Tag Archives: Adam Westbrook

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – video on a digital SLR

Thinking about shooting video on a digital SLR? Adam Westbrook showcases three films which have done just that – view them at this link. Tipster: Judith Townend.

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

New ebook for hyperlocal bloggers

Multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook has today released a new ebook about hyperlocal newsgathering, drawing on his experiences as a local reporter.

Its introductory price is £4.99 and Westbrook is optimistic people will pay: “I’ve purposefully kept it at a low price so its not a big investment even for someone just toying with the idea of starting a hyperlocal blog,” he told Journalism.co.uk.

“I think ebooks have a lot of potential because they have a quick turnaround. Any physical book on journalism is usually out of date before it hits the shelves!

“To that end I will be updating the book with collaborations with other bloggers, and hopefully producing at least one new title.”

And what exactly is ‘hyperlocal’? After all, Westbrook covered three counties during his time as a reporter. “I think the power of hyperlocal is in doing a small area really well,” he said.

“In my experience even local papers can’t really drill into a single community and often cover several towns. I think the typical hyperlocal will cover a single town or single village. It will need to have the same journalistic ambitions as a paper but with very few people and little or no budget. That’s why I wrote the book, to show people they don’t need a big newsroom to do big news.

Lichfield blogger Philip John has reviewed the book for his site JournalLocal, at this link. While John has some criticisms, he says that the book, ‘Newsgathering for Hyperlocal Websites,’ “is definitely a good start in helping hyperlocal owners to organise themselves and make sure they have all the information they need to serve their community”.

Both Philip John and Adam Westbook will be talking at Journalism.co.uk’s news:rewired event on 14 January.

Top five UK journalism blogs and Tweeters in 2009 (and who to watch in 2010)

With the proviso that journalism blogs and bloggers come and go, we have selected our own personal favourite journalism bloggers and tweeters. These are our absolute must-reads. We realise this is a somewhat subjective exercise, so please add your own in the comments below, or via Twitter to @journalismnews.

Top five UK journalism blogs and Tweeters of 2009

As chosen by John Thompson, founder, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@GordonMacmillan, @malcolmcoles, @adamwestbrook, @paulbradshaw, @mikebutcher, @marcreeves

Best blogs:
Malcolm ColesJon Slattery, Adam Tinworth, OJB, Adam Westbrook (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by Laura Oliver, editor, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@georgehopkin, @nigelbarlow, @MrRickWaghorn, @gordonmacmillan, @psmith

Best blogs:
Sarah Hartley, Alison Gow, Adam Tinworth, Martin Belam, Jon Slattery (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by Judith Townend, senior reporter, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@gingerelvis, @samshepherd, @badjournalism, @jowadsworth, @digidickinson

Best blogs:
Jon Slattery, Martin Moore, Charlie Beckett, The Media Blog, Sarah Hartley (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by the Journalism.co.uk team:

Five blogs to watch in 2010

  • Marc Reeves: former Birmingham Post editor, with new projects on the go.

Five Tweeters to watch in 2010

  • @timesjoanna, for her excellent social media and online journalism links.
  • @michaelhaddon, former City student with an interest in political online media; now working at Dow Jones.
  • @joshhalliday, at the centre of the UK student journalist blogging conversation; lots to look at on his own blog.
  • @coneee, the NUJ’s first full-time blogger member, currently completing an MA at City University.
  • @marcreeves, for the latest on what the former regional editor is up to.

Newsleader: Winners of the ‘Talkies’ 2009

Justin Kings, radio journalist and media consultant (check out his biog here) has chosen his best radio of 2009 – in what he calls ‘The Talkies’.

Here’s his one of his winners in the ‘Beyond the Call of Duty’ / multimedia category, awarded to Adam Westbrook for his work in Iraq – as a local radio journalist.

Adam Westbrook was sent [to Iraq] for Viking FM to cover the story of North Yorkshire soldiers serving out there. As well as filing radio pieces, he enhanced the experience for the audience by shooting video, nicely packaged, and producing a very effective audio slide show. It is a great example of what can be achieved within local commercial radio news.

An example of his video content here:

Full post at this link…

Adam Westbook and Justin Kings will both be speaking at news:rewired, 14 January 2010, City University.

Journalism students as entrepreneurs

“Are traditional skills enough or do the new generation of journalists also need to be entrepreneurs?” asked Patrick Barkham in a Media Guardian feature today.

He cited examples of entrepreneurship, as preached by CUNY’s Jeff Jarvis, in journalism departments at various British universities.

Journalism.co.uk – rather an old ‘start-up’ at 10 years old, it must be said – got a mention, along with my comment that blogs and Twitter gave student journalists more opportunity than ever for a platform from which to get noticed.

But the real challenge of making money is rather more tricky than just getting heard, as the debate on today’s NUJ New Media email list indicated.

“Surely freelancers have always been entrepreneurs?” one contributor commented.

