In charts: New report for CIRCOM Regional on social media and community in regional European broadcasters

Over the past few months I’ve been researching a report for CIRCOM Regional, the association of regional public service broadcasters in Europe. It has just been published at CIRCOM’s Annual Conference, held this year in Croatia. The report, all 93 pages of it, examines the social media and online community activities of 39 regional stations across 31 different countries, from the perspective of the user.

It has been a fascinating piece of research to carry out and shows that stations across the continent are using social media and interacting with their audience in quite different ways. You can read the report in full on the CIRCOM Regional website. Here are a few charts that show the broad picture of regional station’s engagement with the key social platforms:

Twitter

Twitter-Regional

 

Twitter-time-frame

{Above: Year regional stations joined Twitter}

Facebook

Facebook

Facebook Join
{Above: Year regional stations joined Facebook}

YouTube

YouTube


YouTube join
{Above: Year regional stations joined YouTube}

Instagram

Instagram join
{Above: Year stations joined Instagram}

Instagram type{Above: Type of activity from regional stations on YouTube}

Interactions and user generated content

interactions

Interactions type

{Above: Types of interactions}

There’s a lot in the report, it looks at trends across the region as well as briefly examining each station. It has been a most enlightening exercise for me and I believe a relevant document for anyone with an involvement, or interest, in broadcasting, regional or otherwise, in Europe right now. Full report available here.

From IPO to email: Reflections on social, community and content in 2013

I gave a guest lecture earlier this week in DCU to final year and masters’ multimedia students . For the lecture, I decided to take a look back over 2013 and pick out some of the key things that happened in social, community and content and how they have affected, or might affect, media companies. Thought I’d share some of them here also:

Video-slide-edit
2013 was another huge year for video. Media companies with any sense made it a large part of their strategies. I could easily write a half-dozen posts just on video and the major developments, but here I’m only going to talk about the trend towards shorter videos.

Vine was introduced to iOS users in January with an upward limit of six seconds. Its simple format uncomplicated video, making it easy to shoot and even easier to upload. Soon after it launched, media organisations started to try it out as a distribution platform. One company that has been using it well is Ireland’s RTÉ, which has been leveraging the platform to showcase its archives. Archive material can be inaccessible but using Vine brings it to a new audience. Here’s an example: buying the Christmas turkey in Ireland, 1964. A month after its iOS launch Vine was used to cover a news event when reporter Tulin Daloglu used it after the bombing of the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey. In many senses Vine was just the catalyst as it was Instagram that took the ball and really ran with it.

In June, Instagram added video to its product, enabling users to create clips of up to 15 seconds. Smartly, Instagram allowed users to upload videos shot outside the confines of the app, which meant media organisations could edit and produce content before uploading. I really like what mobile news start-up NowThis News has done with Instagram as a distribution platform in recent months. Here are a few examples: Syria, the UN and chemical weapons, ice rink opening in Tehran, photos of winter storm Dion from the community.

On the news gathering side, Storyful’s Malachy Browne recently wrote a good blogpost on Instagram as a source of news video, it’s worth a read.

slide2-IPO
We really began to experience the impact of Facebook’s 2012 IPO this year. A week didn’t go by without a new headline about a possible or confirmed change to the social networking site’s ad platform or its News Feed (this week it was auto play videos in the News Feed). Facebook is clearly pushing hard to generate revenues and keep investors happy. A lot of page managers had anecdotally talked about organic post reach falling, but Ad Ages’s story earlier this month seems to have confirmed this. This change certainly affects brands marketing products, but it is likely to also have an impact on news sites that built large audience numbers on their Facebook pages (often spending to do so) as a way to drive traffic to their sites. Facebook wants pages owners to pay to reach the audiences they have built. This is definitely something to watch in 2014 as Facebook continues its experiments with the News Feed.

2013 brought Twitter’s IPO. Like Facebook, we’ve been hearing a lot about changes to Twitter’s ad platform with users receiving emails every week encouraging them to advertise to build audience. It’s early day yet, but it’s inevitable that the public nature of the company will mean an increased focus on revenue-driving measures in 2014, which will have knock-on effects on users, brands and media.

It is worth noting that both platforms invested in reaching out to big media companies this year.

