Posts Tagged 'journalism'



Bambuser-ling Brummie bloggers

Bambuser is a service that can stream live video from a webcam or mobile phone onto the Internet. I was shown it for the frist time in Preston by one of my tutors and today got a couple of Brummie bloggers (Pete Ashton and Stef Lewandowski) trying it out too. The result was quite entertaining – three windows with three conversations going on.

I like Bambuser and can see its potential for opening up the newsroom – perhaps streaming news conferences or getting journalists to check in with readers.

As with Qik, the mobile function also allows journalists to stream events live and to allows readers a chance to ask questions.

Why news orgs might “recycle” global stories

Too rough to appear on Qik today, so I brought in my understudy:


Executive summary: Thoughts on the Project for Excellence in Journalism report on the state of the news media. News organisations recycle world stories because of the way that sites are funded. Because they want to generate clicks, they will throw up articles on popular stories just to attract people to their site.

The video on Qik is here (Qik now sends videos direct to Youtube – but I’m surprised that there is no Qik branding on the video…)

Is everyone their own spokesperson?

Ever had a quote that has an impact that doesn’t sink for a long time after you hear it?

Well, there was one not so long ago that had that effect on me. It was part of a voxpop on BBC Radio 4 about the modern-day relevance of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The BBC was interviewing people on the streets of Manchester about what they thought of the head of the Church of England.

One guy said (and this is a paraphrase): “He’s ok and that, but he says he speaks for people, which is wrong. Nowadays everyone speaks for themselves so he is a bit out-of-date.”

I laughed at first, thinking that it was a nice myth to assume that there was equality of voice. Then I realised that actually, that wasn’t the point.

The point is that people no longer identify with large, organised bodies. Whther it be the corporation, the Church of England or even, perhaps, the media group, there is an implicit assumption that they do not represent the individual.

If that is true, then it backs up the idea that the future of media is the personal, the building of networks and relationships between individuals so that everyone can speak for themselves, even if some end up speaking louder than others.

Podcasting Ideas

One of many things that came out of SXSW was that I should consider exploring the world of the podcasting.

It’s not something I’ve done before, mainly because I’m not a big listener of podcasts. I had concluded, as has my colleague Tom Scotney, that there was limited value in listening to an entire podcast on the off-chance that some of the content was worthwhile. Better to have text and scan through it, I thought.

But, since then, I’ve changed my mind somewhat. One reason is because I had forgotten that I am an avid listener to BBC Radio 4. Now, when I switch on Radio 4 I have no idea what I am going to be listening to, but I enjoy it because I know it will be pretty good quality. Why could this not apply to podcasts?

Secondly, I don’t have an iPod (I seriously want one!) – so I don’t download podcasts to listen to later, I have to listen to them pretty much then and there, or play them on my computer when I’m working (and not paying attention).

Thirdly, most of the podcasts I’ve come across don’t provide a detailed summary that would allow me to judge whether I wanted to listen or not. But this may have been resolved by Stef Lewandowski who has suggested using Viddler to annotate different parts of the podcast, as Dave Seah has done with his SXSW video.  This, combined with some form of executive summary, could make it easier to see “at a glance” whether the podcast is for you.

And the final reason I want to podcast is… people have told me to! There was a general consensus at SXSW that it would be a good way to ease myself into other forms of communicating over the web and I’m enthusiastic to give it a go.

For my journo-type work I have me a little Olympus WS-300M and, I have been told, that it would do the job for recording podcasts.  But I think I would need a microphone. The thing is, if I’m interviewing people would I want to have them on a clip mic, or would it be better to have a multidirectional mic so that it’s easier to hear me asking the questions. If so, I’d want something that didn’t pick up too much background noise.

As for my first podcast, well I haven’t asked anyone yet but I think it might be nice to interview some of the journalists at The Birmingham Post about how the move to digital has changed their working practices in recent years and how they think it will develop in the future. This would give me practice at interviewing, would have relevance to the sort of thing I blog about and might work as a slice of mass observational history. Thoughts?

Babbling about trust and authenticity using Qik

Joanna babbles

Qik video can be found here.

Executive summary: Online media is becoming increasingly personality driven as users decide which sources to trust and which to reject. Video can be a key tool in building trust.

Newspapers suck at SXSWi

GGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!

*Sigh*

Right, well I have just wasted 20 minutes of my last day at SXSW watching what was the most dire representation of the newspaper industry I could have possibly witnessed at a world-leading conference on interactivity.

I will have to come back to who was the speaker and what was the title, because right now the need to rant overtakes the need to Google for that particular information.

The talk was by a 36-year-old US journalist who is trying to help his colleagues embrace new platforms and get to grips with the power of the social Internet.

The executive summary (before I walked out) was:

“Print is dead.”

“Time is running out.”

“It’s real hard to get journalists to blog.”

“Change isn’t happening fast enough.”

“I don’t know what the solution is.”

Well… that’s useful. I can think of at least half a dozen people who could have produced a more insightful assessment of the industry as it currently stands. I might even be so bold as to say I could have done better.

