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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Evolving Newsroom is moving

The time has come to say goodbye to Blogger and hello to Wordpress: this blog is moving shortly to

If you're a subscriber you shouldn't notice any change in service - the RSS feed should update itself (all going well). And I'll put a redirect on here in the next day or so to automatically route to the new site.

Why am I moving?

Because the combination of my own domain with WordPress offers way more flexibility and I've wanted to have a good play with WordPress for ages.

As it turns out, it also offers a fairly sharp learning curve as I figure out how to make things work in this new environment. It's a good learning curve, though. It's fun chopping out bits of code to see what happens and hoping like heck I don't break anything.

The new site isn't as settled as I'd like it to be - I'm still hunting for the right look and functionality (a rather time-consuming process). But it's functional for the most part and I want to make the switch before my job cranks up again for the year and starts swallowing my time.

So, wish me luck and I'll see you after the jump.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

UK Telegraph outsources production to Pagemasters

I'd heard about this but hadn't followed up. So, via Jeff Jarvis, who wins headline of the week award for:

Throw Another Sub on the Barbie

The Telegraph of London is outsourcing production of some of its sections to Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

At my New Business Models for News Summit, Telegraph digital head Edward Roussel rephrased my admonition and told the room to do what you do best and outsource the rest. Guess they mean it.

The work will go to Pagemasters, a company owned by the Australian Associated Press (co-owned by Fairfax and Murdoch’s News Corp), which said it has received inquiries from publishers around the world. I’ll bet. I’m surprised that American newspaper chains haven’t consolidated nearly all their production; there’s no reason it can’t be centralized. As the Herald reports, it makes even more sense to do it in Australia because salaries are lower and the work there can be done on the cheaper day shift. All we’d have to do is teach them that sport is plural and footballs aren’t round.

UPDATE: Edward Roussel confirms in the comments:

Jeff - I can confirm that we are outsourcing the production work for newspaper weekend supplements to Australia - and thereby saving quite a bit of money.

The copy goes to Australia once it has been approved by an editor in London. To Rob Mark’s point, the printing takes place in the UK. We have outsourced that too. Arch-rival News International takes care of our printing.

Both the outsourcing of production and printing has allowed us to reduce costs and raise standards: NI has state-of-the-art color printing presses and we are happy with the standard of work that’s being done in Australia.

Reducing the cost of manufacturing and distribution is an imperative for any newspaper group that is determined to remain profitable, as we are. This is a great time to be shopping around the world for value-for-money partners.

The principle holds true on the digital side. ITN creates our video content, providing quality and value that we would struggle to generate internally; Brightcove handles our video distribution; Google powers our search; Escenic provides our web publishing tool; we use software developers in Bulgaria and India.

Newspaper-web companies should focus internal resource on what they do best: creating premium editorial content.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Alltop a good place to find journalism voices

Because some things are worth repeating: Alltop's journalism page is a great entry point to dozens of blogs about journalism and the news business.

Blogger, Facebook top 2008 social media list

Via TechCrunch, a list of the top 20 social media sites in 2008:

Top Social Media Sites
(ranked by unique worldwide visitors November, 2008; comScore)

  1. Blogger (222 million)
  2. Facebook (200 million)
  3. MySpace (126 million)
  4. Wordpress (114 million)
  5. Windows Live Spaces (87 million)
  6. Yahoo Geocities (69 million)
  7. Flickr (64 million)
  8. hi5 (58 million)
  9. Orkut (46 million)
  10. Six Apart (46 million)
  11. Baidu Space (40 million)
  12. Friendster (31 million)
  13. (29 million)
  14. (24 million)
  15. Bebo (24 million)
  16. Scribd (23 million)
  17. Lycos Tripod (23 million)
  18. Tagged (22 million)
  19. imeem (22 million)
  20. Netlog (21 million)

Big doesn't necessarily mean authoritative

A couple of interesting points in Jeff Jarvis's post about what gives reporters, bloggers etc authority. He was writing in reference to a conversation about how to filter for authoritative voices on Twitter - more specifically, whether number of followers is useful in determining someone's authority, or relevance.

The problem... is the same one that plagues analysis of online discussion using media metrics. In mass media, of course, big was better because you had to be big to own the press: Mass mattered. We still measure and value things online according to that scale, even though it is mostly outmoded. Indeed, we now complain about things getting too big - when, as Clay Shirky says, what we’re really complaining about is filter failure.

The press came to believe its own PR and it conflated size with authority: We are big, therefore we have authority; our authority comes from our bigness.

But the press, of all parties, should have seen that this didn’t give them authority, for the press was supposed to be in the business of going out to find the real authorities and reporting back to what they said. This is why I always cringe when reporters call themselves experts. No, reporters are expert only at finding experts.
Rest of the post is here.

News in colour

If lists of headlines don't work for you, this colour grid of news might do the trick. It tracks Google News and you can filter for a particular region.

Alternatively, you could try this news map from It aggregates news stories from MSMs round the world - nytimes, nzherald, washingtonpost etc - and pins them on a map.