Tagged: city university london

Interactive journalism: Learning by doing – on air

Cross-posted from the Online Journalism Blog.

Around this time last year I wrote on this blog about ‘Generation Audioboo’ and the opportunities for anyone entering the field of digital journalism.  A year on, there are more free tools, and more editorial choice. Google Hangouts are now ‘On Air’ for all, for example.

Students on the Interactive Journalism MA course at City University London have been setting up their own live events. Yesterday’s group ran a Google Hangout, themed around social media use for journalists. It was live on air; you can view it – and the class discussion below the video – here.

Rob Grant, a student on the course, led the discussion with to Sarah Marshall, technology editor at Journalism.co.ukAdam Tinworth, journalist and consultant (and a visiting lecturer at City) and Nick Petrie, social media and campaigns editor at The Times about journalism and social media in a Google+ Hangout.

Rob asked the panelists how to manage social media use as a student journalist: is your presence on social media platforms your CV?

“It’s not their CV but it’s part of their personal profile”, according to Sarah Marshall, who said that if she was involved in recruiting, she’d be looking closely at social media presence of potential candidates.

Adam Tinworth said he is “suspicious of people in this day and age who say they want to be journalists but show no inclination to publish on the web without an official organised channel to do it…”

It’s like a musician who says ‘I’ll play my guitar but only when I’ve got a recording contract’. I don’t buy that you’ve got a passion for this job if you don’t show an inclination to do it when the tools are available freely.

Nick Petrie, who founded the Wannabe Hacks site, and worked at the Guardian and Telegraph before moving to the Times said:

If we hadn’t started [Wannabe Hacks] I wouldn’t have [had] a job offer from the Guardian because they were looking to build niche communities around certain verticals like education and volunteering and social enterprise. If we hadn’t just spent three or four months building a niche community around wannabe journalists I wouldn’t have had any experience of that nature … and to demonstrate my skillbase.

You can watch the full hangout here, and below:

The other group have set up a community journalism themed meetup, ‘Meet the Managers’, in Islington on Wednesday 13 March 2013, also featuring Nick Petrie, along with Hannah Waldram, community coordinator at the Guardian, Sarah Drinkwater, who runs a team of community managers at Google and  Tom Phillips, international editor at MSN. Places are free but are already being booked up fast, so if you’re interested, sign up here.

Judith Townend is a journalist, researcher and visiting lecturer at City University London (@jtownend on Twitter). 

Generation AudioBoo: how journalism students are interacting online

Cross-posted on the Online Journalism blog.

The journalism class of 2012 has a pretty enviable opportunity to get their stuff out there; the development of online platforms like Twitter, Google+, Storify, Tumblr, Posterous, AudioBoo, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, CoverItLive and Vimeo allows piecemeal dissemination of content to relevant and engaged audiences, without necessarily needing to set up a specific site.

Free technology allows them to find and do journalism outside journalism, in productive and creative ways. To adapt David Carr’s description of Brian Stelter, his browser tab-flicking colleague at the New York Times, we’re seeing the rise of the ‘robots in the basement‘.

While it’s sensible for students to craft and co-ordinate their individual – or group – blog projects, bits and pieces of journalism can be let loose into the world with technological ease – and without waiting for an email from an elusive commissioning editor. You can respond in comments, offer guest posts to relevant online publications, join live webchats – it’s all part of “interactive journalism”. (Although, like the journalists who say all journalism should be investigative, I can’t see how anyone can do journalism without being “interactive”). These tools and platforms aren’t the journalism itself but they enable journalistic research, conversation and content.

Catching the eye of a potential employer is an obvious incentive to engage online (there are the digital stars who shine their way into jobs straight from journalism school – Josh Halliday (Sunderland), Conrad Quilty-Harper (City) and Dave Lee (Lincoln) are among the best-known examples) but experimentation online also helps improve your journalism, as you get live feedback and use the tools to source new information (that doesn’t have to stop once you’ve got the certificate).

City University London launched its Interactive Journalism MA last year and the first intake can be found on Twitter here and are publishing online, across the course curriculum – on their own sites as well as professional platforms. Their newspaper and broadcast colleagues can also be found online (see, for example, this list). I have been working once a week with the Interactive group, better known as the “Interhacktives” – agreeing on the hashtag and site name was one of their first tasks. It caught the attention of OU lecturer Tony Hirst, who depicted their network here.

They have been devising community-oriented journalism, coming up and analysing existing projects, developing content and building up a portfolio of interactive work. As Rosie Niven has noted on her blog, there are potential pitfalls students need to look out for when attempting to interact in the local community and existing online forums. “As well as learning, students and their tutors need to consider legacy,” she points out.

This term, the Interactive students have divided into teams to manage the output of four projects: the Interhacktives site, which tracks social media and community management for journalists; the Data Journalism Blog, a site taken over from a previous student; Islington Now and Hackney Post. The two latter projects will be brought to life during three intensive production weeks, in collaboration with their colleagues on the newspaper course.

The Interhacktives site was particularly lively as they liveblogged, Audioboo’d, and filmed activities at Social Media Week London (#smwldn). Next a couple of them will be blogging and tweeting from the Media Briefing’s conference on paywalls. Obviously, their projects are works in progress (or in beta) – that’s the point – and I’m sure they’d like to hear feedback and suggestions. Likewise, thoughts welcomed on this.

Judith Townend is a journalist, researcher and visiting lecturer at City (@jtownend on Twitter).

Legal geekery in 2010 and beyond

Some news! At the end of June I’ll be leaving my reporter job at Journalism.co.uk for pastures new after (just under) two very happy years in Brighton.

I’ve accepted a three year MPhil / PhD studentship at City University London’s new Centre of Law, Justice and Journalism.

My research will be exploring legal restraints on the media: more details on that down the line.

I’m very excited about the chance to really get my teeth into media ethical and legal issues, whilst continuing all the online stuff. The plan is to set up a new blog to track media law issues, and share my own research as I go (name ideas please!). Bloggers like Charlie Beckett, Daniel Bennett and Lilian Edwards demonstrate how the gap can be bridged between media and academia – I hope to do something similar, learning as I go.

During the past year I’ve also been increasingly inspired by the bloggers writing about science, freedom of speech and legal issues in the UK (Richard Wilson, Jack of Kent, the Bad Science blogs and Index on Censorship, for example) and I’m looking forward to spending more time exploring this space.

Until June 30, I’ll be at J.co.uk, busy with my normal reporting duties and working on our next news:rewired event (June 25 – tickets on sale now).

From July 1 to September I’ll be finishing an MA dissertation (an add-on to the City Uni postgraduate diploma I did in 2007); freelancing and squeezing in a few trips. I’ll also have more time to help out with the citizen-led End Child Detention Now campaign (nearly at 5,000 signatures) – which has a very straightforward goal we’re determined to accomplish.

Another early-stage project I have on the go – along with a few others – is a UK Hacks & Hackers event at which we’ll pair up journalists, designers programmers over two days to build online news projects (provisionally in London in September; venue TBC). If you’re interested in getting involved in that, please let me know.

And I hope to stay involved in the new UK Future of News Group. I won’t be living in Brighton anymore, so our nest will be in the hands of the lovely Sarah Booker – I’ll have to make to do with the London group and the hyperlocal news projects on my new London doorstep.

I’m also on the lookout for freelance work to fit alongside my PhD – please do get in touch if you think you have anything for me, whether it be in journalism, campaigning, or research.

jt.townend [at] googlemail.com