Sarah Booker

17/11/2014

Cutting through social noise at Buzzfeed

Filed under: journalism,Web journalism — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 8:39 pm
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Buzzfeed finds the news people want to share by keeping its fingers on the social media pulse.

One of the key places its journalists find news is on Tumblr, UK news editor Richard James told students at Brighton Journalist Works

“Tumblr interesting because there is so much stuff,” he said.

“It has quite a young demographic but it is miles ahead of everyone, breaking news and stories.”

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Buzzfeed has a young audience because it is writing about what interests them in an informative and shareable way.

As Richard pointed out, traditional media does not know how to deal with or categorise social media stars.

He said: “The Sam Pepper saga was a story the mainstream press would not know what to deal with.

“He’s a YouTube star, so knowing what was being discussed meant we could reach out to people.

“There is huge gap in the market for someone like us as the mainstream press don’t appreciate the fame of these people.”

Buzzfeed also informs with what Richard described as explainer pieces to give people an introduction and wider understand of a story.

These often end up trending on Facebook or Twitter as they share well.

Richard said: “We want to be one stop shop for people wanting to find out more about Hong Kong protests.

“We try to do something different rather than blocks of text for example using an image of a poppy for every soldier killed in the First World War or Following Russian soldiers on Instagram in Ukraine. You can tell a story in a thousand different ways.”

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The amount of stories Buzzfeed is covering is growing and reporters are recruited every as the site is building a good reputation for news.

Richard said: “Our reporters are on the ground around the world from Liberia, Syria and Ukraine, this not what people assume Buzzfeed is doing.

“We are getting great exclusives and hard hitting pieces.

“It is a case of looking at what people are talking about, but not in the mainstream press, we see what people are talking about on Facebook.

“Reporters are spending the time properly investigating stuff.

“There is so much noise on social media I am pleased and proud at how we look at what is trending and then give you the full back story as sometimes online the wider context gets lost.”

His advice to Journalist Works students is to be all over social media, watching and monitoring the trending subjects.

It is the best way to find news and the buzz of what is going on in the world.

27/05/2014

Reasons why no journalist should dismiss social media

Filed under: Social media,Storify — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 10:31 am
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Social media image by Jason Howie, licence by Creative Commons

Social media image by Jason Howie, licence by Creative Commons

Years ago colleagues used to say I was wasting my time joining discussions in the online forums for towns and villages in our patch.

Even when I tracked down someone who was evacuated from a building next to Buncefield Oil Depo as it exploded, they were still sceptical.

Time and technology move on. When I created My Space then Facebook and Twitter accounts for the Worthing Herald colleagues dismissed them as pointless.

I introduced Twitter in 2008. By the time I left the Herald in 2011 everyone in the newsroom asked my advice as they set up their own accounts.

Both Twitter and Facebook have proved useful tools for news gathering as well as distribution.

Facebook community pages and groups help reporters keep up with people’s concerns from cashpoint card cloning to inconsiderate parking and potential child abductions.

Twitter is a great way to keep track of politicians, community groups, local government and events.

Even though the internet isn’t a new thing and social media is an established tool.

Reporters of all ages and experience embrace or resist.

When I asked journalists how they would encourage resisters, there was an assumption the nay sayers were old.

I have taught online journalism skills to NCTJ students in 2009 and in every group I’ve had at least one person say, “I’m not interested in this”, “I don’t want to do online journalism”.

One student who didn’t turn up to my first class in 2009, but ended up working with later summed up the situation very well when I spoke with him at an event in 2013.

“You were the first person I knew talking about Twitter and bit.ly.

“You are right, we need to know this stuff, it’s essential for journalists.”

Below is a link to a Storify explaining why journalists should use social media.

09/05/2011

links for 2011-05-09

Filed under: Links — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 6:00 pm
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31/01/2010

Live and interactive

FOOTBALL fans enjoy transfer deadline day (apparently) so Lee Hall, my colleague at the Sunderland Echo, is sharing his live coverage of the sporting excitement with other Johnston Press titles. Here’s the Worthing Herald’s transfer day page.

Lee has put a lot of effort into this day, as he explains in his blog D-Day is upon me. It’s a great opportunity for University of Sunderland students, too, as they will experience the real buzz of a newsroom.

Cover It Live is the medium of choice. It is a fabulous piece of software with terrific functions, particularly the polls. I used it for Worthing International Birdman.

However, the Worthing Herald sport department favours ScribbleLive. Why? They have always been able to connect and have never lost service.

We started using ScribbleLive after I carried out a comparison test for Johnston Press’s digital higher powers.

Getting and maintaining a connection had been a problem from the start with CoverItLive (CiL).

During Worthing Birdman I couldn’t connect to CiL using a JP laptop and I had difficulty with my 3G connection, losing the page for an hour or so.

The sports team used CiL three times at matches, the rest of the time it wouldn’t work.

