Snapchat Discover – a modern news platform // week 11

 

Who would have thought social messaging app Snapchat would become a news delivery platform when it was first released in 2011? Since then, the app has changed dramatically with the addition of video sharing, 24hr stories, geo tags and facial recognition filters. The aspect most important to journalists however is ‘Snapchat Discover’ which allows major organisations including CNN, National Geographic and ESPN to post news content.

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Source: Giphy.

 

It was announced on October 7th 2016 that The Economist would be joining Snapchat Discover by posting in-depth editions on a particular topic every weekend.

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Source: Twitter

 

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Source: Twitter

 

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Source: Twitter

In a PRNewswire article, The Economist Strategy and Channel Relationships Senior Vice President Lydia Kaldas said the move to Snapchat was part of a new initiative. “Joining Snapchat Discover is the latest initiative in our “Read, Watch, Listen” strategy, allowing The Economist to adapt its highly-regarded content to new platforms as a way to grow reach and awareness with key audiences,” she said.

This is a smart move by The Economist as it’s content will now be broadcast directly to Snapchat’s 150 million active daily users. This is reportedly more than Twitter which has less than 140 million active daily users. While only 2 per cent of American adults use Snapchat for news, Snapchat claims it reaches 41 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds in the United States, providing news organisations with a great opportunity to reach the younger demographic who may not have a preferred news source.

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Source: Twitter

 

Snapchat has re-designed ‘Discover’ since it was introduced to include story images and headlines on the interface. This presents the stories in a more eye-catching format and entices the reader to want to find out more. The increased chance of clicks provides more revenue for publishers and Snapchat itself through advertisements.

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Snapchat Discover now provides a stories image and headline.  Old discover (left) versus new discover (right). Source: Tech Crunch

 

Right now Snapchat has the potential to change the way in which news is delivered. Whilst the use of Snapchat as a primary source of news is still far from true, major news organisations are jumping onto the Snapchat bandwagon and being taken along for the ride. It will be exciting to see what the future of news will be bring about.

Top 3 apps for journalists // week 10

The rise of online journalism and social media as a news platform requires journalists to be able to provide quality content as soon as information becomes available. This can be a daunting task for many young journalists but the great news is there are a number of helpful apps out on the market for journalists to utilise. Here’s three of the best mobile phone apps that every journalist should check out!

  1. FiLMiC Pro

This app is a great tool for journalists, enabling them to create and post quality video content entirely from their mobile phone. Forget using camera equipment, software programs and computers in order to reach a deadline. FiLMiC Pro turns your run-of-the-mill phone camera into a high definition video camera. With this app technicalities including the shutter speed, focus, aspect ratios and colour temperature are under your control. Once complete, FiLMiC Pro allows you to share the video to FaceBook, Dropbox and Vimeo.

In a Muck Rack article Multimedia Shooter journalist Koci Hernandez praised the app. “It’s the best video recording app on the market,” he said. “It’s simple to fire-up and record something right away and advanced enough to record more complex documentaries.”

The video below provides a great overview of the app.

   

 2. Nuzzel

No need to spend hours searching the internet for important news updates or links. Nuzzel is an app designed to display the top trending news stories and hashtags. By typing a search term into Nuzzel, the app gathers the top stories regarding that topic from user generated content and major news organisations all over the world into one place. You can also connect your twitter account and view the top stories shared by friends.

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Screenshot of Nuzzel’s story feed. Source: Nuzzel

 

In the same Muck Rack article Journalism Professor at University of Nebraska Matt Waite said he uses Nuzzel for news consumption. “Saves me so much time trolling through my twitter timeline for important links,” he said.

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Screenshot of The Economist writer Glenn Fleishman who tweeted a link to an article via Nuzzel! Source: Twitter.

3. RebelMouse

Fed up with keeping track of your 7 different social media platforms in order to ensure your followers are viewing your content? Well, this app is a social media aggregator which automatically updates itself when you post content on any of your connected social media accounts. Followers of your account will be able to see everything you post across all of your different platforms in a quick and easy format. RebelMouse can even be embedded onto your blog or website.

In a Poynter Institute article  Huffington Post senior editor Craig Kanalley said he used RebelMouse during the 2012 elections. “I tweeted the best things I was finding from around the Web in terms of coverage, including the best photos and what other news organizations were doing, and it turned into a nice hub highlighting coverage,” he said. “It’s a really nice alternative ‘live’ platform outside of live blogging and live video.”

The video below provides a quick overview of RebelMouse.

 

While each app mentioned above is starkly different to the others, all three are great tools for journalists to use when creating content online.

For more useful apps check out the article tweeted by CNAjournalism!

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Digital media’s money making methods // week 9

As dead tree editions dwindle and we move into the era of digital news, the question arises as to how native digital news organisations make money ? In order to create quality content an organisation needs money.

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In a QUT online journalism lecture, Queensland University of Technology tutor Graham Cairns said more than half of the visits to a website are driven by social media. The good news is this indicates the public’s appetite for news still remains. The bad news is people often go to the article, then go straight back to Facebook, for example, and do not read any other articles on that news website. Thus spending less time on the site. In August 2016 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook was a delivery platform not a news source. “We are a tech company, not a media company,” he said. “We build the tools, we do not produce any content.” This is a problem when considering the way in which digital news organisations make money.

