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5 innovative ideas for digital journalism from Build The News

Journalism.co.uk

The third edition of Build The News, a two-day hackathon organised by The Times and Sunday Times, took place last weekend at the News UK offices in London. Around a hundred talented developers and student journalists brought innovative ideas and prototypes to the table, competing for both the student and staff categories.

The three topics proposed by the organisers before the event were: interaction – if news organisations are getting rid of comments, how can readers be engaged?; social sources – how to ensure UGC is fairly credited; and context – how to explain to readers the wider situation and context around a certain story.

Participating teams tackled not only these categories, but many others. Here are five ideas developed and presented at Build The News:

Interactive Debate

May’s General Election is fast approaching and news organisations are looking for creative and interactive ways of engaging their audiences. The hackathon’s winning team developed a tool that can be easily applied to this particular event, but also to other types of video interviews.

Once given a video, the system generates a transcription, identifies the speakers and provides a written summary of the keywords and main topics discussed. Interactive Debate also uses natural language processing and sentiment analysis software to identify the emotional charge of the participants.

The tool can also serve journalists by providing an analytics dashboard of viewers’ engagement with the content, from most viewed to most shared or commented on.

“I have a long-standing interest in working with transcriptions”, said Pietro Passarelli, one of the team members and current MSc Computer Science student at University College London. “Having worked in the media industry on broadcast documentaries, I am always considering ways in which to make the process easier, faster and more insightful”.

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Amazon’s Dash Is The New Product You Need

Wall Street Journal

Amazon introduced a product on Tuesday so crazy we thought that it was an early April Fools’ joke. It’s the Dash Button, a plastic single-function controller the size of a pack of gum. Each button bears a different brightly colored product logo. Push the button, and soon that product arrives at your door.

In the video that accompanied Amazon’s announcement, there are Dash Buttons for Gatorade, Kraft mac and cheese, Glad trash bags, Gillette razors, Cottonelle toilet paper, Clorox Wipes, Huggies diapers and Tide detergent, and about a dozen other brands are also now partnered with Amazon. The online retailer expects that you’ll place the buttons around your home—in your pantry, on your washing machine and even inside of your fridge.

It might seem like a gag, but the Dash Button is not a hoax. Amazon is asking Amazon Prime subscribers to request an invite into the program. If accepted, you’d get to request a set of branded buttons at no added cost.

The buttons mount with an adhesive strip on the back, or fit into a plastic clip. You set up the buttons using the Amazon mobile shopping app, connecting them to your home Wi-Fi network and assigning the specific products and the quantities you’ll want to receive with each click. When the button is clicked, you get a smartphone notification, and you can cancel that order within a half hour. And if somebody in your house pushes the Gatorade button 15 times, you won’t get 15 orders—just one (or none, if an order is already on its way to you).

 

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Facebook’s New App That Will Make Video Content HUGE

Quartz

Facebook has rolled out a new app that lets friends (and subsequently their network of friends and so on) add clips to an ongoing video focused on a single topic—April Fool’s Day, for instance. It’s potentially a game-changer for advertisers on the social network, which eventually could use the app to engage directly with consumers. And it’s another example of Facebook’s growing emphasis on video.

It’s easy to envision how the new app, Riff, might have been used during last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which over the course of three months generated more than 17 million videos posted on Facebook while raising awareness and money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The video-driven campaign contributed to the huge increase in the number of video posts on Facebook last year—up 94% in the US and 75% globally. In January, the company said that video views on the social network had reached 3 billion a day. “If you go back five years ago, a lot of Facebook was primarily text, right, and a little bit of photos,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors. “Now, I think the primary mode that people are using to share is photos, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future that shifted more and more towards videos.”

Facebook’s challenge is getting users to see the value of Riff. The few companies that have ventured into this niche haven’t seen major success. JumpCam, for instance, ranks No. 1,346 in the App Store’s social networking category, according to App Annie. CompetitorsMixBitCollabraCam, and Vyclone haven’t fared much better in the rankings.

But Facebook is pressing on with its video efforts—at its developer conference last week it announced plans to bring immersive videos with 360° perspective to the social network and its virtual-reality platform, Oculus.

“What really matters is that consumers are using video on Facebook, because that gives us an opportunity, one, to provide a great consumer experience, but two, to have ads match that consumer experience,” chief operating office Sheryl Sandberg said on the company’s most recent quarterly earnings call. “If there wasn’t consumer video on Facebook, video ads in your news feed would be very jarring.”

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IDC: Serial Analysis of “Internet Plus” and Transformation of Traditional Industry – Media Industry is Experiencing Disruptive Transformation

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 IDC: Serial Analysis of “Internet Plus” and Transformation of Traditional Industry – Media Industry is Experiencing Disruptive Transformation

Beijing, March 25, 2015 – In the recent two years, IDC visited more than 30 traditional enterprises and industry clusters proceeding from the emerging mode of Internet such as e-commerce, and obtained a deep insight into the impact of Internet on traditional industry transformation and upgrade. Yolanda Zhang, Research Manager of IDC China believes that, “in the Two Sessions (the National Peoples’ Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference), Internet Plus is among the hottest vocabularies. The State for the first time encourages and supports the development of Internet as a strategic emerging industry. It can be foreseen that Internet will play a significant role in promoting industry upgrade and leading the new economic development of the whole country.”

