Tag Archives: podcasts

Ten ways journalism has changed in the last ten years (Blogger’s Cut)

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

BASIC principles of online journalism: A is for Adaptability

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:

  • (Hyper)Text
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Still images
  • Audio slideshows
  • Animation
  • Flash interactivity
  • Database-driven elements
  • Blogs
  • Microblogging/Text/email alerts (Twitter)
  • Community elements – forums, wikis, social networking, polls, surveys
  • Live chats
  • Mapping
  • Mashups

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

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.

BASIC principles of online journalism: B is for Brevity

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

Listen to this blog’s posts

So I signed up to automatic podcast generator Odiogo. The result: a podcast feed for all of my posts. Useful for accessibility – and recommended on that basis if nothing else. The automated reading of posts is surprisingly natural. But one big problem: because I use the <more> strip in WordPress to prevent my homepage being dominated by lengthy posts, this also truncates the feed, and so the audio only runs to that point.

UPDATE: Some tips were given below, plus an email from Odiogo themselves as follows:

some WordPress plugins such as DualFeeds or CopyFeed  create a full RSS feed, including the text after the more tag.

“Please note that these plugins have not been tested by Odiogo – we don’t know if they are compatible with WordPress.com and cannot be held responsible if they cause any issue to your blog.

Lofi Podcast: Phone interview with Mike Hill, Deputy Editor, Lancashire Evening Post

Last week I interviewed Mike Hill, Deputy Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, for an article on changing tools and approaches in local newsrooms (due to appear on Journalism.co.uk). Mike has some interesting plans on using surveys beyond the simple reader poll (since reported here), and experiences of the weaknesses of geotagging, among other things. The interview can be heard here – it’s around 10 minutes.

Katine: Guardian does something very special indeed with crowdsourcing

If you have ten minutes today, click along to Katine: it starts with a village. With this project The Guardian is doing something very special indeed with crowdsourcing, interactive storytelling, and journalism itself.

Launched over the weekend, Katine appears to be a new approach to “the annual appeal to focus attention on worthwhile causes during the pre-Christmas giving season”. Editor Alan Rusbridger explains: Continue reading

Text comments? They’re so last year

TMZ and the New York Times are the latest news organisations to dip a toe in the world of multimedia commenting.

The NYT recently posted a video ‘letter to the editor’, while the TMZ.com blog is letting readers post audio comments, with video comments in the pipeline. They join the San Francisco Chronicle, who earlier in the year started podcasting voice messages from readers. Continue reading

A model for the 21st century newsroom: pt1 – the news diamond

UPDATE: A more up to date version of this post can be found at OnlineJournalismBlog.com, where this blog has moved to.

A month ago, I used the Online Journalism Facebook Group to ask readers to suggest what areas they wanted covering, in an experiment with bottom-up editing (the forum for suggestions is still open by the way). Megan T suggested “Rethinking the production of newspapers”.

After researching, conceptualising and scribbling, I’ve come up with a number of models around the news process, newsgathering, interactivity and business models.

The following, then, is the first in a series of proposals for a ‘model for the 21st century newsroom’ (part two is now here). This is a converged newsroom which may produce material for print or broadcast or both, but definitely includes an online element. Here’s the diagram. The model is explained further below it


Building on the strengths of the medium

Continue reading

Exhibition of online journalism (and some other stuff but let’s ignore that)

As the 2006/07 academic year draws to an end, the journalism students at UCE Birmingham have to show off their work at a final year exhibition of all media students’ work. How do you ‘exhibit’ journalism? That’s the challenge.

This year we’ve had three projects involving online journalism: the first was a news magazine and website aimed at 11-14-year-olds – ‘4 You‘. The second, a website to support a television news production, UR-Central, aimed at “under-represented communities in Birmingham”. And the third (not yet finished), is a blog-based service around disaster-related news.

The two that are now finished both had their strengths and weaknesses. UR-Central suffered, it appears, from the common problem of ‘production team not communicating with web person’. The resulting website is patchy, with some empty areas where ideas are suggested but not built. But there’s some Flash video, slideshows, a forum, and feedback opportunities.

The team behind 4 You were much better organised. One member built a content management system, incorporated feedback forms, games, a live weather feed, and a messageboard; there were image galleries, with invites for users to submit content; they blogged during the ‘live’ week (some better than others); and they even produced podcasts.

Particularly clever was the use of hyperlinks and the ‘title’ tag to explain concepts such as ‘Foreign secretary’ to a young audience. There are calls for readers to engage and contribute throughout, and promotion of the printed product.

If you want to see more of these and other projects in journalism, design, photography, television, radio, PR and new media, the exhibition takes place in Birmingham at Gosta Green, Corporation Street from Thursday June 21 to Saturday June 23. The students have set up a Facebook page on the event and, it seems, a media exhibition website too.

And what prompted me to write about all of this? Matt King, top class online journalist that he is, wrote on my Facebook wall to shame me into blogging about it. Clever man.