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Last Updated 24/03/2016
1. Mad about the house
If you are mad about interiors, then you better visit this blog. It’s got ideas that range from mild to wild and visuals that make you want to redecorate. Author and interiors journalist, Kate Watson-Smyth, uses a friendly, conversational tone that puts readers at the heart of every home.
2. Dear Designer’s Blog
Author Carole King started this blog in 2009 as a way to create her ‘own little library of loveliness.’ The library she created helped her to then start up a digital interiors magazine. The Dear Designer blog remains her first love and boasts an extensive blogroll.
3. The Design Sheppard
Author Stacey Sheppard calls the blog her ‘online home’ and you are invited in. This blog stands out from others on the list for the functional yet beautiful ideas it offers – like for real homes.
4. Design Hunter
Launched in 2009, author Helen Powell’s Design Hunter is now an award-winning design and lifestyle blog with a focus on understated luxury and enduring modern design.
5. Love Chic Living
Author Jen Stanbrook has been busy writing a series about loft conversions and at other times, picking up awards including the Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Best Interiors Blog award! Jen shows off her ‘insatiable love of home decor, interior design and home accessories’ through the blog that first started out in 2012.
6. Fresh Design Blog
The name says it all – it’s a fresh take on interiors. This blog offers ideas and inspiration for the modern and contemporary home and does so keeping costs in mind. Palm reading wallpaper, back to school bargains, geometric coffee cup sets…you get the gist?
7. Abigail Ahern
Recognised amongst design aficionados and devotees, Abigail Ahern’s blog is still one of the most influential interior design blogs out there and is a regular in our Top 10!
8. Sophie Robinson
Sophie has worked interior design for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge about the industry. Over the years Sophie has made a name for herself and appeared on BBC2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge.
Featuring an array of different writers this blog features the latest decorating looks to the best new home-improvement ideas, plus new products from high-street stores that will help you to create your ideal home.
This is a blog that picks out the best and most interesting properties on the market. The properties featured on the site are very stylish with stunning architecture.
The fundamentals of working with bloggers are the same as with traditional journalists at traditional media outlets: respect their schedules; take time to read their material to learn their interests; and only contact them if/when they want to be contacted.
Vuelio’s blog ranking methodology takes into consideration social sharing, topic-related content and post frequency. Profiles of these interior design blogs and their authors can be found in the Vuelio Media Database.
Other Blog Rankings
Photo Courtesy of mattwalker69 on Flickr
The greatest danger is treating all journalists as one group, contacting them all in the same way. Given the sophistication of databases there is no reason why PROs can’t tailor the content and the contact methods to suit journalists’ preferences. The survey clearly identifies five different types of journalists with different use, behaviours and attitudes towards social media. Perhaps PROs should treat journalists more like a company treats its customers as smaller groups, rather than one whole group, if they wish to get a better reception from journalists.
You can read the whole article here, the survey is still available to download – and below, our very own Gerard McNamara talking through the findings at a great evening with PR Moment last week. The view from the venue wasn’t too bad either.
You often hear about journalists who have moved into corporate PR roles, but Carol Farley, after 38 years in the advertising, PR and marketing industry, has crossed over to “the other side” by setting up her own magazine. The Onion, launched earlier this year, is a monthly publication catering to households in Kent and East Sussex. In this interview, Carol talks to Cision about her latest venture, why she decided to make the move into journalism, how her time in PR has helped her and what makes a good journalist-PR relationship.
Tell us about The Onion? What makes it different? The Onion is a monthly, printed magazine which is delivered by the Royal Mail to 23,000 homes in affluent Kent and East Sussex. Our aim is to make it editorially strong and editorial-heavy. We make sure that more than 50% of the magazine is good editorial, written by people who have written for, and still write for the national press and the BBC. We like to give the articles space and also the advertisers space so that people value everything that appears.
You’ll never find page-after-page of ads in The Onion. We also have a free ‘Noticeboard’ listing of events for local societies, charities and community events which runs through the magazine. Often these societies and events are run on a shoe-string relying on volunteers so we like to support them as much as we can. For the reader our magazine is all about discovering the incredibly talented people in our community and the amazing things that are available for people to see and do.
What made you make the leap from PR to journalism? Having previously worked at various PR companies, how does working as an editor compare? I’ve worked in advertising agencies, marketing departments and PR companies all my life so I am used to a lot of writing, to getting immersed in the product and, most importantly, to trying to understand the consumer, so those things are still very relevant now that I’ve gone over ‘to the other side’.
What was the idea behind starting up your own magazine? How did you go about getting the magazine up and running? I had been writing for a few magazines for a few years, providing feature articles and regular book review columns, and as I was already running my own business it seemed a natural thing to do really, to move over and start a magazine for myself. We have a great relationship with VantagePoint magazine in Surrey and they have been extremely helpful to us. They’ve provided us with contacts for suppliers and have given us great advice whilst we find out feet.
How do you use social media? We use social media a lot to publicise the events and things that are happening in our area, and beyond, throughout the month. Plus we use it to find out about events, to discover people new to us, and new products too.
How do you work with PRs? I love working with PRs. They’re great and I know how difficult it can be sometimes. They supply me with information on products which we can feature in our Good Gadgets column or perhaps offer product as giveaways. I do, of course, get a lot of information which isn’t necessarily relevant for me. But, the best PRs know how it works, if you give a journalist all the information so that they don’t have to work out what the product is, and they respond quickly and efficiently, then they’re contacts for life. We also have a monthly column called ‘A Good Read’ where we talk about books that we like.
I know we’re not the Sunday Times, but we can reach over 52,000 readers, and we’d love to hear from anyone who wants to send over any catalogues, releases and advance copies.
The Guardian has much to celebrate after winning the maximum awards including the top accolade at The Drum’s Online Media Awards that took place on Wednesday at the Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel in London.
The awards night, co-sponsored by Cision UK, celebrated the best in online news and journalism, and was attended by some of the world’s leading media organisations including The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Times, Channel 4, ITN and The BBC to name a few.
The Guardian won website of the year which was also chosen as the Grand Prix – the group took home an overall of 4 awards and a commendation. The Chairman’s Award, chosen by Noel Young of ReportBoston.com, went to RadioTimes.com.
BBC News Online and Channel 4 News both won 3 awards each while BACP won the award for Best Health/Education News Site for TherapyToday.net.
In the Individual awards the Online Editor of the Year went to Anna Doble, Channel 4 News. Digital Writer of the year was presented to Geoff White also from Channel 4 News and Best Freelance writer was awarded to Simon Hooper for Al Jazeera English Online. Outstanding Digital Team of the Year was given to the.guardian.com.
The full list of winners, across all award categories, can be found on the Online Media Awards website but for a look at what really went on at the awards ceremony, scroll on down:
The event started out with a champagne reception:
And was followed by a selfie competition. Some of the entries included:
— Christian (@Christian1607) June 11, 2014
Taking home the bubbly, the best selfie of the night went to:
Doc Brown, comedian, rapper and actor, in performance:
— Angela Haggerty (@TheDrumAngela) June 11, 2014
The winners of the night included:
Cision’s Kirsti Kauronen presented five awards. Here is she on stage:
Summing it all up in a single tweet:
— OnlineMediaAwards (@OM_Awards) June 12, 2014
The Times was named Sports Team of the Year at the annual Press Awards for 2013, which took place on Tuesday at the Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel in London. The man behind the winning team, Tim Hallissey, sports editor of The Times, spoke exclusively to Cision about how its digital platform is leading the way forward and what this award means for the newspaper.
Congratulations on being named Sports Team of the Year. How does it feel?
Getting a team award is always gratifying. Everyone in the department, including writers, editors, sub-editors, photographers and designers have an extra spring in their step today. When individuals are honoured it is great but when a team gets recognised, it reflects well on the department, on the work that’s been done with one another – there’s a good buzz.
What does this award mean for the The Times?
It reaffirms how seriously we take sport and that we invest in it. We are always judged by our readers by way of subscription but being judged by peers is an important thing and is a kind of affirmation – we’re doing something right.
We have been fortunate to receive the Sports Newspaper of the Year award from the Sports Journalism Association for two years in a row (2011 and 2012), but we didn’t win this year. So this win from the Press Awards was a continuation of the recognition, and it felt nice.
What has worked for The Times sports in 2013 specifically?
The main thing we did differently was introduce the goal clips feature, which is a digital service that goes to directly to people’s smartphones, tablets or desktops. It shows goals from the Premier League as they go in. So when say ManU scores a goal, five minutes later you can watch the goal right on your phone and get highlights right after the match. This was certainly our biggest project which we started in August 2013 when we signed a two year contract with the Premier League. It’s a new way of telling a story and was one of the main reasons we won this award. It was even mentioned in the judges’ citation, along with quality writing, range of coverage and presentation.
What are the lessons learnt from 2013?
We are constantly devising and developing on the digital front but the truth is that there’s any number of improvements you can do but you will still be left barely scratching the surface of what you can do. I’m not saying that print is dead, there are still very exciting things you can do but it is the mature part of our business – it is the growth, development and evolvement on the digital front that is leading us forward.
What advice would you give to budding sports journalists?
There’s an awful lot of noise so it is important to be distinctive. If you’re a writer, keep writing – it’s the crux of the job.
In sports especially, there’s no substitute for the passion and enthusiasm. People get excited by what they see and our objective as journalists is to communicate this emotion.
How do you work with communications and PR teams?
We work very closely with communications and PR in some instances. I’m always impressed with how tuned in they are to developments on the digital side of things and especially when they send in a digital manifesto of what their ideas are. If there were fewer of them, we wouldn’t be so inundated.
‘The week in PR’ is a look at all the top stories in public relations as reported by the media. Leading the news this week is Facebook’s £11.4bn acquisition of Whatsapp, House PR’s defence against the Twitter backlash surrounding Mastercard’s #pricelesssurprises tactic, an overview of 2014’s news:rewired digital journalism conference as well as the latest news, views and account wins in the world of PR.
To have your news featured here next week, please email me at email@example.com
Leading the news
WhatsApp – what’s next? by Jon Swaine via The Guardian
The popular and ad-free texting service has been snapped up for $19bn, making a fortune for its founders. But does this acquisition by Facebook make economic sense or is it just a salvo in its hi-tech ‘arms race’ with Google?
Also read: WhatsApp sorry for outage after Facebook deal via Sky News
House PR justifies disastrous #pricelesssurprises Brit Awards PR tactics for Mastercard by Angela Haggerty via The Drum
House PR, the agency at the centre of the Mastercard Brit Awards storm, has defended its policy of offering press passes to journalists in exchange for promotional tweets, saying that the agency’s job was to “pursue all coverage opportunities”.
Journalism.co.uk’s news:rewired conference; an overview by Priyanka Dayal via Cision UK
‘Mobile is not coming, it’s here, it’s now…but it’s just the beginning.’ The quote from David Ho, editor of mobile, tablets and emerging technology at The Wall Street Journal perhaps best sums up the central theme of Journalism.co.uk’s 2014 news:rewired conference held on 20 February at the MSN Headquarters in London. From cats to conflicts, speakers representing leading newsrooms and digital media companies, covered the key topics and tools that make content read, liked and shared online.
WSJ’s John Crowley on immersive storytelling and the role PRs play in making content interactive by Priyanka Dayal via Cision UK
John Crowley, digital editor, EMEA at WSJ.com, was a panelist at the ‘immersive storytelling and production’ session at Journalism.co.uk’s News:rewired conference. Cision caught up with John after the discussion to find out what role PRs can play in helping make content interactive.
Creative directors in PR earn more than those in advertising or digital, with ‘creativity and brainpower’ suggested as the reason by Ishbel Macleod via The Drum
Creative directors in the PR industry earn more than creative directors in the advertising or marketing sectors, research from the Future Factory has found.
The position in the PR industry saw an average day-rate of £1271, compared to £1068 in the advertising industry, and £1051 in digital.
