Industry trends

5 Emerging Content Opportunities Your Newsroom Should Be Trialling Now

SOURCE: Poynter SOURCE: Poynter

Facebook has been coming under fire for how it describes itself recently along with its handling of trending topics and showing (or rather not showing) specific content.  Big questions are being asked about the future of the big blue misery machine but for many newsrooms just being seen would be a great problem to have.  All content is created equal on Facebook but that’s sadly where the truism ends once it goes into the endless content sausage factory.  After content is lovingly crafted in the status editor box and sent into the ether, numerous answers to questions are applied so that Facebook can determine where in the Newsfeed it should be “shown”.  Knowing and understanding what is working then becomes mission critical for many news outlets.  It would be unfair to say however that the various platforms aren’t offering newsrooms an array of tools to help newsrooms.  Below are five such tools that newsrooms are failing to jump on (for a wide variety of reasons).  With clear strategies I believe the following tools offer the next way outlets grow audiences, find news ones, make new revenue and reduce risk:

1) Facebook Live…as a programme
Reuters UK is doing a great job of extending the news product runway with Facebook’s live streaming platform, Facebook Live. Beyond simply entertaining a somewhat captive audience the team are smart and mention other products and areas of interest for the viewer during the broadcasts about the markets. Timed well in the morning with a good pace and level of depth the team has a great opportunity create a new audience and then push them around the Reuters ecosystem.  NPR, The Verge, The Young Turks and Digiday are also worth a look for inspiration.   Telescope.TV and Groovy Gecko offer teams a variety of set-ups should your strategy go beyond simply point and shoot.
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Sponsorship, Product Placement, Branded Content, Partnerships, Ads…it all depends on what your brands is comfortable with… and that you don’t break Facebook’s community rules.

2) Instagram (and Snapchat) Stories…as a story

A huge opportunity springs from corporately owned Facebook in the guise of the shockingly copied Snapchat feature but with a few tweaks. Quartz, Cool Hunting and others all show the potential for this sort of reporting tool and reaching the audience that Snapchat and Instagram boast is important for any news organisation.  No-one is getting it right straight away but the numbers are impressive.
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Terms of Service for Snapchat are different to Instagram but it’s somewhat the Wild West still out there at the moment.  So long as anything paid for is labelled ‘promo’ or ‘ad’ (however faint!) it is usually ok. Naturally partnering with either of these monsters (should they ask you) isn’t a bad strategy either.

3) Animated infographic video…as an entire news product
Different brands report different amounts but between 50-85% of videos viewed on Facebook are viewed without sound. A growing trend in the newsfeed is being based around silent video products (audio costs and people are generally using Facebook in a variety of scenarios where sound is undesirable (toilet, bus).  GOOD Magazine’s ‘Data Vizeo’ series is a good example.
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: In-house or externally this can be done efficiently.  Companies like Wibbitz (FD: now working with Reuters) offer to create high-quality videos for very little extra work once the story has been created by the editorial team at the news organisation.

4) Facebook 360 Photos/Video…as an extension strategy
You don’t have to buy the $30,000 camera that Facebook have open-sourced to create beautiful and useful videos of news you are covering. Instead, a regular smartphone, Go-pro or a mid-range drone often will create a high-enough quality product. 360 Video projects need to be carefully thought out (sometimes a fly through adds little) but as the cost continues to fall, these interactive products can add new dimensions to reporting.
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: From sponsorship to product placement – it’s all a question of ethics and transparency…

5) Messenger Chatbots…as a hook to other places
My experience with Chatbots has been clumsy to date but the technology is improving fast and will not always be so creepy and lackluster.  A good experiment, with the right product push strategy, could see some significant traffic pushed into downloading an app for example. Chatbots will also likely see a lot of attention now that Facebook has begun allowing payments to be taken through Messenger. Perhaps a new subscription model looms?
ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chatbots have the potential to revolutionise the way we consume news…if we let them. Instead of a ‘show us everything and let us decide’ model we could morph news consumption into something entirely new. Perhaps a more ‘choose your own adventure with some weighting’ type scenario feels right or maybe even as a way to personalise your reactive website experience.

Creating a valuable editorial product remains a hard thing to achieve at scale and speed especially for the “snack-news” world we increasingly live in.  While there remain some obvious focuses (video) and simple wins for Publishers, it is increasingly clear Facebook wants Publishers to pay to play in their sandbox.  While this may be grating, Facebook clearly owns the sand and sandbox – Publishers can get angry and be cautious but you could also choose to create exciting things which, if used correctly, could help you get your target group to want to exit the sandbox.

Paul Armstrong, guest writer for Inside Agency, runs HERE/FORTH an advisory that helps business leaders decide how to best use rapidly changing, disruptive and emerging technologies. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul__armstrong or contact him on hereforth.com.

This article does not express the views of Thomson Reuters. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author.

Tales from the trail: Reuters & U.S. newspapers

PeterBohanPeter Bohan was a Reuters journalist for 30 years before becoming Executive Director of Reuters America Service, a product aimed at U.S. newspapers, web sites and broadcasters as an alternative to The Associated Press. Peter – Midwest Bureau Chief at the time – built the service starting in 2010 in tests with Tribune Company, which  became the anchor client for RAST in 2011. Peter spends more time than anyone working with U.S. newspapers to see how Reuters can address their needs.

We asked Peter to blog from time to time to share how it’s going:

Are newspapers doomed? That often seems to be the accepted wisdom these days. But as with most things we take for granted, perhaps it’s worth another look.

Certainly, a lot of the numbers for newspapers don’t paint a picture of health. In much of the past decade or longer, newspapers have lost advertisers and readers in droves to the Internet. Newspaper budgets get vaporized, staff are cut, and the downward spiral only seems to get worse.

