Archive for November, 2009

Digital Journal launches enhanced mobile news site

November 20th, 2009

In case you missed the announcement, the company I work with ( announced a major upgrade to its mobile site today. Visitors will now be able to submit news, blogs and images using smartphones anywhere in the world. Anyone with a cellphone is a citizen journalist.

The new mobile site is available by visiting from your cellphone.

We’ve made this announcement because the greatest asset for any news outlet is the ability to have reporters file a story or submit a photo from wherever they are. Whether it’s from a house in the suburbs of Toronto, the scene of an accident in Barcelona, a press conference in Cape Town or a crowded street in Beijing, people all over the world now have the ability to instantly submit blogs, news images and more to via their cellphone.

Digital Journal’s new mobile site includes a long list of  enhancements and features for mobile news junkies and roving reporters. Think of this as a comprehensive iPhone app that doesn’t require an iPhone, because the site will work on any smart hone. All you need is an Internet connection on your mobile device.

Among the improvements and new features, visitors to will see:

Comprehensive content: Digital Journal’s mobile site now boasts more content, and a lot more to do. You can now read or submit news and blogs, view or submit images, browse through groups, comment on virtually everything and click on anyone’s name to see recent activity. The mobile site is a completely portable social news network.

Submit news: If you’re a Digital Journalist, simply click “Post News” and provide a headline, keywords and details of your article. You can save a draft to see how it looks and then publish it when your draft is ready and polished up. All Digital Journalists are paid for their news reports (more info).

Post blogs: Every member of the site can now publish a blog from It may not be a news report but something fun worth sharing. Click on the link to blogs from the top of the page and you can post a blog on any topic from wherever you are.

Submit images: Every member of the site has been given a secret email address they can use to submit images. From your mobile device, you can email pictures to this secret address and they will automatically be uploaded to the site with your name listed as the photographer. You can then add your images to any article or blog post across the site, even if someone else wrote the post. It’s mobile content crowdsourcing!

Share: You can now share articles, blogs and images with your friends, family and coworkers from using our embedded sharing tools. Publish directly to Facebook or Twitter while on the go.

Groups: What would a social news network be like without Groups? Visit and you can view recently active Groups on the site. You can join any Group and then publish blogs and share info directly with that Group’s members.

Vote for articles: If you’re logged in to the mobile site, all articles come with a vote button. If you enjoyed reading it, vote it up because your input helps sort news on the front page.

Mobile editors: All Digital Journalists can also edit while on the fly. Using your mobile phone, you can click “edit” on any article and make revisions or add information to any story. Writers have to approve changes before they are implemented on the site (more on how this works).

Listen to any article using ReadSpeaker: We’ve been testing this for some time now and it’s been a huge success. Anyone who visits can click “Listen to article” and have ReadSpeaker read articles out loud to them. This is a great feature if you’re busy driving or cooking supper, for example, all thanks Voice Corp.

There are a lot more features available, so all you have to do is visit from your mobile phone and get in on the action.

Study: Despite rise in social media, content shared mostly by email

November 16th, 2009

A new study released by SocialTwist, the company that makes the content-sharing widget Tell-A-Friend, has revealed habits behind how people share content online. SocialTwist’s “Social Media Sharing Trends 2009 Report” is based on the behavioral analysis of 10 million referral messages sent using Tell-a-Friend.

Among the study’s major findings: Top channels of sharing include email, instant messenger (IM) and social networking sites.

SocialTwist says despite all the buzz around “social media,” nearly 60 percent of overall sharing happens by email, followed by IM (25 percent) and then social networks (14 percent).

Among social media trends, SocialTwist says Twitter is not regarded as a sharing platform, and instead perceived as a news broadcast platform. A mere 5 percent of shared information flows through Twitter.

In an interview with, SocialTwist president Vijay Pullur said, “Twitter is so popular and has been growing like crazy. But if you look at the data, the usage is extremely low. It has been picking up a little bit lately, but not much. What appears to me is that the world of Internet users is a lot bigger than the tech savvy world you and I live in.”

The study also reports bookmarking sites are losing their foothold on the Web, as more people opt for sharing within their own social networks like Facebook. In the  bookmarking space, Digg is the most popular at 44 percent market share, followed by Google Bookmarks (12 percent) and Delicious (11 percent). That said, SocialTwist says only 2 percent of sharing happens on bookmarking sites today.

Facebook is more popular than MySpace when it comes to sharing content online, and LinkedIn ranks the lowest when it comes to social media sharing.

The data also shows Yahoo is the most used email service (44 percent), followed by MSN Mail (25 percent). “Gmail is way behind,” the study reports, at 19 percent.

Yahoo and Microsoft also own the biggest piece of the IM pie, with 49 percent of people using Yahoo Messenger, followed by 34 percent who use MSN Messenger, followed by GTalk at 15 percent.

And finally, in the world of blogging WordPress is king, with 45 percent of people using it, followed by 42 percent who use Blogger. Other sites such as Live Journal, Xanga, TypePad and Movable Type make up the balance of the blog platform pie.

TechCrunch writer Paul Carr, Jeff Jarvis spar over citizen journalism ethics and accuracy

November 12th, 2009

If you’ve been following the world of citizen journalism in the wake of the tragedy that struck at Fort Hood, you’re likely familiar with the debate that has emerged about ethics in reporting and whether or not citizen journalists went too far in reporting the shooting.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the debate, here’s the primer: Paul Carr, a columnist for the blog TechCrunch wrote a controversial post that chastised a citizen journalist’s coverage in the wake of the Fort Hood shooting. Then, a soldier at Fort Hood was using Twitter to post updates as they happened. The person also uploaded an image of a soldier being rushed into hospital. In the post, Carr brought up ethical questions around a citizen journalist uploading an image of a wounded soldier and asked about the implications of incorrect information being disseminated on Twitter.

Was this soldier wrong to tweet about what was happening? What are the implications of reporting incorrect information via social media? Is “process journalism” dangerous because facts are not always clear in the moment? Was it wrong to upload an image of a wounded solider?

These are among the talking points currently being debated in the media sphere.

For those of you interested in learning more, and hearing both sides of the argument, I’m embedding a radio debate below. The debate is between the TechCrunch author Paul Carr and journalist Jeff Jarvis, a strong supporter of citizen media, on New York’s public radio station WNYC. Carr defended his article, while Jarvis comes out swinging.

Digital Journal Launches Assignment Desk powered by Twitter

November 5th, 2009

Part of the daily editorial routine on the news site I operate ( is assigning stories to writers; we often reach out to Digital Journalists in various parts of the world if something local needs coverage.

We also operate a virtual Assignment Desk so any Digital Journalist can click “Post News” on the top of the page and see a list of top stories that need coverage on the site.

Yesterday we introduced a new initiative with our Assignment Desk: We’re using Twitter. We’re interested to see how effective this initiative will be to encourage Digital Journalists to cover various stories. The feed is also available on Twitter for citizen journalists who need ideas for news to publish on their own sites.

We hope an embedded Twitter widget will broaden perspective and coverage, keep the Assignment Desk updated more frequently and allow us to reach out to people all over the world for news tips.

Any Digital Journalist who clicks “Post News” will now see the embedded widget (here’s what it looks like) and the Assignment Desk will update in real-time as we add more stories to the feed. (If you want to become a Digital Journalist, click Post News at the top-right part of the homepage)

We’ll feature top news from around the world, including developing and breaking news. We’ll also use the Twitter Assignment Desk as a way to reach out to citizen reporters and mainstream journos around the globe. If you have a story idea, suggestion or news tip you can of course contact us via our website, and you can now also simply tip off our editors by sending a tweet to @djassignments on Twitter.

You can also follow @djassignments on Twitter for updates and links to breaking news.