Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Power of Citizen Journalism

I was trawling around and I've just stumbled across this BBC documentary from 2010. It focuses on how aspects of citizen journalism - video in particular - are affecting the ability of those in power to control their messages. It also looks its impact on the media.

If, like me, you missed it at the time it's a useful bit of background for anyone taking look at the impact of what's been dubbed citizen journalism.

On a day when my son is looking at video clips as part of his exam revision, it's also a powerful reminder of the role Youtube plays in education, information and entertainment.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Journalism ethics on Scoopit.

I've been playing with recently and I've come up with this curated page on Journalism Ethics, which I hope to keep curating. I'd be interested in hearing others' views on using this tool.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Twitter lists for media law and UK national newspapers

Inforrm Blog published its list of 90 legal tweeters the other day.  The list is made up principally of UK-based folk who tweet about media related law topics, but there are a few from the US too.

I'm flattered to be on it, alongside really good legal tweeters such as David Allen Green of New Statesman and Jack of Kent blog flame. And I've gained a few new Twitter followers as result of my inclusion.

It's also a great demonstration of how much we like lists. We look to see if we've been included and we usually have a suggestion or two for names that might have been left out. has also updated its Twitter list of national newspaper tweeters, which might be worth a look.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Link round-up: The Leveson Inquiry - and a little bit of privacy

I'm trying to keep my eye on the Leveson Inquiry, so it seems appropriate to pull together a few links on the subject:

  • Not surprisingly, the BBC's coverage is comprehensive. There's a handy summary of week one, plus some early sign's of Leveson's thinking neatly summarised by political correspondent Ross Hawkins.
  • They also offer a Leveson Inquiry Q&A.
  • The most recent episode of's excellent jpod series looks at press self-regulation following discussions at the Society of Editors conference. The podcast includes interviews with Independent editor Chris Blackhurst and Martin Moore from the Media Standards Trust.
  • Inforrm blog has made a clever move by bringing meejalaw's Judith Townend on board to pull together some good Twitter streams to follow. Judith also curated a Coveritlive version of day one as well as a storify of the first day's Tweets. Inforrm doesn't appear to have followed up during the week. Let's hope there's more coverage still to come on the blog.
  • Free Speech Blog is publishing summaries and updates too, along with the latest list of  week two core participants who are due to be heard.
  • The Guardian has a useful landing page featuring all things Leveson, including this video of Editor Alan Rusbridger's Orwell Lecture.which takes phonehacking as its starting point.

In other news bloggers including Guido Fawkes and David Allen Green of Jack of Kent and New Statesman fame appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions. Here's Green's post about it.

With the Culture, Media and Sport Committee also doing its stuff too over the past few months, you could be forgiven for thinking that all parliamentary committee business is currently taken up with media-related issues.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

What you need to know about journalism work experience

Photo: Bisgovuk

Work experience is in the minds of some of the journalism students I've been working with so here's a quick look at some of the info and advice I found after a bit of web trawling.

The tip of the day section is an obvious first stop. It's a fantastic resource for all manner of info, including Catherine May's account of finding work experience via Twitter

There's also a guest post by's John Thompson on Sun trainee journalist Andy Hall's blog offers some work experience tips from the employer's point of view.

Andy also lists eight tips to make the most of work experience based on what he found out on his own placements.

Over at Fleet Street Blues the advice includes be prepared by reading the site/magazine/paper and be aware of what it covers and who reads it. Other tips include 'don't be shy' and, importantly, 'make the tea'.

There's also more general advice and tips on internships and getting into journalism in the Guardian careers section from Wannabehacks' Alice Vincent. And on the Wannabe blog itself you'll find some handy insights from journalists and journalism students.

A colleague I used to work with always recommends buying the first round down the pub too. That's because the student or wannabe journalist who can do the job and who also fits in well is the one who might get the call if a permanent job comes up.

