Friday, March 23, 2007

Let's work together

What is the point of the Digital Editors’ Network?
After all, we already have the new media landscape being discussed online at Media Guardian, Press Gazette,, holdthefrontpage, the Sociey of Editors, the Online Journalism Review and a wide variety of media industry and academic blogs.
The usp has to be in the last word - Network – and the ability to connect people charged with delivering the digital revolution on a day to day basis.
It might be a utopian idea born from the less competitive media environment here in Cumbria, but the aim is to develop a way for media websites managers to discuss the nuts and bolts issues with people in similar jobs.
So we might be able to share tips or ask each other questions about how certain website features work or indeed whether they work.
Already we have been able to pass on work done with the Newspaper Society on ways of developing reactive moderation for forums and blogs.
You’ll find other websites that regurgitate press releases or other forums that discuss the direction of the digital revolution.
But the Digital Editors’ Network is about helping those of us who are responsible for making it happen.
We might be able to work out together the best ways to tackle issues such as search engine optimisation, maximising the potential of videos, developing ad revenues and increasing user generated content.
In many cases this can be achieved with a phone call or email to ask: Have you tried this? Or how does that feature on your website work?
Hopefully, we can do this in a way that is not constrained by the competition between rival media.
It’s early days yet, but if you want to be involved please get in touch.
Watch this space for more details of Digital Editors’ Network events at the University of Central Lancashire.

Nick Turner
Head of digital content, CN Group

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Good news for media websites

News and media websites have seen a surge in their online audiences in the last year.
That was the positive message to come out of a briefing at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston to which supporters of this digital editor’s network had been invited.
Heather Hopkins, vice-president of Hitwise UK, revealed the findings of her research into the UK online media sector and fascinating stuff it was too.
Hitwise, which monitors the proportion of visits made to sites rather than unique users, found that during 2006 news and media sites had seen a 28 per cent growth in their share of UK internet visits.
Heather, who describes herself as a “data geek” was able to provide a detailed insight into how the online media market works thanks to the way Hitwise is able to track online traffic flows, search terms and visits through its partnerships with internet service providers.
Here are some of the things that I picked out of her talk:
Surprise, surprise the BBC dominates the online media market with 15 per cent of visits After the Beeb the list according to Hitwise goes something like: Yahoo; Telegraph; Met Office; Sun; Google News; Guardian; Times; ITV.
IT media has seen a huge growth – 57 per cent. A useful tip for those of wondering which areas of content might be worth expanding on our sites.
Weather is a an area of huge interest online with BBC weather and the Met Office both featuring in the top six media sites.
Brands matter. Virtually all of the top search terms are brand names.
The Sun benefits from 18 per cent of its traffic coming from paid links ie google ad words. These can be surprisingly cheap and newspapers could do well to experiment with these to see what benefits are to be had.

More information:
You can read more from Heather Hopkins and Hitwise at The amount of information there is mindblowing.
The day at UCLan also featured a forum discussion on the challenges facing traditional media brands in the age of web 2.0. The panel included Jane Singer, Alan Moor and Mark Tungate. Hear the discussion here.