My five takeaways from the news:rewired digital journalism conference

On Wednesday I joined scores of journalists from around the world for the news:rewired digital journalism conference organised by the good folks at

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:

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London Social Media Summit 2014: Radar’s Libby Powell talks about the power of SMS reporting

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.

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The faces of the Sky Bet Play-Offs 2014

At the start of the year I joined the Football League and took on a job all about content and social media – working with colleagues in the digital team to improve and evolve the League’s online content.

In the last week or so I’ve been busy using ScribbleLive to tell the story of the play-offs, where teams in the Championship, League 1 and League 2 fight for a place at Wembley and the chance to win promotion.

One of the best bits of this live storytelling effort has been engaging with fans on social media – primarily on Twitter and Instagram – in real time to ensure that our coverage of the play-offs puts the fans front and centre throughout. This has led to me discovering lots of fantastic fan pictures shared on social and has proved to be one of the best parts of the whole experience.

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Print or social media? When it comes to trust it’s all about the messenger, not the medium

Who do you trust more, your local paper or Facebook? According to this story published by The Drum earlier today a YouGov poll has found people are far more likely to trust their local rag to inform them about what’s happening in their community than they do Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking behemoth.

Regardless of the figures YouGov turned up, this headline is the sort of thing that can usually be guaranteed to rally the digital evangelists and print die-hards for yet another clash in the cultural civil war that seems to have gripped many newsrooms in recent years.

But to see this as another excuse to rehash the tired old arguments about print versus digital would be to miss the point entirely. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that trying to quantify people’s trust in Facebook compared to their local paper is akin to asking which they trust more, the BBC or their telephone.

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Is Facebook Subscribe a social opportunity journalists are failing to grasp?

Facebook’s introduction of Subscribe in September last year and its resulting transformation into an asymmetrical social network has presented a new opportunity for connection – but is it an opportunity that is passing many journalists by?

Social media use has exploded among journalists in recent years. What only a few years ago was considered by many in the industry at best a fad, and at worst a time-wasting distraction, has now become a valued part of the reporter’s toolkit.

And the evidence around me – in newsrooms, in conversations with colleagues and online – suggests that Twitter has become the tool of choice for most. Where once Twitter was an unknown quantity, now it is almost surprising to discover a journalist isn’t using the micro-blogging service.

But is this really the best approach for us to be taking?

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Television, Twitter and the irresistible rise of media stacking

As one of the millions of people in Britain who spend their working days staring at the artificial light of a flickering computer screen, I know as well as anyone how liberating it is to come home at the end of a long day and…. spend the evening staring at the artificial light of a flickering computer screen.

Welcome to the world of media multi-tasking, of tweets and TV, of soaps and surfing.

A study into the nation’s viewing habits has revealed that more than three quarters of us are clearly hopeless tech junkies, keeping one eye on our favourite shows while browsing the web, chatting away on social media and checking our smartphones for the latest update from the virtual world.

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Rebecca Leighton and the perils of an open (Face)book

A friend working in the murky world of Westminster politics once gave me some very sound advice: “Don’t send an email if you wouldn’t be happy seeing its contents printed in the Daily Mail.” Advice which applies equally to just about every form of electronic communication in the internet age, advice which urges you to think twice before you hit send or upload that passing thought or picture.

Advice which Rebecca Leighton, arrested in connection with a series of deaths at Stepping Hill Hospital in Greater Manchester, might now wish someone had given her before she found her life splashed across the pages of this morning’s newspapers.

My first reaction on reading the coverage of the 27-year-old nurse’s arrest was this: Who in their right mind leaves their social network profiles open to the public? Haven’t there been enough scare stories about privacy in the age of Facebook to make people at least think about what they are sharing online?

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