news:rewired - New forms of engagement for journalism

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Matt Nevarra hosting


Bella Hurrell

Bella Hurrell

“Tell me something I don’t know” is a basic journalistic premise. Over 50% of traffic to the BBC website is coming from mobile devices now – so everything has to be responsive. It ha to adapt to different screen sizes.

They’re expiring ways of spreading their stories beyond the site. Flat info graphics, simple, but to the point, have been one focus, They’re optimised for Twitter and Facebook and link back to a main story. They need an element of wit, and certainly of interest. Respond to comments – and make improvements if the suggestions are good.

Interactives – like budget calculators, or “which athlete are you most like?” – are another good way of telling the story. The latter used scatter plots which was too “maths-y” for the mainstream audience – and it didn’t work on tablet. they’d do it differently today.

They’ve just published a Commonwealth Games one, that looks at which event you are more suited to. And it was built mobile-first. But even before that, before you write a line of code, you need to figure out what the audience will take away from this – and that’s what will bring them back.

Ezra Eeeman

Ezra Eeeman

Journalism Tools is a Twitter account and Pinterest site that curates over 5,000 potential tools for journalists. There’s an Appagedon of tools and apps coming at us – it’s like a new supermarket in your neighbourhood, every onto – with all new stock.

Some Rules for Tools:

  • Pick tools that suit your workflow and are consistent and which work together
  • Stick with the ones that work – doesn’t experiment all the time
  • Try to master them – read the fucking manual, as they say.

80% of your use should be the tools you know, 20% should be experimentation.

Consider your platforms: not all tools are mobile- or touch-friendly. Are you just broadcasting, or do you want conversation? If they cost money, is the price justified by the potential results?


  • SpicyNodes – a useful tool for making embeddable interactive experiences from data
  • Closr – Zoomable, explorable annotated images.
  • Odyssey.js – building maps for storytelling
  • Tiki Toki – 2D and 3D timelines.
  • KettleCorn – mash together audio, video, text and more easily
  • Sprites – free tool for animated info graphics
  • Interact – Buzzfeed-style quizzes for your site
  • readrBoard – allow readers to interact or comment anywhere you choose on your site.
  • VIS – visualise the relationships and actions in an investigative story

Jo Kelly

Jo kelly

Newsroom 3.1 – a plan for digital audience growth, while supporting the local newspaper. All content is commissioned for digital use. Rather than the flat plan, they target when Facebook users in their region are likely to be online – as well as the lunchtime spike, and the morning spike.

So – 7am, 12pm, 4.30pm, and 8pm are their critical deadlines.

New roles include:

  • Forward planning analysts, who analyse audience data and web metrics, and make content suggestions based on them.
  • They have Social Media Editors to drive social innovation.
  • What’s On Writers – create digital native listings-style content. They’ve kept from 5m page view to 68 million page views for this content in a year.
  • Newcastle United Editor – rather than a sports editor, because football is so big.
  • Content Direct Editor – the user-generated content editor reborn – a more organised approach to sourcing material from readers.
  • Content Curators – non journalists who process user-generated content.

Content Direct – built of regular platforms, with annual planning and regular contributors. They’re planning around major events, and also responding to ad hoc events.

30% of their readers drive 50% of their traffic – so concentrate on the loyal readers.

Week one of the project saw 70% uptick in traffic. By moth three they’re 200% up year-on-year. Oh, and print – even as repackaged digital – is up.

Ben Fogarty

Print publishing was a solve problem. That’s not the case for digital publishing. We’re still discovering what’s going on – we need the approach to be that of learning. Don’t just copy others – try to come up with new things. Run experiments, interact with your readers, and use metrics to figure out why’s working. Oh, and dump what’s failing.

Big interactive stories need very careful through to the images or videos that are used in that first screen.

The real measure of success is creating value for known readers. You need to be fast, agile and quick-thinking. You need to continually improve what you create – but your processes need to get better all the time, too.

digital journalismengagementJournalismjournalism tools

Adam Tinworth Twitter

Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.