Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

A (virtual) coffee with… theblogpaper’s Karl Jo Seirlern

June 22, 2010

First things first. For anyone who’s not heard of theblogpaper – what is it?

The backbone of theblogpaper consists of a self-regulating web 2.0 community which creates and promotes articles, photos and comments via rating, thus creating a newspaper. therefore produces the first user generated newspaper in the UK/London.

Where did the idea come from?

Anton Waldburg came up with the idea during his last year of university. He realised that traditional media is failing to attract the young consumer and is generally going through a period of transition. His idea was to create a sustainable newspaper by young people for young people and additionally benefit from the opportunities the web offers.

Tell me about the launch in September. Sounds exciting.

Our launch in September is indeed very exciting. It is the next big step, we want to push the newspaper from a beta print version with a small circulation of only 10,000 issues to the official version with a circulation of 50,000 issues.  Momentarily it is all about selling sufficient ad space to cover all costs in September. This is a tough task, especially with the current situation in the advertising market but we are convinced that we will generate enough advertising partners before the launch.

Will London Evening Standard distributors be giving out theblogpaper? Where?

Yes if everything works according to plan than Evening Standard distributors will give out theblogpaper. The locations are not fully decided yet but we will let the community know asap.

Any plans for distribution outside London?

The plan is definitely to expand this concept nationally and internationally. Yet, we are a niche product, the majority of our readership is made up by a rather specific crowd of students, young creative’s and professionals, etc. There are only a handful of UK cities (such as Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, etc) that have the size and necessary urban niche markets and requirements needed for our product. Internationally the idea is to expand into cities such as Berlin, NY, Paris, etc.

Is it really the death of print journalism?

We do not believe that the death of the print newspaper will come any time soon but we are absolutely aware that industry is going through a profound period of transition. A struggling advertising market (which always lags behind economic recovery) and an increasing number of online substitutes will diminish newspaper circulations in the long run. Especially products like iPads and Kindles will be a tremendous threat to the common print newspaper. Nevertheless, print media has an obvious optical, emotional and sensitive appeal; therefore, in my opinion there is still room for print journalism if they are able to adjust. Meaning that newspapers/magazines have to be more niche (distinctive personality), more interactive, significantly reduce costs, diversify into multiple platforms (such as; online, radio, etc) and probably become a free sheet since younger generations are rather unwilling to pay for print content. In the future it will be very hard to sustain a media company if the majority of the revenue is produced by a print newspaper.

Top tips for anyone thinking of submitting a blog post to theblogpaper?

Important is that we don’t look for exclusive content, we are looking for timeless quality content. The idea is to filter out the best content our community has to offer. Generally the most successful blogs are either controversial blogs or funny blogs. Funny content gets a lot of interest and generally high votes. Controversial content doesn’t get high votes but a lot of comments and people tend to forget that we not only promote and publish the highest rated content but also the articles that received most comments. Generally we always try to push our community to interact with each other. Only interaction makes this concept work.

Can’t live without: coffee, paper, or tweet

I am an absolute coffee maniac without a litre of coffee in the morning my body does not function a bit.

Anton Waldburg came up with the idea during his last year of university. He realised that traditional media is failing to attract the young consumer and is generally going through a period of transition. His idea was to create a sustainable newspaper by young people for young people and additionally benefit from the opportunities the web offers.

Random questions

April 12, 2010

Is it okay to put on a regional accent to match that of regional media you’re selling in to?

– Would it help at all? Even in a tiny way.

Who are these people that buy an iPad just to film themselves destroying it?

– They obviously have money to chuck away.  This video seems to have inspired the trend:

Will Sarah Brown’s toes affect the outcome of the election?

A (virtual) coffee with… David Coates, Business Editor, Lancashire Evening Post

January 17, 2010

A (virtual) coffee with… David Coates, Business Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post

David Coates is Business Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post (LEP) – my local newspaper. He’s been at the paper for just under 5 years, going from Business Reporter to Business Editor. The LEP has been around for over 120 years and is easily the newspaper of choice for people and businesses in the area. was named NW Daily Newspaper Website of the Year. The LEP comes out Monday – Saturday.

Why did you choose journalism as a career?

It was the only thing I was any good at! When I was at school, English was the only subject I enjoyed and football was my obsession, so sports journalism was an obvious choice.

When I finished college I was left with a choice, try and get a job as a raw, enthusiastic trainee or go to university.

I chose the former and got promised a job, aged 17-and-three-quarters, at my local paper down in Yeovil, Somerset – if I completed my NCTJ qualifications.

I did, got the job, sports journalism developed into news journalism and then business journalism – and the rest is history.

Thoughts on the north-west media scene?

The North West has a stronger regional media scene than the vast majority of other parts of the country.

We have some famous old papers, the M.E.N, the Echo and Post in Liverpool, Lancashire Telegraph, North West Mail – and the LEP, of course.

But, as with any media scene, it’s having to change; and with the possible exception of London, it’s leading the way.

