The Now/ledge

A Guide to the 'Now' Revolution in News / by Alan Soon

AOL loses its top editors amid shift to amateur journalism

Is AOL’s push toward amateur journalism sending its veteran journalists out the door?

The media company, which once boasted of its more than 500 journos (among them nine Pulitzer prize winners), is now seeing its key assets walk out the door. Reuters reports that the company has now lost its Editor-in-Chief Mike Nizza to News Corp. Other departures include World Editor James Graff and Enterprise Editor James Burnett.

Some ex-AOL execs blame CEO Tim Armstrong — who is said to be taking the company from one chaotic project to another without a focus or strategy. For the editorial teams, emphasis has clearly shifted from “professional” to “amateur” journalism, as seen in AOL’s push toward quick-and-cheap content in projects like the hyperlocal network Patch and freelance content by Seed.

Preisdent of AOL Media and Studios David Eun told PaidContent that isn’t the case and that the company was building a balance between professional and amateur.

“If you go to our Travel site, I think you’ll see a very well-programmed experience, that includes articles our staff journalists have written, content from partners and local content from people in our Seed network. We also have videos from our StudioNow network. What we’re doing is creating the largest virtual newsroom of the future. Ultimately that’s run by the people on staff here, who produce our editorial.”

Eun in another interview (this time with Reuters) defended the company’s strategy, saying it’s still about content.

“We don’t believe the content on the Web will only be created within our walls, let’s be clear about that… A lot of great content is created originally within our walls… It’s our job to bring the best out there and mix it internally so our audiences get the benefit of both.”

Filed under: General

Guardian releases blogging, commenting guidelines for journos

The UK’s Guardian newspaper has published its best practices for journalists blogging and responding to comments on its site.

No major surprises and most are common sense (“Don’t reward disruptive behavior with attention, but report it when you find it.”) Perhaps the most interesting reminder to journos:

#1. Participate in conversations about our content, and take responsibility for the conversations you start.

Definitely worth keeping in mind.

Filed under: Newspapers, Social Media

Collaboration in journalism: Multiple partners

Here’s a fantastic story — and an equally amazing push forward in the realm of collaborative journalism.

For its latest investigative piece on the financial practices of U.S. pharmaceutical companies, ProPublica is working with five (yeah, five!) news organizations for coverage:

  • NPR
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Boston Globe
  • Consumer Reports
  • PBS

    This is a unique challenge for ProPublica, which in the past had favored single news agencies for coverage. For “Dollars for Docs,” each partner is running their own version of the story, backed up by common data provided by ProPublica. Some will be using ProPublica’s lead to drive the piece.

    Tom Detzel, the ProPublica editor in charge of the project described it to Niemen Lab:

    The partners all took initiative to do their own stories. We didn’t try to draw any lines in the sand: ‘Here’s what you can do, and can’t do.’ We just said, ‘Here’s the topic we want to work with, and here’s the data we have. Take it and run with it.’

    This is an interesting project and I hope it works out. I think it’s clear that the next era for journalism will be collaborative through shared resources, data and assets. I’d love to see a partnership like this thrive.

    Filed under: News,