3 weeks ago my class of online journalism students were introduced to the website they were going to be working on: BirminghamRecycled.co.uk – environmental news for Birmingham and the West Midlands.
The site has been built by final year journalism degree student Kasper Sorensen, who studied the online journalism module last year.
In building and running the service Kasper has done a number of clever, networked things I thought I should highlight. They include:
- Creating a Delicious network for the site – every journalist in the team has a Delicious account; this gathers together all of the useful webpages that journalists are bookmarking
- Tweetgrid of all journalists’ tweets – again, every journalist has a Twitter account. This pulls them all together.
- Twitter account @bhamrecycled
- Kasper sent the whole team an OPML file of subscriptions to RSS feeds of searches for every Midlands area and environmentally related keywords. In other words, journalists could import this into their Google Reader and at a stroke be monitoring any mention of certain key words (e.g. ‘pollution’, ‘recycling’) in Birmingham areas.
- He also shared a Google calendar of relevant events
The site itself is clever too.
- The About page has a list of all contributing journalists with individual RSS feeds.
- In addition, each author has a link to their own profile page which not only displays their articles but pulls Twitter tweets, Delicious bookmarks and blog posts.
Kasper wanted to explicitly follow a Mashable-style model rather than a traditional news service: he felt an overly formal appearance would undermine his attempts to build a community around the site.
And community is key. When unveiling the site to the journalists Kasper made the following presentation – a wonderful distillation of how journalists need to approach news in a networked world: