A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

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What a fantastic experiment:

New Yorker CoverThe cover of the latest issue of the New Yorker was painted on an iPhone.

A willingness to experiment is one of the major things that will allow existing publishing businesses to survive the next few years, as technology reshapes the way information and entertainment are produced and distributed. And the ability to see new technology in the context of what you already do – but without being constrained by that context – is vital.

Colombo’s phone drawing is very much in the tradition of a certain kind of New Yorker cover, and he doesn’t see the fact that it’s a virtual finger painting as such a big deal. “Imagine twenty years ago, writing about these people who are sending these letters on their computer.”

Part of the tradition, but also creating something new. Perfect.

“Moderation in everything,” my late mother used to say, somewhat ironically given how much unused wool and unpainted china she left behind. But, like many clichés, it has a deep element of truth, as I’ve discovered by disconnecting somewhat from my normal blogging-twittering-photographing lifestyle. A quiet weekend with friends and family, as well as a rather sobering visit to my parents’ grave (to check the newly-placed gravestone with Mum’s name added) have helped put many things back in their proper perspective, and that’s valuable.

The one big danger of social media, I think, is also its strength – its ability to connect you with like minds. If you don’t move outside the tight circle of people just like you, you can start seeing things in a distorted way, leading to a bubble mentality. This is one reason I value being married to a social media sceptic. Perspective is important, and sometime you have to step back to get it.

I’ve yet to open my feed reader, which is likely to be a place of horror and despair after 5 days away from it, but I’m glad I took the break.

Sorry for the unannounced silence, but I’m back in business.

Joanna Geary: Twitter us another way of finding you local community online and interacting with them.

Christian Payne: Geri Jackson (sp?) – evicted from Zimbabwe, broadcast into the country. Blocked. Now texts into there. 400k texts a month. One third of population left, but leave a mobile there to communicate with family. How get free texts into Zimbabwe?

Paul Bradshaw: Distribution is now journalists’ responsibility. Can you organize users to cover events?

Simon Grice: setting up a local news site. At a local level, people are interested in things that happen where they live. Unique opportunity for local news to harness this medium to serve audience.


PB: tools and services around news
SG: local ads
JG: no-one has the answer. We don’t sell content, we sell audiences. Audiences follow you because you have something to say. We need to look again at what people want from us.
SG: We need to rethink what localization means, when you don’t have a fixed distribution base.
PB: Need to create a newsroom without walls. Connected journalism.
JG: For traditional journalists, social media are a scary lot. Taking meetings face to face cements online relationships.
CP: I’m glad the advertising model is lying kicking and screaming in the gutter.
PB: Publishers not throwing enough money at innovation.
SG: Publishers not looking at the innovation in startups.

Guy Degen now. He’s an independent freelance using Twitter in the field. “The 3G wonderland” – nice phrase. Reporting on opposition protest in Georgia. All he had was his Nokia N82, and was able to use Twitter tag search to be aware of major developments. He’s no longer isolated while working alone in the field. (He’s @fieldreports BTW). Photojournalism via TwitPic. Gives visual backup. Used Utterly then, now AudioBoo for audio reporting – talking as walking and offering in-depth coverage. And live-streaming via Qik. Frontline Club network helped spread reporting, orchestrated by Graham Holliday. Main advice: practice and experiment with the tools, so they know how to use them when something big happens. Beware using bad taste usernames, as one news organisation did with the German shootings.
Mark Jones of Reuters. 4 stages of Twitters use amongst Reuters journalists:
  1. Cynicism
  2. Curiosity
  3. Engagement
  4. Addiction
Reuters twitterers have beaten their own wire – “if we don’t do it, someone else will”. You need to feed conversations around the event into it. Gordon Brown event – conversation was detached from event. David Cameron enthralled by Tweetdeck. Cameron went on to answer other questions via YouTube. 
Q&A Notes
In some countries Twitter isn’t the major microblogging service.
Twibble was Kevin’s pick for geo-aware Twitter.

We always want the new thing. We want it to validate our coverage. We want an earthquake.

MB: If we put so much of our news gathering on one platform, we’re taking a risk.
DW: The BBC can’t allow an external platform to be its distribution medium. When I’m Twittering I’m doing it personally. Everything the BBC does has to go through a second pair of eyes. People in the audience might find that extraordinary. We’re not sure the audience is ready to see contextual tweets from BBC journalists without being sure they’re 100% accurate.
Advice from the panel:
BT: Twitter is not the journalism – twitter is a way to know where to focus your attention. I don’t believe anything on Twitter until I see it verified. It’s a start not an end.
JG: Great tool for communicating, and therefore you should interact there.
NH: Look for trends. Real time isn’t just about real time, but also about relevancy.
DW: Twitter has made Google’s engineers think in terms of milliseconds – the real time web. Journalistically, you need to separate the professional from the personal.
MB: At Techcrunch we just don’t care [about the second pair of eyes]. Mental images of people people standing huddled by the side of the pool. And someone just tearing their clothes off and diving in. Just jump in and get your hands dirty. [Mixed metaphors, Mike? Tut. 🙂 ] The commenters/followers will fact-check my arse.
DW: Why not just let your Twitter stream write the blog. How many times can you be wrong before they all go to GigaOM. If you audience rely on you to be 100% right 99% of the time, you can’t do that. 
Question from the audience:

“At some point Twitter will have to make money. Any ideas on how to without effecting the experience.”
BT: We want to Twitter. If and Ev and co can’t find a way to make money, someone will. 
DW: They’ll sell. In the short term, forensic tools for businesses.
“In the future there will be less, but better journalism? If so, how will they learn their trade?”
DW: I hope there will be more and better. Organisation with money to spend to training will teach the fundamental grounding. There are ways to self-train. 
MB: “Moving to an era of entrepreneurial journalism. Blogging has produced people who are really good an investigating stories.” Not professionally trained, but you can add that. “Media training, local paper, national paper, nation broadcaster. That path has always been astoundingly competitive.” Pick the untrained blogger or the trained student without blog?
DW: That hasn’t changed. We had cub reporters before. [Comment: nonsense. Cub reporters weren’t self starters, like bloggers]

Can we break out of 140 characters as a content restriction for microblogging? Surely the ability to report easily with a lightweight device will break out of the limit?

How collaborative are journalists prepared to be about their work? WSJ regulations have a hint of King Canute about them. He’s more interested in the revalidation of journalism through direct engagement.
“Use what is ubiquitous to drive people to what is scarce”. For music business live music is the new priority, as music is becoming ubiquitous. Maps over to newspapers quite precisely – Twitter and Social Media make news ubiquitous. So what’s scarce? What can you enclose and charge for?