Monthly Archives: September 2017

Up close and personal? Mobile journalist Twan Spierts on reporting with smartphones

twan spierts

Dutch journalist Twan Spierts says mobile journalism doesn’t just get the job done more quickly — it can also get you better access. Interview by Jonny Jacobsen.

When Dutch journalist Twan Spierts first starting using a smartphone to cover local football matches, his colleagues looked askance at him.

“All the other journalists, all the other reporters there, looked at me and thought ‘Okay, that guy’s crazy,’” he recalls.

But not the players. “They didn’t mind at all.”

That was the point when he thought, well, if the people he was interviewing didn’t care what kit he was using, then why should he? Continue reading

Advertisements

Why journalists ditch the thesaurus when it comes to “said” (for new journalism students who don’t)

Synonyms for "said"

It’s the start of a new term in journalism courses across the country, and journalism lecturers will once again be spending the first few weeks helping students to ‘unlearn’ a habit they acquire at school: the impulse to use multiple synonyms instead of the word “said”.

It’s not their fault. At school pupils are encouraged to extend their vocabulary when writing. Using “said” repetitively is seen as limited or uncreative, and pupils are told to find other words to add variety. “Stated”, “uttered”, and “commented” are just three words that journalism tutors will be striking out in the coming weeks.

But these synonyms are rarely used in journalism. To find out just how rarely they are used — and what the exceptions are — I looked at a sample of the 10 most recent news stories from three outlets: the BBC, Daily Mail/MailOnline, and BuzzFeed (30 in total).

Here’s what I found — plus a little explanation of why we do this. Continue reading

How to: use the AtF Spark font to create charts with just text

atfspark examples

AtF Spark is “a typeface for creating sparklines in text”. In other words, the fonts will convert numbers into something that looks like a chart. It looks pretty cool, and is a neat way to add a little spark (ahem) to your text.

But while the GitHub repo gives some basic instruction on using the fonts, it also assumes quite a bit of prior knowledge, so here’s a tutorial to explain how to use it if you’re not already familiar with web fonts and other technicalities of web design. Continue reading

The new edition of the Online Journalism Handbook is now out!

online journalism handbook 2nd edThe second edition of the Online Journalism Handbook has just been published. It’s an almost complete rewrite from the first edition — and 50,000 words longer to boot.

Among the changes are new chapters on writing for social media and chat apps, liveblogging and mobile journalism, and finding leads and sources online.

The chapter on UGC is now focused instead of community and social media management, while the history chapter has been expanded to cover business models and issues facing the future of online journalism.

There’s more to be written about those changes and what they say about online journalism itself. But for now, it’s here!

Here are 9 email newsletters about data… I think you’ll like at least 4 of them

fairwarning metrics

Sophie Warnes doesn’t just round up data journalism in her emails, she *does* data journalism *about* her emails

As the first group of MA Data Journalism students prepare to start their course this month, I’ve been recommending a number of email newsletters in the field that they should be following — and I thought I should share it here too.

Here, then, are 9 email newsletters about data — if I’ve missed any please let me know. Continue reading

No, I’m not abandoning the term “storytelling”, Alberto — just the opposite (and here’s why)

A digital storyteller looks like this

digital storyteller image by Darren Kuropatwa

Alberto Cairo provoked quite a bit of reaction this week when he tweeted that data journalism and data visualisation ought to abandon the term “storytelling”…

Given that in two weeks I’ll be doing exactly the opposite (my first intake of MA students begin a new module in Narrative at the end of the month) I thought I should add my own reaction. Continue reading

Pete Sherlock on Twitter This is the first piece of content the BBC has shared under a new partnership with the News Media Association

Local publishers — want some data journalism content from the BBC? Local News Partnership applications open again

The BBC’s Local News Partnership — a project to support local and hyperlocal media through access to extra content and staff — has just opened up applications to its second stage.

The ‘Section Two’ stage is focused on contracts for Local Democracy Reporters — but applicants can also now just complete the ‘Section One’ application to receive BBC content. Continue reading