Tag Archives: multimedia

Survey attempts to track the changing skills of online journalists

We know that many journalists today aim to have a finger in every multimedia pie – a ‘print’ journalist wants to understand how to communicate by video or audio, while online reporters should be prepared to build and manage online communities.

The Online Journalism Review is running a simple survey to measure this changing skillset of modern-day online journalists.

A few points, before we get to the vote: First, I’m just going to assume that everyone’s got basic reporting, text writing and copy editing, so those aren’t listed as options. Next, I do not wish to infer that everyone needs to develop all of these skills. Many journalists continue to work in newsrooms where they are expected to specialize. And even independent journalists often can rely on networks, contractors, vendors and open source solutions to cover many of their publishing needs. So if you don’t want help with a particular skill, just leave the box next to it blank.

But the more skills you develop, the more freedom and flexibility you have as a journalist in the online publishing market. I know personally OJR readers who’ve mastered each of the skills listed below, so if you do want to add more to your journalism repertoire, your fellow readers have the capacity to help.

The results already make for interesting reading, with the growing importance of good images and strong communities online reflected in the statistics – so far rated the two top skills mastered by journalists during their career

See the full post here…

Innovative Interactivity (II): Interactive iPad app lets you choose your own story

Tracey Boyer looks at Touching Stories, an application developed for the iPad by two US, interactive design studios, which has been used to create a series of documentary films.

In the free app, directors Sean Ehringer, Erich Joiner, Tom Routson, Geordie Stephens and Jason Zada shot four short interactive documentaries and combined them into one storytelling interface called Touching Stories. The end result? An exhilarating choose-your-own-adventure where “you will be able to peel back more layers of the story by how you interact.”

Full post on Innovative Interactivity at this link…

Video below courtesy of Vimeo:

Beet.tv: WaPo plans live video programmes for hundreds of reporters

The Washington Post is planning to launch hundreds of live video shows hosted by reporters using webcams from their desks and a new version of the title’s existing video player.

The programmes will be developed to include live chats with story sources and commentators, and feature questions from readers about the topic being discussed, posted as a webchat around the video.

“We’re looking at this as an opportunity to conduct journalism in real-time,” Hal Straus, interactives and community editor for the Post, tells Beet.tv.

Full story at this link…

Mastering Multimedia: Improving video on newspaper websites

Many newspaper-produced video stories are boring. The best stories have surprises sprinkled throughout the timeline, which helps keep the viewer engaged. This is mature storytelling that most newspaper video producers have failed to master.

Colin Mulvany offers some excellent advice on what newspaper publishers doing video can improve, including tips on storytelling, editing and the basics of subject matter.

Full post at this link…

On the same note, Seth Siditsky, assistant managing editor for visuals at New Jersey’s Star-Ledger paper and NJ.com website, tells Journalism.co.uk about how newspaper video is progressing in the US.

New York Times launches behind-the-scenes video feature

The New York Times has launched a new daily video feature on NYTimes.com.

TimesCast, which is available on the newspaper’s homepage between 1:00pm and 2:00pm EST Monday to Friday, falls somewhere between an ordinary television news broadcast and a short behind-the-scenes documentary. Viewers see segments of the daily page one meeting, followed by various reporters and editors in conversation about stories they are working on.

Previous days’ episodes will be available via the Times’ online video section.

Follow this link to see the first TimesCast episode in full.

“This is another example of our continuing emphasis on video, which represents one of the largest growth areas in digital media,” said Denise Warren, senior vice president and chief advertising officer, The New York Times Media Group and general manager, NYTimes.com.

Last December the Times launched TimesSkimmer, a new format for organising online content that allows users greater control over layout.

Q&A: XCITTA, Italy’s new local news network

A network of local, multimedia news sites has gone live in Italy. XCITTA’s sites, which currently cover 10 Italian cities including Rome and Milan, are supported by a team of full-time journalists and freelancers who are encouraged to work remotely and engage with their readers online and via social media sites.

Each city site follows the same template with a strong emphasis on visuals – there are plenty of images and video clips embedded, as well as the pictorial navigation bar – and the sites in the rest of the network are accessible via a navigation bar at the top of the homepage.