Any other advice you want to offer here for new journalists is warmly welcomed.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Carrying out vox pops: where to find some tips

Photo: sskennel
I've been having a think about running some vox pop exercises for student journalists I'm working with, so I've been trawling for some ideas and material.
  Unsurprisingly Wannabehacks have some thoughts from their own experience.
  They also have some tips and comments on how to get perfect vox pops.
  There's even a guide to vox pops on e-how plus some general interviewing tips from 
  Among the various examples of the craft are the regional daily reporter who carried out vox pops in her pyjamas after Tesco banned PJ wearers from a local store.
  And Newsphobia gets upset about Twitter being used as a lazy journalist's replacement for vox pops.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Ethical Journalist: a few links

Moral compass by psd

Here's a few links for the sessions on The Ethical Journalist that I'll be running for students at Solent University, Southampton.

It's designed to be a practical application of ethics to accompany some more theoretical lectures.

Once we've defined ethical journalism we'll take a look at:

The Ethical issues behind a recent story:
- BBC coverage of Colonel Gaddafi's capture
- Guardian story on the BBC's use of 'shocking' images
- A round-up of media coverage of Colonle Gaddafi's capture and death

Existing guidelines and codes of practice:
- The Press Complaints Commission Editors' Code of Practice
- The National Union of Journalist's Code of Conduct
- The Ofcom Broadcasting Code

How open and transparent should journalists be about their own interests?
- George Monbiot publishes details of his sources of income
- Jeff Jarvis on 'Transparency is the new objectivity'

Ethical questions behind a series of notable stories:
- Coverage of the July 2005 London bombings
- How the Telegraph paid for information on MPs expenses
- Panorama undercover investigation into abuse at a Bristol care home
- News of the World 'sting' on snooker champion John Higgins
- Telegraph's secret recording of Business Secretary Vince Cable: "I could bring down the government"
- The Law Lords ordering a Mirror journalist to reveal his source in a story involving the medical records of Moors Murderer Ian Brady, his refusal and the outcome of a subsequent appeal

The current debate on media regulation:
-Leveson Inquiry
- Former PCC chair on the Commission's future

Monday, 24 October 2011

NCTJ holds seminar on the need to 'teach journalists to Tweet'

There's an interesting story on Hold the Front Page about teaching journalists to Tweet.

The importance of teaching social media skills was discussed at the National Council for the Training of Journalists' digital training seminar, says HTFP.

I wasn't at the seminar and I'm sure plenty of useful points were made. But I have to say I'm surprised this subject even needs to be discussed. I think journalism qualification courses should already have it as a central component of their programmes.

There's no doubt that new journalists need to use and understand social media and the chances are a few of the newcomers could teach some of us a thing or two.

But what about those already in journalism who haven't yet taken the plunge? I'm sure we all still encounter working journalists who are resistant to using Twitter and other tools, just as Steve Buttry has. I've also met the real cynics who still think social media is just a bunch of self-important people telling no-one in particular about what they had for lunch.

Journalists need:
a) to be encouraged and given the space to try things out - and sometimes get it wrong
b) an understanding of how social media tools can help them with their job
c) to appreciate the fact that it's not about 'telling' or 'broadcasting' - it's about connecting them with their communities.

Oh, and they also need IT departments that don't frown at the idea of downloading social media clients such as Tweetdeck.

So, teaching journalists to use social media effectively is important. I'm assuming newcomers - such as those on  NCTJ pre-entry courses and journalism degrees - will find it easier to adopt the tools because they're already using some. They're also lucky enough not to be burdened by the mental baggage of the 'traditional' way of doing things.

But I think it's some of the old guard, the ones who won't be actively seeking out tips on Mashable, who probably need the most help - and the most convincing.

New site for freelancers

Thanks to for pointing out a new site aimed at freelancers set up by Nicholas Holmes. The idea is you can post samples of work from your portfolio to advertise your skills.

Many journalists use their blogs for this purpose. But, as this new site offers a free service, there's no harm in trying it out.

