Author Archives: Paul Bradshaw

Embedding is the new linking

Every web journalist knows that linking is one of the most fundamental qualities of online journalism: a web article without links is like TV without moving images.

But in the last couple of years something else has become equally important: I’m talking about the embed.

Two years ago I noted how publishers were finally getting to grips with linking – and how embedding was a major factor in that.

As material from social media has become increasingly central to news stories, content management systems have finally been adapted to allow journalists to embed the very elements they were talking about: that controversial tweet; the Facebook reaction; the damning Instagram snap; the viral YouTube video.

Now, one report has noted that almost a quarter of 1 million news articles in a study included embedded media. Continue reading

How I did it: filming video at the Calais migrant camp – videographer Alastair Good

Alastair Good was a solo video journalist for The Telegraph for a decade before recently going freelance. As part of work on the forthcoming second edition of the Online Journalism Handbook, I interviewed Alastair about his experiences of filming video at the Calais migrant camp. I’m republishing it in full here.

The refugee/migrant camp in Calais had been growing steadily for some time. Estimates varied between five and ten thousand people who had travelled from the southern part of the globe to escape war, persecution and poverty. They were all hoping for just one thing: the chance to make a dangerous journey across the Channel to Britain.

One of my contacts in an aid agency working in the camp called me to say that bulldozers were due to move in to clear the camp the next day. I pitched the story to my editor and was on the Eurostar by the afternoon. Continue reading

How journalists manage information: from leads to stories

Venn diagram: Feeds, contacts and archives

Tools for managing feeds, contacts and archives are merging

5 years ago I wrote about a network infrastructure for journalists working online. I explained how RSS readers, social networks and social bookmarking were being increasingly used to improve on the roles that newswires, contacts books and archives played in the traditional newsroom.

Well here’s an update: not only is that infrastructure now a reality, but it has become much more complex. And as these tools have become more widely adopted it has shifted the focus on information management from the institution to the individual journalist. Continue reading

How to: analyse your Twitter or Facebook analytics for the best days or times to post

Twitter’s analytics service is a useful tool for journalists to understand which tweets are having the biggest impact. The dashboard at provides a general overview under tabs like ‘tweets’ and ‘audiences’, and you can download raw data for any period then sort it in a spreadsheet to see which tweets performed best against a range of metrics.

However, if you want to perform any deeper analysis, such as finding out which days are best for tweeting or which times perform best — you’ll need to get stuck in. Here’s how to do it. Continue reading

ScraperWiki has rediscovered its old free scraping tool – and is now calling it QuickCode

A screenshot from before the 2013 relaunch of Scraperwiki

A screenshot from before the 2013 relaunch of Scraperwiki

7 years ago ScraperWiki launched with a plan to make scraping accessible to a wider public. It did this by creating an online space where people could easily write and run scrapers; and by making it possible to read and adapt scrapers written by other users (the ‘wiki’ part).

I loved it. The platform inspired me to learn Python, write Scraping for Journalists, and has been part of my journalism workflow since. Continue reading

From scoping to scoops: a model for how journalists get their stories

Scoping, relaying, responding, attending, seeking, investigating

Journalism activities range from scoping out a field through to investigating for ‘scoops’

How do journalists find stories? How do we test whether a story is as good as it could be? How do we get better as journalists?

The image above is my attempt to answer these questions. It maps out the six activities that journalists undertake as part of their workflow, in order of value: from scoping a field or subject, through to relaying information to a wider audience, responding to or attending news events, seeking new information and experiences, and investigating. Continue reading

How to find ‘feeds for leads’ as a journalist

When a journalist gets their first job, or switches role to a new area or specialism, they need to quickly work out where to find useful leads. This often involves the use of feeds, email alerts, and social networks. In this post I’m going to explain a range of search techniques for finding useful sources across a range of platforms. Continue reading