Journalism.co.uk put some questions about the new sites to director Fabio Amato:

What gave you the idea for XCITTA?
The idea first came from an Italian-American entrepreneur, who didn’t see why there couldn’t be a website in Italy where journalism, participation from users and local news stories couldn’t be joined together in a network between 10 cities.

In the US this model already exists with sites like Gothamist. Our challenge is to reproduce this system in Italy, where inhabitants are more dislocated and where urban areas are less populated than in America.

How do you think to make money and how are you funded?
Essentially, the main source of revenue will be advertising. Although we are a network of local information, ads will be placed by an agency at national level.

The owner of the group is Vincent Turco, who has had a career in advertising and consulting for companies. We also have two members from Metacomunicatori, an important advertising agency located in the north east of Italy.

What’s your mission?
The network is complex and new, but basically we have one rule above all others: to publish only news that has an impact on the city’s life.

We are against having a mission statement as we consider this a bad habit. In our daily work, our reporters work where and about what they are passionate about. There’s not a space named ‘editorial office’ but rather a channel – the internet – where we work and as such our team is not stationary, Each XCITTA journalist has three tools: a laptop, an iPhone and a video camera. With these tools he can be connected with the other journalists and with those that live in the town.

At the moment, we have 17 journalists and a variable number of freelancers. Our journalists are normally under 30-years-old.

What are your targets?
Our first objective is to get half a million users a month, which is definitely ambitious. We will then aspire to expand to 20 and then 30 cities, and, if our project works, maybe other European countries.

Why the Third Sector offers a new way for journalists

Why did you go into journalism?

For lots of us, it probably had something to do with the chance to tell stories that matter, uncover unreported tragedies, make a difference to society – and make some money too.

It doesn’t take long at any news desk for this fantasy to be beaten out of most of us; and as for the money part, well it would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

But what if you could make money and travel the world reporting social and humanitarian issues? What about a chance to scratch that Pulitzer itch?

Well, meet the journalists who are actually making that happen: the photojournalists, print reporters and multimedia producers who’ve found a new market in NGOs and other businesses – and are producing run-away content for it.

The NGO market is a perfect example of what entrepreneurial journalism evangelists mean when they talk about ‘thinking laterally’ and ‘finding new business models’. For a start it’s a large sector, with a huge variety of possible customers – from massive charities like the RNIB, Oxfam and Medecins Sans Frontiers, to the smallest non-profits looking for multimedia storytelling. It’s a sector with access to amazing stories, stories which benefit both the journalist (hello awesome portfolio!) and the charity itself.

And this market has emerged at the time when non-profits are desperately looking for new ways to connect to possible sponsors and fundraisers, not to mention getting their cause open to a wider public.

So, who are the big players? Businesses are already established in the UK and Europe, but it won’t surprise you to learn the US is where it’s really taken off.


Founded in New York by Multimedia Producer Brian Storm, MediaStorm is actually 15 years old, created as part of a university project in 1996. It was brought back to life in 2005, “with a focus on creating cinematic narratives for distribution across a variety of platforms.”

And its cinematic approach is certainly what makes it stand out from the crowd. MediaStorm’s team of photojournalists, audio editors and visual producers are known for producing slick multimedia projects for newspapers and non-profit organisations, and packing a punch.

And for their efforts, they have no fewer than three Emmys on their shelves and even more nominations; reckon you could win an Emmy in your job in the mainstream media?

MediaStorm’s success owes in part to a business model which doesn’t rely solely on journalistic or third sector commissions. As well as selling DVDs, and even T-Shirts on their website, they own a slice of the lucrative ‘multimedia training workshop‘ pie.


Following closely behind are smaller but equally impressive outfits, including Story4 and Weyo.

The latter, formed by Christoper Tyree and Stephen M Katz, has a twelve-strong team, the majority of which work on projects for domestic American charities.

Their pitch is based on an ability to convey stories “through compelling visual and narrative journalism” and they work under the agreeable slogan: “for people to act, they must truly believe”.

A secret to Weyo’s business model is Katz and Tyree’s bootstrapping approach to starting the company. Tyree told PDN Online last year that they invested $15,000 in the business, mostly on equipment.

