I have enjoyed running my niche blog – Teen Hegemony – an alternative music blog with the intention of championing new music.

I chose to do a music blog because it is a topic I have a real passion for and welcomed the challenge of attracting readers given the large amount of competition out there.

Certain aspects of the blog worked well, in terms of readership it has been quite successful. By using facebook and twitter to promote my content I have received a fair number of hits (150 on my busiest day), my analytics also show the use of SEO helped to generate hits, most notably a post about a recent news story was within the first 20 results on google.

In terms of my niche I have conversations with other writers covering a similar patch and have had a couple of guests posts. However my niche was probably not unique enough and it was difficult not focusing on a specific geographic locale. This meant finding news pegs to justify my posts and there was a bit of a lack of news concerning music I like.

I have enjoyed experimenting with new technologies on my blog. The use of video has been particularly successful and I have nearly a thousand views for one of my uploads. Elsewhere I have enjoyed using maps and charts but I have sometimes been frustrated by the limits of wordpress’ free service which have prevented me from using some of the code I would have liked to.

My main shortcoming was a failure to post as often as I would have like. It was difficult to find time for regular updates and I ended up restricted to shorter posts rather than the longer, more in-depth writing I originally hoped for.

These same time constraints have seen me abandon my blog recently but it is something I would like to return to as the experience has been positive, I have received good feedback and the techniques and ideas I have picked up during the online module allowed me to develop a far stronger online presence than I had before.

In terms of the future I hope to push the blog forward by proactively searching for new music, I hope to draw more content from soundcloud and continue to experiment with new digital techniques.

https://hackbaton.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/andrewmarr/

http://teenhegemony.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/blessing-force-oxford-nme/

http://teenhegemony.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/charting-the-reunions

Robert Andrews drew upon Wired’s debate on whether the web is dead to raise some questions about the future of financing for online journalism.

He argued advertisers are trying to save money when they use Internet and as a result cannot be depended upon for investments.

Whereas tablets like the Ipad with their physical presence and potential for far more focused interaction are a far more appealing prospect for investors.

The potential revenue shift this entails had led to some proclaiming the unfocused, chaotic world of the internet will be increasing replaced by Apps.

Tim Berners-Lee, who first proposed the Internet in 1989, was quick to responded, defending the plurality of information available on the web as an essential facet of modern democracy.

I’d occupy the middle ground of this argument, while the Internet is undoubtedly a confusing, disordered environment.

But this does not take away from its liberating power in terms of both the publication and reception of information.

The rise of sites which help us to navigate the chaos – social media, search engines and RS feeds – shows people want to filter the mass of information.

We as media producers must be mindful of this and operate within these parameters.

This is why it is important for us to use SEO, for us to be accurate, consistent and authoritative.

For quality journalism has it’s role to play in ensuring the continued longevity of the internet.

A lot of journalists see four square as a valuable tool for the profession but no one has quite figured out how we’re going to use it.

In theory geolocation ties in perfectly with the trend for hyperlocal news coverage and the shift towards representing niche communities.

But while businesses such as Dominos seem to be cashing in on sites such as Foursquare, journalists seem unsure exactly how to make the service work for them.

There have been specific examples such as Wall Street Journal using a shout to warn users of a bomb scare in Time Square but no general pattern of usage seems to have caught on.

I had a think about how Foursquare could be used in music journalism but couldn’t come up with much.

There’s the possibility for realtime coverage of an event, drawing on collaborative feedback from others in attendance.

But with little possibility of opening this up to a wider readership it seems a little pointless.

I’m always keen on new ways to cover events but struggle to see a way of journalists using Foursquare.

If anyone has got a great suggestions of how music writers or other kinds of reporters can use the site I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Until then I remain open minded yet skeptical.

Data journalism is one of the fastest growing practices in modern reporting and for good reason; just look at Wikileaks’ and the Cablegate revelations.

There are elements of data analysis which can be used at every stage of the journalistic process.

