Ten ideas from News:Rewired that got me thinking

The News:Rewired conference on July 13th in London pulled together a large number of journalists to talk about current issues in journalism, particularly data, mobile and social. Enough ideas to make your head spin. Here are ten I'm still thinking about.

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  1. 1, New formats are getting really, really sticky
    Stand-out stat of the day came from Hannah Waldram of the Guardian. Contributors to the Guardian's celeberated crowd-sourcing projects visit thirty times as many pages as the average visitor. More details on her conference post.  
  2. I was also struck by a comment from Ben Shneider of Coveritlive, who said the average duration of a visit to a Coveritlive blog is 36 minutes -- longer than the average sessions on Facebook outside Singapore according to this Experian Hitwise study from last year.  
  3. 2. You need a 'disruption layer' in your organisation
    Keynote speaker Cory Haik of the Washington Post outlined WaPo's recent innovations but was most interesting on the skill-set she looks for in new staff. She is looking for people to become 'the disruption layer' of the organisation. 
  4. 3. Strategy is dead
    I liked the no-nonsense approach of Martin Fewell, Deputy Editor Channel 4 News, who, citing Saatchi and Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts on the end of the 'Big Idea', said news organisations didn't need grand plans, they just needed to give journalists new tools and let them learn by trial and error.  
  5. Doesn't the logic of the Kevin Roberts argument deliver a Cory Haik-style disruptive layer at every level of the organisation? In which case what would be left to disrupt?   
  6. 4. The 'drop-in engagement clinic' 
    The Guardian is big on social media and something of a leader in crowd-sourced projects. But even they are facing challenges in getting journalists to engage with readers. One idea is to embed community managers within desks.

    But what caught my ear was Joanna Gearey's 'drop-in engagement clinics' aimed at helping journalists who know they ought to be getting more involved but don't know how to start.  
  7. 5. Journalists now need to create an audience for their content 
    Raju Narisetti, Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal's Digital network, said the role of a journalist now extends to ensuring there's an audience for their output. 
  8. Distribution and marketing used to be the responsibility of the business side. Now it's more complicated. The distinctions between content and commerce are getting increasingly blurred.. 
  9. 6. If you want community engagement then be flexible about 'content'
    Luke Lewis of NME.com presented a series of success stories in getting music fans to engage. The things that really work had initially taken staff by surprise. 
  10. The NME doesn't share much of its long-form print content online. It uses highly conversational content on the web not only as a form of marketing but also as the source for editorial ideas.

    It looks like an extreme form of what we should all be doing.
  11. 7. Twitter as a network of specialists holding organisations to account 
    This one came from Faisal Islam, Channel 4 Economics Correspondent. He marvels at the depth of expertise on Twitter and how it is chipping away at the ability of organisations to mask their activities through complexity.
  12. 8. Crowd-sourcing can't do everything
    Ros Atkins of the BBC's World Have Your Say was interesting on the limits of crowd-sourcing. WHYS pre-dates social networking and has a long track record of giving over entire segments of the show to its listeners. But Ros was clear that you can't just crowd-source the whole thing.
  13. If he asks listeners what should be covered they have a tendency to choose subjects of no interest to the rest of the world. If he asks them about running orders there is little interest. Editorial judgement is still required.
  14. 9. There's sport in hoaxing journalists
    Paul Bradshaw, visiting prof of journalism at City University, detailed the increasingly sophisticated techniques being used by hoaxers to dupe  journalists. But he also ran through a range of tools with which journalists can uncover the pranksters. 
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