Author Archives: Paul Bradshaw

Don’t blame Facebook for your own filter bubble

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’.

A day later someone else I know – a former journalist now working in the tech sector – expressed the same frustrations — on Facebook, naturally. It seems we have a problem.

At the time of writing Steinberg’s tweet has been retweeted almost 4,000 times. Clearly there is a desire for connection – and yet…

Why are they making the demand of social media companies — and not news organisations? Continue reading

BBC’s Newsnight creates instant 24 hour #EUref news channel using Facebook Live

facebook live bbc newsnight running order

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.

Sometimes we talk to bad people, and they have to trust us – a podcast talking point

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

4 password leaks, half a billion reasons to use different passwords

Do you run one of the 33 million Twitter accounts whose passwords were hacked recently?

Did you once have a MySpace account, and are one of the 360 million whose passwords have been hacked?

Or perhaps you had a LinkedIn or Tumblr account – 117 million and 65 million hacked passwords respectively. Continue reading

Linked data and structured journalism at the BBC

Dont repeat yourself

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.

They were right. Continue reading

5 ways to find useful Snapchat accounts to follow as a journalist

Snapchat book cover

This post is an extract from the book Snapchat for Journalists

Finding Snapchat accounts to follow is harder than it needs to be. There are some directories, such as Snapcodes, but these rely on user submissions. The iPhone app GhostCodes also ‘curates’ lists of accounts by category, but also relies on users giving their own usernames.

You can find some articles highlighting interesting accounts to follow on Snapchat. One useful search phrase to use for finding those is this:

Here are 4 useful techniques for tracking them down.

Method 1: The advanced search

The most obvious approach is to look for some articles highlighting interesting accounts to follow on Snapchat. You can narrow this a little by using search operators like allintitle: (which restricts results to those where the words are in the page title).

One useful search phrase to use with this is: Continue reading

How to embed a vertical video from YouTube or Vimeo

In my series of posts on Snapchat for journalists I mentioned that you can embed vertical video so that it doesn’t have those annoying black bars either side. Here’s how.

OK, so YouTube may not support vertical video as a format on desktop (it does on the mobile app) but you can embed a vertical video hosted on YouTube so that it is presented as a vertical format on your own webpage.

This is particularly useful if you’ve created a video using the Snapchat app, or merely filmed on your phone without remembering to rotate it, and want to use it on a normal site. Continue reading