“Yes, journalists need to be taught about how business works and also how to manage people (how many journalists do you know who have made awful managers?) But that might be more appropriate to ongoing training than basic foundation courses,” added Journalism.co.uk’s founder John Thompson.

Alex Wood, City University alumni and a founder of the Berlin Project, thinks the entrepreneurial speak is ‘old news,’ saying that he and his student colleagues regularly made use of freelance opportunities, web design and online articles. “I’d say with most courses now over £10,000, becoming an ‘entrepreneur’ isn’t a skill, it’s a necessity (…) It’s a simple case of sink or survive and with huge debt around graduates necks these days, people are a lot more willing to fight.”

Meanwhile, multimedia and recently freelance journalist, Adam Westbrook, said that ‘this talk about journalists-as-entrepreneurs recognises a distinction between freelance journalism and entrepreneurship’.

“Yes, if freelancers run themselves as mini businesses there is some similarity, but I think its also about embracing the entrepreneurial spirit, looking for new markets and opportunities to exploit – seems a bit anti-journalism but that’s the game I think.

“And the ultimate journalism start-up is the one which cuts a profit and self sustains (ideally not through advertising alone), rather than living off grants or donations.”

Paul Bradshaw, lecturer at Birmingham City University and founder of the OnlineJournalismBlog, thinks the new approach does go beyond traditional methods; it’s a form of entrepreneurial journalism ‘that seeks to find new business models for journalism, rather than existing freelance journalism models,’ he said. “That could be anything from new forms of advertising, public funds, or platforms like iPhone apps etc.”

Join the debate and send your own examples, in the comments, or through Twitter (via @journalismnews):

  • How is the new journalistic entrepreneurship different from freelancing of present / yore?
  • Are journalism schools the right places to develop these skills? Or would students be better off in business school?

Entrepreneurship will be one of the topics tackled at our news:rewired conference on 14 January 2010. See http://newsrewired.com for more details. Tickets on sale now.

New meet-up group organised to discuss the future of news

Freelance journalist Adam Westbrook has set-up a new meeting group (online and offline) for UK-based journalists interested in where their industry is headed.

As the UK Future of News Group website explains:

“We’re undergoing a digital revolution. The value of news has disappeared, and with it, the revenues of papers and TV stations around the world. But from all the turmoil new opportunities are emerging, if you look in the right places.

“The UK Future of News Group is for anyone interested in the future of journalism. Whether you’re a journalism student, a young journalist or a seasoned professional, the group is a place to openly and positively discuss new ideas.

“We’re not here to talk about why journalism is in trouble, or the death of newspapers, no no no. Save that for the blogs.

“We’re here to actually come up with the ideas which will determine what comes next. That could be a new news start-up, a new idea for aggregating content, or the alternative to Murdoch’s paywall. Who knows.

“You don’t have to have an actual idea to attend a meeting, but we hope eventually someone will come up with the next big thing!

“At the very least we hope it’ll provide a positive, open environment where new ideas can flourish.”

The first group meeting is scheduled for 7 December at a location somewhere in London (revealed to members of the group, who must sign-up online). Journalism.co.uk hopes to be there – especially to talk about our new event news:rewired.

Journalism Daily: Amish media, James Murdoch’s speech and the Bastiat online shortlist

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:

#FollowJourn:

On the Editors’ Blog:

Adam Westbrook: 6×6 tips for freelance journalists

During the last fortnight, multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook has published six guides for freelance journalists – with a strong emphasis on practical steps and digital tools available for freelancing.

You can read the full series at this link or jump to the individual posts listed below:

Journalism Daily: Digital plans for Big Issue and the Baltimore hoax

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:

#FollowJourn:

On the Editor’s Blog:

Adam Westbrook: 6×6 how to make things happen as a freelancer

Making things happen

“When 900-years-old you reach, pithy phrases will you come up with.”

Ok, so a bit of hammy self-help from Master Yoda there, but he makes a good point. We’ve looked at branding and business, and the craft skills like audio and video, but they all mean nothing in the scary and ever shifting new world of journalism if you’re not prepared to do something with it.

If you’re trying to get your first job particularly, or going freelance especially, you have to be able to make things happen for yourself. This final post has little to do with journalism, but might be the difference between getting your vital first commission and spending your day in the company of Jeremy Kyle crying into your supernoodles.

1) Have goals – big ones
We’ve all got goals, right? Clear that debt, get that promotion, get that pay rise.

But what about dreams? They’re the goals which set your sex on fire. They get your heart racing with excitement and have you muttering to yourself, ‘that would be awesome… but I could never do that’.

It’s the novel you’ve had in the back of your mind to write one day; the photo essay you’d love to go and make in Chad; the media start-up you’d love to get going…

Point is, dismiss them as you may, big goals are what really get us going; once we’re on the track to doing them, they get us out of bed in the morning.

Life coach Jeff Archer says choosing big goals is vital: “Creating a future that excites you is of vital importance. If your future doesn’t excite you, then why go to all the time and trouble of making things happen?”

