Category Archives: regulation

Does Google think your product review is linkspam?

Be prepared... by Mark Lindner

Image by Mark Lindner on Flickr

Google’s guidance on linking has just been updated to include free gifts among the factors that might count against a webpage’s ranking.

The guidance on link schemes now includes “sending someone a ‘free’ product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link” as an example of “link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results” Continue reading

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:

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

Telling wannabe journos “Don’t work for free” doesn’t help

“Don’t work for free,” they were saying at the So You Want To Be A Journalist conference yesterday. “It’s fear, not freedom, that drives creators to succumb,” argued Jonathan Tasini in the Guardian.

The advice is understandable. But it’s also easy to say when you’re not an aspiring journalist competing against hundreds of others for entry level jobs.

The fact is that people do work for free to get a foot in the door, or experience, or both – and that many employers exploit that.

The fact is that this leads to a media industry which does not represent the diversity of its readers, viewers and users.

When opportunities are limited to those who can support themselves for months without a wage in an expensive city, to those who can fund degrees and postgraduate courses to boot, we end up with a journalism which may aspire to be for the people — but is not by any metric of the people.

But telling people not to work for free won’t change that unless it offers an alternative opportunity. Continue reading

The future of open journalism: how journalists need to step up their game

Wolf blowing down the pig's house

Illustration by Leonard Leslie Brooke, from Wikimedia Commons

Cross-posted from XCity Magazine

The future of journalism, according to The Guardian’s ‘3 Little Pigs’ film, is “open journalism”. Users are becoming part of every element of news production. The newsroom no longer has walls.

If that is going to happen then journalists need to huff, and puff, and blow down three particular houses of our own: our preconceptions around the sources that we use online; around why people contribute to the news process; and about how we protect our sources. 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

FAQ: Trusting ‘the blogosphere’

Note: for those coming from Poynter’s summary of part of this post, the phrase ‘don’t have to be trained’ has an ambiguity that could be misunderstood. I’ve expanded on the relevant section to clarify.

Another set of answers to another set of questions (FAQs). These are posed by a UK university student:

How would you define the blogosphere?

The blogosphere is, technically, all blogs – but those don’t often have much connection to each other. I think it’s better to talk of many ‘blogospheres’ around different topics, e.g. the political blogosphere and so on. Continue reading

Guardian to act as platform for arts organisations

The Guardian has been talking about being ‘of the web’ rather than ‘on the web’ for some years now, with a “federated” (as some staff call it) approach to publishing which often involves either selling advertising across, or pulling in content from, other sites (disclosure: this is one of them). Its Open Platform is a technical expression of the same idea, allowing others to build things with its content – which can then take advertising with it. And its successful Facebook app shows its ability to adopt any platform that works.

Now it has announced a partnership with arts organisations – and YouTube – that demonstrates a further development of this approach.  Continue reading

Teaching entrepreneurial journalism: the elephant in the room – editorial independence

angel meets demon

How many journalism students see editorial's encounter with commerce. Image by Scot A. Harvest

There’s a wonderfully written post on Sean Blanda’s blog about fixing entrepreneurial journalism courses. Unusually, the post demonstrates a particularly acute understanding of the dynamics involved in teaching (Lesson One, based on my experience of teaching ‘strategic learners’, strikes me as a particularly effective tactic*, while Lesson Two addresses the most common problem in students’ ideas: vagueness, or ‘mass marketism’).

But it also reminded me of a conversation I had recently about journalism students’ reactions to being taught entrepreneurialism – and the one lesson that’s missing from Sean’s list.

It’s this lesson: “Why?” Continue reading