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Joanna Geary: Microsharing – a future we’re ignoring?

Joanna Geary raises a new angle on the paid content debate on her blog. The concept is Microsharing: where purchased online content or data is licensed to be shared with selected others. Is it a payment model which could change not only the way we view paying for content, but sharing it as well?

In real life humans are perfectly capable, and generous enough, to purchase something of value to them and then to loan or give it to someone they care about, trust, or share an interest with.

However, with the social web this doesn’t happen.

Why the difference, if paying for stuff doesn’t stop us sharing it in real life? Perhaps the social web hasn’t yet evolved to a point where we can share like this as easily as we do in real life?

Full post on joannageary.com at this link

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Coders meet journalists; journalists meet coders

April 28th, 2010 | 7 Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism, Training

Do journalists need to learn to code? Probably not, but those who can are likely to find themselves quickly snapped up by news organisations with interactive and data teams.

I have no grand hopes of learning to code properly, but I would like to feel a little more comfortable with the language and learn more about the ways programmers work and how it could help journalism.

That was one reason I went along to last night’s Ruby in the Pub informal meetup (tagged #RITP or #rubyinthepub on Twitter), initiated by journalists Joanna Geary and James Ball (even though James himself got stuck at work and missed the event).

The other reason was to meet brave souls playing in the programming-journalism no-man’s land. I think there are exciting things to come out of the programmer-journalist relationship. We’re already seeing that in projects led by mySociety and OpenlyLocal, in collaboration with bloggers and other media.

The US, of course, is streets ahead, with news organisations employing designated journalist-programmers. ProPublica, the non-profit investigative organisation, employs application developers and editors, integrated into the news team, as does the Chicago Tribune (for example). The New York Times has a dedicated interactive team – the head of which, Aron Pilhofer, came along to last night’s meet-up (he recently wrote about this new breed of ‘hacker-journalists’ at this link).

Over here, we’re seeing moves in the right direction (the Scott Trust now has a bursary for students who want to learn software development) and of course news organisations do employ developers, designers and programmers, but we’ve got some catching up to do in terms of integrating and prioritising programming skills.

[For some examples of interactives, visualisations and data-driven journalism follow this link]

So…what is Ruby? Ruby on Rails is a open source web application framework, using the Ruby language. Only a minority of programmers use it (you can see a comparison of frameworks at this Wikipedia link), but it was the consensus language agreed for the meet-up.

Developer Dave Goodchild (@buddhamagnet) was restricted by the lack of wifi, but nonetheless he did a grand job in educating us Ruby ignoramuses the very basics.

If you do decide to download RoR to have a proper play, Dave recommends building a blog – the format of which is easy to understand for a journalist – and following this online tutorial on the Ruby on Rails blog.

It was a brief introduction and the properly keen will have to do their homework to learn properly, but it’s good to hear developers explaining how they use it – and showing how quickly something can be built.

The evening was also a meeting of cultures; as journalists explained their various work brick walls and developers explained the differences between various coding languages and platforms.

Most useful for me was hearing about the projects developers are implementing in their respective organisations and the tools they are using.

Whether or not very much Ruby knowledge was gleaned by the hacks in one evening, I have great hopes for the conversation between programmers and journalists. It could result in some very innovative applications and stories that will help British journalists catch up with our US counterparts and break new ground.

If you would like to know more about interactives and data-driven journalism, check out the agenda for news:rewired – the nouveau niche (25-06-10) where these topics will be addressed. Buy your ticket (£80 + VAT) at this link. Speakers include OpenlyLocal’s Chris Taggart; the OnlineJournalismBlog’s Paul Bradshaw; and Ollie Williams from BBC Sport.

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TimesOnline seeking questions for Google chief executive

Fancy asking Eric Schmidt about the future of online news?

Here’s your chance: TimesOnline is seeking questions to put to the chairman and chief executive of Google for a feature to be published on Friday October 2.

Web development editor at the Times, Joanna Geary, just tweeted that there have already been ten pleas for a job so far…

Submit your question at this link (deadline September 25)

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#FollowJourn: @timesjoanna/web development editor

August 4th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Joanna Geary

Who? Web development editor for The Times.

