Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Global Online Course in ICT Journalism (April 20 – July 20 2007)
Global Online Course in ICT Journalism (April 20 – July 20 2007)
Level : Intermediate
After successfully pioneering an online course in ICT Journalism in 2006, The International Institute for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Journalism – Penplusbytes is pleased to announce a three month (April 20th – July 20th 2007) online training opportunity for journalists in the area of ICT Journalism. Participants will be exposed to the wider context of ICTs assisted journalism including its history, how these technologies are impacting on the world of journalism, how ICT can be used in producing stories and how to manage change process in using innovative ICT tools.
Course Description and Goals: This course teaches the theory and concept of ICTs journalism; the impact of ICTs on Journalism and how to increase excellence in journalism using ICTs as a tool.
At the end of the course, the participants will learn four main set of skills:
You will learn and understand broad spectrum of ICTs tools available for journalism
You will learn how to research and publish content online
You will learn that despite that the proliferation of technology for journalism the fundamental principles of journalism still apply.
You will learn how to use a selection of ICT tools for journalism
Prerequisites: This course does not have any special prerequisites though participants will need to have basic computer skills such sending and receiving mails, managing files and browsing the Internet. The course assumes participants are practicing journalists who have mastered journalism skills.
Class Meeting: Participants are expected to meet online via group discussion weekly, it is expected that a participants must devote at least five hours per week online.
Introduction to ICT Journalism – concept, theory and definition
ICT tools for Journalism – web 2.0/3.0, wikis, blogs, podcasting, online collaborative tools, newsroom content management system and publishing platforms
The role of information and knowledge management in the newsroom
Specialization in ICT Journalism
Business Models of Online Journalism
Future of ICT Journalism
Participants will be provided with regular resources during the duration of the course, these resources will available mostly online or via CD ROM.
Grading: Participants are expected to undertake weekly assignment, participate in online discussion, make use of ICT tools and produce a final project work to be published on penplusbytes website.
All participants who fully successfully complete the course and would be awarded a certificate.
To apply download and fill out the enclosed application form at
Email completed form and statement to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for receipt of application and statement is 20th March 2007.
Notification of acceptance: 2nd April 2007
Alumni list and 1st Online Course online Space
2nd Course Class online Space
Engaging, informative, and high-quality online training course created and offered by Penplusbytes.
Friday, February 23, 2007
EDITING FELLOWSHIPS AT ROBERT C. MAYNARD INSTITUTE FOR JOURNALISM EDUCATION
Journalism Education¹s program for copy editors are available to journalists
from small and medium size newspapers.
Fellowship applications are invited from journalists who work at newspapers
with circulation of 50,000 and below. Journalists from both the print and
the online editions are welcome to apply.
The Editing Program runs from June 1 - July 12 at the Reynolds School of
Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. It will train copy editors to
work in both print and online newsrooms. The program director is Kenneth J.
Cooper, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and
editor at the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.
The fellowships cover tuition, room and group meals during the six-week
program and include a travel stipend. The fellowships are underwritten by a
grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
The six-week program immerses participants in the basics of headline
writing, page design, line and content editing, story organization and news
judgment as well as interpersonal skills that help editors work successfully
with others. The curriculum includes classroom work, daily skills-building
drills, evening seminars and practical experience at the local newspaper.
Faculty members include top academics, veteran editors and experts in
The program is ideal for copy editors who want more training, reporters who
want to move to the copy desk, journalists who work on web sites, and design
and graphics editors who want copy editing training.
Since 1979, the Maynard Institute¹s Editing Program has trained journalists
of color to become copy editors and Web site editors, helped assignment
editors improve their copy-editing skills, and prepared news professionals
for supervisory roles. The Editing Program produces effective newsroom
leaders of all races who can promote team work, introduce and manage change,
and improve the quality of journalism.
Like all Maynard programs, the Editing Program is open to people of all
races. The application is available at the institute¹s web site,
For more information contact:
Evelyn Hsu, director of programs, at 703-620-0241 or Ehsu@maynardije.org
Kenneth Cooper, Editing Program director, at Kenjcooper@gmail.com.
Deadline is March 10. Extensions granted on request.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
ELIZABETH NEUFFER FELLOWSHIP
The International Womens Media Foundation is accepting applications for the 2007 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship, which provides an opportunity for a woman journalist working in print, broadcast or Internet media to spend an academic year in the United States.
Under a tailor-made programme that combines access to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other Boston-area universities, and two media companies, "The Boston Globe" and "The New York Times", the fellow will have opportunities to pursue academic research and hone her journalistic skills covering topics related to human rights and social justice.
As a research associate in residence at the MIT's Center for International Studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow will have access to a broad range of courses, seminars, working groups and other programs at MIT and several other area universities, including Harvard, Tufts and Boston University. She will also be encouraged to present her work to faculty and graduate students in open seminars.
The Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow will also be able to meet journalists at "The Boston Globe" or "The New York Times" and visit their bureaus in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and the United Nations.
The fellowship will begin in September 2007 and run until May 2008. The deadline for applications is 15 April 2007.
For more information, visit: http://www.iwmf.org/programs/neuffer/fellowship.php
BBC keeps web adverts on agenda
On Wednesday, the Trustees discussed allowing advertising to help pay for parts of the planned BBC.com service.
A Trust statement said: "For the BBC to meet its purpose internationally, it must invest more online. It cannot use the licence fee for this purpose."
But they said more work was needed on how advert revenues would be spent. A decision is expected later this spring.
The Trust is considering a proposal from the corporation's management that would see BBC website users outside the UK contributing towards increasing costs.
While UK users pay for the website through their licence fee, international audiences get the service for free, the corporation argues.
But the British Internet Publishers Alliance (BIPA), which represents UK commercial online media companies, said last week the plan would damage its members' revenues.
Showing adverts to non-UK readers would also undermine the BBC's "worldwide reputation for integrity and impartiality", it said.
In its statement, the Trust said providing independent news and information to an international audience remained "integral" to the BBC's purpose and the internet was an "essential" part of that service.
But after studying the BBC.com proposals, the Trust said: "We are not currently satisfied we have all the information we think is necessary to reach a decision.
"Consequently we have asked the BBC management to do further work - particularly around how advertising revenue would be reinvested in BBC Global News and the BBC's UK public services for the benefit of licence fee payers."
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said more than 200 BBC staff and 45 MPs have backed its campaign to have the idea rejected.
