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  • Why Blog? « Breaking News
    Bill on February 6th 2007 For the poverty beat blogging is a no brainer Actually it should be a no brainer for just about every beat we have Blogs offer readers a direct and public connection to me my reporting and importantly each other It s basic community journalism only we re helping the community find see and identify itself Because the No Excuse readers are those with a deep interest in poverty issues in many ways they all know the field better than I So the blog will become a place for me to test ideas stories and features on a knowledgeable readership before committing them to print Here s a quick briefing note to explain my vision of No Excuse The Poverty Project Blog These points apply by and large to any beat blog What I ll Do File at least daily weekdays to the blog Allow moderated comments on blog postings Post short items about local events people organizations dealing with poverty issues items that might be too incremental or institutional for the print edition but would appeal to the deep niche interests of people active in wrestling with poverty Use the blog to link to interesting poverty stories elsewhere on the web Post links to actual documents research etc both used in my stories or simply of interest to readers Post audio and video as appropriate including complete interviews that may only be excerpted in print or web stories Use the blog to promote NewsNow and vice versa and use both to promote Use to blog to test ideas stories and features prior to print Use the blog to solicit contacts and story ideas invite guest bloggers from the community to contribute for a week at a time Listen to my readers What the Blog Will

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=92 (2014-10-09)
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  • Another brick in the wall – but maybe a doorway too « Breaking News
    that s no never mind enough of the market targeted by this metering will simply accept the cost and that makes it worth implementing In the short run The logic and it s borne out by research Brill is a smart guy is that since there is an admittedly small segment of our market 2 per cent 7 per cent willing to pay for the convenience and speed of digital delivery of basically our print product we should not leave that money sitting on the table Those willing to pay include real fans who see the cost as a donation to our journalism heavy users who simply see real value in the product and will pay to continue their digital access to it and institutional users who can afford the sub 100 annual bill Visitors to our site will get a warning and a sales pitch when they hit something like 35 articles in a single month and will get booted back to a non clickable version of the home page after their 50th monthly visit There is no doubt it will reduce our visitor page view counts But since we can t currently monetize all of our traffic in our case our audience is about twice as large as our advertisers want to pay for we can take the circulation hit without any real advertising loss In fact the Press folks say advertising revenue should rise in part because the audience is now more valuable ain t scarcity wonderful So why do I hate these systems and the folks who buy into them when I have nothing but admiration of the incredibly hard work I see our circulation department doing as they fight to maintain our critical print subscriber base Is it because the system will annoy and anger the some of the most loyal engaged and valuable part of our digital community Yes But it s more than that I hate it because as I said at the top it s trying to manufacture value by creating scarcity when we should be finding ways to manufacture more valuable information It s because at it s heart these metered pay walls are designed by people who regard the net as simply a different delivery platform as if overnight an immense system of pneumatic tubes had sprung into being and we d be fools not to use them to deliver the paper This is very much a backwards facing strategy and that doesn t sound like such a good idea in a time of systemic disruption But there is one small ray of light one opportunity I see The Press system is highly granular it can sing and dance and cook toast perfectly You can be very very selective about what s free and what s metered What if you simply set it to charge for ANY access to your archives period But here s the kicker your archives include everything printed in your paper once the paper s out

