Recently I read some feedback about a book proposal. The proposal included some chapters on coding for journalists, which prompted one of the reviewers to write:
“I think coding is moving [students] away from the core role of journalism — which is content creation not platform creation”
The debate about coding for journalists has been rumbling for some time now, and my own opinion on the issue has changed over that time. The attitude embodied in that quote is not uncommon among journalism lecturers — but the quote above has helped me realise something that, for me at least, strengthens the ‘journalists should code’ argument.
Let me rephrase it to show how:
“I think publishing is moving [students] away from the core role of journalism — which is content creation not platform creation”
As the UK worked through the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union, Tom Steinberg found himself frustrated. “I am actively searching through Facebook for people celebrating the Brexit leave victory,” he wrote. But to no avail. He called on his friends in the technology industry to act on this ‘echo-chamber problem’.
An appeal to everyone I know who works at Twitter, Facebook, Google etc, and for the people who influence them pic.twitter.com/TRBTbZHrxG
For 45 minutes every weekday night the BBC airs its current affairs program Newsnight. Today, however, the UK needs a little more than 45 minutes to get its head around ‘events‘.
And so, the day that the UK voted to leave the European Union, Newsnight is using Facebook Live to essentially run its own 24 hour TV channel. Beginning with Chris Cook as the UK woke to the result, through to Evan Davis as the day ends, it’s a sign of how a news programme can work around the limitations of broadcast. No fancy studio, no lights and make up: just a journalist and a webcam. Well worth watching.
Mexican newspaper El Universal has put a face to the 4,534 women who have gone missing in Mexico City and the State of Mexico over the last decade:Ausencias Ignoradas (Ignored Absences) aims to put pressure on the government and eradicate this situation.
Daniela Guazo, from the data journalism team, explains how they gathered the data and presented the information not as numbers but as close people:Continue reading →
Radiolab’s recent podcast The Buried Bodies Case is a brilliant piece of storytelling. The producers’ newsgathering; the choices of elements and how they are arranged; the tight editing and use of silence — all these make for a masterclass in longform narrative that any journalism student would benefit from exploring.
But it’s not that which prompted me to blog about it.
The content of the podcast is perhaps the best exploration of journalist-source ethics I’ve heard, without it actually being about journalists.
Spoiler alert: if you want to enjoy the podcast without knowing where it goes, then stop here, listen to it, and then come back. Continue reading →
For my latest journalism experiment I have bravely entered the world of podcasting with zero broadcasting experience under my belt.
The result was literally days of record, delete, record, edit, delete and then: “That was perfect! But… you forgot to press the record button.”
I did manage to work through the frustration and actually start to enjoy discovering what you can do with a mic, a recorder and the free audio editing software Audacity.
I love the amount of creativity that audio allows you: you’ve got the tone, pitch, speed, sound effects, and the actual words you use, all at your disposal. It really allows you the freedom to present a story in a unique voice.
Anyway, here are 5 lessons I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to. Continue reading →
David Neal (@walruswinks) is a producer and director who has been working in vertical video for years. In a special guest post he tells the story of the ongoing battle over the format, how video makers identified good practice, journalists overcame their dislike of vertical — and how in 2016 advertisers are now coming on board.
Since the dawn of the smartphone equipped with a video camera, and even before, people have been posting vertical video on the internet (see here for a retrospective look).
Initially the format was met with almost universal scorn: in 2012, Bento Box, creators of the Glove and Boots video blog, produced the opening salvo (shown below) in what has become a multimedia struggle over the future, or lack thereof, of vertical video, and from there the gunfight expanded.
Last month Basile Simon from BBC News Labs gave a talk at the CSV conference in Berlin: a two-day “community conference for data makers” (notes here). I invited Basile to publish his talk here in a special guest post.
At BBC News Labs, we’ve been pushing for more linked data in news for years now. We built a massive international news aggregator based on linked data, and spent years making it better… but it’s our production and live services who do the core of the job today.
We’re trying to stay relevant and to model our massive dataset of facts, quotes, news and articles. The answer to this may lie in structured journalism.
Starting in 2012, News Labs was founded to play with linked data. The original team, comprised of many data architects, strongly believed this was a revolution in the way we approached our journalism.