Tag Archives: Andy Dickinson

Liverpool Daily Post scores scoop with reader’s FOI request

Today’s story from the Liverpool Daily Post on council staff taking sick leave was the result of a Freedom of Information request made through democracy website www.whatdotheyknow.com.

And how do we know?

Because the source and links to the information released through the FOI request are included at the bottom of the article. A nice touch.

(Thanks to Andy Dickinson for telling us about this)

Grants for New Voices projects and UCLAN lecturer Andy Dickinson

Hot on the heels of last week’s Knight News Challenge winners, two foundations have released details of journalism projects to receive funding.

New Voices – a project from the University of Maryland’s interactive journalism institute – has awarded funding of $17,000 each to 10 citizen media start-ups.

The recipients include: Cool State Online, a Californian project to set up micro bureaux covering news from the Asian and Latino communities; The Appalachian Independent, an online newspaper for the rural community in Maryland; and Family Life Behind Bars, a site where the families of prisoners can share information and experiences.

The progress of the winners (listed in full in a press release) can be viewed on the New Voices website.

Meanwhile, University of Central Lancashire journalism lecturer Andy Dickinson is to receive funding from journalism lab Sandbox for a project mapping the movements of local reporters in their communities.

Reporters from print, radio and TV would be equipped with GPS devices to monitor their movements on a normal working day, explains Dickinson in a blog post.

“The project would then attempt to develop a matrix that visually demonstrated when and where the news agendas of local communities and those of professional media organizations coincide, with a view to examining the range of elements that lead to this juxtaposition.


Conducted in this way the research can explore ‘randomness’, and ‘proximity’ to breaking news as a value that impacts news agendas (and says something about reseources too).”

Congratulations to Andy – we’re already looking forward to the results.

Times uses interactive poll for front-page splash

The Times has used the result of an interactive survey run on its website to create a front-page story about peoples spending habits, ahead of tomorrow’s budget.

Nearly 2500 people contributed to the survey, 400 of whom added comments about what most worried them most about their finances to an interactive map on the Times website.

image of times use of google maps

The map, a first use of Google Maps by the Times, was created with the assistance of UCLAN journalism course leader Andy Dickinson, using Google Forms and Yahoo Pipes.

“The Times has a long history of commissioning opinion polls,” wrote Tom Whitwell, Communities Editor, Times Online, about the origin of the survey.

“These are scientifically rigorous, using a carefully selected panel of maybe 1,000 people. At Times Online, we can do things very differently. We can throw out questions to our readers and capture their mood quickly, cheaply and easily.

“It doesn’t have the statistical rigour of an opinion poll, but it’s a snapshot of unfiltered opinion and anecdotal. In the United States, many newspaper have taken the process further, using “crowd-sourcing” to research and write major news stories.”

Innovative journalism/technology development projects in the US and UK

This post is Journalism.co.uk’s contribution to the Carnival of Journalism, which is being hosted by Scribblesheet.

So much has happened in the last 12-months in the online news area we thought it was about time to focus a little attention on some of the projects and processes looking to drive the next step of innovative ways of getting news to the public.

Quite simply, we just want to draw attention to two development projects – one either side of the Atlantic – which aim to meld journalism and technology and find new and unique ways of engaging an audience.

It’s no surprise that both these projects are being run by – or in conjunction with – forward thinking academic institutions.

The UK project is, appropriately enough, called Meld. It’s being run this week by UCLAN department of journalism, under the watchful eye of fellow contributor to the Carnival Andy Dickinson.

Teams of of journalists, creative technologists/interaction designers volunteered to be brought together for a week of hot-housing ideas which would then be pitched to industry partners – Sky News, Johnston Press (JP) and Haymarket Media.

Each partner set a slightly different brief for the teams:

Sky News wants to ‘grow its unique users and page impressions (especially unique users) by offering a variety of original news related content’.

JP wants to ‘enhance our relationship with our readers and expand the local audience for our range of news and data websites.

While Haymarket wanted a rich media offering to serve a traveling baby boomer audience, something that appealed to a new men’s market or a Web 3.0 offering to blend ‘source and social’.

Based on these briefs, the industry bods provide feedback on the ideas – IP developed at the workshop is owned by the teams, each of which would be expected to negotiate their own terms should any commercial relationship develop with the industry partners.

The project is about pure innovation, trying to develop great ideas that benefit the industry and consumer, not innovation cosseted by the sometimes limiting effect of industry-led development where cost worries often cut innovation and failure of a single idea can be seen as failure of innovation, per se.

This snippet of Matt Marsh (taken from the Meld Blog) sums up the spirit of innovative thinking bursting over at the project.


The second project is similar, it’s a project being run as part of the graduate programme at CUNY, this time under the eye of Jeff Jarvis (Jeff has already documented part of the process).

Students on the first wave of the entrepreneurial journalism course spent last week pitching their ideas to a dozen jurors drawn from New York’s stellar media community.

A five minute pitch followed by seven minutes of questions from the jurors offered the chance to walk away with as much as $45,000 seed much for an innovative journalism project.

The course was set up with a $100,000, two-year grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation.

The students developed projects including a hyper-local site for a Brooklyn neighbourhood, innovative uses of Ning to create specialist social networks, blog search engines using Google’s custom search technology and several project – personal finance for young people, a service to match school athletes with colleges – that questioned weather they could survive just for Facebook (Judge Saul Hansell has posted a fairly full piece about the nature of the individual projects).

A few project were awarded grants from the jurors to develop their ideas further, notably a project to get the public angle on what follow up stories reporters should follow.

The overriding importance of this and the Meld project is that it gives the opportunity to develop left-field ideas which get inside the mind of those that would benefit by using it, rather than just owning it.

These ideas aren’t just providing the next cash cows for big media, they are writing a new language for journalism, creating new platforms for the principles of good practice to be carried forward into this new century.

That is both novel and revolutionary.

Online journalism in 2020…bloggers strike, iToilet and more

Paul Bradshaw has video blogged a post from 2020 about the end of the Bloggers Strike, Apple’s new iToilet, Facebook’s ‘GDPcalculator’ app, and a graduating generation who’ve never known a world without the mobile web.


Failure of the iToilet has always been a pet grumble of mine, glad to see someone has finally been brave enough to voice these concerns.

Paul put the guest blogging vid together to fill in for Shane Richmond @the Telegraph while he’s away – guest spots have also gone to John Hagel and Andy Dickinson.

Calling all video journalists…

…Andy Dickinson, blogger and senior lecturer in digital and online journalism at the Universty of Central Lancashire, needs respondants to his survey on the workload of newspaper video journalists.

So far Andy says he has had some good responses from the US, but wants to balance this with some more UK viewpoints.

His first survey on the use of video by newspapers produced some interesting observations – not least that the average production time for one minute of video is one hour.

If you’re interested, why not take the survey.