Author Archives: Paul Bradshaw

Online audio tool Anchor: micro-podcasting or public conversations?

Anchor is a new app which allows you to record – and, crucially, reply to – audio from your mobile phone.

Described as ‘audio blogging’ or collaborative podcasting, the tool aims to ride a fresh wave of interest in audio. And it has a lot of potential. We’ve been here before with Audioboo, but Anchor has some key differences. Continue reading

11 FOI tips and other highlights from ‘FOIA Without the Lawyer’

FOIA Without the Lawyer

This was first posted on the Help Me Investigate blog a couple years ago. I thought it was about time I should cross-post it here also.

A natural companion to Heather Brooke’s introductory Your Right To Know, FOIA Without the Lawyer addresses the challenges that come after the FOI is submitted: the niggling exemptions and excuses used by public bodies to avoid supplying information requested under the Act. Continue reading

How and why to save politicians’ (and your own) tweets before they are deleted

Headline: Twitter Shuts Down Services That Tracked Politicians’ Deleted Tweets In 30 Countries

In August 2015 Twitter shut down a number of ‘deleted tweets’ archives. Image: TechCrunch

If you rely on Twitter or other social media services to act as a record of history, a series of incidents over the past six months should make you think again – and take control. Continue reading

Twitter’s algorithm changes make it key that journalists take control

For some time now Twitter has been flirting with abandoning the reverse-chronological ordering that attracted so many journalists to the service.

Having already introduced “While you were away…” tweets a year ago, and the curated “Moments” storylines 4 months ago, the suggestion is that it may finally be ready to make the leap to a Facebook-style “what we think you’ll like” timeline.

This may be initially opt-in, but then so, once upon a time, was Facebook’s algorithm.

I’m not one of those old users who are inevitably crying about the death of Twitter. We all change as we get older, and Twitter is no exception: once an always-on special companion, now it is a more occasional big crowd encounter. Continue reading

Linking ethically (and for SEO): canonical and nofollow

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If you’re cross-posting material online, being paid to include links in a post, or linking to material which raises ethical challenges around taste and decency, there are two snippets of HTML you should be aware of. Here’s a quick guide…

Cross posting: use canonical links

It’s not uncommon to post a copy of your work on your personal blog, or for someone to ask if they can republish on their site something you have written on yours. Continue reading

A new data journalism tool – and a new way of reporting uncertainty

guesstimate: how long it takes to get ready for preschool

On the last day of last year, web developer Ozzie Gooen launched his new project Guesstimate, a spreadsheet ‘for things that aren’t certain’.

It is an inspired idea: software plays a key role in shaping what we do, and we take spreadsheets’ certainty about numbers for granted. Why should we?

Throw in journalism’s default dislike of ambiguity and a political tendency to play to that… well, it can all make for some flawed reporting.

I was so impressed with Guesstimate and the opportunities it presents for a new style of data reporting that I sought out Gooen to find out more about the project and how he came to launch it. Continue reading

What they said: analytics, bots and devices

When you see a complex issue summed up in a few tweets, it’s worth saving. So I’m doing just that below: via Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Mary Hamilton, Neil Thackray and Steffen Konrath.

Continue reading