Monthly Archives: December 2006

The rise of community journalism

[Keyword: , , , ]. The British Journalism Review includes a relatively brief piece by Stephen Kingston on ‘community journalism’ (a term I would include some citizen journalism under) and the reasons for its rising popularity:

“Welcome to Salford, the epicentre of some of Europe’s biggest regeneration projects – and home of the free, independent Salford Star magazine, which, among other things, aims to ensure that Salfordians living in some of the most deprived areas in Europe get a fair deal. So far, Salfordians aren’t happy with their deal. The Star’s summer issue revealed how more than £15 million of regeneration money is being pumped into the awardwinning Urban Splash “upside-down terraced house” development – bedrooms on the ground floor, living accommodation upstairs – in Salford’s Chimney Pot Park area, for a return to the community of not one single affordable home in its first phase. That’s a scandal. And there’s more. Lots more.

“This particular story was sitting up and begging to be written. The reason why it never broke – despite God knows how many well-paid writers working for the nationals down the road in Manchester – is the reason community journalism is on the rise. The “proper” journalists, who are supposed to be the guardians of democracy, accountability and stuff like that, are swallowing the hype and either can’t be arsed or haven’t got the time to investigate it. They’ve got no personal stake in the place. Instead, Urban Splash riding into a “crap place” – U.S. chairman, Tom Bloxham’s words – and saving the day by making the neighbourhood funky makes a good, quick, cheap feature, alongside all those Harvey Nicks-type ads.”

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

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A guide to Web 2.0 for newspapers

[Keyword: , , ]. Here’s a useful document for any publishers wondering what to do with the opportunities of web 2.0. Strangely, the whole thing is in Flash, and even more strangely, it tries to replicate a traditional magazine (pages turn, complete with rustling sound effect). Hardly web 2.0 (the tag cloud is particularly frustrating, as it’s simply an image), but if you can put that aside it’s a good beginner’s guide.

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

Review: Convergence Journalism (Kolodzy)

This originally appeared in the Blogger-hosted predecessor to this website.

‘Convergence’ is one of many buzzwords currently doing the rounds in the news industry, and like many buzzwords, there is often confusion about what it actually means. For some it represents a new model of mixed-media journalism; for others it represents a change in organisational structure.

For Janet Kolodzy it’s both, and more besides. Kolodzy takes that term ‘convergence’ as her starting point, and spends the whole of the first chapter outlining its different forms – from the convergence of technologies that has taken place with digitisation, to economic convergence in media ownership, through to the journalistic convergence that is seeing both a combination of media forms into one ‘multimedia’ form, and a multiplication of delivery systems.

From there she looks at how newsroom practices have had to change as a result of convergence, and at news values. To her credit she speaks to the people working in converged newsrooms and the book is littered with case studies – essential when looking at a medium that is being made up as we speak – and there are conceptual models for the theorist too.

There is a chapter on gathering and producing a news story in a convergent age, which gives a good insight into the different considerations in gathering video and text material – although more thought could have been given here to audio and interactivity. Indeed, a journalist following the steps outlined here would be guilty of traditional linear storytelling: while interviews are covered, for example, no mention is made of the option to get readers to post questions online, or indeed to arrange a live chat.

These ideas are left instead for the chapters on broadcast, print, and online ‘basics’. To her credit here Kolodzy does not stop at how to write for the web but also outlines non-linear forms from polls and forums to quizzes, timelines, calculators, slideshows, animations, webcasts and podcasts. A traditional journalist could be forgiven for getting dizzy at the raft of options – and that’s even before we’ve covered “Participatory journalism” (citizen journalism, wikis), which is given a chapter of its own under ‘The Next Wave’ section.

It is a sign of how fast things are moving that that particular ‘next wave’ is probably already with us, but in the final chapter Kolodzy quotes media design consultants Bowman and Willis on a trend that may be more significant in the longer term: “While news organisations may see their audiences as readers and viewers,” she notes, “the next wave are increasingly gamers, who like to explore.”

This is an unusual book. Most authors would identify themselves as practitioners or academics, and set out to appeal to an audience in their own image: either the budding journalist, or the student of the craft. Convergence Journalism, however, dares to assume the reader is interested in both the how and the why. Perhaps we are finally seeing a convergence of the two?

Review: Convergence Journalism

[Keyword: , , , ]. The following review of Convergence Journalism by Janet Kolodzy will appear in the journal ‘Journalism’:

convergence journalism cover
Review: Convergence Journalism

‘Convergence’ is one of many buzzwords currently doing the rounds in the news industry, and like many buzzwords, there is often confusion about what it actually means. For some it represents a new model of mixed-media journalism; for others it represents a change in organisational structure.

