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).
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
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →