Jan 25, 2009

Pas d'électricité. L'internet manque plus aux ados que la télé

Reportage de France 2 dans le Sud-Ouest de la France, suite à la tempête (journal de 13h, le (25/01/09). Une famille est privée d'électricité. Qu'est-ce qui manque le plus aux enfants de la famille ? Internet. Pas un mot sur la télé (ou alors cela a été coupé au montage).

Jan 19, 2009

Creativity (3): Kaplan's brilliant video ad

I really like this video ad from Kaplan (American education compagny).

Jan 18, 2009

Local newsroom organization (2): How and how much "amateur" contributors are paid in France?

We received a lot of information about local correspondents in France. I am reproducing here some of the elements that were in the comments of the previous post:

1- How many pro-journalists in regional newspapers in France (63 million inhabitants)?
6,000 journalists for 60 newspapers. So, it is about, on average, 1 journalist for 10,050 inhabitants but this ratio can be different depending on the density of the population. Some samples provided to us were up to 1/40,000.

2- How many "amateur" contributors (correspondents)?
25,000 correspondents. So, on average, about 4 correspondents for 1 journalist. And 1 correspondent for 2,520 inhabitants. But larger newspapers have a different ratio that is more along the lines of 10 correspondents for 1 journalist. Is technology going to help us to increase this number?

3- What do they produce?
Their roles vary a lot from sending alerts, agendas, etc. (between 60 to 70% of the correspondents), to writing articles and taking photos (between 30 to 40%).

4- Is what they send checked?
Yes ! The desk checks their work. Journalists, at the desk, complain that it is a long process and it is one of the reasons that some of the correspondent copy is not published on time. Is technology going to help us simplify and improve the process?

5- How they are paid?
There are different systems. I am just going to talk about the one we like the most: the point system. Here is the example of the French newspaper Sud-Ouest (source - nov. 2006 - EH Boyer). One point is paid 0.80 euros.

- Brief (3 to 4 lines) = 1 pt
- Short article (5 to 20 lines) = 6 pts
- Article (30 to 50 lines) = 14 points
- Special article (crime, accidents...) = 20 pts
- Feature (50 to 70 lines) = 35 pts
- Alert (phone call to share news with the local pro journalist) = 8 pts
- Results (sports, elections) = 25 pts
- Regular photo = 4 pts
- Cover photo = 15 pts
- Cover local section photo = 10 pts

Once again, we are not saying that the French system is perfect. It can be improved. But, we want to show that the mix of pro and semi-pro journalists is already used by local media. It's been around for 40 years. So it is not a fantasy to try to imagine this kind of newsroom organization.

Still in France (sorry, I know, a French example again), LePost.fr, a pure-play launched by Le Monde Multimedia works with a team of pro and amateurs to cover national and local news. They have 8 journalists for 25,000 "amateur" contributors. 2,500 are very active. In a little over a year, Le Post became one of the top news French sites with over 1.5 million UV et more than 6 million visits/month in December 2008 (source: OJD - circulation bureau in France).

I'll talk more about Le Post later. And we will continue posting about local newsroom organization.

Jan 9, 2009

Local newsroom organization (1): 70% to 80% of a French local daily newspaper is written by non-journalists. Why not start to use this model?

Our team is trying to figure out the organization of the newsroom of a local media company. A priori, this company produces both print and digital products and services. The decision on whether the products and services are print, digital or a combination will depend on the local market and the profitability models (we will be working on this as well and will share it too).

I started this conversation at the New Business Models for News Summit, back in October at CUNY. Thanks to Jeff Jarvis. Benoît Raphaël (editor-in-chief of Le Post) and I talked about how the content of a French local daily newspaper is written 70 to 80% by amateurs. They call them "correspondents". They have been contributing for more than 40 years. Their copy is corrected and checked by copy editors or "chef d'agences". The end result is: a hyper-local coverage. In fact, those "correspondents" are sort of "citizen journalists".

We gave this example just to show that imagining a media where the content is, for a big chunk, written by non-journalists is not a fantasy. It already exists and it has been working for years. Pro and "am" can live together and produce a quality medium.

