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Frontline Blog: Why Rob Crilly is moving on from Kenya

Journalist Rob Crilly has been based in Kenya for five years and he’s decided it’s time for a change. In this post he takes an honest look at his work: has he started to run out of ideas?

“Every year there are warnings of famine in Ethiopia. Every two years there is drought in north-eastern Kenya. And Somalia is on a constant slide into the abyss. Eventually the wide-eyed reporter becomes tired and jaded. (I had always been cynical, but that’s a different story.) It’s a gradual process that takes place unnoticed over years.”

Full post at this link…

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Microsoft’s Photosynth as a storytelling tool

Speaking at yesterday’s Association of Online Publisher’s (AOP) editorial technologies event, Microsoft executive producer Peter Bale extolled the virtues of Photosynth as a new visual storytelling tool.

The experimental, but publicly available tool, was used by CNN in its coverage of the Obama inauguration to thread 100s of photos together. These create a scenic panorama but can also be drilled into using additional feature Deep Zoom:

Screenshot of CNN's inauguration website

Within MSN its being used five or six times a week and the team are learning more about its capabilities with each use, Bale told Journalism.co.uk.

The product is being deployed commercially e.g for motoring sections to show car interiors in high detail. MSN also used PhotoSynth to display professional and user-contributed images during the recent heavy snowfall in the UK.

“What we’d like to do a lot more of is multiple crowd-contributed pictures where you can get several hundred or thousand people contributing a picture of a similar event, stitched together in a communal panorama,” he explained.

Photosynth works in combination with Microsoft’s alternative to Flash, Silverlight, which Bale says is ideally set up to enable map mash-ups and overlaying other content onto the threaded images.

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Royal Television Society journalism award winners in full

February 27th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Events

As Tony Burman predicted, the ‘news channel of the year’ award at last night’s Royal Television Society awards didn’t go to Al Jazeera. Instead, it went to the BBC – who did rather well on the night in several categories. Here’s the full list, with the judges’ comments:

Young Journalist of the year: Hannah Thomas-Peter – Sky News
“A combination of fantastic access and great insight has enabled our winner to help transform health coverage on Sky News.”
Nominees: Joe Crowley – Inside Out BBC South / Kate Taunton – Channel 4 News ITN for Channel 4 News

Nations and Regions Current Affairs: The Story of Michael Barnett – Inside Out BBC Yorkshire
“A powerful programme with a sure touch…with the confidence to let the story tell itself.”
Nominees: A Friend in Need – Focus ITV Meridian / Meat Hygiene – Week In Week Out Special BBC Wales

Nations and Regions News Coverage: Weston Pier Fire – The West Tonight ITV West for ITV1
“… comprehensive, engaging and professionally presented.  It had outstanding pictures and a real sense of an event which affected the whole community.”
Nominees: Boris’s Deputy – Ray Lewis Investigation BBC London News / The Darwin Trial North East Tonight for ITV1

Scoop of the Year: HBOS/Lloyds TSB Merger BBC News Channel
“… indeed ‘an extraordinary exclusive’ which heralded the extraordinary changes in the British banking system.”
Nominees: China – The Moment the Earth Shook ITV News / Canoe Man – Gerard Tubb Sky News

Presenter of the Year: Jon Snow – Channel 4 News ITN for Channel 4 News
“…yet another superb year, whether it was in the studio – interrogating politicians and bankers – or out in the field – from the Middle East to the United States. One jury member said ‘he’s just brilliant. There’s nothing more to say.'”
Nominees: Kay Burley – Sky News Sky News / Andrew Neil – BBC News

News Coverage – Home: The British Banking Crisis BBC News
“The winning entry started with a scoop of the first order and followed it with reportage and explanation of the highest quality. It was without doubt the story of the year and showed BBC News at its very best.”
Nominees: Ipswich – Guilty ITV News / Heathrow Crash BBC News

News Coverage – International:
Congo Crisis ITN for Channel 4 News
“Top class coverage of a consistently high standard… It was totally comprehensive, enterprising and managed brilliantly to use small individual stories to explain the bigger picture.”
Nominees: China – The Earthquake ITV News / Conflict in the Caucasus – Newsnight BBC Newsnight for BBC Two

