Author Archives: James Glynn

RESULTS: Do YOU like or trust UGC when used in YOUR news..

Image: James Glynn

After two weeks of heavy polling. The results are in, we at GbU have analyzed them and here are our findings.

78% percent of you trust User Generated Content in our news, but only 27 % trust it without question, the other 51% trust it but only after they know it has been thoroughly checked. This chimes with what we have found when we have interviewed CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera in the last couple of months.

But although you trust it? Do you like UGC?

Only 30% of us like UGC in your news without question for the majority (44%) you need to know it is adding value and perspective. 8% like UGC for contacting news outlets and the remaining 18% don’t wish to see any UGC in your news.

So overall we like UGC but remain sceptical and need to know that it is trustworthy and adding value & perspective to reports. In an ever more connected world we can rely on UGC for immediate breaking news, but we want experienced journalist to sum up the day, if that requires using some UGC then we are fine with that but it must be combined with original professional content.

Do you TRUST user generated content in news?

Do you LIKE user generated content in news?

by JAMES GLYNN @jamesglynn

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Does BBC Newsnight DUMP guests if they get bad comments on Twitter?

Two weeks ago I saw this tweet.

This really interested me as a journalist who writes about UGC and the power it can have. Most people who consume news and media now follow and comment events on twitter, we have written about this in relation to the Xfactor on #Xfactor and BBC Question Time on #bbcqt. But the revelation that the Editor of Newsnight has a twitter feed in the gallery and uses real time feedback to cull tanking guests really impressed me. As avid reader of this blog you will know we still have something of a trust issue with UGC so we decided to put it to the test (after contacting Newsnight but getting no response).

Theory..

Newsnight ‘data’ set

We watched Newsnight and set up a twitterfall feed with the search #Newsnight, so far so scientific. We then timed how long each guest spoke for and how many positive or negative comments they or the debate that they were having got on Twitter. We then subtracted the negative comments from the positive comments and so each guest receives a single +/- figure. For example. Shaun Bailey received 3 negative comments and no positive ones so he gets a score of -3. We did this on two dates Tuesday 22nd March and Thursday 31st March as we thought it may be slightly more scientific and then we put all the data into a table then a lovely graph thanks to Many Eyes – to see the fully interactive graph click here.

Many Eyes Visualisation

So what have we learnt from this albeit it entirely unscientific experiment..

1. That we need more data to make more of an accurate reading.
2. Any strong reaction on Twitter be it negative or positive means the guest gets more airtime
3. Guests that are hovering near the 0 likeability scores are actually getting less time..therefore boring means less screen time.

It seems that that the initial tweet was right if a guest is tanking i.e boring then they get less screen time! The POWER of UGC is very much alive!

Here are some tweets from John_Crooks when Noman Bentoman, Hisham Matar and Mike O’Brian were talking and they all got amongst the shortest time as they didn’t provoke debate.


Aside from the very many factors that can change. Guests it seems are likely to be dropped if they are dull and get no reaction not bad reaction, after all a programme like Newsnight is all about debate.

As a side note the biggest reaction on Twitter was for a package on the Big Society by Stephen Smith, whose whimsical style seems to have rubbed most viewers up the wrong way..

No chance of that being dropped then..

by JAMES GLYNN @jamesglynn

 

5 (and a half) Simple Steps for YOUR site to get MORE User Generated Content

We all know content is king, but there are only so many posts that you can churn out before your creativity/willing evaporates. So how can you get your community to become more engaged with your site and contribute?

1. Comments – It may sound obvious but so many blogs and websites still don’t allow comments, so activate the comment box and get communicating. Respond to all comments with more information and debate, you want to stimulate debate on your website.

2. Ask the Right Questions to get Debate – Now your community can comment you need to provoke a bit of debate. Users won’t readily comment they will only do so if they feel they have something to say, if your post leaves them feeling cold, they’ll stay quiet. So finish your posts with a question it could be as simple as what do you think? Or have you got anything to add?

3. Polls – are a great and simple way to get your community involved and reacting to your posts. There are loads of different tools that you can use most of which can easily embedded into your blog/website. Our favourites are;
i) PollDaddy
ii) micropoll.com
iii) twiigs.com
All three can be embedded onto your blog or website and PollDaddy even comes with analytics so you can see who is responding. Here are a couple we made earlier on PollDaddy about what you think of UGC.

4. Use the Right Tools – aside from polls there are literally hundreds of tools out there that help you to get more user generated content. We love Nabble, a tool that allows you to seamlessly embed a forum into your website ( unfortunately only as long as it is WordPress.org).

Nabble Forum on UGC


What do you think of UGC and the best ways to attract it?

