Here is a checklist covering 8 mistakes made repeatedly by first-time web writers, which I’ve put together for one of my classes. The idea is simple: if you answer ‘No’ to any of these, carry on to the accompanying guidance that follows underneath.
Monthly Archives: February 2012
8 common mistakes when writing for the web – and what to do about them
Here is a checklist covering 8 mistakes made repeatedly by first-time web writers, which I’ve put together for one of my classes. The idea is simple: if you answer ‘No’ to any of these, carry on to the accompanying guidance that follows underneath. Continue reading
Creating dynamic visualisations using Google Forms and Google Gadgets
If you need to gather data on the ground – or want to crowdsource data through an online form – this is how you can visualise the results as they come in using 3 Google Docs tools. They are:
- Google Forms
- Google Docs spreadsheet
- Google Gadgets
And here’s the process: Continue reading
FAQ: Online journalism ethics, accuracy, transparency and objectivity
Answers to another set of questions around ethics and online journalism, posed by a UK student, and reproduced here as part of the FAQ series:
Do you believe online journalism presents new ethical dilemmas and should have standards of its own?
Yes, I think any changing situation – whether technological or cultural – presents new ethical dilemmas.
But should ‘online journalism’ have a separate code? I don’t see how it can. Where would you draw the line when most journalists work online? Ethical standards are relatively platform-agnostic, but journalists do have to revisit those when they’re working in new environments. Continue reading
Generation AudioBoo: how journalism students are interacting online
This post is by Judith Townend (@jtownend).
The journalism class of 2012 has a pretty enviable opportunity to get their stuff out there; the development of online platforms like Twitter, Google+, Storify, Tumblr, Posterous, AudioBoo, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, CoverItLive and Vimeo allows piecemeal dissemination of content to relevant and engaged audiences, without necessarily needing to set up a specific site.
Free technology allows them to find and do journalism outside journalism, in productive and creative ways. To adapt David Carr’s description of Brian Stelter, his browser tab-flicking colleague at the New York Times, we’re seeing the rise of the ‘robots in the basement‘. Continue reading
“All that is required is an issue about which others are passionate and feel unheard”
Here’s a must-read for anyone interested in sports journalism that goes beyond the weekend’s player ratings. As one of the biggest names in European football goes into administration, The Guardian carries a piece by the author of Rangerstaxcase.com, a blogger who “pulled down the facade at Rangers”, including a scathing commentary on the Scottish press’s complicity in the club’s downfall:
“The Triangle of Trade to which I have referred is essentially an arrangement where Rangers FC and their owner provide each journalist who is “inside the tent” with a sufficient supply of transfer “exclusives” and player trivia to ensure that the hack does not have to work hard. Any Scottish journalist wishing to have a long career learns quickly not to bite the hands that feed. The rule that “demographics dictate editorial” applied regardless of original footballing sympathies.
“[…] Super-casino developments worth £700m complete with hover-pitches were still being touted to Rangers fans even after the first news of the tax case broke. Along with “Ronaldo To Sign For Rangers” nonsense, it is little wonder that the majority of the club’s fans were in a state of stupefaction in recent years. They were misled by those who ran their club. They were deceived by a media pack that had to know that the stories it peddled were false.”
Over at Rangerstaxcase.com, the site expands on this in its criticism of STV for uncritical reporting: Continue reading
Announcing Help Me Investigate the Olympics
My crowdsourced investigative journalism project Help Me Investigate has launched a fourth specialist site: Help Me Investigate the Olympics.
The site is being run by a colleague of mine from Birmingham City University, Jennifer Jones, as part of a project we’re working on which sees students at BCU and other universities connecting to wider online networks in investigating Olympics-related questions.
Jennifer knows those networks particularly well as the coordinator for #media2012, web editor and staff editor for Culture @ the Olympics. She is also writing her PhD on Social Media, Activism and the Olympic Games at the University of the West of Scotland.
If you want to contribute to the site or related investigations, get in touch in the comments or via Olympics@helpmeinvestigate.com
Soft skills: can you make a ‘born journalist’?
Are journalists born or made? Some will tell you that there are certain qualities you can’t teach: dogged determination, for example; nosiness; skepticism.
