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Showing posts from 2007

Next meeting

Early notice that the next Digital Editors’ Network event will be on January 29th at UCLan in Preston.
We hope to cover two topics in reasonable depth: law and online publishing and search engine optimisation.
There will also be a short session to exchange ideas and share problems.

We expect to meet at 1pm again and finish in time for the Journalism Leaders forum which takes place the same day and will be focusing on sporting journalism.

Speakers and further details to follow.

If you are thinking of coming along please ping me an email.

A great success

Just to report that our meeting on Oct 16th was a great success – both in terms of the turn-out and the content.
In attendance were (in no particular order and sorry if I got a job title wrong or missed somebody out):
Sarah Hartley, Manchester Evening News
Jon Barron, Yorkshire Weekly newspapers
Oliver Luft,
Chris Leggett, electronic editor MNA
Ian Harvey, assistant electronic editor MNA
Arup Biswas, Group Editorial Content manager, Johnston Press
David Higgerson, diigial editor, Daily Post
Rob Artisan, PR
Steve Bennedick, head of SKY news online
Nick Turner, CN Group
Craig McGinty, freelance journalist and blogger
Lee Swettenham, Guardian Media Weekly Newsapapers
Shelina Begum,
Mike Hill, Lancashire Evening Post
Andy Dickinson, UCLan video journalism

Andy Dickinson led a discussion about video journalism that was packed full of useful tips and useful info
Craig McGinty then pointed the way for newspapers wishing to connect to the blogosphere
Finally I kicked off …

Join us on the 16th

THE next meeting of the Digital Editors' Network, at UCLan in Preston, will be focusing on what works in online publishing, getting the best out of video and how blogs and the established media can work together.
The Digital Editors’ Network is an initiative to enable sharing of best practice between journalists running media websites.
The three discussions will form part of the 7th Journalism Leaders Forum, on October 16, featuring the regional editorial director of Trinity Mirror Neil Benson, who is amongst the panelists considering the global impact of the local news business.
The schedule for the get together is:
1pm: Meet for spot of lunch
1.30pm: Video journalism - Q&ADiscussion led by Andy Dickinson, lecturer in digital journalism at UCLan, giving pointers on developing web content and topics such as using Youtube
2.45pm: How journalists can connect with the blogosphereDiscussion led by Craig McGinty covering topics such as setting up community blogs, staff blogs, enhancing b…

Next meeting


An early heads up about an event for the Digital Editors Network next month.
Neil Benson, regional editorial director of Trinity Mirror, will be among the panelists considering the global impact of the local news business at the 7th Journalism Leaders Forum organised by the University of Central Lancashire’s Journalism department.
I am sure the hyper-local project at the Gazette will feature in the discussion.
The open event on Tuesday October 16th, which is the first of three planned for 2007-8, starts at 5:15pm with a networking reception in the foyer of the Greenbank Building. The 90-minute Forum begins at 6pm.
We are also organising discussion sessions for earlier in the day for network members on hyper-local online journalism, how journalists can use blogs and video journalism.
These sessions will be a chance to exchange ideas and raise problems with colleagues and university staff.
Details are being finalised and I will send out further information next week.
Please let me know if yo…

What works for you?

One of the most basic issues that anyone involved in a media website faces is what on earth they can do to drive up traffic.
Obviously a bloody good story or perhaps more precisely a story involving either a UFO sighting or a man marrying a goat will create a nice spike in the unique users stats, but what can we do to keep the numbers climbing from one month to the next?
One of the pleasures of editing websites is that you can uses stats to pinpoint what’s working on your site and what’s proving to be a bit of a flop. You can have an idea one day and then the next week can see that it added 20,000 to your page impressions.
So what works for you? Are there ideas we can share that have proved to be winners? I’ll get the ball rolling…
Amid the scramble to get video on to websites it’s worth remembering the power of the humble photograph. We have always found that photo galleries have been the surest way to increase traffic. A few hundred pictures from a local fun run or a gallery of pictures…

Let's get going

After Tuesday’s meeting at UCLAN’s journalism department I think we can now say that the Digital Editors’ Network is now up and running.
For the record the meeting was attended by: Nick Turner (CN Group); Francois Nel (UCLAN); Mike Hill (LEP, Johnston Press); Andy Dickinson (UCLAN); Craig McGinty (freelancer); Robin Hamman (BBC); Martin Stabe (Press Gazette); Jane Singer (UCLAN); John Baron (Wakefield Express); David Rowell (Johnston Press).
Apologies and expression of support were received from numerous other digital editors from papers such as the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, Yorkshire Evening Post, Wolverhampton Express & Star and Bolton Evening News.
There seems to be broad agreement that there is a need or “gap in the market” for a network that helps digital editors and journalists exchange information and views.
During the meeting we discussed a number of issues such as the level we are pitching DEN ie is it for strategic managers or journalists?
We also talked about …

Venue change for inaugural 'DEN' roundtable on May 15th

The interest in the Digital Editors Network is growing . Coming to the first meeting on tomorrow will be both freelance editors and folks representing the following companies:

- Cumbrian Newspapers
- Guardian Media Group
- Johnston Press
- Newsquest
- Trinity Mirror
- Wilmington Media

(If I've left someone out, please post a response and let us know)

As a result, we've moved the first roundtable discussion to Room 228B (from 123A) on the second floor of Greenbank Building, home to the Lancashire Business School and the Department of Journalism. Coffee will be available from 2:30pm.

