Tag Archives: computer aided reporting

Social bookmarking for journalists

This was originally published in Press Gazette as Del.icio.us social bookmarking explained and Need some background info? Just follow the electronic trail.

How journalists can use web bookmarking services to manage, find and publish documents.

Every newspaper has a library, and most journalists have kept some sort of cuttings file for reference. But what if you could search that cuttings file like you search Google? What if you could find similar articles and documents? What if you could let your readers see your raw material?

That’s what online bookmarking – or ‘social bookmarking‘ – tools allow you to do. And they have enormous potential for journalists.

There are a number of social bookmarking services. Del.icio.us is best known and most widely used and supported. For this reason this article will focus mostly on Del.icio.us. Continue reading

Something for the Weekend #4: scraping the web with iMacro

This week’s Something for the Weekend is a little different, as it’s a tool for newsgathering rather than publishing. But what a tool.

iMacro is a plugin for Firefox, with paid versions for Internet Explorer or standalone use.

There’s a lot of corporate/technical jargon on the website (“create solutions for web automation”), because, like some of the best web tools (e.g. Twitter), this can be used for so many things it’s hard to describe in a single sentence. But here are some of the headlines: Continue reading

Ten ways journalism has changed in the last ten years (Blogger’s Cut)

A few weeks ago I wrote an 800-word piece for UK Press Gazette on how journalism has changed in the past decade. My original draft was almost 1200 words – here then is the original ‘Blogger’s Cut’ for your delectation…

The past decade has seen more change in the craft of journalism than perhaps any other. Some of the changes have erupted into the mainstream; others have nibbled at the edges. Paul Bradshaw counts the ways…

From a lecture to a conversation

Perhaps the biggest and most widely publicised change in journalism has been the increasing involvement of – and expectation of involvement by – the readers/audience. Yes, readers had always written letters, and occasionally phoned in tips, but the last ten years have seen the relationship between publisher and reader turn into something else entirely.

You could say it started with the accessibility of email, coupled with the less passive nature of the internet in general, as readers, listeners and watchers became “users”. But the change really gained momentum with… Continue reading

BASIC principles of online journalism: A is for Adaptability

In the second part of this five-part series, I explore how adaptability has not only become a key quality for the journalist – but for the information they deal with on a daily basis too. This will form part of a forthcoming book on online journalism – comments very much invited.

The adaptable journalist

A key skill for any journalist in the new media age, whatever medium they’re working in, is adaptability. The age of the journalist who only writes text, or who only records video, or audio, is passing. Today, the newspaper and magazine, the television and the radio programme all have an accompanying website. And that website is, increasingly, filled with a whole range of media, which could include any of the following:

  • (Hyper)Text
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Still images
  • Audio slideshows
  • Animation
  • Flash interactivity
  • Database-driven elements
  • Blogs
  • Microblogging/Text/email alerts (Twitter)
  • Community elements – forums, wikis, social networking, polls, surveys
  • Live chats
  • Mapping
  • Mashups

This does not mean that the online journalist has to be an expert in all of these fields, but they should have media literacy in as many of these fields as possible: in other words, a good online journalist should be able to see a story and think:

  • ‘That story would have real impact on video’;
  • or: ‘A Flash interactive could explain this better than anything else’;
  • or ‘This story would benefit from me linking to the original reports and some blog commentary’;
  • or ‘Involving the community in this story would really engage, and hopefully bring out some great leads’. Continue reading

Why journalists should use Twitter (Nico Luchsinger)

Nico Luchsinger writes about the microblogging tool. Based on an article he wrote for the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

I recently mentioned to a colleague of mine, who also is a freelance journalist, that I’m researching an article about Twitter. “I hope you really trash this service”, was his answer. “This is nothing else than verbal diarrhoea.”

This reaction is not untypical for people having never used the service – I remember that I thought more or less the same when I first heard about Twitter. That even the most ardent users of the service (which, by now, include me) are often at pains to explain what it really is that Twitter does, is of course not helping the case. Continue reading

Five W’s and a H that should come *after* every story (A model for the 21st century newsroom: pt3)

So far this model has looked at sourcing stories in the new media age, and reporting a news story in the new media age. In this third part I look at what should happen after a news story has been reported, using a familiar framework: the 5 Ws and a H – who, what, where, why, when and how.

Five W’s and a H that should come *after* every story

A web page – unlike a newspaper, magazine or broadcast – is never finished – or at least, can always be updated. Its permanence is central to its power, and relates directly to its connectivity (and therefore visibility).

Once out there it can be linked to, commented on, discussed, dissected, tagged, bookmarked and sent to a friend. That can take place on the original news site, but it probably doesn’t. The story is no longer yours. So once the news site has added comments, a message board, ’email to a friend’ boxes and ‘bookmark this’ buttons, what more can it do? Continue reading

A model for the 21st century newsroom pt2: Distributed Journalism

In the first part of my model for the 21st century newsroom I looked at how a story might move through a number of stages from initial alert through to customisation. In part two I want to look at sourcing stories, and the role of journalism in a new media world.

The last century has seen three important changes for the news industry. It has moved… Continue reading

A model for the 21st century newsroom: pt1 – the news diamond

UPDATE: A more up to date version of this post can be found at OnlineJournalismBlog.com, where this blog has moved to.

A month ago, I used the Online Journalism Facebook Group to ask readers to suggest what areas they wanted covering, in an experiment with bottom-up editing (the forum for suggestions is still open by the way). Megan T suggested “Rethinking the production of newspapers”.

After researching, conceptualising and scribbling, I’ve come up with a number of models around the news process, newsgathering, interactivity and business models.

The following, then, is the first in a series of proposals for a ‘model for the 21st century newsroom’ (part two is now here). This is a converged newsroom which may produce material for print or broadcast or both, but definitely includes an online element. Here’s the diagram. The model is explained further below it

21stcnewsroom1.gif

Building on the strengths of the medium

Continue reading

Telegraph innovates again: A level results GoogleMaps mashup

A levels results Google Maps mashup

After so long watching The Guardian take all the plaudits, The Telegraph website is starting to show some real innovation of its own. Following last week’s football Flash stat attackMarcus Warren posts about their mashup/database-driven A level coverage including a league table of schools’ performance updated in real time “(almost)”. And a map of schools who have sent in results “with links back to their position in our list.” (shown above)

A journalist’s guide to crowdsourcing

There’s a great journalist’s guide to crowdsourcing over at the OJR, which is close to being added to my must-read online journalism blog posts due to this quote: “Ultimately, journalism is social science, and journalists who want to make best use of crowdsourcing need to get familiar with the mathematics of social science.” Here’s some more:

“if you want to attempt a true crowdsourcing project, someone in your newsroom will [need programming skills]. Free online survey tools and mapping websites can help you collect and publish great reader-contributed data. But if you want custom information to move from survey form to published report in real time, you can’t do that yet without a programmer on your team.

“… The interviewing and document searches of 20th-century investigative reporting will look incomplete as savvy journalists and newsrooms learn to harness the Internet’s wide reach and interactivity to gather massive databases that only formal social science techniques can effectively manage and analyze.”