Slide3-social
Content created with social in mind (like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Distractify, ViralNova) boomed in 2013. Upworthy, which launched in 2012, had a huge impact this year. According to Newswhip, which analyses and ranks publishers in terms of social sharing, Upworthy didn’t feature in the top 40 social sharing websites in 2012, but by 2013 this year it had charged into the number 5 spot above The New York Times, the Daily Mail and the Guardian. It’s a feat that is even more interesting when you consider that, on average, Upworthy only publishes 250 stories a month, substantially less than its social-sharing-focused competitors. There are some good practices within Upworthy – most notably that staff members write 25 headlines for each piece of content they post (good explainer on this here). I also think its tagline is so simple: ‘Things that matter. Pass ‘em on.’ In just six words Upworthy tells users what it is and what it would like users to do. I’m not sure exactly how long the Upworthy formula can sustain but we’ll continue to keep an eye on it.

Buzzfeed’s announcement that its partner sites received a huge boost in referral traffic from Facebook is significant. Traffic from Facebook referrals to Buzzfeed’s 200 partner network sites are up 69% from August to October of this year. Facebook is placing a premium on, and rewarding content that is entertaining, funny and valuable.

There are some drawbacks, of course, to this. Firstly, let’s not forget what happened with content farm Demand Media, which is now valued at a quarter of its peak value. Demand Media created content to appear in multi-word searches. However, Google’s shift in its algorithms made content from websites like Demand Media’s a lower priority, drastically reducing traffic to its site. I think it’s a cautionary tale for sites that hitch their wagons to platforms like Facebook relying on them for almost all their traffic. Bryan Goldberg wrote an interesting piece on why viral content is a bad business model, it’s a must read.

With Facebook’s algorithms placing an emphasis on content created for a social audience it’s likely going to lead to smaller markets becoming even more competitive and it will become more challenging for straight news sites to get traction on these platforms.

slide4-email

Email newsletters have, of course, been around for a very long time, but for a lot of news organisations they were farmed out to someone very junior to write or pulled direct from the RSS feed. I don’t know why organisations bother sending these mails, they are so ineffective.

However this year there have been some changes to the once humble email newsletter with the likes of Quartz, Circa and recently-launched Ampp3d leading the charge. This is mostly for two reasons they’re writing emails with mobile users in mind and secondly the mails sound like they’ve been written by a human (a simple thing really, but how many email newsletters do you get that feel like they’ve been written with you in mind?).

Quartz sends its email in the morning (it has three regions for users to select from), emails are around 800 words long and are perfect for a commuter, containing links not only to Quartz stories, but other links to stories on other sites that people should watch for, things that happened while readers were sleeping, matters for debate, Quartz’s obsession interlude and surprising discoveries. I also like that the emails tell me to have a productive day – it’s a nice sign-off for a business-focused website. The email is good set-up, digest for the day and one that is clearly worth reading. A recent column from the Monday Note shared an insight that Quartz’s daily mail goes through four people, including two editors, before it is sent.

Circa sends only one email a week on a Friday evening with a pick of its stories curated from the week. The most important point about the Circa mail is that it’s designed (like everything Circa does) with mobile in mind. Ampp3d, the new data-driven spin-out from the Trinity Mirror group, also has a very nice email, it’s probably the most ‘human’ of the three examples.

slide5-collaboration

Organisations and their audiences have been working collaboratively now for some time. User generated content projects from the BBC and CNN are seven/eight years old. However, I think this year we saw some interesting steps towards proper collaboration between news orgs and audience.

In particular, I think Storyful’s Open Newsroom project is a great example of collaboration between a news org and the wider community. There are more than 460 confirmed members so far. Anyone can watch the process, but only verified members can contribute – thus keeping it open but reducing excessive noise and confusion. In August, the Open Newsroom played a key role helping Storyful to verify videos emerging from fresh protests taking place in Cairo. This project has shown great potential for how organised collaboration can produce really good results, especially considering the other conversations we have had this year and the backlash that happened following the Boston Bombings.

I thought BBC News Director James Harding’s remarks earlier this month were interesting and telling about where big news orgs are at when it comes to audience: ‘When we talk about “our stories”, I hope that will mean not just the work of the 8,000 people who work for the BBC, but the information and ideas of the 300 million people who use it.’

Hopefully 2014 will prove to be a more collaborative year.