Account wins and movements
3 Monkeys wins Barratt Homes business by Priyanka Dayal via Cision UK
After a four-way competitive pitch, Barratt Developments PLC has appointed 3 Monkeys Communications to create an integrated brand reappraisal campaign for its Barratt Homes brand.
GolinHarris swoops for Havas’ Neil Kleiner to lead social media division by Alec Mattinson via PRWeek
GolinHarris has snared Havas Group’s UK head of social Neil Kleiner to spearhead its own social media offering.
Edelman Names Nigel Miller To Senior Employee Engagement Role via The Holmes Report
Edelman has appointed Nigel Miller as co-chair, Europe and CIS employee engagement and global director of Edelman talent engagement. Miller will co-chair the regional employee engagement practice alongside Nick Howard and will develop the practice outside the UK.
Ketchum to help launch alternative to ice cream in UK by John Owens via PRWeek
Ketchum has been brought in to help Perfect World Ice Cream Company with the launch of its new brand in the UK.
The agency has been handed a year-long brief covering PR and social media to promote a frozen dessert claimed by its makers to be the UK’s very first non-dairy, and no added sugar ice cream alternative.
Ogilvy London Launches New Sports Specialty via The Holmes Report
Ogilvy Public Relations/London has launched Ogilvy PR Sport and appointed Jonathan McCallum to lead the new practice. It will work closely with Ogilvy’s sister agency in Dublin, Wilson Hartnell, which has more than 30 years’ experience in sports marketing and sponsorship and works with clients including AIB; Diageo; Electric Ireland; and Liberty Insurance.
Ogilvy PR Sport will deliver marketing strategies and communication campaigns and enable new and current clients to leverage sports properties in their communications programs.
PRs need to change their approach towards bloggers by Vicki Day via Cision UK
Discussing the best ways for brands and PRs to work with bloggers, this is a guest post by Vicki Day, author of the blog MrsD-Daily.
5 PR lessons from Viber’s rise from zero users to a $900M exit by Ayelet Noff via Venture Beat
‘The journey began in October, 2010 when a friend recommended my public relations firm, Blonde 2.0, to Viber. The
company reached out to us to run their PR efforts for the launch of their promising app. Since that time, we’ve continued to work with Viber as it has grown from a young startup, to a thriving tech company, and finally as it completed its exit to Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten for $900 million.’
In this guest post, Noff shares PR techniques that helped get Viber to a $900 million acquisition.
John Crowley, digital editor, EMEA at WSJ.com, was a panelist at the ‘immersive storytelling and production’ session at Journalism.co.uk’s News:rewired conference held on 20 February in London.
Cision caught up with John after the discussion to find out what role PRs can play in helping make content interactive.
Should immersive storytelling with interactive features be part of all content production?
A lot of people are filing 1,000 word stories which is fine, we need that. I’m not suggesting that we stop writing words! But there are other compelling ways of telling stories, either through interactive data, multimedia, slideshows or through videos. Dow Jones has nearly 2000 journalists spread throughout the world and what we’re saying is, ‘hey look at these new ways of telling stories through data visualisation, through video, through interactive’ because we’re finding that’s what people are increasingly engaging with. It is explained through the low bounce rate on our Golden Dawn interactive. People interact with stories through illustrations. It makes them want to go and explore the site even more.
What advice would you give to companies that want to make content more interactive but don’t have the resources to invest in a big design team or technology?
What you need to do is look at the ways media reports data — not just The Wall Street Journal, but look at the ways The New York Times or The Times of London are also doing it and think of how the innovative storytelling tools and platforms are being used. It doesn’t just have to be an infographic, there are other forms beyond that. The simplest way to illustrate a story is through pictures, through slideshows. We don’t always do that and by the same token we shouldn’t do it all the time. People tend to think that since everyone is doing it, they should dream something up and throw it in. The key point is that it should fit the data that’s there. You can’t just shoehorn it in and assume it’s going to work. You have to start with the material and data that’s there in front of you and think of how it can be best illustrated.
Is there a need for PR companies to better present information to journalists?
Yes. If a PR approaches a journalist and says they’ve got some data and analysis, and would you like exclusive rights to it, we’d say yes, if it’s newsworthy.
Data is meaningless if not illustrated effectively and with a solid story behind it. That’s key for any PR to have front of mind.
‘Mobile is not coming, it’s here, it’s now…but it’s just the beginning.’ The quote from David Ho, editor of mobile, tablets and emerging technology at The Wall Street Journal perhaps best sums up the central theme of Journalism.co.uk’s 2014 news:rewired conference held on 20 February at the MSN Headquarters in London.
From cats to conflicts, speakers representing leading newsrooms and digital media companies, covered the key topics and tools that make content read, liked and shared online.
BuzzFeed’s editorial director Jack Shepherd stayed true to the company’s style by listing five ways to make content shareable. Jack supported his presentation with the examples that helped turn BuzzFeed into the internet phenomenon it is today.
Other highlights include a keynote address by Hannah Waldram, community manager, EMEA for Instagram and a session on immersive storytelling and production led by John Crowley, digital editor, WSJ.com and Joseph Stashko, digital news development editor of The Times and Sunday Times.
Cision caught up with speakers and journalists between sessions to learn the part PRs can play in this digital transformation of news. We will be publishing the interviews, BuzzFeed’s winning tips and other key takeaways from the conference over the coming week, so stay connected!
For now, here is a look at the best of the conference as reported collectively by attendees on Twitter via the hashtag #newsrw
Highlights from #newsrw
— Cision UK (@CisionUK) February 20, 2014
— Journalism.co.uk (@journalismnews) February 20, 2014
— Martin Belam (@MartinBelam) February 20, 2014
— Beverley Reinemann (@B_Reinemann) February 20, 2014
— Oli Kingston (@OliKingston) February 20, 2014
— Trendinalia UK (@trendinaliaGB) February 20, 2014
— mark jones (@MarkJones) February 20, 2014
— Cision UK (@CisionUK) February 20, 2014
— Cision UK (@CisionUK) February 20, 2014
— Sarah Marshall (@SarahMarshall) February 20, 2014
— Trish Kozicka (@TrishKozicka) April 19, 2013
Journalists use Twitter to source and promote stories; PRs use Twitter to promote stories and help journalists source them – yet, few journalists actually bother following leading corporate Twitter press feeds.
