Fascinating account from Storyful about their social media verification work around the downing of flight MH17:

In the aftermath of the attack, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal affairs released the video below, described as showing a ‘Buk’ anti-aircraft missile system being transported in eastern Ukraine, en route to the Russian border. The footage is not the original, however we believe that the first instance of this footage was removed by the uploader and the version below is the earliest we can find. Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, made early claims that the video was filmed in the Ukrainian town of Krasnodon near the Russian border, however collaborative geo-location was able to place the footage in southwestern Luhansk.

This really is one of the new frontiers of serious journalism, and one that's only growing in importance.

(Which is, of course, why we teach it as part of the Interactive Journalism MA at City…)

Twitter's UK in-house journalism expert and friend of the blog Joanna Geary has crowd-sourced a great list of 30 Twitter tools that are useful for journalists:

Some are familiar and essential, but some are brand new to me. Well worth a little time.

Trees in bloom

This lurks towards the end of a slightly odd piece on Poynter about evergreen content:

My instincts say it’s weird to dig up old content without a specific reason, but it’s worth asking if our hyper-sensitivity to timeliness can get in the way of serving readers who might not care as much about news hooks or newness as we do.

Sam Kirkland starts off talking about some research, but drifts into gut feelings, and assumptions. And there's a deep problem with that: most journalists' instincts in this area are completely skewed by the process of journalism and their own interests:

  1. Most journalists are news junkies. They're far more interested in news as an idea than the general population. That's why they're journalists. The rest of the population is far more inclined to seek out interesting information than inherently newsy information in the run of things. That's why pretty much every single news site I've worked with is baffled by the fact that what they perceive as "old" stories are getting great traffic. They're not "old", they're interesting - and that value does not diminish with age.

  2. Print publication demands news. The shift from print to online has reversed the traditional pattern of publication. Print is fixed but transitory - the story is calcified at the moment of publication, but the assumption is that the vehicle of publication will not have a long life. A publication is "today's issue", or "this week's issue", or "this month's issue". That time-based definition shapes the way we think about the content within from both a production and a consumption standpoint. Online is mutable but permanent - the story itself can be changed at any time, but it can, in theory, live online forever.

One of the problems in building sustainable online businesses is not recognising this shift. We're still building journalism for transitory vehicles, in an age of the permanent site.

Evergreen content isn't an odd quirk - it's a major part of the future of publishing.

From blogger to Bloomberg

Josh t

Bloomberg has a new hire:

Josh Topolsky, the co-founder of the technology website The Verge, will join Bloomberg as the editor of a series of online ventures it is introducing as part of a revamped journalism strategy.

He'll be running a range of new online initiatives for them as "Editor of Bloomberg Digital, and Bloomberg Media’s Chief Digital Content Officer".

Interesting to see people who have risen through the "blog" ranks of online media transitioning into senior positions in more traditional publishers…

Ms marvel fanfic fan

Here's something else from outside the mainstream of publishing you might find interesting:

Ms Marvel recently went to its sixth printing, a rare accomplishment in comics today.

But chatting with Marvel executives at San Diego Comic Con I discovered more. That it sells more in digital than print, and that includes the first issue.

That's a new Marvel comic selling more through their app than it is in print. What's even more interesting is that the new Ms Marvel is a brand new superhero - something that's been very hard to launch successfully in recent decades - and one whose real identity is a young Muslim American teenage girl.

It's also a bloody good, entertaining read. (The curious who like themselves a bit of print can pre-order the first Ms. Marvel collection from Amazon.)

So, here's a traditional media company, shifting to digital - and by all indications, gaining a whole new audience with it. (Comics are growing in popularity amongst the young again - and females for the first time in a very long time - rather than being the preserve of ageing male fans…)

More like this, please.

Michelle Phan - photo by Gage Skidmore

A music label is suing YouTube star Michelle Phan for using its music:

The label and its publishing arm claim she has used about 50 of their songs without permission in her YouTube videos and on her own website.

She disputes this, claiming that they gave permission - and interestingly, one of the artists involved has come out in support of her:

What's more interesting to me is that Phan is one of a breed of new media entrepreneurs that have flown under many media commentators' radar. In fact, I first became aware of her while sat in a cab from Manhattan to JFK, with a screen on auto-play in front of me. Periodically adverts for YouTube would come up, featuring some of their biggest celebrities. I passed through disinterest to annoyance, and out into curiosity, as the traffic crawled its way towards the airport. Who were these people? Why was YouTube paying to advertise them and itself?

This is the one starring Phan:

When I got back to the UK, I started poking at this, and whole world opened up to me. These are not just social media celebrities, but powerful media businesses, producing content with a tight focus on their enthusiast audience. They're doing all the things that media businesses claim to be doing - and doing them better.

These video entrepreneurs have built huge followings on YouTube - in Phan's case, through make-up tutorials - and that leveraged that to build real businesses from that following. In a sense, Phan has become a one woman beauty magazine, and is another example of why so many consumer magazines have struggled to get traction online. What they do - offer information to enthusiasts - is being replaced by utterly different forms of media.

The WSJ did an interview with Phan recently, that almost explored how she's built her online business, but gets a little distracted by talking about make-up:

In fact, she's now big enough business that a record label wants $150,000 for every copyright infringement they can prove.

You know it's big business when there are big lawsuits involved.

Photo by Gage Skidmore and used under a Creative Commons licence

An e-mail arrives…

An e-mail arrives…

Hello ,

Hi there. Why the space before the comma?

we would like to support your portal by placing a PR article of our valuable client on your web.

How on earth does putting PR puff on my "portal" or "web" support me, exactly? Plus: capital letters are a good thing.

We are interested in long term cooperation and we offer 6-12 months advance payment as a sponsorship for your community.

Oh, I see. You want to pay me to run PR material. I wonder why?

Best Regards,

[name removed]

SEO Project Manager

Oh, I see. You're buying links.

Go away, before you destroy your client's search rankings. You're certainly not getting to destroy mine.

Dumping the newspaper

News recycled

Breaking up with newspapers:

I’ve found a platform that fulfills my news-reading needs. My Internet-powered cell phone has replaced you, and it’s time for us to go our separate ways. To be honest, newspaper, I’ve been using my new platform for years now, while I’ve tossed you into the recycle bin nearly every day.

And interesting counter-point to David Ho yesterday.