Some time ago the BBC College of Journalism asked me to revisit the Model for a 21st Century Newsroom series that I wrote in 2007, and see how newsrooms and news processes had changed – and continue to change – since then.
The results are gathered in a free mini ebook: Model for the 21st Century Newsroom: Redux.
It provides a detailed overview of how emerging practices such as liveblogging and explainers have now become formalised and embedded in news production, while the focus has started to shift from the ‘speed’ part of the news process to ‘depth’, with increasing attention being paid to APIs, content management, context and analysis.
This is contextualised with data on changing news and information consumption practices, and rounded up with seven recommendations to journalists and editors.
I hope it’s useful for journalism educators, students and editors – if you’re using it in your classroom or newsroom let me know.
As a new semester nears, I thought I would anticipate the ‘What should I read?’ enquiries by sharing an aggregated reading list from the classes I teach at both Birmingham City University and City University London. Here are 10 key topics with varying numbers of books for each – I’d very much welcome other suggestions:
- Working in networks: Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks; Richard Millington, The Proven Path (PDF)
- Content strategy: John Battelle, The Search; Bill Tancer, Click; David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect
- Platforms: Mark Luckie: The Digital Journalist’s Handbook
- Live and mobile journalism: Mark Briggs, Journalism Next; Dan Gillmor, Mediactive
- Multimedia: Janet Kolodzy, Convergence Journalism and Practicing Convergence Journalism; Atton & Hamilton, Alternative Journalism; Wilma de Jong, Creative Documentary
- UGC, social media and community management: Axel Bruns, Gatewatching; Andrew Lih, Wikipedia Revolution; Jeff Jarvis, What Would Google Do?
- Data journalism: Bradshaw and Rohumaa, The Online Journalism Handbook; Andrew Dilnot, The Tiger That Isn’t; Darrell Huff, How to Lie With Statistics; Dona Wong, The Wall Street Guide to Information Graphics; Nathan Yau, Visualize This; Paul Bradshaw, Scraping for Journalists
- Law, ethics and online journalism: Friend and Singer, Online Journalism Ethics; Lawrence Lessig, Code; O’Hara and Shadbolt, Spy in the Coffee Machine; Curran, Fenton & Freedman, Misunderstanding the Internet
- Experimentation: Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody (ch10: Failure for Free); Michalko, Thinkertoys chapter 9; Ian Bogost, Newsgames; Matt Mason, The Pirate’s Dilemma (ch5: Boundaries)
- Enterprise: Ken Doctor, Newsonomics; Simon Waldman, Creative Disruption; David Weinberger, Everything is Miscellaneous
You might also find previous posts useful:
For those who missed it, from George Entwistle’s speech to BBC staff this week, a taste of the corporation’s priorities under the new DG:
“It’s the quest for this – genuinely new forms of digital content – that represents the next profound moment of change we need to prepare for if we’re to deserve a new charter.
“As we increasingly make use of a distribution model – the internet – principally characterised by its return path, its capacity for interaction, its hunger for more and more information about the habits and preferences of individual users, then we need to be ready to create content which exploits this new environment – content which shifts the height of our ambition from live output to living output.
“We need to be ready to produce and create genuinely digital content for the first time. And we need to understand better what it will mean to assemble, edit and present such content in a digital setting where social recommendation and other forms of curation will play a much more influential role.”
In January 2012 I was facing an old problem: as I prepared to teach a new undergraduate online journalism class, I wanted to find a way to encourage students to connect with wider networks in the area they were reporting on.
Networks have always been important to journalists, but in a networked age they are more important than ever. The days of starting your contacts book with names and numbers from formal organisations listed in the local phonebook are gone. Now those are instantly available online – but more importantly, there are informal groups and expert individuals accessible too. And they’re publishing for each other.
Because of this, and because of reduced resources, the news industry is increasingly working with these networks to pursue, produce and distribute stories, from Paul Lewis’s investigative work at The Guardian to Neal Mann’s field reporting for Sky, the Farmers’ Weekly team’s coverage of foot and mouth, and Andy Carvin’s coverage of the Arab Spring at NPR.
How could I get students to do this? By rewriting the class entirely.
The fifth in our new series of Hyperlocal Voices explores the work done by the team behind the Londonist. Despite having a large geographic footprint – Londonist covers the whole of Greater London - the site is full of ultra-local content, as well as featuring stories and themes which span the whole of the capital.
Run by two members of staff and a raft of volunteers, Editor Matt Brown gave Damian Radcliffe an insight into the breadth and depth of the site. Continue reading
Here’s a questionnaire from the Society of Editors which sparked a conversation on Twitter today.
So – what’s missing?
In part one I outlined some of the data journalism processes involved in the Olympic torch relay investigation, in part 2 I explained how verification, SEO and ‘passive aggressive newsgathering’ played a role. This final part looks at how ebooks offered a new opportunity to tell the story in depth – and publish while the story was still topical.
Ebooks – publishing before the event has even finished
After a number of stories from a variety of angles I reached a fork in the road. It felt like we had been looking at this story from every angle. More than one editor, when presented with an update, said that they’d already ‘done the torch story’. I would have done the same.
But I thought of a quote on persistence from Ian Hislop that I’d published on the Help Me Investigate blog previously. “It is saying the same true thing again and again and again and again until the penny drops.”
Although it sometimes felt like we might be boring people with our insistence on continuing to dig we needed, I felt, to say the same thing again. Not the story of ‘Executive carries the torch’ but how that executive and so many others came to carry it, why that mattered, and what the impact was. A longform report. Continue reading
Having outlined some of the data journalism processes involved in the Olympic torch relay investigation, in part 2 I want to touch on how verification and ‘passive aggressive newsgathering’ played a role.
Verification: who’s who
Data in this story not only provided leads which needed verifying, but also helped verify leads from outside the data. Continue reading
After test-driving the audio transcription app Transcribe, Antoinette Siu interviewed Jason and Kishore of Wreally Studios, the team behind Transcribe.
What do you hope to do with this project?
We want to make journalists’ lives easier through software. From what we’ve heard, transcription is one of their pain points and while Transcribe can’t do the transcription automatically for them (at least, not yet) we could make the transcription process a little easier for them through our tool. Continue reading
For the fourth in our new series of Hyperlocal Voices we head back to Wales. Launched by Richard Gurner in July 2009, the Caerphilly Observer acts as a local news and information website for Caerphilly County Borough.
The site is one of a small, but growing, number of financially viable hyperlocal websites. Richard, who remains the Editor of the site, told Damian Radcliffe a little bit about his journey over the last three years. Continue reading