First of all, let’s stop saying that the Internet is the death of print. It is not. The Internet is the death of some print. There will always be a need to place words in places where screens can’t go. Plus text is harder to read on the screen so, for long articles, print is always going to be a more comfortable experience.

But t’s true that a large swathe of news is being repackaged into a sharper, more condensed form making it easier for busy people with busy lives to learn what they need to know quickly. This is the sort of news that needs to be taken out of print and put onto the Internet, rather than print.

The other thing is that “time is running out”. Running out for who, exactly? Running out for newspaper groups? Well, I suspect they are well aware revenues are declining and, if they don’t get their income from newspapers, then they’ll get it from elsewhere and dispose of or wind up anything that makes a loss. Running out for newspapers? Maybe… Running out for some journalists? Yes.

Yes it is really hard to get journalists to blog – mainly becuase they are tied into the busy regime of producing an outdated newspaper and see a blog post as extra work. The hard part is finding the space for them to take time out of that treadmill to realise they need to look at their work in a new way. Once you do that, and once you explain how blogging can connect you directly to readers, most are pretty open to the idea of using the platform.

I simply can’t understand all this negativity associated with the change that is happening to the newspaper industry at the moment. There are lots of things to feel positive about: blogs can help you improve your stories through reader feedback and contribution, video can help you build trust between you and the reader, mashups can help provide readers with richer data and information on the areas and topics that they are most interested in.

Those people that get this stuff right, have a bright future. I wish we’d start looking forward rather than constantly peddling the message of doom and gloom.

Things I’m learning at SXSWi

Just a quick one to say I haven’t yet been to one panel and I’m learning so much! One lesson is about openess. How can you expect build an audience without letting that audience know who you really are?

Again it all seems to be coming back to trust…

Enviromental journalism: question for BCU students

This afternoon I’m popping down to Birmingham City University to meet Paul Bradshaw‘s group of online journalism students.

They’ve been doing some fascinating work on developing an environmental news service, with each of them specialising in a different subject area.

Environmental news is close to my heart. I would love The Post to be giving more coverage to stories on sustainability.

But it’s also one of those subject areas that many readers regard with great suspicion. Look at The Times guide to the most popular environmental stories of 2007 and you’ll see what I mean.

So, I guess the big question is, can you write environmental stories in a way that builds trust between you and the reader? Is the current suspicion surrounding climate change – for example – caused by media sensationalism or poor scientific reporting? Perhaps it’s neither, maybe it’s just human nature to respond to environmental stories with suspicion.

I certainly don’t know the answer. But in a world where the hegemony of large news corporations is increasingly challenged, the issue of maintaining trust as a way to maintain audience is critical.

And, I suspect, if you find a way to crack the hardest nut of trust and environmental reporting, then you have probably struck gold.

What videos by The Post will not look like…

…otherwise I will be hanging my head in shame.

This was dug up by Paul Bradshaw on his Online Journalism Blog and is the 60-second update from the Reading Evening Post:

[Edit: Is it just me or can you hear a female voice saying "lovely jubbley" at the end of the piece?!]

And it seems the crazy transitions and cutting your reporters’ off before they’ve finished are both techniques employed elsewhere on their site:

I don’t blame the journos though (although someone has terrible taste in music and graphics). This smacks of poor training. Notice that the script sounds like it was written for print, not for video.

I hate the way that some people just expect that because you write the news you’re also going to be happy with and capable of presenting it on camera. It’s not true. Personally I’m skin-crawling-ly uncomfortable infront of a lens. I realise it’s something I will have to get used to and, when the inevitable comes, I hope, at the very least, I will have been given the right training to help me do it.

Journalist spleen venting

Got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Coffee machine broken? Swamped with press releases about charity walks and Easter bonnets?

Take some solace from the fact you’re not the only journo out there with problems and share the misery on Angryjournalist.com.

Some of my favourites:

Angry Journalist #246:

I’m angry at myself because I love getting up at 2:30 a.m. every morning to go to my job…a job that I don’t get paid crap for. And when I get there my boss hasn’t written SHIT so I have to write 20 TV stories in 1 1/2 hours and get paid HALF of what he does. I’m angry because at the end of the day I still love my job. I want to get angry at my job so I’ll find the courage to get ANOTHER one!

Angry Journalist #225:

My editor changed my proper use of the verb “comprise” to “is comprised of.”

Angry Journalist #210:

Because my officemate has the social skills of an emotionally stunted 13 year old.

Because my editor can’t decide from one day to the next if I’m any good or not. One day I’m his best writer, the next I’m an enormous piece of shit who needs looking after.

Because my paper insists on turning a blind eye to the enormous staff defection over the last 15 months, and fills open positions, if at all, with part-time college kids who don’t know shit.

Because when I taught the intro newswriting course at my alma mater as an adjunct, I made so little money that I could have been better paid at the nearby grocery store, while the law school adjuncts in the next building over were making 3 times per credit hour what I did for one class.

Oh, and because of fucking photographers who won’t drive more than 20 miles for an assignment, but it’s perfectly OK to send a reporter with no skills beyond a point-and-shoot digital two hours out of town to shoot it, as long as they’re going to be there anyway.

/rant

Thanks for this site!


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