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Internet marks the sunset of newspaper industry…

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Newspaper has always been a good source of news for the public. It also used to be an industry where news agencies can make money through advertising- until internet appeared and become so common.

The industry tried to make use of this new platform by publishing news content on their websites and allow people to read them for free. Wrong strategy, mate. People has become so used to free reading and hence unwilling to pay for it.

According to a report released in January 2009 by Nielsen Online, US’s “top 10 online newspapers posted a 16 percent increase in December Web traffic”.

This is not the only thing that contributes to the fade of the newspaper industry though, the information explosion also plays an important role in it. By information explosion, I mean the rapid increase of a vast amount of information on the internet.

Summed up by newworldencyclopedia.org and by my own judgement, the main reason for the situation is the rapid increasing rate of information due to “the ease of duplication and transmission of data across the Internet” and “an increase in the available channels of incoming information”.

As a result of such information explosion, readers have more information sources to choose from. To put it simply: why pay content when there are free ones; if you try to make me pay for your things, I will walk away and go to some other websites.

Citizen journalism maybe one of those who stand in the way of the newspaper industry. Equipments like camcorder, camera and voice recorder are becoming smaller,  better quality and cheaper in these days, hence even ordinary citizen can work on their own stories- not to mention the widely available muti-functions smartphone like an iPhone, which allows people to record audio-visuals in just one tiny machine.

These people may publish their own stories on their own blog. There are blogging sites which allow people to set up their own web page and write on it, post pictures and videos on it. So people make good use of their audio-visuals taken and report the stories with multi-media.

News agencies would find it hard to compete with citizen journalism as no matter how many professional journalists they have got, they just cannot compete with the number of citizens. As a result of such difference in quantity, it is more likely that citizen journalists would get the most first-hand information.

Competition raises people’s expectations, now people know what can be done on the internet, they then expect news to be updated frequently and delivered with multi-media- and these are something that traditional print newspaper cannot give them.

There are no other way other than adopting a multi-media reporting style.

Written by klatalj301

October 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

How could journalists make good use of multi-media?

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Clearly, the newspaper industry has to change and find a way to start reporting with multi-media. The question is how?

Audit Bureau of Circulations figures released in May showed declines in readership at most Australian newspapers, with circulation for the January-to-March quarter down on the same period last year: The Age’s Monday-to-Friday circulation declined 4.1 per cent , the Herald Sun‘s dropped 1.74 per cent.

Less people are buying newspaper in these day is mainly because young people are not reading news on newspaper print like their parents and grandparents– they would rather read it on the internet.

 

Daily Newspaper Readership by Age Group (1999 - 2006)

 

People still do read newspaper, but to sustain or increase the readership, reporting news in multi-media style through the internet seems to be the only resort.

Noticing how citizen journalism has developed in these days, the industry should now be aware of the advantage of the power of the all-in-one multi-functions smartphone.

The images and footages captured by the cellphone may be of lower quality than those bulky and expensive equipments, but its high mobility and the fact that it can access to the internet on itself give it other advantage- it allows news update despite time and space.

The news content it brings may compensate its imperfect qualities.

All it takes is a smartphone for a journalist to report in multi-media style.

Not only can you film with a smartphone, with certain softwares you can also do editing on the phone itself before sending it to the newsroom, which would enable quicker news updates.

I believe all journalists should be equipped with smartphones (i.e iphone) so they can be flexible when working on a story and decide the best ways to publish it.

What is more, when any breaking news happen around them, it would make possible for them to film and take pictures and allow them to get the most first-hand information.

As a professional in the journalism industry, it is either that you are really good in a specific area (i.e writing, photojournalism or filming) or you have to learn how to handle multi-media journalism- being able to report a story with multi-media.

Nonetheless, as mentioned before, it is an undoubted fact that the number of professional journalists can never match the number of citizen journalists- they may not be reporting as professionally and objectively as professionals but they are usually the ones who get the most first-hand materials.

Sounds like a strong competitor, but do the industry really has to compete with them? I think not. Reality has proved not.

News industry can encourage people to send their news materials to them and then they will verify the information and work on the stories themselves.

In this way, citizen journalists have in fact become a new source of information, with large coverage on different places.

Written by klatalj301

October 6, 2010 at 12:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Obtaining news materials from citizen journalists.