News Channel of the Year: BBC News Channel
“The winning news channeldelivered a fantastic series of scoops on the story of the year. It was a channel you had to watch to keep abreast of the breaking economic news.”
Nominees: Al Jazeera English News Al Jazeera English News / Sky News Sky News

Current Affairs – Home: Primark: On the Rack – Panorama BBC for BBC One
“… not only an engaging watch but… thorough and also went the extra mile to lay bare the whole chain from refugee camp to the High Street rail.”
Nominees: Omagh: What The Police Were Never Told – Panorama BBC for BBC One / The Secret Peacemaker BBC for BBC Two

Current Affairs – International: Undercover in Tibet – Dispatches True Vision for Channel 4 Television
“…a truly great current affairs film that sheds light on the future. Filmed just months before Tibet erupted into rioting, this extraordinarily brave programme, made at great personal risk and with much hardship, illuminated the tensions and troubles of the country, with powerful testimony and pictures.”
Nominees: Britain’s Most Wanted – This World Mentorn Media for BBC for BBC Two / Iraq’s Lost Generation – Dispatches Hardcash for Channel 4 Television

Innovative News
: 10 Days to War – Newsnight BBC Newsnight for BBC Two
“The winning series harnessed everything from drama documentary to a special website to re-examine events leading to the Iraq war in 2003. The jury saw this as a brave and successful venture to capture a new and younger audience.”
Nominees: Unplugged Sky News / On The Frontline – Afghan Headcams ITV News

Specialist Journalist of the Year: Robert Peston – BBC News
“One journalist dominated this year’s specialist category.  [He] owned the story of the Credit Crunch and its impact on the whole economy.”
Nominees: Faisal Islam – Channel 4 News/ Channel 4 News at Noon ITN for Channel 4 News / Jason Farrell – Five News Sky News for Five News

News Programme of the Year: BBC News at Ten BBC News for BBC One
“In a vintage year for news output, this programme shone through. The jury felt it had led the way on a wide range of major stories and the experience and quality of its leading correspondents had simply been unmatched anywhere else. It had triumphed on the big story of the year but had supported that with first-class reporting throughout.”
Nominees: Five News with Natasha Kaplinsky Sky News for Five News / News at Ten ITV News

Camera Operator of the Year: Garwen McLuckie – Sky News Sky News
“The winner’s work in Africa was fearless and showed a remarkable empathy for the problems faced by people across the continent. His story-telling was impressive and his work demonstrated immense personal bravery and the highest technical skills.”
Nominees: Raul Gallego Abellan – Associated Press Television News Associated Press Television News / Stuart Webb – Channel 4 News ITN for Channel 4 News

Television Journalist of the Year
: Robert Peston – BBC News
“The winning correspondent produced probably the most sustained run of scoops and exclusives in the history of broadcast news in the UK… It would not be an exaggeration to say that a large part of the nation hung on the winner’s words every night – he personally revived appointment-to-view.”
Nominees: Martin Geissler – Africa Correspondent ITV News / Emma Hurd – Sky News Sky News

Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Wilkinson
“This year’s winner is, for the first time, a cameraman.  He is not a household name – but you will all recognise his work. Many of the defining moments of our era have been captured through his lens, and he is one of the true pioneers of his trade.”

Judges Awards: Zimbabwe News Teams

“[This year’s Judges’ Award] recognises and salutes the work of a disparate collection of journalists, cameramen, producers and others who work under the radar, who have helped the outside world to report and understand a major international story that would otherwise have remained largely hidden from view.”

Gold Medal: Stewart Purvis
“[The Gold Medal goes] to someone whose name may not be widely known by the public but who has influenced, directly or indirectly, virtually everything we’ve seen on screen tonight. He is, without doubt, one of the makers of modern television news.

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@press_freedom: a new Twitter service from Journalism.co.uk

January 29th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Press freedom and ethics

In December 2008, Journalism.co.uk launched a new Dipity Timeline to track international media and we watched it attract a considerable amount of interest. The idea is to bring together international journalism news and comment, focusing on issues which affect journalists’ freedom of speech. We’ve played around with it a bit and re-launched the timeline (so please make sure you update your bookmarks).

