But I also find it interesting that during conversations I’ve had with people (journalists, politicos, public relations/communications professionals) about social media, they think Twitter first. There’s no doubt that there are some key influencers on Twitter.
I wasn’t ready to give up the internet. I am a news lover, after all.
I did cut off all social media, allowed myself to check my gmail twice a day only, closed down my work email (after telling my bosses they could reach me on my cell or at my gmail account), and relied completely on my mobile browsers on my phone and iPad for news.
My phone became a mobile browser, camera and of course… a phone.
I went through various stages of grief during my break, and noted the following observations:
Trust is what many traditional news organizations use to promote their relevance, stating they are a trusted brand to cut through the noise.
The pitch goes something like this: ‘We are a trusted brand, we have been a part of the community for x years… We will continue to tell you what you need to know.’
Toronto startup Newsana (think of it as a nirvana for news junkies) places its trust in the hands of its community of virtual editors.
Newsana is a nirvana for news junkies, curated by news junkies, co-founder Ben Peterson explained in an interview from his Kensington office.
To become a Newsana member, there is a rigorous application process where candidates are verified as actual people with credible social media accounts and a general interest in news. (Peterson said the goal is to weed out trolls and create a community of the most engaged news readers.)
Once a member of the Newsana’s community, contributors/editors have free access to ‘pitch’ links to stories in their choice of five of Newsana’s 40 sections (ie social media, future of news, Canadian politics, etc.).
Why access to only five? Peterson said this ensures community editors focus on areas they know best.
Links to stories are not just posted to Newsana’s site, they are annotated by members. Community Editors making the pitch must give a brief intro to the piece, this may also include editorial comment.
Why submit/share/pitch to Newsana? Other editors can vote on your story, which will elevate it on Newsana’s site, thus giving an editor more credibility, and increasing their standing in the Newsana community.
Pandering to a journalist’s ego and competitiveness is a clever move – I was skeptical until I pitched a story on the senate in Canadian politics section and saw it – and consequently my Newsana rep – elevate.
Naturally this made me want to pitch more stories to the Newsana community of about 1,500 members.
Peterson said he knows this isn’t a large community – yet – but as the site is just in beta, he is confident it will grow.
There are a couple of issues with Newsana: first, it’s only as strong as its members.
Also Newsana’s biggest competitors are the more established, traditional larger social media networks like Twitter, Reddit and Facebook.
How Newsana differs from these competitors are by its “quality” community news curators, Peterson said. These aren’t just old high school pals.
“Our audience is news junkies. These are people who read the news, comment on news… They want the best, highest quality journalism.”
“At the end of the day, people have to figure out where to allocate their time,” Peterson said.
As with all startups, Newsana is focused on establishing a sustainable business model as it builds.
The goal is to build an active, informed community and monetize around that, Peterson said.
Newsana is exploring native-branded content, which might include custom content in one of Newsana’s sections; Premium elements for paying subscribers/editors; and story sponsorship (As an example, Peterson said readers might find the top five innovation stories sponsored by IBM.)
Without a marketing budget, this small start up is relying on what Peterson refers to as the ‘viral co-efficient,’ with members telling their friends about it, and getting the word out.
“Our biggest challenge is to cut through the noise, and make people aware of what we’re doing.”
Sneezing in space, putting a snowplough on the mayor’s car, and the appropriate level of snark in a tweet were up for discussion during two panels at Carleton University last week.
The event, titled ‘On the Hill, Online and in the loop: how social media is changing politics and reporting’ was co-presented by Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication, and the Canadian Journalism Foundation.
(full disclosure: I organized this event with the CJF)
Two panels on both end of the social media spectrum took to the stage.
Politicians, including Marc Garneau, Liberal MP for Westmount-Ville Marie, Megan Leslie, NDP MP for Halifax and Jim Watson, Ottawa’s mayor shared their thoughts. Chris Waddell, Director of Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication moderated.
Up first was a discussion with Ottawa’s top social media political reporters: Glen McGregor from the Ottawa Citizen, Kady O’Malley from CBC.ca, David Reevely from the Ottawa Citizen, Joanna Smith from the Toronto Star and Nick Taylor-Vaisey from Macleans.
Andrew Potter, Managing Editor at The Ottawa Citizen, moderated what he called “the most incestuous panel I’ve ever sat on.”
And I fear that this post will make me sound cranky.. but it’s becoming a concern.
I teach a multimedia course, and naturally it’s great when students can follow along visiting the online sites I’m talking about, investigating the tools… I don’t mind if they Google what I’m teaching
I ask only that they don’t tweet what we’re saying in class, no Facebook and please… ‘no cat videos.’
What I’m noticing is that it’s difficult for some students to have a laptop open and not be MSM’ing each other, Facebooking, etc. Some I catch when they think I’m not looking, others flout. They don’t care.
This gets disruptive when students are nudging their neighbours to watch banned skittles advertisements and more on YouTube. (No, I will not post a link)
While social media platforms have vastly increased the speed by which a reader can submit content, an ONA ethics panel agreed that traditional verification of sources is more important than ever.
During a panel of the Ethics the Community Newsroom, Jennifer Preston of the New York Times pointed out that her paper has been publishing user-generated content for centuries – in the form of letters to the editor from readers.
User-generated content (UGC) is not new, but the need for verification is more important than ever before, Preston said.
Fergus Bell, Senior Producer and Digital Newsgatherer for the Associated Press in London said that when he finds content he’d like to put out on the AP wire, he has a system of sourcing and verification that includes:
I teach a second-year ‘Fundamentals of Reporting’ class at Carleton University’s j-school – but often I’m learning just as much from the students.
These past three weeks, we’ve been running ‘newsroom days’ – students come in with a story, and then head out for the day to chase another, putting out a publication at 5 p.m. The class is large enough that we actually put out two publications at the end of the day, with students alternating roles between Managing Editor or desker and reporter.
This year, Facebook and Google played key roles in putting out our student publications at the end of the day.
The products in our everyday world are as much a part of who we are as the friends we keep, according to Jordan Banks, the managing director of Facebook Canada.
For this reason, it’s as natural for brands to be a part of our Facebook timeline as important life events like marriage, the birth of a child, or a new career, he said Tuesday during a lunchtime address to The Canadian Club of Ottawa.
In his presentation titled ‘Organizations are better in a connected world,’ Banks spoke of the early days of Internet, which began as rudimentary browsing and searching. It has evolved, he said, into a domain filled with social context.
“It was all about search,” he said. “it had no social context; it was using an algorithm that had nothing to do with you.
“People want personalized, timely results that reflect who they are and what their friends are interested in,” he said.
You may have seen a friendly offer from Facebook to ‘help subscribers find you by verifying your account.’
Click on the link to verify your account, and you’ll see a screen asking you to upload a photo of a government-issued, photo ID from your passport, driver’s license, work/military ID.
Don’t worry, the message continues, if you don’t have one of those, you can upload two of these alternate IDs: a school or work ID card, library card, credit card (!!), birth certificate, Social security card.
These IDs must show my name, picture and birthday, be in colour… but here’s a key point:
“Have any sensitive information (ex. your credit card number of driver’s license number) blacked out or covered up”
I suppose I should be reassured by this message from Facebook:
Once we verify your account and name, we’ll permanently delete your documents.