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July 19 2010


The New Online Journalists #3: Josh Halliday

As part of an ongoing series on recent graduates who have gone into online journalism, The Guardian’s media reporter Josh Halliday talks about what got him the job, what it involves, and where it might go next.

I did an NCTJ-accredited BA (Hons) Journalism degree at University of Sunderland, but it is what I did around my degree that landed me a dream job at the Guardian.

That’s not to say my degree was unnecessary – it gave me an invaluable broad-brush knowledge of the theory and practice of journalism, yet it’s just not enough nowadays. Learning outside the curriculum – playing in the digital world, doing journalism – is what ultimately scored me a highly sought after job. I think myself really lucky, but I also know I worked my arse off and you make your own luck.

So I set up a personal blog, tried to keep it focussed – usually on journalism education, ever so slightly wavering into local news – got my CV on there, a portfolio, contact details, an explanation of who I am. I tried to keep it personable but professional. I realised personal branding was a big thing when seeing US j-students really paving the way – of course I was a little daunted by that initially, it was a bit of a brave new world – and I’m not the big I am anyway – but I realised it had to be done.

The hardest part is being likeable, interesting and honest at the same time. As personal blogging boomed I decided to turn more attention to my Twitter profile and microblogging, following relevant people, sharing pretty much everything I read, retweeting.

Then the chance came along to set up a hyperlocal news site for a four-miles square patch of Sunderland where I lived – I grabbed it with both hands as a chance to experiment and hone my news-gathering skills. Best decision I ever made.

In and around this I edited the Students’ Union magazine – frankly, it was only useful because of the weekly paypacket. I didn’t throw myself into the job solely for that reason though – I did it to improve a diabolical product, turn it into something to be proud of. Turns out you can only do that with the support of the University and the Students’ Union, so I just did my best.

I’d advise journalism students to think about getting their mates together and building their own online news/magazine – all the traditional ways of standing out are shrinking in importance, there are plenty more new, inventive and exciting opportunities to be had.

The role and the future

My role is quite wide-ranging, but everything I do sits inside media and technology. One minute I could be reporting on telephone masts, the next on the Sunday Times. This brings a brilliant freedom to explore areas of personal interest and it’s pretty much what I’ve been tweeting/blogging about for the past couple of years.

As well as this I’ve been given a bit of leeway to work in new, improved ways of delivering content to users. I’m convinced there’s a better (for producers as well as users) way of doing manual tasks like the morning media briefing, or the morning linkbuckets. I’m interested in freeing up time for reporters to report.

Impossible to predict where I’ll be in two, five, 10 years time but I’ll still be doing journalism �" that’s all I’m bothered about. By the end of my career, my dream is to have been a foreign correspondent in Africa or the Middle East (expendable cash going towards educating myself in these areas!) and to have improved the UK local news offering somehow.

February 23 2010


dot.Rory: Tips from Rory Cellan-Jones and Josh Halliday on online tools for reporting

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones and Sunderland University journalism student Josh Halliday offer some great tips and suggestions of tools to use for reporting online. There’s a strong focus on tools to help make your job as a journalist easier – whether that’s saving battery power on your laptop or mobile when filing a report or how to send large image files back to the newsroom from the field.

Worth a read by budding journalists and seasoned professionals alike.

Full post at this link…

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December 19 2009


The price of transparency

The price of transparency is £5. At least that’s what it will cost you to see the whole of this clarification at the Northumberland Gazette.

£5 pounds will get you the full correction

£5 pounds will get you the full correction

Perhaps it’s an unforseen problem of paywalls or just an oversight on the part of the paper. But it does highlight an area for some rethinking. Particularly from the PCC who are supposed to regulate this kind of thing.

Due prominence

A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.

So says the Editors Code of practice from the PCC. There have been many ways that newspapers have dealt with this – more often than not in a corrections and clarifications section buried deep in the middle of the paper.

But I suppose we also need to start thinking about these things being buried deep behind the paywall. And if paywalls are the future then perhaps the PCC needs to think long and hard about the way it requires those at fault to say sorry and correct mistakes. It also made me think that we should all maybe pay a bit more attention as well.

Show me how good you are

If I am going to pay someone for this stuff then one of the things I should want to know is just how accurate their content is and how transparent they are.

I for one would like to see all corrections and clarifications made free and visible on all parts of media orgs websites before the paywall. That way I can make an informed choice.

Thanks to Josh Halliday for pointing this little gem out on Twitter.

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