Case in point: British television network ITV’s press centre has over 84,000 followers on Twitter, making it the most popular press feed among the FTSE 100 companies present on the microblogging site. Yet only 14 (or one in 6,000) of its followers are journalists.
The story is no different for the other 16 FTSE companies on Twitter: many takers for their press updates, but few journalists, their target audience.
Does this mean corporates need to rethink their press strategy on Twitter?
The results from two separate research surveys, an analysis of the FTSE 100 press office Twitter feeds from CorpComms magazine produced in conjunction with Cision, and the Social Journalism Survey from Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University indicate that it is in fact time for PRs to step-up their communication strategy on Twitter.
The findings from both studies suggest that Twitter is a powerful communication tool, and as more people join the 250 million strong active user-base, the site has become a resource for real-time information.
This makes Twitter an integral part of how journalists and PR now work. The SJS study reveals that Twitter is the most popular social media tool with 92% of UK journalists using the platform in a week, up from 70% just two years ago.
The study also indicated that a third (30%) of journalists chose social media (mainly Twitter) as their preferred source of communication with PRs. However, social media is the third most common platform used by PRs to communicate with journalists after e-mail and telephone.
Meanwhile, the findings from the CorpComms analysis show that while the press feeds of Britain’s largest corporate accounts were intended to be a resource for journalists, their followers are a mix of bloggers, politicians, customers and even colleagues.
The study also pointed out that the personal nature of interaction possibly suits journalists well: ‘While enjoying the interaction and banter with PRs on Twitter, when it comes to researching stories they prefer to do so away from their competitors. ‘
As Ian King, business and city editor of The Times, pointed out in the study: ‘To be perfectly honest, I never look at corporate Twitter feeds. If I have a question I ring the press office or PR man.’
Added Andrew Hill, management editor of Financial Times: ‘When I look at such (corporate) feeds, I’m after genuine, non-robotic responsiveness to customers, perhaps a sense of humour, where merited, and evidence that there is a real person or people behind the tweets.’
Ian and Andrew are among other journalists to express the need for PRs to change the content strategy on press centres from corporate updates such as annual results, speeches and competitions, to real-time news on resignations, movements, customer grievances redressal and real-time honest feedback and information during a crisis.
Meanwhile, Steve Hawkes, consumer affairs editor, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph points out how Twitter feeds done right can be a ‘goldmine’ for journalists. He said in the CorpComms study: ‘There are some very good examples of companies using Twitter to engage with customers, such as Tesco and even train operators and British Gas, despite the negative publicity surrounding the #AskBG question and answer session. But remember, journalists will use them as valuable source material. They can be a goldmine.’
How does the use of social media by journalists in the UK compare with those in other countries? The Social Journalism Study has once again allowed us to compare participating countries in order to see which has the most social-media-savvy journalists.
As in 2012, Canada comes out on top with high scores in Use (how extensively a journalist uses social media in their day-to-day) and Knowledge (how much a journalist knows about social media). The UK is up one place to second.
The Netherlands is a new entry in fourth, displaying high levels of Engagement (how much a journalist interacts with their audience).
The USA has dropped three places from second to fifth. Compared with 2012 it has lower scores in all areas except Engagement, with a particularly low score in Personal Attitude (how positive an effect a journalist considers social media to have on their work).
It is perhaps unsurprising to see Australia has dropped one place to sixth; The Australian recently published an editorial claiming social media was a ‘path to ruin’ for journalists.
Further down the table, Finland’s high Personal Attitude score is not supported by any other areas, and once again it is Germany that has the lowest accumulated score.
The news is encouraging for the UK’s media as journalists are embracing and making the best use of social networks. The UK Social Journalism Study 2013 also revealed that more journalists have more followers, they prefer to be contacted by social media and 92% use Twitter.
Download the UK Social Journalism Study 2013 for free for more information and insight in to how journalists are using social media in their daily roles and what this means for the PR and communications industry.
Download the full version of the UK Social Journalism Study.
Worth over £15 billion in the UK alone, the beauty industry is big business. Blame it on the lipstick effect if you like, but the recession hasn’t stopped women from spending, with the industry seeing steady growth each year. So as a PR, how do you influence buyer behaviour and generate that all-important buzz about your product?
Once upon a time, sending out a press release or inviting journalists to a launch might have sufficed. But as any PR worth their column inches will tell you, these days you ignore the power of the blogosphere at your peril. ‘They’ve never been as influential as they are now – the successful ones are so quick off the mark. They have huge numbers following them,’ says Katy Young, The Telegraph’s online beauty editor. But does a one-size-fits-all approach work when it comes to bloggers and journalists? Or do agencies need to create distinct strategies to work with the old and new worlds of media – print and digital?
‘With both bloggers and journalists, it’s about building a relationship. The more time you invest in that relationship the better,’ says The Communications Store‘s digital director, Simon Sanett. And in many ways, communicating with a blogger can be much simpler than with a print or digital publication. ‘A beauty journalist will always have an editor or a media buyer to answer to,’ explains Hayley Carr – better known as blogger, London Beauty Queen.
An independent voice
The personal reviews and lengthy, product-centric posts you can expect on beauty blogs are quite, quite different to the features and editorials you’ll typically find in any glossy magazine; the blogosphere’s independence is what tends to draw readers in the first place. Lynne Thomas, director of specialist health and beauty PR agency Flipside PR, agrees with Carr: ‘We find working with bloggers can be more rewarding because they are not restricted in the same way as traditional media. Bloggers have a genuine interest in products and because they post multiple times, they have a thirst for news and knowledge.’
However, beyond their own relationship with a blogger or journalist, PRs should also consider a writer’s engagement with their readers. ‘Print coverage is about reach. Blog coverage is about engagement with an audience,’ says Sanett. The buzz generated about a product or brand by a journalist and by a blogger is as different as their editorial styles. Whereas a journalist covers the latest products to inform their readers, for a blogger it is often the starting point for a conversation.
For most, blogging isn’t a paid occupation; bloggers are writing about something they feel genuinely passionate about, meaning that their interest is personal rather than professional. One blog post can result in a flurry of comments or a quick-fire discussion on Twitter – and we all know the power of social media influence. The fact that PRs can track the digital dialogue around a product is an added bonus.
The strategic schedule
The call of the journalist on deadline is one familiar to most agencies, but timeliness is key for bloggers too: ‘I only want to bring news and information when it’s relevant and my readers can get their hands on it. I like to be able to provide a link to buy straight away, or at least provide a very close date of launch,’ explains Carr. Bloggers may find that an invite to a product launch they can’t tell their followers about or cover on their blog is just as frustrating as missing a deadline.
‘It’s really all about creating good quality content,’ says Sanett. Whether you’re working with journalists or bloggers, the oft-repeated adage of ‘content is king’ still rings true.
Founder of online magazine Running in Heels, Alice Revel is a freelance writer and consultant contributing to titles including the Telegraph, Woman’s Hour and Civilian Global. Journalist contacts and digital outlets can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.
The juxtaposition of long-form multimedia visualisations and quick-fire breaking news dominated the sessions at the latest digital journalism conference news:rewired. While digital media is still in an experimentation phase (something it may never leave) these two distinct types of telling stories are clearly establishing themselves.
Breaking news is, of course, nothing new to the web. With a dedicated morning session on the topic though, it is clear that its importance to major news organisations’ approach is growing. The social media editor for BBC News, Chris Hamilton, talked about social being the under 35s’ go-to source for news.
As such, the @BBCBreaking account is still learning best practice for maximum impact; Chris pointed out that while pictures and videos perform very well, tweets that are too long or contain too many hashtags get shared less.
Speed is obviously a huge factor in the world of breaking news and for ITV News’ web editor Jason Mills, it is key. The ITV News website is built round a live-feed model with updates to individual stories as and when they occur, and a target time of less than one minute from source to site. Jason revealed that 80% of ITV News’ audience are skimmers (opposed to the 20% that are diggers) and it is these people the site’s structure is targeting.
While the art of breaking news was made to look significant, Chris made an excellent point: ‘Everyone can break the news, it’s what you do in the minutes afterwards that counts’. But for the rest of the news:rewired sessions it wasn’t the minutes after so much as the hours, days and weeks. The idea that an online audience’s attention span only lasts 140 characters is a thing of the past, and the rise of long multimedia articles is being hailed as the future of digital publishing.
An issue print publishers have had with digital innovation is transposing their product online and making it interesting to an online audience. Often this requires taking advantage of the variety of digital tools at their disposal. Video, we are constantly told, is a necessity online and if you’re not doing it you’re missing a key slice of audience. Yes, YouTube is popular and yes kittens playing are adorable, but if you’re telling a story that doesn’t need audio and visual then don’t try and squeeze it in unnecessarily.
Full multimedia projects, combining text, video, maps, graphics and audio, take a long time to produce but can yield high visitor numbers. The Guardian’s interactive Firestorm article is one such example but was an expensive, drawn-out project that would be difficult to replicate on a regular basis. The content also needs to fit the delivery method and most news stories wouldn’t benefit from such a structure.
There is also a question of monetising such pieces and publishers are currently working on sponsorship. Without the financial support that comes with a paywall or serious ad revenue, multimedia articles may never make it off the ground. New projects invariably attract more attention which make them appealing for publishers and the current phase of experimentation is likely to produce more boundary-breaking concepts and digital innovations.
Tina Edwin-Banerjee is the editor of World Travel Guide. She spoke to Cision about bespoke content, press trips, reading people’s minds and working with PRs.
What sort of content does the World Travel Guide publish?
We produce two or three different features a week, which range from destination features to themed top five posts (best hotels, best restaurants etc.). We also do celebrity interviews in a section called ‘Going Local’. We’ve spoken to range of people about particular destinations that they’re very familiar with, from Simon Reed, AJ Buckley and Mischa Barton to Raymond Blanc and Jimmy Choo.
We also do 24-hour guides and restaurant, hotel and spa reviews. This is the fun travel stuff, almost magazine content in a way, which we hope will draw people back to the site and encourage them to delve into our hundreds of destination guides where they’re going to get fantastic information about countries, cities and ski resorts around the world.
What commercial work does
We’ve always produced licensed travel content for clients, but a growing trend over the last two or three years has been the demand for tailor-made quality content. We’re in a great position to write bespoke content solutions as we have a team of global writers who have up-to-date knowledge about destinations around the world. We can also call on them to produce content in different languages. Our clients range from
Who is your target audience?
We attract one million unique users and two million page impressions per month. We’re producing content for a consumer audience who are largely female, pretty affluent, travel frequently and are quite adventurous. We concentrate on luxury travel but that doesn’t mean staying in a five-star hotel for the sake of it. When it comes to writing features, we cover a huge range of destinations. For example, we could write an adventure travel piece, such as in
Our audience are people who really want to get under the skin of that destination, they love insider tips and they want to travel like they are locals. They don’t just want to go to the tourist traps; they want to get off the beaten track a bit, but they want to do it in style. They want quirky, different and alternative, and they’re happy to splash out a bit more to achieve that. That’s who we’re writing for.
How do you engage with your audience?
We’ve made massive upswings in terms of the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers we have – our Facebook page has over 10,000 likes, our Twitter page has almost 9,000 followers. Social media is important not only in terms of PRs and finding out information, but also engaging with our users and readers.
Also, each of us on the
How often do you go on trips?
Now I have my little girl, I tend to only do one or two trips a year. We divide up the trips that come in, so everyone gets their fair share. This year our team has been as far away as Argentina and Florida, so they can keep up their knowledge of travel destinations. It’s very much as a result of our networking with PRs that we’ll get these trips and the fact World Travel Guide’s made, as a team of people, massive effort to promote the brand. Everyone has had a very important role in doing that and as result we’ve had more press trips and travel opportunities.