  • Twitter: now, as well as following the timeline, you can now follow @press_freedom on Twitter to get all the same updates you would find through the timeline.

It would be interesting to see if we (media and journalism reporters) could collaboratively track a breaking press freedom news story some point in the future, as the journalists did with the floods in Washington.

Please contact Judith (@jtownend on Twitter) or Laura (@lauraoliver on Twitter) at Journalism.co.uk with ideas for how to improve the service, or with suggestions for your own involvement.

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Experiences of using Publish2 to report the Washington flooding

As reported on the Journalism.co.uk main site, Washington newspaper rivals have joined forces to publish shared links relating to extreme flooding in the Western Washington region, in one of the first examples of ‘networked link journalism’ in action.

Journalism.co.uk contacted Paul Balcerak, assistant editor of dynamic media at Sound Publishing, publisher of the PNWLocalNews.com site.

Further to his comments in the main piece, Balcerak shares here his thoughts on using Publish2, the link journalism site and application:

What does it have over other link applications (e.g Ma.gnolia/Delicious)?
“The big selling point for me is the create-a-widget that lets you bundle links by tag and embed them (via Javascript) on your web page. Sure, if we wanted to build our own Delicious widget we could have done that, but this was already there for us and allowed us to work a lot faster.”

What benefit is it to you to work with your competitors?
“It made our jobs a lot easier, too. Pnwlocalnews is an aggregate site for all the sites under the Sound Publishing umbrella (about 35 of them, which all represent small, community newspapers).

“Our newsroom staffs aren’t huge – some consist of only a couple or few people – and to be frank, there’s just no way for us to have all the breaking news, all the time.”

At the moment a lot of US regional journalists seem to be using it (hasn’t really taken off in UK yet) – do you think it suits that environment particularly?
“I can’t really say, as I’m really not aware of how the environment outside the U.S. differs.

“I think part of it might be that it’s sort of this ‘Delicious for Journalists,’ which appeals to those who are hesitant to embrace ‘citizen journalism,’ or whatever we’re calling it. It’s more exclusive.

“For my part, it’s just another aggregate network that a ton of great journalists are on – why wouldn’t I be there?”

How could Publish2 improve its service for journalists?
“There are a few little things that could be improved (I can’t seem to find a search function to look up other people on the network) but I think the only real downside is that, well, it’s another aggregate network.

“It’s another username/password that you have to remember and log into everyday. If the Publish2 people ‘Who Make Things Happen’ could get it listed in Shareaholic or ShareThis, that might make it a little more convenient.”

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‘Twelve Days of Online Media Christmas…’ Journalism.co.uk’s melodious 2008 list

Well, we could have brought you ‘Flocking Around the Twitmas Tree’, ‘We Three Nings’ or just a straightforward end of the year list (if only to add to our list of lists), but instead we chose this: your sing-along treat to round-up 2008 is the ‘Twelve Days of Online Media Christmas’ (hyperlinked to relevant stories, but bear in mind it’s a selection of picks and not comprehensive…).

On the first day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … An editor in a law court

Colin Myler, News of the World

On the second day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Two arrested hacks

Milton Keynes Citizen’s Sally Murrer / ITV’s John Ray (video below)

… And an editor in a law court.

On the third day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Three web gaffes

Steve Jobs and CNN / United Airlines stock collapse / AFP photo ‘altering’

… Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the fourth day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Four journo forums

Wired Journalists / Journalism Research / Visual Editors / Journalism.co.uk forum

… Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the fifth day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends

Stephen Fry / Paul Carr / John Cleese / Mark Mayhew (Hurricane Gustav) / the Mad Men

… Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the sixth day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Six news sites out-linking

WashingtonPost.com, BBC, NYTimes.com, CNN.com, Drudge Report, Not the AP (they didn’t even want to be linked to)

… Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the seventh day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Seven feeds a-mashing

Publish2.com, Daylife, Delicious, Digg, Technorati, FriendFeed, Yahoo Pipes

… Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the eighth day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Eight maps a’plotting

Hurricane Gustav tracker, BBC Beijing Olympics map, PaperCuts newspaper job losses map, Economist pre-election map, NYTimes.com post-election map, Managingnews.com’s newstracker during Chinese earthquake, Interactive maps of Canadian tornado damage, Journalism.co.uk new timeline-maps.