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Citizen journalists can be a source of information for the news industry, now what we have to note is how to collect news materials from them (they may be just people who have smartphones and happen to be at the spot when there is breaking news).

I reckon the best way to do this is via social media, Twitter in particular.

I have never been a big fan of Twitter but from what I have seen, it indeed has great features which are great for professional journalists.

When it is used between friends and as a PR tool for celebrities, it seems to me that it is nothing but another platform for gossiping; but for journalists, its features allow them to share and gather information quickly.

Twitter, as you all know, only allows 140 characters short postings which allow people to just scan through all the postings of people they follow.

In a way, it is like it is built for journalism purpose- journalists can key in a short lead paragraph and attach a link which followers can click on and read in detail whenever they feel interested in something; other than that, journalists can scan through local news to keep themselves updated and also the tweet of their followers to find out if there are anything of news value.

This would help journalists a lot as they can gather story ideas here.

Meanwhile, the instantaneity of Twitter has made it a useful tool to do interviews with people.

In addition, there are Twitter searching engine Twitterfall which makes possible for users to type in key words and search for relevant tweet on specific topics.

According to a study done by RJMetrics Inc. published on Computerworld,  till December 2009, there are 75million Twitter users but only 17% of them tweeted in the month.

This 17% users are still a large number of people, together with all the twitter accounts of various news agencies, has made Twitterfall such a useful researching tool for journalists who are working on stories.

When using Twitterfall, not only would you get a list of searching results, you get a list of searching results that keeps being updated frequently.

When following a story, it is not a surprised to see Twitterfall being put on the big screen in a newsroom- according to a pic from Telegraph.co.uk editor Marcus Warren, Telegraph has done it before.

While information can be researched through Twitterfall, pictures of news value can be found via Twitpic which people use to share pictures on Twitter; video can also be found through Twitvid which people use to share videos on Twitter.

But in my opinion, the news agencies should remember to accredit the information sources, get permission from people when using their video footages or pictures.

Although Twitter is a good way for journalists to actively collect news materials from people, the best way to passively collect it is still e-mail.

So many information can be included in a 10MB e-mail: pictures, video footage and story ideas- all at once in a e-mail written without a limitation of 140 characters.

It is also good for the news agencies in a way that they can get the information sources’ contact details by reminding them to fill in a form online before sending a e-mail (this is what BBC’s User Generated Content Department does), which makes it easier to verify information and accredit sources.

What is more, people can be reminded the right they have for the information they have submitted.

Written by klatalj301

October 6, 2010 at 12:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

What change can e-reader make?

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We talked about how newspaper is fading and multi media reporting style is vital for their online website, but the fact that people are reluctant to pay and subscribe to online newspaper is still not resolved.

E-reader may be the one that would help alleviate if not resolve the problem.

One of the hottest e-readers currently is probably Apple’s iPad.

Just in 80 days from 3rd April, 2010, the day when the iPad went on sale, three million iPads were sold: one million in the first 28 days and two million in two months.

This e-reader has a 9.7 inches coloured multi-touch screen which allows maximum interaction between users and apps installed- these apps can be downloaded from Apples’ App Store; some of them are free and some are not.

News agencies are putting on their own apps on App Store; again, some are free and some are not.

BBC and ABC are offering free news app and news update to users, articles on both of them are reported in multi-media style, with video, sounds (with the video or as radio podcasts), pictures and words- they work so well on an iPad and now people enjoy reading things on it so much.

“Amazon’s done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle. We’re going to stand on their shoulders and go a little further,” said Steve Job when first introducing the iPad.

So they did, I think.

Of course a Kindle has got its own advantage- an e-ink display, crazy battery life, however, in terms of multi-media, it just cannot match an iPad which allowed coloured audio-visuals to be played on it and also offers great interactivity for the users.

 

Poll by Cooper Murphy Copywriters

 

My intention here is not to advertise for Apple, I am doing this simply because this is the kind of e-reader that can help revive the newspaper industry.

While ABC, BBC and many others are offering iPad users free content, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is also doing so, but at the same time putting certain content behind a pay wall- it has targeted people who like these contents so much that they would pay for them, which is clever.

But the small number of people is far from the goal of saving the entire newspaper industry.

What the industry need is something that would attract all of their readers and give them a reason to pay, which in my opinion, is a good layout.

