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Posts Tagged ‘News’

Digital first is the new normal for newsrooms

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

newspapersThe full digital tool-set is now in use in newsrooms and editorial offices around the world – with far-reaching implications for the public relations industry, the latest Oriella Digital Journalism Study has found.


Back at the first part of this century we worked for one of the first online tech news outfits and broke a considerable number of technology stories online ahead of local media. A columnist for a local publication said it probably gave established traditional print news outlets morning headaches. Now, however, most news organizations understand the importance of breaking news online.

A ‘digital first’ policy, breaking news online as it happens, is in place at over a third of the media titles surveyed with use of mobile apps, in-house produced video and social media as a news source all on the rise.

The Oriella Digital Journalism Study, based on a survey of almost 550 journalists from 15 countries spanning Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, tracks how digital technology is impacting how news is gathered and published around the world.

Wholesale changes in gathering and reporting news

This year’s study – the sixth – provides evidence of wholesale changes in how publications gather and communicate stories. This year’s study further found a quarter of the journalists surveyed often prepare multiple versions of the same story as it develops, while a fifth said that ‘citizen journalism’ now carries as much credibility in their organization as mainstream reporting.

mobile devicesDigital media is also shaping publications’ revenue models. The proportion of respondents saying their outlet has a mobile app has nearly doubled over the past two years to 40 percent. In addition, use of premium apps to monetize content has increased by a third since 2012.

Robin Grainger, Director of the Oriella PR Network, said: “Our study suggests 2013 is a watershed year for the world’s media. The growing interest in ‘digital first’ reporting, video, real-time news, mobile content and citizen journalism all exemplify what we’re calling the ‘New Normal for News’.”

Game-changing ramifications

“If these trends accelerate, there are some potentially game-changing ramifications for media and communicators alike. First, touch-screen interfaces will open up new possibilities for storytelling. One example could be interactive graphics (or ‘digi-graphics’) which blend high design and big data to enable readers to navigate their own path through stories.”

“Second, we may see a polarisation of journalistic output. At one end short, ‘tweet-like’ news updates will provide near real-time coverage of events in print and on video, optimized for small screens.

At the other end, we may see much longer-form feature and investigative pieces. ‘Shorter but quicker’ journalism could also afford media brands greater prominence – and consequently greater traffic – in search rankings, news readers and ‘social news aggregator’ apps such as Flipboard and Pulse News.”

Amid the technology change, traditional values remain

social mediaThe study finds that journalists are using social media for newsgathering, but continue to place an emphasis on trusted sources and pre-existing relationships.

For example, 51 percent of journalists said they source new stories from microblogs, such as Twitter and Weibo, but only when they already know the source behind them.

When the source is unknown, their use by journalists halved, to 25 percent. By contrast, 59 percent of respondents said they sourced their news from conversations with industry insiders.

The sources most trusted by journalists were academics and other experts, who were trusted by 70 percent of journalists; technical experts in companies (trusted by 63 percent) and analysts (trusted by 49 percent). Generally, we’ve found, academics and technical experts are much more oriented toward telling what they see as the truth than other sources, so this makes sense.

Company CEOs were trusted by only 41 percent, and actually distrusted by one in eight journalists. The least trusted individuals were politicians, PR professionals, heads of marketing, and community managers – all of whom were more distrusted than trusted by journalists (see chart).

Personally, we’ve had nearly all of these sources attempt to mislead us over the years. A CEO, PR pro, or politician will outright lie if they think they can get away with it – and some will do it even knowing you’re aware that they’re lying or fudging the truth. That’s why multiple sources are important on stories where there is any doubt.

Journalists’ attitudes to their job

Despite all the changes occurring within newsrooms, the study found journalists remain upbeat about their jobs. Thirty-four percent said they believed digital media had improved the quality of their journalism over the past two years. However, the digital model is creating headaches for many of them: almost a third (32 percent) agreed that they are finding it harder to keep abreast of events on social media.

Grainger continued: “For all the technological change, the fundamental role of journalism remains the same – to gather evidence from sources, build narratives, and then convey them.

What has changed, however, are the tools at their disposal. The brands that achieve cut-through in the ‘New Normal for News’ will be those keeping abreast of these changes. They will be the ones that integrate their storytelling – using conventional text, video, graphics and interactive content – as well as harnessing the social media profiles of their own people, and those of key influencers around them.”

What makes consumers click?

Friday, March 29th, 2013

social media logosWhy do people share articles and other things online? 33Across, a social sharing and content discovery platform conducted what is says is “first-of-its-kind” research into online sharing behavior reveals some surprising findings.

It also looks at which links are most often clicked when content is shared.

We learned that some of the content we share most often ourselves (and among the most shared overall) such as science and technology articles, have a click-through rate three-times less than the average for all categories.

On the other hand, shopping related content – which is less than one percent of shared items – has a strong clickback rate of 15 percent.

What we Share
33Across examined the sharing rate of 24 content categories by calculating the percent of pageviews that lead to a sharing event.

Surprisingly, consumers share science-oriented articles at a higher rate (12%) than articles on any other subject. In other words, for every 100 science-related articles a person reads online, he or she is likely to share 12 of them with a friend or colleague.

Conversely, the average share rate for the other twenty-three topic categories was less than four percent. Two of the lowest sharing rates include Men’s Media (e.g. health/fitness and relationship articles) at only one percent and Shopping (e.g. product reviews) at less than one percent.

What our Friends Actually Read
Common sense would suggest that content that is frequently shared also gets frequently read by the recipient.

However, the 33Across data indicates otherwise. For example, while science stories are shared at high rates, the percent of clickbacks (link clicks/shares) is only nine percent — while the average for all categories is almost three times higher at 24%.

On the other end of the spectrum, while only one percent of men’s media articles are shared, nearly half of the links (47%) are clicked by the recipient. Shopping-related content — with an even smaller share rate at less than a single percent — has a clickback percent of approximately 15%.

What this means: Astrophysics vs. Kim Kardashian
planetsWhy would an article about Pluto being de-categorized as a planet generate significant sharing but low clickback rate? One common thread among content with high share rates but low clickbacks is a focus on esoteric topics that appeal only to a specific, highly-educated minority.

The fact that users share this content broadly despite the narrow target appeal suggests that the intent is more related to “personal branding” than curating helpful content. In other words, people like sharing content that identifies themselves with specific topics regardless of whether the recipients are actually interested in the topic.

Ego sharing

We call this type of behavior ego sharing.

Categories with moderate share rates and medium clickback rates include Parenting and Consumer Technology content.

A common theme with this type of content is the practical nature of the articles, e.g. how-to’s and product reviews. Clickback rates are higher because the content has utility to the recipient, and has been curated by a personal connection. We call this practical sharing.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

The categories most often associated with sharing — Entertainment and Celebrity content — indeed have high overall levels of sharing activity. However, the sharing rates (2.1% for Entertainment and 1.7% for Celebrity content) remain low as a function of overall consumption.

The implication is that while many people still can’t seem to read enough about the Kardashians, a much smaller percentage choose to proactively share this type of content. Once the content starts to percolate in social media, however, many people click to read more as indicated by the 40% clickback rate.

We call this water-cooler sharing.

What this means: News and Politics
News and Politics have the highest clickback rates of all categories at 86 and 77 percent, respectively.

Our motivations for sharing news are seemingly a combination of ego sharing and practical sharing: as with the former, our egos are boosted by being credited for “breaking” the news to our friends; regarding the latter, we may also be inspired to share in an effort to inform others about new information.

The high clickback rates for News and Politics content parallels the “breaking” nature of these categories and broad consumer interest in the 24/7 news cycle.

Daily Mail’s MailOnline has highest level of social engagement

dailymailWithin the news category MailOnline, the digital sister of The Daily Mail, has the highest level of social engagement as defined by the combination of sharing rate and clickback rate.

“MailOnline has grown to become the #1 news and entertainment site in the world in part due to readers discovering our content through social sharing,” said Sean O’Neal, Global CMO of MailOnline. “Tynt’s category findings validate the extremely high social engagement that we observe every day with our readership.”

“Copying and pasting publisher content is how 82% of online sharing begins,” stated Greg Levitt, GM of Publisher Solutions for 33Across.

“As our category findings reveal, publishers need to move beyond analyzing which content is most frequently shared and also consider the rate at which people click on shared links.”

Are social networks good for society or harmful?

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

social mediaNearly half – 47 percent – of Americans use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and spent billions of minutes social networking in 2012. The research organization asks, is that good for society?

Pro: Proponents of social networking sites say that the online communities promote increased interaction with friends and family; offer teachers, librarians, and students valuable access to educational support and materials; facilitate social and political change; and disseminate useful information rapidly.

