In the history chapter of the Online Journalism Handbook you will find a timeline of key events in web journalism. While working on the forthcoming second edition I recently revisited and updated the timeline. Below are the 41 key events I have settled on — but have I missed any? Let me know what you think. Continue reading
2016 was the year of the bot in journalism. In this edited extract from the forthcoming second edition of the Online Journalism Handbook, I outline what bots are, how bots have been used by media organisations from early Twitter bots to the recent wave of ‘chatbots’, and some tips and tools for getting started with journalistic bots.
‘Bots’ are ‘robots’ – only on the internet. Without the mechanical body of their physical counterparts, all that leaves is a disembodied computer script, normally created to perform repetitive tasks.
This broad description takes in a whole range of activities, and so the term ‘bot’ is used to talk about very different things in different contexts:
- In search you might talk about bots used to index webpages, such as the ‘Googlebot’.
- In finance and commerce you might talk about bots used to monitor information online and respond to it by buying or selling things.
- And in advertising and politics you might talk about bots being used for nefarious purposes: for example, to make it look like more people are viewing webpages, clicking on adverts, or arguing for a particular candidate.
This article isn’t about any of those.
In the context of journalism and publishing, the term ‘bot’ is normally used to refer to something which users can interact with. Examples include: Continue reading
Alastair Good was a solo video journalist for The Telegraph for a decade before recently going freelance. As part of work on the forthcoming second edition of the Online Journalism Handbook, I interviewed Alastair about his experiences of filming video at the Calais migrant camp. I’m republishing it in full here.
The refugee/migrant camp in Calais had been growing steadily for some time. Estimates varied between five and ten thousand people who had travelled from the southern part of the globe to escape war, persecution and poverty. They were all hoping for just one thing: the chance to make a dangerous journey across the Channel to Britain.
One of my contacts in an aid agency working in the camp called me to say that bulldozers were due to move in to clear the camp the next day. I pitched the story to my editor and was on the Eurostar by the afternoon. Continue reading
It’s the start of a new academic year so I thought I’d compile a list of the latest reading I would recommend for any students looking at online journalism. (If you have suggestions for additions please let me know!):
Theoretical, historical and conceptual background
- Digital Journalism by Jones & Lee (Sage, 2011) is very comprehensive and worth reading in full.
- Gatewatching by Axel Bruns (Peter Lang, 2005) covers areas that tend to be overlooked by journalism books, such as new media methods and startups from outside traditional media. Read: Chapter 4: Making News Open Source
- The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler (Yale University Press, 2007) provides a wider context and is available free online. Read: Chapter 4: The Economics of Social Production.
- We The Media by Dan Gillmor (O’Reilly, 2006) is a seminal book on citizen journalism which is also available free online.
Practical online journalism – general
The Protection From Harrassment Act 1997 is occasionally used to prevent journalists on reporting on particular individuals. Specifically, any conduct which amounts to harassment of someone can be considered to a criminal act, for which the victim can seek an injunction (followed by arrest if broken) or damages.