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Poynter: Online video proves big traffic generator for Miami Herald

February 7th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Multimedia, Online Journalism

The Miami Herald site has seen a 25 per cent increase in visitors as a direct result of using video – making movies the second biggest driver behind its stories.

And it claims part of its success is down to getting rid of reporters and replacing them with videographers.

Visual journalist Chuck Fadely, interviewed on Poynter.org, says having a designated video team frees up reporters to get on with writing and improves the quality of the video output:

Three or four years ago we were training reporters, but we discovered it was like teaching a pig to sing; it annoys the pig and frustrates the teacher. Back then we had a couple of reporters who got it. Since the staff reductions they don’t have time to work on videos, and the quality level was lower, so we’ve basically given up on reporter-produced videos.

While many news sites dismissed video as ineffectual and expensive, the Herald decided to use it to consolidate popular subject areas, increase the time people spent on the site and engage them in new ways.

After showing video for six years it found that sport and breaking news attracted the most viewings, so it concentrated on these areas rather than experimenting. It also started partnering with TV stations to expand its brand.

See the full story on Poynter at this link.

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#FollowJourn: @danowen/online editor

September 25th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Dan Owen

Who? Executive editor online, Trinity Mirror

What? Responsible for the print editions of North Wales Weekly News and the Denbighshire Visitor, and edits companion websites for North Wales such as dailypost.co.uk. Prior to this he was a reporter for North Wales Weekly News.

Where? @danowen

Contact? dan.owen [at] northwalesnews.co.uk

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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BeetTV: Interview with editor of HuffPo’s new tech section

Beet TV recorded this interview with  Jose Antonio Vargas, the former Washington Post reporter now editing the Huffington Post’s new technology section that launched on Monday. Technology is anthropology, Vargas says.

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The Jobless Journalist: Week four – Are subbing and reporting roles merging into one?

September 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs

This is the fourth post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.

Last week I blogged about whether you should apply for subbing jobs if you’re a reporter or a features writer.

This week I’ve spoken to two journalists – one print and one online – about the ‘concertina effect,’ i.e. whether subbing and reporting roles are merging into one, particularly in an online environment.

Peter Sands is a veteran newspaper sub and director of PA Training and insists that the standalone sub is far from dead.

Even with web publishing where content goes live before it is subbed (meaning the reporter has to ensure copy is clean first), Sands says the role of the sub-editor is still vital.

“I would definitely say that you have to have a second pair of eyeballs,” he says.

Sands was editor of the Northern Echo in the early 1990s and admits much has changed since then.

At that time there was real animosity between subs and reporters: “In Darlington there was the Red Lion pub for subs and the Britannia for reporters and never the two should meet,” he says.

While Sands believes the sub is alive and kicking, he acknowledges that their role is being redefined. “The divide [between reporters and subs] has really gone now,” he says.

Sub, web editor and corporate blogger Fiona Cullinan agrees: “Divide?  What divide? The divide is less about reporting versus subbing and more about are you engaged or not, are you digitally included or not?”

“By not engaging more in online environments, traditional journalists are not developing their digital writing or subbing skills, let alone all the other skills that go with publishing to the web, like picture research under Creative Commons licences, image manipulation, linking skills, SEO knowledge, how to upload and promote content, and the big one: the ability to deal with readers talking back to you.”

Apart from the odd typo creeping in when you publish first and hone later, many reporters who write straight to the web can face serious libel issues.

Cullinan says checking factual inaccuracies and avoiding legal pitfalls is ‘perfect sub-editor territory‘.

“From what I’ve read, reporters in multimedia newsrooms are being asked to sub their own work; meanwhile subs are being made redundant,” she adds.

“How reporters are supposed to sub to old-school standards, perhaps with minimal experience or training, and 24-hour newsroom deadline pressures, should be interesting!”

Cullinan also points out that the comments section can act as a ‘rather more public second set of eyes, pointing out your typos and incorrect facts’.

The upshot? To keep up with the changing face of journalism a reporter needs to be savvy about subbing as well as having other web skills, but it is still the sub-editor who has the last word.

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BBC faces attack from both sides

September 17th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Comment

“At a time when the government’s Digital Britain report has argued that the licence fee should be ‘top-sliced’ and shared with the BBC’s competitors, the corporation finds itself unusually short of friends and increasingly vulnerable,” George Eaton wrote on NewStatesman.com at the beginning of September, following James Murdoch’s attack on the BBC in Edinburgh.

Furthermore, ‘with a Tory party increasingly sceptical of the BBC’s size and scale on the brink of power, the corporation faces the threat of a powerful alliance between Cameron’s Conservatives and Murdoch’s News Corporation,’ he suggested.

But it’s not just the Conservatives it needs to worry about: yesterday the corporation found itself attacked again – this time by the culture secretary (and former BBC reporter) Ben Bradshaw (speech in full at this list) who said the BBC has probably reached its size limit, the licence fee could be reduced, and that the trust model might not be ‘sustainable’.

The chairman of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons is defensive of the BBC (a position criticised by Bradshaw last night: ‘I know of no other area of public life where (…) the same body is both regulator and cheerleader’) and wants to speak directly to the licence fee payers.