Slide6-Private

Finally, for this post, I’d like to talk about the growing importance of private. Of course when I talk about private I mean privacy in a non-private sphere. Most people will have noticed the trend of teenagers and people in their early 20s making their Twitter and Instagram accounts private – some even deactivating their Facebook accounts for short periods to avoid being tagged in photos or checked in to a location. The rising popularity of photo messaging service Snapchat with its 350m photo messages a day has lit a fire under both Twitter and Instagram (don’t forget Facebook offered $3bn to acquire Snapchat, which it turned down) with both announcing significant changes to their platforms to include a private photo messaging element in the last few weeks. Twitter users can now send photos in direct messages, while Instagram offers its users the option to send photos to one follower or a small group of up to 15 people.

News orgs (and brands) are already trying to find their feet in this new environment. I’ve started to receive Snapchat messages from Ampp3d in the last week. It’s early days but it’s definitely a space to be experimenting in! When it comes to private vs open I don’t think it’s a competition – we’re always transitioning and this is another part of the transition both are going to be a part of our lives in 2014, that’s for sure.

*****

This is not a definitive list of the major things that happened this year, but it’s my reflection on some of the interesting changes, events and trends. I think we’re heading into somewhat uncertain waters with Facebook and also with Twitter. However, that said, there are lots of opportunities ahead for 2014. It’s shaping up to be another interesting one.

Here’s to a good 2014!

Blathnaid

Image credits: clasesdeperiodismoclasesdeperiodismoGuudmorning!, Grizdavecroland 

Has the time come for Twitter Premium?

Twitter has a growing problem with its security, which was highlighted again this week when the Associated Press’ Twitter account was hacked. The false tweet, which created a flurry of activity on Wall Street, has renewed calls for Twitter to introduce two-step authentication. Of course two-step authentication won’t stop every hack but it would certainly reduce the number.

The reputations of media organisations that are hacked are particularly damaged because the core of their brand is the accuracy and trustworthiness of their communications with the public. The next time the AP posts a big breaking news tweet we will have to second guess it. How crazy is it that we must dissect a tweet from the AP to make sure that it is legitimate.

Media organisations invest so heavily on security both virtual and physical – from heavily protected networks to security guards at the entrances to their offices – in order to protect their brands and ensure their reputations. There are generous allocations in their IT budgets for this. But they use services like Twitter that make them so vulnerable (much, I know, to the chagrin of their IT departments). So much money is spent making sure media organisations’ websites can withstand a hack, but what can they do to protect themselves when using services like Twitter? Currently very little. Sure, they strictly adhere to Twitter’s advice on account security, but they can’t pay for anything that keeps them more secure.

Both Twitter and media organsitions (and a host of other companies and personalities) have challenges. Twitter needs to generate more revenue and fundamentally better security. Media orgs must use Twitter, as bowing out is not an option, but they need better security. Surely there is a synergy here. Media organisations should have the option to pay for a premium service offered by Twitter that provides extra layers of security. It wouldn’t be the first time Twitter has differentiated between users and not everyone needs enhanced security, just like not every Twitter user needs a verified Twitter account.

For media organisations this cannot happen fast enough. They need to be on Twitter but currently they can’t pay to reduce the risks that are associated with it.  It’s an opportunity for Twitter to drive revenue and begin the process of providing more premium services for heavy and professional users.

The launch of @Ireland – another country on Twitter

Last week was hectic for us all at WorldIrish not only because of St Patrick’s Day but also because we launched @Ireland, a Twitter-based initiative, aimed at giving Ireland a new voice on a global platform.

Today marks the beginning of the second week of @Ireland and its second curator, Catherine Drea.  I have enjoyed this challenging project immensely so far. As clearly stated from the outset it is heavily influenced by @Sweden and the strides they have made with the “world’s most democratic” Twitter account these past few months.

Ultimately this is another way to tell a story in the digital age. The beauty of it is we get to hear 52 people’s stories every year, which hopefully inform, entertain or enrich our lives in some way.

I must heartily commend Bernie Goldbach for coming to us with the idea and trusting us to be the right home for such an ambitious project.

I am very much looking forward to seeing how @Ireland develops and finds its way in the Twittersphere.

For more on the project read my post on the WorldIrish blog, follow the account or read some of the curators’ thoughts: Bernie’s and Catherine’s.

One more link, I was on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme talking about the project on Friday. Here’s the clip.

