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#Podcast: How technology is spurring citizen journalism in Kenya

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the African Union, this week’s podcast looks at the influence of mobile phones and social media on journalism in Kenya.

We speak to:

  • Musa Haron, broadcast journalist and blogger, Nairobi
  • Njenga Hakeenah, Earth Journalism Network fellow and radio journalist, Hope FM
  • Alice Klein, freelance journalist and co-founder, Radar, which carries out media development

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

These interviewees will be joined by more Kenyan journalists in the full write-up on the topic next week.

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#Tip: Remember these 4 lessons from ‘the digital edge’

May 16th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Brian Moritz spent ten years as a news reporter before beginning a PhD focussing on the evolution of journalists’ routines at Syracuse University. As this article from the Knight Foundation-affiliated MediaShift Idea Lab explains, he spent the last semester flying drones, building virtual reality environments and using 3D printers.

“The future is here,” he says, and details four key lessons for journalism students to take from living life at the cutting edge of technology.

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 for journalists: Digital design tools and tech

October 24th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Image by kennymatic on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Lauren Rabaino of 10,000 Words this week posted a list of 10 tools which journalists working in digital news design may find of use in the areas of “CSS3, responsive design and rapid prototyping”. Her list comes out of a visit to the Pacific Northwest Drupal Summit.

See the full post here.

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Ten things every journalist should know in 2012

December 20th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Lists, Press freedom and ethics

Image by Tormel on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Here are 10 things every journalists should know in 2012. This list builds on 10 things every journalist should know in 2009 and 2010. It is worth looking back at the previous posts as the ideas are still relevant today.

1. Learn from Leveson. The Leveson inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the media has specifically scrutinised journalism and the industry, but social media (and therefore popular opinion) is also holding it to account. Journalists need to be sure that the means really do justify the ends for a story and must be crystal clear about the legalities of their actions. And they need to be more transparent about the sources of stories, where the source will not be compromised. If a story originates from a press release, acknowledge it.

2. Curate and share. Social sharing is a great way for a journalist to add value to their personal output (also see point 9).

You can share articles of interest to you by tweeting, adding curated links on your personal blog and using bookmarking site like Delicious or Pinboard.

Doing so will raise your social capital and help you to engage with your peers, contacts and your audience. Online influence and reputation may well become as important as your CV with the rise of tools like Klout and PeerIndex.

3. Invite others in. Your readers graze content, snacking from several news sites – so help them out. Include links to external content on your news site and post news from other outlets on your organisation’s social networks.

Although readers will still have a brand affinity, they are much more promiscuous in their reading habits, consuming content from a wide variety of news outlets. So acknowledge this and make your news site a destination not just for your journalism by providing links to content from other publishers.

4. Know your niche. Technology is driving the delivery of niche content. Where specialist titles once required consumers to hunt them down via postal subscriptions and visits to larger newsagents, niche content is now delivered instantly online and via apps and is more easily found. Specialise in an area that interests you, blog about the subject and share links.

5. Think multimedia on multiplatform. There has been much debate about tablets revolutionising publishing, but many magazines are simply pushing out their print version via non-interactive PDFs, aided by new delivery systems such as Apple’s Newsstand.

Publishers are opting to offer consumers a laid back reading experience in the knowledge that tablet owners read in the evenings when they have time to consume in-depth news. Publishers will also need to play to the strength of the tablet device, allowing interactive content such as video to shine, and focus on providing consumers with a reading experience that is different to that of a newspaper.

Journalists can be ahead of the game by developing skills in video, audio and other types of multimedia that can be used to enrich storytelling in apps and on other digital devices.

6. Data is not just for geeks. Data is driving journalism but many journalists are afraid of the numbers, spreadsheets and code. But all journalists need to know how to spot the nonsensical numbers in a press release, to be able to accurately make sense of statistics, and understand how to find a story in a study.

Take these examples of data used for investigative journalism from the Guardian: Afghanistan war: every death mapped and reporting the riots. But as well as in-depth data reporting, be aware of the free tools to get you started such as these ManyEyes visualisations, showing the number of women in British politics by party, of Manchester City Council spending or debt in the English premier league.

Be aware that data can be misinterpreted. Take this Express front page splash on a cancer study and read about the pitfalls highlighted by data journalist James Ball in this presentation given at news:rewired, a conference for journalists.

7. Focus on what works – do less to do more. No news organisation however well resourced can achieve everything. Work out what works and strive for excellence in that area.

Sometimes you need to take a step back to see where your priorities should lie. You may realise it is better to write one original feature than chase five stories already in the public domain.

