Last month, we caught up with Duncan Geere, just before he announced his departure from Wired.co.uk, at a PRCA event which tackled the hot topic of ‘the future of tech journalism’. Duncan sat on a panel alongside Matt Warman, Bobbie Johnson, Bryan Glick, and Mike Simons to talk about different ways of sourcing, presenting, and telling technology stories.
It’s a broad topic. In the last month we’ve seen HuffPost Live, the revolutionary new online video streaming platform launched by Huffington Post, showing yet another example of how the media is experimenting with different ways of engaging with topics and readers.
However, while the HuffPost Live approach of using trending topics from social media and blogosphere networks represents a fresh approach on one hand. On the other, we can already see more traditional media organisations making good use of social media as a means of sharing and sourcing stories.
Finding new ways to tell stories
Social media has certainly helped revolutionise the way technology journalists are finding their stories, but how about the ways in which they are being presented and told to the reader? Is the seemingly timeless ‘block of text’ approach moving towards its demise as we find different ways of communicating more effectively online?
It’s certainly a topic that interests Duncan, and we spoke to him after the PRCA event and asked him to share some examples of what he sees as possible alternatives to the ‘traditional’ article format. One that stands out was a series of ‘Google Map Mashups’ on MIBAZAAR blog that mapped out the Twitter activity in certain areas of the world simply by placing speech bubbles over the relevant location.
Geo-tagging and adding location to content makes it easier to visualise where particular activity is taking place, and its relation to the rest of the world. From the perspective of a tech PR, this may be an important consideration when telling stories that transcend international borders or apply different messages to different regions.
Another one of Duncan’s favourite experiments was a step-by-step commentary of Latitude Festival 2009 via text message. Live reporting is something that transcends areas such as politics, sports, and foreign affairs; maybe they each have ideas to offer each other.
The text message experiment is reflective of the passion for tweeting every minute of activity when attending and watching live events. It certainly adds something to the grittiness and humour of a journalist’s review. As publications compete to beat each other to exclusive content – these kinds of sound bite reporting tactics could prove invaluable, perhaps using services like Storify.
Similarly, as the landscape grows ever more competitive in the world of technology, for businesses as well as PRs, insights into what key influencers are looking for may be helpful when attempting to make your client stand out. You can check out the full video of Duncan’s interview at the ‘Future of tech journalism’ PRCA event below.