quickly forgotten.” He showed us how Storify is being used for reaction, comment, breaking news and to bring new voices into a story. Perhaps most interestingly he showed how the TCDisrupt conference had used Storify to create a printed digest.

5) AOL and HuffPo UK’s Carla Busazi explained the work of her three-strong blogger outreach team and how everyone at HuffPo has a responsibility for blogger outreach and social media. The site gets requests from other media to interview their bloggers

6) 50% of CNN iReport videos are related to breaking news, explained Dominique van Heerden, who explained that this is a community loyal to one another and that very much feels they own the space. Dominique gave a particular example of the son of a soldier killed in Afghanistan. After posting a video tribute online, which led to a CNN follow-up, the community helped to set up a college fund for the boy.

7) Chris Hamilton talked in detail about the different approaches to verifying UGC in news situations. The best are often simple, but require lateral thinking he said – e.g. Getting someone near Pearl roundabout during demos in Bahrain to turn their laptop around so the team could confirm their live location simply using their webcam.

8 ) Ed Barrow from idio explained how Metro is using a social media dashboard to monitor market level social media and track their readers’ behaviour on site to discover real time trends. Through this they encourage targetted engagement with the authoritative individuals who broke the original news. On the dashboard a component shows if anyone else is writing about it yet. If no one is it tells you to get writing and links directly to the CMS. The print side of the metro is using this too.

9) Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa said the news organisation had to realise that its customers will tweet the news it puts out as soon as it reaches them. reuters is encouraging its correspondents to tweet the news too. Its distribution model continues to evolve/be challenged.

10) Momoko Price talked about BuzzData’s plans to make it easier to encourage a community to grow on your around data projects. Don’t divorce data from the community or the context, she says, but make data quality or creativity a source of pride or shame. From doing this you get a level of discourse that is different from a comment thread because you are engaging a highly data literate community. similarly you can lose that community depending on the data tools you use e.g. Presenting data just in Google Docs doesn’t make it easy for them to leave comments.

I was only in half the sessions if the day – so check out the news:rewired site and hashtag #newsrw for a fuller picture of the day.

The idea that kept returning to me throughout all of the above and the day as a whole was one of newsroom architecture – how to fit in these new tools, roles and processes in an existing newsroom. If you start with the story, what roles or organisational structures then need to change in order to build and nurture the networks required to support investigative, connected, engaging, open and groundbreaking – even sustainable – journalism? These changes and roles are being forged right now, if this conference is anything to go by.

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