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July 22 2010

10:11

Journalism students’ Skype election coverage project available online

A live election webcast created by a cross-university team of journalism students is now available to view online.

Using Skype and Livestream, students from University of Buckingham, Kingston University and University of Westminster collaborated on the project to run live outside broadcasts and live output as well as interviews and packages from the studio, remaining on air continuously from 10:00pm to 6:00am.

The output has been edited into a series of segments which can be watched at this link.

Twenty students also covered the counts at a range of constituencies in Winchester, Eastleigh (Chris Huhne’s seat); Southampton (two constituencies); Isle of Wight; Devizes; Bethnal Green; Twickenham (Vince Cable’s seat); Battersea; Whitney (David Cameron’s seat); and Aylesbury.

The webcast attracted an audience of 1,500 users.

Additional coverage of the project by Journalism.co.uk can be found at this link.Similar Posts:



July 16 2010

11:00

Currybet.net: Will social media’s influence on political engagement continue post-election?

The Guardian’s Martin Belam has produced a great summary of the panel debate at the launch of Nic Newman’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) paper on social media and the election, on his site currybet.net.

The research document, titled ‘UK Election 2010, mainstream media and the role of the internet’, outlines the significant role social media, in particular Twitter, played in informing the public during the election process.

One of the big questions which emerged from the panel debate was whether this social media engagement would continue now the election is over:

People need something to be engaged with. It remains to be seen whether the major parties will continue with digital campaigning, or whether, rather like leaflets, we will see a lot of them at election time and not much in between.

Outlining the main findings, Newman reportedly told the audience that Twitter became a “political newswire” as well as having a direct impact on the behaviour of politicians.

Reports Belam:

The best of the social media – jokes, spoof posters, reaction on Twitter – was reflected and amplified by the mainstream media. This ultimately influenced the behaviour of the politicians. David Cameron, for example, toned down his habit of citing anecdotal stories of people he met after it was spoofed online.

(…) William Hague announcing he was about to go back into negotiations with the Liberal Democrats via Twitter suggesting the service was beginning to be used as ‘a political newswire’.

See Martin Belam’s full post here…Similar Posts:



June 30 2010

07:54

June 11 2010

14:36

Broadcast election editors go head-to-head at Media Society event

It is the 100 metres of the TV Factual Olympics. General election night. The three main news broadcasters – BBC, ITN and Sky News – vie to get results to the nation first. A month on, the election editors of Sky News and the BBC appeared at last night’s Media Society event in London entitled ‘Who won the TV election?

The BBC won the greater share of the audience on 6 May. They always do. But John McAndrew, editor of the Sky News offering was there to claim journalistic credit for being not just first but clearest on screen. His was deliberately not a heavily studio anchored show: “We knew what the BBC would do and we aimed off for that,” McAndrew said. He had surprising support from one member of the audience – the BBC’s former political correspondent Nicholas Jones. Jones had switched over early. Sky News, McAndrew said, went with plenty of straight news and little comment.

The David Dimbleby programme on the BBC was at the other end of the spectrum. There were virtual reality graphics aplenty from Jeremy Vine and scores of outside broadcasts. Craig Oliver, their editor, was at last night’s event to defend their coverage, or at least try to. He had a near impossible job when it came to the now notorious ‘ship of fools‘, a BBC barge moored in the Thames full of celebrities giving their take on the election. Not many of those at the event felt that Joan Collins or Bruce Forsyth ‘added to the sum total of human knowledge’, as one audience member succinctly put it. Another pointed out that the £70,000 allegedly spent on the boat (the only cost figure mentioned on a night when all were coy about what they spent) was money wasted.

Oliver was on surer ground defending the BBC position of not calling any result until the Returning Officer had. ITN seems to jump the gun almost as a matter of principle. Oliver, who edited the ITN election programme in 2005 before defecting, was dismissive of presenter Alastair Stewart’s recent tirade in the Press Gazette claiming that the BBC ‘had missed the story’. His absence from the discussion said it all according to Oliver.

