Remember when the term “new media’ referred to CD-ROMs and such. I made quite of few of those and remember the term being applied to this new form of interactive media. A few chapters later – the Internet, social media and the shrinking newspaper industry – and new media can be applied to those media companies that are transforming.
I remain sensitive to the pain of news media businesses – especially those that grew up inside newspapers. Still, I am excited about new models of journalism that are coming out of all that. Following Neiman Lab helps in discovering many of these new trends and experiments. I see quite a few media and journalism companies creating new, valuable experiences that transcend the very platforms they deliver on.
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service does 3 things that really energize me and make me genuinely curious to tune in, follow and access online.
Outside Source w/Ros Atkins
I love the pace, the social-connectivity and the global reach of the morning (ET USA) Outside Source radio show that I listen to most days. First off, the hosts (Ros Atkins is my favorite) run the program like fast paced jockeys – pulling in reporters from the World Newsroom (above), interviewing people – regular people – on the ground in Gaza, Edinburgh or Iraq, and moving quickly between sources. As the program name suggests, they are trying to curate and expose us to many sources of information. The bias of the non-reporters shine through but that only makes the program richer. This caters to my ADD-like brain.
They connect very closely with social media. Ros is frequently driving people to individual reporters’ Twitter feeds, pulling off a report from Twitter and driving folks to get more information online. This inter-connectivity is not forced. It is natural. I started with radio and am now connected online with @BBCRosAtkins and @BBCOS.
A team of folks at BBC World Service comb through trending topics in social media and build stories (#BBCTrending). Their radio story about the Lady Alba videos supporting #YesScotland drove me online to learn more. Sure, sometimes it seems as they are late to the party. I had seen the Spiderdog videos a few weeks prior but BBC Trending told us more about the polish creator of this and other provocative video series (like the creepy Slender Man).
While this practice of mining social media for stories may seem mundane in today’s world, I rarely see it as a built-in practice for news programs originating in other media. BBC Trending just does a great job. They have their ‘trend journos/hunters’ actually tell the stories during the radio program. Sure, their web site is dated but they probably suffer from the same IT-stranglehold that many big organizations suffer from.
A pair of reporters are driving across the US as we speak to capture and tell the stories of the mass of people who actually live in the ‘fly-over states’ that make up the heart of our country. I don’t care if it’s a bit “stunty.” I love road trips. I love grassroots storytelling. I love the town hall they held in Boulder, Colorado to ask people form the community what stories they ought to tell.
BBC video journalists Matt Danzico and Benjamin Zand are also telling their stories on Tumblr. And that blog looks like it will be gorgeous as they accumulate stories. This effort stems from the BBC Video Innovation Lab. Here’s a bit of why they chose to go on the road to Boulder:
“In the 21st Century, creating video for television from cities like Washington, New York and/or Los Angeles is definitely an effective way of reaching traditional media consumers in those markets. But if you’re also trying to reach younger generations in Colorado, for instance, why not create gripping video from the state that’s of interest to a global audience?
And now you’ve not only provided interesting programming to your traditional audience but you have also sparked the interest of an entirely new community as well.
Do that for one month at a time. Post your videos to local social media. Move cities. Repeat.
Yes, BBC News has 44 foreign bureaus in a heap of cities around the world. But the world has nearly 3,000 cities with a population over 150k. So why not create a mobile bureau that can embed itself in a community and then relocate easily?”
Like I said, I love a good road trip. And I love interesting storytelling from people who seem so genuinely curious about the world.