The plan would see adverts carried on selected high-traffic areas of the site, such as news and sport.
The income would replace BBC World Service grant-in-aid payments, which make up some of the news website's budget.
There would be tough guidelines to protect the quality and impartiality of content, managers have promised.
The BBC has already approved separate plans in which adverts will pay for higher quality video news for international users.
Advertising is also already carried on BBC World TV and the global news channel's website.
Visitors to bbc.com are presently redirected to the international facing bbc.co.uk homepage.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Internet Changing News Dissemination in Third World
Internet Changing News Dissemination in Third World
Norwegian newspaper publisher finds the secret to profiting online
The financial headlines link readers to E24, an online business "newspaper." Not many tabloids feature such unsalacious fare on their front pages, and perhaps even fewer papers willingly direct readers to other publications. But VG, or Verdens Gang, and E24 are both owned by Schibsted, an Oslo-based newspaper publisher that does things differently on the Internet — making lots of money, for starters.
At a time when other newspaper companies lament a loss of readers and advertisers, Schibsted is thriving. No profit warnings here: Earnings rose 28 percent in the fourth quarter. Online operations will generate about 20 percent of the company's revenue this year, according to analysts at Kaupthing, a bank based in Reykjavik, even as many other big newspaper publishers struggle to reach the 10 percent mark.
Perhaps more important, at least for investors, online businesses will provide nearly 60 percent of the company's operating earnings by next year, the Kaupthing analysts predict. Schibsted has become so emblematic of online success that Bharat Anand, a professor at Harvard Business School, is writing one of the institution's well-known case studies on the company.
"There's clearly something quite special here," Anand said. "There's no question they managed this transition earlier than a lot of newspaper companies, and they're in a better position as a result."
Starting in 1995, Schibsted started investing heavily in new media, and it stuck with those commitments during the dot-com bust, when some other publishers turned skeptical. In recent years, the investments have started to pay off, and Schibsted is now the biggest player on the Internet in Norway and in neighboring Sweden. It has also expanded aggressively into new markets like France and Spain, starting free newspapers under the name 20 Minutes and acquiring classified advertising businesses that it is moving onto the Internet.
Kjell Aamot, chief executive of Schibsted, said the company recognized more than a decade ago that "being a traditional Norwegian newspaper company would not be sustainable over time."
While other newspaper companies tried to cling to their existing business models, "we changed from a defensive stance at the beginning of the Internet age to a very offensive one," he said during a telephone interview from Oslo.
Anand said one reason Schibsted may have been able to shift gears so quickly was that some top managers were from outside the newspaper business, including several executives hired from McKinsey, the consulting firm. Instead of being wedded to print, analysts said, they were willing to cannibalize existing businesses in order to develop new ones on the Internet.
Rather than trying to insulate VG or Aftenposten, a more highbrow paper, from competition, the company created internal rivals by developing Internet- only brands that do some of same things as the newspapers, only better. Circulation and ad sales have fallen at some of the print titles. VG sold an average of 316,000 weekday copies in the fourth quarter, down from 344,000 a year earlier.
But a specialist classified advertising Web site, www.finn.no, has become one of the 10 most popular sites in Norway, and has been replicated in Sweden under the name Blocket. Revenue from the classified sites has helped to offset declines at the newspapers, in effect subsidizing the cost of the papers' journalism.
"If it's a new channel, they are willing to try it and let the market decide," said Tor Jakob Ramsoy, a consultant at McKinsey. "The main thing they have done is to recognize that the consumer is king."
To be sure, Schibsted had some advantages over newspaper companies in larger markets, where the media landscape is more diversified and competitive.
Norway has the highest newspaper readership in the world, according to the World Association of Newspapers, making its newspapers trusted brand names for consumers to gravitate toward online.
While portals like Yahoo and search engines like Google dominate most markets, Schibsted was able to build www.vg.no into the most popular site in Norway, attracting more than two million unique visitors a week. Four other Schibsted-owned sites are in the top 20, and the company has a comparable presence in the Swedish Web rankings.
By dominating so much traffic within each market, Schibsted has managed to avoid one of the biggest problems plaguing print publications elsewhere: Because many visitors to newspaper Web sites arrive there simply by following links from search engines, they depart as quickly as they arrive. So advertisers choose instead to spend their money with Google, where consumer eyeballs linger.
The growth of the company's Web sites shows the benefits of bringing visitors in through the front door and then keeping them in the Schibsted house. At vg.no, occupying the prime banner advertising space for 24 hours costs an advertiser 210,000 kroner, or $34,000 — more than a full-page, full-color ad in the paper — and the next available slot is in June, Aamot said.
Schibsted even started a Norwegian search engine, Sesam, in competition with Google.
The strong position of VG and Aftenposten, another site in the Norwegian Top 10, has helped Schibsted build up new Internet brands like E24, which has Norwegian and Swedish sites. A link from Aftenposten or VG, with which E24 shares some resources, immediately brings thousands of readers, said Hans Christian Vadseth, publisher of the Norwegian E24.
Though the Norwegian E24 was started less than a year ago, it already attracts more than 450,000 unique visitors a week, far more than the Web sites of the country's two established financial newspapers, Finansavisen and Dagens Naeringsliv, he added.
"Until this experience, we probably didn't understand the enormous potential if you control traffic machines," Aamot said.
E24.no was profitable by its fifth month, and expects to generate a profit margin of 8 percent in 2007, Vadseth said. An E24 site in Sweden, which was started in 2005, has also turned profitable, he added.
Vadseth said the Norwegian site expected to sell €3.5 million, or $4.6 million, worth of advertising this year — a modest amount, perhaps, but Norway is a small market, and E24's costs are also low compared with those of a traditional newspaper.
"Internet sites start without a lot of the legacy costs of papers," Dag Sletmo, an Oslo-based analyst at Kaupthing said. Schibsted can afford to lose some advertising from the print newspapers and still make more money, he said, simply because profit margins are much higher on the Internet. An online classified generates only about 30 percent as much revenue for Schibsted as the equivalent print ad, he estimates, but provides 65 percent higher profit.
So attractive are Internet-only publications like E24 that a rival Norwegian business publication, called Na24, is pursuing a similar strategy, making the country one of the most fiercely fought-over markets for business news in the world, analysts say. So far, enough banks, telecommunications companies and other advertisers are buying in that Na24, like its rival, is profitable, said Inge Berge, the editor.
Like E24, Na24 benefits heavily from links to other media partners, which provide half of its traffic, Berge said. Na24 is owned by TV2, a broadcaster that also owns four regional newspapers, and Carl Allers Etablissement, a magazine publisher. Na24 also has something to offer its partners: It provides video business news segments for a 24-hour television news channel recently started by TV2.
Analysts say other publishers in the Nordic region have been unusually adept at moving online. Dietmar Schantin, director of Newsplex, a consulting arm of Ifra, an international newspaper organization based in Germany, said that Nordjyske Stiftstidende, a regional newspaper in Denmark, was one of the first to recognize the importance of integrating online and print news operations, at a time when many papers dismissed their Web sites as annoying appendages.
Now that Schibsted has established its online credentials, "the big question is: Is this a repeatable success, or is it a very good 10-year run?" said Anand, at Harvard Business School. "And how far can it travel outside Scandinavia?"
Half of Americans Believe Bloggers and Citizen Journalists Will Redefine Journalism
Some journalists hate bloggers: They can't write well, they threaten mainstream media, and struggle to convey cohesive thoughts. It's those people that need to wake up and realize 55 per cent of America disagrees.
A majority of Americans (55%) in an online survey said bloggers are important to the future of American journalism and 74% said citizen journalism will play a vital role, a new WE Media/Zogby Interactive poll shows.
Most respondents (53%) also said the rise of free Internet-based media pose the greatest opportunity to the future of professional journalism and three in four (76%) said the Internet has had a positive impact on the overall quality of journalism
The survey results were released by Pollster John Zogby as part of a conference of media industry insiders hosted by the University of Miami. In the national survey of adults, 72% said they were dissatisfied with the quality of American journalism today. A majority of conference–goers who were polled on the subject agreed – 55% said they were dissatisfied, and 61% said they believed traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news.
Nearly nine out of 10 media insiders (86%) said they believe bloggers will play an important part in journalism's future.
The Zogby Interactive survey of 5,384 adults nationwide was conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2007, and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.4 percentage points. The Zogby Interactive survey of 77 members of the media who attended the Miami conference carries a margin of error of +/- 11.4 percentage points. While periodic audits show the results from Zogby telephone and Internet surveys closely track each other, a companion telephone survey of this topic was not conducted.
Dissatisfaction with today's news reportage is greater among those nationwide online respondents who identified themselves as conservative – 88% said they were unhappy with journalism, while 95% of "very conservative" respondents said the quality of journalism today is not what it should be. Among those respondents identifying themselves as liberal, 51% said they are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism. Dissatisfaction levels were also highest among older respondents – 78% of those age 65 and older said they are dissatisfied. Most respondents (65%) also said they believe traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news, with the highest levels of dissatisfaction with traditional journalism among those age 70 and older (74%), the very conservative (95%), and libertarians (89%).
Despite concerns about its quality, 72% of those in the national survey said journalism is important to their community. More respondents (81%) said Web sites are important as a source of news, although television ranked nearly as high (78%), followed by radio (73%). Newspapers and magazines trailed – 69% said newspapers and 38% said magazines were important. While blogs were rated as important sources of news by 30% of the online respondents, they were not considered as good a news source as the backyard fence – 39% said their friends and neighbors are an important source of information.
However, a majority of the nationwide online respondents said Internet social networking sites and blogging will play in important role in the future of journalism. But they added that trustworthiness will be important to the future of the industry – 90% said trust will be key.
Liberal and progressive respondents were more likely to say newspapers are their most trusted source than those with more conservative ideological mindsets. But radio is the most trusted source for 28% of those who describe themselves as "very conservative", compared with just 9% of liberal respondents.
More online respondents nationwide said the Internet was their top source of news and information (40%), followed by television (32%), newspapers (12%) and radio (12%). The youngest adults in our poll, those age 18-24, were far more likely to say they mostly get news from Internet sites—58% said the Internet is their main destination for news, with television coming in second at 18%. Fewer than one in 10 in this age group said they get the majority of their news from newspapers.
Zogby via BBSNews
Thursday, February 15, 2007
NEWS UNIVERSITY ONLINE COURSE IN MULTIMEDIA STORYTELLING
Title: Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling
Instructor: Jane Stevens
What will I learn? Want to spread your wings beyond print reporting, but don’t know where to start? In this course, you’ll learn the basic steps of telling your story with multimedia. You’ll discover ways to map out your story before you head out to do your reporting. And you’ll learn when to use such tools as audio, video and graphics.
This course also walks you through one case study, so you can see how multimedia stories are built. Plus, through our course partners at UC-Berkeley and the Knight New Media Center, you can explore a library of tutorials to help you with the technical side of recording, taping and editing for the Web.
How long will it take? This course takes about one to two hours to complete. You can access the course on your own schedule, starting and stopping at your convenience. And you can come back anytime once you enroll.
About the instructor: Jane Ellen Stevens teaches multimedia reporting at the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Cost: This course is available at no cost to registered users of News University.
Note: This course requires the Flash Player 7 plug-in. If you use a Mac, we strongly recommend accessing this course with the Firefox web browser.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Top 3 must use online tools for Journalist
3. Feed Search Engines
Website : http://www.rightconversation.com/files/top3must.pdf
Monday, February 12, 2007
Evolving Jobs: Tasting the "Flavors" of Web Journalism
One smart perspective on the Web-work landscape comes from the Columbia University School of Journalism, where they've been thinking a lot recently about how to better reflect the Internet in their journalism curriculum. (Disclosure note: As managing editor for Columbia's Carnegie-Knight News 21 project, I'm an adjunct there.)
According to Sree Sreenivasan (the J-school's dean of students, Poynter columnist and tech reporter for WNBC-TV) there are three "flavors" of Internet-related jobs that students or alumni are or will be doing. Some of these are familiar, while others are entirely new to our profession.
The first, the model described by Sreenivasan as continuous news, entails providing multiple stories of varied lengths at deadlines across the day. That's the all-too-familiar wire service style of reporting upon which many journalists have cut their teeth for decades. As one smart Gannett editor puts it, "We now write for the Web and edit for print."
Next, there's the editor-host model. Here the journalist works inside the newsroom most of time. This job is about synthesizing, analyzing and displaying (in timely fashion for online audiences) content from myriad information sources: newswires, the Internet, video, audio. (To that list, I'd add user-generated content.) This is very much an editing role; some have likened it to a typical newsroom copy desk role. I think the editor-host model acknowledges the increasingly collaborative nature of online journalism. Today, writers, reporters and editors work together with visual journalists, graphic designers, programmers, technologists and others to realize the final product.
Sreenivasan's third model is probably the least common, but in the long run may become the most important to the development of a unique Internet form of journalism. He calls it the Webified reporter.
A kind of one-man band, the Webified reporter is able to apply multiple Web tools -- from reporting to videography to Flash -- to create original content that takes full advantage of the medium's interactive multimedia capacities. Not only does the Webified reporter knows how to use these tools, but also when to use which tool for a particular Web story.
Sreenivasan's take was amplified at a recent Columbia gathering. There, some guest editors added to these three "flavors" by recommending that online journalists should have business-related knowledge and a general utility that could prove vital to surviving the maelstrom that has become the news business.
For instance, Bill Grueskin (managing editor of the Wall Street Journal online) told the gathering that he'd like to see more incoming journalists who understand traffic and user navigation patterns for news Web sites, and how that relates to profitability.
"Journalists can no longer afford to put blinders on about that side of the business," he warned, "not as shills for the advertising department, but to help in turning unsuccessful enterprises into successful ones."
Pushing the notion of utility was Wilmington News-Journal's managing
editor Pankaj Paul, whose Gannett-owned paper's newsroom is now well into a 24/7 online experiment. According to Paul, there's no "online operation" in the newsroom, as such. "The entire room is the online department. Everybody writes, shoots, audio, video for Web. Every manager in the newsroom posts to the site. It's not one person's job to get content online. It's everyone's job."
Looking ahead, I believe it's in the interest of our profession to better understand the categories of jobs being created by online media. The "flavors" discussed above are limited largely to what mainstream media is trying to do online. And even in those settings there probably are more approaches.
Professionals split on future of print journalism
for full article got to http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/storage/paper87/news/2007/02/08/News/Professionals.Split.On.Future.Of.Print.Journalism-2706813.shtml?sourcedomain=www.dailyfreepress.com&MIIHost=media.collegepublisher.com
(subscription is required)
When "Users" Produce the Ads -- And the News
"Users" are invading the media. And increasingly, they're bringing some good stuff. Are news organizations ready to pony up?
Sunday. Thirty hours to deadline. Rain.
Monday. Afternoon. Wes Phillips, 22, owner of a small production company nobody's ever heard of, is shooting a commercial in suburban North Carolina. He leads his four-person team through a final shot, rushes home to edit and uploads the video hours before a midnight deadline.
To call Phillips an amateur isn't quite adequate. He's been working with video since he was a kid. But his $12.72 budget, among other things, makes it clear he also isn't quite a professional.
go to http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=117968 to read full article
Associated Press Connects With Citizen Content
"The Associated Press has a long tradition of pursuing citizen contributions in breaking news events worldwide," said Jim Kennedy, AP's vice president and director of strategic planning. "This relationship will make that connection even stronger and result in more news and images from people who are in the right place at the right time."
"NowPublic's idea of a working relationship between the public as citizen media, and traditional reporters in the mainstream media started taking shape in 2006," said NowPublic co-founder and CEO Leonard Brody. "This collaboration is one of the initial endeavors."
Contributions to the AP news report from NowPublic's network of participants could take many forms over time, said AP Deputy Managing Editor for Multimedia Lou Ferrara. "They could range from simple eyewitness accounts to originally produced content.”
This development helps to answer two of the main questions about community and investment asked at the "We Media" event.
# Community: How can media and communications in a multitude of forms, produced or influenced by an ever-expanding multitude of sources, serve and strengthen the communities where people live?
# Investment: In a shifting communications marketplace, how will investors, public and private funders or new formulations of social entrepreneurship pay for and sustain the civic enterprises of news and information?"
There is no information yet on how contributors may be paid for content used by AP but presumably the arrangement will help to build the structures around NowPublic. AP bureaus will soon work with NowPublic communities in selected locations on ways to enhance regional news coverage. Later AP news desks also may tap the network in breaking news situations where citizen contributors may capture critical information and images.
It was also announced during the conference that The University of Miami will develop a new, permanent Knight Center for International Media, with the two Knight Chairs, one focusing on visual journalism and the other on cross-cultural communication. Funding comes from the Knight Foundation, which also supported the event.
"This grant is based on the simple idea that the world will not solve its most difficult problems unless its people can communicate effectively across national, ethnic and cultural borders," said Alberto Ibarguen, president of the Knight Foundation.
"Journalists can play a major role both in bringing clarity to complex issues and bridging cultural divides. The Knight Center for International Media at the University of Miami will be dedicated to the proposition that we can understand each other and will train journalists in the use of many forms of media to achieve that goal. I am particularly pleased that the Center will place a major focus on photojournalism and the use of electronic media."
The "We Media" conference attracts a wide range of people and there is some tension between the social media and the large organizations. Mark Glaser from PBS MediaShift explains it like this- "Thanks to the audience taking control of their media experience and creating their own media in blogs, podcasts, video and social networks, the people who are losing control have decided to meet and meet, and meet again until they figure out how they can take back some control of this uncontrollable situation."
Some of the tension comes across in discussion about "citizen journalism," a term that many professional journalists are reluctant to accept. Jemima Kiss wrote a blog for The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper that I personally read most days, both online and on paper. She highlighted some new words with a jargon alert.
"Now we have soft media to describe blogs and independent, non-professional media. But that's actually a pretty good term. Can we use that in place of 'citizen journalism' please?"
There is no explanation of objections to "citizen journalism" but there is also reference to "networked journalism" with more involvement from professionals. "There was also a good example of crowdsourcing, or networked journalism -- the collaboration of professional journalists and the audience." Kiss describes a case study in which Gannett newspapers work closely with local communities on specific issues, although they avoid the word "journalism" to describe what citizens do because that word is too big. "We say help us, get published and tell us what you know."
The Guardian has published a number of articles in recent months that show concerns about citizen journalism. In January Simon Jenkins wrote --
"The Internet has certainly torn up the media of communication pioneered by Gutenberg and Caxton, Marconi and Reith. The anarchist in me is attracted by the sovereignty of the mob, I like to see the market, the audience, hitting back occasionally -- even if it does so from the Tower of Babel."
A more disturbing opinion came from Marcel Berlins in December, apparently based on a lack information.
