Networked journalism, Al-Jazeera English and new media pedagogy Matt J. Duffy, PhD Presentation for AUSACE Conference, Kuwait, October 2010
What is Networked Journalism? “Networked journalism takes into account the collaborative nature of journalism now: professionals and amateurs working together to get the real story, linking to each other across brands and old boundaries to share facts, questions, answers, ideas, perspectives. It recognizes the complex relationships that will make news. And it focuses on the process more than the product.” Jeff Jarvis, 2006New Media Expert Author of “What Would Google Do?”
Examples of Networked Journalism • Blogs (add pictures of logos from “Little Green Footballs” and “Talking Point Memo”) • Micro-blogs (add logo of Twitter) • Social Media sites (add logo of Facebook) • User-generated video (add logo of YouTube and CNN’s iReport) • Ushahidi Maps (add a snapshot of the Haiti Ushahidi map) • Crowd-sourcing (add logo of ProPublica’s ShovelWatch”)
Three Reasons to Embrace Networked Journalism • Beckett (2010) argues that networked journalism creates value for journalism in three ways. • Foments editorial diversity, creating more substantial and varied news reports. • Produces connectivity and interactivity by distributing news in different ways. • Enhances relevance of news reports by relatingaudiences and subjects to create new editorial andethical relationship to the news. Charlie Beckett, Director, POLIS
Duffy’s Fourth Reason: Increasing Trust • Recent polls show that consumers trust the news less and less • Networked journalism embraces connecting the audience to the source of information • What NYU professor Jay Rosen calls “ethic of the link.” Therefore, • Networked journalism helps increase trust. Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism New York University
How does AL-Jazeera English use Networked Journalism? • The Niemen Journalism Lab noted in a report that Al-Jazeera English appeared to embrace “networked journalism” • Researcher conducted a qualitative review to analyze its practice • Conducted in late May by closely examining FB pages, Twitter feeds, and Web site.
Qualitative Review (1/4) • Facebook – Main page has 70,000 “fans” • Lots of posts, but little engagement • Audiences really just engaging with each other • Only useful in “networked journalism” sense if staff is monitoring the conversation • Facebook program pages – Riz Khan (interviewer) and Listening Post (media criticism show) • Far more engagement • Audience invited to submit questions for guests, etc. • Audience suggests ideas for reports Riz Khan, Reporter and Interviewer
Qualitative Review (2/4) • Twitter • Al-Jazeera has 28,000 followers • Follows only 28 users • Not really engaged, just using Twitter as way to disseminate the news • Compare to Atlanta Journal-Constitution • 13,000 followers • Follows 2,500 users • Often asks users for help covering a story • Probably gathers news tips from its follows
Qualitative Review (3/4) • Al-Jazeera’s website doesn’t allow comments on its news articles • Unlike NYTimes.com, WashingtonPost.com • Only solicits opinions from readers on one part of Web site • Separate “blog” section written by correspondents does allow for comments
Qualitative Review (4/4) • Ushahidi Map of “War on Gaza” • More than 400 reports from Dec 2008-Jan 2009 • While it looks impressive, most (if not all) of the reports of violence didn’t come from inside Gaza • Rather, observers entered in reports of violence that they read or heard about through the media
Conclusion • Some networked journalism • Asking for feedback from audience on FB and blogs • War on Gaza site • Areas for improvement • Allow comments on its news stories • Embed links on news stories to sources of information • Embrace user-generated video • Acknowledge that it’s reading comments for audience • Engage with Twitter, follow users • Ushahidi maps should focus on user-generated reports • The Al-Jazeera Labs department (developer of “War on Gaza” map) could be more focused on creating applications that encourage collaboration to cover the news.
How to Teach Networked Journalism • Explain the tenets of NJ • As an assignment, tell the students to work in groups and analyze a news outlet. • Tell them to check Web site, Twitter, FB and other outlets to find signs of networked journalism • Ask them: • How is the outlet doing networked journalism well? • Where is it missing the mark? • In what new way can this outlet practice networked journalism?
The End Matt J. Duffy, PhD Assistant Professor Zayed University Abu Dhabi Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Presentation is available at www.mattjduffy.com