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Dawn of New Media

07. 07. 2009.

We’ve had an interesting Twitter discussion (twiscussion?) amongst Croatian tweeps about new vs. old media, freedom of the press and the general frustration with the quality and integrity of mainstream media in Croatia.

The main trigger for the discussion was a TV show where the host, Aleksandar Stanković, spoke with investigative reporter Hrvoje Appelt who was recently fired from the magazine “Globus”, part of EPH publishing empire. Appelt had been invited to Parliament some time before (YouTube video, in Croatian) to speak about political corruption and the press. His speech in parliament was largely ignored by TV and the printed mainstream press. However an interview with Appelt was published on the independent portal “H-Alter”, confirming once again that new, independent media such as this one can often be relied upon for much better information than the mainstream giants.

Back to Twitter. A PR professional, Krešimir Macan (@kmacan on Twitter), livetweeted the whole TV show for the benefit of those who were not watching. After the show, a huge discussion erupted on Twitter (hashtag #HrMedia). A general frustration with the bullshit we are being served daily by our expensive, tax-funded national HTV, the two private national TV stations (RTL and NovaTV) and the printed press has been mounting for years and now erupted on Twitter with many participants agreeing that “something needs to be done about this”, “we tweeps and bloggers can contribute”, “how can we support Appelt” and similar thoughts.

Disclosure: I don’t write for H-Alter, but I have been somewhat involved with the portal since it’s founding, so in a way I’m not “neutral” in this whole discussion. Having said that, my main point in our recent discussion was, and still is, that the best way for the social media community to contribute to quality journalism and freedom of the press is to support H-Alter. At this point, it is the only independent portal in Croatia doing a serious, continued analysis and reporting of political events in Croatia and the region, with some very valuable contributions from the global scene as well. Here, then, in usual “multipoint” form, are:

Top 4 reasons why our social media community should support H-Alter:

1. H-Alter alredy *is* what many in the community “demand”: a high quality, independent source of news and analysis. No need to reinvent the wheel.

2. H-Alter has one of the key ingredients, which would not be easy to create anew: An established, small but very good editorial team, plus a good and (slowly) growing team of contributors.

3. H-Alter is truly independent and has shown on many occasions that it has the balls to publish what mainstream media cannot or will not.

4. H-Alter is already online – thus, given new talent and energy, it can be built on as a platform, to extend from the current portal format into new social media directions (blogs, Twitter etc.)

Now assuming that at least some of my social media friends agree with this (either now, or I talk them into it at a forthcoming tweetup), the next question might be “how can we help”? To answer that question, I need to note that even well-intentioned help needs to be managed by someone from the staff, and the H-Alter staff, being extremely small, has somewhat limited resources for “help management” – however this is something that could be discussed in more detail later. Anyway, how might the community help the portal?

Top 4 ways in which our social media community can support H-Alter:

1. Promotion: H-Alter funds are severly limited, ergo: very little room for promotion, ergo: limited reach. Soc. media, community, bloggers, owners of other portals could / should promote it like crazy

2. Writing: Good writers are always welcome but not easy to find. Being a great tech / gadget blogger does not necessarily make for a great political / news journalist (although it doesn’t necessarily preclude it either!)

3. New platform development, helping to extend H-Alter into new social media directions. Note: social media content and new directions still need to be managed / edited!

4. Money: this is currently one of the top bottlenecks in further development of H-Alter. The budget is almost comically small, ergo: not enough editorial resources or money for contributors. Helping (in whatever way) to increase the budget of the portal, although not necessarily the main forte of the social media community, would be a big big help.

There – hopefully this blog post, being more “topical” and “functional” than most of my writings, will help to contribute to the discussion we’ve all been having. Comments / feedback is more than welcome, here on the blog or on Twitter (@ivospigel) or at the Friday tweetup!


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  1. one of the “problems” with halter is that for some reson it was/is unable to build its readership and therefore we might have to reexamine both tech background (to see if there is some technical reason behind its readership numbers) and also to see if their editorial policies are in the way of larger success

    second problem which is tightly related is rapidly changing business model of media houses (regardless if this house is big or small) and all of that taken into account you still have to add some croatian specifics (size of the market, language barrier and other problems)

    I think we have multilayered problem (with or without halter)

  2. ispigel permalink

    Re: readership – yes, that is a function of both promotion and money, both issues which I think our community can work on.

  3. H-Alter should change its name first because it indicate that it is alternative scene media, as it was so far. So no surprise readership was limited:-(

  4. ispigel permalink

    I would say that changing the “tagline” “glasilo hrvatskih alternativaca” would be enough, H-Alter can be interpreted / pitched as “Viable alternative to mainstream media”

  5. Ivo, I really liked your article. This is something you talked (H-Alter) under #HrMedia Twitter hash tag. I agree with you on 2nd and 4th reason – this is something that is definitely H-Alter advantage. Also, I think we both agree that Croatia needs one media that will eventually (hopefully) become mainstream and will be truly independent.

    I have some different ideas about this that I published at . I’m looking forward to the Friday’s Tweetup and I sure hope so that we will find some directions there on how to proceed.

  6. Sorry, I didn’t want to post the previous comment under HrMedia account 😦

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  1. Pregled zanimljivih linkova za 8. srpnja 2009. - – Public Relations

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