Monthly Archives: June 2008

Another Week in Online Journalism

Virtual intern Natalie Chillington rounds up last week’s online journalism-related news


  • Lots of debate over whether Google is making us stupid


  • announces it will be sponsoring WordCamp UK in July,bringing together around 100 devotees of WordPress in Birmingham for aweekend of code and conversation. Continue reading

Could the BBC – or Channel 4 – be funded by a tax on web and mobile?

Could the BBC be funded by a tax on web and mobile? In France President Sarkozy has just announced that, from next year,

“prime-time advertising on public television will be phased out, with the lost revenues to be replaced by taxes collected from internet, mobile phone and commercial broadcasting companies Continue reading

Semantic Journalism: Ideas

Semantic journalism is a vision for the future of journalism. As the writer works on her article, her computer would gather data on the matter, from pictures to other articles to assessing global opinion trends. It would read through the Wikipedia pages of a given theme and summarize key concepts. A semantic algorithm would bring a selection of the most authoritative people on a subject.

The journalist is left with what she does best: checking and analyzing the data.

That means avoiding the pitfalls of redundant news content. That means escaping the trap of writing about topics without having a clue of what’s at stake. That means interviewing people who do things rather than those who talk about it.

This article is the first of a 4-part series. We’ll explore semantic hacks for newsgathering, writing and publishing in the coming weeks. Continue reading

What online skills should broadcast journalists learn?

A couple months ago I was leafing through the Broadcast Journalism Training Council guidelines. Drawn up a few years ago (well, 2005), they look worryingly similar to those ‘web journalism’ courses that simply consist of teaching journalists to design webpages. In their guidelines [PDF – page 21] they say students should produce: Continue reading

Interview: Charlie Beckett on SuperMedia

“This book is my manifesto for the media as a journalist but also as a citizen of the world. As a journalist you are constantly being told that the news media have enormous power to shape society and events, to change lives and history. So why are we so careless as a society about the future of journalism itself ?” [1]

Saving JournalismThis is how Charlie Beckett presents his book “SuperMedia: Saving Journalism So It Can Save The World” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), in which he tackles the main challenges to journalistic practice in our days, and its influence to maintain free and democratic societies .

Charlie Beckett is a journalist with a 20 yearscareer at the BBC and ITN, and he is also the founding Director of POLIS, a think tank about journalism and society at the London School of Economics. “SuperMedia” is a work that gathers and structures several streams of thought about the future of Journalism as a essential service to contemporary societies, and how the changes in the news industry, beyond inevitable, are necessary.

Alex Gamela posed a few questions to Charlie Beckett about his book (Portuguese version available here). Continue reading

Live coverage on Twitter – useful or just plain annoying?

My live coverage of the Investigative Journalism Goes Global conference seemed to polarise opinion among the Twitterati. The Guardian’s Neil McIntosh and Charles Arthur, the BBC’s Bill Thompson, and Pete Ashton all unsubscribed from my updates – and those were just the ones I know about. Continue reading

Sky launches Young Journalist Awards for 14-19-year-olds

I’ve had an email about The Sky Young Journalist Awards which “aims to find and celebrate the very best journalist talent across online, television, radio and print.” Its aimed at encouraging 14-19-year-olds to report on local, national or international news stories that matter to them.

It sounds pretty worthy, so here’s the rest of the fluff: Continue reading

Four ways journalists can use Facebook (and other social networks)

The following are answers to a question posed by Greg Manset (via Facebook, naturally):How can journalists use Facebook?

  1. As a great way to find contacts. For example: say you cover the health industry and you add 20 of your contacts to Facebook – by looking at their friends you may be able to find other contacts you wouldn’t otherwise have met. Now, you obviously have to be careful you don’t add whistleblowers or anonymous sources and risk their anonymity, but for most day to day work this can be really useful. I should add that LinkedIn and Twitter can be used in the same way. Continue reading

Twitter Updates for 2008-06-11

  • Improve your community with a reputation system – Yahoo! maps 9 of them: #
  • Using Who Should I Follow again – but it only takes your first 500 friends, so the recommendations include people I already follow. Shame. #
  • Read a very good dissertation on online journalism ethics: Facebook people would be upset if journalists used their info #
  • Just watched the rushes of a documentary on citizen journalism I was interviewed for. Those 9/11, 7/7, tsunami clips are going to cost him #
  • @ragnhildo the ethics dissertation was by @ecotrip #
  • Three ways journalists can use Facebook (and other social networks) #
  • It’s 30 years this year since Factory Records was formed? That makes me feel old. #
  • Watching David Byrne: Playing the Building (BBTV) #
  • Anyone know of a plugin that allows commenters to upload an image with their comment (not link or embed one)? WordPress or other CMS #
  • DailyLit is to Twitter-publish 3 books. Looking forward to reading Down & Out In The Magic Kingdom. #
  • The twitter grapevine apparently knows what i’m doing two days before i do – and i think i know the source. #
  • Finally a panel discussion worth reading about: retweet jemimakiss: PDA >> @ Future of Journalism: Women on the web http://tinyurl#
  • Finally a panel discussion worth reading about: retweet @jemimakiss: Women on the web #
  • Trying out #Evernote – yet another beta. #
  • Suggest to me a twitter friend you think I should be following #
  • @clarewhite #
  • Jay Rosen live now on radio about citizen journalism. Who wants to bet this is dumb-dull? #
  • I can’t believe we are having a discussion about whether a member of the public has the right to ask a public figure a question #
  • …and to publish that. #
  • Here’s the guide: if it’s a public figure, in a public place, at a public event, then it’s public. Otherwise, be courteous? #
  • Anyone else listening to this Jay Rosen thing on KUOW? #
  • ah well, it’s over anyway. #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Patterns for designing a reputation system

Yahoo! have released a family of Reputation patterns:

“They don’t tell you how to lay out a page or where to put an interactive widget. Instead, they address how to design a reputation system for your social software.”

Why is this important? The patterns are a wonderful resource for any news organisation looking to plan a community element in which reputation performs a role. In my experience, reputation systems are pretty important in encouraging users to keep coming back to your online community – you could argue, for instance, that the number of friends in Facebook or followers in Twitter is one simple example. Plurk more explicitly uses ‘karma’, as does (in a much better way) Slashdot (for more on Slashdot and karma systems I thoroughly recommend Gatewatching by Axel Bruns).

Yahoo say these are “the first of several collections of social-design related patterns that we’re working on,” so worth keeping an eye on what comes next.