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#Tip: Remember these guides to online content length

April 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by Thinkstock

Image by Thinkstock

In print, the parameters for article length, headlines, picture arrangement and more have been handed down over generations, tried and tested over centuries to determine what best draws readers’ attention through an article.

Reading gravity is central to article lay-out and space limitations dictate how long articles should be, how they fit around images, and where they appear on the page. On the web, all of that goes out the window.

Or does it?

A recent blog post from Buffer collects results from multiple studies on the “ideal length” of Facebook and Google+ posts, tweets, headlines, blogs, paragraph width, email subject lines and other online publishing platforms, based on the level of engagement they received.

Screenshot from Buffer

Screenshot from Buffer

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#Tip: Learn how to use Weibo to find Chinese stories

March 31st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Social media has become a vital tool for distributing content and its growing usefulness in finding stories and sources makes it a key part of the modern journalist’s toolbox.

Self-proclaimed social newswire Storyful has made a business out of finding stories on social media, far beyond the mainstream of Facebook and Twitter, and shared some tips on the subject recently.

In a blog post looking at how to “discover content” on Chinese social network Weibo, Storyful’s Sophia Xu said “its integration with other social platforms make it the first place where Chinese users spread news and share viral stories”.

The whole thing is well worth a read if you’re looking to find stories that may not have made it into the English-language media.

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#Tip: Getting data out of documents and organised

March 26th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Top tips for journalists
Image by Digitzedchaos on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by Digitzedchaos on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

For journalists interested in data, the website Source – which was set up by the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project – is a valuable platform to hear from others working with data in varying ways at different media outlets, and learn new techniques along the way.

In a recent post, Jonathan Stray tackles a number of challenges journalists may face in actually getting hold of the data within a document, such as working with PDF files, or how to organise information when faced with thousands of pages of data.

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#Tip: Watch this quick video on riot safety for journalists

March 24th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Kiev, Caracas, Istanbul… London? It is difficult to predict when or how a protest may turn into a riot, so the best policy is to be prepared for anything.

The BBC runs public order awareness courses through its College of Journalism, and in this video Mal Geer, who runs the course, explains some of the basics between hurling abuse and tennis balls at trainees. Still, it is better to practice dodging tennis balls with a camera on your shoulder than figuring out the best plan of action when it’s a brick.

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#Tip: Remember these 10 tips for interviewing

March 21st, 2014 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Despite all the modern talk of data and visualisations, great stories always need to be anchored by a human element, so the ability to talk to people openly – and have them do so in return – is vital to a journalist’s work.

These ten tips on interview technique on corporate communications site Ragan, written by former newspaper editor turned writing coach Daphne Gray-Grant, cover the bases: getting great quotes, wading through jargon, note-taking advice and more.

 

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#Tip: Remember these digital ethics issues for journalism

March 20th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

 

Digital journalism brings up a whole new world of ethical issues that don’t apply in print. Copyright and social media are foremost among them as the wealth of available images, video and information, both true and false, make up much of what constitutes the online media.

Digital First Media’s Aimee Heckel, the self-styled ‘Modern Lois Lane‘, spoke with senior colleague Ivan Lajara for a recent post discussing six digital ethics issues and how to navigate through them.

Some of the examples may be America-specific but the conclusions are relevant to journalists everywhere and are well worth bearing in mind when using online material.

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#Tip: Advice from Twitter on tweet engagement

March 18th, 2014 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Simon Rogers, Twitter’s head of data, posted a data analysis on the social network’s media blog last week, looking at the statistics of what drives engagement in the fleeting world of Twitter.

The effects of photos, hashtags, links, quotes, video and numbers included in the tweets of more than two million verified accounts were assessed by data scientist Douglas Mason, explained Rogers. All of the above had a positive impacet, but depending on the type of account and the industry they work in, some are more effective than others.

The Twitter data team wrote up individual posts for each industry they looked at to give a more detailed analysis of the breakdown in engagement stats and warned that although the new data is useful, it should not dictate an overall social media policy.

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#Tip: 5 pieces of advice for getting into music journalism

March 10th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

A lot of young journalists have a passion for music but it’s not always easy to translate that passion into a career. This recent blog post from Haulix gives some helpful tips on how to start, while a Journalism.co.uk feature and podcast from last year goes into yet more detail.

It is a competitive industry at the best of times but bearing these thoughts in mind and putting them into practice should help to sweeten the pill.

 

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Tip: How to do vox pops

February 25th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by M. Keefe on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by M. Keefe on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Vox pops are a rite of passage for many young journalists. They are a good way of crowdsourcing information on topical issues, but approaching complete strangers can feel a bit awkward – especially for reporters who are first starting out.

Wannabe Hacks has listed five tips for doing vox pops (which stems from the Latin vox populi, “voice of the people”). They include:

1. Try to avoid “any obvious eye contact” before approaching someone
2. Hide your Dictaphone or microphone as you approach, to avoid scaring people off
3. Be confident and polite

You can read the full blog here.

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#Tip: Some background reading on SEO for mobile

February 24th, 2014 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists, Traffic

If your news outlet is thinking about ways to tailor its search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy for mobile, this post on Search Engine Watch on six top tips for producing successful SEO for mobile is a good place to start. The content is geared towards the retail sector, but the lessons are still valid for others to consider.

If you want to look into the subject in more depth it’s also worth taking a look at this post by mobile marketing experts mobiThinking‘s on the best mobile SEO practices to drive traffic to your mobile site. It gives special focus to considering how mobile SEO is different, before giving tips on making it local, social and fast.

If you’re more of a visual learner there’s also a handy video from Hubshout on how to conquer mobile SEO.

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