Tag Archives: chat

A guide to Slack for journalism students (and lecturers)

Slack screengrab showing channels on left

A screenshot of the Slack group for MA journalism students at Birmingham City University

For a number of years I’ve been using Slack with students on both the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism, and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University. As a new academic year begins, here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years – whether you are a lecturer considering integrating Slack into your teaching, or a student considering using it in a journalism project.

First things first: why Slack?

Slack is a professional chat app used widely in the media industry to organise projects. It has a number of advantages over other options for communicating between colleagues, whether that’s chat apps such as WhatsApp, or traditional email. These include:

  • The ability to take control over opting in or out of communications (rather than being endlessly ccd in on unimportant messages)
  • The ability to have ‘office hours’ and customise notifications based on your priorities and availability (rather than getting notifications for all communications)
  • A particularly powerful search functionality for finding documents or messages from previous communications
  • The ability to set yourself reminders
  • Automation of aspects of work, such as alerts

When it comes to teaching and learning there are two obvious selling points: firstly it empowers students to manage their own communication (with attendant benefits for mental health).

And secondly, it teaches them how to use an important industry tool. Continue reading

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What changed in 2017 — and what we can expect in 2018 (maybe)

Because he sends me an email every December, Nic Newmanhas a tag all of his own on this blog. So as this year’s email lands in my inbox here’s my annual reply around what I’ve noticed in the last 12 months — along with some inevitably doomed predictions of what might happen in the next year…

Surprising in 2017: horizontal storytelling and Facebook disappointments

The rapid spread of horizontal storytelling (‘tap to advance’) struck me particularly this year. 2017 saw it become the default for new launches, from Facebook’s new ‘Messenger Day‘ feature and Medium’s Series, to Instagram‘s Carousel feature and WhatsApp‘s Status feature, while the BBC news app’s videos of the day feature used the same approach too. Continue reading

A potted history of the last 6 years? How the Online Journalism Handbook changed between 2011 and 2017

A few weeks ago the second edition of the Online Journalism Handbook was published. Two years in the making, it was more than just an update of the first edition — it was an almost complete rewrite (and 50% longer). The changes since that first edition in 2011 highlight just how the industry has changed in those six years — here are just a few of the things that I noticed when I looked back…

Blogging: “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”

In the first edition of the Online Journalism Handbook a whole chapter was devoted to blogging. In the new edition the chapter is gone. Does that mean that blogging is dead? No. It means that ‘blogging’ is now so ubiquitous it has become almost invisible. Continue reading

There’s an anonymous chat-to-blogging tool on Telegram – here’s how to use it

secretgram

A new anonymous blogging and commenting bot has appeared on the encrypted chat app Telegram — and it has some interesting potential applications for journalists.

Secretgram “helps you to create a post with anonymous comments in your Telegram channels and groups.” But it also appears to create a post that anyone can comment on anonymously — if they know the URL. Continue reading

How journalists manage information: from leads to stories

Venn diagram: Feeds, contacts and archives

Tools for managing feeds, contacts and archives are merging

5 years ago I wrote about a network infrastructure for journalists working online. I explained how RSS readers, social networks and social bookmarking were being increasingly used to improve on the roles that newswires, contacts books and archives played in the traditional newsroom.

Well here’s an update: not only is that infrastructure now a reality, but it has become much more complex. And as these tools have become more widely adopted it has shifted the focus on information management from the institution to the individual journalist. Continue reading

Google’s creepy Allo assistant and our rocky relationship so far

where-do-you-live

After playing with Allo’s chat prompts for those too lazy to write their own texts, I began to play with the in-conversation Google Assistant bot. Here are the highlights:

1. You can use the assistant without giving it permission

Whereas other chat apps like Telegram and Facebook Messenger make it possible to interact with bots, Google is making bots central to Allo. Specifically, the Google Assistant.

When you first open the app you are introduced to the assistant. It wants to help, it says, but it will only do so if you agree to give it a whole bunch of creepy permissions. Until you give it those, it will not answer any questions directly. Continue reading

Hello Allo: the first 12 things I learned about Google’s new chat app

very-true-indeed

Google’s new chat app Allo is out in the UK, and I’ve been playing around with it.

There are two key artificial intelligence (AI) features that stick out in the app: firstly, the ability to interact with bots (the Google Assistant, which I’ve written about in a second post here), and secondly the way the app suggests responses while you chat.

I took screenshots during my first conversations using the app to see how the AI algorithms were set up before it had begun to learn much from my behaviour. Here are the highlights… Continue reading