turning processes into content – 2 new ideas and a request for help

I’m working on a presentation about turning processes into content for the DNA 2008 conference in Brussels next week – and could use your help. First, here’s how the conference website describes my one hour slot – the text in bold is the key bit:

Many news and media organisations are now using reporter, programme and
editor blogs to reach out to their audiences. Most of these are add-ons
to existing output, creating a further burden upon often overstretched
production teams, but that need not be the case. Robin Hamman, a Senior
Broadcast Journalist for BBC English Regions, is the man behind the
scenes of the BBC’s Blogs Network. Part of his role is to inform
journalists and programme-makers about the usefulness of social media
tools such as RSS, social bookmarking, blogging, social networking and
photosharing. In adopting such tools, they not only make productivity
gains, but can start to more easily turn many of their existing
processes into compelling content which, potentially, will help them
reach new audiences. Likewise, blogging need not be an additional
burden on production teams – if integrated well into a programme it can
be an essential driver of content both to and from audiences.
In this
session, Robin will outline the amazing potential and opportunity that
arises when your news teams understand and use social media and blogs
in the way enthusiasts do.

As I put together my slides over the next few days, I’m also going to blog it in the hopes that you’ll be able to come up with some other ways that content producers and journalists can create content out of their processes.

The classic example, of course, is the behind the scenes video footage you get with many DVDs but in my original post on this subject I suggested that journalists and other content producers could do the following:

1. make your RSS subscriptions publicly visible (example: BBC Manchester Blog)
2. use del.icio.us or another social bookmarking service to store and share links to your background research (example: Jemima Kiss / Guardian PDA Newsbucket)
3. share your rough notes, meeting minutes and preliminary results as soon as you can (example: iPM)
4. post photos, audio and video as and of your work (example: Reuters Mobile Reporting Kit photo)
5. don’t just reply privately to emails and comments, quote from them and respond publicly (example: BBC Internet Blog)
6. spread your content around automatically using the import feature of the different blogging and social media services you use
7.  use your downtime to microblog, giving audiences a sense of immediacy (example: twitter feed for the BBC Rugby World Cup Blog)
8. blog site statistics (ranging from user numbers to social network friends – I’ll probably use TechPresident as my example)

Now for some new ideas to add to the list…

I’ve been thinking alot recently about how various services that track behaviour or movement could generate content that, in some contexts, could be interesting:

9. Tracking listening: I’d love to see the last.fm profile of a
favourite DJ or artist – it would be a great way for me to feel closer
to them and, possibly, to find new music.

It would also be interesting,
I think, to see what a journalist embedded with American soldiers in
Iraq was listening to as they camped between missions involving heavy
firefights. Metallica? Zero 7? Hendrix? Knowing would give audience
members a new link to the mindset of that reporter. I don’t have a real working example of this from mainstream media (???).

10. Tracking Movement: I’ve already suggested, in my earlier post, that, within many editorial propositions, there are opportunities for travel or movement to be of interest to the audience. You could give a sense of this via microblogging on services such as twitter, or by inputting the cities you’ll visit on dopplr, or setting your current position via Plazes or Zonetag + Flickr. But let’s take that further.

nike + ipod uses a small transmitter inserted into a running shoe which sends speed, distance covered and other data to an iPod. When the ipod is synched with itunes, it sends this data to a website where users can track and compare their statistics with those of others.


We often talk of the beat journalist yet a common criticism aimed at
journalism today is that much of it is done whilst sitting behind a
desk, staring at a computer screen. Why not use nike + ipod to show how much ground a journalist has physically covered whilst covering the story? I’m thinking this would make particularly compelling add-on content for those reporters and journalists on the campaign trail, perhaps a sports photographer or cameraman covering a sports match from the sidelines, or a DJ performing a live show. Again, I don’t have a real working example of this from mainstream media but would love to see one.

That’s ten ways that journalists and content producers can turn their processes – things they’d be doing anyway – into content without any real additional burden. What others things are you doing? Have you spotted any useful examples or inspiring implementations of any of the above? What do you think of the ten ideas I’ve outlined already – are they workable? are they compelling for audiences?

I plan to post the final presentation slides, and perhaps of video of it’s delivery, for all to share and will credit those who provide tips, links and ideas that make it in. Thanks for your help.



  1. Hi Robin
    Couple of things I’ve been playing with recently are firstly publishing my hand-picked delicious stories, as you do, but also running “From the Blogs” alongside, which is a republished tag from Google Reader:
    Also been playing with Google Calendar for events, which via Yahoo! Pipes spits out a feed which can be rendered by Google Maps to give people a visual representation of What’s On near them.
    Next thing I’m trying to do is work out a Google Spreadsheet form entry which lets people input event details themselves, lets me cast an eye over them and then plug them into the calendar, preferably automatically.
    This is how the What’s On currently looks:
    All the best

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