Tag Archives: kasper sorensen

The New Online Journalists #4: Kasper Sorensen

As part of an ongoing series on recent graduates who have gone into online journalism, Sonderborg portal web editor Kasper Sorensen talks about what got him the job, what it involves, and where it might go next. (Disclosure: I taught Kasper)

As with most jobs, experience is always a problem for new graduates. Everyone has a degree, but what sets you apart is your experience. I was lucky enough to study in an environment where engagement with the professionals in my area was a priority. We were encouraged to share our work outside the walls of the university and make it available for everyone to see/use.

Doing that in my first year with web design, meant that I got web design jobs all the way through university to support my studies, and most importantly, honour my skills in the area.

Birmingham City University was actively engaging in the local web scene. This helped in two ways: students always knew what was going on, and in most cases, teachers and lecturers would attend the same events, so students didn’t feel like the odd one out in a room full of professionals.

Attending these meetups, conferences etc. and sharing my experiences online on blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. led to having two jobs lined up after I finished my studies: one in Birmingham working as an editor at BeVocal.org.uk and the other one in Denmark writing a book for the Danish School of Journalism. Continue reading

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3 weeks in: launching a Midlands environmental news site

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:

#twask : Help teach twitter

If you have a few minutes to spare this afternoon, log in to Twitter and look for the hashtag #twask. What is #twask? Well, anyone wanting to ask a question about Twitter can use the tag – and anyone answering those questions can do the same.

Questions find answers.

Hopefully.

The whole thing is the idea of final year journalism degree student Kasper Sorensen, who wanted to help online journalism students find their feet on Twitter. I think it’s pretty great. Read more at his site.

Maps, mashups and multimedia: online journalism students tackle interactivity

Alice Fanning's map of UK eco stories

Alice Fanning's map of UK eco stories

As a new semester begins it seems a good time to finally post about how my second year journalism degree students approached the ‘interactive’ element of their portfolio way back in May (yes, everything they do is interactive, but bear with me).

For the first time I gave them an open brief in terms of what they did interactively (in previous years I asked them to produce Flash interactives). Having been taught how to create everything from audio slideshows and image maps to multimedia interactives, Google Maps and Yahoo! Pipes mashups, I was curious to see what they would pick. Would they all plump for the same option? Continue reading