Archive for category Journalism Online

Tuition fees for 2012…Google Map style

The Guardian‘s Data Blog has essentially released a massive customised Google Map detailing a selection of universities throughout the UK and what they’ll be charging next year.

Granted, it’s a little more complex than what we did in class, but I still can’t help but chuckle, knowing I can do one of these Google maps too 🙂

Worth a look – another topic that will no doubt endure further debate and heated discussion well into next year…

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The death of Osama bin Laden: NYT plots reactions on an interactive map

One of the most exciting and entertaining element of online news, for me, is our ability to harness data and display it like never before.

I’ve been a massive fan of the website Information is Beautiful for many years, and I really like the Guardian‘s Data Store, which features great visual guides to the most recent topics in the media.

Reactions to the Alternative Voting System (or AV) according to the gospel of Twitter. (Image courtesty guardian.co.uk)

The New York Times is another publication which produces some amazing multimedia work and today I came across this:

The Death of a Terrorist: A Turning Point?

It invites readers to plot their reactions to two questions: How much of a turning point in the war on terror will Bin Laden’s death represent?  and What is your emotional response? The former is gauged from significant to insignificant; the latter from positive to negative. It’s a really easy way to see people’s reactions – it’s well worth a look.

Information, particularly comment and opinion, can take on a whole new meaning when it can be turned into something visual and interactive – it’s so much easier to understand and even analyse and it’s a brilliant way of transforming the mundane into an issue worth further discussion.

Osama bin Laden’s death will be the talking point of many debates over the next few weeks and months.  ‘A Safer World‘ a discussion held at  The Front Line Club this evening on the ramifications for Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West, sold out in hours and just earlier this afternoon I was listening to a podcast from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation discussing about the effects Osama’s death could have on Obama’s presidential campaign for the elections next year.

The NYT shows that this type of information could be valuable in determining how the public feel about these issues, not just the ‘experts’.

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News and social media: Osama bin Laden’s death delivered via Twitter

Image courtesy bbc.co.uk/news

The news of Osama bin Laden’s death will dominate the headlines for a little while longer, yet what interested me most about yesterday’s breaking story was a short clip shown on BBC which featured Americans at a baseball game (I think!) getting the news of Osama’s death on their phones hours before President Obama made his official announcement. Sitting in front of the TV drinking my morning coffee, I was also in the middle of finalising an essay about whether news can survive new media, so this BBC clip really caught my attention.

I’m of the firm belief that news and media institutions aren’t ‘done for’. News organisations need to continue to adapt to a changing society, which they have done – from the printing press, to the radio, to television, to the Internet, to satellite channels and now to web-based news feeds, social media sites and alternative (non-mainstream) news platforms which are all now accessible through a continually-advancing array of mobile media devices.

So this morning when I logged into WordPress, I found this post “The 7 stages of News in a Twitter and Facebook Era”  which seemed particularly relevant to what I was writing about yesterday and provided an interesting commentary on how news develops through alternative platforms i.e. not your established news sources. The article, which features on Gigaom (by Stacey Higginbotham) also provided a concluding thought that I’m totally in agreeeance with:

As journalists, we often get scoops or hear of news and have to make a similar set of judgments before reporting it, but on Twitter, what often starts out as gossip now has the weight of news. As recipients, we have no way to judge at first glance though if it’s real or wishful thinking. Perhaps it’s time we gave ourselves a better set of tools?

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Navigating Journalism Online

A nice little piece about bridging the gap between online and offline audiences. 10,000 words interviewed George Kelly, online coordinator at the Contra Costa Times (a Bay Area News Group daily newspaper) in Walnut Creek, California, to discuss this issue. In the interview, Kelly comments that:

“The current digital landscape gives journalism and reporting unprecedented reach and impact. We’ve got cheap, powerful databases that let us sift and sort and display information in amazing ways. We’ve got tools and services to curate real-time information from anywhere on the planet. Now, we need to figure out when, and where, and how to use those tools to give people the information they need to make decisions about their lives and communities.”

I thought his comments on defining ‘new media’ were particularly relevant. I’ve found in my own reading that we seem to have defined this divide between ‘old’ and ‘new’ when really that’s not the case – the media landscape is evolving, it didn’t suddenly change – and we shouldn’t be apprehensive. There have been arguments posed that ‘new media’ will suddenly mean the end of journalism – I think that’s FAR from the case, indeed if anything, new technologies, platforms and methods of information delivery can enhance the way we distribute, search for and recieve news and information. Kelly was quick to pick up on the need for diversity – not as in race, gender etc but in platforms and that these needed to diversify in location – that online journalism shouldn’t be just for big cities or huge audiences. I totally agree!

And some advice for young journalists…

“What advice would you give to any up-and-coming or early-career journalist?

GK: Buy a domain name. Start a blog. Learn to code. Teach someone how to code. Get in the habit of making things. Sign up for new services as often as you wash your hands, brush your teeth or change your clothes. Remind yourself every day that you belong, that what is happening here is still unformed enough and unfixed enough that you can still make a mark — your own mark — with something worth doing and sharing with others.”

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Mobile devices for reporting

Journalists shouldn't scoff at using recording devices on mobile phones to get that all important interview. (Image courtesy of http://www.niemanlab.org)

A brilliant article on using mobile devices for recording published on the Neiman Journalism Lab website: Your handiest reporting tool may be the smartphone in your pocket. Andrew Phelps writes that journalists should not forget the simple technology we have at our disposal:

Public radio people can be pretty snobby about audio quality — I can say that, having worked in public radio for five years — but, given the alternatives proliferating in the market, it’s getting harder to justify the expense and bulk of pro kits for field work. Judge the audio quality of Toness’ piece for yourself. And remember, as you close your eyes and turn up the volume in your noise-canceling headphones, that most listeners hear radio stories over a cheap FM set while making breakfast, getting the kids dressed, or driving to work. News producers may be snobby about sound quality, but consumers, generally, are anything but.

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Accuracy in reporting

Accuracy in reporting is an important (and obvious!) element of journalism – but how do we measure this and how can we quickly and efficiently correct errors?

Worth reading this post by Jonathan Stray.

Idea Lab’s Scott Rosenburg writes ‘There’s No Problem!’ Newsrooms in Denial About Rampant Errors’. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

Climbing The Ladder of Transparency

ladder to the sun.jpg

In the field of corrections as anywhere else, “openness” isn’t binary — it has gradations and nuances. I like to imagine these as a sort of ladder of transparency that news organizations need to climb.

On the first rung of this ladder, journalists readily fix mistakes they learn about and conscientiously disclose and record the details of each fix. (Most newsrooms declare allegiance to this ideal but, sadly, our MediaBugs research shows, the majority still fail to live up to it.)

One rung up, news outlets effectively solicit error reports from their audiences, making it clear that they welcome the feedback and will respond. The Report an Error Alliance is trying to push more news organizations to climb up here.

On the next rung up, newsrooms also willingly expose their own internal deliberations over particular controversies, explaining why they did or didn’t correct some issue readers raised and leaving some sort of public trail of the decision. At some publications, the ombudsman or public editor takes care of some of this.

On the final, topmost rung, the news organization will assure accountability by turning to a neutral third party to maintain a fair record of issues raised by the public. This shows external critics that the newsroom isn’t hiding anything or trying to shove problems under the rug. This is a key part of our model for MediaBugs.

I like the idea of an accuracy search engine – the Report and Error Alliance is pretty good but more organisations, bloggers and journalists need to adopt this kind of thinking – particularly online! The internet allows for readers to communicate with journalists like never before…such abilities should be embraced to enhance journalistic standards and methods.

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Open source journalism: newassignment.net

A website I’ve recently been made aware of, trialing open-source journalism. The site welcomes contributions from journalists, bloggers and anyone who wishes to contribute. It’s a nice example of the types of non-mainstream news sites popping up featuring original content, rather than news aggregation and comment.

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The success of The Guardian: Emily Bell gives talk at Columbia University

Former Guardian News and Media Director Emily Bell, gave a talk at Columbia’s School of Journalism, where she heads the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia. She discussed reasons for the publication’s success – and failures – and how online had been embraced to make it one of the most visited news sites on the web. Article can be found here.

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