I haven't explored it fully yet, but it might be worth a look and possibly setting up your own portfolio.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Parliamentary joint committee publishes report on Draft Defamation Bill

                                                  Science writer wins libel appeal                Photo: englishpen 

The Joint Committee report on the Draft Defamation Bill has been published. Here's the official summary. The main points that jump out for me are:
There are recommendations to formalise the approach to notice and take down procedures on web forums; and to make a distinction between treatment of material from comments made by clearly named/identified individuals and those posted by anonymous ones.
Substantial harm:
The committee report says individuals and corporations should demonstrate serious and substantial harm in order to bring a libel action. These terms will, of course, need to be defined. It also recommends: "corporations should be required to obtain the permission on the court before bringing a libel claim". 
Extension of privilege:
Privilege should be extended to "fair and accurate reports of academic and scientific conferences and also to peer-reviewed articles appearing in journals", says the report. This should be encouraging news for journalists at publications such as New Scientist, who I was talking to recently.
   Here's the full report, if you like that sort of thing. Handily all recommendations are highlighted in bold for ease of scanning. 
  At first glance it looks like there's plenty here for the media to be happy about. But, of course, there's still some way to go before any of these recommendations and other Draft Bill proposals become law.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

An interesting week for libel law

It's a good week for anyone interested in libel law.

The Joint committee on the Draft Libel Reform bill will publish its report at midnight.

We're also expecting the Supreme Court ruling on the use of the Reynolds defence in the Flood v Times Newspapers case.

I'll be interested to see what the Draft Libel Reform Bill committee has to say on how the law should deal with user-generated content on reader forums.

It will also be useful to see whether it has any proposals to offer on whether organisations should have to demonstrate 'substantial' harm in order to be able to bring a libel case.

Well, I'm excited anyway...

Friday, 14 October 2011

Where to find info on journalism ethics

It's appropriate that in the week the PCC gets a new chairman, I get asked to run some sessions on 'The Ethical Journalist' for journalism students.

There've been plenty of recent examples of journalists not applying ethical - or even legal - practices recently.

But I want to have a look at the broader picture too, so I thought it was worth having a quick trawl round to see what other resources I could find. As expected the BBC's College of Journalism's Ethics & Values pages are a good starting point. They look to be choc full of info and handy resources. Thanks, BBC. 

No doubt I will be also using Judith Townend's excellent Meeja law blog as a resource and I'll be reading Andy Dickinson's recent lecture on the subject.

I'm also a fan of PCC Watch, which bills itself as press complaints: the unofficial site and should be a useful companion to the PCC's own site for finding out about recent rulings.  In addition I stumbled across Stinky Journalism, a US site that also covers cases in the UK and other English-speaking countries.

There are plenty of other US sites looking at the subject too. Online Journalism Review offers this handy summary of ethical practices for relative newcomers.

And I'm also likely to be hitting the books. Journalism Ethics and Regulation still looks to be one of the main UK texts. I took a look at author Chris Frost's blog on the subject too, but he doesn't seem to be updating it as regularly as he once was.

Before I go too far with my prep I should probably also take a look at Mediashift's 5 principles for teaching journalism in the digital age. Thanks to's tip of the day section for the link.

Let me know if there's any resources to recommend.

Friday, 7 October 2011

How techie do journalists need to be?

I noticed a fair bit of retweeting, yammering and +1-ing of Seven things you should know if you're starting out programming, a post by Jonathan Richards, a journalist who's had to learn a bit about coding. Thanks to  Simon Robinson for tweeting it in my direction.

Which begs the question, how much of a techie does a journalist these days? Well, the answer is, it depends what you want to do.

For example, if you want to play around with spreadsheets, scrape some data and produce visualisations, it might help to have an interest in some of the tools that Kevin Anderson refers to in this data journalism presentation. And knowledge of some basic coding won't do you any harm.

But for many of us it's about getting our heads around some of the simple tools such as dipity, audacity or basic video editing software. There's plenty of online guides and videos out there to help, such as the Google Maps one at the top of this post.

Of course, you still need to be able to write good stuff and supply content that grabs your readers and users. It also helps these days to be able to take simple digital images.

But, if you're not a geek, it's not a barrier - you just need to do what your good at and be willing to try new things out.

Link round-up for news:rewired and forthcoming journalism events

News Rewired event

One of the great things about all the change that's going on in journalism at the moment is that there are plenty of people getting together at conferences, seminars and informal gatherings to share thoughts and ideas on a variety of subjects.

