Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Podcast mania

So you want to be an internet star. All you need is a script, a PC, and a short list of gear.

The technology allows anyone to produce a radio-style program that an audience can find, download, and listen to anytime. Podcasts aren't just for iPods; they can be heard on any computer or portable audio player.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Internet the future for news

Here's the latest in the ongoing argument about newspapers and the web.

"Simon Waldman, director of digital publishing at Guardian Newspapers, says they 'are getting the whole organisation ready for a digital future'.

"Within 'six to seven years', the group planned to dedicate 80 per cent of its time to digital activities, compared to 20 per cent at present, Waldman said."

Meanwhile, Spain's El Mundo is miles ahead:

"A digital strategy dating back nearly 10 years has made the site 'very profitable' since 2003, with a profit of E1.3 million ($2.08 million) in 2004, according to Elmundo.es director of development Emilio Plana Hidalgo."

Elsewhere, E-media Tidbits reports that future readers are 'content creators'. Steve Yelvington writes:

"Now is the time to focus your Internet content strategy on participation and online community development, and to work to change your newsroom culture to embrace interaction. Question that worn-out term, 'readers.' It doesn't cover the territory any more."

Ten Technorati hacks and one CEO

Steve Rubel has a handy primer on how to get the best out of Technorati.

And BusinessWeek has a podcast interview with David Sifry who talks about his company's struggle to meet soaring demand as he confronts a new blog search rival, Google. But he says that Technorati continues to grow faster than the blog world itself, which is doubling every five months.

News blogs: Peeking inside the sausage factory

The Dallas Morning News is attempting to address declining reader numbers through an editorial weblog.

The blog began in 2003 under the direction of Keven Ann Willey, vice president/editorial page editor.

In an interview with the Public Journalism Network, Willey outlines the two main reasons for creating the blog. Firstly, to "give readers a window into our editorial board deliberations and strengthen the board's connection with readers." And secondly, to "demystify what we do to enhance our relationship of trust/credibility with readers".

When questioned about what has changed at the Dallas Morning News since the advent of the blog, Willey says: “We are a much more agile, responsive editorial board. We are more tightly attuned to issues that resonate with our readers.”

Additionally, Willey feels that the weblog has helped readers to understand the work of the newspaper editor, what he/she does and why.

She says readers frequently praise the blog for giving them an insight into how decisions are made at the newspaper. Another regular comment is: 'This is one of the best things The Morning News has ever done.'

Strategies such as news blogs are an important part of responding to a wide variety of issues and providing readers with quick responses. Willey says: "blogs are great for opinion writers because they allow the public 'airing' of thoughts, analysis and perspective in real time."

She makes a lot of it, but for my money it's a bit underdone. There's no comment facility, for one.

The Guardian has had a News Blog for some time. And it's a proper blog with comments, link log, and even a tag cloud for easy topic access.

More merging online and print newsrooms

The Fresno Bee is the latest of a number of newspapers to integrate online and print operations, following nine years during which print and online staff were located in different offices.

Stephen Dana, interactive media director for the Bee says: "When you look at where a newspaper needs to be in the next two to three years, you really need to seriously consider [online convergence]."

The key to convergence is to spread internet expertise across the organisation and to broaden the focus of traditional departments.

The online content producers will work in the newsroom and report to the managing editor of the paper. Additionally, the online sales team will give more attention to business development and work more closely with advertising and circulation departments.

Online video a must for newspapers

A number of news organizations are expanding their online video offerings, showing the growing importance of online multimedia for newspapers.

The Washington Post has launched video podcasting for use with the recently released video i-Pods. Users will have access to news and documentary video from Washingtonpost.com and can subscribe to a "News and Documentary Video" RSS feed.

The BBC has built on its RSS service for text content and the BBC News Player by offering feeds to audio and video reports, including breaking news pictures, interviews, and analysis. The service will also enable website owners to integrate BBC News video and audio into their own sites via RSS.

AP will be joining forces with Microsoft to launch an online video service to be used by its members. The original announcement in July did not involve MSN. When the service is launched in the first quarter of 2006, AP members will be able to webcast AP video through a branded MSN Video player.

News agencies using video also demonstrates the trend towards their increasing influence over newspapers. Although the Washington Post is including video podcasts on its website, most newspapers do not have the resources to actually produce such material.

But with rising consumer demand for online video and other digital innovations, newspapers will have to include multimedia on their websites in order to furnish their readers with the whole online news experience. Since they generally don't have the capacity to produce their own video content, partnerships are likely.

Fairfax produces some original video content, mainly around lifestyle topics (cars, cooking, tecchnology etc). For the time being Sky News provides most of the news clips for non-broadcast news sites cut directly from a TV feed.

I'm back ...

After about six months.

I let this blog languish while I was writing here. I've since left The Age, but that blog is still floating rather pathetically out there in web land. Come on guys, kill it or put someone else on to it. You've got a few media writers.

So anyway, I've moved jobs and now I'm editing this site. Currently I'm splitting my time between Melbourne and Sydney, a week in each city. Not great for family life.

In the process I'm moving around so much that I discovered I needed to reactivate this blog if only so I've got somewhere to store links, references and other glittering online objects.

A lot has happened in 6 months.

** Three months later, it's February 11, the interstate commuting is over and the family is now settled in Sydney.