Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Online journalism with founder founder, Stephen Mayne, gave a talk on Online journalism and its impact on traditional media, 29 August 2007 at the National Library of Australia in Canberra. He discussed how online journalism is changing traditional media and politics and if user-generated Web 2.0 content is journalism. An audio recording is available from the NLA web site (30 Mbytes).

Michele Huston, Director Web Publishing at NLA introduced the talk pointing out that early editions of are preserved in the NLA's Pandora archive.

Stephen talked about journalism as a noble profession on one hand and in the power of political office on the other. After being a journalist for a time Stephen said his job as a political spin doctor was to intimidate the journalists and distort the news. In response to this he set up to get out as much information as possible. The Internet provides a deluge of information, raw, good and bad.

Stephen said that previously had Google AdSense advertisements which paid $1,000 a month and now sells its own web ads receiving $100,000 a month. advertises its issues on Google AdWords, spending $2,000 a month (their ads regularly appear on my web pages). Crikey now has 24 regular contributors, about 10 of whom are professionals journalists, with about half the content written by academic commentators and the like.

Stephen said Crikey provides a service in "join the dots" journalism, by pointing the reader to disparate sources to provide context and add value. Even so he argues that mainstream media in Australia is healthy and has a future. Radio is healthy. Free to Air TV is suffering and the quality of TV journalism is suffering. Newspapers are loosing advertising revenue to the web. Fairfax is diversifying to electronic and online media, with journalists filing online and then in print. The typical story is twice as long on the web version as the print edition of The Age. Online newpapers have more readers, but less revenue.

Stephen argues that the advertising model of quality investigative journalism is in decline and that in Australia the ABC's public funded model works well.

Stephen argues that Web 2.0 user generated content is not new. Letters to the editor and talkback radio are old forms of user generated journalism. Unfiltered anonymous online forums quickly generate into a mess. Bloggers don't break many major public stories. Due to compulsory voting, independent bloggers are unlikely to influence elections. The bloggers need a partnership with the conventional media to reach a mass market. Bloggs can also continue a public debate, in the place of declining public forums.

Stephen is skeptical of Google deciding what is good and what is not. He claimed that now pay for a higher ranking on Google. This is something Google are likely to deny, but I do wonder if my own web site's high Google ranking is due to my using so many Google services. He also said that many people do not understand that "sponsored links" are advertisements.

ABC came in for praise for their podcasts. Wikipedia came in for some criticism for the edit it yourself approach. Stephen said he was half contemplating running against the Treasurer at the next election.

I asked Stephen if the Internet had changed the political process, in the way that it is changing the way the administration of government is done (as illustrated by AGIMO's work wil web standards). He replied that the web was being used extensively for fundrasing in the USA and for recruiting people for campaigns. However, this answer missed the point of my question, which was about doing politics differently. What I had in mind was that the web could be used for formulating political positions, rather than just to help raise money to elect someone to go and sit in a room and talk about political positions.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Online journalism with, Canberra

National Library of Australia Digital Culture talk

The internet revolution has been the greatest structural shock to hit the mainstream media since the introduction of television. founder Stephen Mayne will assess how online journalism is fundamentally changing traditional media and whether any of the so-called 'user-generated content' of Web 2.0 should even be called journalism. Whilst some media companies are now embracing the internet as an opportunity and dominating the space, many are feeling seriously threatened. And with such an extraordinary fragmentation and proliferation of information in cyberspace, what is the role of libraries in recording journalism's traditional 'first draft of history approach' to the news as it unfolds?

Date: 29 August 2007
Time: 12.30 to 13.30
National Library of Australia Theatre
Entry: Free

The speaker, Stephen Mayne, will be introduced by Michele Huston, Director Web Publishing, National Library of Australia.

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia
Tel: +61 2 6262 1542

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Citizen Journalism Research Job

The Queensland University of Technology is advertising a research job with Citizen Journalism. This is to work with projects such as Online Opinion, (which I am on the editorial advisory board of).

Queensland is working hard at being a power in the new "Creative Industries", with their
Creative Industries Precinct hosting the 2007 China Media Centre Conference in July (where I am speaking on my work on the web design for the Beijing 2008 Olympics).
Research Associate in Digital Media and Citizen Journalism - Creative Industries Faculty, QUT

A Research Associate is required to work collaboratively with a team of researchers on an ARC Linkage Project on digital media and citizen journalism. The Research Associate will be part of a collaborative research project based in the Creative Industries Faculty.

This position is required to work collaboratively with a team of QUT and externally-based researchers in Brisbane and Sydney. Partners on this project include the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), National Forum (publishers of On Line Opinion) and The Brisbane Institute. The position is for two years, and the starting salary is $63 285 to $72 781 pa.

This position will involve working with an academic and industry team on the development of new forms of digital media that facilitate citizen journalism, and an investigation of their impact. It involves project management, management of stakeholder participation, development of research methodologies and performance metrics, and documentation of project outcomes.

The person will work with the project team, under the direction of the Chief Investigators, on managing relations with external stakeholders, developing appropriate methodologies and performance metrics for embedding and evaluating online participation in cross-platform media environments, with a focus upon news and current affairs and factual programming.

The successful applicant will have an understanding of social networking media, and a capacity to work collaborative across a range of user communities, as well as project participants in government, industry and media, and skills in the areas of applied social research, and project management.

The Research Associate will report to the Chief Investigator at QUT on the project for regular supervision, and will be required to liaise with the Management team. This will require an ability to commit to interstate travel, particularly for meetings with the Sydney and Brisbane-based project members.

The person should have an understanding of the broader context in which debates surrounding citizen journalism have gained increasing significance in the digital media environment. Information technology skills, particularly as they relate to the establishment and maintenance of collaborative media environments (e.g. blogs, wikis, social networking media) are desirable, but not essential.

Further information on the position can be found at

The closing date for applications is Friday 27 April, 2007. ...

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