I didn't manage to get to the latest news:rewired event 'Connected Journalism', which is a pity because it sounds like there was plenty of thought-provoking stuff. Here's where to find some interesting thoughts from the day, followed by some links to journalism talks and meetings taking place in the near future.

There's plenty of info at the news: rewired site, including 10 lessons from the day.

Storify is a popular tool at the moment and inevitably got some mentions on the day, so here's a couple of versions: 

  • news: rewired's own Storify round-up of the event featuring some of the advice, slides, discussion and tweets from around the conference 
There's also a copy of the Storify presentation on Slideshare

John Thompson has posted some videos of speakers talking about online communities including Guardian community editor Laura Oliver and Citizenside's Philip Trippenbach

There's also some Coveritlive material from the event including this one from the final session: The future of collaboration in digital journalism

Forthcoming events
For anyone in and around London over the next few days, a few journalism-related events might be worth a look:

On Monday 10th October there's a discussion on libel reform hosted by the NUJ freelance branch. Speakers will include libel lawyer Robert Dougans,who took part in the Simon Singh case and Index on Censorship news editor Padraig Reidy.

Meanwhile, City University have two interesting lectures on consecutive evenings - and they're free to attend:

And data journalists should have a bit of fun at the AOP and Mozilla Hack Day on Thursday 13th October.

Some other major conferences and events are listed in's journalism events diary, while the Frontline Club stages talks and other events club that might also be worth a look.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tips on using social media for journalists: a brief round-up

While I've been getting to grips with the the new-look Delicious I noticed I've saved a few recent links on using social media for journalists - mostly sourced from links posted on Twitter or from my Google Reader.

So here they are:

And, once you've digested that round-up and if you're interested in other areas of online journalism, why not take a look at Adam Westbrook's collection of his own posts on online video and entrepreneurial journalism.

Think before you publish: Legal dangers in social media and web publishing

"Think before you publish - especially on social media..." is one of the mantras I repeat in media law sessions I run.

But today I briefly fell in to the trap myself. A couple of journalists Tweeted and and RT'd an apparent libel by juxtaposition ie a headline on a story that could have been thought to refer to an unrelated picture of someone alongside it. If read together it's possible they could have suggested a defamatory meaning about the person in the photo.

I RT'd it too, agreeing in my Tweet that it could indeed be a juxtaposition which might imply that an innocent person was guilty of wrongdoing. Luckily @jonhew immediately reminded me that any RTs could also constitute re-publication of a libel. Blushing, I deleted the RT straight away and checked no-one else had RT'd me.

This was followed by a good Twitter conversation with others about the fact that at least we had put it in context, rather than republishing potentially defamatory material as fact.

But a good reminder anyway. "Think before you publish -  especially on social media..."

Lesson learnt.

I consoled myself with the fact that at least I didn't do as the Mail did and jump the gun on the verdict in the Amanda Knox trial .

And it was a good excuse to revisit this post on basic subbing tips by Peter Sands.

By the way, in a state of paranoia, before publishing this post I also checked that I was okay to use the Twitter symbol.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Advice on journalism jobs, work experience and opportunities for students and other newcomers.

There's plenty of info and advice about work and opportunities for journalism newcomers and student journalists around right now.

My advice to newcomers applying for work and jobs in journalism is:

Getting work experience and opportunities:

  • Work experience pays off.  It's a bit like doing a week-long interview.
  • Don't just aim for the big names you've always read.  Niche brands offer loads of opportunities - and you can often get stuff published.
  • Actively blog and tweet about your interest areas. You might get noticed.
  • When doing work experience volunteer for everything. Make the most of every opportunity.
  • Get the basics right: spell names correctly and double-check everything.
  • Take a look at the title and/or site you're applying for.
  • Tailor your application and CV to what the ad is actually asking for.
  • Don't say 'I have very little experience'. Tell them what you have done and tell them why it's relevant to the role on offer.
  • Include or link to any relevant cuttings/articles/blog posts.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Visualisation tools: How to create a map using Batch Geo

You might be thinking 'Oh no, not another mapping tool'. But this one might be worth a look.

Thanks to Ruth Smith at professional social care title Community Care for pointing me at BatchGeo. This tool provides some simple ways of turning data into maps, as this intro video shows.

Manyeyes is another visualisation tool that some of you may already be aware of. It's mentioned in a handy list of 10 free collaboration tools for journalists over at NewsRewired.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Johann Hari apology: A brief round-up of views

Johann Hari has finally issued an apology in the Independent web site after being caught up in a plagiarism row over sections of his work.

It's been all over Twitter etc but, in case you missed it, he originally issued an apology on his own blog back in June.  This story gives all the background.

Alongside yesterday's apology he's also returned his 2008 Orwell Prize for Journalism and will not go back to the Independent until he's taken some journalism training.

Some commentators, of course, have their own opinions about this latest apology:
  • It's no surprise that Toby Young has a view.
  • And several tweeters link to Jeremy Dunn's blog where he's also taken a closer look at some of Hari's past work.
  • Press Gazette links the Hari case to press regulation and the culture of British journalism.
  • Meanwhile while Love and Garbage has its own Impersonal apology.
  • Fleet Street Blues, on the other hand, finds a tip on using quotes courtesy of The Wire.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Using Twitter more effectively

 I ran a short session on 'using Twitter more effectively' with a B2B editorial team recently. Here are some of the the ideas and thoughts we shared on everything from Twitter basics and what to tweet about, to filtering columns in Tweetdeck.

Where can I find how to carry out various functions using Twitter?

         Have a look at the Mashable Twitter guidebook to find out more about making the most of Twitter.

          Or just Google what you're looking for...

          Or look at Youtube to see how to do something using Twitter, Tweetdeck etc.

For example, here’s a video showing how to set up lists in Tweetdeck  

Here’s a general Tweetdeck tutoria

 How can I search more effectively?

          Search on keywords, people or keywords preceded by a ‘hashtag’ eg #medialaw.

 has its own search function. However, ‘clients’ such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to open a search in a separate column on a specific term or hashtag. 

      You can keep that column visible or delete it then return to it later from your list of recent searches.

How can I filter the 'noise' so I can find stuff I'm really interested in?

          Set up columns on specific subjects in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

          Build lists of users you follow on individual subjects.

          Use the ‘filter column’ button in Tweetdeck to filter keywords or names

          Use the search tips and tutorials above.

How can I find more people to follow?

          Find a Twitter user who’s important to you – or an active Twitter user in your team. Look at who they’re following and follow some of them yourself.

          If someone gets re-tweeted and they look interesting to you, follow them.

          Search using subject-related hashtags eg #journalism and follow interesting people who’ve used that hashtag recently

          Look at Twitter lists built by influential Twitter users in your area(s) of interest. You can click on individual people in lists to follow them.

Or, in Tweetdeck, for example, you can go to user's profile, open a list they've made and copy and save the whole thing. You can also edit the list.

          Use Twitter directories such as: 

How can I build my own following?

          Follow others, sometimes they follow back.

          Post interesting links. If they get re-tweeted you will probably get some new followers.

          Engage in conversations with other users. Active and interesting Twitter users get better quality followings.

          Ask a question or request an opinion.

          Put re-tweet buttons on your blog or site, put your twitter username in your e-mail signature and on other published print and online material where relevant.

What should I tweet about?
  • Post links to interesting stuff

          Look at some examples of Twitter streams in your areas of interest eg for online journalism, see what @paulbradshaw does.

          Tweet about things related to your 'beat' or the subjects you write about. Even if much of your own material is behind some form of paywall you don’t have to give away exclusive information or essential data:

- link to a ’what’s new’ item on the free part of your site

- mention a story and say ‘have you seen our site's view on this?’ with a link.

- re-tweet a national news story or blogpost that’s relevant to your area, perhaps with a 

- tweet links to your blog/other blogs from your team

- re-tweet other tweeters in your team

- build interest in some of your material by briefly mentioning that it’s coming out a week or so before publication

- click on the ‘re-tweet’ button on blogs and stories of interest to those in your sector

- Set up a Google Reader account to request info on subjects that interest you from around the web. Link to interesting articles and use topic-specific hashtags.  