In the upgrading process of traditional industries, advertising and media is the first industry impacted by the wave of Internet. In recent years, with the value of Internet media increasingly accepted by the market, the proportion of spending on Internet advertising has expanded steadily.

IDC analysts believe that, the impact of “Internet Plus” on the transformation and upgrading of media advertising is mainly reflected in the following four aspects:

1. Expand media resources and increase media forms: The development of Internet applications, for instance in e-commerce, has expanded the channel resources of traditional media communications. New media platforms are formed such as Web portals, e-commerce platforms, APP clients, and social media platforms, which are able to provide advertisements in the form of page ads, implanted ads, and ad search alliance.

2. Deliver ads more precisely: The traditional advertising models seek to improve  brand awareness by delivering ads on mass media platforms such as China Central Television (CCTV) and leveraging the maximum range of “bombardment”, so as to foster consumer trust and boost sales revenue growth. Advertising models based on E-commerce ecosystem tend to first filter out potential target customers through accurate analysis of user data, and then deliver ads to the targeted customers. Compared to traditional advertising models, they are more accurate and cost effective.

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CMOs Focus More On Tech To Automate Media Decisions

MediaPost

Blake Cahill, global head of digital and social marketing at Philips, manages more than 70 marketing technologies.

He is one of a growing number of marketing heads becoming inundated with technology as media silos crumble and data integrates to support cross-channel and cross-device marketing and advertising.

“Just in the customer relationship management sector, we have three or four major pieces of technology, and then underneath another three or four to manage the customer data,” Cahill said. “In the social space, we have about seven or eight pieces of technology to help with social listening, publishing, and analytics.”

Cahill is looking at technology investments to better automate media decisions and ecommerce, because as the company builds more Internet-connected products, consumers will purchase service contracts from the brand, rather than third parties like Amazon. He is also looking at adding technology around affiliate and media marketing as it relates to the triangle between search engine optimization, social optimization, and ad-serving.

For years, Gartner has been touting the majority shift in spend on technology from CIOs to CMOs. Cahill references the research firm’s forecast, which suggests that within the next few years, marketing will see CMOs spend more on new digital technology than CIOs. Not at Philips, he said, admitting that it depends on the company.

“It may be true if you’re a start-up like Uber and the model is built around marketing and customer engagement, but if you’re a larger company with an established infrastructure, the statement isn’t necessarily true,” Cahill said. “Marketing departments are making massive investments in technology to drive customer relationships and media.”

Gartner estimates that the average B2C relies on more than 50 applications and technologies to support marketing. By 2018, CIOs who build strong relationships with CMOs will drive a 25% improvement in return on marketing technology investment.

 

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Amazon Goes After Dropbox, Google, Microsoft With Unlimited Cloud Drive Storage

TechCrunch

Last year, Amazon gave a boost to its Prime members when it launched a free, unlimited photo storage for them on Cloud Drive. Today, the company is expanding that service as a paid offering to cover other kinds of content, and to users outside of its loyalty program. Unlimited Cloud Storage will let users get either unlimited photo storage or “unlimited everything” — covering all kinds of media from videos and music through to PDF documents — respectively for $11.99 or $59.99 per year.

And those who want to test drive it can do so for free for three months.

The move is a clear attempt by Amazon to compete against the likes of Dropbox, Google, Microsoft and the many more in the crowded market for cloud-based storage services. It’s not the first to offer “unlimited” storage, but it looks like it’s the first to market this as a service to anyone who wants it. Dropbox, for example, offers unlimited storage as part of Dropbox for Business, Google also aims unlimited options currently at specific verticals, with its enterprise version, Drive for Work, its closest competitor; Microsoft also offers a business user-focused service for those who subscribe to Office 365.

The idea here is to tap into the average consumer who has started to reach a tipping point with the amount of digital media he or she now owns, potentially across a range of devices and in not a very organised fashion (hello, me).

“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive, in a statement. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space–they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.”

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Top Tips On How To Prioritize Big Data

IDG Connect 0811 Top Tips On How To Prioritize Big Data

Nikhil Govindaraj is Vice President of Product at Moxie where he is responsible for all aspects of product management, product design and strategy. Nikhil has more than 15 years of experience in CRM, enterprise collaboration and multi-channel contact centres.

Nikhil shares his tips on how businesses can harness big data to enhance the customer experience.

For many companies, “big data” has become a must-have strategic tool to win more business and outsmart the competition. In particular, consumer retail businesses rely on the data they have collected about their customers to deliver everything from personalised advertising campaigns to new products that precisely target each individual’s interests.

Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of using big data to solely focus on the “buy” side of the business, but the most successful retailers understand that the overall customer experience is just as important as the sale itself.  These companies leverage big data throughout the customer journey and during every engagement in an effort to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and, yes, purchases.

These are five key ways your company can harness big data to enhance the customer journey.

1. Deliver the In-Store “Human Touch” Online with Digital Cues

Physical stores have one great advantage: Sales staff and customers engage face-to-face. This gives sales associates the opportunity to “read” customers, using visual data cues to make judgments about how best to approach a customer, such as how long someone has been comparing two products. Armed with this information, sales associates tailor their treatment to customers’ needs to best assist them with purchases. And it works—conversion rates for stores range from 10 percent for apparel to 100 percent for groceries, outpacing Internet conversion rates of just 1-3 percent (Deloitte).

When it comes to online stores, companies have focused on driving prospects to their websites, but then letting them wander around the site without any assistance or guidance. It’s one of the main reasons conversion rates have remained abysmally low. Online brands need to emulate the in-store experience by using digital cues to identify when a customer would benefit from attention to complete a transaction. For example, did the customer get an error message when processing a payment? If so, immediately offer a live chat session with an agent to help the customer solve the problem and complete the purchase.

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12 Breakout Social Media Successes

CITEworld

During the past year, the social media world saw a variety of well-executed ad campaigns, but these 12 standouts, from companies including Coca-Cola, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and McDonald’s, are the cream of the crop, according to social media experts.

Screen Shot 2015 03 30 at 12.27.01 PM 12 Breakout Social Media Successes

Ice buckets and IKEA catalogs. Girl power and friendships cemented over soft drinks. The resurrection of a cancelled TV show, and an adorable Pomeranian. These were the stuff of successful social media campaigns from major brands and organizations since the summer of 2014, as selected by the group of social media experts we queried.

The following campaigns succeeded on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other sites because of the fresh thinking and, in some cases, big money and audacious spirit that created them. Without further ado, here are 12 of the most successful social media initiatives of the past year, in alphabetical order. (For examples of earlier successful examples, read “14 Must-See Social Media Marketing Success Stories.”

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Is Responsive Design The Right Way To Design?

Medium

Editor’s Note: I’m not a technologist, however I am someone that thinks about mobile frequently from a marketing and product perspective. Below are a few of my thoughts on the role of mobile web and RWD. Comments and criticism are welcome and appreciated.


If you had asked me a few years ago whether all web developers should be building sites with responsive design, my answer would have been an emphatic “yes.”

However, I’ve been giving that question a lot of thought recently, and I think my opinion has changed.

For those of you that need a quick refresher (or for my family and friends, who read these posts despite not understanding a word of them): Responsive design is an approach to web design that attempts to adapt and resize the layout of a website across several device types. In essence, the theory suggests that a mobile and tablet version of a website should match the experience of the desktop version.

One of the biggest arguments to support responsive design is that web visitors are increasingly viewing sites from a number of different devices, and therefore, they shouldn’t have to re-learn how to navigate your site each time.

This argument makes a lot of sense. An increasing share of web consumption is occurring on mobile devices. These users don’t create a distinction between mobile and desktop consumption, so why should publishers? It also doesn’t hurt that designing a responsive site is often cheaper to create and maintain, as it doesn’t require developers to repeat changes across a number of different templates.

However, I’ve started to believe (at least for now) that following this approach may dismiss the nuances of different reading behaviors, and ignores the strengths and weaknesses that each device offers.

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Microsoft Proving it is a Software and Services Company

ZDNet

If anyone still had doubts about whether Microsoft has moved from a “devices and services” company to a “productivity and platforms” one, those misgivings should be gone as of today, March 1.

As rumored, Microsoft has struck a deal with Samsung to preload several Microsoft applications and services on the the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Android phone. At least so far, this news looks to overshadow the new low-/mid-range Windows Phone devices expected to be unveiled by Microsoft and its mobile OEM partners at Mobile World Congress this week.

The Galaxy S6 comes with all the key Google apps preinstalled, as one would expect. But it also is preloaded with Microsoft’s OneNote note-taking app and OneDrive cloud storage app/service. Samsung’s spec sheet says the S6 and S6 Edge will offer users 115 GB of free OneDrive storage for two years. From screen shots on various sites, it looks like Skype is preloaded on these new Samsung devices, too, and available via a Microsoft apps folder.

Microsoft’s mobile Office apps for Android are not part of the preload deal, which was originally reported, and later amended, by SamMobile.com. Users who want Office Mobile for Android can download it; updated versions of the mobile Office apps for Android phones are coming at a future date.

In recent months, Microsoft’s interest and ability to build really nice cross-platform applications for iOS and Android has become more evident. OneNote, OneDrive, Skype and the evolving Office universal apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows/ Windows Phone.

But today is the first time (I believe) that Microsoft has struck a deal with a non-Windows/Windows Phone OEM to preload any of its apps and services on its devices. Technically, I guess you could count the Apple-Microsoft deal via which Microsoft’s Bing search is the Web-search fallback for Siri as another example of an OEM preload deal. But to me, today’s Microsoft-Samsung deal is more of a true first in this category.

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