Longform or shortform? Why sites like the SEO chasing Bleacher Report don’t mean the death of journalism

The Bleacher Report may not exactly be the bastion of hard-hitting journalism but it is successful at what it does, and SF Insider’s in-depth report into the sport site’s tactics is thought-provoking for anybody running a website, especially if the aim is to make money and a lot of page views. An awful lot of page views.

Using SEO to drive the editorial agenda is nothing new. Any good news site should at least be taking this into account. Many already do.

Reviewing the situation

Who would have thought bath screens could start a good discussion on social media? On a National Union of Journalists mailing list, of the reasonably high-up members shared with us an email he’d rather mischievously sent to a DIY store asking for their review rates after they invited him to write a customer review of his purchases.

Although done in semi-seriousness, I don’t necessarily agree that it’s an area where the NUJ should be getting involved in. For me, although the quality of reviews can be variable to say the least, they are still a useful service and the company should be congratulated for trying to engage in a form of a two way conversation and even create a community, of sorts.

Journalism, jobs, and not much changes

Heard the one about the journalism graduate offered a job for £10k in London? Yes, that is an actual position that came up in conversation with a friend the other day. The experience, work-wise, sounds excellent. The experience, life-wise, probably amounts to renting out a cardboard box under Hammersmith Bridge.

I only mention because ever since last month there’s been an ongoing debate rumbling on, started mainly by Ed Ceasar’s Sunday Times piece, Hold The Front Page, I Want To Be On It, where he details the lengths – and financial pain – journalism graduates have to go through to get onto a national paper. The picture painted was somewhat bleak and depressing.

Are headlines asking ‘is [x] dead’ in fact dead?

Is blogging dead? Is photojournalism dead? Is journalism dead? Is this brand of cameraphone dead? Are these type of headlines or questions in articles dead?

Only the last question can be answered with: “Not yet, but I bloody well hope so soon, although I don’t see it happening.” And all but the last question are headlines and opening paragraphs I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, both in blogs and in print. And they all depress me.

All you need to be a journalist

  • A laptop
  • A dongle
  • Mobile phone
  • Notepad and pen
  • Transport (public or personal)
  • Recording equipment and editing software (if working for broadcast)

And that’s it. Today’s journalist doesn’t need an office, they should, in theory, be able to work from wherever the news is, uploading straight to the web if needs be (via a sub or an editor, preferably). Newspapers, especially local ones, shouldn’t be wedded to the idea that the news goes out when they decide it goes out, because it’s never been easier or quicker to get the news out as it happens.

How to win friends and influence Tweeple

Qwitter’s launch last week seems to have thrown the Twittersphere (God, what a horrible world) temporarily, as plenty of the site’s users suddenly find themselves in a bit of an etiquette dilemma.

Basically, Qwitter’s an application that sends you a quick email whenever anybody unfollows you, along with your last Tweet. Kind of like one of those ridiculous exit interviews companies insist on putting you through. Or the kind of social media tool that neurotic recent singletons, who pour over every minute of a a failed relationship, would love.

FAIL! How *not* to use Twitter

Newspapers, as I’ve been banging on for as long as I can remember, really need to start embracing and testing out new social media applications, especially Twitter. They’re not difficult to set up, can provide an immediacy their website can’t always provide, and give a great opportunity to interact with their audience and liveblog events.

However, there’s experimentation and then there’s just completely not getting the right stories to use Twitter for. I would dearly love to know what was going through the head of the reporter or editor on the Rocky Mountain News’ head who decided it was a good idea to Live Tweet the funeral of a 3-year-old boy killed at an ice-cream store. Have a read of the reporter’s feed from the funeral – it feels like a Chris Morris satire of social media, or an update of a football game.

Why every journalist should be using Twitter

It’s always difficult to gauge exactly how widely Twitter has extended outside of the tech and social media crowd (and, to a certain extent, the media). On one hand, I have Twitter on in the background every day at work and find it increasingly useful. On the other hand, I went out to dinner the other night with a couple of friends who I did my journalism training with and neither of them had heard of it.

But just when I learn to the other hand and start to wonder if it generally has a wider application, something like this comes along.

Citizen journalism: a rethink needed?

Couple of fascinating posts on citizen journalism on BeetTV and Phil Bronstein on thoughts around citizen journalism. It has not, says Bronstein, taken off on a large scale. He also sums up the current position neatly:

“The whole concept of citizen journalism is still floating around waiting for a good example wave to carry it somewhere, and user-generated material has yet to be a huge hit within the media world unless someone with a Flip catches Brangelina running into a lamp post.”

Let’s up a quick recap first with the Condensed and Possibly Not Entirely Accurate History of Citizen Journalism According To Gary.