Finally, perhaps you’d like to curate @Ireland for a week (or nominate someone). If you live in or are from Ireland, have the time and something interesting to say email Ireland AT worldirish.com.

Talk soon,

Blathnaid

The future flexible

Recently I’ve been thinking back to August 2005. I had just moved to Chicago to start a masters programme at the Medill School of Journalism in Northwestern University. It was the first time I had my own wifi network, which changed the way I used the internet and subsequently the amount of news I consumed. At the same time, my roommate suggested I join Facebook, which had just been made available to US universities. Then I started getting those ‘sent from my blackberry’ messages at the end of emails sent to me and I realised how many people were taking the web with them in their pockets. Every day and everywhere they went. And lets not forget the blogs. Tonnes of people were turning to simple content management systems like WordPress to communicate their news and views to the world one post at a time. Even prompting editors to say they wouldn’t hire new journalists who didn’t keep a blog. Wifi, social networks, smartphones/mobile internet, blogs and its relative microblogging are things we are all exposed to (some might say over-exposed to) these days. But just six years ago, at least in Ireland, they were not yet commonplace.

Now most people have a wifi network or a good broadband connection (heck, it’s so well established it doesn’t need a hyphen between wi and fi anymore), they are on at least one social network (2m people, that’s half the population, are on Facebook in Ireland and counting), smartphones are becoming universal and thousands of people microblog and read others’ microblogs in Ireland several times a day every day.

Sitting here taking stock, six years on from my own technological awakening, I realise how blinded we often are to the big developments. Six years ago, sitting in a newsroom who would have believed that some newspapers in the US would be serving their entire digital audience just through Facebook, or that businesses would be set up to curate those microblogs, or that thousands would use an app to watch presenters like Bryan Dobson read the news on their smartphones (the concept of an app economy hadn’t even struck).

It should be acknowledged, the underlying driver of all this change is digital distribution via the internet and how that facilitates peoples’ imaginations, their experiments and ultimately their innovations.

So what are we going to be doing six years from now. And how the hell do news organisations prepare for it?

The first thing to accept, and to become comfortable with, is that we don’t know what’s coming next. There are low barriers to entry for innovative ways to deliver news and news content. In the next six years at least one person will come up with a another novel way to deliver news in a way that people want it. Upsetting organisations’ strategies and plans.

The only way to prepare for something you can’t prepare for is to create and foster a culture that values flexibility and has a desire, even a hunger, to work on the cutting edge driven by its audience’s demands. It must be a culture supported by everyone not just driven by a few digital leaders.

The only future a news organisation can plan for is a future of flexibility.

What I’ve been up to lately … #ge11

This is a long overdue post but better late than never.

I was the project manager for RTÉ’s web coverage during the recent Irish general election.

We covered the election on RTE.ie, mobile, News Now, Aertel, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms.

It was a hugely challenging couple of months pulling things together, but it was also an extremely exciting project to work on. We covered the election using stories, features, blogs, live blogs, live streams, videos, audios, galleries, graphics, tweets, status updates, wordles, audioboos etc.

We tried out some new things out – one of these was setting up a temporary social media desk staffed by some great people including Adam Maguire, Dave Molloy, Fearghal O’Connor and Lisa O’Carroll. From this desk we ran the RTE_Elections Twitter feed, resurrected from its humble beginnings during the local and European elections in 2009. We dipped our toe into Facebook with a dedicated elections page, while several election videos also found a home on YouTube.

One of the most challenging aspects of our coverage, but also, for me, one of the most rewarding was setting up 43 new Twitter accounts – one for each constituency. Journalists going to count centres were given Twitter training and headed out – some using Twitter apps, others Twitter.com and for those in 3g-deprived areas …  SMS. We had all 43 up and tweeting during the count – providing constituency-level news feeds that not only served Twitter but also each individual constituency page on the website.

In the lead up to the election our reporters and correspondents blogged their way through the campaign trail and we live blogged each day from base.

This is just a taste of how we covered the election online.

Demand for content was huge over the count weekend. RTÉ’s digital platforms attracted almost 23m views over the three days. On the website alone, there were almost 19m page views from 1.1m browsers (devices) – double the performance delivered during the 2007 General Election.

It was great to work with a really committed team to deliver such comprehensive digital election coverage … but hopefully we’re a good five years away from the next one.

-Blathnaid

Read All About It – Social Media, Citizen Journalism, iPad and US Presidential Press Corp

Here are links to four articles that I think are worth reading.