We are left with a portrait of the walking dead.

But this corpse may have a pulse yet.

Some recent trends:

• The digital audience delivered by U.S. newspaper web sites in October 2014 reached 166 million unique adult visitors, a 17% increase from a year earlier.

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Journalist Spotlight: John Foley Offers an Inside Look at the New Breakingviews Predictions Book

john foleyReuters Breakingviews recently debuted its annual book of predictions for the coming year, aptly titled Predictions 2014. This year, the book explores reversals and revivals, including who has the power to surprise in 2014, the outlook for China’s banks, how the U.S. housing recovery will fare this year and what to expect from the markets. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, John Foley – who led the charge from Hong Kong – offers an inside look at Breakingviews’ Predictions 2014.

Q. How did the idea for this book come about?

A. Breakingviews has published a Predictions book for several years. The idea is to come up with a fun, insightful agenda for what we think will happen in financial markets in the coming year – and what probably won’t happen, but should. It’s a global effort, but this year we led the production and editing from Asia, to celebrate the fact that we’ve got a newly beefed-up team of Asia-based columnists.

Q. How does the book come together with so many differing opinions? (more…)

New Realities at News Xchange 2013

Opening of NX13

The annual News Xchange conference is one of the biggest of the year for Reuters, and this year’s event in Marrakech, Morocco was no exception. Over 500 delegates came together to share, learn and collaborate, ranging from top executives from the world’s leading news organizations to aspiring journalism students and hopeful start-ups. This year’s theme, “New Realities”, sparked discussions about all things current: digital innovation and high tech storytelling, user generated content, big data, cyber security and more. (Check out Reuters opening video for News Xchange here.)

Exterior of conference

The event was highlighted by talks led by leaders in the journalism world, including Christiane Amanpour (CNN) who reminded us that “listening, respecting and understanding is essential for good journalism”. The audience was captivated by an interactive and passionate presentation by Dr. Hans Rosling, a Swedish doctor, academic and statistician who has the unique skill of bringing data to life. Dr. Rosling presented his ongoing research on national wealth and health and everything in between, to give us the big picture of global development.

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Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association conference, Nov 6-8

pnaReuters had the opportunity to attend and sponsor the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) convention this year. Reuters attendees, Patricia Martinez and Kathleen Bolger, described it as an intimate and collaborative event, with local and regional newspapers coming together to share their successes and challenges in the current landscape.

A particularly interesting conversation arose around “the Power of Data”– a session that explored how news media companies translate data into a usable format and ultimately into new revenue streams. Robert Wescott, VP of Business Development for Cxense, spoke in the session primarily about newspapers increasing their share of ad spend and deeply engaging audiences.  By owning data for their users, newspapers can deliver targeted experiences including ads, subscriptions, and ideas for further reading (more…)

The application of social insight

People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo  in Warsaw
Written by guest contributor Maz Nadjm, SoMazi

We all know how important market research is – trying to bring your product or service to the market is next to impossible if you don’t know who you’re selling to. You need to know who your customer is and what makes them tick. Market research dictates the way you position yourself in the market and how you go about promoting yourself and your business. But although it’s important, the problem with traditional market research is that it’s time consuming, laborious and often expensive. This is why many companies now look to the mass of information available on social media to provide in-depth, organic and up-to-the-minute insights into their brand, their customers and much more.

So, what are the benefits of using social media to gain marketing insights and what is the best way of turning this knowledge to your advantage? Here are a few thoughts and tips for you that hopefully will shed some light on the subject:

1.  Social media is as up-to-the-minute, and honest, as it gets. (more…)

Reuters: Telling the world’s stories like no one else

Take a look at Reuters opening video for News Xchange, held last week (Nov 13-15) in Marrakech, Morocco:

WIRED 2013: What the news industry can learn from smiles, pancreatic cancer and SMS

wired2013_2Written by Paul Armstrong, HERE/FORTH 

Can two days change your life? I have just completed WIRED 2013, a two-day conference put on by Conde Nast for the third time—the most intense of all three with over 45 speakers… and only six breaks. If you have yet to attend, imagine reading all the issues of Wired 2013 in 48 hours, experiencing a great many of the technologies and gadgets described (as well as many new ones), in addition to hearing multiple nuggets of information that wasn’t reported on—that’s  the conference. Then, imagine being surrounded by about 500 incredibly smart and connected people (think CEO’s, heads of innovation, hackers, NGOs, product designers, Shell, Google) at the same time. To say this conference has the potential to change the world is no hyperbole.

I noticed a couple of things at the conference this year; the event acts as a mind reset—personal, professional and the world at large—all are given perspectives and contexts that help me reevaluate the different aspects of my being, and the other was identifying several inspirations and ideas for the news industry from some highly unlikely sources.

The Youth Will Eat Us All:

Nick D’Aloisio, founder of Summ.ly and now with Yahoo!, is 17 and has a clear vision for the future of information (in summary, everything will be summarized). D’Aloisio, who recently sold Summ.ly to Yahoo! for $30 million, spoke of his frustration with the current systems forced upon young people and his desire to marry both algorithms and the entrepreneurial spirit associated with news.

In a completely different field, Jack Andraka wowed the crowd to a standing ovation with his incredible tale of creating a pancreatic cancer test that is over 26,000 times less expensive than the current test and just as, if not more, accurate. He was 15 when he did it and is 17 now. Both individuals are impressive, but I got the feeling that the news could learn from exploring more “bedroom-dweller types” who, due to being programmed differently, will find answers others cannot. News organizations should be identifying them, allowing them space and encouraging them to break things.

Available Technology Is Not Being Used:

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Top world newspaper deals – Infographic of the day

Today’s graphic shows the top 10 world newspaper deals since 1980:

newspaper-deals

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