It’s a sort of nature/nurture debate that runs through not only the profession itself, but also many of those who train journalists. “There’s only so much you can teach,” they will say.
But is there? Continue reading
The New Journalists #13: Rosie Taylor
As part of an ongoing series of profiles of young journalists, I interviewed Rosie Taylor about her work as founding editor of student media showcase site Ones To Watch which she balances with a role as trainee reporter at the Daily Mail.
What led you to your current roles?
I got the bug for journalism writing for my student newspaper at the University of Sheffield and was news editor in my final year. My involvement in student media gave me the idea for Ones to Watch.
I did work experience everywhere I could find a sofa to sleep on for a week, got a minimum wage job covering reporters on leave at my local paper and managed to get a Scott Trust Bursary to do a postgraduate course in Print Journalism at Sheffield.
This ultimately led to a job at the Mail, where I spent five months on secondment at the Manchester Evening News before moving to the Mail offices in London this year.
What do your jobs involve?
I run Ones to Watch in my spare time, which mainly involves looking through hundreds of articles produced by students around the UK every day and putting a selection of the best ones on the site. I’m also constantly on the look out for new start-ups, student media news and ways to expand the site.
In my day job I’m a general news reporter, covering anything that gets thrown at me!
How do you see things developing in the future?
I’m still clinging to the hope that journalism, in one form or another, will survive throughout my lifetime. I want to keep writing stories and breaking news and I’m fascinated by how the platform for doing so is changing all the time.
I hope that Ones To Watch will continue to expand and that my mission to raise the profile of student media as a vital part of our press will continue to gain momentum.
The New Online Journalists #12: Michael Greenfield
As part of an ongoing series on recent graduates who have gone into online journalism, Michael Greenfield talks about how he won a job as a Sky News Graduate Trainee, the different roles he’s experiencing across the organisation, and how he sees his career developing as the industry changes.
I’m on a 2-year rotational contract, meaning that every 10 weeks or so I move onto a different position and am trained up in that role. By the end of the scheme I should have a thorough overview of what Sky News does across all platforms, in both input and output.
Much of what I do is ‘on the job’ training, so I am fully immersed in that particular role and quickly pick up the skills along the way. For me it’s by far the best way of learning and getting the job done.
So far I’ve worked as a Researcher on the Planning Desk, a role which takes instructions and ideas from editorial meetings and sets about practically making them happen in advance so that we effectively cover a story.
This involves finding the right experts, case studies and locations to film, arranging interviews and logistically making sure that we will have reporters and crews in the right places.
Currently I’m training as a Field Producer, so I am out on the road either getting pre-recorded material or at live news events making sure, above all, that we get the shot. I am in constant communication with the reporter, crew and news desk so that all sides know what is needed and what is happening on the ground. Tweeting is now a big part of the role, for instance I have been providing live updates from the Leveson Inquiry.
What factors helped you land the job?
I was offered an interview after I was recommended to Sky News by someone I was doing freelance work for.
The main factors that helped me get to that point were:
- having a Broadcast Journalism MA from City University London;
- having a substantial amount of work experience in the industry;
- going straight into work wherever I could get it straight off the back of my MA;
- and applying myself as best I could when given the chance of bits of freelance work.
The whole process proved to me that you really don’t know how things will fall so you just have to get yourself out there.
Where do you see your career developing?
Well the scheme finishes at the end of August 2013 and I’m hoping that I will continue to work at Sky News. They are the pioneers in news coverage – they were the first UK news broadcaster to go HD, their iPad app has been awarded for it’s innovation and they are constantly looking to embrace new ideas and different approaches to how we see news.
I see my career and its relative success revolving around my ability to be a multi-platform journalist. The notion of TV, radio and online journalism being mutually exclusive is becoming increasingly outdated, and so I must strive to be a good journalist across all multi-media platforms.
Audiences expect news in many different formats now, so the more skilled I am at delivering the story through pictures, audio, online copy and social media outlets, the better I will be able to serve a public hungry for information.
I am keen to stress, however, that despite all the technological change, I will stick to the core principles of journalism that I have been taught and now exercise every day.