On average, there are 10 correspondents for 1 journalist. Correspondents are paid by the newspaper based on what the newspaper publishes. But they are making far less money than the journalists.

So, to get back to the first step of our work, we are working around the following concept (I insist, it is work in progress, we are just starting):

1- Concentrate on the local coverage and on national and international issues that are affecting the communities that the newspaper covers.

2- A journalist is in charge of a community. This community can be either geographic or based on a major topic that is important for the communities.

3- The journalist and a copy editor manage a team of "correspondents". There are two types: people covering their local community, people covering a topic because they are experts (accountants, doctors, architects, engineers...). Some of them could already have their own blog. Then, there is the witness that happens to be at the right place at the right moment with the right tools to post content. The copy editor is in charge of fact checking the copy of the correspondents and the witnesses.

4- Each journalist and correspondent have a blog. Which means: the "spinal cord" of the medium is an aggregation of blogs. It does not mean that classic reporting is disappearing. At least at this stage of our thinking. But let's be open and forget about any a priori (tough!). About blogs as a center piece, you can read F. Fillioux's post: Blogging, a new journalist genre (editor for the Norwegian group Schibsted)

5- National (including non-local entertainment and non-local sport) and international content are reduced to the minimum and coming from other media like newspapers, magazines, TV channels from the country and other countries too. If you have a strong Greek community, why not translate, sometimes, the coverage of an international matter written by a Greek newspaper. Wire services... not sure they are necessary (TBD). We can still have some journalists whom the job is to explain and / or to give the local ramifications of a national or international news story.

So, once again, this is just the beginning of our work. It is going to change based on the feedback that we are going to receive from professional journalists and non-journalists. Please do not hesitate to react on the following main concepts:
  1. local correspondents
  2. blogs at the center of the local medium
  3. focus of the coverage on local matters
Now I have a question for our French friends :
- What is the ratio, on average, of journalists to people? The ratio could be different based on the concentration of the population (e.g., urban center vs. rural areas).

Update 1: I am receiving answers from French journalists. I'll translate them later.

Update 2: According to the marketing guru, Seth Godin, it is time to start a local newspaper.

Update 3: How to build a media empire by Mitch Joel

Jan 8, 2009

Les sites d’infos contruit autour d’une agrégation de blogs ?

Voilà un commentaire que j'ai fait sur le blog de Narvic suite à son sur "le blog est l'avenir du journalisme" et celui de F. Fillioux "Blogging, a new journalistic genre?"

Je m’interroge aussi sur la place des blogs dans un site d’information depuis longtemps. J’en suis arrivé à la conclusion, l’année dernière, que c’est -- peut être -- le socle central d’un média en ligne. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’il tire avantage de la killer application du web : Human Interaction.

Nous sommes entrain de travailler à quoi pourrait bien ressembler concrétement la rédaction d’un journal local demain (on se concentre sur le local pour le moment). Et nous l’articulons, pour le moment et ca peut changer, autour des principes suivants :

1- Se concentrer sur l’info local et concentrer les forces éditoriales sur les enjeux locaux. Sous-traiter tout le reste : journaux nationaux, étrangers... et peut-être AFP si moins cher.

2- Viser les + de 55 ans avec le papier, les - de 55 ans avec produits et services sur le web et le mobile

3- Organiser la rédaction autour de journalistes animateurs de communautés, soit géographique, soit par sujet (essentiellement : sport, business local, éducation).

4- Un réseau de correspondants bloggers qui couvrent soit une zone géographique, soit une spécialité. + au cas par cas les témoignages de citoyens témoins ou spécialistes.

5- L’outil principal des journalistes serait le blog. Et le média en ligne, principalement une agrégation de blogs tenus par les journalistes et les correspondants.

Tout ça n’est qu’un rapide résumé et n’est qu’à l’état de brainstorming dans notre équipe. Je posterai sur mon blog des détails au fur et à mesure que nous aurons les idées plus claires.

Et, je contacterai certains d’entre vous pour challenger notre idée d’organisation et nous aider à l’améliorer. On est peut être à côté de la plaque. Vous en dites quoi ?

