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#Tip: Remember these data-scraping tools for journalists

April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

The abundance of data in all its forms – from government departments and company accounts to sports measurements and social statistics – provides a constant stream of potential stories for the numerate and curious journalist.

As any experience data journalist will tell you, not all data is easily accessible and will often be uploaded in a less than accessible manner. This is where scraping tools come in.

Shelly Tan spent much of last autumn working on visualisations at NPR and discovered a number of handy web-scraping tools to make the job easier, as she explains in this blog post.

For further information on getting started in data journalism this guide on sources and tools for the job is a great place to start.

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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: 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 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: 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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#Tip: Ideas for digital journalism trainers

January 28th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists, Training


Earlier this month the Knight Foundation’s blog published a post by Cathy Collins which outlines four different ideas for digital journalism trainers to consider, which may inspire subjects and angles to tackle with students. This includes ideas covering the power of social media and the issue of press freedom.

The ideas were taken from the Knight Foundation’s “digital teaching tool, ‘Searchlights and Sunglasses‘”.

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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: How to cover a press conference

January 17th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Top tips for journalists



Attending a press conference can be daunting even for an experienced journalist.

How do you ensure you’re picked to ask your killer question when you’re jostling for attention in a room full of other reporters? And if you do get picked, how do you make sure you don’t blow the opportunity with nerves?

The latest blog from the BBC College of Journalism includes advice for covering press conferences from seasoned journalists Mark Mardell, editor of BBC North America, and Lindsey Hilsum, international editor of Channel 4 News.

Some of their nuggets of advice include:

  • Wear red
  • Sit in the front row – or as near as you can get
  • Take note of body language
  • Make eye contact with “the person calling the shots”


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#Tip: Check out these tips on planning and visualising data stories

December 10th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

The recent Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) Issue Brief on data journalism and visualisation brought speakers and delegates together to discuss how to present complex information through visualisations or analyse data sets more easily.

The session was hosted by David Ottewell, head of data journalism at Trinity Mirror Regionals, and Andy Kirk, founder of Visualising Data, who shared their thoughts and experiences on “sourcing, analysing and presenting data-driven stories”, and SIIA programme director Carolyn Morgan helpfully wrote the session up for others to learn from.

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#Tip: Bookmark Emergency Journalism for a wealth of tools and resources

December 6th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

For the last year the European Journalism Centre has been running a site called Emergency Journalism to provide news, tools and resources “for media professionals reporting in volatile situations”.

The resources section is particularly useful, with lists of tools for verification, content curation, newsgathering, data sources, freedom of information requests and more.

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#Tip: How to cover funerals with respect

December 2nd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

As the weekend’s tragic events in Glasgow and New York have proven, sometimes disaster can be wholly unpredictable.

Reporting on the resulting funerals will never be an easy job and each should be treated differently. From the families’ point of view, there is no right way for a journalist to cover the death of a loved one but there is definitely a wrong way.

Editors at the Ottawa Citizen had to carefully consider the subject after the deaths of six people in a bus crash gained national attention. Reporter Matthew Pearson drew up 10 tips that he felt should always apply when reporting on such an occasion, posted on The Canadian Journalism Project.

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