Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Verification Handbook

The Verification Handbook is a groundbreaking new resource for journalists and aid responders, which provides step-by-step guidelines for using user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies.

In a crisis situation, social networks are overloaded with situational updates, calls for relief, reports of new developments, and rescue information. Reporting the right information is often critical in shaping responses from the public and relief workers; it can literally be a matter of life or death.

The Handbook prescribes best practice advice on how to verify and use this information provided by the crowd, as well as actionable advice to facilitate disaster preparedness in newsrooms.

While it primarily targets journalists and aid providers, the Handbook can be used by anyone. It’s advice and guidance are valuable whether you are a news journalist, citizen reporter, relief responder, volunteer, journalism school student, emergency communication specialist, or an academic researching social media.

The Handbook is developed and managed by the European Journalism Centre, based in the Netherlands, under itsEmergency Journalism initiative.

Editors of the Handbook

Editor: Craig Silverman, The Poynter Institute
Copyeditor: Merrill Perlman, the American Copy Editors Society (ACES)

read book online at 

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MA in Social Media

The MA in Social Media offers a flexible interdisciplinary exploration of key contemporary developments in the networked digital media environment. It will benefit those seeking to develop their  understanding of contemporary communication and its societal, political, regulatory, industrial and cultural contexts.

The MA in Social Media provides students with the opportunity to focus at postgraduate level on:
* Studying the ways in which social media and the Internet shape and are shaped by social, economic, political, technological and cultural
factors, in order to equip students to become critical research-oriented  social media experts.
* Developing reflective and critical insights into how social media and the Internet are used in multiple contexts in society, and into which
roles social media can play in various forms of organisations that are situated in these societal contexts. The aim is that students are equipped to become reflective and critical social media practitioners.
* Gaining in-depth knowledge and understanding of the major debates about the social and cultural roles of social media and the Internet.
* Acquiring advanced knowledge and understanding of the key categories, theories, approaches and models of social media's and the Internet's
roles in and impacts on society and human practices.
* Obtaining advanced insights into practical activity and practice-based work that relate to how social media and the Internet work and which implications they have for social and cultural practices.

Journalists offer different perspectives on what to do with audience data

Younger staff in The Atlantic newsroom have a knack for sourcing their stories through social media, and getting them read that way, too, J.J. Gould, executive editor at, said Monday morning at the Poynter Institute.

Gould was part of a panel, moderated by Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, at the Future of News Audiences conference (live blog here).

Those younger staff, Gould said, have a sense for "how to play this emerging understanding of what readers are looking for with mission of The Atlantic."

But when you ask most newsrooms what they're doing with information about their audiences, "the majority of them will tell you very little," said Raju Narisetti, senior vice president of strategy at News Corp.

"There is still a tremendous disdain for taking our understanding of digital audiences and doing something about it."

His fear, he said, is that unless newsrooms understand data about their audiences and what they're reading and then use that information, they'll be left behind, "especially by some of the newer newsrooms that are kind of legacy-free, if you will, like Upworthy or BuzzFeed that can embrace the data and do something about it."

So is it a gut instinct, Schiller asked the panel, that guides the younger and legacy-free journalists in deciding what data they look at and what they do with it?

Gould compared it more to athleticism, that reporters are learning on the field, and that what they're learning is always shifting.

When he first started at The Atlantic four years ago, Gould said, there was a reluctance among senior editors that journalists have access to data.

"It's an understandable reflex, to say don't look at the data," Gould said. "Like don't read reviews."

But, he said, no one worries about that anymore.

Reporters, he said, are still following their beats and interests and working on what's relevant to their readers. "But the knack is developed by iterative reading of data," he said.

Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president of newsgathering at Al Jazeera America, said there's not a strict rule on sharing audience data with reporters, and editors often allude to it without specifics so that the newsroom has an impression of what the data's saying.

"We don't want the journalism to get interfered with," she said. "We want the process to improve, we want them to understand how to get more eyeballs, but at the same time, we don't want them to get away from traditional journalism."

That could be viewed as paternalistic, Schiller said, to deny people information, "whose job it is to seek information."