A good layout should have a good appearance with neatly categorised content and user friendly, it should be like a magazine, with pictures and words, plus videos and animations since it is an e-reader.

Good references are Time magazine, Popular Mechanics and Wall Street Journal- their layouts are so good that, together with their content, make them distinct from the free apps.

In addition, their content has to be updated frequently like that in their internet version.

To conclude, an e-reader like an iPad has the potential to revive the newspaper industry because it allows multi-media news reporting, quick update, with basically all the features of internet news website yet offers great mobility and marvelous layout- and it brings a lot more interactivity to users than a computer does.

Large investment may be needed in designing a suitable layout- this is inevitable in order to truly bring a positive outcome in long term (instead of making more profit by endless sacking in staffs).

Written by klatalj301

October 6, 2010 at 12:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Mojo…all you need is a smartphone.

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I believe no one can disagree that news report has to be done in a multi-media style in this modern age with videos, pictures, words and sounds.

A few years back, when doing the latest news update on TV and internet, video journalists have to take the full responsibility with their clumsy backpack reporting kit which takes so much time to set up and then they have to shoot the video, transfer the data to the laptop and finally send it to the internet, but things have now changed.

Journalists in these days would be equipped with a smartphone which is capable of taking pictures, shooting videos and recording sounds- we have discussed this before when talking about user-generated content and you know you have the potential to become a mobile journalist as long as you have a smartphone.

We call this kind of journalism mobile journalism (mojo) and their smartphones the mojo reporting kits, which offer journalists high mobility and efficiency.

Take latest iPhone 4 as an example, it can take HD videos, good quality photos and voice recording and with its apps, journalists can just do the editing on the phone right away and then they can just send these materials to the newsroom through the 3G internet.

Convenient, isn’t it? But wait, there is even more- there are apps(e.g. Ustream or Qik) that allows users to stream their video live, which means it is possible to broadcast live on TV through a cell phone!

Honestly, with a smartphone, what else do you need as a journalist?

Written by klatalj301

September 10, 2010 at 7:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

STOMP in Singapore

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Its STOMP stand for Straits Times online mobile and print. It is a Singapore based website which allows people to send them pictures, videos and story ideas through internet and mobile phones.

It is targeted towards generation Y and does not seem to be reporting any news on national affairs, but instead they report any issues that interest youngsters- and the news materials are also provided by the same group of people.

The materials sent to STOMP will be selected and verified and news story will be written by their producers- the news stories made can however hardly be called articles, they are basically a lead paragraph with narrations and opinions of their sources.

Such kind of citizen journalism is good in a way that news which were usually ignored by traditional newspapers are now reported.

Meanwhile, STOMP is also a social media: it has got a “Just Talk Lah” page which allows users to interact- the fact that STOMP is a all in one website has encourages users to read and comment on the stories, which means that although they are some insignificant news, they may still catch a lot of attentions just like this one about a bunch of irresponsible and impolite waiters– it has over 10, 000 hits.

Some of the selected materials may be used on newspaper print The Straits Times and the sources of materials would be  acknowledged.

Call me crazy but STOMP is just not my cup of tea.

Written by klatalj301

September 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

More on Twitter

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According to a study done by RJMetrics Inc. published on Computerworld,  till December 2009, there are 75million Twitter users but only 17% of them tweeted in the month; there are large percentage of inactive accounts with about 25% of those without followers and about 40 per cent of the users have never sent any tweet.

Do you know what these statistics have shown? Most people are using Twitter as a consumption media like me- following latest updates of different news and this is incredibly handy for me as a person and a journalism student.

Twitter as said before, allows only 140 characters short postings which is really helpful in these days when we are inundated by too many information- short news postings in a format of hard news lead paragraph enable us to be notified of what is happening around without having to read articles.

In addition, Twitter is good for doing research as there are Tweet searching tool like Twitterfall.

But twitter is even more than that, it is special for its fast responsiveness which makes it a great communication tool and you would know what I mean if you still remember what happened in April 2008 when American journalist James Karl Buck tweeted “ARRESTED” when arrested by Egyptian police.

It is likely that you will get the most first hand information on Twitter and they would be useful news material just like what happened back in 2007 when there was an earthquake in Mexico, twitter users tweeted about it faster than anyone.

Keep an eye on your twitter account!

Written by klatalj301

August 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized