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April 20 2012

12:19
12:19

December 21 2011

15:00

Paul Bradshaw: Collaboration! Data! 2012 will see news outlets turning talk into action

Editor’s Note: We’re wrapping up 2011 by asking some of the smartest people in journalism what the new year will bring.

Next up is Paul Bradshaw, the author of the Online Journalism Handbook and a visiting professor at City University London.

The problem with making predictions is that a year is too short a timescale; and five is too long. The secret, I’ve realized, is to actually talk about things you already know are going to happen, and then accept all the glory when they actually do.

Having broken the Magicians’ Circle of journalistic punditry, then, here are the developments I see shaping 2012.

1. 2012 will be the year we finally move away from the traditional homepage

Liveblogging has been taken up by the news industry more enthusiastically than perhaps any other web-native form of journalism. It’s sticky, great for SEO, and provides a simple way to turn a newsroom used to daily news cycles into a rolling news operation.

Indeed, its influence has been so great that some news organizations are seriously considering the very way they present their news — and in 2012 I think that influence will generate significant changes in how certain media organizations make that presentation.

The “stream” as an interface will move from being the preserve of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to being a serious consideration for news website homepages. We’re all 24-hour news channels now.

2. In 2012, “Collaboration Is King”

If you’re not already tired of conference speakers staging their own coronations where some aspect of journalism is crowned “king” — from content to curation and context to conversation — expect there to be another one in 2012.

I’m betting on “collaboration”: partly with users who have valuable expertise to share; but also between media organizations, strapped for cash and looking for new economies and new opportunities.

3. News organizations turn talk into action on data

In 2009 and 2010, the MPs’ expenses and Wikileaks stories helped news organizations see the potential of data journalism. In 2011, they spent plenty of time talking about it. In 2012, more of them will be ready to start doing it.

At the BBC, the College of Journalism has embarked upon a significant training program to build data journalism literacy among the corporation’s journalists, with other broadcasters making plans in the same area. The Guardian and The FT continue to set the pace for the UK newspaper industry, and the magazine industry is starting to look at the possibilities of data, too.

This slow skilling up of journalists can expect to get a fresh injection of pace with further open data developments in 2012, from the UK government’s attempt to stimulate the economy with further data releases, to the “carrot and stick” of pushing releases of data at an EU level. Any news organization that is serious about its fourth estate role is building the skills to interrogate those datasets.

April 12 2011

08:07

Hacks & Hackers Glasgow: the BBC College of Journalism video

Last month we celebrated the final leg of our UK & Ireland Hacks & Hackers tour in Glasgow, at an event hosted by BBC Scotland and supported by BBC College of Journalism and Guardian Open Platform. You can read more about it here. Other coverage includes:

The BBC College of Journalism kindly filmed the whole thing and the videos are now available to watch. The whole playlist can be viewed here, or watch each segment in the clips below:


February 22 2011

07:01

New event! Hacks & Hackers Glasgow (#hhhglas)

Calling journalists, bloggers, programmers and designers in Scotland!

Scraperwiki is pleased to announce another hacks & hackers hack day: in Glasgow. BBC Scotland is hosting and sponsoring the one day event, with support from BBC College of Journalism. As with our other UK hack days, Guardian Open Platform is providing the prizes.

Web developers and designers will pair up with journalists and bloggers to produce a number of projects and stories based on public data. It’s completely free (food provided) and open to both BBC and non BBC staff. It will take place at the Viewing Theatre, Pacific Quay, Glasgow on Friday 25 March 2011.

Any questions? Please email judith@scraperwiki.com.


September 08 2010

10:52

BBC Cojo: When to step into a story, and when to walk away

It is a question which arises time after time, especially for journalists working in dangerous areas and the developing work: at what point do you step into a story to provide humanitarian aid to your subject?

This was something we discussed with Chris Green from Future Voices, a company which offers training to journalists considering working in hostile environments. “You need to remind yourself that you are a journalist, you are there for one reason. Look after your team, look after yourself, get your story,” he told us at the time.

This week the BBC College of Journalism also takes a look at the issue in an interesting interview with Jezza Newman, director and cameraman for Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children a documentary repeated on BBC2 last week, posted on the site.

Newman says it is important for the overall message to remain powerful for the audience.

As awkward as it is for us to walk away, it should be awkward for the viewer to watch. By doing what we did and making the viewer as awkward as we made them feel we ended up raising £43,000 and we believe that what we chose to do, by not stepping in, contributed to what eventually is a good.

See the full post here…Similar Posts:



September 06 2010

10:05

BBC CoJo: In defence of Mark Thompson’s visit to Downing Street

Last week several news outlets, including the BBC, reported on a visit to Downing Street by the BBC’s director general Mark Thompson, who was allegedly there to discuss BBC news coverage of the government’s spending review.

It was suggested that such a visit may risk damaging the impartiality of the broadcaster, with Thompson reportedly trying to ensure a good relationship with the government in light of a licence fee review on the horizon. Others indicated that the meeting was on the order of senior government figures who wanted to “quiz” Thompson on content.

Commenting on the press coverage, Kevin Marsh, editor of the BBC College of Journalism criticizes what he regards as a promotion of appearance and impression over the facts in a post on the College of Journalism discussion blog.

Is it really a surprise for example, to learn that David Cameron’s press chief, Andy Coulson, had lunch with the BBC head of news, Helen Boaden, and that the subject of spending review coverage came up? Or that Mr Coulson would press for more ‘context’?

(…) Now, I have no special knowledge or insight here – but certainly when I was running Today or World at One it wasn’t that unusual to recruit senior executives to put in a good word when you were trying to fix big interviews.

And it’s easy to see that with a huge, high-profile season on the horizon – and the spending review season will run across all of the BBC’s national and regional programming as well as the news website – a bit of shoulder work from the chaps at the top is no bad thing.

See his full post here…Similar Posts:



August 23 2010

08:00

August 13 2010

10:05

Robots to replace sports journalists?

The BBC College of Journalism reflects on the news that researchers in America have created a computer which can “autonomously” write sports articles based on a set of statistics.

According to an article on the RobotShop blog, the machine, called ‘Stats Monkey”, relies on commonly-used phrases in sports journalism to form its own reports.

It can produce a headline of a particular game in only 2 seconds without spelling or grammar mistakes. Stats Monkey independently looks for websites specialised in match statistics, scores, goals, major events and even photographs. To write its article, the journalist robot uses pre-recorded forms of expressions that often come up.

But – BBC CoJo asks James Porter, the broadcaster’s former head of sports news – does this mean the end for sports journalism? It’s certainly a wake-up call, he says.

In America the way sports is covered and consumed is very statistics driven. Anything a player does is presented to the audiences in the form of statistics. I’m not so sure it’s applicable in the UK (…) It’s a wake up call to us to make sure our journalism concentrates on the stories and the excitement around sport and lifts itself out of the mundanity that otherwise we do sometimes descend into.

See the full post here…Similar Posts:



July 26 2010

08:00

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – Advice on reporting statistics

Statistics: BBC College of Journalism reinforces the importance of getting the numbers right. First in a series of tips from the BBC. Tipster: Rachel McAthy. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


July 15 2010

08:00

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – effective citizen journalism

Citizen journalism: The BBC College of Journalism has produced an interactive guide on how journalists should engage in citizen journalism effectively, and legally. Tipster: Rachel McAthy. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


July 13 2010

16:30

Sun criticised for descriptions of Raoul Moat as a young boy

Writing on the BBC College of Journalism site, Simon Ford flags up the very questionable descriptions of Raoul Moat used by the Sun to caption images of him as a baby and young boy:

“Ginger top,” mused one underneath what looked like a school photograph, “but at five his eyes already have intense look.”

“Awkward,” concludes another under a photo of, “Moat aged 13 at mum Josephine’s wedding.”

And the most absurd of all: “Cute baby … but two-month-old Moat clenches his fists.”

Adding to the debate about the media’s influence in such events, Ford quotes some of the language used by the newspaper to describe Moat during the time he evaded the police:

On 8 July – day-six of the hunt – the Sun decided to throw everything it had at “THE PSYCHO COMMANDO”.

In five pages devoted to the story, the Sun portrayed Moat as a “self-pitying monster”, a “6ft 3in brute”, a “gun spree hulk” capable of living “wild for weeks”. His campsite, discovered by police on farmland, was described as a “lair”.

The newspaper was criticised in May for using the expression ‘tar baby’ – a term widely considered offensive to African-Americans – to caption an image of a very young boy smoking.

Full BBC post at this link…Similar Posts:



June 17 2010

07:43

BBC College of Journalism: YouTube and the flaws of ‘unstructured’ network news

The BBC College of Journalism’s Kevin Marsh reacts to YouTube’s launch of a breaking news feed, suggesting that “the proposition is as simple as it’s flawed”.

Marsh raises concerns about verification and the skewed news agenda that might surface through this feed:

Citizen Tube doesn’t tackle these questions or anxieties – to be fair, it doesn’t claim to. But that’s part of the problem.

Yes, both citizens and their journalists need some way of bringing this particular kind of personal news into the news continuum. And Citizen Tube isn’t too bad a first stab.

