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#Podcast: Talking social media and interactives at Al Jazeera

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

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

This podcast provides an in-depth look at innovations in social media and interactives at Al Jazeera.

We hear how journalists go beyond Twitter and Facebook to crowdsource, using SMS and phone calls to gather the voices on the ground in different parts of the world.

Sarah Marshall, technology editor at Journalism.co.uk, speaks to:

  • Riyaad Minty, head of social media for Al Jazeera
  • Mohammed Haddad, interative producer, Al Jazeera English

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

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Creating engaging interactives

Poynter has rounded-up some tips on building engaging interactives, based on pointers from the Guardian’s interactive editor in the US Gabriel Dance and interactive designer Feilding Cage. Their pointers include the importance of ‘shareability’ and the ability to integrate interactives elsewhere.

For more on this subject, see Journalism.co.uk’s feature on how to engage the audience with interactives.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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#Podcast – Engaged storytelling: Top tips on building interactives for local and national media

July 27th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism, Podcast

Big news events, such as the Olympic games which are officially opened later today, provide news outlets with great opportunities to offer their audiences a broad range of coverage, from traditional news reports to digitally led user experiences incorporating live and social technologies.

This week’s podcast looks at the processes involved for building interactives, whether focused on news events with long lead-in times or more day-to-day stories. The podcast features plenty of tips from interactive storytelling experts on the winning formula for an engaging interactive, and what elements should be prioritised when working on such projects.

In the order they appear, the podcast below hears from:

  • Alastair Dant, lead interactive technologist, the Guardian
  • Martin Jefferies, chief reporter, KM Group
  • Conrad Quilty-Harper, interactive news editor, the Telegraph
  • Shannon Perkins, editor of interactive technology, Wired.com

Here are a couple of links which look at projects referred to in the podcast, which may also be of interest:

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#GEN2012: Interactive graphics case studies from the Guardian

May 30th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia, Online Journalism

The Guardian’s Alastair Dant took the the stage at the News World Summit in Paris today to share the news outlet’s approach to using interactivity to present data and stories to their audience.

Dant, who leads the interactive team at the Guardian, said types of interactives include those which plot “paths through space and time”, and those which work to relay “the roar of the crowd”.

Here are some of the interactives he showcased to delegates:

  • Afghanistan war logs

The Guardian produced two major interactives around the war logs. Dant spoke about one which shows all IED attacks on civilians, coalition and Afghan troops from 2004 to 2009 recorded in the war logs. The interactive allows users to “drag the date along the bar, to see where and who they hit over these five years”.

The team also produced a graphic showing a selection of 300 “significant incidents” from the logs, linking through to each full log entry.

  • World Cup 2010 Twitter replay

Dant said the team had a “very fuzzy brief” from the editorial team who wanted to “capture the excitement” around the games. As a result the team produced a “Twitter replay” which consisted of recording all conversations on Twittier and analysing them “to find out how word popularity changes over time”.

As a result the interative offers 90 minutes of football in 90 seconds, based on Twitter reactions.

  • Rupert Murdoch: How Twitter tracked the MPs’ questions – and the pie

And the team re-employed this technique of “relaying the roar of the crowd” when Rupert and James Murdoch appeared before the culture select committee last year

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Wired.com gets playful with cow clicking interactive

January 4th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Funny, Magazines, Multimedia

Wired.com has published a feature about tongue-in-cheek gaming, adding a playful twist by turning the article into a game.

In a feature called the curse of Cow Clicker: How a cheeky satire became a videogame hit, Wired.com reports on how a “cow-clicking game” (FarmVille), inspired another cow clicking game (Cow Clicker), by adding a cow clicking element to the feature – perhaps a first in digital storytelling.

Every time a reader clicks on the word “cow” – repeated 97 times within the feature – a graphic of a cow appears, with the “cownter” keeping track of how many cows have been clicked on. The cows in fact obscure the text therefore making it more difficult to read the article.

Readers can also click on the graphical cows to send them to their Facebook friends.

The feature is intended to “echo the theme” of the Cow Clicker Facebook game discussed in the feature, Shannon Perkins editor of interactive technologies at Wired.com told Journalism.co.uk. “It’s an intentionally trivial experience obscuring a more content rich experience,” he said.

Cow Clicker was created by Ian Bogost, a game developer, academic and co-author of Newsgames: Journalism at play. The game, which peaked at 56,000 players, was inspired by popular Facebook game FarmVille.

The Wired.com featured includes an interview with Bogost.

… This thought popped into my head,” Bogost says: “Games like FarmVille are cow clickers. You click on a cow, and that’s all you do. I remember thinking at the time that it felt like a one-liner, the kind of thing you would tweet. I just put it in the back of my mind.”

He developed Cow Clicker with “transparently stupid prizes—bronze, silver, and golden udders and cowbells—that people could win only by amassing an outlandish number of points. (A golden cowbell, for instance, requires 100,000 clicks.)”

On one level, this was all part of the act. Bogost was inhabiting the persona of a manipulative game designer, and therefore it made sense to pull every dirty trick he could to make the game as sticky and addictive as possible. But as he grew into the role, he got a genuine thrill from his creation’s popularity. Instead of addressing a few hundred participants at a conference, he was sharing his perspective with tens of thousands of players, many of whom checked in several times a day.

  • Shannon Perkins, editor of interactives at Wired.com, who is behind this interactive will be speaking on newsgames at news:rewired. Also presenting in the session is Bobby Schweizer, Ian Bogost’s co-author of Newsgames: Journalism at play.
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Nieman: AP Interactive and a visual future for breaking news

April 27th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Design and graphics, Editors' pick

Nieman Journalism Lab’s Justin Ellis has written an interesting post on the development of Associated Press’ interactive output, which has nearly doubled over the past two years.

Among other things, Ellis touches on on the work of the AP Interactive department covering breaking news stories with graphics:

The trick in being able to roll out these features so quickly (and likely another reason the department has increased its output) is the usage of templates, Nessa said. That basic form allows the artists, programmers, and others on staff to publish graphics quickly — and to continuously update them as more information comes in from reporters. That’s why when events like Japan’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit, you could find not only breaking reports from the AP, in text, but also incredible photography and interactive graphics that harnessed reporting from correspondents as well as accounts and images from on-the-ground witnesses.

See the full post at this link.

Interactives, graphics and visualisation are among a range of essential topics for modern journalists that will be covered at Journalism.co.uk’s upcoming news:rewired conference. See the full agenda at this link.

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CJR: The US newsrooms doing interactivity on a budget

November 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Editors' pick

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) takes a look at some US news organisations who are producing data visualisations and interactives for their websites with limited budgets and staff resources.

I believe the Times’ [New York Times] newsroom has at least two dozen people working full time on interactive projects; many smaller papers might be lucky to have a handful of people who know Flash. Even if newsrooms have graphic artists working on election-result maps for the papers’ print versions, many do not necessarily allocate the same level of staff time to online displays.

Full article on the CJR’s website at this link…

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – create timelines with Timetoast

July 9th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Interactives: An alternative to Dipity for creating timelines – try out Timetoast. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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