Update - Seth Godin (le roi du marketing), sur son blog : Time to start a newspaper

Jan 7, 2009

An example of how to use Twitter as an editor-in-chief

If you'd like to see how an editor-in-chief is using Twitter, I recommend to follow John A. Byrne (here). He is the editor-in-chief at Business Week.

Jan 1, 2009

My ideal media needs to be "crowdfiltered" and "crowdproduced"

Last week, I was working on a new set of projects with a friend of mine, François Dufour, the publisher of the very successful daily newspapers for kids in France: Le Petit Quotidien, Mon Quotidien and L'Actu. Francois has also been one of the French professionals that has led the brainstorming on how to help French daily newspapers to survive. An exercise initiated by the French president a few months ago (Les États généraux de la presse écrite). We were talking about it, having some heated (but friendly) conversation on the future of media and the role of journalists versus amateurs, when suddenly he asked me: "But, Jeff what would be your ideal newspaper ? " Here was, in a few words, my answer.

First, it would not be a print newspaper. Not because I have something against print newspapers, but because it could not technically do the job. I need to be able to search my newspaper. I need to save the content I like. I need to send to my friends the content that I think in which they can be interested. I want to react/contribute to articles when I have something to say about them whatever is the reason. Etc.

Second, it would not be a single source, because there is no one source in this world than can fulfill and aggregate the needs that I have in terms of news and information. Before, the constraint of time and, most importantly, of money forced me to reduce my number of sources to a national newspaper and a set of specialized magazines and newsletters. Now, with the internet, I have access to an unlimited number of sources for free. But this is at the same time both a great and painful experience. How do I filter all of this accessible news and information? And it's where the conversation started to be interesting... and surprising for François.

Third, the content would not be filtered and written ONLY by journalists. I could see in François' eyes that I had just touched a very sensitive point. "You're not going to tell me that you give the same importance to an article written by a professional journalist than a post by a blogger?" First, I reminded him, that in the French local newspapers, 70 to 80% of the content is written by amateurs called "local correspondents" and for at least more than forty years. Then, I explained the following.

As opposed to what still happens in traditional media today, I want my sources to be filtered by four types of people :

1- Journalists. No need to explain why.

2- Experts in the fields in which I am interested. Because, I think that it is more and more difficult for a journalist to have the sufficient knowledge to be a better informer than an expert on a subject that I also know well. Then, I feel enough educated to avoid the middle man.

3- People with the same centers of interest than mine. Because, they help me to access to information that I did not even know existed. Because they share their experiences, observations and thinking. A process that saves me time, opens my mind to new horizons, makes me smarter (I hope), helps me to make decisions, etc. For example, do I need a journalist to tell me where is the best school in town for my daughter? Do I need a professional writer to tell me where is the best Chinese restaurant in Chelsea or if the last Indiana Jones movie is good or not?

4- Friends. Because, they know whom I am, what I like, where I live, etc. and are more likely to send me content that I want to read. It is very rare when I don't read an article, a post, a video, a comment that has been sent to me by a friend. And you?

In addition to these human filters, I also like algorithms to direct me to more content like: "people who read this article also read this article" or related content, etc.

In the same way that I need more than the journalists to filter my content, I also need more than the journalists to produce it. Once again, experts and people, with the same interests than mine, are better at giving me the right information. This is not theory, this is what happens in my everyday life. I am not saying that I don't trust journalists; I do think that they are necessary. I am just saying that I don't find the content that they provide always the best content. And, I am also saying that I need more than what they provide.

Each day, I am trying to build and improve my ideal newspaper. It is on my computer and on my iphone. It is made of hundred of sources pro and "amateurs". It goes through the filter of the people I trust on Twitter, through my friends on FaceBook, the anonymous on Digg... My ideal newspaper can't be a print one. It has to be digital and it has to be "crowdfiltered" and "crowdproduced" (definitely including journalists). The "old package", even free, just cannot compete for my needs and for the ones of more and more digital grown ups.

Update - I forgot to mention the "crowdfiltering" service of Business Week: Business Exchange. Worth experimenting. I really like the idea. Tell me if you like it.

(Disclosure: I am part of the team that invented the French newspapers for kids. I was also involved in the EGDPE)