Monthly Archives: January 2015

Is data journalism teaching repeating the same mistakes as online journalism teaching?

Shorthand - and you think coding is bad?

Journalists writing code. Shorthand image by Mike Atherton

Is data journalism teaching repeating the same mistakes of online journalism teaching? It’s a genuine question: I don’t know the answer, but I’m seeing some parallels, and I’d welcome a proper debate.

Let me explain what I mean: a decade ago teaching online journalism was problematic: few lecturers were able to teach it. Journalism faculties were full of print and broadcast experience, but very few who had worked online. Continue reading

3 ways to pitch ideas to an editor

Children fitting into boxes

Fitting into boxes. Image by David

How do you pitch ideas to editors as a journalist and get work? When I was asked this question recently I realised there tend to be three broad approaches. I may well have overlooked others – if so please let me know.

Plan A: Specialist knowledge and contacts

The most obvious way to pitch your journalistic services is to have something that others do not.

Anyone can review a film, rewrite a press release or interview a local MP. But not everyone has built good relationships with people who work in healthcare, or can get the person in charge of transport to return their calls, or knows who organises the local running club. Continue reading

2 quotes you need to read about Facebook’s video moves

From John Herrman yesterday:

“What the shift to Facebook video means is that Facebook is more interested in hosting the things media companies make than just spreading them, that it views links to outside pages as a problem to be solved, and that it sees Facebook-hosted video as an example of the solution. A company that uploads its videos to Facebook is not the publisher of those videos. At best, it produced them. Continue reading

What to do if your FOI is refused under ‘commercial sensitivity’ and ‘breach of confidence’

If you’re using FOI to ask questions about public services involving private companies it’s quite common to be refused on the basis of ‘commercial sensitivity‘ or ‘breach of confidence‘.

In fact, I’d suggest anticipating this in your initial request – or at the very least pushing for details when you receive any initial refusal.

Both exemptions are often misused by authorities as a ‘catch-all’ reason to fob off a requestor.

But neither exemption is simple, and both have a public interest test element which the authority is supposed to have thought through. In brief there are two things you can do to help your request: Continue reading