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#Tip: Take note of this advice for video interviews

April 11th, 2014 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Conducting video interviews can be daunting if you’re used to being behind the camera, rather than in front of it.

In this video posted by the BBC College of Journalism, BBC reporters Jon Sopel, Jane Corbin and Jim Fitzpatrick offer their advice for on-screen interviews.

Although the tips are aimed at television interviews, they can be applied to all forms of interview, whether for online, print or broadcast.

They include being “sceptical, not cynical” and planning ahead, while still being prepared for “unexpected opportunities”.

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#Tip: Advice on working with numbers in coverage

June 19th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
By Jorge Fran Ganillo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

By Jorge Fran Ganillo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The BBC College of Journalism website features a video focused on advice for journalists on working with numbers and best practice on covering statistics accurately.

The video features a series of interviews with those experienced in the world of statistics, including chair of the UK Statistics Authority Andrew Dilnot; the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston; the BBC’s home editor Mark Easton; BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders and national statistician of the UK Statistics Authority Jil Matheson.

For more on this subject, last year published this guide on ‘how to correctly report numbers in the news’.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.
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#Podcast: The rise of microvideo in online news

May 10th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Multimedia, Podcast

The rising tide of microvideo apps for smartphones is an increasing feature in online and mobile news reporting. This podcast looks at what is driving this change, some of the different platforms being used and what this could potentially mean for how news is received and reported in online and mobile forms in the future.

We speak to:

  • Michael Downing, founder and CEO, Tout
  • Jim Brady, editor-in-chief, Digital First Media
  • Neha Manaktala, chief operations officer, Vizibee
  • Marc Settle, trainer in mobile journalism, BBC College of Journalism
  • Michael Anastasi, vice president and executive editor, Los Angeles Newspaper Group

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes podcast feed.

We will have more on next week from the podcast interviewees on this subject.

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BBC CoJo on the possibilities for ‘drone journalism’

The website for the BBC College of Journalism published an interesting post on Friday by BBC world affairs producer Stuart Hughes, which looked at how news organisations could use drones as “newsgathering tools”.

According to Hughes, “in theory” the aircraft could be a useful tool for news outlets keen to get a bird’s-eye view of certain news events, such as protests.

Photographers covering election demos in Moscow also deployed a UAV – prompting some onlookers to suspect they had spotted a UFO over the Russian capital.

The resulting images were widely used by international news organisations – including the BBC.

However, Hughes said that in reality regulations would make it difficult to operate the aircraft “in built up and congested areas – exactly the sort of places where most news stories take place”.

Understandably so – no news organisation would want to deal with the legal consequences if its unmanned camera crash-landed onto the head of a peaceful protestor.

But nevertheless he is “excited by the prospect of using Big Boys’ Toys as part of our newsgathering”.

It may be some time yet before drone journalism becomes commonplace but, potentially, the sky’s the limit.

Read the full post here.

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BBC College of Journalism posts memories of 9/11 coverage

September 2nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

The BBC College of Journalism website is publishing a series of posts offering personal memories of coverage of the 9/11 attacks. The first, published this week, is by Stephen Evans, now Berlin correspondent for the BBC, who was in the World Trade Centre when the first plane hit.

I can remember looking out and seeing a line of neat fire trucks and thinking everything was OK because the authorities had arrived. I was on the air – I think to News 24 – when the North Tower collapsed, cutting the line off. I can remember ranting at this. The hotel alarm went off and we evacuated down a back stairs in an orderly fashion.

Evans was on the air when the South tower, the first of the two to collapse, began to fall:

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#Tip of the day from – getting documentaries on television

In a post on the BBC College of Journalism website documentary maker Eamonn Matthews lists a series of “rules” which journalists should be aware of when trying to get investigative documentaries on television, involving issues such as narrative, actuality and characters. In the post, which is an edited version of a chapter from the book Investigative Journalism: Dead or Alive?, published by Abramis, Matthews argues that journalists are more likely to get ideas accepted when they they have a better understanding of the “language of television, its demands and its power”.

Tipster: Rachel McAthy

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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BBC CoJo: When a super injunction is not a super injunction

Writing on the BBC College of Journalism blog, Judith Townend says sometimes journalists cry ‘super injunction’ when they mean privacy injunction.

