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#Tip: Follow our YouTube channel for weekly screencasts

April 15th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
By dominicotine on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

By dominicotine on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Here at Journalism.co.uk we report on a lot of different digital journalism tools, and so we recently started to produce weekly screencasts to guide you through exactly how to use different platforms.

You can follow our screencasts on our YouTube channel, via our ‘how-to’ playlist, and we’re also publishing them with the addition of written steps on Journalism.co.uk. Our first screencasts include how to create montages and interactive images.

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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: Note these ways to optimise images for Twitter’s in-stream preview

Twitter T

“If you’ve got a story which is around a map or a graphic but you don’t bother to crop that image properly, you’re effectively killing your own story,” the BBC’s  Mark Frankel told Journalism.co.uk earlier this year.

Twitter got a lot more visual when it rolled out in-stream previews for images late last year, meaning photos posted in a tweet were automatically expanded without users having to click on them.

However, getting it right isn’t as foolproof as it sounds, as the image below shows.

So to avoid giving your own hard work the kiss of death, take a look at this infographic from visual.ly.

It includes handy hints such as the recommended size and crop ratio for landscape images, and how to upload a portrait image which doesn’t accidentally lop off your subject’s head.

 

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#Tip: Advice from the top on how to be a good mobile editor

April 8th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Top tips for journalists
Images by lirneasia on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Images by lirneasia on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

If there’s one person who is qualified to give advice on how to be a good mobile editor, it’s David Ho.

Ho became the Wall Street Journal’s first mobile editor back in 2009.

Since then, he has become the WSJ’s editor of mobile, tablets and emerging technology, leading the outlet’s mobile editorial team, and is a regular speaker at mobile journalism conferences across the globe.

In this article on Poynter, Ho outlines six tips on how to be a good mobile editor.

But the first and foremost thing he looks for when hiring a new mobile editor?  Sound news judgement.

Read the full article here.

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#Tip: How often should you be posting to social media?

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Social media might be a great tool for communication, but we all know someone who is a chronic over-sharer.

There’s nothing worse than having your timelines full of someone else’s verbal diarrhoea (and if the person in question is you, it’s a sure-fire way to get yourself unfollowed).

So how many times should you be posting to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+?

This post on the Buffer blog highlights the importance of striking “the balance between informative and annoying”.

While it doesn’t exactly deliver a cut-and-dried answer, it does offer recommendations from a range of sources – including Buffer’s own strategy for social sharing.

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#Tip: Remember these science writing tips for getting more from a study

April 4th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by Horia Varlan on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Horia Varlan on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Science stories always have the power to fire the imagination of the reader so it is important to be able to relay new discoveries or important announcements well.

Unfortunately, as Ian Sample says in this Guardian guide to science writing, most stories are based on published papers, not all of which are interesting, important or even accurate.

He’s put together ten tips on writing good science pieces as the first in a series on the subject that is well worth following for aspiring science writers out there.

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#Tip: Advice for making FOI requests in the UK and US

April 3rd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Freedom of Information laws are a game changer for journalists anywhere, opening up the inner workings of government for inspection and now 90 countries have some form of FOI legislation. Sweden set the ball rolling in 1766, the US ‘sunshine’ laws have been in place since 1967 but it took the UK until 2000 to catch up.

As part of Sunshine Week, an annual US event to celebrate and promote open information, IRE and NICAR put together this Soundcloud playlist of “tips, tricks and techniques” for FOIA requests in the US covering resources, tactics, workflows and appeals to help fellow journalists.

Sources for advice in the UK are a bit more disparate, but the FOI Directory has a good list of tips based on personal experience; the government has its own guide to the process; WhatDoTheyKnow.com offers advice alongside pending and answered requests and here at Journalism.co.uk we spoke to journalists in the know for this feature.

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#Tip: How to build sources when you’re starting out

April 2nd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

All the web-scraping, Twitter-searching, FOI-requesting tools in the world will never be able to fully replace a reliable human source as an asset to a story.

A reliable network of contacts and sources is vital to any journalist, and can take years to develop, but where do you start?

Last year WorkInSports.com spoke to ESPN anchor Anish Shroff about how to build sources in sports journalism, but the tips and advice shared are just as relevant to any field.

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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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