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#Tip: Advice on how to manage interactive journalism projects

April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
By Melissa Marques on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

By Melissa Marques on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Describing hieroglyphics or cave paintings as the first infographics may be stretching the terminology to abstraction, but a visual representation of ideas and stories is endemic to human culture.

A more accurate starting point for the modern, journalistic form is the so-called “graphics guru” Edward Tufte, professor emeritus of political science, statistics and computer science at Yale, but even then the internet has given rise to new, interactive forms of visual storytelling that continually stretch technological bounds. This collection of interactives commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK gives an idea of the variety so far conceived.

Best practice for building and managing these types of stories at news outlets is a constant source of debate, so at the International Journalist’s Network Jessica Weiss has put together tips on how best to manage such projects.

Communication, reflection and lean startup principles are among the key points and are worth remembering for innovative projects no matter how big the newsroom.


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#Tip: Learn how to turn TV archive footage into interactive videos

January 23rd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Brian Williamson of the Office of Digital and Design Innovation (ODDI) recently posted a video explainer on how to access archive footage from ’500,000 broadcasts’, largely from US-based outlets, and extract key segments.

From there, Williamson takes different clips and makes ‘Jon Stewart moments”, highlighting politicians’ chameleonic views on certain subjects.

With the TV News Archive, ODDI’s free KettleCorn video software and a little sardonic humour, Williamson shows how easy it can be to make quick video segments from archive footage to tell new stories.

KettleCorn also gives the option to add layers of interactivity – including embedded maps, links, wikipedia pages.

Williamson will be running’s intensive 3-hour workshop on KettleCorn’s additional features and the tenets of web-native video on 21 February.

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#Tip: Download these storyboard templates

October 14th, 2013 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Multimedia, Top tips for journalists

The visual nature of the web means that video is becoming a central aspect of a news organisation’s output, even if they have traditionally been focussed on print.

These storyboard templates from Printable Paper can help to plan a story or a shoot in visual terms and are just as useful for filming as they are for web design or interactives.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.
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#Podcast – Snow Fall and beyond: A look at long-form online storytelling



Following last month’s the Pulitzer prize for New York Times sports reporter John Branch, the author of Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, and this week’s Webby Awards which also recognised examples of beautiful long-form storytelling online, this week’s podcast looks at some of the exciting ways newspapers and others are telling in-depth stories on digital platforms.

The podcast addresses some of the issues which arise when bringing together long-form narrative with powerful visuals and interactivity, including the sorts of stories which best suit this approach, the benefits for audiences, journalists and news outlets, and the need for experimentation, even if on a smaller scale.

We speak to:

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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#su2011: New online open newsroom a hit for Swedish newspaper

A pioneering Swedish newspaper that involves its readers in the daily editorial decision-making process says the new approach has been a massive hit with users and advertisers.

Norran, a large regional daily in the north of Sweden, has opened up its newsroom with a tool called eEditor, a live chat powered by CoverItLive where readers can discuss story ideas with journalists in real time.

The blog is monitored by a senior journalist throughout the day. The newslist and minutes from conferences are published online and readers suggest possible angles and ask questions.

Editor-in-chief Anette Novak said Norran had completely overhauled its image by involving readers and being more transparent.

Speaking at the WAN-IFRA summer university in Paris today, she said: “I realised that if anybody asks: ‘do we need Norran?’ they would decide: no we don’t. We had to stop it before the question even occurs in their heads.”

She said web traffic and Facebook referrals were up – and key motoring and property advertisers who deserted during the recession had come back. The experiment has also allowed the paper to broaden its coverage.

“We believe that we have strengthened our brand,” Novak said.

“Transparency is the new objectivity. We post the job list – the stories we are working on today.

“The instant feedback and the personal reply is extremely important. It’s the feeling that there’s somebody there live now.

“You have to answer in a good way, a polite way and a knowledgeable way, or you can lose trust.”

Novak said some news organisations were so focused on getting a return on investment from digital projects that they lost sight of their readers’ needs.

“If we follow the money… that will make us go for projects that we know will make money and we will keep doing the same thing over and over again. We have to experiment.

“Get readers involved with your brand, engage them with their hearts and minds and the money will follow.”

Related content:

‘Readers may have the last say in what is and is not journalism’

ScribbleLive: Four ways to make money from liveblogging

paidContent: Which news sites post the most stories and do they get more hits?

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The death of Osama bin Laden: New York Times interactive gauges public opinion

I really like this interactive feature from the excellent New York Times graphics team on readers’ reactions to the death of Osama bin Laden.

As a way of organising responses to a crowdsourcing exercise it isn’t anything new, it takes off from mapping responses geographically. But it is simple and effective, mixing text responses with a broad visual understanding of where the readership’s sentiments fall.

Interesting to see how many people sit right on the fence in the significance stakes.

The image below is a completely non-interactive screengrab of the feature, but follow this link for the full experience.

The NYT team has also put together some impressive graphics showing the layout of the compound, geography of the area and timeline of events.

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BBC Dimensions: Making the news more geographically relevant

The BBC has launched ‘Dimensions’ – an interactive map prototype which aims to ignite a public interest in history and the news by making it geographically relevant to an individual.

The technology uses the address of a user to show the scale of an event in history, such as the recent oil spill in the Gulf, and applies it to a map of the user’s home and vicinity.

Discussing the technology, which currently “sits by itself”, BBC commissioning executive Max Gadney says the tools are being considered for use on BBC History and News pages.

When I took over the online History commissioning job, I knew that we would need a mix of traditional, trusted BBC content with some attention-grabbing digital stuff to get people to it.

It’s easier said than done. Many technologists and designers are not really interested in history. Like much of the audience they were turned off by dull lessons at school. Our challenge was to make it relevant to audiences.

See his full post here…

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