Category Archives: user generated content

A reading list for studying online journalism

As a new semester nears, I thought I would anticipate the ‘What should I read?’ enquiries by sharing an aggregated reading list from the classes I teach at both Birmingham City University and City University London. Here are 10 key topics with varying numbers of books for each – I’d very much welcome other suggestions:

  1. Working in networks: Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks; Richard Millington, The Proven Path (PDF)
  2. Content strategy: John Battelle, The Search; Bill Tancer, Click; David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect
  3. Platforms: Mark Luckie: The Digital Journalist’s Handbook
  4. Live and mobile journalism: Mark Briggs, Journalism Next; Dan Gillmor, Mediactive
  5. Multimedia: Janet Kolodzy, Convergence Journalism and Practicing Convergence Journalism; Atton & Hamilton, Alternative Journalism; Wilma de Jong, Creative Documentary
  6. UGC, social media and community management: Axel Bruns, Gatewatching; Andrew Lih, Wikipedia Revolution; Jeff Jarvis, What Would Google Do?
  7. Data journalism: Bradshaw and Rohumaa, The Online Journalism Handbook; Andrew Dilnot, The Tiger That Isn’t; Darrell Huff, How to Lie With Statistics; Dona Wong, The Wall Street Guide to Information Graphics; Nathan Yau, Visualize This; Paul Bradshaw, Scraping for Journalists
  8. Law, ethics and online journalism: Friend and Singer, Online Journalism Ethics; Lawrence Lessig, Code; O’Hara and Shadbolt, Spy in the Coffee Machine; Curran, Fenton & Freedman, Misunderstanding the Internet
  9. Experimentation: Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody (ch10: Failure for Free); Michalko, Thinkertoys chapter 9; Ian Bogost, Newsgames; Matt Mason, The Pirate’s Dilemma (ch5: Boundaries)
  10. Enterprise: Ken Doctor, Newsonomics; Simon Waldman, Creative Disruption; David Weinberger, Everything is Miscellaneous

You might also find previous posts useful:

How to get started as a multimedia journalist

Investigations team flowchart

I’ve now covered almost all of the 5 roles in an investigations team I posted about earlier this year – apart from the multimedia journalist role. So here’s how to get started in that role.

Multimedia journalism is a pretty nebulous term. As a result, in my experience, when students try to adopt the role two main problems recur: 1) having a narrow assumption of what multimedia means (i.e. video) and 2) not being able to see the multimedia possibilities of your work.

Multimedia journalism is a very different beast to broadcast journalism. In broadcast journalism your role was comparatively simple: you had one medium to use, and a well-worn format to employ.

Put another way: in broadcast journalism the medium was imposed on the story; in multimedia journalism, the story imposes the medium.

Continue reading

Hyperlocal Voices: Matt Brown, Londonist

The fifth in our new series of Hyperlocal Voices explores the work done by the team behind the Londonist. Despite having a large geographic footprint – Londonist covers the whole of Greater London – the site is full of ultra-local content, as well as featuring stories and themes which span the whole of the capital.

Run by two members of staff and a raft of volunteers, Editor Matt Brown gave Damian Radcliffe an insight into the breadth and depth of the site. Continue reading

Online journalism jobs – from the changing subeditor to the growth of data roles

The Guardian’s Open Door column today describes the changes to the subeditor’s role in a multiplatform age in some detail:

“A subeditor preparing an article for our website will, among other things, be expected to write headlines that are optimised for search engines so the article can be easily seen online, add keywords to make sure it appears in the right places on the website, create packages to direct readers to related articles, embed links, attach pictures, add videos and think about how the article will look when it is accessed on mobile phones and other digital platforms. Continue reading

Finding images and multimedia for your news project (without breaking copyright laws)

For copyright reasons image is not available (badge)

Image by gaelx

Whether you need an image for your blog post, a soundtrack to your video or that YouTube clip for your documentary, if you’re dealing with multimedia it’s likely you’ll end up using – or wanting to use – someone else’s work as part of your own.

Here are some basic tips on finding and using multimedia across the web in a way that won’t (hopefully) land you in hot water. Continue reading

Presentations translated into Arabic: guides for citizen journalists

Late last year I was asked to put together some presentations giving advice on verifying information, finding people and stories onlineethics, and news values. These were translated by Anas Qtiesh into Arabic as part of CheckDesk, a project to support Middle East citizen journalists created by Meedan at Birmingham City University.

The materials are collected at ArabCitizenMedia.org. I’ve linked to each presentation above.

What you need to know about the laws on harassment, data protection and hate speech {UPDATED: Stalking added}

The following is taken from the law chapter of The Online Journalism Handbook. The book blog and Facebook page contain updates and additions – those specifically on law can be found here.

Harassment

The Protection From Harrassment Act 1997 is occasionally used to prevent journalists on reporting on particular individuals. Specifically, any conduct which amounts to harassment of someone can be considered to a criminal act, for which the victim can seek an injunction (followed by arrest if broken) or damages.

One example of a blogger’s experience is illustrative of the way the act can be used with regard to online journalism, even if no case reaches court. Continue reading

How to investigate Wikipedia edits

Ian Silvera (@ianjsilvera) gives a step-by-step guide on how to find out who’s behind changes on a Wikipedia page. Cross-posted from the Help Me Investigate blog.

First, click on the ‘view history’ tab at the top right of the Wikipedia entry you are interested in. You should then be directed to a page that lists all the edits that have occurred on that entry. It looks like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Paul_Bradshaw_(journalist)&action=history

Second, to identify if someone has been deleting unhelpful criticisms of an organisation or person on their Wikipedia entry, you could read through each edit, but with large Wikipedia entries this exercise would be too time-consuming. Instead, look for large redactions. Continue reading

Location, Location, Location

In this guest post, Damian Radcliffe highlights some recent developments in the intersection between hyper-local SoLoMo (social, location, mobile). His more detailed slides looking at 20 developments across the sector during the last two months of 2011 are cross-posted at the bottom of this article.

Facebook’s recent purchase of location-based service Gowalla (Slide 19 below,) suggests that the social network still thinks there is a future for this type of “check in” service. Touted as “the next big thing” ever since Foursquare launched at SXSW in 2009, to date Location Based Services (LBS) haven’t quite lived up to the hype.

Certainly there’s plenty of data to suggest that the public don’t quite share the enthusiasm of many Silicon Valley investors. Yet.

Part of their challenge is that not only is awareness of services relatively low – just 30% of respondents in a survey of 37,000 people by Forrester (Slide 27) – but their benefits are also not necessarily clearly understood.

In 2011, a study by youth marketing agency Dubit found about half of UK teenagers are not aware of location-based social networking services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places, with 58% of those who had heard of them saying they “do not see the point” of sharing geographic information.

Safety concerns may not be the primary concern of Dubit’s respondents, but as the “Please Rob Me” website says: “….on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home… The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home.”

Reinforcing this concern are several stories from both the UK and the US of insurers refusing to pay out after a domestic burglary, where victims have announced via social networks that they were away on holiday – or having a beer downtown.

For LBS to go truly mass market – and Forrester (see Slide 27) found that only 5% of mobile users were monthly LBS users – smartphone growth will be a key part of the puzzle. Recent Ofcom data reported that:

  • Ownership nearly doubled in the UK between February 2010 and August 2011 (from 24% to 46%).
  • 46% of UK internet users also used their phones to go online in October 2011.

For now at least, most of our location based activity would seem to be based on previous online behaviours. So, search continues to dominate.

Google in a recent blog post described local search ads as “so hot right now” (Slide 22, Sept-Oct 2011 update). The search giant launched hyper-local search ads a year ago, along with a “News Near You” feature in May 2011. (See: April-May 2011 update, Slide 27.)

Meanwhile, BIA/Kelsey forecast that local search advertising revenues in the US will increase from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $8.2 billion in 2015. Their figures suggest by 2015, 30% of search will be local.

The other notable growth area, location based mobile advertising, also offers a different slant on the typical “check in” service which Gowalla et al tend to specialise in. Borrell forerecasts this space will increase 66% in the US during 2012 (Slide 22).

The most high profile example of this service in the UK is O2 More, which triggers advertising or deals when a user passes through certain locations – offering a clear financial incentive for sharing your location.

Perhaps this – along with tailored news and information manifest in services such as News Near You, Postcode Gazette and India’s Taazza – is the way forward.

Jiepang, China’s leading Location-Based Social Mobile App, offered a recent example of how to do this. Late last year they partnered with Starbucks, offering users a virtual Starbucks badge if they “checked-in” at a Starbucks store in the Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. When the number of badges issued hit 20,000, all badge holders got a free festive upgrade to a larger cup size. When coupled with the ease of NFC technology deployed to allow users to “check in” then it’s easy to understand the consumer benefit of such a service.

Mine’s a venti gingerbread latte. No cream. Xièxiè.