First off, some interesting analysis of research carried out by Pew on the types of stories consumed on various new media platforms versus ‘traditional’ media.

It seems to me that news organisations will have to take a different strategy with each platform if they are going to succeed on it. You can’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, which is bad news for budgets and resources. If new platforms continue to emerge how can news organisations adopt a successful platform-neutral approach?

Next up, here’s a nice post from Kimberly Wilson (follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wilson) about crowd-sourced websites. She has reviewed six examples  (from Washington DC, Chicago, Minnesota, Canada, Grand Rapids, and Sonora and Tuolumne County).

Yesterday, Peter Preston had a piece in The Observer about the iPad and newspapers. His thesis is that iPads won’t be the saviour as some have enthusiastically predicted, more just one small revenue stream. He uses numbers and anecdotal evidence to support this theory and asks some good questions along the way.

Finally, Brian Stelter has an article in the New York Times about the decreasing number of journalists travelling with the US president when he goes on trips. The obvious downside mentioned is that news when he’s outside of Washington DC is now coming from fewer and fewer sources.

Have you seen any interesting articles about the industry?

B

Media 2020 Conference – Twitter Stream Highlights

I wasn’t at the Media 2020 conference in Croke Park, Dublin, today.  But using the Twitter hashtag #Med2020 I could follow many of the main points, which were highlighted by tweeting conference attendees as they were made by the speakers.

Here is the summary of points I have picked out from the stream, which I think are relevant for journalists and content producers.

I’ve broken it down by speaker (not all speakers are included) and used one tweeter per speaker to avoid confusion (each point is an individual tweet from the stream). Thanks to all the tweeters for keeping everyone updated!

First off, some overview points that seem to be coming back a lot from the #Med2020 twitter stream:

1) Experiment, cheaply, quickly, if you fail do it fast and learn from it
2) Mobile is going to be massive
3) Revenue models are not clear yet

By speaker:

Maeve Donovan, Former Managing Director, The Irish Times
Tweeter: Niamh Smith (@niamhsmith)

-Can newspapers make the necessary changes? Maeve believes they can based on her 30 yrs experience in the industry

-Roles of newspapers to make the most of the immense opportunities offered by emerging technologies

-Digital revolution has much broader implications than its effect on newspapers or tv

-Hardest words to say are ‘I don’t know’ – and she doesn’t know for sure the future of newspapers

Jonathon Moore, Guardian News & Media
Tweeter: Hugh Linehan (@hlinehan)

-Guardian Eyewitness iPad app: very simple app publishing one photo a day. Video: Jobs sings its praises

-You live or die by user recommendations on the app store

-Big traffic spike on Guardian app at 10.30pm. Technology changing how and when people consume content

-Moore: We expected migration to our app would cause fall-off in use of web browser. Hasn’t been the case

Mark Little, Storyful
Tweeter: Gareth O’Connor (@garethoconnor)

-#Med202 hears from @marklittlenews that basic reporting skills still needed by curators and super-users in new age

-New business opportunities for storytelling @marklittlenews tells #med2020

-@marklittlenews tells #med2020 that 2010 marks turning point in journalism

Ronan Higgins, Local, mobile social software start-up
Tweeter: Niamh Smith (@niamhsmith)

-Apps store – a new walled garden. iTunes-simplicity, quality, speed-applied this ethos to iPhone

Matt Locke – C4 Commissioning Editor, New Media & Education
Tweeter: Hugh Linehan (@hlinehan)

-Facebook picks up tiny snippets of attention and rolls them up into something gargantuan

-Very intelligent stuff – but a bit depressing that the experimental groundbreaker cited is Embarrassing Bodies. Blecchh

-Bingeing on cult content – four or five episodes at a time (I think I recognise myself in this presentation)

-Cult content. The Wire first TV series passed around like a 1970s rock album from friend to friend. User content around Lost

-Events-driven initiatives like ITV’s election debate worm – broadcasters comfortable with that

-What broadcast does well is events. So we’re seeing the eventisation of TV, from talent shows to Lambing Live (!)

-Locke: broadcasters used to own the audience. But with new technology, old platforms have to learn what it is they really do well

Múirne Laffan – Executive Director, RTÉ Publishing
Tweeter: Eoin Purcell (@eoinpurcell)

-Laffan: 3.5 million uniques a month for rte.ie and 1 million of those are overseas!