From 4-5pm DEN members (not quite sure of the acronym, perhaps we should go for 'DigEd'?) can join a special Journalism Leaders Programme session on blogging. Robin Hamman, co-ordinator of the BBC's Blogging Network, will give a presentation on the much-discussed BBC Manchester Blog, which he describes as "a project to engage with user generated content without owning the platform, moderatin…

Do you link?

Jeff Jarvis has some interesting things to say about the role of journalism in his latest Guardian Column (re-published on his blog).

His summary

News organisations can no longer afford to own, employ, and control - to vet, verify, and sanitise - everything that happens. The only way they can expand is to work cooperatively with witness-reporters, community members, experts, people who publish on their own, finding and sending readers to the best and most reliable among them. How? Via the link.
I feel a slight contradiction here. Without the role of providing the content we take on the role of providing access to the content that is out there. What makes us different from a search engine is that we apply some editorial guidelines to the process - we vet, verify and sanitise. That's supposed to be our USP in a digital age. How is that different from " finding and sending readers to the best and most reliable"

Regardless of the language used it seems that filter rather than g…

Internal convergance

Having trouble persuading your peers of the value of this digital stuff? You aren’t the only one.

Trade journalist Paul Conley has come across some pretty entrenched views:

Consider the editor who told me he wouldn't think about providing headlines for mobile devices because "no reasonable person needs more than a PC to stay connected."

Or consider the reporter, told by his boss to include links in his copy, who insists that his publication "has to hire a specialist to do hyperlinks for me."

Or consider the managing editor who told me she'd fight any attempt by her staff to launch new online products because she liked her job and her schedule "just the way it is."
Sound familiar?

The temptation may be to leave the hard-headed behind and go for the fresh young team. There are plenty out there. New journalist Meranda Watling is one.

Thing is, the industry is being flooded with “kids” like me. Bright-eyed and ready for anything, willing to take everything…

Digital Editors' Network to link up before next Forum

It seems appropriate that a Forum about entrepreneurship should be used a launch pad for the new Digital Editors' Network
. For those who are keen to join Nick Turner for a roundtable about this new network, we've booked Room 123A in Greenbank Building, the home to the Lancashire Business School of which we (the Department of Journalism ) is a part. The suggestion is that folks meet up at around 3pm to plot a way forward. From 4-5pm DEN members can join a special Journalism Leaders Programme session on blogging. Robin Hamman, co-ordinator of the BBC's Blogging Network, and Richard Fair, a Senior Broadcast Journalist from BBC Radio Manchester, will give a presentation on the much-discussed BBC Manchester Blog, which they describe as "a project to engage with user generated content without owning the platform, moderating, or incurring any of the usual costs and risks associated with hosting audience communities." Spaces for this session are limited, so please…

I am hoping to use the next Journalism Leaders seminar on May 15th as an opportunity to kick-start the idea of a Digital Editors’ Network.

Just to recap the aims of the Digital Editors’ Network are:
To provide an online community for journalists involved in running media websites
Facilitate discussion between digital editors and encourage sharing of best practice/tips, etc
Allow digital editors to access the expertise at the University of Central Lancashire’s journalism department

I hope we could have an opportunity for an informal discussion about how best to take forward this idea on May 15th at UCLAN.

At 6pm The Journalism Leaders Forum discussion will include Nick Jaspen (North West Enquirer and now How To website), Eamonn Carey of the mobile media start-up, Random Thoughts Media, and Robin Hamman. More details at

It’s an open invite and I would be grateful if anyone interested in a discussion about the Digital Editors’ Network beforehand wo…

Let's work together

What is the point of the Digital Editors’ Network?
After all, we already have the new media landscape being discussed online at Media Guardian, Press Gazette,, holdthefrontpage, the Sociey of Editors, the Online Journalism Review and a wide variety of media industry and academic blogs.
The usp has to be in the last word - Network – and the ability to connect people charged with delivering the digital revolution on a day to day basis.
It might be a utopian idea born from the less competitive media environment here in Cumbria, but the aim is to develop a way for media websites managers to discuss the nuts and bolts issues with people in similar jobs.
So we might be able to share tips or ask each other questions about how certain website features work or indeed whether they work.
Already we have been able to pass on work done with the Newspaper Society on ways of developing reactive moderation for forums and blogs.
You’ll find other websites that regurgitate press releases or…

Good news for media websites

News and media websites have seen a surge in their online audiences in the last year.
That was the positive message to come out of a briefing at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston to which supporters of this digital editor’s network had been invited.
Heather Hopkins, vice-president of Hitwise UK, revealed the findings of her research into the UK online media sector and fascinating stuff it was too.
Hitwise, which monitors the proportion of visits made to sites rather than unique users, found that during 2006 news and media sites had seen a 28 per cent growth in their share of UK internet visits.
Heather, who describes herself as a “data geek” was able to provide a detailed insight into how the online media market works thanks to the way Hitwise is able to track online traffic flows, search terms and visits through its partnerships with internet service providers.
Here are some of the things that I picked out of her talk:
Surprise, surprise the BBC dominates the online media mar…


Welcome to the Digital Ediors' Network blog which has been created as an online resource and discussion area for media website editors.It has been created as part of a project supported by the the Department of Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). On this Digital Editors’ Network blog, journalists who create and manage media websites will discuss issues a range of current issues, from the best ways to increase traffic to the pitfalls of running forums and messageboards. The Network will not aim to deal in the latest product announcements and press releases. Instead, it will get to grips with issues important to the increasing number of journalists who ply their trade online, whether it’s measuring website traffic or making the most of video content online. It will also allow journalists direct access to the expertise in online journalism on offer at UCLan’s Department of Journalism. The network will operate on three levels: Members can exchange information a…