For Janet Kolodzy it’s both, and more besides. Kolodzy takes that term ‘convergence’ as her starting point, and spends the whole of the first chapter outlining its different forms – from the convergence of technologies that has taken place with digitisation, to economic convergence in media ownership, through to the journalistic convergence that is seeing both a combination of media forms into one ‘multimedia’ form, and a multiplication of delivery systems.

From there she looks at how newsroom practices have had to change as a result of convergence, and at news values. To her credit she speaks to the people working in converged newsrooms and the book is littered with case studies – essential when looking at a medium that is being made up as we speak – and there are conceptual models for the theorist too.

There is a chapter on gathering and producing a news story in a convergent age, which gives a good insight into the different considerations in gathering video and text material – although more thought could have been given here to audio and interactivity. Indeed, a journalist following the steps outlined here would be guilty of traditional linear storytelling: while interviews are covered, for example, no mention is made of the option to get readers to post questions online, or indeed to arrange a live chat.

These ideas are left instead for the chapters on broadcast, print, and online ‘basics’. To her credit here Kolodzy does not stop at how to write for the web but also outlines non-linear forms from polls and forums to quizzes, timelines, calculators, slideshows, animations, webcasts and podcasts. A traditional journalist could be forgiven for getting dizzy at the raft of options – and that’s even before we’ve covered “Participatory journalism” (citizen journalism, wikis), which is given a chapter of its own under ‘The Next Wave’ section.

It is a sign of how fast things are moving that that particular ‘next wave’ is probably already with us, but in the final chapter Kolodzy quotes media design consultants Bowman and Willis on a trend that may be more significant in the longer term: “While news organisations may see their audiences as readers and viewers,” she notes, “the next wave are increasingly gamers, who like to explore.”

This is an unusual book. Most authors would identify themselves as practitioners or academics, and set out to appeal to an audience in their own image: either the budding journalist, or the student of the craft. Convergence Journalism, however, dares to assume the reader is interested in both the how and the why. Perhaps we are finally seeing a convergence of the two?

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

Should citizen journalists be better rewarded?

[Keyword: , , , ]. More on Citizen Journalism from Graham Holliday, who asks “Should citizen journalists be better rewarded?” after Yahoo! and Reuters joined forces to bring us ‘You Witness News’ (yep, another CJ ghetto). The catch? “Users will not be paid for images displayed on the Yahoo and Reuters sites. But people whose photos or videos are selected for distribution to Reuters clients will receive a payment.” although “the company had not yet figured out how to structure those payments. The basic payment may be relatively small, but [the Reuters president] said Reuters was likely to pay more to people offering exclusive rights to images of major events.”

I’ll leave Graham the last, very eloquent, word:

“If it’s good enough for a hugely profitable company such as Reuters to use, then it’s good enough for Reuters to pay a Reuters rate to the person creating that content.

“Despite the incursions of big media, one of the things the social – or people’s web – still manages to hold dear is a sense of ethics. Wrongdoers are rapidly banged to rights, rightdoers are a cause celebre.

“Celebrated cases are heavily linked to, and in a world where links rule, companies, decision makers and bloggers all live or die by the thoughts, feelings and analysis of those conversing in the crowd.

“It’s all well and good old media bumbling into our media world, but don’t come cherry picking without being prepared to cough up the readies. Throw crumbs and you’ll find them spat back at you.

“And whatever you do, be straight up with us. If you have no intention of paying us, say so now. Procrastination only breeds suspicion.”

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

Internet accounts for one in three jailed journalists

[Keyword: , , , ]. Welcome back Press Gazette, which reports “The bulk of internet journalists in jail – 49 in total – shows that “authoritarian states are becoming more determined to control the internet,” said Joel Simon, the New York-based group’s executive director. “

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

Citizen Journalism conference

[Keyword: , , , ]. Anyone interested in the rise of citizen journalism and its take up by mainstream news organisations might want to attend the Citizen Journalism 2007 conference taking place in Birmingham on January 26, which is being organised by yours truly along with my colleague Sue Heseltine.

There are three excellent keynote speakers lined up:

Michael Hill is the newly appointed Head of Multimedia at Trinity Mirror who has already expressed a desire to make the most of citizen journalism.

Tom Reynolds is the blogger behind Random Acts of Reality and the author of ‘Blood, Sweat and Tea‘, a collection of blog posts that reached no.8 on Amazon.

And finally Vicky Taylor, the head of interactivity at the BBC, who recently announced they would start paying for viewer contributed content.

The speakers will be followed by lunch, workshop sessions and end with a panel discussion.

Details should be on mediaskills.org.uk shortly. In the meantime you can book a place for £80+VAT through Sarah Calhaem on 0121 204 9883 or email Sarah.Calhaem@uce.ac.uk

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media