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Five key courses for journalists in September

July 31st, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in About us, Training

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Did you know that organises one-day, evening and online training courses? We provide new skills to trained journalists. We are aware that we all need to keep learning, so we offer intensive and practical training in areas such as data journalism, social media and online video.

Rather than bringing in trainers who spend little time in a newsroom, we like to invite people to lead courses who are working journalists or who spend a large proportion of their of their time practicing a key skill.

And as our trainers are professionals taking a day out of their normal schedule to share their skills, these courses don’t take place very often. It is the first time that we are offering courses run by Luke Lewis from BuzzFeed and by Glen Mulcahy from Irish broadcaster RTE.

We have a great line up for September. You can click the links to find out more.

1. Data journalism (4 September)

Paul Bradshaw is a data journalism expert and is running this course which will get you started in dealing with data. You’ll be able to use data as a source of stories and learn how to present information online.

Paul divides his time between being a visiting professor at City University, London, course leader for the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, and a freelance trainer, speaker and writer. He founded Help Me Investigate, a platform for crowdsourcing investigative journalism, and the Online Journalism Blog.

2. Growing social media communities (19 September)

Luke Lewis, the editor of BuzzFeed UK and former editor of, is leading a course on growing social media communities. Interested in finding out how to make your posts go viral? Then sign up to the course.

This course has a great venue too. It’s being hosted by VICE UK in Shoreditch.

3. Mobile journalism (19 September)

Glen Mulcahy has been key to introducing iPhone and iPad reporting at Irish broadcaster RTE. In this one-day course he is leading you will learn how to shoot and edit broadcast-quality footage using an iPhone or iPad.

If you think you know how to use your phone, take a peek at this course description and you will probably realise that Glen can teach you some valuable lessons. (And if you want to see the quality of his teaching skills, take a quick look at this video of him presenting at news:rewired.)

This course is taking place in the building in London Victoria which is home to MSN UK and Microsoft.

4. Open data for journalists (19 September)

Kathryn Corrick and Ulrich Atz are experts in open data. This course takes place at the Open Data Institute, which launched earlier this year having been founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

This course is designed to provide journalists with an introduction to open data.

5. Online video (30 September)

Adam Westbrook is a multimedia producer and has been a key voice in the development of online video. He is running a one-day course in which you can learn how to shoot and edit video. Cameras and an editing suite are provided.

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#Podcast: How magazine publishers are innovating in online video

April 5th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia, Podcast
Video camera Flickr credit

Image by jsawkins on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Some magazine publishers started producing video more than 10 years ago, creating DVDs to attach to the front of magazines. Now many are producing hundreds of online videos a year.

Audiences are watching the films on the publishers’ own sites, on YouTube, and within apps; viewing on desktop computers, tablets, mobile phones and connected TVs.

In this podcast we hear from:

  • Pete Wootton, managing director of Dennis Interactive, the digital division of Dennis Publishing
  • Grant Bremner, head of Future TV at Future (which has titles including T3, TechRadar and Future Music)  
  • Kevin Perry, assistant editor of (owned by IPC Media), who also manages the music title’s video content 

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

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#Tip: Watch this video on how to make a film

Video camera Flickr credit

If you shoot and edit online videos or you are thinking of getting started, here is a two-minute guide called ‘how to make a film’.

Online video producer Adam Westbrook has shot the guide and demonstrates why shooting and editing a film is “a piece of cake”.

How to make a film from Adam Westbrook on Vimeo.

Adam Westbrook is leading a one-day course in online video journalism for on 18 April. The details are here.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Video interview skills

February 13th, 2013 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Top tips for journalists
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By jsawkins on Flickr. Some rights reserved

On Poynter Casey Frechette offers some useful pointers on carrying out video interviews, from planning through to filming.

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

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#Tip of the day from – an ‘online video shopping list ‘

Multimedia producer and lecturer Adam Westbrook has written up an “online video shopping list”, outlining tips on planning and preparation through to advice on the “shopping trip itself” – the video shoot.

See his post here.

Tipster: Rachel McAthy

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

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Olympic figures: BBC reports 12m video views via mobile

August 13th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Traffic

The BBC has revealed the figures showing the number of people consuming Olympics news across four platforms: desktop, tablet, mobile and television.

