Last week saw the third Data Journalism UK conference, an opportunity for the country’s data journalists to gather, take stock of the state of the industry and look at what’s ahead.
The BBC Shared Data Unit’s Pete Sherlock kicked off the event, looking back at the first 18 months of the unit’s existence. In that period the unit has trained 15 secondees and helped generate over 600 stories across more than 250 titles in the regional press.
Both stories resulted in strong pushback – from the Ministry of Justice and the electric car industry respectively – but their new data journalism skills gave them the confidence to persist with the story. Continue reading →
What a pleasant surprise to visit a profile page on The Guardian website and see a big, prominent link to the member of staff’s public key. Is this routine? It seems it is: an advanced search for profile pages mentioning “public key” brings up over 1000 results. Continue reading →
Endings are important: they help us to tell a story that is memorable.
This week’s ending is especially important. For the families of those killed in the Hillsborough disaster it represents something truly incredible: a resolution many never expected to see.
For those of us who teach journalism it represents an important opportunity: to tell that story – and make it memorable – to the next generation of journalists, in the hope that they avoid making the same mistakes. Continue reading →
When done well hackdays can provide a perfect mix of technical experimentation and editorial nous. I regularly organise them with news organisations as part of my MA in Online Journalism; and The Times’s Build The News hackday has become an annual fixture.
So I thought I’d pull together some of the tips I gave to my students before they attended this year’s hackday, plus a few that they have learned themselves. Continue reading →
The AudioBoom digital news team is facing its first big challenge: covering the upcoming General Election.
The team was created at the beginning of the year, specialising in covering international news, as it aimed to be not only a platform where others share audio, but also a publisher in its own right. Team leader David Marsland has joined this group, which is now focused on engaging people in politics in the run up to the general election.He says:
“People don’t get involved with politics that much outside of the election’s time. But with the elections approaching, we are getting a lot of listeners for all of our political staff.”
If you assumed that the future of journalism would only be free (or at least advertiser-funded), says SA Mathieson, you’re wrong. In a guest post for OJB Mathieson – who recently successfully crowdfunded his own project to report on the Scottish referendum – explains why the web turns out to be capable of charging for access too.
The Columbia Review of Journalism recently reported that the Financial Times now has nearly twice as many digital subscribers as print ones, having added 99,000 online customers in 2013.
They pay significant amounts for access: the cheapest online subscription to the FT is £5.19 a week. A free registration process does allow access to 8 articles a month – but try to access a ninth and you have to pay.
The FT was earlier than most to charge online, but many publishers have followed suit. Only a few – such as The Times – lock up everything, but titles including the Telegraph, New York Times and Economist all use metering, allowing non-paying readers access to a limited number of articles before a subscription is required. They have been joined by increasing numbers of trade and local publications.
This isn’t just an option for established titles: as a freelance journalist I write for Beacon, a start-up used by more than 100 journalists in more than 30 countries to publish their reporting. It has “more than several thousand” subscribers after five months’ operation, co-founder Adrian Sanders told the New York Times recently.
I wager that after six months the News Of The World paywall will have been more successful than The Times in terms of retaining readers. (This is of course different to the more important, wider success of overall revenue).
To come up with this figure, I compared how many people commented on two stories – one on the Times site (now paywalled) and one on the Guardian. The screenshot, below, taken at 1.45pm yesterday, shows the Times with 4 comments in 2 hours. The Guardian, on a similar but slightly later story, had 117 comments in 90 minutes. Continue reading →
In a guest post, blogger Tim Kevan explains why he resigned from The Times over the paywall
Back in early 2007 I had been practising as a lawyer for some nine years. But I’d always dreamt of living by the sea and the surf and maybe even writing a novel. I just couldn’t quite see how it could be done.When I finally sat down to write a legal thriller what popped out instead was a legal comedy about a fictional young barrister doing pupillage.
I called him BabyBarista which was a play on words based on his first impression being that his coffee-making skills were probably as important to that year as any forensic legal abilities he may have. I wrote it as a blog and was hopeful it might raise a few smiles but in my wildest dreams I hadn’t imagined quite the extraordinary set of circumstances which then unfolded with The Times offering to host the blog and Bloomsbury Publishing of Harry Potter fame offering to make it into a book.
Since then the first book came out last August and was originally called BabyBarista and the Art of War. It is being re-issued in August under the new title Law and Disorder and the sequel is due out next May.
I was also continuing to publish my blog on The Times until May this year when it became clear that even blogs were going to go behind their new paywall. Continue reading →
Currently running as a registration service, The Times plan to launch their paid-for site in the next few weeks. So far they are reluctant to release initial registration figures and the demographic audience they are attracting. OJB caught up with Assistant Editor and Head of Online Tom Whitwell at News:Rewired to find out more: