Tag Archives: Andy Dickinson

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

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‘Chunking’ online content? Don’t assume we start at the same point

Online multimedia production has for a few years now come with the guidance to ‘chunk’ content: instead of producing linear content, as you would for a space in a linear broadcast schedule, you split your content into specific chunks of material that each tackles a different aspect of the issue or story being covered. Interfaces like these show the idea in practice best:

Being a Black Man interactive

The concept is particularly well explained by Mindy McAdams (on text), and Andy Dickinson (on video, below): Continue reading

Host your own crowdsourced investigation with the Help Me Investigate plugin

Help Me Investigate as it looked 2 years ago

When we open-sourced the code for Help Me Investigate the plan was to move from a single site to a decentralised, networked structure. Now, thanks to Andy Dickinson, it has become even easier for anyone to host their own journalism crowdsourcing platform.

Since a conversation a couple of months ago, Andy has been tweaking a WordPress plugin that replicates the functionality of the previous Help Me Investigate site. It’s now ready for use.

The plugin adds an ‘Investigations’ page to your self-hosted WordPress blog which holds ‘sticky’ pages for any investigations you want to pursue, and allows you to break those down into distinct challenges that anyone can contribute to.

You can also add tags and grade progress, and limit access to make an investigation more private. Full functionality and limitations are listed on the plugin page. Continue reading

The New Online Journalists #8: Ed Walker

As part of an ongoing series on recent graduates who have gone into online journalism, online communities editor Ed Walker talks about what got him the job, what it involves, and what skills he feels online journalists need today.

I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire School of Journalism in 2007 with a BA (Hons) first-class in Journalism. I specialised in online journalism in my final year and was taught by the digital yoda that is Andy Dickinson.

As part of my degree I was taught how to do HTML/CSS, built websites from scratch, shot video, chopped up audio, used RSS feeds for newsgathering, wrote stories, blogged using WordPress, used content management systems and all that lovely stuff.

During the course it was obvious that you needed real experience – not just Microsoft Word-submitted stories to a lecturer – to get on in the industry. I started writing for my student paper, Pluto, as soon as I arrived – it was then in a monthly magazine format – and was part of the team that turned it into a fortnightly newspaper.

In 2005 we took the paper online for the first time with Pluto Online and I moved up to Assistant Editor before winning the election to become editor for a year.

We had some good splashes, with two stories going national, and we picked up two awards at the Press Gazette Student Journalism Awards 2008: the Scoop of the Year for an undercover investigation into an essay writing company run by a UCLan student; and one of our reporters picked up Student Reporter of the Year. Continue reading

The New Online Journalists #5: Nigel Barlow

As part of an ongoing series on recent graduates who have gone into online journalism, founder of Inside The M60 Nigel Barlow talks about what led him to launch his own news site, and where it might go next.

At the age of 43 I took the momentous decision to come out of finance and business and train to become a journalist starting a 3 year course at UCLAN.

I think I quickly realised that journalism was undergoing a massive change both in technology and in business and I quickly got into the conversation in my first year using blogging and then Twitter as well as attending as many journalism conferences in the flesh as possible.

For me the tools of new media, blogs, easy to use video, Twitter, RSS feeds etc. were a necessary tool for anyone wanting to break into journalism.

But more than that, it was changing the fundamentals of the economics of publishing and making me think that the route for me would be to go down the low cost route of setting up a niche site. Continue reading

10 Twitter users that every journalism student should follow?

UPDATE: From the comments: similar lists now available for Norway and Sweden.

I will soon begin teaching my annual module in Online Journalism and one of the first things I get the students to do is set up a Twitter account. It’s often a struggle to demonstrate the usefulness of Twitter, so this time around, in addition to following each other, I’m going to give them 10 people to start following from the off. This is the list I’ve come up with – would welcome your suggestions for others:

  1. @davelee – former journalism student and excellent blogger who landed a plum job at the BBC after graduating. Get the point?
  2. @channel4news – example of how a news organisation can use Twitter in a personal, conversational way, rather than simply republishing its RSS feed (see also: @r4news, @mashable) Continue reading

Removing Nofollow on blog links and meta – and invisible comments

A couple months ago I installed a plugin on the blog that meant search engines would index links in comments: by default WordPress uses ‘nofollow‘ on comments to stop spammers abusing them to boost search engine rankings, but that prevents genuine commenters getting credit for their contributions.

One problem: as one commenter pointed out, the blog as a whole was set to ‘noindex-nofollow’ “which equals a no trespasing sign for search engines for ALL of the site’s links. It’s Google suicide.” Continue reading