The BBC Internet blog reports that the broadcaster saw 9.2 million browsers to its mobile site and iPhone and Android Olympics app over the course of the Games.

The post also reveals the BBC clocked up more than 2.3 million browsers using tablets.

Writing on the blog, Cait O’Riorda, head of product, BBC Sport and London 2012, said:

Consumption of video content on mobile has been perhaps the key takeaway from the two weeks: we saw 12 million requests for video on mobile across the whole of the Games.

Overall the broadcaster had “106 million requests for BBC Olympic video content across all online platforms”.

The blog post has several interesting graphics, including one to demonstrate how people used each of the four platforms at different times of the day.

The key findings are:

  • PC usage maxes out during the week at lunchtime and during mid-afternoon peak Team GB moments
  • Mobile takes over around 6pm as people leave the office but still want to keep up to date with the latest action
  • Tablet usage reaches a peak at around 9pm: people using them as a second screen experience as they watch the Games on their TVs, and also as they continue to watch in bed

The blog also reports that the video “chapter-marking feature, enabling audiences to go back to key event moments instantly, received an average 1.5 million clicks per day. The chapter marker for Bolt’s 100m final win was clicked on more than 13,000 times”.

The most-watched livestream of the Games was the tennis singles finals. There were 820,000 requests for live video of the matches that saw Serena Williams and Andy Murray take gold.

O’Riorda states in the post:

The peak audiences for Team GB’s medal moments were bigger than anything we’ve ever seen. Over a 24 hour period on the busiest Olympic days, Olympic traffic to exceeded that for the entire BBC coverage of FIFA World Cup 2010 games. On the busiest day, the BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes, with the peak traffic moment occurring when Bradley Wiggins won gold and we shifted 700 Gb/s.

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#Podcast – Lessons in online video for local, niche, national and international publishers

June 22nd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Podcast

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Publishers are increasingly thinking about ways to improve and grow their multimedia offerings online. So in this week’s podcast we speak to industry experts about the latest approaches to online video journalism, and some examples of what seems to be working for local, niche, national and international media outlets.

The podcast hears from:

  • John Domokos, video producer for the Guardian
  • Marek Pruszewicz, editor of the BBC’s global video team
  • Andy Dickinson, senior lecturer in online journalism at the University of Central Lancashire
  • Andy Plesser, founder and chief executive of Beet.TV

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


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Arianna Huffington: ‘Enormous opportunities’ for online video channel

February 7th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia

The Huffington Post has announced the launch of a new online video channel this summer, at a conference to coincide with the site’s first anniversary under AOL ownership.

The HuffPost Streaming Network will launch this summer and feature original programming and debates, produced from studios in New York and Los Angeles. Editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington said the project would launch with 12 hours of daily programming and would eventually go to 24 hours.’s Andy Plesser spoke to Huffington at the press conference.

She said:

It’s going to be really produced, not in any way thrown together.

The opportunities are enormous from the point of view of advertising. More and more of our readers want to consume video. It is completely interactive.

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Similar posts: Why readers watch video on the NY Times and WSJ

December 5th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Multimedia has an interview with Ann Derry, editorial director for video and television for the New York Times and Shawn Bender, editorial director for video for the Wall Street Journal online. They explain “why readers click the play button” to watch videos on the two news sites.

Bender feels readers click play in order to feel a connection.

I think that there is a feeling of excitement about the news that you don’t get in the static environment of print that you can get in video.

Derry says that both news sites have had to educate their readers in order to consume news in video form online.

We’ve had to train our users, both at the Journal and at the Times, that if you click on something you get a good experience.

Bender goes on to say that concise videos where the reader/viewer can learn two or three points are the most successful. Derry adds that news video should offer the reader/viewer a quicker, more “efficient” way of accessing the story than if they had chosen to read it as text.

The video is at this link and below.

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#MozFest – Build ‘social video’ using Popcorn Maker

November 7th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia, Online Journalism

A still from “History in the Streets”

Imagine being able to add tweets, maps, and Wikipedia information to online video without coding skills. Consider having the ability to layer video with images from Google Street View as easily as hypertext allows you to link together web pages.

You can now do exactly that using the Popcorn Maker, a tool launched in alpha on Friday at the Mozilla Festival on media, freedom and the web in London.