What? A journalist working as a web development editor for The Times in London.

Where? @timesjoanna

Contact? www.joannageary.com

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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Essential journalism links for students

June 30th, 2009 | 9 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Training

This list is doing the rounds under the headline 100 Best Blogs for Journalism Students… and we’re not on it. Nope, not even a smidgeon of link-love for poor old Journalism.co.uk there.

The BachelorsDegreeOnline site appears to be part of e-Learners.com, but it’s not clear who put the list together. Despite their omission of our content and their rather odd descriptions (e.g: Adrian Monck: ‘Adrian Monck writes this blog about how we inform ourselves and why we do it’), we admit it is a pretty comprehensive list; excellent people and organisations we feature on the site, our blog roll and Best of Blogs mix – including many UK-based ones. There were also ones we hadn’t come across before.

In true web 2.0 self-promotional style, here are our own links which any future list-compilers might like to consider as helpful links for journalism students:

And here are some blogs/sites also left off the list which immediately spring to mind as important reading for any (particularly UK-based) journalism students:

Organisations

  • Crikey.com: news from down under that’s not Murdoch, or Fairfax produced.
  • Press Review Blog (a Media Standards Trust project) – it’s a newbie, but already in the favourites.
  • StinkyJournalism: it’s passionate and has produced many high-profile stories

Individuals

  • CurryBet – Martin Belam’s links are canny, and provocative and break down the division between tech and journalism.
  • Malcolm Coles – for SEO tips and off-the-beaten track spottings.
  • Dave Lee – facilitating conversations journalists could never have had in the days before blogs.
  • Marc Vallee – photography freedom issues from the protest frontline.
  • FleetStreetBlues: an anonymous industry insider with jobs, witty titbits and a healthy dose of online cynicism.
  • Sarah Hartley previously as above, now with more online strategy thrown in.
  • Charles Arthur – for lively debate on PR strategy, among other things

Writing this has only brought home further the realisation that omissions are par for the course with list-compilation, but it does inspire us to do our own 101 essential links for global online journalists – trainees or otherwise. We’d also like to make our list inclusive of material that is useful for, but not necessarily about, journalists: MySociety for example.

Add suggestions below, via @journalismnews or drop judith at journalism.co.uk an email.

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Currybet.net: Phil Spector Twitter hoax proof of ‘online honesty gap’ between bloggers and newspapers

Joanna Geary’s overt self-correction of a blog post about the Birmingham Mail and the ex-Villa player, Gareth Barry, in contrast with the mainstream media’s handling of the Phil Spector Twitter hoax, was evidence for blogger and information architect Martin Belam of the ‘online honesty gap’ between bloggers and newspapers.

Belam asks:

“Can you remember the last time you heard a newspaper executive stand up and say that ‘One of the problems our businesses face in the digital era is that we have repeatedly been caught publishing completely untrue things on the internet, and in the face of that, we then neither correct nor retract them, or apologise to our audience’?”

Jem Stone, communities executive for the BBC Audio and Music department, raises another point in the comments below Belam’s post: not all bloggers might follow Geary’s lead, he says. “Joanna is an excellent journalist who deploys blogs, tweets, social media in her work. So making those corrections comes naturally to her. But not all bloggers do this do they?”

Full post at this link…

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The Birmingham Mail’s Gareth Barry letter and breaking ‘exclusives’ online

June 5th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

Earlier this week the Birmingham Mail (and its sister titles) scored a great scoop – an open letter from Aston Villa footballer Gareth Barry on why he has decided to leave the club to join Manchester City.

Breaking news procedures and the idea of the ‘exclusive’ have shifted (are arguably in flux) as journalism has moved online.

Blogging about the Mail’s scoop, Joanna Geary asks whether the title made the right decision not to post the letter in full until 12:30pm, having broken the story on the site earlier.

Did this allow the rest of the ‘pack’ to steal in on the Mail’s ‘exclusive’?

