Tag Archives: author

Looking at the Liverpool papers live blog coverage of the Rhys Jones murder trial

The Liverpool regional papers, the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, continue their comprehensive coverage of the Rhys Jones murder trial using Cover It Live technology, which allows the reporter to feed back detailed information about what is happening in the courtroom.

The liveblog of the Rhys Jones trial is currently on standby, but should be going again at 14.30 today. The Rhys Jones coverage can also be viewed together on one page.

For ease of reading back through, it would be good to have the live court coverage more clearly marked with dates and days of trial in the left hand margin next to the times.

On October 9 the Liverpool Daily Post’s editor, Mark Thomas, asked for feedback, but it seems none has been offered.

It’s an impressive feat, which has been going since October 9, and brings up questions of modern day court reporting: it will be interesting to see if it enters the public panel discussion at this week’s POLIS debate at LSE. They’re debating ‘Respect for Contempt: Keeping Speech Free and Trials Fair’.

With a panel that includes Maxine Mawhinney from BBC News 24 as chair, and contributions from Joshua Rozenburg (Legal Affairs Editor, Daily Telegraph), Jonathan Kotler (US Attorney and USC Annenburg School of Journalism), Mark Haslam (partner, BCL Burton Copeland, and Nick Davies (Guardian, author of Flat Earth News), it should make for an interesting set of much-needed discussions.

Geotagged journalism: behind Trinity Mirror’s news maps

At last week’s Digital Editors’ Network event in Preston, Trinity Mirror’s new geotagged news maps were a popular topic of conversation.

Launched on the Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post (LDP) websites, the maps let readers search for news by postcode.

But what information are journalists required to input to make the maps work? and how does this affect their newsgathering?

Alison Gow, deputy editor of the LDP, explained the system to Journalism.co.uk:

“At the moment, every time our reporters create a news story they fill in certain fields which dictate where a story is placed online (e.g. story type, keyword tags, author).

“For stories to appear on the map the reporter simply ensures the new ‘postcode’ field is also completed; they do this by chosing from a vast selection of regional postcodes which are already included in a dropdown menu.”

For stories that could be tagged with multiple postcodes, the primary site of the news, e.g. the accident site in a road crash, is currently being used, though multiple location tagging is being looked into.

“We don’t use them for everything; there would be no point in geotagging Liverpool town hall for every council story, for example. But for location-specific articles they work really well.

“As it grows the map offers greater potential for ‘news from your street’ for readers, and it makes the Post and Echo sites more sticky – people can see markers for stories in their area and this should encourage them to click through and read more,” said Gow.

To develop the project further, the same map format is being looked at for other editorial content, such as business articles, she added.

Any more questions about the journalists involvement with these maps? Leave a comment and hopefully we can get a response.

Too old to become a journalist: How I started freelancing

A couple of comments from last week’s post asked how I managed to get work published in the nationals as a freelancer sans training.

Short answer: I had the right story that only I could write at the right time. That’s a lot of rights.

Before my NCTJ I did a couple of brilliant evening courses:

Introduction to freelance journalism and stage two freelance journalism at adult learning college City Lit in Holborn, London.

At the time (2005) it was run by Liz Hodgkinson, who I remember always claimed that you didn’t have to be a particularly good writer to be successful. She also encouraged people to pitch, pitch and pitch – editors could only say no.

My First Pitch

The film, The Devil Wears Prada, about one girl’s gruelling experience assisting the editor of a top fashion magazine in America, was about to come out in the cinema.

The book, on which the film was based, caused a lot of controversy as its author, Lauren Weisberger, had worked for American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, previously. Weisberger always claimed her book was entirely fictional.

Coincidentally I had just come back from a tough 3-month work experience placement at American Vogue.

I failed to put two-and-two-together, but a girl on the evening course pointed out that I could write about my experiences to coincide with the film’s release.

I thought I’d aim high (you never ask, you never get) so with the help of Liz Hodgkinson’s subbing skills I pitched the following to the Guardian:

Dear K,

The Devil Wears Prada told the unbelievable story of one girl’s baptism of fire
on a glossy fashion magazine but what’s the reality like?

Much worse if my three gruelling months of work experience at American Vogue are
anything to go by!

I wondered if you would be interested in my story to coincide with the film
version of The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep as the fiery editor and
Anne Hathaway as her long-suffering assistant.

The film is due out in the U.S on 30th June and in the U.K on 27th October. I
have a picture of me and the other interns standing in front of the Vogue logo
at Conde Nast.

My name is Amy Oliver and I’m a freelance journalist.

Best Wishes

Amy Oliver


They politely declined.

Undeterred I pitched it to The Times.

They didn’t know me from Adam and asked me to write a couple of paragraphs on my experiences at Vogue, and also to submit some of my written work.

What do you send in to The Times if you’ve never had anything published? Unbelievably or perhaps naively I sent in a piece on window box gardening and a snippet on why there should be more nasty, abusive greetings cards on the market!

Both pieces I had done as homework for my course. Both pieces now make me cringe to my very core.

