On Wednesday I joined scores of journalists from around the world for the news:rewired digital journalism conference organised by the good folks at Journalism.co.uk.
As always there were plenty of great speakers, representing organisations including The Wall Street Journal, the BBC, Facebook and BuzzFeed, and lots to think about as the digital revolution continues to disrupt and challenge the business of news.
Each of the sessions that took place in London this week are covered in depth on the news:rewired website, but here are the five things I took away from the conference:
I still remember the moment I realised – beyond doubt – that I wanted to be a journalist. It was the autumn of 2006 and Leo Whitlock, then editor of the Kentish Express in Ashford, had invited me into his newsroom for a week of work experience.
The work was the usual fare assigned to the eager but inexperienced: bashing out a bit of filler and the chance to grab a byline or two with some safe human interest tales. But what I remember to this day was my disbelief that this was actually considered work. Here was a room full of clever people, being nosy and argumentative, drinking tea and cracking jokes – all while producing something that thousands of people would read each and every week.
I knew immediately that this was the kind of life I wanted to experience for myself.
As a former local newspaper hack I follow lots of people on Twitter who are still involved in the industry, so yesterday I saw plenty of the #localjournalism hashtag in my feed.
This tweet from Hilary Scott really stood out for me as it chimes with some thoughts I’ve been having recently about the evolution of digital journalism and my time working on a weekly newspaper in Kent.
More than one million football fans visited Football League Interactive (FLi) websites on Wednesday, making fixture release day 2014 a record day for the network.
At 9am the fixtures for the forthcoming Premier League and Football League seasons were published and 1,002,228 unique visitors came to FLi sites during the day, a 30 per cent increase on the 736,993 visitors who came to the network on fixture release day in 2013. Total page views were also up 75 per cent to 2,411,426 compared with 1,377,467 last year.
Last month I was fortunate to be able to attend the London Social Media Summit 2014 organised by the BBC College of Journalism and the New York Times.
There were a number of interesting keynotes and panels featuring senior figures from a diverse range of organisations including the BBC, Twitter and BuzzFeed, but the talk which struck me most was delivered by director of Radar, Libby Powell.
No one likes receiving a gift clearly intended for the person who gave it rather than the person receiving it, right? So why do so many people seem to think this kind of approach will work when it comes to advertising and content marketing in the age of social and a web increasingly built on sharing?
This was the message from BuzzFeed’s VP, Advertising, Will Hayward when he spoke to an audience of advertising professionals (and this journalist) at digital agency SapientNitro in London earlier today. I’d previously heard Will’s colleagues Luke Lewis and Jack Shepherd speak at journalism conferences but their talks were focused almost exclusively on editorial, so I was keen to hear from someone firmly on the advertising side of a business many in our industry are watching closely.
Tomorrow evening I will be heading to Wembley for what is surely the biggest weekend in the Football League calendar – the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals.
On Saturday, Sunday and Monday the national stadium will be the scene of intense drama as two clubs from each of the League’s three divisions do battle for promotion. The biggest game of the weekend takes place on Saturday when Queens Park Rangers and Derby County meet in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final, a fixture dubbed the ‘richest game in football’ thanks to the huge sums guaranteed by promotion to the Premier League.