Channel 4’s ‘Alternative Election Night’ – featuring comedians like Jimmy Carr and David Mitchell – was a deliberately offpiste offering but it worked, beating ITN in the ratings. Deputy head of news and current affairs Kevin Sutcliffe was there to explain the thinking behind the format and reveal that it would be used again. Their satirical approach attracted a young demographic and twice the audience he expected, Sutcliffe said, adding that he was impressed with the (unintentionally) satirical quality of the BBC coverage.

Attracting the most audience comment last night was the stunningly accurate exit poll shared by the broadcasters and put out on the stroke of ten. It got the result right to within one seat. Some felt it destroyed the drama and made the remainder of the coverage predictable, suggesting a return to separate polls. Sue Inglish, the BBC’s head of political programmes and a moving force behind the poll, was on hand to explain and defend. The sheer size and cost of the 125,000 sample poll made it impossible to do more than once. But Oliver, in a mild mea culpa, said the BBC studio gurus had been wrong to downplay the surprising exit poll results for the first hour after they were broadcast.

The event had the air of an inquest, but not a particularly rancourous one – and the majority of criticism was reserved for the absent ITN. There was mostly praise for the British broadcasters for whom a 100-metre dash became a five day marathon. If the reaction in the BBC Council Chamber last night is anything to go, they had an audience satisfied with the results.

John Mair is events director of the Media Society.This event was jointly organised by the Media Society and the BBC College of Journalism

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12:56

#VOJ10 – Twitter is just another outlet, says BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

One careless tweet could sink the fleet.

Advice from BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg, who warned of the power of a single tweet to bring down politicians and political correspondents alike. Kuenssberg, who did her fair share of tweeting during the general election last month, is specific about what she tweets:

I still use it broadly for the same things [pre and post-election] and I’m quite strict about why I would tweet. I use it for simple breaking news and information (…) it’s the fastest way of getting it out there even with 24-hour television.

I also use it for the kind of colour you see as a journalist – not gossip, not rumour. These are often the things that get retweeted the most; things that as a journalist you see with your own eyes but might not get to broadcast.

As a lobby journalist you’ve got a ticket to a very small world. You are witness to a very closed world. Its part of my job to reach out to people and give them moments of colour that they otherwise wouldn’t see.

Having trialled using twitter during the party political conferences in 2009, Kuenssberg’s following on the social network grew from around 5,000 pre-election to 23,000 post-election. But it hasn’t changed how she works, she says – just added to it:

Twitter has just become another outlet. It’s highly compatible with my job because I’m normally out and about. It has given journalists more material – not a massive amount, because so far we haven’t had massive breaking stories from citizen journalists.

Social media as a “paper trail” – tracking down the backgrounds of PPCs and following what they’ve said pre-election on Twitter – was particularly useful however, said Kuennsberg.

Although it’s still a small group of people using Twitter, it has shown me that there’s a big interest in what we do. There’s a huge appetite for politics and I think we’re reaching some people who weren’t consuming political news in any way before.

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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 07 2010

14:42

#ge2010: Times experiments with news and polls tracker

As part of its election coverage the Times attempted to chart the relationship between the news agenda, represented by Times reports and articles, and the political parties’ perfomances in the polls.

It looks like this:

And works like this:

Each bubble in the above graph is a news story. Its size reflects the number of comments it received on our site, and its position (on the y axis) indicates the number of recommendations the story received. (The basic idea here is that, the higher and larger the bubble, the more ‘important’ the news story, assuming that larger, more important stories tend to get commented on and recommended more.) Colours show to which party a story relates. The lines show (depending on the tab) either Populus polling results, or the number of seats the parties were predicted to win during the campaign based on Ladbrokes odds, which are used elsewhere on the site.

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11:55

#ge2010: Election Night review – a night of TV drama starting in Northern Ireland

Broadcast journalism lecturer at Coventry University John Mair reviews last night’s election coverage from the BBC from his post in the broadcaster’s Northern Ireland election newsroom:

Lunchtime Friday and still no clear answer. The British people have spoken but in a divided way. The politicians are wriggling to get advantage or cling on to power (you decide). The most exciting election campaign of modern times has been followed by the most exciting night of election drama of modern times.

Nowhere was the drama greater than here in Northern Ireland where I was working on election night – the other election, often ignored by those ‘across the water’. First casualty, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson whose 31-year stint as MP for East Belfast ended in stunning defeat by a woman of the centre – Naomi Long of the Alliance Party. Robinson has had an annus horibbulis having to face television investigations announcing his wife’s affair and, after that, his own land dealings came under scrutiny. Last night was his nadir. He rushed to the count at Newtonards Leisure Centre, spoke briefly to the local media and was then ushered out. Now he has gone to ground to lick his wounds and fend off predators.

The Robinson moment was magic telly: milked by the local outputs, but less so by the networks. They wanted more of Lady Sylvia Hermon, who defected from the Unionists when they joined with the UK Conservatives. The Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) were seen off in what should have been their heartland North Antrim by Ian Paisley Jnr – brands are as important in politics as anywhere else. He and father – who preceded him in the seat for 40 years – showed their contempt for the TUV by singing the national anthem before his victory speech. Worse for ‘moderate’ Unionism, Sir Reg Empey lost out in South Antrim to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The planned Tory beachhead in Northern Ireland became a washout. It was a media confection.

The BBC Northern Ireland Election programme ran for seven-plus hours using all the 18 counts at eight locations as their prime material. Down-the-line interviews galore at the outside broadcasts based on deep local knowledge. The local commercial station – Ulster Television – did not even make it to the starting line. No election news between 10:30pm and 09.30am. That did not go unnoted by fellow hacks.

The BBC’s ‘Dimbleby programme’ had a magnificent set on its side and some pretty special Jeremy Vine virtual reality graphics too – my favourites being the Downing Street staircase or the House of Commons with real faces smiling and nodding. Modern Television journalism is about entertainment and keeping it simple. Nowhere more so than in the use of electronic graphics. All of that plus live reporting from many of the big beasts of telly journalism. It’s fascinating to see how many of them still used the basic journalistic skills, like Kirsty Wark doorstepping/walking besides and interviewing Nick Clegg on the hoof on the way to his count.

It’s difficult from inside my bubble to know how the drama played out in the nations. It certainly kept us rapt in this television control room. You could not have written the script. But the 2010 General Election story has not yet reached its final chapter. Plenty more drama to come…

Read John Mair’s report from the BBC’s TV ‘hub’ in Belfast on the build-up to election night.

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10:55

#ge2010 poll: Who were the best tweeters, journalists and bloggers?

Forget about the politicians and their wives, which journalist has done it for you during the general election? In this completely unofficial set of polls, let us know whose coverage you’ve enjoyed the most. If you’ve got notable mentions to add, drop us a line [judith at journalism.co.uk], tweet [@journalismnews] or comment below. Nominations were compiled using our readers’ suggestions – but add your own to the poll too!

View Poll
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May 06 2010

13:53

#ge2010: How to follow election day online

As live events go, election night has to be one of the biggest opportunities for journalists and news organisations to get tweeting, liveblogging, mapping and more. Here’s our guide to the best online coverage of election day and plans for tonight’s results, as we look at what journalists’ can learn for future live events and how readers (and voters) are being kept informed:

Produced in associated with Channel 4 and the New Statesman, Guardian.co.uk’s election coverage features a map plotting voter turnout. It’s reliant on people tweeting when they’ve voted with the first half of their postcode and the #ukvote hashtag, but gives a good real-time picture of where the votes are coming in from.

The goal of the experiment is to inspire more people to vote and to help get a sense of turnout during the course of the day and across the country. Channel 4 News is also trying to gauge turnout using a poll as part of its election day liveblog, which dominates its homepage today.

The Guardian has also changed the layout of its homepage to incorporate more election coverage – particularly like the way it highlights the latest updates from its election day liveblog as part of the top stories box.

Ahead of tonight’s results the Telegraph has a handy guide to when constituencies will be declaring and which party is targeting which seats.

The BBC has its live page up and ready for tonight and is promising to use all its multimedia resources to boost its online coverage, with a liveblog of the results for those following online and on mobile and streams of the best radio and TV footage from the BBC via the website. Particularly nice is the slideshow of how to vote – the practicalities not which party to vote for and the option to download an election night party pack.

As part of extensive election night coverage online, Sky News has a handy, hour-by-hour guide of what happens on election day and has Facebook chat around the election added to its liveblog, so users can post status updates from the Sky site.

The Financial Times is hosting an election special on its Westminster blog for election day; while the Times’ group blog Election ‘10 is worth a mention for today’s blow-by-blow coverage and its offering of analysis, news and commentary throughout the election campaigns, balancing live and need-to-know with deeper commentary.

The Liverpool Daily Post has an excellent election section and its election map that will show the results for its local seats as they come in is a great feature. This set-up is being used by other Trinity Mirror titles too, including the Birmingham Post and Mail titles, which have also adopted the group blog Party Central for local politicians set up by the Liverpool Post & Echo:

The hyperlocal election:

We’ve written about the opportunities for hyperlocal, independent news sites in covering the general election and its seems tonight will be no exception. Expect liveblogs – Sunderland blog SR2 Blog is hoping to be one of the first sites to report a results, while Blog Preston has recruited student bloggers for the task; and live tweeting – new site for Manchester Inside the M60 will be tweeting the results live and posting them to the site as soon as they come in. Let us know if you’re planning something special for tonight or trying out some live reporting for the first time in the comments below.

Non-news sites:

Tweetminster gives an unrivalled view of tweeting going on during election day, filtering tweets from politicians and prospective parliamentary candidates, as well as mapping voter turnout by tweet and trending topics.

Facebook has set up a live vote count showing how many Facebook users have said they’ve voted, as well as pulling in news updates from external sites and polling users on its Democracy UK page.


And finally, if just for fun, a picture of how tweeters are aligned by party from @jaygooby.

If you’re a journalist, blogger or just an interested party let us know how you’re reporting and following election night as it happens.

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12:41

#ge2010: Inside the biggest night in broadcasting

It’s quiet now. You can hear a pin drop. In twelve hours’ time it will be organised chaos. I am at the BBC TV ‘hub’ in Belfast getting ready for the biggest night not just of politicians’ lives but broadcasters’ too. Tonight is general election result night and we’ll be live on BBC One and Two for hours on end bringing predictions, results and analysis to British people and many further afield.

In my bit of the hub, I handle all the material going ‘across the water’ from here to the David Dimbleby programme in Television Centre London. BBC Northern Ireland is at all of the eighteen counts at eight counting centres throughout the province, bringing breaking results, analysis, and interviews with the movers and shakers. I will be constantly offering material to the central hub in London, which they will accept, reject or just plain ignore. At busy periods they could probably fill four TV channels with election results coming in.

This is the BBC at its journalistic and technical best. Hundreds of hacks working on getting the results, processing them and analysing the team in London. Nothing can go wrong on the night. Little is left to chance. Rehearsals have been taking place for the better part of the last week. All systems tested, none found wanting-so far. From my desk I can talk to sixteen different locations/units to see what’s happening.

In front of me will be sitting the BBC Northern Ireland hub producer. They’re going out live too from 10.00pm until the last result here, probably around six hours later. We’ll share their fruits with the rest of the nations when we can. To my left will be the RTE hub producer from Southern Ireland. They’re going big on this election with a Belfast and a London Studio and a big outside broadcast to boot.

This is my eighth British general election with the BBC and it still gets the adrenalin going after 30 years.

After it’s over – tomorrow afternoon by best reckoning – it is time for the post mortem and the analysis of what went right what went wrong. To that end, I’ll be producing an event for the Media Society next Tuesday at the University of Westminster entitled Who Won the TV Election? (more details at www.themediasociety.com or below).

Enjoy tonight’s coverage on TV, and come along next tuesday to praise or blame the great men and women who put on this quinquennial spectacle. Rocket science it may not be, but at times it isn’t far off.

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11:01

#ge2010 Who do you think were the journalism winners?

