Bandwidth » Media http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth Insights from H&K Canada's social media strategy team Fri, 07 Jan 2011 21:05:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Open File – journalism, wide open http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/08/open-file-journalism-wide-open/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/08/open-file-journalism-wide-open/#comments Sun, 09 May 2010 01:51:13 +0000 Michelle Sullivan http://michellesullivan.ca/?p=1822 This new journalism project by Wilf Dinnick has piqued my interest (piqued being a giant understatement). Definitely one to add to your Google Reader:

Welcome to the beginnings of OpenFile.ca, a new voice for local news.

We are warming up, getting ready to unveil our website in just two weeks. We promise to provide smart, original, insightful stories about the places and topics that matter most to the people of Toronto.

For me, OpenFile represents a fresh chapter in my journalism career, which began more than 20 years ago in this city. As a video journalist at CBC Television, I was the night reporter, handling breaking local news – going live here, whipping over there for an interview.

After working in all of Canada’s national network newsrooms, I became the Middle Eastern correspondent for ABC News, then an international correspondent for CNN. I reported from Africa, Asia, North America and all over the Middle East. I covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tsunamis and civil conflicts. These were big stories, but they taught me that all news starts as local news.

Over the past few years I’ve watched the news business change dramatically. Big media companies have struggled to figure out how to adapt to the way people are getting their news in the digital age. My biggest fear was that real journalism, stories that affect you and your community, would get lost as traditional news outlets scrambled to come up with a quick fix that would lure back their dwindling audiences.

We are not trying to replace daily newspapers or newscasts. We do not have the answer to all the questions that are keeping journalists like us awake at night. But we believe that journalism cannot evolve without input from you, the reader, so we’re trying something different. At OpenFile, readers can collaborate with our reporters and editors, creating a place for great storytelling to flourish.

When I returned to Canada last year, I got together a group of journalists and clever web thinkers and developers whom I admired. We spent months huddled over our kitchen tables, scribbling on Post-it notes, arguing and eating a lot of takeout before agreeing on this approach.

We asked some smart venture capital people to help develop a business plan. We did the “finance dance” for about five months and raised some money. We moved into an old factory in Toronto’s west end, and here we are.

We’ll start by doing one thing – local news – and doing it well. The internet is full of aggregators powered by search engines that spit out the same story over and over. We’re not like that. We’ll assign real reporters to cover the developments that affect your communities and neighbourhoods.

Toronto is our start.

This will be your site! Think of it as a work in progress, because we want to know how you feel about what we’re doing.

Wilf
Founding Editor and CEO

wilf@openfile.ca

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Social Media or just “Media”? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2009/10/14/social-media-or-just-%e2%80%9cmedia%e2%80%9d/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2009/10/14/social-media-or-just-%e2%80%9cmedia%e2%80%9d/#comments Wed, 14 Oct 2009 12:08:41 +0000 Brendan Hodgson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/brendanhodgson/?p=329 It caught the attention of many folks around the web. Mine as well. And from a PR agency perspective – let alone a corporate perspective – it is more critical than most of us likely imagine.

For the past three months, I’ve been consumed by my new role – that being to help guide H&K’s digital corporate and public affairs offering across both the US and Canada - commuting 3 days a week to Washington, DC – and learning a lot through exposure to new colleagues and new clients. At the same time, I’ve noticed that some of the same challenges exist that I faced in my Canadian-only role, challenges encapsulated by Adam Tinworth of One Man and His Blog in his October 7 post: “On the web, social media is just media“. In it, he expounds on a recent Tweet where he stated:

Officially bored of the phrase “social media” now. I’m just going to call it “media” and everything else can be “anti-social media”.

An off-the-cuff comment in under 140 characters perhaps. But when viewed through the lens of our industry, the importance of it cannot be understated. The past few years have been tumultuous as consultants and corporations, governments and media attempted to navigate this minefield of new behaviours, expectations and technologies. “Hype” and the myriad missteps along the way could – for the most part – be forgiven.

However, if communications agencies are to survive and thrive in the years ahead, the thinking that social media is something different from what we have traditionally done must be leeched – from corner offices to cubes. We must start thinking of it in the context of “media”… mainstream, social or otherwise. It must be holistic, it must be integrated, and it must be informed. If we don’t, it will remain sidelined, a novelty, the last slide within a deck, the last page within a proposal or RFP, bereft of substance, misinformed by hype, and the realm of junior consultants. As a consequence, our own relevance will likely, and all too soon, be seen as equally “optional” and throw-away.

The “hype” and novelty is over. It is a call-to-action that must now be heeded.

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