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Tool of the week for journalists – TimeKiwi, to create social media timelines

Tool of the week: TimeKiwi

What is it? A new tool to turn tweets, blog posts and Instagram photos into a timeline. Add a Twitter handle, a Tumblr, WordPress and Posterous blog and an Instagram account and TimeKiwi will mash them into a combined timeline.

How is it of use to journalists? For storytelling. The tool allows you to demonstrate how a story has progressed. The tool does not require you to authorise the app so you can add any Twitter handle to see how that person’s tweets have played out over time.

Take this example of a timeline of canon Dr Giles Fraser who resigned from his role as chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral last week over plans to forcibly evict Occupy protesters. Adding his @giles_fraser handle allows you to show his tweets as either a vertical or horizontal timeline.

The free version of TimeKiwi cannot be embedded so it is of limited use in telling a story on your site but you can still share links to created timelines. A “business” version is in the pipeline which promises an embed feature and custom views which could be of particular interest to journalists who can then show mapped out tweets and blog posts within a news story.

This TimeKiwi takes in the @journalismnews Twitter account and the Journalism.co.uk WordPress blog.

 


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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – phone and tablet tricks for blogging from the field

September 2nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Social media and blogging

The 10,000 Words blog has posted five top tricks for filing blog posts from the field using WordPress.com. The tips include WordPress’ mobile apps, adding hyperlinks, call-in audio posts and adding geolocation to posts.

Read them all here.

Tipster: Rachel McAthy

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

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WordPress rolls out Twitter and Facebook comments options

WordPress has launched a three-way commenting system allowing people to use their WordPress, Twitter or Facebook account to leave a comment on a WordPress blog or news site.

Readers can decide which identity they use to leave comments and, after authenticating accounts, can toggle between the three options before posting.

Announcing the new commenting system on its blog, WordPress said:

And since you know your readers well, you can now change the text above the comment box to be whatever you like. We recommend using the default we are applying to new blogs, “What are you thinking?”, as questions often encourage more comments, but you can change it to whatever you like by going to your dashboard, then Settings → Discussion.

Further Twitter and Facebook integration is also planned, the blogging platform announced.

Related article: Facebook v Disqus: Ten pros and cons for using Facebook comments

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Advice from Guardian.co.uk’s online journalism Q&A

On Friday Journalism.co.uk took part in a live Q&A  hosted by the The Guardian’s careers section, allowing new and experienced journalists the opportunity to ask industry professionals for advice on conquering the world of online journalism.

The multimedia panel on hand to answer questions were:

Paul Gallagher, head of online editorial, Manchester Evening News
Laura-Jane Filotrani, site editor, Guardian Careers
Sarah Hartley, digital editor, The Guardian
Alison Gow, executive editor, digital, Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post
Laura Oliver, senior reporter, Journalism. co.uk
Madeline Bennett, editor of technology news sites V3.co.uk and The Inquirer
Paul Bradshaw, senior lecturer in online journalism, Birmingham City University
John Hand, duty editor, UK desk BBC News website
Alison White, community moderator, The Guardian

Here’s our round-up of the best advice from Friday’s event on how to make it as a successful online journalist in the digital age. You can also read the panel’s responses in full on the online journalism Q&A page on Guardian.co.uk.

Jump to:

What is the best subject to study to help me break into journalism?

[asked by Matt, who is studying English literature and language at college and asked if going on to study an English degree would help him prepare for a career in journalism]

John Hand: “I’m often asked which is the best subject to study at university and the answer is really that there is no particularly bad choice. The best newsroom has a good mix of people with different knowledge areas – for example, I think every editor in the country would love to have someone with the in-depth health knowledge of a medical degree on their team. Of course, any degree course that allows you to develop your writing and analytical skills (I always think history is a clever choice) would be better than most.

“The most important thing is to get some vocational training. Many editors themselves initially came through NCTJ courses (http://www.nctj.com/) so would respect those, but there are also many media organisations that offer their own in-house (or even external) training. If you want to get into news journalism, the key question to ask of any training scheme is how good their law course is.”

Sarah Hartley: “Grab as much work experience as you can throughout your uni years. Who knows what the economic climate will be like when you graduate but it may well be that you can find an employer who will put you through a block release course or similar. New schemes for apprenticeships, internships and such are bound to come through in that time.”

Madeline Bennett: “Has your college got a student newspaper or website? If so, volunteering to write for that would be a good starting point and showcase for your work. If not, why not start one? This is also the case for when you go to uni, student papers can be a great place to launch your journalism career.”

But what if I can’t afford to go to university?

[Forum user Dan Holloway asked: how does someone who has no choice but carry on a full-time job to make ends meet go about switching careers to online journalism?]

Alison White: “My advice would be to perhaps take some evening classes in journalism if possible – while I was at uni I did a 10-week course, one evening a week, about freelancing and a two-day course about getting into journalism. Or how about some work experience? Newspapers and other organisations are less well-staffed at weekends, I’m sure they’d appreciate some help with uploading content or other duties. Once you’ve got to know some people you can always keep in touch in the hope they might point you towards job opportunities or further work experience.”

