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Panpa Bulletin : February 2010
www.panpa.org.au I F YOU’VE been following our asso- ciation updates in the new year, you might have noticed a few changes around the place. At PANPA we try to keep apace with (almost) all methods of com- municating with our membership. To this end, the association has a new website, with an increased mul- timedia presence and social media strategy to go along with it. We’ve invested in video production, purchasing a video-capable digital S LR camera and editing software. We went with a Canon 7D over a dedicated video camera for the added flexibility – it takes stills, which we need for The Bulletin, and it also shoots great-looking HD video. It’s also cheaper than a pro cam- corder. There are drawbacks – the audio recording isn’t great, and clip lengths are capped at around 12 minutes for higher resolution video. Due to previous work in com- munity radio, we both own our own audio recorders, Zoom H4’s, with which we’re able to capture audio separately, as well as use as a stand alone recorder for making podcasts. As part of PANPA’s social media strategy, we have created accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Bebo and Friend- ster. With these accounts we are able to distribute information about what PANPA is up to, like putting out the weekly ezine and The Bulletin. We’re also able to experi- ment with what the medium can offer. We are able to track people down who we need to contact - finding peo- ple on Twitter is much easier than tracking down email ad- dresses and phone numbers. Response times are often halved when messaging through these sites as well. Twitter allows us to keep up with events and get personal opinions from CEOs, journalists and other commentators on these issues fairly instantly. Re-tweeting people’s comments and responding to tweets is an im- portant part of social networking. It doesn’t work as efficiently if you are only tweeting your own information. Facebook operates differently. It is a way to promote PAN PA and keep fans of the page in the know about what’s happening in the office. But it is also a more stable online place where we can create a profile. Photos of past events can be browsed, pho- tos are stored, and PANPA videos are uploaded. We have also started integrating Twitter and Facebook with our email - adding ‘Follow me on Twitter’ and ‘Join me on Facebook’ buttons on our ezine letters, increasing the reach of all media. Bebo and Friendsters are new ventures from the PAN PA team. Although we are based in Sydney our member base is much wider. To make sure we are in touch with all our members, we have joined Bebo which is popular in New Zealand, and Friendster which is popular in Singapore. Our aim is to improve our own communication with members, and also be a modest case study for how newspapers might better use these technology alternatives. We love the printed newspaper, of course. But one cannot deny the emerging influence of social media; and we all need understand how our readers use it, and how we can embrace it for mutual and profitable benefits. @PANPA Your industry association is embracing new media PANPA’s Nick Evershed using the new video equipment . . . prices are falling and the technology is getting easier to use all the time NPA Nick Evershed Rebecca Leaver Canon 7D with 15-85 mm lens: A$3,000 Manfrotto Tripod, fluid video head & bag: A$749 Zoom H4 with Cubase LE: A$390 I N June last year, publishing software house EzyMedia won the contract to build the new website for PANPA. The vision was to create a cut- ting-edge media association site that exemplified best practice and added significant value to its membership. The association had a modest budg- et and wanted to build a website that would be within reach and technical capabilities of a small newspaper. Association CEO Mark Hollands said there was no point in trying to emulate the major publishers, as they had deeper pockets, more staff and a greater capacity for innovation. If the association could provide some guidance or even inspiration for regional and local titles, then he thought the effort would be worth- while. He selected EzyMedia for the task because it had worked with local Australian newspapers, and its CEO, John Hancock, had been to more than 100 papers to try to gauge what they might want from a web presence. Mr Hancock said: “Most custom- ers usually only want a fraction of what we are capable of doing at EzyMedia. “When PANPA told me they wanted everything and then some, I knew we were in for a ride.” The association and EzyMedia brainstormed ideas around who are and who could become PANPA’s members, and what they might want from an industry group. There was a strong desire to em- brace social media and use many of the emerging Web 2.0 technologies. Mr Hancock, who uses program- mers and web analysts in India, said the build had its challenges. “Tailored design was a new area for us,” said Mr Hancock. “Most of our resources were focused on the underlying technology, the engine (of software code) behind our websites.” Mr Hollands said: “No one should underestimate the difficulty of creat- ing a website – especially when you are starting from scratch. “We changed our mind a lot. And EzyMedia was flexible. Frankly, they let us get away with murder. “We all worked through the issues constructively and EzyMedia proved itself to be a company of high integri- ty. There was complete transparency throughout the project, which was essential. And importantly, we kept to budget.” Mr Hancock founded EzyMedia in 2006 just two years after launching a full-colour Canberra newspaper called, The Word, which circulated 35,000 copies a month. It inspired him to raise venture capital to build a content and sales management system for community newspaper publishers. EzyMedia has now built websites for 25 community newspapers and recently signed a contract with the Australian Defence Newspaper Group. It has plans to expand to the United States. PANPA’s Mr Hollands said: “Judging a website can be very objective – a bit like critiquing the layout of a front page. Some mem- bers will like it, and some won’t. No one is saying this new site is digital perfection. “What I hope we can do is take away some of the mystique of pub- lishing in a digital format for smaller newspapers. “We’re getting stuck into social media, like Twitter. Who knows whether that is a good thing or not? We’re just trying to fish where the fish bite – and social media is a pretty good place to be. “For print journalists to be a success on the web, you need a capability to tell a good yarn and the courage to try new stuff, get it wrong, and keep going until you get it right; or at least you think you have. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” The new PANPA website . . . featuring video, audio, interactive features such as polls, and all done on a budget Cutting edge on a modest budget The guidelines to which EzyMedia have tried to maintain include: Easy to navigate Daily, relevant and informative content Involvement of members Industry events calendar Sponsorship opportunities for members A members’ directory Automated e-newsletters based on ag- gregated website content Leading media technologies, eg RSS, Video, Blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. • • • • • • • • For more information on how EzyMedia approaches web development, visit: www.ezymedia.com or contact John Hancock on +61 466 281 755. Did you miss it? Big News result NEWS Corporation has led the way back to profitability for news publishers, register- ing a $US254 million profit for the quarter ending December 31. Its global newspaper business grew globally by $US59 million to $US259 mil- lion for the quarter. Australian newspapers registered slightly lower operating revenues, down 5 percent in ads and 3 percent in circulation, AAP reported. On top of lower operating costs across the entire business, the Wall Street Journal increased revenue, including a 14 percent spike in digital revenues. Support for journalists THE London-based Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) launched last month and is seeking to share its expertise and serv- ices in the Asia-Pacific region. The group, composed of journalists and me- dia lawyers, provides financial and legal sup- port to journalists and media outlets in need of protection for their right to free expression. MLDI will provide support when a jour- nalist is threatened with imprisonment, other criminal penalties, financial ruin, has suffered violence or a media outlet faces clo- sure as a consequence of legal proceedings. For more information, go to www.mldi.org; or contact PANPA. The PANPA Bulletin | MARCH, 2010 | 15