links for 2010-03-05

  • Kevin: Foundation-funded investigative journalism group ProPublica in the US is giving away its 'reporting recipe'. They explain why they are doing this: "Now we are taking this principle a step further, giving away the recipe for what has been one of our most powerful reporting efforts to date. We are doing this because we believe there are many ways to prompt change through journalism."
  • Kevin: Nathan Yau at the incredibly wonderful visualisation blog, FlowingData, gives some simple tips on how to think like a statistician. It really does depress me the innumeracy shown in a lot of journalism. What's even more galling is when this innumeracy allows journalists to be duped by spin. Nathan has some good tips, but it's probably no substitute for a good grounding in basic maths and statistics.
  • Kevin: An interesting look by Ken Doctor, author of Newsonomics, writes about the time spent on Facebook versus the average time spent on news sites. The figures to take away is that the average spends 20 minutes a month on the New York Times and only 8-12 minuts on most local newspaper sites. That's for an entire month. Nielsen said that in January, users spent seven hours a month on Facebook alone.
  • Kevin: I've had the pleasure of working with Aleks at the Guardian, and she brings a great thoughtfulness to tech coverage that is often obsessed with gadgets and treated like not much more than entertainment. I really like this write up on creating the four part BBC2 documentary The Virtual Revolution. She writes about the tension between creating a traditional, linear television documentary and the online community and conversation that she tried to create. She writes about the "conflict between the linear and multiplatform aspects". Well worth a read.
  • Kevin: Peter Kafka writes about the Huffington Post's growth and strategy. On the strategic side, their growth in depth, their focus on building tight verticals is a simple startegy that seems to have been lost on most newspapers. The internet rewards depth in content. Kafka also points out another secret to the site's success: "Huffpo has mastered the art of turning other people’s work into its own stories and eyeballs."
  • Kevin: Malcolm Coles at Econsultancy has written a valuable summary on what the BBC's strategic review says about the British public broadcaster's online vision for the future. Being a former BBC News website employee, I have been reading a lot of this with great interest. In terms of halving the number of BBC websites, that is actually quite easy. At one point time in the early part of the century, there were 1800 different sites under bbc.co.uk. What that means, is quite a bit murkier.
  • Kevin: McKinsey defines that 'Internet of Things' as "sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects [...] linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet." The mega-consultancy sees huge opportunities, and I'd agree. This new network of sensors will also provide opportunities to generate a lot of data and information. I would expect government agencies to invest in such sensors, and if the governments are open about their data, I think there are huge opportunities for journalism organisations.

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