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BBC Launches WhatsApp ‘Ebola Lifeline’ Service in West Africa

BBC-NewsThe BBC has launched a WhatsApp service in West Africa to spread information, news alerts, and provide what they’re calling a “lifeline” to people in the affected areas. It will be available in both English and French; you can access it at  +44 7702 348651.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in Africa and while it’s the first time the BBC has used it to spread information on health news, it has used WhatsApp and other messaging services like BBM and WeChat in the past for breaking news alerts. In a statement, Director of the World Service Group Peter Horrocks said:

This outbreak of Ebola shows no signs of abating. Myths and misinformation about Ebola are still widespread – and life-threatening. The BBC is trusted by millions of people in the affected countries, so we are stepping up our efforts to reach people with timely information, whether they’re listening to the radio, watching TV or using chat apps. We’re committed to playing our part and will continue looking at new ways to reach audiences, for example by developing programmes in local vernacular languages.

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Hacks and Hackers New Executive Director is Planning for Growth

hackshackers post picFor the uninitiated, the Hacks and Hackers Network is an international, grassroots organization of journalists and technologists who use technology to visualize information and find and tell stories.

Since the group’s first meeting five years ago, in a bar in San Francisco, more than 80 communities worldwide now boast a Hacks and Hackers group.

In an effort to continue that growth, Jeanne Brooks, the group’s first-ever executive director, has come up with a plan to help the global journalism and technology group bolster its numbers as well as its impact.

Brooks, who is supported by a 2014-2015 fellowship from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, wrote on her blog, “At the outset, my aim is to create a roadmap for not only sustainability but for scaling the impact of the network.”

She added that while a global network of volunteer leaders has helped grow the movement, using various methods to organize and nurture local communities, a more comprehensive strategy is now needed to encourage new growth. Read more

Will Reuters’ Digital TV Service Appeal to the Masses?

reuterstvComing early next year is a digital-only service fit for mobile consumers called Reuters.TV, reported AdAge. The news broadcasts, available initially on iPhones and iPads and due in early 2015, are to be personalized depending on who’s watching and what he/she prefers in terms of length and news interests. Edited segments served to the viewer may also vary according to the consumer’s location in the country, thanks to an algorithmic approach from Reuters.

This step for the news company indicates what we have seen play out consistently in the past few years — TV news doesn’t have the audience or appeal it did during the pre-digital era. While mobile devices have made a way for TV shows to spread in popularity, increase engagement and earn big ad dollars, the television news industry hasn’t been able to translate success from the small screen to the even smaller screen.

As Isaac Showman, who will be the managing director of Reuters.TV, told AdAge, the desired audience for the service is “educated professionals between the ages of 27 and 47, many of whom have stopped watching traditional TV.”

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Jonathan Geller of Boy Genius Report on the Keys to a Great Tech Site

Jonathan-Geller-200

Jonathan Geller, president and editor-in-chief of Boy Genius Report (the mobile tech blog), has an intuitive knowledge of what his audience wants. As a result, Geller has been able to circumnavigate the music industry, the mobile tech scene and the blogosphere with ease.

After a spell of anonymity (when he was writing for Engadget and BGR), Geller outed himself in 2010, so the world finally knew who the Boy of Boy Genius Report actually was. Geller credits his early rise to his desire to take risks and his networking skills. Here, he talks about the keys to a great tech site:

Content, content, content. You’ve also got to have a great team. You have to know your audience. You need to have that instinct, to know what people want to read. Be authentic, be engaged and interact with your readers. Whether it’s on Twitter, on Facebook, whatever. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

For more from Geller, including his long-term goals for the site, read: So What Do You Do, Jonathan Geller, President and Editor-in-Chief of Boy Genius Report?

Atlantic Media Re-launches CityLab.com, Emphasis on Mobile, Expanded Editorial

citylab feat picThe Atlantic recently announced the re-launch and expansion of its’ former AtlanticCities.com site as CityLab.com, a re-envisioned destination with an eye toward mobile users first, as well as a responsive design and expanded editorial intended to widen the audience for the site’s coverage of issues facing global cities. Read more

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