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Posts Tagged ‘crowd sourcing’

Dispatch From Italy: Citizen Journalism and YouReporter Making Waves

imageDid you know that in Italy, to be a practicing journalist, you take exams and get certified? That’s what my Roman friend, a senior digital editor at one of the country’s largest publishing groups told me over lunch this week during my Italian holiday. It’s like being a lawyer, or an architect. And while the practice of certifying journos still stands, even over here where traditions are hard to break, the industry has been disrupted.

Italy is still a country in which practicing independent journalism is a political, and not just entrepreneurial, act. And still, YouReporter.it, a crowd sourced, video sharing news platform is widely used. Launched in 2008, the site has expanded with an app for both Android and iOS, and a text based news blog. Lots of “mainstream” news publishing organizations use videos or photos from the site, and all they have to do is use the logo and attribute the view to YouReporter.

When co-founder Angelo Cimarosti and his colleagues, Luca Bauccio and Stefano De Nicolo, started thinking about the site in 2006, bandwidth in Italy was weak, and hard to find. Smartphones had yet to saturate the market. So they started with a focus on photos, in addition to video. In fact, Cimarosti told me over the phone that when the earthquake in l’Aquilia hit in 2008, hundreds of photos were uploaded to the site; had it been just video based, YouReporter would have never gotten off the ground.

“You can start small,” Cimarosti told me over the phone. (All translations are mine)

“The success of YouReporter is about the small things, especially in a country like Italy, made up of small towns. People already have an outlet for the big news events — an earthquake, a cruise ship crash, even a big snow storm. What YouReporter users share and want to know about are the small things — suspended trash pick-up, the traffic sign on the corner that needs to be replaced.” Read more

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Help On The Media ‘Fix Twitter’

There’s been a lot of moaning about misinformation on Twitter the past few weeks; myself and other 10,000 Words contributors have done our fair share of kvetching. 

But the team over at the On The Media podcast are actually trying to do something about it. In a short segment in this week’s podcast, which you can listen to here, they’re asking listeners to help ‘fix Twitter.’

When news breaks, it’s commonplace to just tweet and retweet what people are reporting, and then find out later that the information was totally wrong. The problem is that most organizations or individuals will either delete the tweet, or correct it another one. We all know the scrolling feed moves at a breakneck pace, and sometimes the correct tweet can be overlooked. Meanwhile, the incorrect one is left to be found by users later on in someone’s feed and the cycle of misinformation continues. 

So, there has to be a way for people to tweet to-be-confirmed information that fits into the overall Twitter aesthetic and that sticks with the original tweet itself, so that the “not yet confirmed” status of the information doesn’t get lost in the ether. 

On the Media host (and editor…) Brooke Gladstone suggested a question mark. The punctuation fits into the lexicon of Twitter — it’s just one character. But, as they point out in the segment, that mark could potentially be deleted in retweets. OTM producer PJ Vogt suggested a ‘flag’ function, that would immediately gray out a tweet that needs to be corroborated. Then as he puts it, the ‘onus is on the reader’ to seek out more information. 

Got any good ideas? Head over to the OTM Blog and leave a good suggestion — the comments are already filling up withpretty good ideas ranging from the highly technical to simple key-worded hashtags that journalists could propagate. 

Tips to integrate hashtags into daily news coverage

I may be dating myself here, but I remember when Twitter didn’t automatically link @usernames and when #hashtag was a workaround to make disjointed streams of updates easier to find in their clunky search engine.

Well, Twitter has done a good job of integrating those ideas of its users to make the service what it is today. Why shouldn’t news organizations do the same and take the best ideas from their readers and viewers? One great way to gather their feedback and ideas is to integrate hashtags into your coverage. Here’s a few tips on doing that:

1. Have a standard hashtag for your news organization’s daily coverage. It could be #nyt or #cnntv or it could #[city]news or whatever it is (shorter is better) that is easy to remember and relatively easy for Twitter users to identify. Make sure it’s not already in use by someone else — unless they’re talking about your content. Don’t re-invent the wheel: If your community is already using a hashtag to link to your work, latch on and adopt it! Refer to this often in on air, in print and online so people start to associate that hashtag with your brand and your content. Encourage readers to use this tag when they mention your stories or when they have reaction to, questions about or tips for your coverage. Ask your reporters and staff to include the tag on their updates. That way, there is one stream of information you can send readers to for on-going updates without having to follow dozens or more accounts. The top news should make it there, and user story suggestions get that tag. Read more