Archive for ‘journalism’

April 6th, 2009

From Public Relations to Readers Relations: Mobile Journalism experiment at NATO summit

by Laurent François

We had the chance with few journalists to be embedded inside L’ for the NATO summit

@Laurent François, StaubProjekt


NATO summit was happening in Strasbourg for 2 days. 3 journalists (Gautier Demouveaux, Céline Moncel et Mathieu Galtier) and I decided to cover the event. We have complementary skills (print press, photography, radio etc.)
Eric Mettout suggested to embed us on L’ to lead a blog called “des apaches à Strasbourg, le sommet de l’OTAN embedded starting from April, 2nd

What are the key learnings?

  1. 3000 journalists were expected in Strasbourg. Most of them were only covering “official” information from NATO. Official meetings, press conferences etc. With such a small latitude, I wonder if it’s still journalism or more institutional communication. Blogging allowed us to cover a wider scope, to get some more freedom…and to change the official storyline
  2. Twitter is the killer tool to live process hot information, moreover when it happens out of conferences centre. We were able to tweet our impressions, to report quickly about the various riots. It allowed us to tell the “true” story of Friday afternoon strike. It’s too long to express, if you speak a little French, go there.
  3. Twitter is a fantastic loop for quick information, but it’s also a way to go deeper. Hashtag #nato or #otan gave the possibilty to complete the diverse tweets. Photos were tweeted, it gave some “feature” to our argument
  4. Our Twitter feed was not only followed by professionals, but also by interested citizens. Not many, but some. Twitter is not a mass media, but affinity. Twitter feeds some communities that are built among specific purposes. Twitter can then influence them. It’s a “2-step” flow.
  5. The blog gave us the possibility to centralize diverse types of contents: sounds, images, videos. Maybe kinda rough. But relevant and flexible enough to give a 360° vision of information. We always say that in communication, you need to use the proper medium to target or feed the proper public. Why not think journalism, not as Public Relations but as Readers Relations?
  6. Comments were great to justify some facts that we were mentioning, to give some more details. It was not about answering opinions, it was to provide more contents to interested readers who needed specific data or information
  7. Blog is maybe more tolerant with the format. Nonetheless, it’s important to be rigorous enough to give the context, and the hierarchy of the information you diffuse. Our videos that were broadcasting the riots could not be just uploaded like that: we needed to give text information, to give the whole storyline
  8. We’ve experienced a true information war. Citizens can live broadcast videos, policemen and army now open YouTube account directly from their cars. As journalists or information makers, we need to “exist” at least on the various social media, to be able to be present in the whole river of news. First to engage a first relationship with our readers, then to give a kind of history (like a browser) and finally to justify our final articles
  9. In the time and space war (if we consider web as a space), online journalists can help in structuring at a “macro-level” the whole river of news
  10. Talking about the tools we’ve used: blackberry, laptops, flipcams must now be inside any journalist pocket. We become kinda hybrid! The more you’re easily connected to internet, the faster you can upload information and get others’
  11. The local newspaper, DNA (Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace), went very deep in this 360° journalism. First because they have a local pool of contacts, extremely useful. Then because they knew how to exist online, in order to RT information to many observers, in English, French or German
  12. Blog is not only interesting during the event. It’s very useful also after: it leaves a digital footprint, contents that can be used to feed people interested in this event, who want to use these information for other studies or reports. So the storyline you create on this blog is not only a facts-storyline, but feeds a more macro one
  13. Word-of-mouth was key to process information. Twitter helped us to focus on specific topics, in order to contact and to be contacted. Social media is a fantastic tool to confront, challenge, confirm offline and online rumors. Phone calls are still the best way to get in touch. But Twitter helps your readers to …help you! It also provides a more authentic and transparent contract between your readers and your medium
March 6th, 2009

Web-loggers as global press correspondents ?

by Laurent François

I sometimes wonder if a web-logger (anyone logging to the web to publish any view) is not just like a press correspondent. A press correspondent can sometimes writes or shares local testimonials in newspapers, whenever he wants.
We as web-loggers don’t want to embody a journalist role at all, it’s a full-time job. But journalists can include us as new sources of information. Filtering us and reorganising our thoughts can lead to a common narrative…
What are the similarities btw a web-logger and a local press correspondent ?

  • they both collect data that are local ones: local in a geographic way but also in an affinity way
  • their contents can be “absorbed” by several enterprises, both individual and collective, depending on diverse levels of filters
  • they don’t have to report to an editor
  • they both can give answers to the “what’s happened in my town?” or now “what’s happened in my favorite universe?”

Journalists now have to analyze all our conversations’ knots & hubs to reshape them…and make them information.

What do you think?