Last week, for example, the chairman chose to issue an ‘open letter’ (or as MediaGuardian accurately pointed out, a press release) on the BBC website with evidence of licence fee payer support for the corporation.

Asked on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning why he bypassed the government with this statement, he said:

“Well how else do I communicate with the people that I am charged by the charter with representing? I am not charged with obeying ministers, I am charged with protecting the independence of the BBC and representing the licence fee payer.”

The chairman issued this statement this morning, defending the Trust:

“The next Charter Review [of the Trust] is many years down the line [2017] and we should be judged on our performance then. In the meantime, we have been set up to be, as the then secretary of state put it in 2006, ‘the voice, eyes and ears of licence fee payers’.

“That means reshaping the BBC; defending its strength and independence; and also protecting the investment licence fee payers have made, and if that means upsetting a minister along the way, it is unfortunate but so be it.”

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#FollowJourn: @dankerins/web journalist

September 14th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Dan Kerins

Who? Web journalist, Southern Daily Echo

What? Prior to joining the Southern Daily Echo, Dan worked as a reporter for the Portsmouth News

Where? @dankerins and @dailyecho

Contact? dan.kerins [at] dailyecho.co.uk

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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Journalism Daily: Timetric on data journalism, new book on financial journalism and Northcliffe’s hybrid model

September 8th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism Daily

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:

#FollowJourn:

On the Editors’ Blog:

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

September 8th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Multimedia, Online Journalism, Training

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.

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The Jobless Journalist: Week two: CVs and style guides

September 8th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs

This is the second post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.

You can also read posts by our previous ‘Redundant Journalist’ blogger at this link.

When I was made redundant my CV was a bit like an ex-race horse: out of shape and in need of attention. That’s the thing with CVs – after you get the job they get put out to grass and tend to become a little moth-eaten.

But, after two weeks of serious overhauling, I’ve finally got it to the stage where with each application I can just alter a few words to suit the prospective employer.

If you’re a reporter and there’s a features job going, what should you do? I’m trained in news and specialise in the arts and have developed CVs tailored to each sector.

Having spent a lot of time on both CVs I think I might be developing career schizophrenia. Should I concentrate on one or keep them both on the boil?

I’m not a big fan of self-help books or books ‘for dummies’, but a journalist friend recommended I read Max Eggert’s the ‘Perfect CV’. It’s a great guide to writing CVs and covering letters and offers neat tips such as ending a covering letter with the suggestion of a follow up call.

With hindsight I should have read this book before I even started applying for jobs. It would have saved me cringing at things I had written (and sent) that Eggert categorically says you shouldn’t include, like cracking a joke in your CV.

Now, I completely agree with this. Your CV is a formal and professional representation of you and your career. But what about your covering letter? This is where you’ve got to get yourself noticed and what better way to do this than with a bit of wit?

I suppose I have to come clean here. In a recent application to the Sunday Times I included a line about how I’d doorstepped Steve McQueen at the Venice Biennale with my dressed accidentally tucked into my knickers.

I thought it showed I had the confidence to approach anyone in any circumstance. And I did get my quote, although I didn’t get an interview, which makes me think that comedy is probably not the best policy.

I spent a lot of time on this particular application. When I’m freelancing or blogging I usually write to the Guardian style guide, but this time I matched my CV to the Times style guide.

A friend of mine has since confided that she thought I was going slightly mad and I have to admit I thought my attention to detail bordered on the obsessive.

The trouble is, when you’re applying for a job with a national where they might get 1,000 applications in one week [or a reported 1,200 – Ed], you really have to go the extra mile to get noticed.

If anyone who has had to sift through thousands of covering letters has any tips for what you should and shouldn’t include, I’d be very interested to hear from you.

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A reminder of the ‘perils of reporting’ in Pakistan

On Monday, Shamshad TV reporter, Janullah Hashimzada, was killed in Pakistan.

The murder of the Afghan journalist is a reminder of the very real threat that faces journalists in the region, said the International Press Institute.

Janullah Hashimzada was travelling by mini-bus near the Pakistani town of Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district when the vehicle was intercepted. Assailants fired at Janullah, killing him and seriously injuring his colleague Ali Khan. No one has claimed responsibility for the killing so far.

“Hashimzada was murdered in cold blood because he dared to exercise the profession of journalist, and knew too much,” said IPI director, David Dadge. “His death underscores the perils of reporting from such a dangerous part of the world for journalists.”

Other casualties this year include:

  • Muhammad Imran, a trainee cameraman with Express TV and Saleem Tahir Awan, a freelance reporter with the local dailies Eitedal and Apna Akhbar, were both killed on January 4, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the Government Polytechnic College in Dera Ismail Khan in the Northwest Frontier Province.
  • Musa Khankhel, a reporter for Geo TV and the English-language newspaper The News, was shot dead on February 18,  while on assignment covering a peace march led by Muslim cleric Sufi Muhammad in the Swat valley.
  • Sadiq Bacha Khan, Aaj TV correspondent was gunned down, on August 17 in broad daylight in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan.

103 cases of ‘intimidation or threats’ against journalists were recorded from May 2008 through May 2009, according to a report by the Pakistani media research group Intermedia. Numbers of deaths vary according to the source: while Intermedia reports 15 in the last year, IPI’s Death Watch said that 11 journalists have been killed in the last two years.

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