Search engines and data scrapping can be used to source information as a basis for stories.

Done correctly such techniques can be used to bring together a variety of different sources and give a detailed overview of a topic.

Then by interrogating the data using computer programs one is able to draw out complex trends and patterns from the raw data.

Finally by visualising the data, journalists are able to present their findings to the audience in a way which makes even complicated stories easy to understand.

Some of the biggest stories in the past few years have been played out in these terms.

The publications breaking the story of the leaked embassy dispatches made information accessible using techniques such as Der Spiegel’s Flash map and the Guardian’s exclusive mini sight.

Here users could access use a interactive database to filter the information and find articles they were interested in, alongside copies of the original cables.

For another important element of data journalism is the sharing of sources.

This adds authenticity to your work and allows collaborative efforts to further improve the quality of your journalism.

A large part of Joanna Geary’s lecture on community at the Times was given to discussing the relationship between a publication and its readership.

Citing Rupert Murdoch’s American Society of Editors Speech in 2005, she said many newspapers have lost touch with their audience and are more concerned with what the story is than who actually wants it.

By asking us to look at our own reasons for wanting to be journalists she challenged us to think about the extent to which we serve an audience.

Journalism is not about satisfying our egos but about listening to what other people want; too often we look down on the audience and think we know better.

It is tempting to seek out things we think are exciting but people should tell us what the action is and we should find out about it for them.

Newspapers need to reflect this ideal with their online presence as much as in their print.

Rather than getting obsessed with analytics, websites should look at how they represent a community of people.

In the case of the times this is made easier for them because their Paywall allows them gain a greater understanding of their audience.

Because they have a greater understanding of their customers’ wants they are able to gear their content towards them specifically.

But the main challenge the Times now faces is to develop interaction with this audience and involve them in a conversation over the future of the brand.

The BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones led an interesting discussion into rolling news and coverage of the protests at the rise of student tuition fees.

Some felt the shocking nature of the images, coupled with a location easily accessible to BBC journalists, dictated a specific response from rolling news services and this may have distorted subsequent coverage of the events.

The discussion then looked at how, despite providing more coverage in terms of time, rolling news actually gives an audience less stories.

Mr Cellan-Jones used the example of BBC News 24’s coverage of the Soham murders. At times the BBC cut away from this story to cover other events. This lost them a large amount of viewers and since then they have mainly focused on one large headline.

Many agreed the format worked best in terms of a breaking event such as the Chilean miner rescue, where the audience feels as though they are watching history unfurl.

Robert Leedham brought up the topic of Raul Moat and Mr Cellan-Jones said: “This story would never have played out the way it had if it wasn’t for 24 hour rolling news coverage.”

The discussion concluded with speculation about the future of rolling news services and whether, given the low audiences they attract, they can survive the ever increasing popularity of online news.

Adam Tinworth’s lecture provided a convincing answer to the questions about what blogs should and shouldn’t be, which were dredged up by the Andrew Marr debacle.

Striking the balance between objectivity and readability can be hard particularly on a personal blog. However Mr Tinworth’s 4 point system is an easy way of overcoming this stumbling block.

Pointing to the medium’s birth as the Weblog Mr Tinworth said how blogging is all about interacting with your audience, taking part in a conversation which is flexible and involving.

He said that the format most conducive to this is as follows:

  1. Content – Something you find interesting and wish to share with the world. This can be a link, a photo, a video, a piece of music, anything which will capture peoples imagination.
  2. Context – Provide some illuminating background to what you have posted. This should grab and hold your audience by enhancing their understanding and appreciation of the content.
  3. Discussion – Possibly the most difficult aspect of blogging but one of the most important. You need to stimulate the conversation by drawing people into the issues and making them consider the facts. Though this may require playing devils advocate it is not about pinning your colours to the mast.
  4. Opinion – Lastly, because it is least important, you put forward your opinion on the issue. This gives character to your post providing it with a human element to which people will relate. This will develop the discussion and perpetuate the conversation.