Mail editor Steve Dyson helpfully explains the editorial decisions behind breaking the story in this way:

“My thoughts at 7am conference when I realised the strength of what we had was to refuse any access to the letter for as long as possible. Tease it online and boost sales (…) The unexpected boost was Setanta, PA, Five Live, Sky Sports and TalkSport all calling us to beg for the letter and, upon understanding why we were saying ‘no’ for print sales, offering interviews with the editor and/or the Villa writer with ‘excerpts’ read out from the letter, and listeners/viewers told they could only read the full version in that night’s paper.”

Dyson says he believes the additional publicity was generated by not realising the letter in full immediately.

His comments are well worth a read – it’s also refreshing to see an editor interact so candidly on another blog on the editorial process.

David Higgerson, Trinity Mirror’s head of multimedia, also joined in the discussion, raising a couple of points about the publication schedule of the letter and whether this impacted on traffic:

“Did we lose out by delaying publication online? We’ll never know. My gut instinct is that yes, we probably did miss a bit of traffic online but the reaction when we put it online was so great that I’ve taken it as proof that if people know the original source of information online, they’ll flock to it.

“Interestingly, the article which contained the letter had a real surge around 4pm [the time the Mail originally said it would publish the letter in full], suggesting people responded to us saying what time it would appear online. Had they read it elsewhere before? Perhaps. It’s still very well read at the moment, along with Bill Howell’s analysis.”

As witnessed by the comments on Geary’s post, finding the balance between the news demands of print and online is still up for debate. Is there a best practice for handling this kind of story – or should it be judged on a story-by-story basis?

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Joanna Geary: ‘How I started blogging and how it changed my journalism’

Joanna Geary, who led a range of online and social media initiatives at the Birmingham Post before joining The Times, posts on how she got into blogging herself and the impact it has had on her journalism.

“[S]uddenly I didn’t really know what I was supposed to write about. Coming from journalism training that teaches you that there is a form and structure to the way you write, a empty blog page was a bit of a nightmare. There was no convention to cling to. It was entirely up to me what I wrote,” writes Geary, as she explains the different writing styles, building an audience and personal/professional boundaries.

Well worth a read.

Full post at this link…

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Tomorrow: 12th Journalism Leaders’ Forum in Preston

May 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

Tomorrow, May 12, sees three events – the Digital Editors Network meeting, an exhibition on journalism and the 12th Journalism Leaders’ Forum – take place during the Journalism Leaders Programme’s Spring meeting.

Mike Ward, head of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication at University of Central Lancashire, will chair the evening panel debate at the Journalism Leaders’ Forum, which takes place tomorrow between 18.00 and 19:15 in the Greenbank Lecture Theatre, University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

Panellists including Richard Frediani, head of news at ITV Granada and Joanna Geary, web development editor at The Times, will discuss the future and changing shape of journalism.

For more information on the forum email Debbie Williams or call 01772 894759.

Follow news and updates from the events on @journalism_live and on our main news channel.

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JEEcamp: Audio from the event

May 11th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Journalism

Journalism.co.uk attended the journalism and enterprise unconference, JEEcamp, last Friday.

Reports on the day will follow, including:

Kyle Macrae, founder of Scoopt, on why entrepreunership is the only option for journalists now

James Hatts from London-SE1.co.uk on community and hyperlocal news publishing

There’s already been some great videos, pictures and posts from the event – see Michael Haddon’s round-up, Martin Belam’s posts and John Welsh’s blog to name but a few – but some additional (rough) audio from Sue Greenwood’s presentation on self-publishing platform Sweeble and two panel discussions are below.

Sue Greenwood:
[audio:http://www.journalism.co.uk/sounds/sweeble.mp3]

Panel 1 featuring: (to come)

Journalism.co.uk’s own John Thompson (@johncthompson)

Jon Bounds, Birmingham: It’s Not Shit (@bounder)

[audio:http://www.journalism.co.uk/sounds/jeepanel.mp3]

Sue Heseltine from Birmingham City University

Chaired by Joanna Geary, web development journalist, business, Times Online (@timesjoanna)

Panel 2 featuring:

Dave Harte, economic development manager, Digital Birmingham

Jo Wadsworth, web editor, Brighton Argus (@jowadsworth)

Robin Hamman, Headshift (@cybersoc)

Andy Dickinson, journalism lecturer at UCLAN, (@digidickinson)

Robin Morley, assistant editor new media, BBC English Regions

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