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Ten things every journalist should know in 2009

1. How to use Twitter to build communities, cover your beat, instigate and engage in conversations.

2. How to use RSS feeds to gather news and manage them using filtering techniques (basic or advanced).

3. That there is a difference between link journalism and ‘cut and paste’ journalism (aka plagiarism).

4. That your readers are smarter than you think. In fact, many are smarter than you – they know more than you do.

5. That churnalism is much easier to spot online. If you do this regularly, your readers are already on to you – merely re-writing press releases without bringing anything to the table no longer cuts it.

6. Google is your friend. But if you are not using advanced search techniques, you really have no idea what it is capable of.

7. You do not have to own, or even host, the technology to innovate in journalism and engage your readers. There is a plethora of free or cheap tools available online, so there is no excuse for not experimenting with them.

8. Multimedia for multimedia’s sake rarely works, and is often embarrassing. If you are going to do it, either do it well enough so it works as a standalone item or do it to complement your written coverage – for example, add a link to the full sound file of your interview with someone in your article, or a link to the video of someone’s entire speech at an event. The latter will enhance the transparency of your journalism too. Great tips and resources here and some useful tips on doing video on a budget.

9. How to write search engine friendly journalism. Old school thinking about headline writing, story structure etc no longer applies online and there is also more to learn about tagging, linking and categorisation. Sub-editors (if you still have them), editors and reporters all need to know how to do this stuff.

10. Learn more about privacy. You can find a lot of information about people online, especially via social networking sites, but think carefully about the consequences. And bear in mind that it cuts both ways, if you do not do it carefully, your online research could compromise your sources.

Update: see Ten things every journalist should know in 2010

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BBC offers aggregation service with Topics pages

June 10th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Online Journalism

Following the review of bbc.co.uk in which the BBC Trust criticised the lack of internal navigation on the site, the Beeb has launched a beta aggregation service.

BBC Topics, which will have automatically updated pages, will cover people, countries or subjects.

“So topics uses a variety of search techniques to create feeds of the latest BBC content from news articles, programmes available to watch on iPlayer, weather forecasts, news videos, country profiles and information from the TV and radio schedules. BBC editors then add in hand-picked articles and features from around the BBC and other websites,” said Matthew McDonnell, portfolio executive, search and navigation, internet group, BBC Future Media and Technology, on the BBC Internet Blog.

The pages will present everything the BBC has on a certain topic, whether it is in or out of the news, McDonnell added.

Topics covered will be partly chosen in relation to the site’s search logs, as well as by what content is available.

Feeds to the pages from external sources are also in development, according to the blog post, which will please the Trust, who said the site should also be acting as a guide for users to outside content.

Only a few topics are being trialled so far, including China, David Cameron, NATO and dogs, but more will be added in the coming months, as will more forms of BBC content.

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