Monthly Archives: November 2008

Journalism training orgs combine to form Shovelware Alliance

The UK’s three leading journalism training bodies have finally announced that they are to work together as part of a new ‘Joint journalism training council’.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists, the Broadcasting Journalism Training Council and the Periodicals Training Council – who have traditionally provided training for regional newspapers, broadcast journalists, and magazines respectively – have been encroaching on each others’ territories for a while as the industries converged.

It’s early days yet, but the statement doesn’t make encouraging reading for anyone with an interest in the potential of online journalism as a separate medium: the three “new skills and awareness that are and will be required of journalists aiming to work in multi platform news organisations” include:

“b.    Developing ideas for repurposing and adding to print or broadcast news material for use on websites including the use of links, background material, writing for the website, the basics of search engine optimisation and use of basic content management systems. [my emphasis]

“c.     Using video and audio equipment to produce content for websites and other platforms and publishing it.”

In other words, treating the website as a place to shovel – and possibly add to – content produced for another medium.

The statement does go on to say “It is recognised that this is not an exhaustive list”, but it’s not a promising start.

Society of Editors 08: Michael Rosenblum

Star turn at the Society of Editors conference yesterday was ‘Video Visionary’ Michael Rosenblum – the only person on stage all day who seemed to realise just what a hole the news industry was in. He talks about his own experiences in creating video journalism for the web, and makes some very strong points about disruptive technologies in history:

Michael Rosenblum @ Society of Editors 08 from Paul Bradshaw on Vimeo.

Michael Rosenblum @ Society of Editors 08 pt2 from Paul Bradshaw on Vimeo.

Michael Rosenblum @ Society of Editors pt.3 from Paul Bradshaw on Vimeo.

Removing Nofollow on blog links and meta – and invisible comments

A couple months ago I installed a plugin on the blog that meant search engines would index links in comments: by default WordPress uses ‘nofollow‘ on comments to stop spammers abusing them to boost search engine rankings, but that prevents genuine commenters getting credit for their contributions.

One problem: as one commenter pointed out, the blog as a whole was set to ‘noindex-nofollow’ “which equals a no trespasing sign for search engines for ALL of the site’s links. It’s Google suicide.” Continue reading

Are your comments invisible? How about your website?

If your news organisation uses javascript for its comments, or for any other part of the site, you may well be advised to start doing some testing.

Malcolm Coles, the Editor of Which.co.uk, has been highlighting some of the problems with the technology for search engine optimisation and accessibility (the two are often closely related) on his blog. Continue reading

So, what did you put in for the Knight News Challenge?

Last year I had surprising success with the Knight News Challenge, making the final shortlist of 29 before the winners were announced.

This year I’m at it again, with Help Me Investigate.com – a platform for ‘open source investigative journalism’, to be actively piloted in Birmingham, UK, but usable by anyone in the world. You can vote for it here, and read more about it.

MOCKUP

Once you’ve done that, any ideas, useful articles or funds you could suggest would be very much welcomed.

Review: The Blogging Revolution by Antony Loewenstein

From the Baghdad Blogger to Twittering the Chinese Earthquake, plenty has been written about the potential of blogs to allow Western readers access to foreign voices: the ‘Parachute Journalism’ of ‘Our Man in Tehran’ is appearing increasingly anachronistic and paternalistic next to the experiences and thoughts of those caught in the crossfire.

Despite this, mainstream media portrayals of countries like Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China remains largely superficial.

This is the problem that Antony Loewenstein seeks to address with The Blogging Revolution (Amazon US) – a book which is as much about bloggers as it is a demonstration of what blogging has made possible. Continue reading

BBC tackle social video. Sort of.

For the past 2 weeks BBC Have Your Say have been using Seesmic, Qik, Phreadz and 12seconds to invite viewer opinions. It’s clearly a slow learning process, as they try to crowbar broadcast styles into a more conversational medium. Here’s a recent post on Seesmic:

BBC Have Your Say – President Obama

Here they are on Phreadz: Continue reading