February 13th, 2009

Information cycle: from rough data (Twitter) to processed information (press) ?

by Laurent François

This visual was drawn by Denis thanks to Olivier :


  • it demonstrates the information bath from a rough data (twitter-ed) to a processed information (press)
  • it insists on the different qualities of an information depending on the medium
  • it proves the information propagation among diverse publics: from rumor/gossip to the consecration (information as a big issue in a press article)


  • this approach only considers information sent from twitter. So to say, from a very tiny pool of information-makers
  • it does not integrate special relationships that a twitter-user can have with other information makers (journalists, PR people, etc.). So no loop is integrated.
  • some breaking news are now twittered by press magazines or journalists themselves! it inverts this pattern
January 6th, 2009

Blogging started in 1643. WTH?

by Laurent François

Jeff Jarvis mentions on his blog a “lovely review of the Folger Shakespeare Library show on the birth of newspapers by Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post has some gems” :

“When John Taylor, a bargeman and alehouse keeper turned journalist, published an edition of his Mercurius Aquaticus in 1643, he included a complete reprint of a rival paper, the Mercurius Britanicus — followed by a point-by-point smackdown of its contents. This was “fisking,” 17th-century-style: a form of argument beloved by bloggers who cut-and-paste something that offends them and then interlard it with commentary.

The extra margin space included in a 1699 issue of Dawks’s Newsletter was meant to allow readers to write notes and commentary before passing the paper on to someone else. Web site designers may think that posting reader comments, which all too often devolve from sincerity to silliness to bigotry and ad hominem attacks, is a brave new invention of the interactive world. But interactivity is ancient. It’s at least as old as graffiti, and often just as useful.”

This demonstration proves one key-thing: that blogging is just an answer to the latent demand to share opinions, discuss different views in order for citizens to get a “better” truth that the one expressed by institutional channels. And that of course blogging since its birth is absolutely not against journalism. When it comes to look under the ice, every connection matters!

November 27th, 2008

Typepad Journalist Bailout Program is at least a joke, at worst an indecency

by Laurent François

You’re probably going to find that I’m soooooo French, but sometimes I definitely have to express my feelings when I absolutely don’t agree with a product sold online, moreover when it’s about social media, journalism and information

Context to understand :

“Anil Dash, vice président de Six Apart la société qui propose les plateformes TypePad et Vox ainsi que l’outil Movable Type (utilisé pour gérer Le Monde du Blog) a lancé, aux USA, le TypePad Journalist Bailout Program. Un programme qui propose aux journalistes qui ont été licenciés par leur journal d’ouvrir gratuitement un blog TypePad avec un compte professionnel.”

At first sight, if we think in terms o SWOT, it’s probably not a bad idea: a mass of skilled people are now unemployed, so we should establish a program to make them keep publishing their articles, in order to promote their know-how and their talent. Why not.

But when it comes to Six Apart, here’s their business model :

“What’s the Deal?

Membership in the TypePad for Journalists program includes a few key benefits:
The best tools for the job: TypePad Pro is the same industrial-strength blogging platform that powers many of the biggest media sites in the world. TypePad offers all the latest technical features with a simple interface that lets you focus on your ideas, not technology. All backed by real humans to answer your questions.
Powerful advertising services: Six Apart Media offers an experienced and creative advertising program that already helps hundreds of publishers earn more than they would with simple text ads like Google AdWords.
Promotion and Education: We’ll promote your site on, our directory of the best of blogs, and connect you to experts from Six Apart and from across the web who can teach you how to build your audience and make your new blog a success.

Six Apart only sells…hope and means to imply that journalists will get a subsitute revenue through advertizing (but we all know the potential cashflow is very low, and that it dismantles a journalist’s credibility: a journalist is not a social function who is devoted to brands, but he’s here to develop a critical thought, to confront sources of information to write an article which is objective enough to be trustworthy). Here’s what is mentioned on Six Apart’s blog :

But what we can do is give journalists the tools to take control of their own presence online. This program will let a lot of the most eager writers and reporters learn the ropes about how to be more effective and successful on the web. That hope shows through in just some of the responses we’ve seen already:

“Thanks for coming up with such a smart solution to the journalist’s dilemma! Hope we can work something out.”
“You have no idea how many questions this answers for me that I never even quite understood how to pose.”

Very strange: it sounds like a fake promise of a fake seller in a tabloid (you know, just after the naked girl, page 3).

Priya Ganapati (journalist for Wired) sums up the incoherent elements of this journalist bailout program:

“You have to a build a blog, you have to build a following, you have to have a product out there before you even begin to think about revenue and a sales team,” Ganapati said. “And what TypePad isn’t doing is focusing on the features of the product; instead it’s talking up the ad sales of it. If you’re going to start a new blog, or you’re an existing blogger and want to get into it full time, you have to concentrate on picking the best blogging platform that is offered and build a strong readership. And then you start thinking about ad sales. But if you start thinking about ad sales first, you probably will end up making an unsuitable choice for your means.”

Thank you Thien for this news…