One of my abiding memories of the 1997 General Election involves bumping into a candidate from one of the major parties in a beer cellar. The candidate was supposed to have been on air at the time, participating in a live hustings for the small local radio station I was working for.
During a short conversation with them it quickly became clear that they felt an informal meet and greet with a bunch of bemused students was a better use of their time.
That was until I gently nudged him in the direction of the nearest cab…
A decade and a half later I hoped this sort of incident was a thing of the past. But is that the case? Continue reading →
‘I don’t do numbers’ and ‘I hate maths’ were depressingly common expressions, perhaps unsurprisingly. People wanting to study journalism enjoy the use of language and rarely expect that numbers will be vital to the stories they are telling.
So those responsible for journalism education have a tricky task. A bit like providing a sweet covering to a nasty-tasting tablet, it was said that lecturers need to be adept at finding ingenious ways to teach a practical and relevant use of numbers without ever mentioning the M (maths) or S (statistics) words. Continue reading →
A few days ago, my English colleague Paul Bradshaw wrote a piece “There’s no such thing as a ‘student journalist’” on his Online Journalism blog. He argues that there should be no distinction between journalists or students of journalism (presumably training to be employed as journalists after graduation) because they are both publishers of information and the students carry out the actions of journalists — they are effectively “doing” journalism — while they learn the skills, technologies and attitudes of the profession.
Students are experiencing first hand the culture of journalism, the experience of journalism and the social consequences of what they do. Paul writes:
There is no such thing as a ‘student journalist’.
Students of journalism no longer practise their work in the seclusion of a classroom. They do not write solely for lecturers, or even for each other.
Even if their course provides no opportunities to do any of these things, they will have Twitter accounts, or Facebook accounts.
All of which means that they are publishers.
I don’t disagree with this in principle. Certainly any journalism course worthy of the name would be requiring students to participate in what I like to call “live fire” news exercises. These are usually done under close supervision. However, writing a blog as part of coursework (and for many students it is an onerous requirement of their study, rather than something they enjoy or immediately see the benefits of) is not journalism. Blogging is not journalism and I thought that debate was settled years ago. 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
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
Clearly I’m going to say my own book, the Online Journalism Handbook(2017, Routledge), [UPDATE: now in its second edition], which covers blogging and web writing, data journalism, online audio and video, interactivity, community management and law. Continue reading →
Second, to identify if someone has been deleting unhelpful criticisms of an organisation or person on their Wikipedia entry, you could read through each edit, but with large Wikipedia entries this exercise would be too time-consuming. Instead, look for large redactions. Continue reading →
In this interview, Paul explains to Matt Wardman what the aims and achievements of JEEcamp have been, and reflects on how his own blogging activities over 6 years has opened up opportunities for him personally.
I’ve written a piece in the latest Press Gazette about the need to “take down the walls, stop mystifying investigative journalism and include readers in the process, starting now.” Sadly, they’ve pigeonholed it as being about “blog investigations”. Never mind: you can read it here.
I’ve recently been reading ‘Making Online News‘ a book of ethnographic studies of online news production. Tucked towards the back of the book is a chapter called The Routines of Blogging by Wilson Lowrey and John Latta. It is one of the few studies I’ve read to look not at journalists, but at the work practices of bloggers – specifically, political bloggers.
And their findings support what I’ve increasingly suspected: “the more relevant bloggers become in terms of audience and influence, the more their production routines resemble those of professional journalists.” Continue reading →