The forum took two minutes to create and is embedded with a quick copy and paste of HTML code. Users stay on your site when using the forum and can share posts with social media plugins, helping your UGC reach a wider audience with no extra work for you! Call us lazy but we like that even if it is only available on WordPress.org!

5. Get the Community to do it for YOU!FV Community News is a WordPress.org plugin that allows you to create a form for users to submit fully formed articles with pictures, tags and they can be posted automatically on your site or after moderation straight off a fully intergrated WordPress dashboard.

Intergrated dashboard with FV Community News plugin

The plugin is completely spam proof using the same Aksimet system as WordPress. All you have to do is click “approve” and hey presto some brand spanking new UGC content. It is also good for receiving anonymous tips! You can see here what it looks like on Divito Design.

Lastly, but most definitely not least… optimize your publishing date and time. There is no excuse for not doing this as you can pre-set publishing time and dates for your posts! Time the publication so the maximum number of your readers will be online and your content isn’t lost in the big digital sea! A fellow member of team GbU did a similar post on this a few weeks ago!

So let us know what you think? Or if you have any top UGC generating tips, Comment, Tweet or go on our UGC forum!

by JAMES GLYNN

PREVIEW: Al Jazeera English’s new UGC news show: The Stream

Al Jazeera is a news channel on the up. Riding high after the success of its Middle east coverage over the last couple of months, this May it is launching an all new show with user generated content at its heart.

“The Stream”, which has been in development since last year, will be a new daily talk show on Al Jazeera English with a fully intergrated web community. In fact, ‘the web community is arguably more important in getting the right feedback, stories and editorial angle of the show’

Generated By Users spoke to Ahmed Shihab-Eldin producer and co-presenter of “The Stream”. The whole concept behind he programme is to seek out untold stories, get ground level angles on big news events and to link into often overlooked discussion points or conversations online. That means that Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen, popular as they are online won’t be featuring, but instead “The Stream” will stay true to Al Jazeera’s mission by giving a voice to the voiceless.

To create the narrative of the show which is unscripted and without autocue, social media curation is vital and they make use of a tool called Storify to create the conversation that fuels the show. Storify allows you to take multiple feed from social networks and compile them into one narrative.

As the show is built on user generated content and is screened live trust obviously becomes an issue. Al Jazeera already have a portal roughly similar to CNN’s iReport so they are already attuned to issues of UGC and trust. Ahmed Shihab-Eldin says that the number of people engaged online mean that facts are checked by crowdsourcing, but admittedly on face value we have to be wary of UGC.

News organisations no longer have exclusivity over our news and what we see, stories are breaking on twitter and online tools mean that everyone can be a part of telling the story as is the case with live blogs. But will there be more intergration of UGC and News?

Viewers and consumers of news are more willing to except lesser quality for immediacy and traditionally unreported angles, but does it risk making traditional reporting obsolete?

Al Jazeera English has seen a massive surge in popularity in recent months (increase of web traffic by 2500%), especially in the United States, due to its non-stop comprehensive coverage of the uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa. They hope “The Stream” can help to advance the cause of social media as a legitimate form of publishing information.

We’ll have to wait and see if “The Stream” succeeds where others (CNN we’re looking at you) have failed. But if anyone can make it work it’s a news organisation on the up.

Join “The Stream” on Twitter or http://www.ajestream.com/

The future of User Generated Content? CNN, iReport and Open Story.

CNN are pioneered a new approach to UGC and News with iReport and now they are launching a new user generated experience with Open Story. Generated by Users spoke to Lila King – Participation Director of CNN.com who takes us through the last five years of iReport and crucially what CNN have planned for the future with Open Story.

Open Story – CNN’s big UGC jump forward?

Japan Open Story

iReport has existed for almost five years and become more and more intergrated into CNN’s website and coverage of news. Now with Open Story (still in Beta) it takes CNN’s footage and all the perspectives of iReporters and it places it on a map and timeline giving you a full overarching picture of a news story. This rounded approach to user generated content existing together in one realtime platform is a bold one and one that the GBU team like a lot. Check out the SXSW and Japan Open Stories that Lila King Mentions.

So what is iReport?

Back in 2006 CNN first started its iReport initiative. CNN iReport is the network’s participatory news community. CNN iReporters from all over the world come to CNN.com to share video, photo, audio and text they deem newsworthy. Additionally they form communities of shared interests and engage in impassioned discussions.

CNN's iReport Homepage


It began after a number of stories where footage taken on camera phones was more compelling than traditional news organization footage. News events such as the Asian Tsunami, London 7/7 and Hurricane Katrina really shuck up the way we receive news and how news is gathered.