And Lindsey Agness at the Change Corporation agrees the goals must be ‘compelling’. She also says they must be all of the following:

  • Specific: ‘clearly define what you are going to do’
  • Measurable: ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
  • Achievable: they should be within the bounds of possibility for you’
  • Realistic: set the bar high enough to find out what you are capable of, but not so high you get frustrated’
  • Timed: ‘set a clear time frame for the goal’

So in practice this means avoiding goals like: ‘I will get a couple of articles published before Christmas’, and instead going with ‘I will pitch two written articles and one photo-essay every month’.

2) Write things down
Things start happening when you write them down. Apparently this has been proved by researchers at Harvard, who split a graduate class into those that had written down their plans for the future and those that hadn’t. And revisiting them 10 years later, the ones who had achieved what they wanted were those who put a pen to paper.

Mechanically, writing down ideas, dreams, plans on paper gets your mental juices flowing. You start to visualise what it might look and feel like to achieve them. And then you start doodling how to get there. The next thing you know you’ve got a list of steps to take to get you on your way.

And other people recommend keeping a journal, if you don’t already. Back to Jeff Archer: “Once you make yourself consciously aware of the highs and lows of each day you decide specifically what changes you’d like to make to make sure you can increase the positive and decrease the negative.”

On a practical level it means a quick post-mortem of your day or week and it keeps you focused on why you set out to do this all anyway.

3) Visualise the process – and the result
Rehearse doing things and rehearse them going well.

The first part is as simple as going through the things you need to do (not plan) the next day: the phone calls you need to make, the film you need to edit, the blog you need to write; picture yourself in your head, sitting down at your desk making those things happen. Alternatively you can write down the steps and describe what it’s like to carry them out. Rehearsing those steps makes them easier to do the next day.

The second part is all about visualising success. Athlete’s vividly visualise winning the 100m sprint until they can almost taste the sweat and feel the flag in their hands. Career coach Jonathan Fields, who’s written ‘Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love’ says this part is very important in overcoming any self-doubt:

“Repeatedly visualising a deeply sought after goal, seeing, feeling, hearing yourself accomplish this goal, over and over, has a profound effect. It conditions you slowly away from self-doubt and disbelief and moves you increasingly towards belief.”

4) The Dr Pepper test
This is asking yourself the question: what’s the worst that can happen? Taking the plunge, quitting your job, starting a company, even cold-calling some editors – they’re all scary obstacles. If you’ve thought about going freelance, or retraining, no-doubt you’ve thought quite hard about failing:

  • running out of money
  • not getting a job interview
  • not getting any commissions
  • getting kicked out of your flat
  • defaulting on your mortage
  • giving up

These are the classic scenarios played out by a part of our mentality the NLP lot call the ‘limiting mind’. It’s the voice in your head which says ‘naahh, that’s too difficult’, ‘it’ll never work‘, ‘you? a novelist? give over’. Sadly for many people the limiting mind wins and we talk ourselves out of doing something risky.

How to overcome it? The answer, suggests Jonathan Fields, is to visualise and quantify failure – but only once. Sit down and write out exactly how failure would happen – if the worst came to the worst how long would you keep going? What would happen when you ran out of money? Where would you go?

You should (hopefully) realise that in fact you will always have a place to stay, you can always get another job, and failure isn’t that bad at all. When you stop being afraid of failing, you are unstoppable.

And accept: you will fail. So fail fast, and learn from it.

5) Get messy
Right to business. If there’s one thing I’ve learned the best thing you can do to get started is… to get started. Sounds stupid I know, but my idea of ‘getting started’ was writing lots of to-do lists, creating a financial spreadsheet, reading books on freelancing. Surprise, surprise, nothing happened.

Then I realised I needed to start doing stuff. Ready or not, start contacting editors, start filming, start editing, start writing. Go out there, and do it now! The sooner you start doing things the sooner you get results. And the sooner you fail, so you can get over it.

Too many of us spend time being the proverbial think-tank, when we should be a do-tank.
6) Don’t give up
And for the love of God don’t give up. This is going to be really hard, but as Corey Tennis pointed out it is supposed to be. Being hard done by is what makes us great writers. Pursuing this new world of multimedia journalism – which is right in its infant stages – means an uncertain future.

But any more uncertain than full time jobs and pensions? The recession has dispelled that myth.

When times get tough, read this inspirational piece of gold by freelance writer Tumblenoose:

“Do not give up. Don’t you dare. You’re going to want to. You’re going to think that the security of a paycheck every two weeks is really worth the trade off for working for someone else. Don’t do it, you hear?

“Remember your dream. Remember your bright-eyed, take-the-world-by-storm vision that sent you down the path. Yes, the journey is hard. Yes, you will be discouraged when you feel like nothing is happening, like you aren’t moving forward. Hold your nose and stick through those tough times. Keep working your plan. Keep putting yourself out there. Keep making the connections. Keep building your community.  Do not give up.”

The final word

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our  faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”

Helen Keller