How to microblog in high heels

A geek girl's guide to social media and online engagement

Lost in Denmark #3: #Dona conference and visiting dr.dk

dr.dk offices in Copenhagen, Denmark

Last year I visited the Danish School of Journalism in Arhus to join a conference on hyperlocal journalism.

I was lucky enough to this year join the Danish online news association (Dona) for their regular meetup and speak alongside Kurt Westh Nielsen on ‘engaging with users for news organisations’.

Kurt has been speaking to a number of news publishers across the globe from the New York Times and meeting Rob Malda from slashdot to Le Monde to get an idea of the best practise for engaging with users.

He said speaking to Jay Rosen was inspiring, who fully believes that the user knows more than you do, and argues that journalists still need to overcome the fear that their ideas will be stolen if they work in an open way.

From speaking to many subjects, Kurt came up with a list of future competences for journalists (please be aware these are based on my notes):

  1. Engage in a dialogue with users
  2. Don’t be lazy – try out new platforms
  3. Digital journalism rewards specialist knowledge
  4. Refer each other (colleagues) to new digital platforms
  5. Communications between users – interact
  6. Share and request ideas from users

Kurt had also put together an (in progress) diagram for how different social media networks are performing against each other based on a metric system he created for measuring social success (which scored networks for things like togetherness – a presence of other users) – you can see a hazy picture of the diagram here.

He also had devised this handy checklist for journalists on good and bad uses of social media – some of this may be basic, but it’s worth remembering:

YES:

  • Write new versions for separate channels
  • Cross reference your other personal identities
  • Experiment!
  • Use social media to learn
  • Refer to other colleagues and good sources

NO:

  • Multiple channel streams
  • Not one personal identity doing it/or a general identity
  • Bombard users with content spam
  • Appeal to people’s common sense, don’t implement social media rules

Meeting dr.dk and other news organisations

While visiting Copenhagen I also met up with Marie Bering from the third biggest national newspaper in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten (JP), and Katrine N. Jensen, news editor and Lars DamgaardNielsen, social media editor, from the online outlet for the Danish version of the BBC – dr.dk. 

Interestingly in Denmark – Facebook use far outweighs Twitter – with more than half of the Danish population (5.5m) using Facebook rather than just 70,000 on Twitter – although many believe Twitter will grow to be used as a mass social network in Denmark soon too.

I won’t go into the details of my conversations with Katrine, Marie and Lars as some of the information they shared is commercially sensitive, but the general impression from the trip – after speaking to journalists from the biggest national newspaper Politiken, as well as Peter From Jacobsen from the Danish School of Journalism’s research centre Update.dk, is that some Danish media are still struggling to convince managing editors of the value of engaging with users via comments and social media. They are experimenting with different business models including the freemium idea that a certain amount of news content is free before extra niche/feature content is paid for, with Facebook commenting systems and social sign in methods to validate users on their sites.

Royal and parliament buildings in Denmark

Some projects of interest from dr.dk include their following of election candidate’s activities on Facebook (not sure we could even do this in the UK!). Dr.dk also recently launched this great interactive for browing some of the latest data from parliament on Copenhagen and the country’s budget.

Finally here’s a huge thank you to Peter From Jacobsen for organising parts of the trip, Jon Lund from Dona, and Katrine from dr.dk for chatting to me about some of the things going on in Danish media at the moment. I will follow with sincere interest!

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