A super injunction is one whose very existence cannot be reported – as in the cases involving Trafigura (2009) and Terry (2010).

As media lawyer Mark Thompson explained in a footnote on the Inforrm media law blog last year: “The ‘super injunction’ part of the order is the restraint on publication of the existence of the proceeding.”

Townend also explains the recent case of ZAM v CFW, despite media reports to the contrary, did not involve a super injunction.

Contrary to what you might expect, it appears that there are very few privacy injunctions against the media directly.

The public judgments suggest that the injunctions are often against blackmailers, and it is rarely contended that there is a public interest in the publication of the information.

Townend also has a compiled a list of the number of privacy injunctions here on the Inforrm’s Blog.

There appear to have been 11 privacy injunction hearings in the first three months of 2011, seven of which resulted in ‘public’ – although not always ‘published’ – judgments and two in which judgment is awaited.

She goes on to say there is a need for more information.

So where does all that leave us? While journalists should continue to raise questions about ‘super injunctions’ and the use of anonymous injunctions restricting the media’s ability to report court proceedings, there is a more pressing need for raw information direct from the courts.

The full BBC CoJo post is at this link.

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BBC College of Journalism blog: Google not to blame for journalism’s woes

Peter Barron, former editor of BBC Newsnight and now director of external relations for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Google, has responded to ongoing criticisms that Google News is profiting off the back of content form news websites. In a guest post on the BBC College of Journalism blog Barron repeats the argument that Google News signposts readers towards stories – claiming one billion click-throughs a month from Google News to news websites.

He also refers to Google’s new online payment tool One Pass, which he identifies as a way of supporting news organisations “in finding their way through the current challenges”.

We work with publishers which have chosen the ad-supported model to help find ways to engage readers for longer, making the advertisements more valuable. We have built the One Pass payment tool to make it easier for publishers which want to charge for their content online, giving them flexibility to choose what content they charge for, at what price, and how – day-pass, one-time access, subscription and so on. And Google is investing in not-for-profit organisations to encourage innovation in digital journalism.

The full blog post is at this link.

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BBC CoJo: Working with user-generated content

The latest edition of the ‘Inside BBC Journalism’ series, on the BBC College of Journalism website, looks at the role of journalists working with user generated content (UGC).

Trushar Barot, a senior broadcast journalist in the UGC Hub in the BBC’s London newsroom says he thinks the future of journalism is going to be much more about journalists who work with social media becoming trusted editors of UGC, he says.

We are the ones that have the skills, hopefully, to be able to analyse what’s coming in, give it the context and then report that context.

So a lot of the work we do at the hub in the newsroom is not just about taking content, getting permission and putting it on air, but it’s about trying to authenticate it as well.

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#cablegate: BBC CoJo on Why WikiLeaks’ ‘industrial scale’ releases need journalists

In a post on the BBC College of Journalism site, executive editor Kevin Marsh reflects on the release of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, which started last week, and the essential part played by investigative journalism in similar scenarios.

Marsh argues that the lack of saliency in industrial leaks means that the “transparency style” of whistleblowers such as WikiLeaks must remain to be seen as a “precursor of journalistic possibilites” rather than a substitute.

The diplodocudump was underwhelming – but that doesn’t mean it was a Bad Thing; no journalist should argue that revelation itself doesn’t serve the public interest. At the very least, it’s about a partial correction of the information asymmetry between power and people.

Journalism – especially investigative journalism – has many shortcomings. There’s no science about what gets investigated and what doesn’t, no guarantee that it’s the biggest scandals – for want of a better word – that get nailed nor that some lesser ‘scandals’ don’t get a place in the public sphere they don’t quite deserve. No guarantee, either, that the evidence stacks up or that the ‘truth’ revealed is uncontestable.

But because of the way most investigative journalism comes about – through a whistleblower who rightly or wrongly senses some kind of moral violation – it has that magic thing we call salience. And it’s salience that leaking on an industrial scale lacks.

His comments follow those by editor of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger on the first day of the release last week, who also argued that newspapers were playing “a vital role” in adding context to the leaked material.

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