We do group trips predominantly, which works for us. It’s about the destination, theme or angle the PR is pushing; does it have merit for our audience? If so, we’ll go. You get such a diverse range of journalists writing for different kinds of publication on the trip that’s it not a concern that we’ll be writing about the same thing. It’s also great because a lot of these press trips have freelancers on them, so it’s an opportunity to find new names and writers we could commission in the future. They are also good as ways of getting to know PRs – what they do and who their other clients are.
How is your relationship with PRs?
It is very much two way. Every day we get inundated with press releases from PRs, which are useful because you can scan them and it might give you a nugget of information that can inspire a story, top five, a feature you want to commission or something we can incorporate into our guides. As a team we go to networking events; the Trav Media ones are beneficial because there are a lot of PRs and freelancers in the room, so you make a lot of contacts.
A lot of the time wasting PRs are the ones who don’t know our website or who our audience is. We often get calls about deals but we don’t run editorial deals on the website. We also get PRs who occasionally ring up and say ‘Have you got the press release?’ Of course I’ve got the press release. It’s just wasting everyone’s time. Sometimes I think they’re put under pressure to make these calls because I’m sure they wouldn’t want to.
Exciting times here at Cision UK!
We will soon launch our media requests social media platform Seek or Shout in the UK and are taking on beta testers.
Watch the video and if you would like to join our beta group then email me on sabina[dot]rosander[at]cision[dot]com.
Sarah Marshall, technology editor at Journalism.co.uk, talks to Cision about lean journalism, getting out and about, and working with PRs.
Sarah started her journalistic career in radio before moving to print newspapers and then online. She joined Journalism.co.uk almost two years ago; immediately before, Sarah worked on a start-up video project in Morocco which she described as, ‘still journalism but in a completely different place’.
Though she started out in local news, and still believes this gives a good grounding for any journalist’s career, Sarah’s specialism in online reporting about the digital news industry and technology journalists use is where her heart is. She said: ‘It’s one of those areas that is moving so quickly and is so accessible’.
What do you like to write about?
It’s still old fashioned journalism. I went out just to meet a contact of mine for coffee and our plan was to just have a coffee but I actually came back with a podcast interview. She’d done a project about mobile reporting in Sierra Leone, using old Nokia phones, so I got a great interview which I used on a podcast, then wrote a feature about it which was picked up by another contact of mine at Al Jazeera and someone on the BBC World Service. That all started with a face-to-face meet – journalism is still about that – actually talking to people face-to-face or over the phone and not just rehashing a press release or something on Twitter.
What’s it like working in a small team?
I do a bit of everything; in a small organisation you’re your own sub, you do bits of SEO and your own picture research. We’ve actually changed what we do at Journalism.co.uk; this time last year we tried to cover everything that was going on in the journalism news space and it was actually when we were trying to keep on top of the Leveson Inquiry, we thought: ‘Why are we doing this? Everyone is reporting Leveson. Let’s just focus on original stuff’. Even though we’re putting out fewer stories our hits for each story have gone up – doing less to do more seems to be a better approach when you haven’t got many hands.
Between the editor Rachel McAthy and me, we write an average of four stories a day. I wrote a piece called 10 things every journalist should know in 2013 which took a day so I didn’t publish any other stories, but it brought in a lot of traffic, more attention and Twitter followers. I don’t think you should just chase traffic, but obviously if you see that a story’s doing well it’s nice.
Where are you based?
Journalism.co.uk is based in Brighton. When I came back from Morocco I started working there. Two months ago I moved to London. Being in Brighton, it’s always that hour’s journey if you want to come and meet someone so I sold the idea to my boss that London isn’t just the heart of UK media, it’s the heart of European media. I go down to Brighton once a week, but meetings can all be done online. I’m probably out and about two days a week.
And do you meet PRs?
I do meet PRs but generally at specific events. When PRs are at different events, you get to know them and they’re good contacts that I can call with ideas and requests. I have been dealing with the comms people at the Guardian for two years but I hadn’t met them, so when I moved to London one of the first things I did was meet them for a coffee.
I don’t think, unless it was somebody from a key organisation that I was really trying to get to know that I’d be able to meet with them, I’d probably usually combine it with another meeting – when I met the people at the Guardian, I was already at another event. Because time is precious in a lean newsroom, it would need to be more specific with a purpose.
How are your relationships with PRs?
Mixed. When I was in a local newspaper/radio newsroom, the relationship with PRs generally wasn’t that good; it felt like I was trying to do stories and they were trying to stop me. Now in the technology field it’s completely different. I’ve been very careful all along not to always be positive to get freebies or invites to events and I’ve tried to keep that at the forefront of my mind. I now realise PRs are very useful – for example I wanted to interview Vadim Lavrusik soon after he was appointed journalist programme manager at Facebook. I contacted him and the UK PR for Facebook – Emily Clarke at Nelson Bostock – contacted me and has since fed me little tip offs about Facebook and invited me to things. I couldn’t have that dialogue with anyone in the company because Facebook UK doesn’t work like that, but now I have someone to contact about news:rewired or check facts.
I was thinking before we spoke about who had really shone as a good PR. Joel Brown, senior press officer at CNN, knows we only do original journalism so won’t pitch anything counter to that. He’s very good at his job and will call to say ‘I’ve got this correspondent, they’re just back from Syria, he’s going to be doing a Google+ Hangout, I thought you could peg something on – do you want to speak to him?’ He knows who our audience is and what will do well.
The ones that don’t do so well think: ‘She’s a technology journalist she must be interested in writing about the new Galaxy tablet or whatever’, but I’m not because I’m writing about a very niche area of technology that journalists can use. If a PR has a journalism instinct and thinks: ‘Will this story work for that site, or that title, or radio station?’ then they’re helping the journalist. Quite frankly, I don’t want stories that other people have got. I want to be given an exclusive, the same goes for all journalists – they don’t want to rewrite a press release, they need something different. I think especially with online journalism, a lot of people are only doing original news stories and what’s the point of using a press release because a lot of other people will have it too.