Here is Lila explaining in full

and a little more on the History of iReport…

Can we Trust User Generated Content?

The biggest challenge when it come to UGC is trust so we asked Lila if we can trust iReports and how CNN vet them. She says that iReports are vetted for CNN with the same rules as any other kinds of footage used on CNN staff. iReport has the same editorial philosophy as CNN.

So is UGC the future of News?

According to Lila the power of UGC is in combination with professional journalist as it offers incredible diversity and human viewpoints, but also UGC requires a lot of filtering and curating to make it successful.

iReport in Numbers

  • Typically CNN vets between 5 and 10 percent of the iReports that are received
  • CNN’s iReport has more than 753,000 registered “iReporters” (Source: iReport Server Log Data) with an average of 2.1 million unique users each month through February 2011. (Source: ComScore).
  • In its history the community has brought in 799,959 videos and photos
  • There are an average submission of 15,391 iReports each month on iReport.com.
  • CNN has received an iReport from every country in the world.       

POLL: Do YOU like or trust UGC when used in OUR news?

Ok so over the last few months we have brought you loads of interviews with the ‘big-wigs’ of UGC and News organisations. Now we want to know what YOU our loyal readers and lovers of online journalism think…

In case this is your first time here get yourself up to speed by what we mean by User Generated Content.

A great new post coming just vote in these two polls…ALSO if you have anything else to add please either let us know on our twitter @generatedby user Or comment down below!!! Thanks

and….

Reporting Revolutions: Is video UGC killing off traditional reporters and cameraman?

Since the ousting of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January and onwards our TV screens have been filled with images of the Arab uprisings, from Egypt to Jordan to Bahrain to Libya and increasingly to Yemen. But what has really struck a chord when looking at the reports is the way that UGC has been used or hasn’t been used.

This video on youtube was used in a channel 4 news broadcast ( but CNN have loaded this version onto youtube). It shows an Egyptian police van running over civilians. This is the power of UGC. In a world where everyone has a mobile phone, every dark deed can be captured whatever the restrictions on journalists, and the light can be shone on truths that would have otherwise been missed.

UGC also presents a problem for the reporters on the ground, who are trying to navigate their way through the protests and find stories which bring the issue alive. In the ‘age of information’ editors back in London, New York, Doha or wherever can see everything from all kinds of sources before the reporter can. Editors can direct reporters to include shots, or UGC or information not gathered on the ground themselves. This prescriptive top down reporting negates the role traditional of a reporter and instead makes them more of a curator or compiler of information. Jon Snow has written about this very issue this week in PORT magazine.

“Where once I was one pair of eyes witnessing a story and sending my account back to London, I am now charged with retrieving the work of many pairs of eyes and putting together an apparently holistic account of an event. We call this “sausage machine telly”. In the competitive multiplatform age in which we live, this age will not last long. Why not? Because it is neither distinctive, nor is it particularly interesting.
A big problem with sausage machine telly is that it spawns sausage machine reporters. In too many instances, reporters are no longer easily distinguished from one another. The sausage system is not
breeding or maturing new talent to take over the airwaves when we are gone.”

This ‘sausage machine telly’ is exemplified here in an ITN report from Libya. Except it isn’t…as it explains foreign journalists are banned from trouble spots (unlike Eygpt) and mobile phone networks and the Internet have been cut so the report relies solely on UGC and a voiceover to tell the story.

I’m not saying that UGC isn’t both compelling and useful but we must be careful how we use it. The role of a reporter is an important one, they are trained to find stories on the ground at short notice and to bring a human element to the news. UGC can be very useful in places such as Libya because of the restrictions placed on journalists. UGC can provide the pictures from even the most closed off parts of the world…the problem is how we verify it and interpret the images.

Here is a report from Sky’s Alex Crawford RTS Journalist of the year who got into Zawiyah in Libya and filmed this report.

It is all the more powerful for a trained reporter putting the story together and automatically trustworthy for it and exactly the sort of journalism that Jon Snow is praising in this account of his work in Haiti.

“We were so cut off from one another on the ground that we could not share pictures. Everything I transmitted we researched, retrieved, shot, edited, and beamed back to London ourselves. Only the local satellite dishes worked, dependent on their own generators and fuel – the satellite paths to the outside world were almost the only elements the earthquake had not reached. News desks knew instantly the massive pressure we were under and left us alone. After we’d sent our reports they would bask in their novelty, pain and exclusivity.”

Traditional journalists and cameramen are still very important as you can see with the difference between ITN’s and Sky’s reports. However UGC is a fantastic addition to a reporters toolbox, but one that must be used in addition to solid reporting not in place of it.

James Glynn