"OhmyNews has.... some 40,000 non-professional contributors; they are, of course, untested and unvetted, their submissions unchecked, their motives unknown. The reader of the website can have no idea about the accuracy of the information on it; yet it is one of the main sources of news for South Koreans."
The credibility of OhmyNews is based on the work of editors who factcheck all articles. There is also a comment option so any errors are often spotted and corrected. I know this from my own stories. It seems to me that "citizen journalism" is a process involving the readers and the editors. It allows the citizens to influence the agenda.
Some of the alarm from print journalists is caused by the drop in circulation figures. In the previous event in London, Mark Thompson from the BBC stated that he saw new technology as disruptive and that he did not expect all existing news organizations to manage the required transition. This year in Miami the problems of large organizations seemed not to be the priority. There was a Media Summit in New York during the same week at which Rupert Murdoch described newspapers as "very vulnerable".
Jemima Kiss reported on a presentation at "We Media" by Jason Pontin, editor of the MIT Technology Review.
"The death of print. After some deliberation, Pontin has now decided that the printed form of news will die, although he emphasized that the role of the editor will remain crucial. He referred to E Ink's electronic paper which will have all the form factor benefits of newspaper. Sony ships something similar this year, although I doubt electronic paper will be enough to convert those hardened print hacks who are still addicted to their olfactory implants of toxic black ink.
Print, he said, "is in its last 10 or 20 years."
Pontin emphasized the role of editors.
"Forums are wonderful and the web advocacy groups are right, but there is still an important role for editors. I don't mean as gatekeepers, but more like bartenders at a favorite bar. You expect a certain kind of experience, standards of ideas and identity and you trust them. That won't go anywhere any time soon."
In March The Guardian will host a conference in London about personalised media. The scope may include how newspapers can adjust as news organisations. However there are still occasions when print is discussed in isolation. A story in The Guardian of recent ABC circulation figures makes no mention of competition from the Web or comparisons of numbers for newspaper Web sites. ABC, the organization that audits circulation in the U.K., has announced plans to include digital editions, download versions of newspapers, but so far none of the U.K. titles will make this information public. Discussion around the issues raised at "We Media" is likely to continue.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
An Introduction to Entrepreneurial Journalism Online
this is one of the key discussion area at Online Journalism Review(OJR) second annual online journalism conference scheduled for March 30th 2007 at University of Southern California, USA.
Theme : "An Introduction to Entrepreneurial Journalism Online
Are you a newsroom veteran wondering how to start your own online news website?
Are you a website publisher struggling to make your site a source of a full-time income?
Are you an "old media" news executive charged with making your newsroom's website more competitive?
# Using social networking techniques to build your audience and improve your coverage;
# Growing your website from hobby to business;
# Selling your website, without selling out.
Website : Online Journalism Conference
Blogging Our Way Into the Newspaper
By Yvette Walker, Deputy Managing Editor, The Oklahoman
During a recent ice storm, The Oklahoman, where I work, updated readers about a concert by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Assistant entertainment editor George Lang first reported that the concert's status was questionable. Then organizers said it was on. Then, eventually, word came that it had been canceled.
Chatter blew up on the newspaper's Web site, NewsOK.com. More than 200 readers commented about the concert. But they weren't posting responses to a news story. Instead, the readers who were following and responding to Lang's updates were doing so on the newspaper's daily blog, "Notes from the Newsroom."
"Notes from the Newsroom" is run by a collection of bloggers from every editorial department -- from metro reporters to business writers, copy editors to columnists. There are no stars here. Anyone who wants to blog is welcome to do so.
The blog is not separated into categories. In a sense, it's like a big A-section. Bloggers post the best and most interesting items -- interesting to them, at least. There is a lot of subjectivity here, and that is encouraged. And although we allow bloggers to write in first-person, ethics and fairness of reporting is required.
During a recent ice storm, The Oklahoman ran concert updates from the newsroom blog on the front page of the paper.
Staffers usually stick to local events, often writing from a personal point of view. For example, that ice storm prompted a flurry (pun intended) of blog entries, ranging from personal stories of dealing with the weather, to updates on closings and cancellations, to cautionary tales of danger on the ice.
Reporters sometimes tell readers how they worked on a story. We solicit feedback from readers via the blog. And as we entered 2007, some of our reporters blogged about the most memorable stories they had worked on over the last year.
By teaching staffers an easy-to-learn, Web-based program, we have given our newsroom the tools to be more accessible, more human. And that is part of the appeal.
Here's why some reporters say they enjoy blogging:
* "Often when writing a story, there's a great quote or a fun detail that just doesn't make it into a news story. Blogging allows for that extra little part of the story to be told. It also gives me an outlet to add a personal insight or some humor." -- Tricia Pemberton, staff writer
* "It's a place to write with a little more heart. In Sunday's newspaper, I wrote a notable obituary about a long-time police volunteer whom I knew for seven years. My reflections on him would've been completely out of place in that obituary, but I was able to use the blog to express my memories of him and what made him so noteworthy." -- Ken Raymond, staff writer
* "I love the immediacy of blogging and the creativity I can have to post things in a more conversational style. I also love the challenge of posting photographs, graphics and links and making them look the way I want and giving readers places to explore." -- Jim Stafford, business writer
As a bonus, the blog is providing daily content for the newspaper. The Oklahoman is no stranger to reverse publishing. But it's now happening on a daily basis, with lots of material going into the A-section. That is unusual.
Page 2A is the home for all this blog content, and even the name of the page is nontraditional: "News, too: The other side of Page 1."
The majority of the page is composed of a feature called "From the newsroom 2U: Highlights from The Oklahoman's blog."
Seven days a week we publish a variety of blog entries, reader feedback based on questions posted online, the daily NewsOK.com poll results and "What you're reading," a top-10 list of stories that got the most hits online in the previous 24-hour period. Also on the page are the staff box, lottery numbers and corrections.
The Oklahoman publishes items from its newsroom blog daily on the second page of the paper, a section dubbed "news, too: The other side of Page 1."
"News, too" is the brainchild of news editor Steve Byerly, who championed the idea that the blog's contents would be good for the paper.
"It's helped build a sense of community among the online readers, print readers and staff," Byerly said. "It's a place where the staff can speak directly to the readers without using their 'news voice' -- and where readers can speak back. It brings together citizen journalism, reader feedback and behind-the-scenes details on how we do our jobs."