What if I want to allow more than one person to Tweet under the same username?

          Investigate setting up team accounts. You can do this in the Pro version of Hootsuite.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Video: Students at the GAJ/John Deere journalism course 2011

The opening sessions of the Guild of Agricultural JournalistsJ/John Deere journalism training course focus on the basics of news and the importance of producing content that meets the audience's needs.

I posted this short, roughly-edited video clip to demonstrate to attendees that simple video from a Flip or phone camera can provide some useful extra content.

GAJ/John Deere students hard at work...

Friday, 15 July 2011

Using LinkedIn: A round-up of tips for journalists

Picture: Mariosundar

'Must do more with LinkedIn' has been on my to-do list for while. I tend to post to LinkedIn selectively via Twitter, but there's plenty more I could be doing.

It's becoming a significant traffic source for sites including BBC News and Techcrunch, according to  Have a listen to their podcast on How journalists can best use LinkedIn.

And there's some more tips available from LinkedIn's press centre too, which overlap with a list of 10 ways reporters can use LinkedIn from the US Poynter journalism school.

Or take a look back at these thoughts from 2010 on LinkedIn for Journalists from Alexandra Samuel.

Twelve years with the Guild of Agricultural Journalists/John Deere journalism course

David Mascord leading a session on the 2010
GAJ/John Deere journalism training course
If I  haven't made any of the mistakes mentioned in my post about journalists and numeracy, I've just calculated that this weekend I'll be celebrating my 12th year of running sessions on the Guild of Agricultural Journalists' journalism training course, sponsored by John Deere.

I'm not an agricultural journalist myself, but that's not the point. We start on Sunday evening in Nottingham with an overview of journalism and an introduction to work opportunities. 

Then, as usual, from Monday we'll spend two days at John Deere HQ in nearby Langar, going over the basic principles of writing and interviewing and presenting material for print and online audiences.

Course attendees are currently studying or working in agriculture and horticulture and, as part of the course,  go on to work experience on titles including Farmers WeeklyFarmers Guardian and Amateur Gardening. Some go on to get jobs or freelance work on host titles.

At the end of the two days, attendees enter a competition to complete a writing assignment with a first prize of £250.

I hope to blog from the event if I can while running the sessions - and maybe get some of the attendees to do the same.

When journalism doesn't add up: reporters, subs and numeracy

Fleet Street Blues' post One on four Mail Online subs can't count highlights another example of subs and writers failing to grasp basic maths.

The problem is that many journalists, me included, aren't too comfortable with figures. Some of us still tend towards the 'I'm a words person, not a numbers person' school of thought, as Press Gazette has reported.

But that shouldn't prevent us checking rates of increase and decrease in survey type stories. We should know how to check and calculate percentages and how they differ from percentage points, for example. I heard Kevin Anderson explain these terms recently and it isn't that difficult after all.

It's worth going back to an old, but still relevant, set of tips from Steve Harrison on How to get to grips with numbers, part one and part two.

There are, of course, plenty of stories potentially buried in stats.  And it's no longer just down to the financial writers to find them, as the rise of data journalism has demonstrated. After all, the MPs' expenses story came from asking about numbers.

I remember doing subbing and writing tests at job interviews, but I don't recall any basic numeracy tests. How about a few more numbers tests for journalists - at all levels?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Audio of Rebekah Brooks addressing News of the World staff

It's easy to forget how powerful simple audio can be - especially as journalists still get hung up on written words.

This audioboo by Lisa O'Caroll serves as a great reminder.

Rebekah Brooks addressing staff  courtesy of sky news (mp3)

News of the World phone-hacking timelines: How online media depicted the scandal in timelines

I was looking forward to seeing how the online media would handle the timeline of events surrounding the drama of the phone-hacking revelations, the closure of the News of the World and the subsequent arrests and political fallout.

But I have to say I'm a little disappointed at how static many of the treatments are. Okay, events have been moved very quickly but I thought by now we would have seen some more interesting ways of handling the story.

Here's a random selection of what I've seen so far:

One of the most interesting has to be from The New York Times. It's clickable and it looks like it's still being updated. The same goes for The Financial Times.

Plenty of sites, including the BBC, took a more pedestrian approach and went for a standard print media-style list in reverse chronological order. CNN and The Telegraph prefered to tackle things the other way round, beginning from 2005 and 2006 respectively. The Telegraph didn't even bother linking out from the text.

The US Huffington Post opted for a slideshow of events from 2002 up to the closure of the newspaper. The Guardian did something similar, but with a little bit more activity.

Press Gazette's dipity timeline first appeared back in January this year, but unfortunately it looks like it hasn't updated since the end of May.

Yahoo News, meanwhile, has a static infographic which you can't click on and ends with the NOTW closure.

Of course, a timeline isn't necessarily the best format. Live blogs like the one from the newly-launched UK Huffington Post use a Covertilive approach to keep up with unfolding events which was useful for integrating tweets and other updates.

But if you want to incorporate all the background history it still suggests some form of RSS-updated timeline to me.

The phonehacking and police payments stories will run and run, as they say. Let's hope we see some more interesting visualisations.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

News of the World phonehacking - Downfall-style

Downfall, the film depicting the last days in Hitler's bunker, has been mashed-up and put to all manner of uses in the past. But perhaps never has it been used more appropriately.

Great scenes include the one where Hitler/Murdoch suggests that Brooks should go freelance and maybe give blogging a go. Even he has a blog it seems...

Thanks to @jonathan haynes @fieldproducer and @SamiraAhmedUK for tweeting it.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Jon Slattery: Matt sums up tarnished image of UK journalists

Matt sums up tarnished image of UK journalists: "The brilliant Matt Pritchett in the Telegraph today sums up the damage caused to the image of UK newspaper journalists..."

Friday, 24 June 2011

Daily Mail libel threat provides larger audience for blogger

Interesting to see that the Daily Mail's Paul Dacre is as keen to threaten a libel action as the average celeb.

As Roy Greenslade's blogpost Daily Mail threatens 'abusive' blogger with libel action points out the threat of action will serve only to bring the blogger's original post to the attention of a wider audience.

I always think people in the public eye should consider PR as much as legal principle when deciding whether to sue for libel.

Also, here's a quick reminder of what libel is from the folk at useful resource, Law on the Web.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

New defamation bill could make things worse...

If you're interested in current debate on libel and defamation, this story on story is worth a look.

New defamation bill could make things worse, warns Civil Justice Council

Meanwhile Index on Censorship offers a rare opportunity to read an interview with Justice Eady, this time on privacy, by BBC legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Interviewing tips for journalists

You can find a series of interesting tips on conducting different types of interview over at Wannabehacks, covering:Use silence
One of the tips I strongly support is not being afraid to hold a silence for a few seconds once you've asked a question.  The interviewee may well fill that pause with an extra comment - maybe something they shouldn't really have said.

Listen and observe
Another tip I'd add is that good interviewing is about listening and observing. 

Listen to what the interviewee is telling you and ask supplementary questions based on their answer. You'll be able to examine the issue in more detail, which means you'll probably get more useful quotes and information.

Look at - and/or listen to - how they answer too. Body language and speed and tone of speech can also give you a few clues as to whether you've hit on an interesting and/or sensitive topic.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Proof reading error...

Fab proof-reading error tweeted by @timwalker and RT'd by @kate_day.

There but for the grace of God go all of us...

When we read, we scan.  That's why it's easy to miss stuff when you're proofing.

A few quick proof reading tips:

  • Always check large type eg headlines, titles closely.
  • It's easy to scan over errors in caps - take a good look.
  • Are figures, symbols, telephone numbers, urls etc correct?
  • Cover lines below the text you're reading so you focus exclusively on that line.
  • Read upwards from the bottom of a column if necessary.
  • Check for what makes sense as well as for literals, spellings etc
  • Ask yourself whether anything's missing.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Jon Slattery: Is missing pull quote what Bono is looking for?

