Tag Archives: guest post

Guest post: Student journalists are not “journalists”, they are students #Jcarn

Martin Hirst has written a thoughtful response to my post on the ‘student journalist’ title which he also offered as a guest post. I’m happy to cross-publish it here. You can see my comments on Martin’s version.

A few days ago, my English colleague Paul Bradshaw wrote a piece “There’s no such thing as a ‘student journalist’” on his Online Journalism blog. He argues that there should be no distinction between journalists or students of journalism (presumably training to be employed as journalists after graduation) because they are both publishers of information and the students carry out the actions of journalists — they are effectively “doing” journalism — while they learn the skills, technologies and attitudes of the profession.

Students are experiencing first hand the culture of journalism, the experience of journalism and the social consequences of what they do. Paul writes:

There is no such thing as a ‘student journalist’.

Students of journalism no longer practise their work in the seclusion of a classroom. They do not write solely for lecturers, or even for each other.

Any student on a course with some awareness of the modern media world publishes their own blogs; their student media isaccessible around the world. They contribute to networks, and build communities.

Even if their course provides no opportunities to do any of these things, they will have Twitter accounts, or Facebook accounts.

All of which means that they are publishers.

I don’t disagree with this in principle. Certainly any journalism course worthy of the name would be requiring students to participate in what I like to call “live fire” news exercises. These are usually done under close supervision. However, writing a blog as part of coursework (and for many students it is an onerous requirement of their study, rather than something they enjoy or immediately see the benefits of) is not journalism. Blogging is not journalism and I thought that debate was settled years ago. Continue reading

Guest post: Columbia University students’ Project Wordsworth: How much is a good story worth?

17 students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City came together to perform an experiment in 21st century journalism. I invited them to write about the results.

How much is journalism worth? Throughout the past semester, under the tutelage of our professor, Michael Shapiro, we have had endless discussions about how journalism is changing, what we can do to keep up, and how journalists can make a living when so much Internet content is free. To answer that simple question, we set up a website.

Instead of a paywall, we offered our 17 stories to the public for free. At the end of each story, there is a pay option. If the reader enjoys the story, we hope he or she will pay for it. How much? The reader decides.

Projectwordsworth.com was launched on May 9. By May 10, we had made over $1,200 and seen over 20,000 unique site visitors.

Some people donated $1. Others donated $50. Our experiment lasted one week. On May 16, we hoped to discover something new about how people consume and pay for stories. Do readers respond positively when you ask them to pay rather than force them? Do readers who pay for stories also share stories on social media? And last but not least, how much is a good story worth?

Please visit our site to learn more. Check out some stories. Share them. If you like them, pay for them. And if you want to hear about the results of our experiment, feel free to email us at project.wordsworth@gmail.com. Happy reading!

Jon Bounds: Why I’m giving up Birmingham: It’s Not Shit

Some of the products available in the BiNS shop

Jon Bounds is one of Birmingham’s most established and best-known bloggers. In this guest post, cross-posted from his own blog, he explains why he’s auctioning off that site, the reasons he started it in the first place, and the problems with the ‘hyperlocal question’.

I started Birmingham: It’s Not Shit back in the May of 2002, before there were really such things as blogs in the mainstream and the term ‘hyperlocal’ was not even a glint in an irritating theorist’s eye.

Pretty much everything that’s ever been on it, and definitely everything technical was written or created by me. I’ve had a couple of ‘columnists’ for short whiles and a couple of bits of ‘holiday cover’ but that’s all.

The site was flat, hand coded HTML until I learned of PHP and wrote a simple news updating section. Later I discovered that there wasn’t only a name for such things but software out there to do it more prettily and better.

And now it, or sites like it, are either the future of the media or a disappointment to those that thought they should be.

But, it didn’t start because the media was dying, it started because the media was crapcrap at explaining why people connected emotionally with a place that—when looked at objectively—was a bit shit. Crap at self awareness, crap at understanding real life. The media has changed a little, but mostly the contents have just shifted in transit. Continue reading

German social TV project “Rundshow”: merging internet and television

In a guest post for OJB, cross-posted from her blog, Franzi Baehrle reviews a new German TV show which operates across broadcast, web and mobile.

There’s a big experiment going on in German television. And I have to admit that I was slightly surprised that the rather conservative “Bayerischer Rundfunk” (BR, a public service broadcaster in Bavaria), would be the one to start it.