How is it making a difference? It's a fascinating bridge to the community that our staff crosses daily. It is transparency on a global newsroom level -- with the blog acting as a kind of ombudsman, giving readers a peep into the minds of journalists.
"Many newspapers talk about [using] multimedia but they have really only scratched the surface of where we all need to be," said executive editor Sue Hale. "Our newsroom is dropping beneath the surface to [involve] multimedia every day from start to finish, and the blog is quickly becoming the transition for this evolution."
Like many newspapers, The Oklahoman has focused resources on NewsOK.com in an effort to draw more readers to its award-winning journalism, unique content and brand recognition. Blogs, including "Notes from the Newsroom" and others that focus on entertainment and fashion, are an important part of that unique content.
The blog builds upon The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com's rising print/online penetration, which is in the top 20 among American newspapers, according to The Media Audit.
We began "Notes from the Newsroom" with little fanfare in Nov. 2006, but the staff has embraced it, and traffic is growing.
NewsOK.com managing editor Alan Herzberger sees the blog as a success -- and not just because it's getting a lot of hits.
"To me, the success of the blog is not in the traffic -- it's in the fact that the writers, editors, designers and leadership can participate in an ongoing, informal dialogue with readers and users of our products. That's another key step into the future of [the] news industry."
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
The multi-newspaper newsroom. Integrating print and digital work processes
These are just some of the issues to be discussed at the 14th World Editors Forum, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 3 to 6 June next. For the evolving conference programme and other information, please visit www.wan-press.org/capetown2007.
The event, which will run concurrently with the 60th World Newspaper Congress and Info Services Expo 2007, draws hundreds of editors-in-chief and other senior newsroom executives from around the world. It is the first time the events, the global meetings of the world’s press, will be held in Africa.
The Congress, which addresses the business concerns of media companies, and the Editors Forum, which addresses newsroom issues, focus on exchanging knowledge and best practices. The events, which drew more than 1,700 participants to Moscow last year, rely heavily on case studies of newspapers and how they perform under challenging conditions.
The theme of the Editors Forum is "Quality Journalism in the Digital Age." Highlights include:
- An in-depth reflection about the future of journalism from Mario Vargas Llosa, of Peru, one of the world’s leading novelists and essayists who began as a newspaper reporter.
- The first Newsroom Barometer, an international survey of senior news executives focused on editorial strategies, newsroom integration and the future of journalism.
- Some of the world’s leading editors and newspaper professionals speaking on the wide variety of issues facing journalists everywhere.
- Numerous social events, breakfasts with South African leaders and other news making personalities, networking opportunities and more.
The theme of the Forum is "Quality Journalism in the Digital Age." Sessions include:
- "The Newsroom Barometer: How to Define Editorial Quality in the Digital Age," in which John Zogby, President of Zogby International, will present the Newsroom Barometer, a joint international survey by WEF, Zogby and Reuters. He will be joined in a panel discussion by editors from around the world. The session will be chaired by George Brock, Editor of the Saturday Times and President of the World Editors Forum.
- "The Multi-Newspaper Newsroom is Born," in which Andrea Seibel, Deputy Editor-in-chief of Die Welt, Welt Kompakt, Welt Am Sonntag and the Berliner Morgenpost in Germany, and Birgit Donker, Editor-in-chief of NRC Handelsblad and NRC Next in The Netherlands, will explain how they manage these multi-newspaper newsrooms. The session will be chaired by Xavier Vidal-Folch, Deputy Editor of El Pais in Spain.
- "Integrated newsrooms: what print does best and what online does best," which will examine several examples of merged print and online newsrooms. The session will feature Jonathan Landman, Deputy Managing Editor, and Jim Roberts, Editor of Digital News, at The New York Times, and Jennifer Carroll, Vice President for New Media Content at the Gannett Company in the United States.
- In a "Reuters Master Class" on user-generated content, delegates will hear from Adam Pasick, the Reuters journalist whose beat is the Second Life virtual world. Other speakers in the session include Dave Panos, CEO of the social network Pluck (USA), Rebecca MacKinnon, Co-founder of the bloggers network Global Voices (USA), Didier Pillet, Director of Information for Ouest-France, and David Schlesinger, Editor-in-Chief of Reuters, who will chair the session.
- "Front Page versus Home Page: Design Lessons," which will examine how web-designed home pages are inspiring new designs for the front pages of print editions. The session will feature Don Wittekind, a leading multimedia graphic design expert, now an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and the Poynter Institute of Media Studies, and Deborah Withey, Design Director at The Virginia Pilot in the United States.
- "Is It Possible to Cover Africa with One Correspondent," a session that will focus on providing better coverage of a continent of 900 million people and more than 50 countries. The session will feature Ferial Haffajee, Editor-in-chief of South Africa’s Mail & Guardian, and other speakers to be announced.
- "Can Free Papers Produce Quality Journalism," which will look at the second and third generation of free papers that have emerged, including sports and economic titles and free home-delivered newspapers. The session will feature Ben Rogmans, Co-founder and future Editor-in-chief of Dagblad De Pers in the Netherlands, Toger Seidenfaden, Editor-in-chief of Politken in Denmark, and David Trads, Editor-in-chief of Denmark’s Nyhedavisen.
- "Balancing Ethics, Transparency and Independence in the Newsroom," which will examine the impact of digital media on journalism ethics. Participants include Fritz van Exter, Editor-in-chief of Trouw in the Netherlands, François Nel, Director of the Journalism Leaders Programme at the Lancashire Business School in the United Kingdom, and Denis Muzet, Director of Mediascopie Institute in France.
- "Sharing Best Practices: Five Examples of Newspaper Cooperation, " which will provide editors with a range of new cooperative initiatives between newsrooms. The session will feature Marcel van Lingen, Editorial Director of the General Press Association in the Netherlands, a cooperative with 80 journalists that provides news to sixteen Dutch regional newspapers, Akishige Tada, Chairman of Press Net Japan (Zenkoku Simbun Net), a new national news website that is a joint project of more than 50 regional newspapers, and Grzegorz Piechota, Special Projects Editor at Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland.
The Forum will also feature several joint sessions with the World Newspaper Congress, notably the presentations of the annual World Press Trends survey and of Innovations in Newspapers 2007.
Full details can be found at www.wan-press.org/capetown2007.