Popcorn Maker is a web application that allows journalists who cannot code to add YouTube or Vimeo videos and select to add tweets, Flickr images and maps, plus use additional plugins to include images from Google Street View and even primary source documents from Document Cloud. Users of Popcorn Maker drag the elements onto the timeline using a platform that looks like Final Cut and other familiar software. Completed projects can then be embedded into news stories.

Online video journalism has had the tendency to follow TV conventions of talking heads, noddies (a cutaway of an interviewee nodding his or her head to hide an edit) and narrated video packages. What Popcorn offers is an easy way to create a web-native form of video storytelling. And because it is “social video” or “semantic video” experiences are dynamic, constantly updating, and customised right in the web browser for each user.

Popcorn.js is Mozilla’s HTML5 media toolkit, a javascript library for integrating the web into video production, launched version 1.0 at the festival.

The challenge of building Popcorn was first launched a year ago and since then the library has been gathering plugins thanks to an army of open source developers.

Popcorn has already being used in some newsrooms but until the launch of Popcorn Maker it has required embedded developers to code the mashups.

Brett Gaylor, project lead for Mozilla’s Popcorn told what Popcorn offers video journalism.

It’s the ability to link to the relevant content that that video is about.

The basic function that Popcorn serves it to act as a timing layer over a video or audio file which means you are able to link times within video or audio to other content on the web.

For example, between 30 and 40 seconds into a video you could show a map of where where this interview took place. Or if you are doing a report on the second world war and you what to show where the Canadians were in Dieppe you could have a Wikipedia article that would appear at that given time.

And because it has the ability to link out to changing web content, a video, say, on the credit crisis will link to a hashtag and give the latest tweets.

In the above test example I added a YouTube video and grabbed the Twitter tool (bottom right), adding it to my timeline and searched for the #MozFest hashtag.

Gaylor hopes the beta version of Popcorn Maker will launch late spring 2012, with a polished, finished product by the end of next year.

We are now working on how to allow the user to lay those out on the page. We’ve conquered how to do it and now we have to make it a pleasing experience for the author to place those items on a page.

There several inspiring demos online, including History in the Streets, which links to Google Street View, and, on, there is the documentary the One Millionth Tower, premiered at the festival and showing at the Frontline Club this evening (Monday 7 November) and produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

Popcorn gave filmmakers the ability to control a 3D environment and augment that environment with real time information from Wikipedia, Yahoo Weather API, Flickr and Google Maps.

Still from “The One Millionth Tower”

Ideas and examples of potential uses shared by Mozilla:

  • Pull a football player’s real-time stats, Wikipedia entry or twitter feed right into the action of a game or sportscast;
  • Pull a politician or pundit’s “truth score” history or voting record into an online interview;
  • Dynamically inject photos from Flickr as “b-roll” or context for video or audio stories;
  • Match footage about an oil spill with real-time footage of the spill’s present size in real time;
  • Annotate political speeches or newscasts with viewers’ own media, commentary and social responses;
  • Pull Google Street View onto the screen to dynamically explore depicted neighbourhoods and places.

Examples of uses of Popcorn so far include:


PBS Newshour used Popcorn to annotate President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address.  The French/German broadcaster Arte augmented current affairs programming using the platform. Both implementations involved developers working in the newsroom to code the social video.


Popcorn’s ability to augment video also applies to audio.  Radio pioneers Radiolab used Popcorn to invite fans to create accompanying visualizations for their “seeking symmetry” episode, while Danish Radio augmented their broadcast with an innovative “hyper-transcript” that allowed viewers to see a dynamic transcript of the audio, and select parts of the broadcast to tweet to their followers.

Commercial applications

Semantic video pioneer RAMP is using Popcorn to augment commercial content like the People’s Choice Awards.  RAMP’s MediaCloud technology produces automated tags and transcripts across 1800 videos and seamlessly integrates celebrity content from across the web into their video archive.

Video-conferencing and other applications

At the application layer, the open source web conferencing platform Big Blue Button has adopted Popcorn for playback of presentations and webinars. The educational platform Grockit also uses Popcorn to provide richer feedback from learners and teachers.

Project lead Brett Gaylor told technology correspondent Sarah Marshall more about Popcorn.

Popcorn.js, an HTML5 javascript library for integrating the web into video production by journalismnews

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