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Chapter 10: Managing News as a Conversation

Questions and challenges for the modern journalism:

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  • How to maintain objectivity or credibility
  • Legal and ethical issues with publishing freedom for everyone
  • How to gather the audience

With social networking tools and blogs embedded on news sites, conversing the news is possible. One can converse through comments or social networking (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.). This can enable tremendous ways to communicate and collaborate with the audience, despite potential problems due to anonymity. The benefits to news as a conversation include:

  • Transparency
  • Immediate feedback
  • Spread of news through word-of-mouth marketing

The 1-10-100 rule for participatory online communities:

  • 1 percent of the user community — including the journalists on news sites — actually create content
  • 10 percent of the user community will “synthesize” the content by posting a comment, e-mail, blog post or a link from a separate site.
  • 100 percent of the user community will benefit from actions of the first two groups.

Some of successful Web sites that utilizes user-generated communities are Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube. User-generated communities do not cost money. However, it takes a great amount of time, energy and resources to build the sufficient community for the purpose. Major tasks for creating user-generated communities include:

  • Evangelizing the brand
  • Soliciting the content
  • Moderating comments, blogs and other user submissions
  • Solving user problems
  • Staffing booths at weekend events
  • Running contests to drive traffic

Some of ways to keep your user-generated communities clean and safe:

  • Don’t editorialize
  • Consider if public disclosure of someone close to you may become embarrassment to them.
  • Monitor offensive postings
  • Know your legal responsibilities
  • Correct errors
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