But, at the moment, it falls way short and demonstrates at the same time the essential weaknesses in unstructured networks that aim to provide ‘news’. And it adds to that regret some of us have that Big Journalism just never got the web when it was really important that it did.

And that the world of ‘personal journalism’ is – for the time being at least – failing to deliver what can reasonably be called journalism as assuredly as Big Journalism is failing to understand or adapt to the personal.

Full post at this link…

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June 11 2010

14:12

#VOJ10: Local news at the grassroots

The final stream 2 session of the BBC CoJo / Polis Value of Journalism conference; Journalism.co.uk’s session on local media at the grassroots. We’ve got a rather fine panel, if we do say so ourselves: Will Perrin, founder of Talk About Local; David Higgerson, head of multimedia for Trinity Mirror Regionals; Mike Rawlins from Pits ‘n’ Pots; Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust; and Robin Hamman, founder of the St Albans blog and digital director for Edelman.

Will Perrin kicks off, with a whizz through the best of local websites: VentnorBlog, the Sheffieldforum.co.uk, SE1 and SR2 blogs, Perrin’s own King Cross Envonrment and Harringay online. You can find links to these and others on Perrin’s blog roll at this link. Then a look at some new hyperlocal players on the scene, all of which I’ll be investigating later.

Now for a more in-depth look at one in particular; Mike Rawlins’ Pits’n'Pots site based in Stoke-in-Trent.

Why ‘pit’? Because your career was down one, or making ‘pots’… Thus, pits’n'pots was born – with a little red wine and time to help things get going.

In 2008 the founders started to tidy it up and moved platforms: by December 2009, it was up to 1,900 unique users a day. Now it’s getting 2,500 unique users a day.

Why do they do PnP? An interest in local politics; freedom of discussion; a desire to see the city improve; local media were/are not interested in local politics.

The parliamentary maiden speech by new MP Tristam Hunt got a few lines on the local news site, The Sentinel.  PnP meanwhile published it in full, with a link to Hansard.

Rawlins talks about a story they published: the BNP had been using images of a Polish spitfire on one of its anti-immigration posters. Shortly after it was picked up by the Mail and the Telegraph – but not attributed or linked to.

Robin Hamman keeps his introduction to his blog in St Albans pretty short. He does however show us how two hyperlocal blogs have bumped the local newspaper down the Google rankings and another rival off page one entirely. Take a look at what he does here: http://stalbansblog.co.uk.

Now the Media Standards Trust’s Martin Moore talks about two areas which need development. Research into local news and how its democratic role has changed over time. He talks about other developments – he is surprised by Jeremy Hunt’s call for local TV, for example.

Secondly, there’s a need for local open data platforms. He say it doesn’t matter who is doing journalism – blogger or mainstream – but they should have the same access to the public data, rather than spending time, money and effort coaxing money out of local authorities.

David Higgerson from Trinity Mirror is talking about how his titles could work more closely with hyperlocal sites. Journalists often see a hyperlocal site as competition, or as a devaluing of journalism – because it they are often run by volunteers. But, he says,the two sides can work together and get over the divide.

There are “some signs” of that working now, he adds. In the north-east there’s a hyperlocal platform with hundreds of bloggers contributing to it, for example. Higgerson outlines some of the opportunities he sees: a greater degree of collaboration: eg. through content swapping.

Local newspapers could give something back to bloggers, perhaps. Could ‘professional’ hyperlocals (e.g ones that are trying to run for profit) sell or syndicate copy to mainstream media? Support-in-kind is another area for development, he says. Can we as journalists offer help and support to bloggers?

But, he says, there’s a basic need for supporting each other: linking to each other. If material has come from a hyperlocal site, there’s no point in masking it as the newspaper’s own content, he adds.

Now onto questions. Will Perrin says media should engage better with local communities and he says the initiatives such as David Higgerson described are very welcomed.

So, are these hyperlocal bloggers journalists? Mike Rawlins and Will Perrin answer with a definite ‘no’. Perrin says journalists are often ranked as the least “trusted” profession, so why on earth would he classify himself as one…?

Higgerson says that journalists are now able to go more out on the patch, enabled by technology. There’s a lot more equipment to allow non-desk based work now.

We talk a bit about the nastier side of blogging, but the panel agrees the successful hyperlocal sites tend to have high standards, and good commenter accountability.

Perrin says Hackney Citizen is a great example of what you can do with print. Their distribution method was to take a pile of magazines to a coffee shop.  It’s now due to go monthly, from three monthly editions. “That’s grassroots, bottom-up,” says Perrin.