Next she turned to Andrew Forrest, director of audience development at Upworthy, and asked how Upworthy uses audience data.

When Upworthy started two years ago, Forrest said, "we were never counting on direct traffic to our website. We have been social first forever."

Upworthy doesn't write headlines for SEO or direct traffic but for Facebook. It sees what's getting traction and talk about how to distribute it, paying attention to audience signals to determine what gets pushed out in the moment. And those choices are made by an editorial team.

"We get parodied a lot for our headlines," Forrest said, "but the editorial team we have is fantastic."

There are a lot of reasons stories may do well, and those reasons often have nothing to do with the journalism, Narisetti said. But looking at audience data can, over time, help newsrooms understand how to prioritize their resources.

On most mainstream media homepages this week, he said, there is probably a story about civil unrest in Egypt.

"Trust me, that story is probably doing very, very poorly."

That doesn't mean it should get dropped because of that, however, but using that data, newsrooms should ask, what can we do to make this more engaging, Narisetti said.

At The Atlantic, Gould said, there are no traffic targets, but data can help coach reporters and newsrooms can discover areas of reader interest that may surprise them. For The Atlantic, that was a strong response to a piece on comparative analysis of education systems.

"You can actually learn about areas of reader interest that are at the heart of your mission," he said.

Using audience data is suggestive, he said, and Narisetti agreed.

"My view of data has always been it complements news judgement, it doesn't replace it."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Call for proposals: Final Evaluation of the project “Empowering Local Radios with ICTs”

UNESCO launches a call for external independent evaluation firms/entities to assess the implementation of the project "Empowering Local Radios with ICTs" and to produce a final external evaluation report. The evaluation report's aim is to assess the progress made towards the attainment of the outcome objective.

The evaluation shall be used by UNESCO and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to assess project execution, in addition to provide information that is credible and useful, enabling the decision on the extension, expansion and/or replication of the project. This will be the assessment of a planned and on-going intervention.

Interested organizations are invited to read the evaluation Terms of Reference and submit their proposals by 31 March 2014 at 6 p.m. (Paris time).

UNESCO, with support from SIDA, is executing, a three-year project entitled "Empowering local radios with ICTs" in 32 radio stations located in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

The project intends to increase the quality of local radio programming and broadcasting by fully integrating the use of ICTs, strengthening local reporting on development issues and engaging poor people's participation in debates related to their livelihood and development.

A final evaluation has been planned to demonstrate achievements, challenges and lessons learned since the start of project's full implementation (15 March 2012) until 15 July 2014, and make suggestions on project extension, expansion and replication.

The evaluation report's purpose is to:

  • highlight the project's relevance, efficiency and effectiveness;
  • demonstrate the project's achievements, challenges and lessons learned;
  • generate findings regarding the effectiveness of trainings in local radios and their effects on community, especially women and girls;
  • suggest elements on project extension, expansion and replication.

The evaluation is expected to start on 14 April 2014. The final evaluation report must be delivered by 31 October 2014.

Interested evaluation firms/entities are invited to submit their proposals before 31 March 2014 at 6 p.m., Paris time by email to evaluationradioict(at)

Technical and Financial proposals shall be submitted separately. Proposals must consist of: description of the research methodology (including strategy to achieve an assessment per country); timeline; competitive fee in US dollars; company description; compliance with topics from section 7 of the evaluation Terms of Reference; and relevant examples of previous work.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted by UNESCO.

source :

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Are journalists being 'intellectually outgunned' when it comes to data?

As large quantities of data are produced and analysed by industries and governments around the world, are journalists properly equipped to analyse it?

Data journalism is nothing new.

"The first splash on the Manchester Guardian was a data journalism story," David Ottewell, head of data journalism for Trinity Mirror Regionals, told attendees at the Media Society's data journalism discussion at the Adam Street Club in London this week.

The story involved looking at the number of schools in the area and finding how much access the region's poor had to education, and was given as an example of some of the misconceptions that can be made around data journalism. Namely that it is a difficult, complicated area far removed from traditional journalism.

"It's not niche," continued Ottewell, "but there's a tendency to see data journalists as a different species. We're not."