Blogger and journalist Richard Gutjahr was approached by BR to develop a format merging internet and TV. On Monday night the “Rundshow” was aired for the first time at 11pm German time, and will be running Mondays-Thursdays for the next four weeks. Continue reading

Create a council ward map with Scraperwiki

Mapping council wards

With local elections looming this is a great 20-30 minute project for any journalist wanting to create an interactive Google map of council ward boundaries.

For this you will need:

Tales of a Video Blogger

In a guest post for OJB, cross-posted from Putney Debater, Michael Chanan explores his experiences of video blogging for the New Statesman and how it differs from conventional documentary.

Being written for presentation at ‘Marx at the Movies’, these notes address the topic from an angle which is rarely treated in film and video scholarship, that of the peculiar labour process and mode of production involved. 

When I started video blogging on the New Statesman, I don’t know if either the NS or myself quite knew what to expect. The main reason for not knowing: it was December 2010, it was clear that something momentous going on, that the protest movement was building, and the idea I had, which the NS agreed to go with, was simple enough: to go out and film stuff that was happening from a sympathetic point of view, and thus, almost week by week, build up a kind of ongoing documentary record of the events. I was thinking in terms of Glauber Rocha’s formula for Cinema Novo in Brazil—to go and make films with a camera in the hand and an idea in the head. I also had the idea from the outset of bringing these blogs together sometime later into a single long documentary (which duly appeared as Chronicle of Protest). Continue reading

Guesstimating the Times's online readership: 46,154

Several people have tried to work out how many people are paying to get into the pawalled Times website. My estimate (first published here) is: 46,154 a day. Update: Tom Whitwell, assistant editor of the Times, says in the comments on the original that this figure “*spectacularly* underestimates” the actual number of visitors to the new site.

To come up with this figure, I compared how many people commented on two stories – one on the Times site (now paywalled) and one on the Guardian. The screenshot, below, taken at 1.45pm yesterday, shows the Times with 4 comments in 2 hours. The Guardian, on a similar but slightly later story, had 117 comments in 90 minutes. Continue reading

Guest post: Why I escaped The Times’ paywall

In a guest post, blogger Tim Kevan explains why he resigned from The Times over the paywall

Back in early 2007 I had been practising as a lawyer for some nine years. But I’d always dreamt of living by the sea and the surf and maybe even writing a novel. I just couldn’t quite see how it could be done.When I finally sat down to write a legal thriller what popped out instead was a legal comedy about a fictional young barrister doing pupillage.

I called him BabyBarista which was a play on words based on his first impression being that his coffee-making skills were probably as important to that year as any forensic legal abilities he may have. I wrote it as a blog and was hopeful it might raise a few smiles but in my wildest dreams I hadn’t imagined quite the extraordinary set of circumstances which then unfolded with The Times offering to host the blog and Bloomsbury Publishing of Harry Potter fame offering to make it into a book.

Since then the first book came out last August and was originally called BabyBarista and the Art of War. It is being re-issued in August under the new title Law and Disorder and the sequel is due out next May.

I was also continuing to publish my blog on The Times until May this year when it became clear that even blogs were going to go behind their new paywall. Continue reading

Use a crowd, gain an expert

Karthika Muthukumaraswamy on how crowdsourcing experiments in journalism need to learn from their commercial counterparts – and how the end results could bring financial rewards for everyone.

The crowd has done a great deal for journalism: it has counted the number of SUVs on the streets of New York City, determined Bill Clinton’s financial impact on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and offered valuable suggestions to transform an impoverished Ugandan village.

Ever since journalism jumped on the crowdsourcing bandwagon following innovative business models in T-shirt designing and problem solving, it has been baffled by the intensity of crowd response. Consequently, the media’s implementation of it has lacked the selection process that is essential to use crowdsourcing to its fullest potential.

There are only so many T-shirts that Threadless can make and sell; there are only so many solutions to Innocentive’s complex problems; and there are only so many photographs that iStockphoto consumers will purchase. Continue reading

3 wishes for social media in 2009

This was published as a guest post on Shane Richmond’s Daily Telegraph Technology blog:

Media organisations are still barely getting their heads around social media. They look at a conversation and see ‘vox pops’; they look at a community and see a market. They ask for ‘Your pictures’ and then complain when they get 1000 images of a mild snowfall.

They ghettoise viewers into 60 second slots at the end of the news bulletin, or ‘Have Your Say’ sections on the website. They can see the use of blogs and Twitter when they can’t access a disaster area and are desperate for news, but the rest of the time complain that they’re ‘only for geeks’ or ‘full of rumour’. And they advertise, when they should socialise. Continue reading