I can recall the M.E.N having video content and obviously Channel M before many regionals had even thought about it, the LEP was Johnston Press’s pilot paper for its new media revolution, etc.

Perhaps it’s a bit of northern grit, but I can see the North West’s media scene being here long after others have gone.

Noticed any changes in the tone and volume of business-related press releases sent to you over the last two years?

Business has jumped up the agenda due to the recession and that’s not gone unnoticed to the world of PR and marketing.

The volume of press releases I receive has always been high – you cannot leave my inbox unattended more than half-a-day before it gets shut down due to too many emails – and the tone is definitely more advice driven than news driven.

Career highlights so far?

I got my dream job reporting on my football team, Yeovil Town, but after two years in it, decided to fly the nest and run away to the other end of the country to Lancashire.

I’ve met some fascinating people in this job, Terry Wogan was one of my favourites, although Ken Clarke I liked as well, both people with real personality.

But, I would add, some of the most interesting people are the small business people I talk to every week; many of their stories beat the ‘celebrities’ hands down.

Advice for PRs?

My one bugbear with PRs is too many don’t think about what they’re sending before they send it, whether that’s an email, a letter, making a phone call or whatever.

The amount of times I’ve had PRs calling about a story “in my area” in Manchester, which hasn’t been Lancashire for more than 35 years!

Think: What is the recipient’s circulation area and does this story fit it?

If it doesn’t, don’t send it. Rant over.

Advice for wannabe journalists?

Get experience of doing the job. Qualifications are great but there’s no substitute for experience, the quality of cuttings in your portfolio could be you and the next person going into your interview.

Favourite media?

It’s got to be newspapers. I spend my entire day staring at a computer screen and find a newspaper light relief; I can’t imagine that ever changing.

That’s not to say I don’t listen to the radio, watch television (I’m addicted to BBC News 24) and look online.

I’ve had an on-off relationship with Twitter, which has become more ‘on’ after recently getting an iPhone, but need to learn to harness social networking and blogging more.

Can’t live without: coffee, paper, or tweet

Coffee. As any of my colleagues will tell you, I’m addicted to the stuff – no, really, I think I need help!

Saying that, I would not want to do without newspapers and tweeting, well, we’re getting to know each other, as I say.



Telephone: 01772 838162

Twitter: coatesieboy

Jargonbuster: ‘Augmented reality’

January 9, 2010

Wtf is ‘Augmented Reality’?

A number of media experts mentioned it as something that will be big(ger) in 2010. It sounds a bit sci-fi, but it’s probably quite useful to know what it means.

Here are a few definitions I found online:

Wikipedia Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery – creating a mixed reality. The augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable.

Hmm… not sure that really helps. Something about mixed reality and football scores.

HowStuffWorksOn the spectrum between virtual reality, which creates immersive, computer-generated environments, and the real world, augmented reality is closer to the real world. Augmented reality adds graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to the natural world as it exists. Both video games and cell phones are driving the development of augmented reality. Everyone from tourists, to soldiers, to someone looking for the closest subway stop can now benefit from the ability to place computer-generated graphics in their field of vision.

Okay. So we can use technology to get information/images/etc that’s relevant to our actual location. That’s quite cool. Foursquare’s probably the best example of this in use so far.

To find out more, here’s a Guardian article on how journalists can use augmented reality. It explains the whole concept quite simply –

“Journalism gathers information about the world around us. Thanks to augmented reality, this information can be displayed where it got picked up – which is especially interesting for event reporting.”

Now I’m starting to get it and can see how and why it would work. I’ll quit while I’m ahead – I’m sure we’ll hear more about augmented reality this year. Plus 3D is going to be big apparently, so need to save a bit of brainspace.

Finally, here’s a very cool, early-adopter use of augmented reality by adidas:

Trainers with a code embedded in the tongue – hold it up to a webcam on the website – use trainer as a controller to make it a 3D world – WHOA

It’s snowing (PR opportunities)!

December 21, 2009

Just as insurers are quick to provide spokespeople and claims estimates when the UK is hit by floods and winds that cause damage to homes, snow also provides opportunities for quick-thinking (or very well-prepared) PRs.

Press Association

Bookies‘ predictions of a ‘white Christmas’ are always included in weather stories at this time of year, alongside updates and advice from weather experts and motoring organisations such as AA and RAC. Here‘s a good piece of coverage for William Hill (and Ladbrokes) including an estimate of how many bets have been placed, possible payouts, a spokesman’s quote and some regional figures.

Here are a few ideas on how PRs can take advantage of the snow-led news agenda:

Sales figures for snow/cold-related products (e.g. gloves, sledges, de-icer, hot chocolate etc)

Solutions to snow-related problems (e.g. products/services to make working from home easier, innovative snow-kits)

‘Triumph over adversity’ (“kind-hearted radio listeners make couple’s white wedding dream come true” – the headline writes itself)

Look out for more light-hearted, quirky snow-related news stories in the coming days.