Ottewell was joined by Martin Stabe, head of interactive news at the Financial Times, and Jacqui Taylor, chief executive of Flying Binary Ltd, a web science company that works with open data.

"There's a tendency to mystify or fetishise data," said Stabe, a tendency he saw as unnecessary when the real nature of data is much simpler.

"It's a digital representation of some kind of document," he said, "that records some kind of transaction – a parking ticket, a census return – that is now stored in a digital format."

The vast majority of modern transactions are made electronically, Stabe said, so "if you want to analyse these things, to spot patterns, the only way is to do it in electronic form".

Other industries understand this he said, and many roles that used to be based on "experience and intuition" are now based on analytics and the "quantative analysis of datasets".

When every industry now has access to the computing power to analyse data that could give them a leading edge in business, journalists need to be able to analyse the same data to find the truth, Stabe said, for the public interest.

"Journalists are starting to be intellectually outgunned by other industries," he said, "and if we don't keep up we will be at the mercy of the PR machine."

As such, large organisations like the New York Times are hiring "PhD level" statisticians, said Stabe, while the Wall Street Journal has been advertising a "newsroom programmer/multimedia editor" role with a long list of technical experience deemed necessary for the job.

Neither Stabe nor Ottewell have a background in statistics, however, having studied politics and philosophy respectively, and both acquired their data journalism skills independently.

"The single most valuable course I took was introductory statistics for social sciences," said Stabe.

Rather than expecting data journalists to join the newsroom from a statistics background, the panel agreed that the skills necessary to do the job are not hard to acquire and "all" journalists should familiarise themselves with the process.

With an additional 5.2 billion people set to join the web in the near future, said Taylor, English will no longer be the predominant language on the internet. Data will be a universal language.

"There's a huge opportunity but it will require huge adaptations to bring this numeracy to bear on the wider industry," she said.

Equally important though, said Ottewell, is that very few members of the public would be interested in reading an "unvarnished" data journalism story so traditional journalism skills will always be necessary in finding and telling the stories.

Where data journalists might be very good at finding the "what" of a story they need to be aware of the "why", he said, and that is where collaboration and communication in the newsroom can lead to the best results.

As an example, he pointed to a data story by the Manchester Evening News reporting that there were 10,000 instances of runaway children in Manchester each year. This was picked up by an investigative reporter who found that more than half the children were running away from care homes.

After a string of case studies and persistent pressure from the Manchester Evening News, the issue was picked up by Stockport MP Ann Coffey and changes to the national missing persons policy were debated in Parliament.

Some specific skills and academic practices may be necessary for highly complex or specialised roles but the basics will help journalists find more stories and tell them better, agreed the panel.

"Just as every journalists needs to know how to write, every journalist needs to be familiar with what data journalism can do for them, even if they don't do it themselves," Ottewell said.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tribute to Komla Afeke Dumor by Kwami Ahiabenu II

Komla was my course mate at University of Ghana, Legon and we stayed on the same floor of P Block, Legon Hall during our freshman year.

Komla understood journalism very deeply, more importantly recognized that technology is driving story-telling in a revolutionary manner. He took to Facebook, twitter and other social media tools in a creative manner, positioning him as a great journalist with impeccable repute.

Komla invested significantly in learning online skills and this is evidenced in how he perfected audience engagement online in a manner which can serve as a best case study for a New Media class.

The best tribute we can pay to him as journalists is to follow his example, serving our audience better using all available tools including New Media offerings as we hold truth to power.

Komla Afeke Dumor, you have run the race to a successful end and we have bytes of prayers in our hearts for your final journey to the abode of our heavenly father.

Rest in Peace, our dear friend Komla.

Kwami Ahiabenu,II President,

International Institute for ICT Journalism ( 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fact-checking awards for Africa

The AFP Foundation, the agency's media training arm, and, the continent's first fact-checking website, on Monday launched the first awards for fact-checking work by African journalists.

The awards, winners of which are to be announced in November 2014, are intended to promote accuracy in public debate and in the media in Africa.

"It is essential for democracies to function properly, that claims made by public personalities can be checked objectively," said Emmanuel Hoog, Foundation Chairman and CEO of its parent company. "It is important to honour those who do this vital fact-checking work."

The awards were created 15 months after the launch in October 2012 of Africa Check, a fact-checking website conceived by the AFP Foundation and set up in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

The site has so far published more than 80 reports scrutinising claims on subjects such as public health, crime and the economy by South African politicians, business leaders and other prominent people.

Africa Check has itself won several awards and, last week, a columnist for the South African newspaper The Mail and Guardian said the site was one of the "reasons to be cheerful" ahead of the country's general elections later this year.

The new awards will be open to all journalists working for media houses that are based in Africa, including print, online, radio and television, as well as blogs.

Original pieces of fact-checking journalism, published between 1 September 2013 and 1 September 2014, will be judged on the basis of their relevance to public debate, their impartiality, presentation and impact.

A panel of eminent African and European journalists will be invited to judge the awards, which will carry a top prize of 2000 euros (R29 400) and two runner-up prizes of 1000 euros (R14 670) each.

Details of how to enter for the awards will be published later by the AFP Foundation and by Africa Check.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Friday, January 17, 2014

Zambia cracks down on online media

Police seek to arrest journalists while government plans laws regulating online news outlets

In an example of growing government animosity toward online media in Africa, the Zambian government has unleashed the police on editors and journalists of online media organizations accused irresponsible reporting.

Editors and journalists have gone into hiding and are publishing undercover, for fear of being arrested. Meanwhile, the Zambian government has said it is working with the Zambia information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), the country's telecom sector regulator, to come up a law to regulate social and online media in the country.

The Web is increasingly becoming a conduit for expression of social unrest on the continent. The result is that some African governments are feeling increasingly uncomfortable about online media.

In several African countries, social and online media have been used to coordinate demonstrations, some of which have resulted in the overthrow of presidents. Perhaps the most prominent example was in northern Africa, where social networks aided the organization of demonstrations that led to the demise of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

After months of threats by the Zambian government to close online media organizations accused of providing a platform for opposition political party leaders, the Zambia police have launched a hunt for online media editors, journalists and any citizen who has posted negative comments about the government on the online media.

Police spokesperson Charity Katanga said the police will use local, regional and international law to pursue authors and publishers of what they have called criminal, libelous, defamatory, treasonous and seditious statements in online media. Local access to some online media has already been blocked by the Zambian government.

"Some unscrupulous people have taken advantage of the cyberspace to commit crimes on the Internet through defamatory comments and remarks posted on websites especially through the electronic media in the name of press freedom, which end up infringing a number of state security provisions," Katanga said in a statement Thursday.

So far, Katanga said investigations into the identities of the perpetrators of such crimes are under way and that the police will arrest and expose people hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet.

The minister of Transport, Works and Communications, Yamfwa Mukanga, on Tuesday announced plans by the Zambian government to introduce a law to regulate online media and close online media organizations.

Mukanga said the Zambian government is currently working with ZICTA to introduce the law, designed to regulate online media in order to journalists accountable for what they publish.

"We have to find a way of controlling them because they are tarnishing the image of our country. Of late, we have seen a lot of things published by online media that are every negative because they publish anything," Mukanga said.

In addition, the Zambian government has been arresting and detaining journalists working in online media.

Last week, Zambia's deputy minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Miles Sampa, offered a reward of up US$2,000 to anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of journalists working for online media. The minister of Information and Broadcasting Service, Mwansa Kapeya, then called a press briefing at which he denounced online media organizations and called for responsible journalism.

While the Zambian government controls the country's mainstream media, online media has emerged as the only option for alternative news.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meet Penplusbytes featured member for the month of January.

Assad Mugeni, is a Ugandan business journalist, who has to his credit several publication since 2005. He has been an editor for a number of business magazines including Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) magazine and the The CEO Magazine. He also worked as an assistant editor at Red Pepper. Read more about him here

If you want to feature next on please send your full name, brief profile and picture to

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Penplusbytes showcase innovative projects in fighting corruption @CoCo2014

Penplusbytes the leading Pan-African media and ICT organisation in mining oil and gas, new media and innovations and transparency and accountability is participating in the ongoing inaugural edition of the Coalition against Corruption (CoCo) conference in Bangalore, India and will show case some of the organisations' projects using new digital tools to interact and engage with citizens, CSOs and  Parliaments across Africa to fight corruption and promote transparency and accountability in the extractive sector as well as democratic governance. 

The CoCo2014 brings together participants from 16 countries and across a wide spectrum comprising researchers and academics, elected representatives, government officials, practitioners, civil society organisations, technologists and citizens.

In his presentation, Jeremiah Sam from Penplusbytes gave practical examples of the organisations work and shed light on Penplusbytes work in empowering the media to play an active watchdog role over mining, oil and gas revenues and resources and also enabling citizens through the use of new digital technologies to hold duty bearers to account.

Mr. Sam said "Penplusbytes said relies on its highly versatile ICT platforms to facilitate citizen engagement not only in the identification of national problems but also in policy formulation as well as implementation which is often saddled with numerous bottlenecks.

"Online tools provide the platform to enable citizens' voice to be heard on national issues and provide the avenue to monitor the activities of public officials in order to improve public service delivery, and ultimately improve the quality of lives of the citizenry." He added.

The three day conference which will run from 13-15 January 2014 is co co-hosted by The Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Bangalore and Sunlight Foundation, Washington DC.

"Over the next three days, we hope to engage participants in conversations on a wide range of issues on the following corruption-types: Corruption in Public Resource Allocation, Political Financing and Lobbying; Corruption in Public Procurement and Contracting and Retail Corruption in Public Services for Citizens" Srikanth Viswanathan, Coordinator- Advocacy, Research and Capacity Building from Janaagraha.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

IPI’s News Innovation Platform to host Digital Media Event at 54 on Bath



IPI's News Innovation Platform to host Digital Media Event at 54 on Bath

Storify co-founder to address journalists, academics at day-long Johannesburg event


VIENNA, Jan. 7, 2014 – The International Press Institute (IPI)'s News Innovation Platform (IPI-NIP) will host a one-day symposium on digital media, with a focus on sustainability, on Jan. 20, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa.


The event, titled "ChallengeSSS of the New Age", will take place at 54 on Bath and will consist of three components: "Sustainability", "Security" and "Self-Regulation".


"Sustainability" will feature an interview with Burt Herman, co-founder of Storify and founder of Hacks/Hackers. "Security" will include a workshop on digital security for journalists, facilitated by Danny O'Brian, international director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Self-Regulation" will feature a panel discussion on online media regulation, moderated by award-winning journalist Gwen Lister, with the participation of veteran media practitioners from Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.


Participation in ChallengeSSS of the New Age is free of charge, but spaces are limited. Register here today, or go to


The Johannesburg event follows a successful IPI-NIP event in September 2013 at the offices of The Guardian newspaper in London. Several winners of IPI's News Innovation Contest, a project funded by Google Inc., shared their winning projects live with approximately 100 people who were present in the audience and with viewers around the world via a Google+ Hangout On Air.


A number of News Innovation Contest winners will also participate in the Johannesburg event, which will feature live Twitter feeds, using the hashtag #IPINIP.


The Vienna-based IPI is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from more than 120 countries dedicated to furthering and safeguarding press freedom, protecting freedom of opinion and expression, promoting the free flow of news and information and improving the practices of journalism.


IPI-NIP seeks to initiate and promote a dynamic media stakeholder dialogue on the topic of digital innovation and sustainability. Central to this process are the experiences of IPI's News Innovation Contest winners. To join the conversation, go to, follow us on Twitter at @ipinewsplatform or like us on Facebook.