Advertisements are the most common form of revenue for legacy media’s websites. News organisations such as BBC.com, Brisbane Times and The Guardian all run ad-supported websites. Third parties pay the organisations for each click made by readers on their advertisements. An issue for ad-supported websites are ad-blockers. People who use ad-blocking software on their search engines limit the potential clicks and thus the revenue for news organisations.

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Source: Twitter
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Using ad blocking software is regarded as stealing by some. Article available here explains this opinion and why ad blockers are so harmful to online publishers.

Some news organisations provide subscription services in addition to or instead of advertisements displayed on their websites. The Courier Mail provides a majority of their articles free to readers, while selected articles are classified as ‘premium’and only subscribers may access them. The Australian Financial Review is predominately a subscription service with readers being blocked from articles after three free views.

There has been recent discussion over whether The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald will only put out ‘dead tree’ editions on the weekends and publish online-only content during weekdays. the reason for this proposal is because weekend newspapers are still genuinely read due to, for example, the classifieds and travel sections which are specifically contained in weekend editions.

“There is not going to be one business model to replace the one the Internet broke,” said Jay Rosen.

Journalism ethics – transparency is key // week 8

Do the pillars of journalism such as accuracy, impartiality and accountability still have a place in the digital era?

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In a QUT online journalism lecture, Kellie Riordan from the ABC spoke about how legacy media and digital natives approach ethical standards in the digital age.

Kellie  says digital media allows for transparency in addition to, not in place of, impartiality. Digital media provides new ways for ethical standards to be upheld.

Content is flattened out through the online medium. Therefore, it can be difficult for readers to distinguish between opinion pieces and news features. In a newspaper these articles would be clearly labelled in particular sections, but online these stories are presented at the same level.

Thus comes the ethical dilemma of advertising posts.

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Advertising is a main form of revenue for online news websites and there is no shame in this. In a LastWeekTonight TV segment which can be viewed below, host John Oliver spoke about native advertising in the media. In the video TimeInc CEO Joseph A Ripp said, “as long as it’s clearly marked, as long as the consumer knows the difference between what is editorial and what is native, I don’t see any problem with it at all”. John Oliver went on to state that, “it is a problem though, because the consumer cannot tell the difference”.

Kellie says the issue arises when organisations do not signpost which articles are sponsored and which are not. “A lot of the time people are looking at content that is sponsored or paid for and are thinking it’s genuine journalism and I think that’s problematic,” she said.

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Source: Twitter.

Kellie says a great example of an organisation which effectively signposts it’s advertisements is Quartz.

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Screenshot of a Quartz article which clearly signposts the advertisement.

Unlike traditional newspaper giant The New York Times, Quartz places advertising and genuine journalism together but clearly signposts the sponsored post.“Quartz ads appear in the editorial stream, not as banner ads or pop ups,” says Kellie. Clearly labelling advertising posts at the beginning of online articles eliminates any potential ethical dilemmas. Kellie says pure objectivity is not as important as transparency – being honest with the reader.

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Screenshot of a Quartz article which shows effective labelling of the sponsored content and also the sponsored content appearing in the editorial stream.

Kellie says hyperlinking is an important aspect of journalism in the 21st century. “Actually linking to your sources, that is the practice of journalism,” she said. “That is what we did even before the internet by attributing information to sources.”

Kellie says she hopes journalist’s in the digital era uphold ethical standards. “I would like to hope that the next 100 years in journalism isn’t some kind of race to the bottom where just anything goes,” she said. “I’d like to think organisations even in the internet era, even in the 21st century, where things are changing quickly, that we still have some standards about publishing things that are true. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

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Digital delivery of news // week 7

News telling has transformed thanks to new media and so too has it’s delivery.

Huffington Post CEO Jimmy Maymann said the same content cannot be shifted across mediums and be successful. “We thought content was content and it would work across platforms, but it really doesn’t,” he said. Discussing this idea, ABC News Editor of Interactive Digital Storytelling Matt Liddy said different content delivered in different formats is required. “What they have found over time is there is demand for different types of content and demands for different kinds of thinking about that,” he said.

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Source: Twitter
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Source: Twitter

In a QUT online journalism lecture Matt Liddy spoke of how the ABC approaches digital delivery of news stories.

1. “If it doesn’t work on mobile it doesn’t work,” he said. Matt says the digital media industry was created for desktop however in the last 10 years mobile has gained significance. Changes in both audience and audience behaviour has led to an increase in the interactive story format and journalists need to take this into account. In the provided YouTube video below titled ‘Digital News Report 2016’, Reuters Institute said mobile phones are becoming the number one device for news.

2. “Interactivity is quite expensive,” Matt said. When looking into the interactive story telling format, journalists will realise that interactivity is more expensive for both the creator and the user. It takes the creator more time and costs them more money to produce the final story. This is due to the need to hire third parties such as developers or designers. It also requires the user to learn a new skill and put in more effort for the story format to work.

