Keyword headlines

Journalists, they say, would be wise to do a little keyword research to determine the two or three most-searched words that relate to their subject–and then include them in the first few sentences. “That’s not something they teach in journalism schools,” said Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineWatch, an online newsletter. “But in the future, they should.”

From the New York Times via dotJournalism

Text to voice podcasts – as crap as you think they would be?

Jemima over at dotjournalism has a great comment about the rise of text-to-speech podcasts.

So yes – an inevitable innovation, but not one that does anything at all for the medium of podcasting. This technology must be ergonomic, rather than built around the convenience of the producer. It will only work for people when it has been humanised.

If you havnt visited dotjournalism then you should. How Jemima manages to find time to produce so much stuff I will never know.

Web users vote for print front page

After my thoughts yesterday regarding the web setting print agenda; this from

Lots of sites let readers pick their favorite stories, but The Wisconsin State Journal is taking advantage of that online tool to help its print edition.

Readers vote online for their favorite story each day, and the day’s top vote-getter will appear on the front page of the next day’s newspaper, with a “reader’s choice” label. What a great idea.

Get thee online.

 There never has been a better time to get into Web journalism. We are making money, we are hiring, and we are actively searching for new, innovative ideas. After ten years, there are no veterans in this field. This is your chance to be among the first.

So says Anthony Moor, Associate Managing Editor/Online at the Orlando Sentinel. I know it’s American but you cant argue with the premise – the figures prove it.


Pulitzer Prize Board considers online

The Pulitzer board is meeting to decide its 2006 winners and a rule change means online content is being considered.  In an article at Editor and Publisher, Pulitzer Administrator Sig Gissler, had this to say on the subject.

Beyond that, Gissler followed the same secretive approach as the board members. When asked how the new rule change allowing online entries in every journalism category had impacted the judging, he says, “I don’t want to get into characterizing the entries. But we did have online material in the various categories.”

Get off my land says journalist

An article on Guardian Unlimited about plans for Mobile Group 3 to sell through clips to broadcast news outfits finished up with this…

The rise of citizen journalism has called into question the future of traditional journalists and editors. Last month, however, the executive editor of Sky News wrote in the media trade journal, Press Gazette: “I happen to think there will still be a role for editors – not just to assess information, but also to prioritise and present it in a way which, as well as making the news understandable, also reinforces its importance and point. [This is] something an anything-goes citizen journalism blog can’t do.

“Professional journalists will always need to decide if it’s news or propaganda.”

It’s a continuing surprise to me that editors continue to talk in such discrete, monolithic tones about ‘blog journalism’. Continue reading “Get off my land says journalist”

Who sets the agenda

A post on gave me pause for thought.  The gist of the post was the relative reaction time of the print and online mediums. Online breaks the news and it takes a day for print to catch up.

He uses Charles Taylor as an example.

Today, the newspapers have dutifully mentioned that a probable war criminal is missing: “Liberia’s former leader vanishes days before extradition,” alerts the Guardian. And then I flip to the BBC site, once again. “Charles Taylor caught in Nigeria.”

This made me think less about the speed aspect but more about the agenda setting.  How much does the hysteresis of the print process mean that faster mediums will define the news agenda. 

Does it appear in the papers because it’s newsworthy or because it appeared online first?

Editorially the Taylor story is a no brainer; of course it’s going to go up. But it made me think that there may still be an issue in the power of a single medium (and evangelical though I am about it not that reliable a medium) to set the agenda. 

Crap print makes for a crap web

A report on a recent conference in the States threw up this interesting quote from a guy called Bob Benz of the E.W. Scripps Company.

… simply employing a “beasts, beauties and babes” approach to attracting Web visitors presents some significant ethical challenges. The solution, then, he said, is to keep the core journalistic principles at heart while catering news coverage to a specific audience. Because the Internet is a new medium, Benz said, journalists have to find new ways to cover the news and change their style to accommodate new technology.

“If it’s boring crap in print, it’s going to be boring crap when you read it into a microphone and put it online,” he said. “… News is fascinating… you couldn’t write soap operas this good, but sometimes we report it like boring drudgery.”

Amen to that.

Online publishing skills shortage

Here are some interesting snippets from an article on netimperative (yes, I have spent some time there today.)

The AOP Census 2006, the latest membership survey from the UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP), reveals that 74% of AOP members reported having unfilled vacancies in January 2006, compared with 58% in 2005.

…In addition to identifying the skills currently in demand, the research goes on to predict which skills will be important in two to three years time. More than half of respondents (53%)  mentioned sales and marketing and 40% anticipated that technical/design skills will increase in importance

And many people in journalism education and in the industry still wonder why this digital stuff is important.

This year I’m running the first year of a BA Digital Journalism Production. If you want take advantage of the gap while it lasts, maybe it’s worth a look*

(* Shameless sales pitch)

Wogan “togcast”

The bbc have announced that Wogan will get the weekly podacast treatment.

The Wake Up To Wogan podcast launches on Tuesday 11 April 2006, featuring speech highlights from the breakfast show, including listeners’ e-mails and Pause for Thought.

How exciting.

“I’ve given up trying to beat ’em, so now I’m joining ’em and I’m going to do it better than all the others. Look, Ma – I’m TOGcasting!”