They bought it and the story. My first ever piece was a joint front cover for the Times’ T2 supplement (shared with now WSJ style magazine Editor Tina Gaudoin no less) complete with dreadful picture of me fingering a pile of old Vogues.

I was so overwhelmed I think I hid in the corner and didn’t write another word for six months. Not very ballsy hack with rhino skin… more Miss Marple.

No one else could have written that story and a personal experience timed with a current issue is usually the best way to start.

To give another example a woman on the evening course was caught up in the Asian tsunami in 2004 and was planning to write a personal experience for the anniversary.

If you don’t know who to pitch your idea to phone up the newspaper and ask. Be prepared for much sighing and monosyllabic answers from the other end – imagine how many people phone them every day to tell them about typos etc.

Also be prepared to pitch the crux of your idea over the phone. If they can cut you off without clogging up their inbox they will.

Now perhaps someone can advise me: I was always told to pitch ideas to one publication at a time. I have since met a very successful journalist who blanket pitches and usually sells the same story three or four times over. (I’ll try and get hold of blanket pitcher extraordinaire for an interview)

Do people who freelance already blanket pitch? Have you ever come up against anger from a publication and exclusivity?

This is the second post in Amy’s blog series: Am I too old to become a journalist? Read her introductory post.

AOP: Today’s television ‘may not be worth sitting still for’, says US author Clay Shirky

Even children can’t concentrate on television anymore, says Clay Shirky, the US-based internet educator, consultant and author of ‘Here comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations’.

In his speech at yesterday’s AOP Digital Publishing summit Shirky told an anecdote about the four-year-old daughter of one of his friends watching a film: “[S]he jumps round behind the TV and [starts] rooting around in the wires, looking for the mouse.”

Today’s television ‘may not be worth sitting still for’, but the computer is for everything.

The problem for media professionals is that the industry still holds the perception that everyone sees publishing in the same way, he explained.

But, he said, citing the example of Flickr, material may be ‘in public but [it’s] not for the public. The cost of putting something out in public has fallen so low.’

“This is a reversal of the usual pattern,” he said. ‘Gather and share has been the usual pattern [of publishing] since time immemorial’, but now grouping comes first.

He split his talk into three categories: the sharing culture of Flickr; the collaborative nature of Wikipedia; and the collective action of internet groupings, citing the use of a Facebook group to force HSBC to reverse its decision on withdrawing students’ interest-free overdrafts.

These examples, he said, show the ‘the environment that’s coming’ and a need to re-think the model’.

“If you wait to hear what the business model is you will hear that your competitors have perfected it,” he said.

Shirky compared today’s media trends to London’s 17th-century gin craze: at first people didn’t know what to do with what they were consuming, but they then learnt how to share, collaborate and collect.

“The action is where people are going after the consumers. Not just consuming, but producing and sharing.”

Update: Le Carré’s past – as told on the web

I wrote a post yesterday which looked at how the story of author John le Carré’s alleged temptation to defect to the Russians during his time as a British Intelligence officer (as reported by the Sunday Times) was spreading over the web, despite Le Carré’s lengthy contention with the report.

Hari Kunzru, who wrote a review that referred to the Sunday Times report, in Saturday’s Guardian, has left a comment:

For the record, I wasn’t aware of Le Carré’s objections to Liddle’s interview. My review was filed before the letter was printed in The Times. I’m not surprised. Even from Liddle’s quote the inference that Le Carré ‘almost defected’ is hard to draw.

So either the Guardian Review’s editor didn’t know of Le Carré’s complaint either, or it was a conscious decision to leave it as Kunzru wrote it.

It does seem to suggest that complaints or letters published post-coverage don’t really rectify a situation. It’s lucky that Le Carré aka David J.M. Cornwell enjoyed the Calvados and Liddle’s ‘erudite and perceptive’ conversation, or there could have been rather more costly repercussions for the Sunday Times.

Le Carre-d away: has the author’s alleged desire to defect become fact?

This, in Saturday’s Guardian, in Hari Kunzru’s review of John Le Carré’s latest book, ‘A Most Wanted Man’:

In a recent interview Le Carré was asked if he ever considered defecting. “Well, I wasn’t tempted ideologically … but when you spy intensively and you get closer and closer to the border … it seems such a small step to jump … and, you know, find out the rest.” Though this has been reported as some sort of tabloid confession (“I was tempted to defect, says spy novelist Le Carré”), it seems primarily interesting as a key to his fiction, whose central concern is the exploration of the metaphorical borderland occupied by the proponents of any polarised conflict.

The Guardian, September 27 2008

Perhaps surprisingly, no mention of the fact that Le Carré says that his quotes were out of context, as this lengthy letter to the Sunday Times pointed out. Le Carré writes that his interviewer, Rod Liddle, chose not to use a tape recorder and  subsequently misrepresented him that he was misrepresented in the interview and this article:

… he [Liddle] failed to encompass or indeed record the general point I was making about the temptations of defection.

