Archive for May 28, 2009

Why would we talk to him? He’s crazy?

A CBC journalist says that, in his experience, news organizations have tended to focus on people in authority, recalling a raving protester whom his editors saw no point in talking to.

“Sure that guy’s crazy, but I can’t even talk to him,” he recalls.

This journalist says, for all its flaws, the internet equalizes that.

Matthew Ingram follows by discussing the value of using citizens as stringers, and teaching them journlistic tools.

This could be applied around the world.

“We can learn from them,” says the CBC guy.

One journalist who was sent to Afghanistan to teach Pashtuns to use vid cameras talks about how dfficult and expensive the process is.

“Why can’t we tell that story?” says a woman.

“Because no-one advertises in Afghanistan.”

The woman, who practices local news, says that crowd-sourcing local people for her job at CityTV is like pulling teeth for her.

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People like to see things on fire

CityTV person – potholes and ambulance chasing is the structure of local TV news.

“People like to see things on fire,” says Ingram.

“Flaming potholes,” suggests somebody else.

“The online news element becomes an afterthought. Reporters want to talk about more.”

“That’s the opportunity of the internet,” says Ingram, suggesting the currently less profitable web portion which could piggyback onthe currently more profitable mainstream media like papers, radio and TV.

The question the lingers about how soon to move on internet. Wait until it’s more profitable?

Now is the time to do it, says Ingram, when economic circumstances are killing mainsream media.

“They’re reallyholding our feet to the fire now. Now is the time to do it.”

TV reporters don’t have time to write blogs, says a television producer.They spend most of their time riding around in cars to get 30 seconds of footage.

“But why do you need 10 people to go cover a story,” says a CP staffer, pointing out that her company is the largest online news provider. The economic downturn is the best thing that has happened to news media.

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Is what I’m blogging the news?

Is the news someone blogging something when it happens instantly or when it’s frozen in a newspaper?

“News for me is something that changes every two seconds,” a woman says.

I can’e believe I’m blogging this.

“Now a story had no real end,” says Globe tech blogger, Matthew Ingram.

But how do we make this profitable, the question comes again.

“Newspapers didn’t use to be profitable,” says Ingram. It was something that people financed because it had value, he continues.

“I think they need to be responsible to their readers, not their shareholder,” someone points out.

“That’s a deliverable,” someone calls out to Neil Ward, who’s frantically trying to write key points under the heading “deliverables” on a whiteboard.

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Why are you repeating this?

Should people endlessly reprint CP copy?

Should people make more of an effort to expand on storylines and not just repeat?

“Are we even in the news business?” says Ingram.

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Strengths of social media tools and blogging con’t

Blogger should be viewed in the same light as the chatter in the coffeeshop

Evans – at least in the coffeeshop, the chatter is contained. If it’s so accessible as at canoe, it’s impossible to escape.

Newland – perception of validity. It will become clear that you can’t take chatroom gossip as Gospel.
Wikipedia is always brought up as a dubious source. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is transparency the new accuracy?

Ingram – transparency replaces objectivity

McDonald – why can’t we have commenting on crime stories? Old media instincts click in, a couple times a day, you have to shut down the commenting section as it’s overwhelmed. McDonald admits that online moderators censor when things veer off discussion and turn personal

Graves – CBC’s position on moderation is far too conservative and he would like to open it up more. We need to be conservative because we’re branding it and monetizing it. Graves thinks it would be a better service to the public to be a wider service area and not be affiliated with CBC News

Branding – when affiliated with CBC, Globe, Star, etc there’s an inherently conservative base in order to protect the brand.

Ingram – Moderation is impossible. There’s a loss of control because you feel you need to read every comment and respond. Benefit to doing away with comment moderation: build a relationship with readers and they become the moderators voluntarily.
How do you get money out of that? Not there yet…

Ingram – If we can’t figure out how to make money out of building strong relationships, we deserve to go out of business.

Newland – People will invest in communities they feel safe in.

McDonald – at some point it’s accepted that we’re going to have to start charging something for our content.
Ingram – disagree. We never charge for content. We sold access to our readers to advertisers.

Evans – perhaps a web package like a cable tv package? bundle your interests

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How do we treat the people in the news?

Bringing up Stafford case.
Newland reminds us that Tara McDonald was providing own updates via facebook. It’s about how their emerging in the public sphere.

Evans – does anyone who posts anything in Facebook step outside the private sphere?

Ingram -(the Globe) pulled photos from the accused’s facebook site.

Fairhurst brings us back to the photo of Jordan Manners’ mother collapsing in front of the school. As soon as she walks outside, she’s fodder for the camera.

Accused in Stafford case has public profile (if in London network)

Eg. Photo of Rhianna beat up by Chris Brown generated a lot of negative feedback – editor posted on twitter “does this cross the boundary?”

Evans – it’s okay for us to say we have a standard for our own behaviour

Ingram – the community needs to be the one to say what’s ethical and what isn’t. Going back and forth on what to do with comments: am I a gatekeeper or am I generating an important discussion?

Newland brings up Rabble.ca – an open discussion for Canadian politics? No. Progressive discussion. Not what he looks for in a comment section.

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Eternal verities.

Terry Fox is not a fox, Jack the Ripper a fabrication from the then-emerging tabloid press. What is it about ethics that produced such a character of Jack the Ripper? Villains sell papers.
Nick Pron, formerly of the Toronto Star, mentions that in investigating West End murders, editors wanted to know if it was a serial killer because that’s  a sexier angle (than a bunch of random killers). It tends to focus the story.  Pron can see bloggers taking it one step further by finding more similarities. Not accurate, but not inaccurate. So much sexier to have one killer.

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The New Journalism Toolbox: Tools for online reporting

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What use are bloggers?

Heather Evans – Assignment editor at CBC Radio + World at Six producer

Goal of World at Six – trying to get a little more than a quick hit. e.g. Margaret in Libya looking at the role of the

CBC looking to update manual a few times to ensure that everything is application not only to radio and television but also to online content. eg. CBC used to never embed journalists and now they do in Kandahar, now have some user-generated content Read the rest of this entry »

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