One of my big bugbears is that PRs don’t seem to have caught on to the fact that Creative Commons is ten years old. I’ve been at events where I can see there’s a photographer there, the event organiser wants me to write about the event – that’s why I am there – I’m struggling for a picture. If they uploaded a picture under CC I could use it and attribute it properly. Working online, you want things quickly, you want things now; if you’re doing a story about a product make sure there’s easy access to a picture.
Last Thursday I attended Journalism.co.uk’s latest news:rewired conference at MSN’s London headquarters. Highlights include the keynote address from Nicolas Kayser-Bril, chief executive and founder of Journalism++, who talked about the importance of data journalism; a panel session on long-form digital journalism discussing video, essays and audience demand; and lightning rounds with journalism innovators.
My interests were primarily in the sessions covering liveblogging, not least because I will attempt this for the first time tomorrow at Cision’s Breakfast Club! [Tune in from 8:30am]. The first panel session titled ‘Collecting social conversations’, had two takes on news gathering from social platforms. Katie Rogers from the Guardian US liveblogged Hurricane Sandy and had four tips: spot the news but mind the bubble, gather the news and check it twice, add something unique, and engage with the news.
Her first tip was echoed throughout the session and it is vital when reporting in real time to spot the good stories in all the noise. For the Hurricane Sandy live blog, Katie had to gather news from people who were in the thick of the event but also check everything for fakes; there were so many fictional stories that the Guardian US set up a separate ‘fake Sandy’ page.
Dave Wyllie from BreakingNews.com also stressed the importance of verification, though his deadline of, ‘within half an hour of a story breaking’, makes it a more challenging process. He talked the audience through the Aurora cinema shooting and how they used pictures on Twitter and location tags to verify the story. Dave advocated ‘old fashioned’ journalism techniques with modern day tools and warned that people who shout the loudest are not always correct – a lesson for everyone using social media.
For Dave one of the secrets of BreakingNews.com’s success is their decision to pick just a couple of stories they can do well rather than stretch themselves and try to cover every story. This highlights the different types of liveblogging: single events or streams of news. The Liveblogging workshop explored this difference in more depth and Neil Macdonald, head of web and data development at Trinity Mirror Merseyside, talked about covering a single event. For Neil it is a four-step process: planning, how and when to update, using social media and looking back.
Neil explained each step: before any event they plan out the key locations they’ll have to cover, equipment and internet capabilities available and any research or information they already have; the updates should be short and a mix of multimedia; social media is monitored for audience involvement and also used as a tool to publish liveblogging excerpts. Once the event is over Neil and his team reshape the live blog into an as-it-happened story, something you can expect from the Cision Blog tomorrow. For an overview of Neil’s tips you can watch his liveblogging rendition of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues video.
Seb Ramsey, the hub news editor at the Manchester Evening News, looked at liveblogging as a continuous process. For this his team adopts a broadcast style that’s more informal and entertaining, covering everything from major news to weather and traffic. Seb said that as the feed is updated throughout the day it is important for a mix of light and heavy stories to keep the audience engaged. Another way to avoid putting off an audience is knowing the difference between when to tweet and when to blog, Seb pointing out that their previous tactic of tweeting everything on the blog was counterproductive as it flooded their followers’ Twitter feeds.
Digital stories are the reality of modern journalism and online considerations are becoming an important part of the news planning process. news:rewired offered a mixture of direction, in the form of tips and pointers, and inspiration. Meeting likeminded delegates who wish to better their digital understanding and being exposed to clever technologies from start-ups leaves one feeling ready to take on the whole internet. Digital isn’t killing journalism, it’s making it something so much more and how we approach the medium will define the future of the industry.
Last week I had the pleasure to be part of Cision’s Social Journalism 2012 Webinar. Following the presentation we received a number of questions and comments about the UK Social Journalism Study 2012. Below I have discussed two, if you disagree or have anything to add feel free to let us know at the bottom.
How do you build up an audience on Twitter and Facebook, without adverts?
In a real-world analogy: Facebook and Twitter are like huge empty rooms where lots of people gather to chat, listen or, as is mostly the case, be ignored. Adverts are like posters on the walls of this room and will mostly go unnoticed. To build an audience you need to be interesting: posting original content and intelligent comments on other people’s posts. Engage people with links, pictures, and by inviting feedback.
Using hashtags on Twitter is a particularly powerful method of interacting and joining conversations that may be relevant to you and engage people you want to meet. Also if you retweet a journalist’s posts you are supporting their work while subtly massaging their ego. It’s important not to go too far and be annoying though; you want to be the person in the room everyone wants to chat to, not the one who is avoided.
Whether the material ends up online or in a paper, it is the same purpose, just a different channel that may need a different approach.
I think the purpose of online and print journalism is slightly different. Due to an online audience’s immediate, ‘on demand’ attitude towards digital media, a writer cannot help but to acknowledge this in their style and level of content. Printed journalism should be more considered, carefully sourced and reputable (whether it is or not is up for debate).
Online journalism is fluid and published quickly with details, corrections or further information often coming at a later date. Online content is driven by a need to be first and at the top of Google search rankings, which is achieved through SEO and headlines often described as ‘link bait’. Because advertising revenues are much smaller online, the need to attract a large volume of people is more pressing; this economic pressure has unfortunately put most modern media outlets in their current position.
Simon Rogers is the editor of the Guardian’s Datablog and Datastore and the recent recipient of the Royal Statistical Society award for journalistic excellence in its online category. The Datastore aims to present raw data in an understandable format and covers topics as diverse as politics, economics, education and Doctor Who.
Simon joined the Guardian in 1998 as Guardian Unlimited’s news editor. He has since worked as news editor and news editor working with graphics which eventually led to his current role.
When he started the Datastore, Simon thought his audience would be niche – developers and hackers – but it tends to be very mainstream, people who are interested in a specific subject and want to see the story behind it. He said, ‘People don’t trust journalists or what they say. This allows people to see behind the story which gives it resonance and impact if people can see it as true.
‘We encourage people to use our data and share it, something not many other people do. We make it all downloadable so anybody can have it and that’s a big part of the Datastore and Datablog. Because anybody can do this stuff we want to encourage as many people as possible so we can show their stuff on the site too; people have an engagement with that and an engagement with the site because of it.’
Data journalism is a ‘pure’ form of journalism, defined by Simon as: ‘Very traditional reporting – reporting is where you’re finding facts and that is what we’re doing day to day. There is no kind of varnishing: it’s what happened.’
While Simon feels there is little ‘room for commenting’ in his reportage, he said helping people understand what a story’s about is what is important, so analysis is used to guide readers round the data and numbers.
A big part of the Datastore’s mission is making data available though the ease with which this is achieved varies wildly; Simon explained: ‘Some of it is easy, some of it is a pain in the bum. Even with government data we have all sorts of problems getting information: it’s a constant bugbear for us and takes a lot of FOI requests and a lot of nagging, which actually works quite well.’
The Datastore is, of course, not the only source for data journalism and Simon considers everyone to be ‘kind of doing data journalism now’. Beyond traditional competitors like the Telegraph, Simon identifies independent groups such as ProPublica in America who are, ‘[A] little group who really punch above their weight by doing really brilliant investigations and smart apps’.
Simon talks about competition as an exciting part of his job and added: ‘It’s a collegiate area, people link to each other and discuss things with each other in ways they wouldn’t in other forms of journalism’.
Digital media is vital for the work of the Datastore. Free online tools can be used to report instantly in ways that tools for print cannot. Digital lends itself to Simon’s content with people’s use of Twitter becoming an important part of the Datastore.
The Online Education Database has created a truly comprehensive list of 100 Indispensable Twitter Tips for Journalism Students.
Twitter has an increasingly prominent place in a journalist’s role; Cision’s own UK Social Journalism Study 2012 revealed that about a third of journalists couldn’t do their job without social media and 80% are on Twitter.
Here are seven tips that every journalist should know. For the other 93 check out the complete list.
Remember that journalism ethics apply on Twitter, too.
Because Twitter is a social media tool, many have a tendency to treat it differently than other forms of media. In reality, the same rules that apply for any other form of traditional media should apply on Twitter as well, so don’t tweet things without verification or make assumptions.
Separate your personal and professional identities.
When setting up a Twitter account, it’s usually a good idea to set up two accounts: one to use personally and one to use professionally. That way, you can enjoy joking around with your friends without worrying that it will harm your professional reputation.
Use proper grammar and spelling.
It should go without saying that proper grammar and spelling are important, but in the casual world of social media sometimes it can be easy to forget.
Keep tweets short so they’re sharable.
If possible, try to keep your tweets under 140 characters so that there’s room for others to share and comment.
Don’t just tweet links to your own work.
While your Twitter account can be a great way to direct readers to your own work, it shouldn’t be the only thing you use it for. Instead, balance out links to your projects with links that you find interesting, savvy commentary, or conversations with colleagues and friends.
Choose quality over quantity.
When it comes to following people on Twitter, quality always trumps quantity. Choose feeds that will actually be beneficial to you to follow, so you don’t waste your time reading or managing tweets that aren’t of value.
Remember, tweets are forever public.
Remind yourself of that before you tweet something. Is it something you’d like on public record? If not, don’t tweet it.
Deco (pronounced dee-co with the emphasis on eco) is a new online publication that focuses on eco-friendly interior design.
Editor Abby Trow launched the title when she saw a gap in the market: ‘Last year I was thinking why isn’t there a publication on nice design where the manufacturers and designers were trying to be greener’.
Abby initially trained as a news journalist at the Chatham News and Kent Evening Post. She then went to the BBC and worked on BBC network radio news as a journalist. Through a friend she got into design journalism and became launch editor of trade interior design title IDFX, which sadly closed earlier this year.
Abby has been a freelance editor for some years and as well as Deco, she edits a contract interiors magazine, Spanish. She noticed that the Spanish are quite eco in the materials they use and in cutting CO2 emissions. This, coupled with her own interest in environmental issues, led to the beginnings of Deco magazine.
The publication is not about being ‘rabidly eco’ but rather the emphasis is on being ‘greener’. Abby says: ‘Explanations in layman’s terms about the materials and sustainability of things that go into our homes would help people like me make more environmentally-friendly decisions. It’s about having the right information.’
The idea wasn’t always to launch an online title: ‘Initially I wanted to do a print magazine but the financial and environmental cost of printing and distributing a magazine is enormous. I thought I didn’t like reading things online but then realised I do: I read the Guardian online. And as an eco publication it couldn’t really be anything other than digital.’
Abby was advised to start small and build a readership. In its first month the magazine had 9,500 hits, which with no budget for an official launch or advertising is fairly impressive. In the future Abby plans to launch a Deco app, email marketing, awards, e-commerce and even possibly a yearbook, but for now she’s relying on SEO and word-of-mouth.
There are other benefits to having an online publication and Abby sees Deco magazine’s archive becoming a resource for consumers and professionals alike. The ease of communicating ideas and publishing content is far greater than with print and it allows editors like Abby to launch their own publications.
There are a few downsides to digital according to Abby. She prefers a book to her Kindle and finds printed graphic design more impactful than the online equivalent, but the negatives are outweighed by the positives. As for other online efforts, Abby finds they can be limited: ‘A lot of online magazines are bitty, I think it feeds the idea that people can only concentrate on a few lines at a time – which may be the case of course!’
She’s not been overly enamoured of design blogs either: ‘I don’t like to be too critical, but they can feel like they’re half amateur journalism, half ego. I am researching possible people to contribute to Deco mag and if people would like to contact me, they’re more than welcome to.’
PRs, on the other hand, are often unfairly criticised according to Abby, who values their input: ‘I appreciate PRs; they do a lot of the legwork and a good job. I need them, they tell me about things and people I didn’t know about. I have a lot of relationships I’ve built up over the years and a lot of their clients are doing more eco things.’
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