Sponsors of the events include Remgro, Richemont & VenFin, Mondi Shanduka Newsprint & Mondi International, the Sunday Times, M & G Media, JohnCom, Media 24, Independent Newspapers (Pty) Ltd and Caxton Publishers & Printers Ltd.
The Paris-based WEF is the organisation of the World Association of Newspapers that represents senior news executives. WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 76 national newspaper associations, newspapers and newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and ten regional and world-wide press groups.
Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: email@example.com.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
World's oldest newspaper goes digital
Post-och Inrikes Tidningar, founded in 1645 by Sweden's Queen Kristina, became a web-only publication on Jan. 1.
"We think it's a cultural disaster," said Hans Holm, who served as the chief editor of the paper for 20 years. "It is sad when you have worked with it for so long and it has been around for so long."
It's been a long journey for a newspaper started by the queen to keep her subjects informed of the affairs of state. The first editions, which were more like pamphlets, were carried by courier and posted on note boards in cities and towns throughout the kingdom, Holm said.
Today, Post-och Inrikes Tidningar, which means mail and domestic tidings, runs legal announcements by corporations, courts and certain government agencies - about 1,500 a day, according to current editor Olov Vikstrom.
It's not exactly a best seller. The paper edition had a circulation of around 1,000, although the website is expected to attract more readers, Vikstrom said.
The newspaper is owned by the Swedish Academy, known for awarding the annual Nobel Prize in Literature, but the publishing rights were sold recently to the Swedish Companies Registration Office, a government agency.
Despite its online transformation, Post-och Inrikes Tidningar remains No. 1 on a ranking of the oldest newspapers still in circulation compiled by the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers.
"An online newspaper is still a newspaper, so we'll leave it on the list," WAN spokesman Larry Kilman said.
BBC Training Free Online Broadcast and New Media Courses
3. Broadcast Technology
4. Broadcast Management
5. Health and Safety
go to http://www.bbctraining.com/onlineCourses.asp
Sunday, February 04, 2007
1st WEST AFRICAN E-CONTENT SUMMIT
This ICT symposium expects to launch the official discussions to establish the “Panafrican Agency for New Media, advocated to provide training courses in new media management for young people in Africa in to bridge the content gap.
For further information visit http://www.icnm.net/
Thursday, February 01, 2007
More Profitable Online Publishing
Today, anyone with a browser and a digital camera can be a publisher.
This is hardly a groundbreaking revelation, but as our digital society evolves, publishers find themselves in seemingly new territory and asking new questions. One question from a friend who works for a major publisher got us thinking about the differences between merchandising and journalism:
In journalism, what's the sales transaction?
To be a profitable journalist and publisher in today's climate means overcoming the same hurdles as your counterparts in merchandising and marketing. It's all about earning trust, credibility, interest, usability, and relevance. Just because you aren't peddling a shiny new product or service doesn't mean you don't have to persuade. A sale certainly does take place.
The best way to think about the journalism sales transaction is to break it down into four significantly overlapping categories: journalist to reader, publisher to reader, publisher to advertiser, and advertiser to reader.
If you were to look at this as a Venn diagram (define), the overlap would be visible.
* Journalist to reader. This transaction's essence is the readers' trust in the integrity of the viewpoint and credibility of the information, and sometimes of the journalist. Credibility keeps readers engaged in the content. Credibility can stem from the publisher's brand, a personality, or the content's reliability. Trust isn't sufficient, however, unless there's also interest.
* Publisher to reader. This transaction's essence is interest. Interest is what prompts readers to keep reading this edition and the next and prompts them to explore other topics in the same publication. The reader also trusts that advertisements will be relevant within the context of their interest in the publication and that the publisher vets advertisers' integrity.
* Publisher to advertiser. In this transaction, advertisers must trust that the publisher knows how to attract and hold reader interest. They also trust the publisher will market and distribute the publication and will help advertisers understand what's relevant to their readership.
* Advertiser to reader. Relevance lies at the heart of this relationship. The reader's relationship with the publication is critical. The reader hopes ads will be an extension of the content. When the content and ads are in sync, the affinity the reader feels for the product or service increases.
A fifth category may be journalist to publisher. This relationship's significance has grown parallel to the usability of the tools the average joe needs to publish. GeoCities made it easy to put up a Web site, YouTube made it easy to upload videos, and Flickr made it easy to upload photos. These publishers rely on the content amateurs post to build traffic and attract new "journalists." Although a successful relationship is largely about usability and viral popularity, publishers will soon have to better serve everyman journalists and maintain the relationship by providing differentiating benefits.
Bottom line: Journalist, publishers, and readers aren't all that different from sellers, advertisers, and buyers. They're all people with needs, motivations, and preferences. They're people who must be persuaded to take action. The same basic issues permeate product, service, and journalistic transactions. Understanding this, along with planning persuasion scenarios, is the key to more profitable online publishing.
In a windowless office in central Bangalore, dozens of employees are arriving to work on the night shift.
They are journalists employed by the world's biggest news agency, Reuters.
Their job is to cover US financial news.
And they are working overnight so that they can report company news live as it happens on the New York Stock Exchange - from India.
But why in the world is Reuters covering Wall Street from Bangalore?
In a word: salaries.
These Indian financial journalists can be employed by Reuters for a fraction of the cost of employing a journalist at their New York office.
Reuters Editor-in-Chief, David Schlesinger, says that the move meant that they could broaden their coverage of US companies without incurring crippling costs.
Whatever the risks and benefits, outsourcing is here to stay.
World Association of Newspapers
He was able to hire 100 new journalists in Bangalore without in any way reducing the size of his New York office.
"Now we can send our New York journalists out to do more interesting stories. This is good for our business and good for journalism," he told the BBC.
And some other wire services are now following Reuters' lead and beating a path to Bangalore, according to local journalists.
But Mr Schlesinger insists that this is not outsourcing.
"Bangalore is a Reuters bureau like any other in the world. And Reuters journalists there work to the standards as Reuters journalists anywhere."
Such a system has only recently become feasible - as a result of the internet.
Most US companies now put out their press releases on the internet, and they all use financial PR firms to release their profit figures just as the stock market opens.
So Reuters journalists in Bangalore can access the same basic information - in the same time frame - as their colleagues in New York.
And the reduced cost of telecommunications links means that the news written in Bangalore can be sent around the world as quickly as the news written in New York - of key importance for a wire service, which depends on speed for its competitive advantage.
Reuters already knew about the data transmission capability of India.
In 2002, it moved its IT database operations to Bangalore.