I had an email conversation with CiL president Keith McSpurren who didn’t think 3G connections should cause a white-out in the pop up page.

From our experience the one page does all functionality of ScribbleLive means we have been able to connect and write every time.

A phenomenal example of ScribbleLive in action is its white label service used by Reuters. The Berlin Wall 2o event was fascinating.

A fine example of CiL used at local news level was the Manchester Evening News’ live blog of Manchester City Council’s meeting described by David Higgerson in his blog CoverItLive and Twitter covering councils in a new way.

I also find  commenting is more obvious for the readers in CiL as it’s at the bottom of the feed, whereas it’s at the top with ScribbleLive.

I also miss CiL’s poll function, as I’d really like to use something like it during election coverage.

There is also a preloading function for text and photographs which seems useful but in my experience shows it is difficult to use.

Both platforms are useful tools for any news team, but I stick with what’s working for us. However, I would be interested to hear other people’s experiences, particularly teething or connection problems with either service.

With the way things are at the moment, we are keen to continue with ScribbleLive here, and miss out on the polls etc. unless CiL starts working on our laptops.

In the meantime I’m looking forward to seeing how well the transfer deadline day coverage goes and whether it proves popular with our readers in Sussex.

06/12/2009

Paywall watch and Online Journalism Blog

Filed under: Web journalism — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 11:38 pm
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A few weeks ago Online Journalism Blog founder Paul Bradshaw asked members’ of the OJB Facebook group to get involved and come up with ideas to encourage more people to get involved.

One lengthy group email later (if only we all had Google Wave it would have been so much easier to follow) and the first debate launched was paywall watch

The first article to stimulate discussion in the group worked well, especially once I plucked up the courage to send a message to users.

Feedback from this first post has been integrated into a new and improved paywall watch post on the blog itself, Paywall watch: the news you’re willing to pay for.

It will be interesting to see how the debate develops.

Since late November, I’ve been asked my opinions about Johnston Press’s experimental paywalls. I know nothing more than the details in the previous link, and work many hundreds of miles away from the publications in question, so haven’t heard any of the feedback.

It will be interesting to see what happens and if any other publishers, such as Newsquest and Trinity Mirror join in the paywall bandwagon.

18/11/2009

Useful people to follow on Twitter – Part one

This week I am hosting my first online journalism lecture/workshop/seminar for NCTJ news and magazine journalism students at Brighton City College.

During the session I’ll be looking at Twitter as an information source. I have found stories for the newspapers I work for, and discovered a host of useful information to help me with my work.
Here is the first batch of journalism and social media folk I  would recommend for a #followfriday dedicated to journalists new to Twitter, but without the 140 limit.

George Hopkin – Johnston Press seo evangelist.

Mashable – Social media blog . The latest tricks, toys and gossip in the world of social media and a few handy guides, too.

Paul Bradshaw – Lecturer and social media consultant.

Online Journalism Blog – great tips from Paul Bradshaw and co

Joanna Geary – Times web development editor.  Also follow her professional account and her bookmarks @timesjoanna and @joannaslinks

Alison Gow – Executive Editor, digital, for the Liverpool Daily Post & Liverpool Echo.

Jo Wadsworth – Brighton Argus web editor @brightonargusjo

Glenn Mottershead – Journalism lecturer.

Andy Dickinson – Online journalism lecturer. See his bookmarks @linkydickinson

Sarah Hartley – Guardian local launch editor.

Clay Shirky – Influential future media blogger.

Journalism news Tips, news and a whole host of useful information.

Judith Townend – From Journalism News.

Media Guardian – Updated throughout the week. More than Monday’s weekly supplement.

Shane Richmond – Telegraph Head of technology.

Kate Day – Telegraph communities editor.

Martin Belam – Guardian internet advisor: Currybet.

Charles Arthur – Tech Guardian editor.

Ilicco Elia –  Head of mobile Reuters.

Channel4 newsroom blogger – follow the newsroom process before the bulletin.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy – Channel4 news.

Jemima Kiss – Guardian media/tech journalist and UK Twitter queen.

Patrick Smith – PaidContent UK .

Damian Thompson – Telegraph blogs editor.

Jeff Jarvis – The Buzz Machine blogger and journalism professor.
David Higgerson – Head of Multimedia, Trinity Mirror; Exec Editor, Bham Post and Mail.

Louise Bolotin – Journalist and blogger.

Richard Kendall – Web editor Peterborough Evening Telegraph.

Documentally – Mobile media maker.

Tech Crunch UK – Tech news and information.

Mike Butcher – Tech Crunch UK.

Neiman Journalism Lab – Harvard.

Richard MacManus – Read Write Web.

Daren Forsyth – Ex-BBC, now 140characters.co.uk

Josh Halliday – Journalism student and social media user.

Matt Cornish – Newspaper editor.

And to end part one, why not add me, too – Sarah Booker.

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