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May 28 2010

08:53

BBC College of Journalism blog: The problems with reporting a coalition government

The BBC College of Journalism’s Jon Jacob raises some interesting points about journalists’ coverage of the UK’s new coalition government:

  • “The coalition is still in its early days. It’s easy to forget how the business of reporting the coalition agreement has overshadowed the true schedule of government business;”
  • “[S]hould journalists actually continue referencing the government ministers they talk about in their reports – including in vision graphics and on-air announcements - to illustrate how ideologies differ within a coalition government?”

When can the media stop referring to it as a coalition government or is there a danger in doing so?

Full post at this link…

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May 05 2010

08:03

Layscience.net: Bloggers vs journalists – a response

Martin Robbins, editor of Layscience.net responds to Fiona Fox’s recent piece for the BBC College of Journalism, in which she argued ‘blogs are not real journalism’.

The immediate comments under the BBC CoJo article are worth a read, but also this lengthy response from Robbins, who demonstrates that boundaries between the mediums aren’t clear cut. An extract:

I defy Fiona Fox – or any readers here – to come up with any meaningful way of partitioning bloggers from journalists. I don’t think you can, for two reasons:

  1. Increasingly the distinction between the blogosphere and the mainstream media is becoming fainter and fainter, such that it has already reached the point of irrelevance.
  2. Blogging is simply a writing platform, just like the printing press, and arguments about blogging vs. journalism are as daft as talk of journalism vs. paper.

So when Fiona Fox talks about the distinction between bloggers and journalists, her argument is already obsolete (…)


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March 18 2010

12:44

#afghancov event – Afghanistan: are we embedding the truth?

Follow coverage of Coventry University’s event ‘Afghanistan – are we embedding the truth’ in the liveblog below from 1pm – 4pm.

The discussion will examine coverage of Afghanistan in the news and wider media with correspondents in Kabul. There’s more details at this link of the line-up, which includes Channel 4’s Alex Thomson and Kevin Marsh from the BBC College of Journalism.

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March 16 2010

08:52

Channel 4 News: Embedded journalist in Helmand province

Channel 4 News correspondent Alex Thomson was embedded with the Coldstream guards in Afghanistan, while they came under heavy fire from insurgents.

His film from last night’s news programme:

Yesterday Channel 4 news wrote in its evening email, Snowmail:

[The film] reveals the state of relations between the Brits and the rather hapless Afghan army – who spend much of their time shooting in the wrong direction – or arresting, then releasing a local man who may, or may not have done anything wrong.

Suddenly the troops come under heavy fire as the insurgents start shooting straight at them. Our team are pinned down with the soldiers as bullets fly overhead – even into one soldier’s head, whose helmet luckily saves him. Not much ground is won at the end of it all – but it’s a remarkable watch.

Alex Thomson was tweeting throughout his visit, via http://twitter.com/alextomo. Tweets from the battlefield had a time delay because of operations security. An example from 12 March:

(Not live) RMP shot in helmet wakes up realising he has woken up . Alive. A shd let hm keep smashed up helmet. He’s back on roof sentry.

Thomson is due to participate in this week’s video conference in Coventry: Afghanistan – are we embedding the truth? The event is due to be livestreamed on this site and the BBC College of Journalism. The Twitter tag will be #afghancov.


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March 15 2010

16:31

Afghanistan: are we embedding the truth?

Alex Thomson (Channel 4), Stuart Ramsey (Sky News) and Jonathan Marcus (BBC) have all been confirmed as speakers for this week’s conference on journalism from Afghanistan.

As previously reported on Journalism.co.uk, along with the BBC College of Journalism, we are supporting the afternoon event at Coventry University next Thursday (18 March), which asks: “Afghanistan: are we embedding the truth?”

Conference organiser John Mair said he is “delighted to be co-operating with the BBC College of Journalism – the new kid on the J block in Britain”.

“The time is long overdue to closely examine and debate the British media coverage of the Afghan war – this is the forum. Come along or follow the webcast live.”

Journalism.co.uk will livestream video and tweets from the conference from our site. For followers on Twitter, the tag will be #afghancov.

The conference will take place on Thursday 18, at 1pm – 4pm in the Humber Theatre, Coventry University.

The line-up in full, below:

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January 19 2010

09:55

#FollowJourn: @kjmarsh / BBC CoJo editor

Who? Editor of BBC College of Journalism; former Radio 4 Today programme editor.

What? Joined the BBC as a trainee in 1978; has edited PM, The World at One and BBC Radio 4 Today.

Where? Marsh blogs at Storycurve and the BBC College of Journalism.

Contact? Follow him on @kjmarsh.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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