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Paul Bradshaw: Objectivity has changed – why hasn’t journalism?

March 2nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Paul Bradshaw has blogged ahead of his forthcoming City University inaugural lecture, which is due to take place tomorrow, with thoughts about objectivism in journalism.

As journalists, however, we still argue that we are being objective by merely providing ‘both sides of the story’.

When stories were limited to 300 words or 30 seconds, there was justification for that version of objectivity: we did not have the luxury of thousands of words to expound upon why this source was selected for interview, the limitations of this dataset, or our own conception of the field under investigation.

Now those limits on space and time are removed by the web – but there are still limits on our own time, and the need to engage with our users: we cannot waste their time and ours on explaining methodology.

Bradshaw’s full post on Wannabe Hacks is at this link.

 


 

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OJB: UGC, the Giffords shooting and how ‘inaction can be newsworthy’

Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog has an interesting look at user-generated content and comment moderation, and the stories they can produce.

Bradshaw looks specifically at Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, which has been subject to strict moderation in the wake of the assassination attempt on Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. He points out that the decisions to remove certain comments and let others stand can be seen as representative of the page owner’s stance and could potentially give rise to a story.

Bradshaw also warns that trawling through comment threads on political pages is not the same as treading the streets. What you see there is not unadulterated content, it is closer to carefully edited campaign material.

Worth reading in full.

Full post on the Online Journalism Blog at this link.

Lost Remote has a post on another media issue to emerge from the Giffords shooting: the spreading of inaccurate claims on Twitter that Giffords had died, and subsequent removal of tweets by news organisations.

Full post on Lost Remote at this link.

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Online Journalism Blog: SE1’s James Hatts on Hyperlocal Voices

January 4th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Hyperlocal

Paul Bradshaw’s Hyperlocal Voices series takes a look at the SE1 site this week. The site has been running for 12 years and boasts half a million visits every month. Well worth a read for anyone in the business of hyperlocal journalism.

In the 1970s and 1980s there was a community newspaper called ‘SE1’ but that had died out, and our neighbourhood was just a small part of the coverage areas of the established local papers (South London Press and Southwark News).

We saw that there was a need for high quality local news and information and decided that together we could produce something worthwhile.

Full interview on the Online Journalism Blog at this link

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OJB: What online publishers can learn from Ofcom’s internet research

August 19th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Mobile, Online Journalism

Writing on the Online Journalism Blog, Paul Bradshaw shares key points from the internet section of Ofcom’s latest report on The Communications Market 2010, analysing the implications of each for online publishers.

1: Mobile is genuinely significant: 23 per cent of UK users now access the web on mobile phones (but 27 per cent still have no access to the web on any device).

Implication: We should be thinking about mobile as another medium, with different generic qualities to print, broadcast or web, and different consumption and distribution patterns.

Full post at this link

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HelpMeInvestigate.com looks at campaign expenses after Goldsmith case

Crowdsourcing website HelpMeInvestigate.com has launched probes into MPs’ campaign expenses. The move follows Channel 4’s investigation into Zac Goldsmith, who is alleged to have exceeded the spending limit set for his Richmond constituency.

So far, the focus has fallen on the closely-fought Edgbaston race, where Labour’s Gisela Stuart held her seat with a reduced majority of 1,274, but investigations have also begun in other Birmingham constituencies and in Brighton.

Posting on the HelpMeInvestigate.com blog, the site’s founder Paul Bradshaw said he was undergoing this investigation after Goldsmith and the Conservative Party claimed that they were justified in only accounting for election materials that were used in the campaign, as opposed to materials that were not used as they had become out-of-date.

“We want to see if this is true. Are other candidates not claiming for the expense of ‘unused’ materials? Or is Goldsmith an exception?” writes Bradshaw.

“We’ve started one investigation in Birmingham but would really welcome sister investigations in other towns and cities.”

The website is currently in beta testing, meaning new users can only access the site after requesting an invite.

HelpMeInvestigate on campaign expenses at this link.

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Hacks and Hackers look at health, education and leisure

July 27th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Events, Online Journalism

Online journalism expert Paul Bradshaw gives a detailed post on his experiences of a recent Hacks and Hackers day in Birmingham organised by Scraperwiki, experiences which he claims will “challenge the way you approach information as a journalist”.

Talking through the days events, Bradshaw observes how journalists had to adapt their traditional skills for finding stories.

Developers and journalists are continually asking each other for direction as the project develops: while the developers are shaping data into a format suitable for interpretation, the journalist might be gathering related data to layer on top of it or information that would illuminate or contextualise it.

This made for a lot of hard journalistic work – finding datasets, understanding them, and thinking of the stories within them, particularly with regard to how they connected with other sets of data and how they might be useful for users to interrogate themselves.

It struck me as a different skill to that normally practised by journalists – we were looking not for stories but for ‘nodes’: links between information such as local authority or area codes, school identifiers, and so on. Finding a story in data is relatively easy when compared to a project like this, and it did remind me more of the investigative process than the way a traditional newsroom works.

His team’s work led to the creation of a map pinpointing all 8,000 GP surgeries around the UK, which they then layered with additional data enabling them to view issues on a geographical measure.

See his full post here…

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Are you on the j-list? The leading innovators in journalism and media in 2010

July 22nd, 2010 | 14 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

Updated 05/08/2010

Recent industry lists ranking the great and good in journalism and the media fell a bit short of the mark for Journalism.co.uk. Where were the online innovators? Where were the journalists on the ground outside of the executives’ offices?

So we’ve compiled our own rundown listing those people we think are helping to build the future of journalism and the news media.

Some important points to note:

  • There are no rankings to this list – those included are from such varied areas of work it seemed pointless;
  • We will have missed some people out – let us know in the comments below or with the hashtag #jlist who you are working with that should be included;
  • We’ve listed groups as well as individuals – with individuals we hope you’ll see them as representing a wider team of people, who have worked together on something great;
  • And it’s not limited to 50 or 100 – we’ll see where it takes us…

So here’s the first batch. There’s a Twitter list of those included so far at this link and more will be added in the coming weeks.

Click on the ‘more’ link after these five to to see the full list.

Tomáš Bella

Tomáš Bella was editor-in-chief and deputy director of Sme.sk, the Slovak republic’s most popular news site. He was author of the first European newspaper-owned blogportal (blog.sme.sk, 2004) and the first digg-like service (vybrali.sme.sk, 2006). In April 2010 he co-founded Prague-based new media consultancy NextBig.cz and is working on a payment system to allow the access to all the premium content of major newspapers and TV stations with one payment.

Paul Steiger

While ProPublica’s not-for-profit, foundation-funded model may be something commercial news organisations can never share, its investment in and triumphing of investigative and data journalism cannot be overlooked. The way in which it involves a network of readers in its research and actively encourages other sites to “steal” its stories shows a new way of thinking about journalism’s watchdog role. Image courtesy of the Knight Foundation on Flickr.

Chris Taggart

Paul Bradshaw’s description of his fellow j-lister: “Chris has been working so hard on open data in 2010 I expect steam to pour from the soles of his shoes every time I see him. His ambition to free up local government data is laudable and, until recently, unfashionable. And he deserves all the support and recognition he gets.”

Ian Hislop/Private Eye

Not much to look at on the web perhaps, but the Eye’s successful mixture of satire, humour and heavyweight investigations has seen its circulation rise. It blaized a trail during the Carter-Ruck and Trafigura gagging ordeal and has even lent it’s support to j-list fellow the Hackney Citizen to protect press freedom from international to hyperlocal levels. Image courtesy of Nikki Montefiore on Flickr.

Brian Boyer

Amidst the talk of what journalists can learn from programmers and what coding skills, if any, journalists need, Brian Boyer was making the move the other way from programming to a programmer-journalist. His university and personal projects in this field have been innovative and have got him noticed by many a news organisation – not least the Chicago Tribune, where he now works as a news applications editor. He blogs at Hacker Journalist.

Ushahidi

Originally built to map reports from citizens of post-election violence in Kenya, Ushahidi’s development of interactive, collaborative and open source mapping technology has been adopted by aid agencies and news organisations alike. It’s a new means of storytelling and a project that’s likely to develop more tools for journalists in the future.

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Online innovator to leave university post after ‘complicated decision’

Online journalism innovator Paul Bradshaw has taken voluntary redundancy from his post as course leader for the online journalism MA at Birmingham City University, in what he says was a “complicated decision”.

Bradshaw, who is also founder of the Online Journalism Blog, hopes he can now invest more time in his own projects, with immediate plans to develop his Help Me Investigate site.

“It was a very complicated decision,” he told Journalism.co.uk. “There are a lot of opportunities around data journalism that I want to explore and I want to spend more time on Help Me Investigate. I felt it was probably the right time to dive in to more of those opportunities and now I have time to accept offers I have been made. But I am wary of taking too much work on. Part of the point is to invest more time in Help Me Investigate. I plan to start some development work and explore business models soon.”

Bradshaw is also already working on two different books, his own on magazine editing which is set to be completed by the end of the year and another dedicated to online journalism, which he is contributing to with former FT.com news editor Liisa Rohumaa, likely to be out by early next year.

On top of all that, he admits he may  keep his toes in the teaching pool.

“I will certainly miss parts of teaching,” he told Journalism.co.uk. “I absolutely, enormously enjoyed teaching the students this year. Some of their work has been the best so far. I may still do a bit of teaching, but I think I have always wanted to keep growing and developing. The students say they are gutted, but they were quite excited and positive about what I am doing. I am experiencing a huge jumble of emotions. I am excited about the possibilities but I am really going to miss the students and staff.”

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Online Journalism Blog: Paul Bradshaw on journalism and enterprise, blogging and JEEcamp

June 1st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Events

Editor of the Online Journalism Blog and reader in online journalism at Birmingham City University Paul Bradshaw talks to Matt Wardman about the opportunities running a blog has given him and why he decided to set up JEEcamp – an ‘unconference’ focusing on journalism and enterprise.

Interesting insight into what makes a good event – and why he decided to end JEEcamp after three years.

Full post at this link…

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The last #jeecamp in pictures

May 22nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

JEEcamp, the online journalism enterprise and experimentation unconference, was held for the last time yesterday (Friday 21 May 2010) in Birmingham but went out with a bang with excellent and revealing speeches from Stewart Kirkpatrick, founder of the Caledonian Mercury, and Simon Waldman, former director of digital strategy for the Guardian Media Group and now group product director at LOVEFiLM.

I have uploaded a few shots of the key speakers to flickr and created the slideshow below, which shows in order, JEEcamp organiser Paul Bradshaw (@paulbradshaw), Simon Waldman (@waldo), Karl Schneider (@karlschneider), Stewart Kirkpatrick (@calmerc), Mark Pack (@markpack), Siôn Simon (@sionsimon) and Matt Wardman (@mattwardman).

Expect other future great events from either Paul Bradshaw and/or his students in the future.

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