3. “Every story starts with an audience of zero,” said Quartz Publisher and President Jay Lauf. Unlike traditional media, digital media requires the creator to go out and find an audience. Previously news stories published via newspapers or television broadcasts had an expected audience however digital news stories do not have this luxury.

4. “The job is only part done when you hit publish,” Matt said. Digital media requires the creator to monitor the story’s progress. Looking at how readers are using the site and whether readers are clicking through to articles allows for journalists to make changes on how the story is being introduced online to ensure the story’s optimal success.

5. “Ignore Facebook at your peril,” Matt said. Facebook is the dominant social media platform according to Matt. “Twitter is fairly niche compared to Facebook,” he says. By ignoring Facebook journalists are ignoring where the ‘lion’s share’ of the audience comes from.

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A 2014 study shows Facebook has the highest amount of traffic compared to other social media platforms.

In the Reuters Institute’s ‘Digital News Report 2016’ provided above 44% of the 50,000 people surveyed said they used Facebook for “finding, sharing and consuming news”.

Regardless of these points there is one key point that is relevant to both traditional and digital news telling. “If you are not gathering the right material in the field, it is difficult to get something that hangs together,” Matt said.

Broadcast radio’s shift to online // week 6

“Delivery of radio is increasingly online, ” said 612 ABC radio presenter Spencer Howson.

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In this day and age no form of journalism is exempt from being presented in an online format. Traditional mediums such as radio, television and newspapers now all generally provide some form of online content as well. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook play a key role in enabling legacy media to create an online following and stay relevant.

In a QUT online journalism lecture Spencer Howson explained why he used social media in his job as a radio presenter. Spencer says at the ABC he is encouraged to use Facebook to build a community and to reach out to people who don’t listen to the ABC’s radio station. He says he also uses Twitter to contact people, encourage people to tune in, view the ABC radio website and attend station events.

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ABC Radio Brisbane using Twitter to promote a station event with Spencer Howson. Source: 612Brisbane

Spencer says social media is checked throughout broadcasts. “When we are on air I’m constantly monitoring Twitter and my producer is monitoring Facebook,” he said. When asked how long he spends on social media per day, Spencer says it’s continual.  “At 8am I spend thirty minutes posting everything to the website, but it’s a constant, I would probably have my eyes on Twitter and Facebook for certainly thirty or forty minutes a day,” he said.

The ABC believes listening on a mobile phone is the future of radio. “We very much believe that listening online is going to be the way people listen to radio going into the future, still listening live when it’s put out, but listening online rather than via a physical radio,” Spencer said.

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American study conducted by Edison Research shows as of 2015, 53% of Americans are monthly digital radio listeners compared to the 5% back in 2000.  Full article here.

In terms of competition, Spencer says podcasts are the biggest threat to broadcast radio. To combat this Spencer says radio needs to go ‘hyper-local’. “The one thing I think radio needs to do is if you can provide something that people can’t get anywhere else then that’s going to enable radio to continue,” he said. “For me, that’s doing really local stories about stuff that’s going on in Brisbane, because podcasting is the complete opposite,” he said.

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612 ABC Brisbane promoting a local station event via Twitter- marketing themselves as “live and local” . Source: Twitter

 

Sponsored Instagram posts // week 5

I, along with almost every other millennial, am a self-confessed social media addict.

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Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, you name it and I’ll have an account.  I’m not lying when I say my morning Snapchat routine takes me about 30 minutes to watch every persons “snapstory”. I can literally spend hours upon hours on the internet searching, scrolling and stalking. As much as this pains my parents, social media has evidently transformed our world.

Social media is no longer a fun hobby to pass the time, for some it’s a career. Take social media influencers for example. Companies are now paying these influencers big bucks to promote products via their social media accounts.

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Source: Twitter

 

The video below gives you a look into what Eugenie Grey’s job entails as an Instagram influencer. Eugenie has now accumulated 461,000* Instagram followers, gaining 249,000 followers since the video was published on Buzzfeed in January 2015.

Another example of an influencer is fashion and interior design blogger Aimee Song who has accumulated 3.8 million* followers on her Instagram, Song of Style. According to an article by Gazette Review, Aimee charges up to $50,000 for a single Instagram post.

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Blogger Aimee Song has accumulated 3.8 million Instagram followers. Photo credit: blog.modcloth.com

Celebrities are also getting in on the action as followers equal money. Model and actress Cara Delevingne earns $150,000 for each sponsored post she publishes to her 33 million* followers according to Gazette Review. Fellow model Kendall Jenner reportedly earns up to $300,000 for a sponsored post to her 64 million* Instagram followers according to The Mirror UK.

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Models Cara Delevingne (left) and Kendall Jenner (right) are paid between $150,000 and $300,000 to promote products via their social media. Photo credit: http://www.inquisitr.com

While sponsored posts benefit celebrities and influencers, Instagram users seem to be annoyed by the constant sponsored posts showing up on their feeds.

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Source: Twitter 
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Source: Twitter

 

Despite the backlash, if any companies need me to promote their products on an admittedly sub-par but well loved Instagram account, hit me up yeah?

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*All figures accurate as at time of article.