Tag Archives: Pete Ashton

Which blog platform should I use? A blog audit

When people start out blogging they often ask what blogging platform they should use – WordPress or Blogger? Tumblr or Posterous? It’s impossible to give an answer, because the first questions should be: who is going to use it, how, and what and who for?

To illustrate how the answers to those questions can help in choosing the best platform, I decided to go through the 35 or so blogs I have created, and why I chose the platforms that they use. As more and more publishing platforms have launched, and new features added, some blogs have changed platforms, while new ones have made different choices to older ones. Continue reading

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10 Twitter users that every journalism student should follow?

UPDATE: From the comments: similar lists now available for Norway and Sweden.

I will soon begin teaching my annual module in Online Journalism and one of the first things I get the students to do is set up a Twitter account. It’s often a struggle to demonstrate the usefulness of Twitter, so this time around, in addition to following each other, I’m going to give them 10 people to start following from the off. This is the list I’ve come up with – would welcome your suggestions for others:

  1. @davelee – former journalism student and excellent blogger who landed a plum job at the BBC after graduating. Get the point?
  2. @channel4news – example of how a news organisation can use Twitter in a personal, conversational way, rather than simply republishing its RSS feed (see also: @r4news, @mashable) Continue reading

JEEcamp – when the cottage news industry met mainstream media

What happens when you bring together local journalists, bloggers, web publishers, online journalism experts and new media startups – and get them talking?

That was the question that JEEcamp sought to answer: an ‘unconference’ around journalism enterprise and entrepreneurship that looked to tackle some of the big questions facing news in 2008: how do you make money from news when information is free? Where is the funding for news startups? How do you generate community? What models work for news online? Continue reading

Brainstorming environmental blogs

In week two of my Online Journalism module I introduced students to the principles of blogging. After the lecture I asked the students to brainstorm ideas for blogs on an environmental issue theme, based on what they’d just heard.

To inject some extra ideas I brought in star Birmingham blogger Pete Ashton.

The results were some of the best blog ideas I’ve heard from journalism students – and certainly more imaginative than most newspaper thinking around the blog platform.

  • Emma wanted to look at supermarket waste – Pete suggested getting “behind the scenes of what happens at a supermarket”; I added the possibility of a Flickr account/photoblog.
  • Hayley wanted to do something about energy efficiency – Pete suggested they drill down very specifically to something like a blog purely about issues around energy saving lightbulbs.
  • Natalie has recently learned to drive – she suggested blogging about her experiences of a ‘return to public transport’
  • Laura wanted to look at the topical issue of chickens and supermarkets and mentioned the fact that you could access data on declining sales – I suggested a blog monitoring sales of chicken at supermarkets; Pete suggested tapping into the online organic farming community.
  • Stephanie thought of a challenge-based blog following her as she tries to get an environmental story from every country in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Alice was thinking of a blog following attempts to get a whole street to go eco-friendly. I suggested a group blog.
  • Kat wanted to follow her student house doing something similar with ‘downshifting’. Pete pointed out the dangers of blogging about other people without their knowledge/editorial approval. I advised her to broaden her mind beyond students.
  • Kasper wanted to pick a community, e.g. fishermen, then look at their perspectives on water pollution country-by-country. I suggested turning it round to pick one country and use the blog to post on different communities’ perspectives and experiences on/of water pollution, e.g. fishermen, people who live by rivers; shipping companies; water suppliers.
  • Tuuli wanted to pick a name (e.g. “Adam”) and get one person with that name from every state in America to write a post about what they do related to the environment. Pete suggested that there will be spin-offs from those, like follow-ups on what contributors are up to.

They also set up their own blogs during the lesson – more on these in future posts.