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=338&cpage=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • Are we doing too much online? « Breaking News
    direct links to news honest to godfrey fresh news I ll bet your nav links outnumber or very nearly outnumber your news links If you re a daily paper I guarantee they will If you re a community news site they ll be a little more balanced But still having 2 to three times more navigation than story links on your home page is like using 60 to 70 per cent of your front page for an index to your section fronts not individual stories Insane yes So why are you doing it It does not serve our readers well or at all This visual chaos this cacophony of context is a the bastard child of our newsprint legacy and our desperate advertising departments It is a fatally flawed attempt to digitally duplicate the authoritative bundling of news information and advertising that we ve done in print for so very many decades We are still trying to duplicate the newspaper online to bundle up all that news and information and display advertising into one big happy daily package that we imagine readers will sit and consume We re still doing this despite more than a decade of clear and contrary evidence about the behaviour of our readers and the needs of our advertisers Readers graze they don t grow roots Readers don t come to our sites and settle in to browse the news They may spend 15 45 minutes a day with our print product the reality is that s about how much time they spend in a month on our websites Putting aside the tiny band of lonely lurkers who live on our sites and comment sections most digital news readers are gazers and grazers they stop by spot something that catches their eye read it and move on returning if we re lucky several times over the course of the day Looking for something new looking for something they need to know Check your stats you do check your stats don t you and you ll find I ll wager that at least 80 per cent of your traffic is being generated by 20 per cent of your content And that 20 per cent is going to be the news cycling through the one part of your home page that displays fresh news Your readers aren t clicking through to the links to the section fronts and sub sub sub section pages It s too much work for too little and indeed very rare reward They want news as soon as it happens They want stories that they can talk about online and in person with their friends They want stories they need to know about so they don t look stupid at work or in the coffee shop or at the schoolyard waiting to pick up their kids This is usually less than 20 per cent of the content we typically fill our papers with Digital news needs are different Readers can and will get their

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=333&cpage=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • Shut up so I can listen to you « Breaking News
    I ve worked every day since I turned 17 Pooh head SaltyBoy327 No you re a pooh head IlikeTurtles Go take a shower and so on I made that exchange up but if you ve ever dipped your toes into the caustic solution that is most newspaper website s commenting sections you ll recognize it as a completely authentic exchange Why Why does commenting work in some places our beat blogs sites built around comments like Metafilter and Slashdot and fail so miserably in the general news section This question and the debate over potential solutions to the problems it underlines has raged for serveral years with solutions falling into a few broad categories Identity Force commenters to either use real identities or identities that persist i e can gain reputations and the quality of commenting will improve dramatically The Batavian Slashdot Investment Charge people to belong to the community that can contribute even a small amount will deter the trolls Village Soup Chronicle Sun Metafilter Crowdsource Allow the community to police commenting themselves burying the bad and surfacing the good Digg com Reddit com Moderate Heavily Pay for staff our outsource the work to vet each comment to meet some standard thestar com cbc com I wish I had the answer and could tell you which will work well but I don t If you have no budget for technological change I d recommend a simple solution turn on commenting selectively for key articles that will likely draw discussion and then require the reporter to moderate each and every comment as well as engage with the readers in the comment section That would be a win win higher quality comments and a free education in the new world of journalism for your reporter Still I can t help feeling that the reason we re having so much difficulty solving this problem is that we re still seeing it through our old media lens that we re framing the question the problem incorrectly and that s why it s proving so incorrigible I don t know what the right question is but I ll bet it lies not in the comments but in our definition of a story that dead delivered bit of information sent from us to them Thoughts Worth Reading Mozilla Knight Beyond Commenting Challenge Philip Smith Comments are Dead Long Live Comments Slashdot s discussion on commenting Howard Owens on using real names Cross posted from my Shift Lock column in Newspapers Canada s The Publisher Photo by Bixentro used under a Creative Commons attribution licence June 18th 2011 Category News 4 comments Comments are closed 4 comments to Shut up so I can listen to you Mark Alan Whittle June 19 2011 at 7 37 am You re right the Spectator comment section is like the wild west I alway post under my own real identity ot through Facebook Thanks for a good read Lisa June 21 2011 at 8 14 pm I think that comments