Madeline Bennett: “Look for courses that focus on online journalism or multimedia skills, there might be some weekend or evening classes available that you can do to support your NCTJ. Also these courses are a good place to meet people who can help you get your first job in journalism, as they’ll often be run by current working journalists.”

Laura Oliver: “Start experimenting – if you can find the time outside of work to run a blog, contribute to other websites, you’ll learn a great deal about the basics of online publishing. Contact sites and other blogs that interest you and offer postings. Look at successful bloggers and think about what they are doing that makes them influential/profitable. Here are a couple of posts that might help too regarding building an online brand as a journalist:

“http://blogs.journalism.co.uk/editors/2009/08/17/adam-westbrook-6×6-branding-for-freelance-journalists/

“http://www.journalism.co.uk/5/articles/534896.php

What skills do I need to be an online journalist?

[Forum user Dean Best asked: what are the top online-specific skills I should attain to improve my online skills and better my chances of moving up the ladder?]

Laura-Jane Filotrani: “To be able to demonstrate a passion for digital – by this I mean that you are active online; you use the net; you have a profile online; you use and understand community; you are excited by being able to reach people using the internet; you want to find out the latest developments.”

Alison White: “A good knowledge of SEO and the importance of linking to others and providing ‘added value’ to the reader; i.e. give them the story but perhaps with a link to a video, an online petition, a Facebook page etc. News to me seems more of a package now rather than a traditional delivery.”

Paul Bradshaw:

“1. Understand how RSS works and how that can improve your newsgathering, production and distribution. I cover a little of that in this post:

“http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2008/04/21/rss-social-media-passive-aggressive-newsgathering-a-model-for-the-21st-century-newsroom-part-2-addendum/

“2. Engage with online communities around your specialist area, help them, provide valuable information and contacts, and then when you need help on something, they’ll be there for you in return. It will also build a distribution network for your content.

“3. Possibly hardest, but force yourself to experiment and make mistakes with all sorts of media. If you can make yourself entertaining as well as informative then that can really work very well.”

How can I make the transition to online journalism?

['Malini' asked: how do I go about breaking into the field of online journalism? And why would anyone pay and retain a writer when they can easily get so much content for free?]

Paul Bradshaw: “Use free writing to build a reputation and contacts; and sell the valuable stuff that you generate from that. Ultimately you should aim to become reliable enough for them to want to hire you when they are hiring.”

Sarah Hartley: “Writers have always provided free content – be it letters to the editor, local band reviews, poetry or whatever, so being online will only further the opportunity for that sort of exposure and that can only be a good thing for diversity and choice.”

Paul Gallagher: “I have taught myself some coding skills like HTML and I believe it does help a lot to have some technical knowledge, not necessarily because you will need them in the job but because it really helps to be able to communicate well with the programmers and developers in your company.”

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Smashingmagazine.com: New ‘Magazeen’ WordPress Theme

Your thoughts please on this new blog theme from SmashingMagazine.

Full post at this link…

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News Mixer API spawns Iowa Content experiment

January 28th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Handy tools and technology

News Mixer, the final year project of programming-journalism students at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University aimed at breathing new life into commenting systems on news sites, was always intended to be developed and adapted further by third parties.

“We got a lot of the hard work out of the way and the code is out there for anyone to play with (…) it’s free. Use it,” Brian Boyer, one of the developers behind it, insisted in an interview last year.

The open source nature of the project has allowed three developers from e-Me Ventures to create Iowa Content – a WordPress-based widget that aggregates localised news content from a range of sources and is connected to Facebook Connect.

Iowa Content is based on News Mixer’s quip function – short-form responses to news items, ideally suited to Twitter or Facebook status updates.

Being linked with the social network will encourage readers to discuss and comment on the news – as well as share links via their profiles.

It’s in the experimental stage right now, but as the intro video below says, it’s about ‘grassroots creation of meaningful content':

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Press agency Deadline reaps online rewards

August 6th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism

“The simple fact was that we had no need of a website. It would have cost thousands of pounds to produce and wouldn’t have made an iota of difference to our business supplying the daily newspapers,” said Scott Douglas, founder of Deadline Press & Picture Agency.

But since setting up a YouTube channel for the agency’s video content and launching a WordPress blog featuring articles in May, Deadline’s online content has shown strong traffic growth.

The site made it into WordPress’ list of the 100 fastest growing blog sites on the platform at 94.

The blog has recorded 21,743 page impressions across 117 posts, while Deadline News TV has attracted 40,221 views for 40 videos as of August 5.

The agency has implemented a solution, harnessing the power of third-party websites, which is low cost, but high impact

“Our blog site immediately plugged a gap by allowing us to showcase our work every day – and reach an audience who may not otherwise see it. Our journalists and photographers still put in the old fashioned legwork to get pictures and stories. It can be frustrating when those are not picked up by the daily newspapers,” said Lauren Crooks, news editor with Deadline.

“Now we can ensure our stories, pictures and video reports will always find an audience.”

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