-Laffan: RTE has a hub and spoke model. Create content in hub and reuse as much as possible

-Laffan: Boundaries to entry are very low. Global opportunities. But getting to market quickly is important. Mobile is huge

-Laffan see every tv connected to the internet in Ireland in 10 yrs!

-Laffan: Consumer expectations are through the roof

Note: Compiling this post this evening has reinforced my feeling that Twitter streams are much easier to follow live and are hard work to use as an archive – looking forward to some journalists’ and bloggers’ analysis of the conference.

**Update – Two good pieces about yesterday’s conference: The Irish Times’ Hugh Linehan (including video of Minister Eamon Ryan) and Fin O’Reilly.**

-B

Future-proofing: Ideas for journalists

Econsultancy.com has a good article for people who find themselves bamboozled by the world of online journalism.

It makes some good points particularly about producing video and building up an online profile.

However, I disagree with a few points:

Point 6:

Embrace Twitter. Twitter is simply a huge echo chamber made up of millions of people. It is absolutely a source of news, but it is not ‘journalism’. That’s your job: to make sense of noise, to validate sources and stories, and to unearth the news. As such journalists should tune into Twitter. Follow influencers and use Twitter as a filter. People will follow you back and you can use Twitter to create an awareness of your work.

Twitter may turn out to be a fleeting platform. Personally I have found it to be very overrated (here’s a NYT article on how kids aren’t sold on the platform). There are many things to prioritise before you end up wasting hours reading your Twitter stream.

Point 15:

Exclusives are passe. All journalists love a good scoop, but an exclusive story doesn’t stay exclusive for very long these days. TMZ bagged the Michael Jackson exclusive but there were more than 1,000 copycat stories on Google News within an hour. Exclusives are great for kudos and links, but ‘scoops of interpretation’ are perhaps just as important. And if you cannot interpret the story then speak to people who can help. Try to join up the dots for readers.

Firstly,  the Michael Jackson story was breaking news. It wasn’t really a scoop and TMZ was just the first outlet on it. The Telegraph’s expenses scandal series is proof, if needed, that fantastic exclusives/scoops still exist – they are just  few and far between (mostly because of the funding needed).

Points 16 &17:

Objectivity is overrated. Only a very small proportion of published articles in the mainstream media can be considered ‘objective’. Journalists may work hard to file truly objective copy, but any number of editors and sub-editors – not to mention publishers, proprietors, commercial bulldogs and influential advertisers – can transform stories beyond belief. Perhaps it would be better to position yourself on one side of the fence, rather than trying to sit on it? Obviously this won’t work for every kind of story.

Subjectivity kicks ass. Considering the above, is there a way of training your brain to insert a little bit more opinion into your stories? It might be that you’re not allowed to do this right now, given your platform (go start a blog immediately!), or perhaps the story doesn’t allow for it, but my favourite writers all have a strong voice and are happy to holler from time to time. Back your own views. Develop your voice. And don’t be afraid to express an opinion. After all, opinions can help put you on the radar, can help you find new work, and may in fact be the future of the news industry (if they aren’t already).

Obviously I disagree with these points. News journalists must always strive for objectivity as The Guardian so succinctly puts it ‘comment is free, but facts are sacred’.

Something I’ve been working on…RTÉ.ie/elections

RTÉ Elections 2009

RTÉ Elections 2009

In the last few weeks quite a bit of my time has been spent coordinating the website for the 5 June elections. It was launched this week and you can visit it here.

Check out the group blog  Campaign Daily – with great contributions this week from Mark Little (who had an excellent blog on RTÉ.ie for the US elections), Miriam O’Callaghan and Cian McCormack.

Visit us at Twitter @RTE_Elections and while you’re there  follow Prime Time’s new Twitter stream @RTE_PrimeTime as well.

There’s lots of great material on the main site including an excellent guide to PR-STV by UCD’s Prof Richard Sinnott (the system of voting used in Ireland), chapters from the just published and widely discussed All Politics is Local, lots of great audio and video highlights from RTÉ’s best news and current affairs programmes and features written by young journalists covering the European Parliament elections.

It’ll be a busy couple of weeks ahead as the website keeps on growing and the elections get closer but I’m looking forward to it particularly the count weekend!

Blathnaid

P.S By the way send us in your election photos!