… Seven pipes a-mashing, Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the ninth day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Nine strikers strikin’

Le Monde, Writers’ Guild of America, Australian Fairfax newspapers, Express Newspapers, Sheffield Star.

(or at least thinking about it…) Trinity Mirror Midlands, Telegraph Media Group, ITV regional, BBC Scotland.

Eight maps a-plotting, Seven pipes a-mashing, Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the tenth day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Ten blogs a-blooming

10,000words.net, Adrianmonck.comJay Rosen’s PressThink, OnlineJournalismBlog, BBCJournalismLabs, BusinessMediaBlog, RegretTheError.com, Publishing2.com, Spokesman Review’s Daily Briefing, Tomorrow’s News Tomorrow’s Journalists

… Nine strikers strikin’, Eight maps a-plotting, Seven pipes a-mashing, Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Eleven papers packing

(up for new offices) The Guardian, the Birmingham Mail, the Independent.

(away their desks forever) NY Sun, Belfast’s La Nua, Kazakhstan’s Law and Justice, Moscow’s The Exile, US Post newspapers, Trinity Mirror weekly titles, Switzerland’s Mittelland, three editions of Spanish Metro.

Ten blogs a-blooming, Nine strikers strikin’, Eight maps a-plotting, Seven pipes a-mashing, Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Twelve sites a-starting

Trinity Mirror mobile sites, outside.in UK, Spot.Us, Hubdub.com, Coventry Telegraph, FT’s Alphaville Long Room, Magicalia, DailyPostCymraeg.co.uk, Time Out Kuala Lumpur, the BusinessDesk Northwest, the Daily Beast.

(and re-focusing) CSMonitor.com.

… Eleven papers packing, Ten blogs a-blooming, Nine strikers strikin’, Eight maps a-plotting, Seven pipes a-mashing, Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks and an editor in a law court!

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‘Trust and integrity in the modern media’ – Chris Cramer’s speech to Nottingham Trent University

This is the full transcript of a speech given by Chris Cramer, global head of multimedia for Reuters’ news operations, at Nottingham Trent University last night. Journalism.co.uk’s report on the address can be read at this link.

So I accepted this invitation shortly after I retired from CNN international – where I was managing director and where I’d been for 11 years or so.

I became a consultant for Reuters news in January and now, in the last few months, have become their first global editor for multimedia.

So, I’m talking to you today as a working journalist, broadcaster and manager for 43 years now and what I would like to talk about is ‘trust and integrity in the modern media’.

I also want to ask the question of you whether the media has maybe lost the message somewhere along the way?

More »

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Too old to become a journalist: How I started freelancing

October 9th, 2008 | 6 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Training

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.

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Hurricane twitterer Mark Mayhew on rebuilding after Ike and Gustav

September 22nd, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Citizen journalism, Online Journalism

Mark Mayhew, who used microblogging service Twitter to update from New Orleans as Hurricane Gustav hit, is using a range of multimedia tools to document efforts to rebuild towns and cities affected by Gustav and Hurricane Ike.

Starting with Twitter again, Mayhew has set up the @RebuildHouston channel to update on the recovery efforts in the Galveston and Houston area. He’ll also be posting longer reports, videos and photos to CNN’s iReport site.

“I’m leaving New Orleans as part of a two person crew who has a van that is “locked and loaded” (my associate’s term) and should be arriving in Houston on Monday morning. We have stockpiled food, tools and we have an EVDO-enabled laptop with a digital camera (that can shoot vid as well,” writes Mayhew on iReport.

Mayhew hopes local journalists will get involved with his coverage, creating a ‘collaborative journalism’ project.

He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty either – posting the following ad for ‘”pay what you want” clean up/home repair/property management’ on Craigslist:

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CNN mangles Hurricane Ike headline

September 15th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

Over on Wired Journalists, Rafael Sangiovanni, web producer for the Miami Herald, was quick enough to grab and post a shot of CNN’s questionable headline as Hurricane Ike hit the US.

Hit or miss?

(It’s certainly not going to be a hit for search engines and it looks pretty awkward in my opinion)

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