You could be forgiven for forgetting who was at the centre of this general election campaign.

As blogger Max Atkinson noted, the BBC 10 o’clock news ran a seven and a half minute report on Monday’s Citizens UK event, with 22 seconds from each of the leaders’ speeches; and 123 seconds of political editor Nick Robinson. Private Eye reported in its latest issue that one onlooker wasn’t sure which Nick was going to make the speech during one part of the Lib Dem election trail.

And of course, the thought that it might not be Us Wot Won It has sent newspaper journalists and bosses into election influence overdrive: storming newspaper offices and frontpage scaremongering like crazy.

So, forget about the politicians and their wives, which journalist has done it for you during the general election coverage?

Tomorrow morning we’ll be running a few polls to establish just that. But first we need some nominations. Here are the categories:

  • Best political journalist
  • Best political blogger
  • Best political tweeter
  • Most sycophantic political coverage
  • Biggest election blunder (journalistic!)

Please comment below, or send nominations by tweet (@journalismnews) or email: judith [at] journalism.co.uk. NB: Category suggestions also welcomed.

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08:17

May 04 2010

15:14

UK General Election 2010 – Interactive Maps and Swingometers

Tony Hirst takes a look at how different news websites are using interactivity to present different possibilities in the UK election. This post is cross-posted from the OUseful.Info blog:

So it seems like the General Election has been a Good Thing for the news media’s interactive developer teams… Here’s a quick round up of some of the interactives I’ve found…

First up, the BBC’s interactive election seat calculator:

BBC election interactive

This lets you set the percentage vote polled by each party and it will try to predict the outcome…

The Guardian swingometer lets you play with swing from any two of the three big parties to the third:

Guardian swingometer

The Daily Telegraph swingometer lets you look at swing between any two parties…

Telegraph election map

The Economist also lets you explore pairwise swings

Economist - election map

The Times doesn’t really let you do much at all… and I wonder �" is Ladbrokes in there as product placement?!

Time election interactive

Sky doesn’t go in for modeling or prediction, it’s more of just a constituency browser

Sky Election Map

The Sun probably has Tiffany, 23…

From elsewhere, this swingometer from the Charts & numbers �" UK Election 2010 blog lets you model swings between the various parties

Swingometer

As to what swing is? It’s defined in this Parliamentary briefing doc [PDF]

09:05

Armando Iannucci: #bigotgate turned UK media into ‘pack of shrieking gibbons’

Creator of TV political satire The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci on bigotgate and what it says about the UK’s media:

The journalist from Sky News was in some kind of hysterical state of tumescence as he cackled “Gordon Brown’s done a gaffe and we wondered if you’d come on to respond. You’ve got to see it!” on my answering service, and I’m sorry I deleted it rather than release it in to the public domain. The BBC was no less sensationalist in its pokey recording of Brown sitting listening to his own surreptitiously recorded voice played back to him.

It’s at these moments that you stand back and see, not a nation debating its future, but a pack of shrieking gibbons.

Thankfully, though, Bigotgate seems to have had no impact on the polls. This has restored my faith in this election as a sober, sincere and considered affair, though it’s shed a light on what the media machine can do when it’s taken too much Red Bull.

Full article at this link…

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April 16 2010

09:12

Snowblog: Jon Snow’s review of the televised leaders’ debate

Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow reviews last night’s televised debate between the leaders of the UK’s three main political parties:

The American tuition was evident. Clegg’s engagement with the camera was by far the best – I do not know whose input that might have been – possibly his own. But it was a wise use of the medium.

The most notable American influence in the debate was the wheeling out of individual and anecdotal stories. They didn’t work- they were thin and largely inconclusive, sometimes begging the question as to whether they were true. They don’t seem to work in a UK context.

Elsewhere, Shane Richmond blogs a round-up of some of the best one-liners making up the conversation around the debates on Twitter.

Last night’s broadcaster ITV and plenty of other news sites were busy liveblogging the debates and providing instant polling of viewers, but what were the best ways to follow online (and what tools didn’t work out)? Let us know in the comments below.

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