Throwback Thursday: Multimedia is 'the way I consume media so it should also be the way I work with it'

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In our Throwback Thursday series, we take a look at what the key figures in media were thinking in the past, based on the Journalism.co.uk archive, and how those issues can be related to the current challenges and opportunities that dominate the conversation about the digital media landscape.

Read the rest of the series here, including a special on quotes from the first two newsrewired digital journalism events organised by Journalism.co.uk in 2010.

This week, we’re exploring media news and analysis from October 2008, featuring thoughts on local media, web 3.0, and quitting a large organisation to freelance.

‘Why I quit the BBC’

As the digital landscape in which the media operated was rapidly changing, journalists and media organisations saw opportunities to experiment with their storytelling and newsgathering – but some saw them quicker than others.

Science journalist and filmmaker Angela Saini left the BBC to freelance in 2008 because her work at the broadcaster was not focused on multimedia enough, she told Journalism.co.uk in an interview.

“I was looking for the freedom to pursue my journalistic interest in science and politics, while still being able to work in multimedia.

“I found that the most incredible opportunities lay elsewhere – blogging, social media, digital video channels, not to mention the plethora of traditional outlets.

“It’s the way I consume media so it should also be the way I work with it. A single employer simply can’t offer all that variety.”

Saini’s recent work includes a new BBC radio series and two books: Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World; and Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story.

Local news outlets should become information hubs

The digital age has had a profound effect on local journalism, causing job losses and closures in communities around the UK. Speaking at the Journalism Leaders Forum at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in October 2008, a panel of representatives from local media in the UK and the US discussed ways the press could consolidate its presence in communities and use the online landscape to its advantage.

The panel agreed that local news titles should strive to become information hubs for their communities, attracting an audience that increasingly turned to the web to search for services or solutions to everyday questions.

“The general concept of ad-supported news isn’t broken… it’s the fact that we’re not building the audiences that the advertising community wants us to provide,” said digital media strategist Steve Yelvington.

To support this model, more collaboration between sales and the newsroom to foster digital skills was required.

The emergence of Web 3.0

Web 3.0, also called the semantic web, had started to become tangible in 2008 with the release of several products in the previous twelve months that showed how it could be used.

Colin Meek wrote an explainer for Journalism.co.uk in October 2008, outlining what exactly the term Web 3.0 referred to and what some of the technologies recently released at the time could allow web users to do.

He wrote that some of the products available at the time could offer a clue towards what the semantic web would be like in five years’ time. We are now a few years past that point, and certain concepts outlined do resonate – using your profile data from one platform to set up an account on another one, for example.

The commercial aspects of Web 3.0 also came into play back in 2008.

“In the semantic web, it is not just people who are connected together in some meaningful way, but documents, events, places, hobbies, pictures, you name it! And it is the commercial applications that exploit these connections that are now becoming interesting,” John Breslin, the founder of the SIOC project, told Journalism.co.uk.

See you next week for more Throwback Thursday! Do you remember any predictions that never came to pass, or any quotes that were spot on from ‘back in the day’? Tweet us at @journalismnews.

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