Javier Luque Martinez

Spiegelgasse 2/29

1010 Vienna


+43 (1) 512 9011

+43 676 733 7202


# # #

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Social Media and the Public Sphere Inauguration Lecture : Christian Fuchs

Social Media and the Public Sphere Inauguration Lecture : Christian Fuchs
Wed. Feb 19, 2013, 18:00
Univ. of Westminster, Regent Street Campus

Social media has become a key term in Media and Communication Studies and public discourse for characterising platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Blogspot, Weibo, Pinterest, Foursquare and Tumblr. This lecture will discuss the implications of social media for power structures in society, the economy and politics.The lecture will first discuss the question "What is social about social media?". Providing answers requires a social theory understanding of what it means to be social. The lecture will explore different concepts of the social and relate them to the realm of the media.Social media are an expression of the tendency that in contemporary society boundaries become liquid. The distinctions between the private and the public, play and labour (playbour, digital labour), work and leisure, production and consumption (prosumption), individual and collective action, online and offline, networking and autonomy, spatial distance and co-presence, anonymity and knowledge, presence and absence, appearance and disappearance, and visibility and invisibility, are blurring. This lecture will discuss what risks and opportunities these changes imply for society. Many political and academic discussions about the implications of social media for society are concentrated on the question of whether social media enhance or endanger various dimensions of the public sphere. Whereas some say that social media make the economy more democratic and have been used as tools of revolutions and democratisation ('revolution 2.0', 'Twitter/Facebook revolution'), others hold that social media are first and foremost instruments of control and commerce. The lecture will engage with Habermas' concept of the public sphere and discuss social media's variety of implications for the structural transformation of the public sphere.Whereas we are accustomed to the idea of public service broadcasting, an understanding of how a public service internet could look and be advanced is largely missing. This lecture wants to contribute to the public discussion of how the social dimension of the internet and the media can serve the public interest, the concept of a public service internet and how ideas for specific organisation, policy and funding models could look like.

More information is available here:

Registration is requested and possible here:

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Monday, January 06, 2014

10 digital trends for journalists to track in 2014

We asked five industry experts from local, national and international news outlets to share their predictions for digital journalism in 2014.

The 10 key trends they identified include short-form video, private social media, drone journalism, responsive design and new apps and devices.

You can also listen to a podcast of these predictions here.

1) Mobile and responsive design

Mobile is clearly the growth space for news providers, and potentially for advertisers as wellJason Mills, ITV News
Jason Mills, online editor at ITV News, believes that "mobile is clearly the growth space for news providers, and potentially for advertisers as well."

It is a view shared by Cory Haik, executive producer and senior editor for digital news at The Washington Post, who predicts that in 2014: "Small screens have the biggest gifts to offer".

Haik insists that newsrooms should always "consider the device" when creating content and predicts a trend for what she calls "adaptive journalism".

This is the idea that news outlets should be creating content designed specifically for different devices, whether users are at home using a tablet or perhaps at the airport using a smartphone.

Peter Bale, general manager and vice president of digital at CNN International, believes responsive design will be a key area in 2014."There will be some beautiful mobile sites that are in fact the full website," he explained.

2) Geo-targeted content

Jason Mills expects a growth in the amount of traffic websites receive from mobile as opposed to desktop and, as a result of this, a "greater awareness of the sort of news that can be delivered via mobile, in particular geolocated news."

This year, Mills predicts that geotargeted content will become just as important as real-time news. "So [news] not only right now, but right now where I am," he added.

Ed Walker, digital development editor at Trinity Mirror, also believes geolocation will be high on the news agenda this year, something he attributes to "the rise of apps as a major way to consume news".

3) Private social media

Marc Settle, a trainer in smartphone journalism at the BBC College of Journalism, said it would be interesting in 2014 to see how news organisations might respond to "private social media" in 2014

"You've got things like Snapchat and Instagram Direct and Twitter can now share direct message with photos – how do news organisations get content onto those platforms?" he asked.

Settle noted that news outlets had done a very good job at getting content out through public social media, "but now this is a much more private way of sharing information."

"There are already lots of stats about teenagers moving away from Facebook, because that's where their parents now are, and instead spending a lot of time on Snapchat," he added.

"Are news organisations going to be able to tap into where teenagers are now? There's not much evidence of it at the moment so maybe 2014 is the year when that happens."

4) Drone journalism

Credit: By Don McCullough on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Peter Bale predicts that drone journalism, especially photography from drones, is going to become "not commonplace, but very frequently used" by the end of 2014.