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=319&cpage=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • Now that the seas seem calm – launch the lifeboats « Breaking News
    year by giving the old media a kick in the teeth In their annual survey of which news sources Americans turn to Pew reported that the internet finally overtook television as the primary news source among 18 29 year olds and appears poised to surpass TV in all age categories within 3 years or so For newspapers this is old news We ceded the crown to TV 30 years ago and then the internet lapped us among 18 29 year olds back in 2002 and among all age groups by 2007 But there was one number in the report that gave me real pause and I think puts the lie to the hopes that we ve reached some kind of floor or bottom Among 50 64 year olds after television the internet was nearly equal to newspapers as a primary news source That sound you hear ladies and gentlemen is the floor joists splintering beneath us For 20 years we ve consoled ourselves with the vain hope that young people would pick up the newspaper habit once they married bought a house and settled down It didn t happen So for the past five years or so we ve thrown our arms around the legs of the the long lived baby boomers that immense demographic bulge of 50 65 year olds You ll never leave us we ve sobbed They re leaving us My colleagues at Newspapers Canada beg to differ and suggest that we should not confuse the two markets that the Canadian news business is very different I d agree that our businesses are different we re healthier have more stable corporate structures less exposure to classified losses and have suffered nowhere near the catastrophic declines in advertising revenues that American papers have seen in the past 2 years But so what I d argue our readers our audiences are more similar than not That if anything past experience demonstrates that we adopt digital services more swiftly and painlessly than our southern neighbours I could not find truly comparable data for Canada the closest is 2008 data from the Online Canadian and News study which didn t ask about primary news sources per se but did ask about the source for specific new stories and found overall no real difference between the internet and newspapers 16 per cent cited the internet and 17 per cent cited newspapers Their age breakdown was too different to be useful So humour me imagine for a minute that I m right that our core readership is finally inexorably slipping away dropping our papers in the blue bin and propping their iPads against the milk jugs on the breakfast table What can we do In a word research And innovate Okay that s two words But I m betting neither can be found as line items on your budget or in the budgets of any Canadian newsroom Oh some are doing it at the chain level but do you have a SINGLE person

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=299&cpage=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • Witness: a news column for this century « Breaking News
    for future columns while soliciting the same from our audience The blog is the notebook for the column and the paper Although the columns will clearly and necessarily feature a strong and passionate voice they are not to be a mere sounding board or soap box for my opinions Witness will be about our city her people and their stories Not mine Once a week however I will produce a very short 60 120 sec self produced video column which will offer a less restrained look at the week s events by way of commentary exposition satire or hell I don t know stick figure animation The vast majority of news video is either pretty pictures self important or just plain boring Video as a medium can do so much more and iWitness Video will do just that Below is a confection I put together yesterday simply to demonstrate that I have at least a basic understanding of the grammar of video and sound and editing Witness will stop talking about itself in the disembodied third person right now This is an updated version of the draft pitch I posted last week I d to thank all the people who emailed me offered comments on this blog messaged me on Twitter and talked to me in person the feedback and encouragement was fabulous A special thanks to Steve Buttry director of community engagement at the Washington DC internet news start up TBD who took the time to respond to my draft pitch with a thoughtful full blown blog entry January 31st 2011 Category News 4 comments Comments are closed 4 comments to Witness a news column for this century Bill Doskoch January 31 2011 at 1 16 pm Hi Bill I made the following observation to Steve Buttry on Jan 27 via Twitter stevebuttry A columnist is the guy at the bar who starts the conversation Alt ly she s the person who actually knows something That s what I m looking for in a columnist along with the ability to tell a ripping good story But in this day and age I also value someone who talks with me as well as to me You noted the importance of this in your first pitch as did some commenters However I think it s important to make it clear to one s audience that a columnist can t maintain a simultaneous one to one relationship with dozens hundreds or thousands of people Over promising and under delivering is a big problem in social journalism In the rush to embrace the new I m also troubled by sentiments such as this expressed by yourself in your Jan 26 post One of the things I learned when I stepped out of the newsroom is that reporters despite how smart we all think we are are almost by definition the dumbest most ignorant person involved in any story that s why we have to ask so many questions To my mind exaggerated modesty