Jon Slattery: Is missing pull quote what Bono is looking for?:

Says Slattery:
'From today's Guardian letters... Next to your article on page 28 (Why Bono should welcome his Glastonbury reckoning, 7 June) are the words.""Pullquote over five / lines in here / here herey / herey herey / type over text". Surely the lyrics of an unreleased U2 song, showing that Bono is a genius and the true heir of James Joyce.'

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

How to break into journalism

Some good tips on how to begin your career from new journalists Josh Halliday, trainee media and technology reporter at the Guardian, and FHM's Chris Mandle on The Guardian's own How I broke into Journalism careers podcast.

Josh gives some great advice on using tools such as Twitter and your own blog to get involved in the conversation with other journalists - and get noticed. He was involved in the student mag but wanted to go even further than that, so set up his own hyper-local blog in Sunderland.

Chris, meanwhile, followed a more traditional route, starting out as music editor on the students mag, then being asked to do gig reviews for the NME, then work experience, all of which helped him get started on his route to FHM.

Advice from employing editors bears this out. They've been telling me for a while that if you want to show you're serious about journalism you should be doing all of the things Josh and Chris have done:
  • using twitter and other social media
  • work experience
  • blogging
  • getting published in print and web titles, if possible
  • taking part in online discussions
  • attending journalism events and courses
  • keeping up with all the online and print journalism trade media
The podcast's worth a listen.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Sing along: "I'm a journalist"

How many songs can you think of that mention the noble craft of journalism?

Band The Lovely Eggs have a song on MySpace called 'I'm a journalist', which guarantees that a certain proportion of the population will give it a listen.

This remined of Paste Magazine's list of 10 songs about print journalism, which includes the Jam's 'News of the World', and the Billy Bragg song 'It says here'.

Any more journalism songs for the list?

The Lovely Eggs song also includes the line: "I'm a journalist, up yours". That gives me an excuse to mention X-Ray Spex and 'Oh, bondage, up yours'. All together now...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Overheard in the newsroom

Photo by Alan Cleaver
Thanks to Kevin May at Tnooz for retweeting this from Overheard in the newsroom:

“You can start a story with a quote twice in your career. Once when you’re an intern, again if the Pope ever says fuck”

Which then led me to take a look at their site to enjoy to enjoy gems such as:
Web editor to news editor: “Just because you’re necessary doesn’t mean you’re important.”
or this:
Reporter stymied by having to keep off-record comments off the record: “Having ethics sucks sometimes.” 
I'm now following OHnewsroom on Twitter. 

I was trying to remember sayings from colleagues during my career but I couldn't come up with anything pithy and memorable. All I remember was the time I introduced myself to a particularly grizzled, chain-smoking sub on my first day at one publication :
Me: Hello
Sub: So, which paper have you come from, cunt?
Oh, and there was that time when the editor on that publication offered me the opportunity to go on a permanent contract plus for a £3k reduction in salary at the same time that the paper was about to move from central London to Slough.

Happy days...

Got any pearls of wisdom from journalists you've worked with?

Let the quotes tell the story

Interesting opening paras to the story City look to future after cup triumph on the sports pages of
“Quotey quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote,” MANAGER/PLAYER reflects on blah blah blah blah blahb blah blayh blah blah.
“Quotey quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote,” MANAGER/PLAYER hits back at blah blah blah blah.
Probably one of the most memorable openings to a story that I've ever seen.

Media law resources for journalists

I've had a few chats with media law lecturers on journalism degrees and postgraduate qualifications recently. I'm pleased to hear that a number of them recommend the book Law for Journalists by Frances Quinn.

It's a useful and acessible law reference book for new and existing journalists. I use it when I'm running media law sessions for magazine and web publishers - I think it gives good old McNae's a run for its money.

Here are a few of the media law resources I use:
British and Irish Legal Information Institute
Inforrm blog
Jack of Kent
Judiciary of England and Wales
Law Commission
Media Guardian
Meeja Law
Press Complaints Commission
Press complaints (the unofficial site)
Press Gazette

Any others you'd like to add?