Bombay Flying Club

Running away with the award for best name for a multimedia company is Danish/Canadian collective, Bombay Flying Club.

They describe themselves as an ‘audio visual production house’ with a speciality not just in photojournalism and multimedia but in flash design and post production. A mixed bag of clients includes the New York Times, Globe and Mail newspapers and small charities, including Dan Church Aid.

In the last year, the small team of three core photojournalists have produced stories in Ethiopia, India and Afghanistan, and on a business level they likely benefit from being an international collective with potential clients in Europe and North America.

Their business model is bolstered by sponsorship from Canon, and they’re often seen training others around the world, including a Photojournalism Workshop in Istanbul in June.


Flying the British flag is the small but ambitious outfit Duckrabbit. Founded by former BBC radio producer Ben Chesterton and photojournalist David White, their clients include charity Medicins Sans Frontiers.

Chesterton and White also sell their experience and knowledge in the form of training workshops for photographers and even for the non-profits themselves.

Passionate about both the third sector and letting those involved tell their own stories, Duckrabbit’s work has taken them to Sri Lanka, Kenya and most recently Bangladesh to report on Climate Change. A recent high-profile commission for Medecins Sans Frontiers gained much praise.

The growing numbers of laid-off journalists (and those thinking more as entrepreneurs) indicates that this is a sector which is only going to grow. With charities’ tight budgets, its money making potential is limited to a certain extent – but right now it’s paying more than papers, and it allows the right journalists to pursue both a financially and creatively rewarding new career path.

Inspired? LiveBooks produced a practical guide to entering this arena in summer 2009 – click here for more.

(Disclaimer: I am an occasional blogger for Duckrabbit)

Advancing the Story: What CNN expects from ‘all-platform journalists’

Advancing the Story reports on attributes required by CNN for its all-platform journalists (APJs) in the US. Victor Hernandez, director of coverage, said that the organisation has had trouble finding people with the necessary skills.

Speaking to broadcast journalists at an Radio-Television News Directors Association workshop Hernandez said he is looking for people who exemplify four core attributes:

  • Strong editorially
  • Technically superior
  • On-air presence
  • Exceptional mindset

Full post and video at this link…

Reporter’s guide to multimedia proficiency – now available for download in PDF

Mindy McAdams’ comprehensive guide to multimedia proficiency is now available to download in PDF from her website.

The 42-page document is fully linked and usable online in most web browsers, Adobe Reader, or in Preview on the Mac OS, so there’s no need to waste trees in order to read it.

McAdams has licenced the entire document  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License so users are free to share, distribute, reuse and even remix it, in line with the CC conditions.

The booklet comes straight from a series of 15 blog posts, written as guidance to those who want to transform themselves into multimedia journalists. Her succinct guide includes tips on blogging, audio interviews, podcasts, photography, and video.

Advice from Guardian.co.uk’s online journalism Q&A

On Friday Journalism.co.uk took part in a live Q&A  hosted by the The Guardian’s careers section, allowing new and experienced journalists the opportunity to ask industry professionals for advice on conquering the world of online journalism.

The multimedia panel on hand to answer questions were:

Paul Gallagher, head of online editorial, Manchester Evening News
Laura-Jane Filotrani, site editor, Guardian Careers
Sarah Hartley, digital editor, The Guardian
Alison Gow, executive editor, digital, Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post
Laura Oliver, senior reporter, Journalism. co.uk
Madeline Bennett, editor of technology news sites V3.co.uk and The Inquirer
Paul Bradshaw, senior lecturer in online journalism, Birmingham City University
John Hand, duty editor, UK desk BBC News website
Alison White, community moderator, The Guardian

Here’s our round-up of the best advice from Friday’s event on how to make it as a successful online journalist in the digital age. You can also read the panel’s responses in full on the online journalism Q&A page on Guardian.co.uk.

Jump to:

What is the best subject to study to help me break into journalism?

