Lesson 5 in this series of Online Journalism classes takes a quick look at producing audio for the web and recording podcasts. It’s quick, because this is an area where you’re best doing it as quickly as possible and learning from your mistakes. For more on this area see my podcasts bookmarks and online audio bookmarks. I’d welcome any feedback or information you think I should add.
Pew have released some useful research into podcast downloading, revealing a near-60% increase in the activity over the past 2 years – from 12% of internet users having downloaded a podcast to 19%.
But the really interesting data is somewhat hidden. Continue reading
I’ve created a little service called ‘PodsForMobs’ which gathers links to podcasts and sends them via SMS using Twitter.
In other words if, like me, you like to listen to podcasts on your mobile phone and are frustrated by trying to find download links on podcast directories – or just want a little bit of serendipity – or have too little battery power to search, this works pretty well.
It’s at http://twitter.com/podsformobs
Let me know what you think.
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
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:
- Still images
- Audio slideshows
- Flash interactivity
- Database-driven elements
- Microblogging/Text/email alerts (Twitter)
- Community elements – forums, wikis, social networking, polls, surveys
- Live chats
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
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.
In the first part of a five-part series, I explore how and why a talent for brevity is one of the basic skills an online journalist needs – whether writing an article or employing multimedia. This will form part of a forthcoming book on online journalism – comments very much invited.
It shouldn’t have to be said that the web is different, but I’ll say it anyway: the web is different. It is not print, it is not television, it is not radio.
So why write content for the web in the same way that you might write for a newspaper or a news broadcast?
Organisations used to do this, and some still do. It was called ‘shovelware’, a process by which content created for another medium (generally print) was ‘shovelled’ onto the web with nary a care for whether that was appropriate or not.
It was not.
People read websites very differently to how they read newspapers, watch television or listen to radio. For a start, they read 25% slower than they do with print – this is because computer screens have a much lower resolution than print: 72 dots in every square inch compared to around 150-300 in newspapers and magazines (this may change, but usage patterns are likely to stay the same for some time yet).
As a result, you need to communicate your story in less time than you would in print. You need to develop brevity. Continue reading