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=295&cpage=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • What should a news column look like in the age of Twitter? « Breaking News
    times a week I ll come into the office only long enough to check in pick up some new batteries my laptop and camera and then head out again I ll be out of the office before 9am and stay out until I ve found my story Because there are no shortage of stories just of people willing to find them Our city is incredibly diverse a post industrial university town desperately struggling to reinvent itself and overcome a crushing poverty rate and a crumbling core Yet it also houses a vital if threatened agricultural sector an energetic and entrepreneurial artistic community and world class medical research facilities Witness will cover that whole city range across it daily looking for stories not just the comfortable ones or the ones fed to us by self serving sources The landmark Northwestern study of newspaper readership found something like 9 key reasons people bought and read newspapers regularly People real people and their stories was one of top reasons for reading Another was getting the feeling that the paper the writer was on my side Witness will also bear witness reflecting the heart of the community and telling stories for those whose voices have been silenced Trust is something to be earned not assumed Witness will also practice transparency and openness and I ll publish to the web my written notes and unedited recorded interviews I ll provide links to every bit of research I do News is a conversation which means shutting up sometimes and letting the other guy talk And listening I ll listen Witness will publish to the web at 5 pm on the day before it appears in print And every night we ll cull the smartest truest comments on the column from the web and publish them in the paper the next day right beside the column News is a conversation The community conversations story telling takes place on many different platforms Witness will also maintain and use Twitter and Facebook and photo and video sharing sites to ensure we are always open to and taking part in conversations with our commuhnity Witness will solicit reader community ideas stories photos and will use them all Witness will publish to the web publish to print publish full versions via RSS and will also podcast each column for the commuter the visually impaired the auditory learner Although the columns will clearly and necessarily feature a strong and passionate voice they are not to be a mere sounding board or soap box for my opinions Witness will be about our city her people and their stories Not mine Once a week however I will produce a very short 60 120 sec self produced video column which will offer a less restrained look at the week s events by way of commentary exposition satire or hell I don t know stick figure animation The vast majority of news video is either pretty pictures self important or just plain boring Video as a

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=280&cpage=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • Breaking News
    to serve your community would you really have chosen something so cluttered confused ugly and stuffed with yesterday s news I doubt it But despite more than a decade of trying most of us are locked into our old print habits like owning our content or believing we re the experts that people want to listen to us rather than talk with us and each other These habits are killing us While newspapers were early explorers on the web we frittered away our lead in a foolish attempt to reproduce not just our newspapers but our old business model We wasted more than a decade trying to get people to pay for content in a world where the digital explosion meant that the value of raw information was rapidly approaching zero and the supply of advertising was expanding so rapidly its cost was dropping just as fast All those years spent arguing whether we should charge for our newspaper content were wasted because we were asking the wrong question Click to continue reading March 29th 2009 Category Journalism News Comments are closed Is Live TV Where You Should Be By Bill on December 1st 2008 Hint there s only one correct answer and it s got more than 2 letters Cross posted from Shift Lock my column in The Publisher This past fall thousands of football fans in a dozen U S cities sat down to take part in new twist on a familiar ritual Friday Night Lights the much hyped high school gridiron battles popularized by the 2004 movie and the more recent TV series of the same name What s that got to do with newspapers A lot These fans weren t watching fictional football they were watching the the real thing with real kids their kids playing their hearts out down at the local high school field Moreover these fans weren t watching the games on local TV they were watching it on their computers via a live video stream over the internet those games were being webcast by their local newspaper And you ll be happy to know those newspapers were making money on at least some of those webcasts right out of the box Welcome to your newspaper s future live TV coverage of local news and events Whoa I can hear some of you saying Not so fast We can t afford to compete head to head with local television We don t have the skills the equipment the staff the time etc etc etc Wrong Click to continue reading December 1st 2008 Category News Tech Comments are closed Three tools to encourage citizen journalism By Bill on November 3rd 2008 I took a day away from building our massive bloody code spewing chain spanning content management system to get back to teaching last week and spent some time with the Metroland Editors at their annual off site in Markahm just outside of Toronto I sat in on several sessions and taught one Citizen

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?paged=3 (2014-10-09)
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