It now employs 1,500 people to make sure that its clients receive the millions of bits of financial data it transmits every day.
But, nevertheless, Reuters was taking a big gamble in trying to source its company news from India, as Abi Sekimitsu, the Reuters editor assigned to run the Bangalore office, explains.
"The Reuters brand is a strong one. There is no shortage of talented journalists here, but need to train them up carefully to make sure they understood our values," she says.
But she stresses the journalists she employs are now eager to expand the range of stories they do, and have already moved from just doing headlines and summaries to writing more complex stories.
The Reuters journalists working in Bangalore do find some aspects of the job intimidating.
For Ankur Relia, covering the New York financial markets has taken some getting used to.
He writes up to 20 brief stories a day reporting on US company results.
But he is happy to defer to the New York office if a more complicated story involving a major US company passes his way.
To maintain their exacting standards, Reuters has recently created a new post in the Bangalore office - training editor.
And they have hired a former Bloomberg employee and CNBC TV presenter, Kavita Chandran, on a two-year contract.
Kavita, an Indian national, had been working for Bloomberg in New York.
She says it has been hard to adjust to coming back to Bangalore - but it is a very exciting time.
"We have a bright, enthusiastic young staff, who are eager to learn about US markets.
"I encourage them to read the NY Times and Wall St Journal online every day."
But she finds there are some cultural differences between work styles in the US and India that need tackling.
"Indian culture is much more laid-back and the work ethic is different. We need to install a sense of urgency, especially for breaking news, and ensure crisp and accurate copy."
"My role is really to clear up the cultural misunderstandings," she says.
"Being Indian, but having worked for more than 10 years in New York, I can spot the difficulties in communication and language between the two offices."
However, the biggest problem that Reuters is facing in Bangalore is something they did not expect - turnover.
Outsourcing : Moving company functions from internal departments to external firms
Offshoring : Relocating corporate activities overseas.
Nearshoring : Relocating offshore activities nearer the client's home country
BPO : Business processing outsourcing - moving white collar tasks like accounting or invoicing. to an external firm
Captive firms: Companies owned by foreign multinationals who perform outsourcing services for the parent firm
UK call centres/US contact centers : Offices where workers provide telephone customer services like sales
Despite paying double the going rate for journalists, almost half the staff has left in the past year.
"I am a Reuters lifer," Ms Sekimitsu told the BBC. "When I joined Reuters in Hong Kong, I planned to make my career in the firm. But some of the young journalists I am employing seem to think that a year is a long time to work for one company."
It's not just competition from rivals that have caused the problem.
India's economic boom - and the deregulation of television - has led to an explosion in financial journalism, with six financial news channels on cable TV.
And salaries of financial journalists on newspapers are rising as well.
With many financial journalists attracted to working in Mumbai, India's financial capital, Reuters is finding it increasingly difficult to retain its staff.
Reuters' Bangalore operation is only one example of a broader trend in outsourcing by media organisations.
Many American newspapers, facing severe cost pressures, are looking to outsource many of their key functions to India.
Recent moves have included:
* Columbus Dispatch : Ohio newspaper outsourced 90 jobs in advertising design to Affinity Express in Pune, India
* Dallas Morning News : IT computer support outsourced to India
* Knight Ridder Group : Considered outsourcing its copy editing to India in 2006, before being taken over by McClatchy
According to the World Association of Newspapers, the trend is gathering strength.
In a report published last year, the organisation said that "whatever the risks and benefits, outsourcing is here to stay".
"The newspaper industry has only taken tentative steps into outsourcing what was once considered core competencies such as editorial, advertising, and circulation. But the trend is gaining momentum," it added.
And the BBC too
And it is not just newspapers that are taking advantage of the cost savings of outsourcing to India.
The BBC recently announced that it would save £20m by outsourcing its payroll and expenses services to Xansa, based in Madras, India, although customer support would still be based in the UK.
Savings will go towards the BBC's target of releasing £355m of savings to invest in programmes and services.
"The BBC is taking advantage of the significant savings of globalisation while maintaining the benefits of more local customer support," the corporation said.
Have you been personally affected by globalisation?
Have you lost your job? Are you now a global worker who has moved abroad? Or has your lifestyle been transformed by the new opportunities in the global economy?
Story from BBC NEWS:
Tagging 'takes off for web users'
As more and more people put their own content online, they are also being invited to tag it with descriptive keywords to help organise their data.
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the trend in tagging is growing among US web users.
It found that over a quarter of online Americans - 28% - had tagged content such as a photo, news story or blog.
The business of intelligently tagging content is seen as a crucial element for a next-stage, so-called "semantic web".
But for users of social networking sites it is just an obvious tool to navigate around the sites they visit.
Tagging is the process of creating labels for online content. Somebody creating an account on a site such as Flickr is invited to upload photos and then apply labels to the pictures that make sense to them - for instance, labelling a picture of the sun going down as "sunset".
Tagging allows social groups to form around similarities of interests and points of view
David Weinberger, Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Once the labels are applied, anyone entering the term "sunset" into Flickr's search will find the photo and any other pictures with the tag.
In this way, tagging makes it easier to organise information for all the users of a site and this social dimension means tagging is becoming a hallmark of the so-called web 2.0 - the social networking element to the net that encourages sharing and collaboration.
Tagging comes in many forms. Google's tagging feature is called "bookmark", while other sites offer the ability to label content so effortlessly that people may not be aware they are doing it.
David Weinberger, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and a prominent blogger, told Pew that tagging was becoming increasingly important for the web.
Mr Weinberger makes the case for tagging in his book Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder.
This new way of organising information in the digital age, he argues, is a classic example of how the web is enabling the bottom-up building of categories rather than having such things imposed on users.
"Tagging lets us organise the vastness of the web, and even our e-mail, as Gmail has shown, using the categories that matter to us as individuals," he said.
Some have criticised tagging as being too imprecise or ambiguous but Mr Weinberger is not concerned that one person may tag, say, a Stephen King story as "horror" while someone else calls it "ghost story".
"Tagging allows social groups to form around similarities of interests and points of view. If you're using the same tags as I do, we probably share some deep commonalities," he told Pew Internet.
Data from web-tracking firm Hitwise shows that tagging sites such as Flickr and del.icio.us - a bookmarking site that lets users tag websites with descriptive terms - are gaining popularity as people become more aware of them.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/01 09:42:52 GMT
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