Con: Opponents of social networking say that the sites prevent face-to-face communication; waste time on frivolous activity; alter children’s brains and behavior making them more prone to ADHD; expose users to predators like pedophiles and burglars; and spread false and potentially dangerous information.

What do you think?

What do you think? We find social networks alert us to news, ideas, and people we wouldn’t encounter otherwise. We work from a home office and they serve as the water cooler, break room, and gossip hotline as well as a source of information we find useful or entertaining.

In addition to in-depth pro and con research, the social networking website contains a historical background section, videos, photos, over 200 footnotes and sources, and Did You Know? facts including:

  1. Social networking sites are the top news source for 27.8% of Americans, ranking below newspapers (28.8%) and above radio (18.8%) and print publications (6%).
  2. Students who used social networking sites while studying scored 20% lower on tests, and students who used social media had an average GPA of 3.06 versus non-users who had an average GPA of 3.82.
  3. 35 global heads of state, every US Cabinet agency, 84% of US state governors, every major candidate for US President, and more than 40% of top global religious leaders are on Twitter.
  4. 10% of people younger than 25 years old respond to social media and text messages during sex.
  5. In July 2012 Americans spent 74.0 billion minutes on social media via a home computer, 40.8 billion minutes via apps, and 5.7 billion minutes via mobile web browsers for a total of 121.1 billion minutes on social networking sites in one month.

Online behavioral tracking pervasive, Google privacy practices often violated

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

KeynoteAn in depth analysis of the behavioral tracking of 269 websites across four industries found that 86 percent place one or more third-party tracking cookies on visitors and many violate Google’s privacy practices, says Keynote Systems (NASDAQ:KEYN),which sells Internet and mobile cloud testing and monitoring solutions.

What’s more, 60 percent of these third-parties had at least one tracker that didn’t promise to comply with at least one common tracking standard.

A third-party tracker in this context is simply defined as a business that has access to your computer, when you visit a particular Website, so that they can record your browsing history and other personal data, and is a completely separate organization from the owner of that site.

The presence and identity of third-party trackers is typically invisible to users browsing their favorite Web pages.

tracking graphic

The number of Websites that allow visitors to be tracked by third-parties may be surprising to some, but as consumers begin to understand that their online behavior can be recorded, enterprises will have to work even harder to ensure that consumers’ privacy expectations are met,” said Ray Everett, Keynote’s director of privacy services.

Keynote analysis showed that nearly all Travel & Hospitality and News & Media Websites have third-party tracking (95 percent and 96 percent respectively).

Three of four financial service sites use third-party tracking

Most surprising was the fact that nearly three out of four financial services sites examined expose visitors to third-party tracking.

And of the financial services companies with tracking, 52 percent of third-party trackers violate at least one of the industry’s most common privacy standards – such as participation in industry self-regulatory programs or offering consumer opt-out choices.

Keynote’s analysis also discovered that of the 211 third-party trackers identified during the study, only one committed to honor a visitor’s request not to be tracked via the new Do Not Track feature browser vendors are implementing. In addition, News & Media sites expose site visitors to an average of 14 unique third-party tracking companies during the course of a typical visit.

Behavioral advertising, a common use of third-party tracking data, is an increasingly common practice on the Web and one of the primary ways Websites fund their operations.

Third-party trackers place cookies on the browsers of site’s visitors to track a user’s clicks and path through the Web. They also can make note of things like what the visitor buys and where the visitor goes once they leave.

Working online at the TechJournal daily, we run various spyware removal software such as Superantispyware and delete more than 400 adware tracking cookies every few days. While most are not particularly harmful, they will clog your computer as they accumulate.

A “wild west mentality” prevails

“The Web advertising ecosystem is sprawling and complicated, with hundreds of ad networks all competing to gather as much targeting data on consumers as they possibly can,” Everett noted.

“It’s very much still a ‘wild west’ mentality and the activities of aggressive tracking companies can place Website publishers in a difficult position: how do you monetize your Website without alienating your visitors and exposing yourself to legal risk?”

Everett concluded, “Ultimately, the burden of policing third-party trackers falls on the shoulders of Website publishers. A publisher is responsible for the content of their Website, including the practices of the advertisers appearing on it. Monitoring the constantly changing advertising ecosystem is a daunting task, but the consequence of failure is the placing of your brand’s reputation at tremendous risk.”

Keynote performed its online behavioral tracking analysis on data collected from the company’s own global test and measurement network and leveraged the Keynote’s new Web Privacy Tracking service announced last month.