Lord Annan, I ventured in our conversation, had declared that four years of Intelligence work were as much as any sane man could stand. I painted for Mr Liddle the plight of professional eavesdroppers who identify so closely with the people they are listening to that they start to share their lives.

It was in this context that I made the point that, in common with other intelligence officers who lived at close quarters with their adversaries, I had from time to time placed myself intellectually in the shoes of those on one side of the Curtain who took the short walk to the other; and that rationally and imaginatively I had understood the magnetic pull of such a step, and empathised with it.

John Le Carré, Times Online, September 20 2008.

Presumably the Guardian Review’s editors and the writer, Hari Kunzru, were aware of Le Carré’s problem with Liddle’s interview and chose not to mention it, although Kunzru does refer to the tabloid-like sensationalisation of the interview.

A Google search for John Le Carré brings back reviews for his latest book, but if you search “john le carre + defect” it’s possible to see how far the Sunday Times reports have spread… The AP reported it as the Sunday Times did, and then it went far and wide of course.

Will Le Carré’s consideration of defection go down in the history books, with no reference to his complaint?

Forbes.com opinion channel gets a makeover

Forbes.com/opinions has had a makeover, as of today. Under the control of new opinions channel editor, Tunku Varadarajan, no time has been wasted in having a bit of an autumn clean. Particularly significant is the introduction of an array of high-profile new columnists.

Here’s a run-down of the changes:

  • Four main topic categories: Business and Economics, Foreign Affairs and Defence, Culture and Society, and Politics.
  • 16 new columnists will be writing weekly columns for the channel, including author Reihan Salam, economists Brian Wesbury and Bob Stein, former Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson and Quentin Letts (from the UK).
  • Book reviews every Monday and Thursday, on all subjects, as well as daily essays and commentaries.
  • Forbes.com Editor Paul Maidment’s will produce a weekly video “Notes on the News” about international politics and business.
  • Forbes magazine Publisher Rich Karlgaards’s daily blog “Digital Rules” will still run, in addition to a new video blog “Talk Back” about the business world.

Varadarajan was previously contributing editor at the Financial Times, where he wrote opinion pieces, arts and culture essays and book reviews. Before that, he was at the Wall Street Journal for seven years – most recently as Assistant Managing Editor.

He gives fuller run-down of all the changes here.

Guardian relaunches blogs and commenting features

The Guardian is moving its blogs onto its new platform, bringing them in line with the rest of the recently redesigned site.

The move will be completed in two stages starting with 14 titles, including its Lost in Showbiz and news blogs, an announcement on the Inside Guardian blog said. The remaining sites will move over next month.

Once switched the blogs will boast new colours and design features (see the right-hand screenshot below), including improved navigation and links to the rest of Guardian.co.uk.

Keywords linking blog posts to related content across the site will be added – a feature previously unavailable on the blogs platform.

Blogs will also be relocated to their sections – e.g. the politics blog in the politics channel – rather than housed in a separate blogs section.

The new blogs will also share features introduced across the rest of the redesigned site, including the option to share posts by Digg, del.icio.us etc, and a widget showing the most-linked to Guardian content.

Blog posts will now also be included in the site’s search.

Changes to the commenting function on the site’s blogs have also been made – the biggest change being the introduction of user profiles.

“For a long time, we and many other sites operated a content-driven model which meant that user comments were only associated with – and displayed alongside – a particular content item. The creation of user profiles reveals our growing community-driven approach, recognising that just as every guardian.co.uk author gets a contributor page in which their contributions are archived so that their participation can be explored across topics and over time, so should our users,” said Meg Pickard, head of communities and user experience for Guardian.co.uk, in a blog post

Additional features will be added to user profiles over time, added Pickard, and experiments with the layout of comments beneath blog posts are ongoing.

Basic formatting, such as creating block quotes and links, is also now possible on blog post comments.

The new features have previously been trialled on the site’s Comment Is Free platform and use social media firm Pluck’s commenting technology.

Stephen Quinn on mobile journalism

“You need to have the fundamentals in place before you start playing with new technology. The skills are the same as for traditional media plus an awareness of what’s possible, and a willingess to play with the tools, a willingness to accept that journalism may move beyond what we currently know,” Stephen Quinn, academic and author of Knowledge Management in the Digital Newsroom, told Paul Bradshaw from the Online Journalism Blog in this interview.

Quinn discusses mobile journalism and how the mainstream media are getting involved:

Accessinterviews.com provides online interview archive

A new website is aiming to create an archive of online interviews. Launched last week, Accessinterviews.com provides direct links to newspaper, magazine and other interviews online, allowing users to search for one-on-ones with news personalities. Check out https://www.borcasino.com/ if you want to understand more about this issue, including canli bahis siteleri, casino siteleri, and more. En iyi and canli casino sites are both included on this well-respected website.

The site will also feature interviews by its founder, freelance journalist Rob McGibbon, and a blog-style ‘secret diary of an interviewer’.

It’s a very ambitious project – in an interview with Press Gazette McGibbon says he has been developing the self-funded idea for two years – but could prove a useful resource for journalists as the search for interviews can be filtered by name, subject matter, author and publication.