He points to CNN's footage of the Costa Cordia, the Taxim Square protests in Istanbul and Typhoon Haiyan which was all shot using drones and "could not have been done any other way".

One of the main benefits for journalists, Bale added, is "being able to unpack from a suitcase something that would otherwise require a helicopter and cost as much per hour as the drone costs in its entirety".

He anticipates drones being used for everything from news bulletins to weather reports, "provided we can all overcome the civil aviation rules." However it is worth noting that strict rules apply on the use of drones in the UK. And different countries have different rules, so do your research first. In February last year the Federal Aviation Administration issued this 'fact-sheet' on Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the US.

In his own collection of digital journalism predictions, based on feedback from the industry, digital strategist Nic Newman also highlighted drones as a talking point, but stated that while they "provide dramatic new angles for television news" they "will not save built news programmes from an alarming slump in viewing".

5) Short-form video

Mobile devices are designed for short videos, mostly. So are new organisations going to respond to that by giving people that kind of content?Marc Settle, BBC College of Journalism
Marc Settle notes that 2013 saw large increases in the number of people viewing videos on mobile across almost all news sites. This, he adds, has implications for the kind of content news organisations are delivering to people.

"Mobile devices are designed for short videos, mostly," he said. "So are new organisations going to respond to that by giving people that kind of content?"

Settle points to organisations like Now This News, which produces 15-second news stories, and also the BBC, which is publishing 15-second snippets from interviews as well as specially-made pieces of video to its Instagram account.

"Designed for the smartphone generation, they seem to be working very well," Settle said. "You're going to see much more of that, particularly with the growth of 4G networks when more people can access video more quickly, wherever they are."

6) Real-time analytics

Ed Walker predicts a trend for media organisations "really exploring analytics".

"If there's one thing that had the biggest impact on our regional digital teams over the last 12 months it is probably the introduction of Chartbeat," he said.

This live analytics platform allows Trinity Mirror's newsrooms to see what the most popular stories are at any given moment and react to that in real-time.

"We're starting to really learn what our online audience likes to consume and really starting to focus content around them rather than repackaging content from our existing print titles," he explained.

7) Windows Phones

Marc Settle claims that Windows Phones could make "a real breakthrough" in 2014 – provided they get a wider choice of apps. 

"Everyone talks about iOS Apple and also Android but I think the Windows Phones that are coming out now, particularly on Nokia devices, have got such amazing cameras – much better even than the iPhone 5S," he said.

"At the moment Windows Phones slightly fall down in that they have fantastic cameras, they just don't have the apps that let you do clever things with the content you get.

"If that circle can be squared, then I think Windows Phones could make a real breakthrough for journalists gathering and creating content."

8) Wearable tech

[Google Glass] could be as big for journalism as the smartphone wasMarc Settle, BBC College of Journalism
Settle also notes that Google Glass "may just transform everything radically in 2014 – assuming it comes out in 2014".

It is not yet clear whether Google will release the product – which has been available to a few select people since April 2013 – commercially this year.

And while Settle notes potential issues around cost, privacy and safety, he adds that Google Glass "could transform not only how news is gathered by journalists… but also how members of the public get news."

"This could be as big for journalism as the smartphone was."

In his own predictions round-up Nic Newman added: "In technology [we can] expect more hype around wearable computing (iWatch), smart home appliances and the coming of age of 3D printing and virtual reality headsets (Oculus Rift)."

9) Anticipatory news

Cory Haik predicts another trend for new organisations doing more with the user data that's available to them, something she calls "anticipatory news".

"It's news that's built around the data you're sharing, for example your calendar or your location," she explained. "Anticipating where folks will be and what they're doing based on the information they're building up."

"If a news organisation pays attention to personal data and preferences that users are opting into there's a lot that [they] can offer up."

10) Native advertising

One area which Peter Bale thinks will see big developments in 2014 is what he calls "creative solutions", otherwise known as native advertising or sponsored content.

He added that 2014 would see further advances from CNN and many other news outlets in "really sophisticated propositions for users, consumers and advertisers which will help [publishers] maintain or drive up advertising revenue".


International Institute for ICT Journalism