[asked by Matt, who is studying English literature and language at college and asked if going on to study an English degree would help him prepare for a career in journalism]

John Hand: “I’m often asked which is the best subject to study at university and the answer is really that there is no particularly bad choice. The best newsroom has a good mix of people with different knowledge areas – for example, I think every editor in the country would love to have someone with the in-depth health knowledge of a medical degree on their team. Of course, any degree course that allows you to develop your writing and analytical skills (I always think history is a clever choice) would be better than most.

“The most important thing is to get some vocational training. Many editors themselves initially came through NCTJ courses (http://www.nctj.com/) so would respect those, but there are also many media organisations that offer their own in-house (or even external) training. If you want to get into news journalism, the key question to ask of any training scheme is how good their law course is.”

Sarah Hartley: “Grab as much work experience as you can throughout your uni years. Who knows what the economic climate will be like when you graduate but it may well be that you can find an employer who will put you through a block release course or similar. New schemes for apprenticeships, internships and such are bound to come through in that time.”

Madeline Bennett: “Has your college got a student newspaper or website? If so, volunteering to write for that would be a good starting point and showcase for your work. If not, why not start one? This is also the case for when you go to uni, student papers can be a great place to launch your journalism career.”

But what if I can’t afford to go to university?

[Forum user Dan Holloway asked: how does someone who has no choice but carry on a full-time job to make ends meet go about switching careers to online journalism?]

Alison White: “My advice would be to perhaps take some evening classes in journalism if possible – while I was at uni I did a 10-week course, one evening a week, about freelancing and a two-day course about getting into journalism. Or how about some work experience? Newspapers and other organisations are less well-staffed at weekends, I’m sure they’d appreciate some help with uploading content or other duties. Once you’ve got to know some people you can always keep in touch in the hope they might point you towards job opportunities or further work experience.”

Madeline Bennett: “Look for courses that focus on online journalism or multimedia skills, there might be some weekend or evening classes available that you can do to support your NCTJ. Also these courses are a good place to meet people who can help you get your first job in journalism, as they’ll often be run by current working journalists.”

Laura Oliver: “Start experimenting – if you can find the time outside of work to run a blog, contribute to other websites, you’ll learn a great deal about the basics of online publishing. Contact sites and other blogs that interest you and offer postings. Look at successful bloggers and think about what they are doing that makes them influential/profitable. Here are a couple of posts that might help too regarding building an online brand as a journalist:



What skills do I need to be an online journalist?

[Forum user Dean Best asked: what are the top online-specific skills I should attain to improve my online skills and better my chances of moving up the ladder?]

Laura-Jane Filotrani: “To be able to demonstrate a passion for digital – by this I mean that you are active online; you use the net; you have a profile online; you use and understand community; you are excited by being able to reach people using the internet; you want to find out the latest developments.”

Alison White: “A good knowledge of SEO and the importance of linking to others and providing ‘added value’ to the reader; i.e. give them the story but perhaps with a link to a video, an online petition, a Facebook page etc. News to me seems more of a package now rather than a traditional delivery.”

Paul Bradshaw:

“1. Understand how RSS works and how that can improve your newsgathering, production and distribution. I cover a little of that in this post:


“2. Engage with online communities around your specialist area, help them, provide valuable information and contacts, and then when you need help on something, they’ll be there for you in return. It will also build a distribution network for your content.

“3. Possibly hardest, but force yourself to experiment and make mistakes with all sorts of media. If you can make yourself entertaining as well as informative then that can really work very well.”

How can I make the transition to online journalism?

[‘Malini’ asked: how do I go about breaking into the field of online journalism? And why would anyone pay and retain a writer when they can easily get so much content for free?]

Paul Bradshaw: “Use free writing to build a reputation and contacts; and sell the valuable stuff that you generate from that. Ultimately you should aim to become reliable enough for them to want to hire you when they are hiring.”

Sarah Hartley: “Writers have always provided free content – be it letters to the editor, local band reviews, poetry or whatever, so being online will only further the opportunity for that sort of exposure and that can only be a good thing for diversity and choice.”

Paul Gallagher: “I have taught myself some coding skills like HTML and I believe it does help a lot to have some technical knowledge, not necessarily because you will need them in the job but because it really helps to be able to communicate well with the programmers and developers in your company.”