8. Look to new off-site audiences. Don’t just focus on clicks on your site. If 10,000 people listen to your podcast on SoundCloud, 1,000 people click on a Storify or 10 people comment on a story on Facebook without visiting your site they are still being introduced to your title and brand and may visit in the future.

9. Add value. Readers will be able to get a story that is in the public domain from several sources so make your content count. Consider yourself a collective educator by adding value to everything you produce by including links and background information. Think of the way the Guardian’s liveblogs, such as Andrew Sparrow’s politics liveblogs, curate and add context. Act as a guide to your readers on your site, on Twitter and on other platforms.

10. Online communities are no substitute for offline communities. Journalists must still meet people, build trusting relationships and nurture real-world contacts.

  • For a day of inspirational ideas in journalism sign up to attend news:rewired – media in motion, a conference for journalists. It is being held at MSN HQ, London on 3 February 2012.
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#news2011: A guide to APIs and why ‘everybody who has content’ needs one

API is a term that is increasingly referred to in relation to news outlets. APIs are not new – indeed it has been two years since the Guardian launched it’s open API. But what does it mean for the online journalism industry today and why is are APIs so important?

On the third and final day of the Global Editors Network news summit we heard from Torsten de Riese, who is managing director of NewsCred, which, as he explained, “runs a content API and serves the world’s best journalism”.

He offered delegates a helpful description of APIs and explanation of why they are so useful to content providers, which I got him to expand on in an interview after the session.

The most important part of API is the I, the interface. API is the interface for your content for the rest of world.

It’s the interface to building products, the interface to your apps, it’s the interface to your web, it’s the interface to your IPTV presence.

It enables you to build stuff with your content. It basically takes content, standardises it in terms of format, tagging etc. You can decide how much you want to tag, what standards you want to apply.

Every time someone wants to take your content and build something, they know exactly how to get it.

De Riese, who was involved in the launch of the Guardian’s open API, told the conference that, at the Guardian, there was a “vision to get developers to use our content, build stuff and so we just opened it up”, with “hundreds” of developers now using it and building “really exciting stuff”.

He added that the way the Guardian was able to build its Facebook app recently was thanks to its API. Today the Guardian announced its Facebook app has so far been installed by over four million users.

Developers can just go and build stuff. There are lots of people out there who want to do that, who just want to get on with it. If you give them something they can do something, they can use it.

APIs couples with enthusiasm in the developer community means publishers can “tap into this wonderful world of developers and allow them to come up with some really interesting stuff”.

In the audio interview below I talk to De Riese about APIs and why content providers “all need” the technology.

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Media release: AFP Foundation to donate 25 laptops to journalists

October 24th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting

The AFP Foundation will give away 25 laptops to journalists in developing countries or working in exile in a collaboration with Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

In a press release French news agency AFP said the computers will go to journalists “facing particular hardship”. They will be given to RSF on Friday.

Jean-François Julliard, secretary general of RSF added:

We are grateful to the Foundation for its contribution to press freedom. Computers represent independent information which can be passed on and shared. We thank AFP for its support.

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#Tip of the day from – key elements to podcasting

August 3rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

In a useful post on The Next Web, Brad McCarty offers up tips on what he sees as the five key elements to podcasting, for anyone looking to venture into the world of online audio. The post, which can be found here, includes tips on planning, file types and choosing a recording device.

Tipster: Rachel McAthy

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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Media release: Telegraph launches new subscription iPad app

May 5th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Mobile

The Telegraph today announced the launch of its new iPad app, which offers content from the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph.

The app can be purchased through the App Store, either individual, daily editions or an auto-renewable monthly subscription, both through In-App Purchase.

Print subscribers have free access using their existing customer credentials, the release adds.

This appears to follow Apple’s new rules regarding publisher apps, which state that while publishers are allowed to make a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer must also be made available inside the app, through which Apple will take a 30 per cent cut.

The new Telegraph app is free to download with individual, daily editions priced at £1.19 or a monthly subscription of £9.99.

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Reuters: Microsoft plans new subscription TV service via Xbox

November 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick

Reuters reports on plans by Microsoft to create a new subscription-based TV service available via its Xbox console. According to Reuters’ sources, talks have been held with TV networks about a product to rival plans by Google and other new media companies to move into TV.

The service would charge a monthly fee for access through the Xbox to networks such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN or CNN, according to two sources familiar with the plans.

Other options include allowing cable subscribers to use the Xbox to watch shows with more interactive functions. Viewers could, for instance, message with friends over the console while viewing their favorite shows.

Full story on Reuters at this link…

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#Tip of the day from – filming with small cameras

August 23rd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

The BBC College of Journalism website features advice and tips from Charles Miller on how best to use a small camera to get shots for video content. Tipster: Rachel McAthy.

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

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