Get the Digital Edge – some digital literacy links

I’m doing a presentation on digital literacy today at the Digital Edge event at the Marylebone Campus – I’m going to talk a bit about useful strategies for working and living with media and technological change – things I’ve learned from thinking about how to teach new technical and digital skills to the Journalism students at Westminster.

A lot of my approach to this has come from Doug Belshaw and Henry Jenkins, who I namecheck in the presentation. If you’re interested in finding out more:

One other thing – the SMELL test I mentioned comes from an interesting piece on the PBS website by John McManus – it’s a nice way of summing up the ways journalists try to evaluate and verify the content they research.



Advanced Online Media – Audio Slideshows

One thing we’re going to look at today is audio slideshows. Some of you may end up doing slideshows for your individual projects on this module. Slideshows are everywhere online these days. The audio slideshow, in particular, is a really interesting storytelling form, one that seems native to the web in some way.

It’s pretty easy to put a few pics together and call it a slideshow. It’s harder to do something where the images and audio work together to really explore a journalistic idea or story.

We’re going to talk a bit about today about how to do them well. Later on in the module, if you decide you want to do some sort of slideshow, there will be some specific workshops looking at photojournalism, tools you can use to create slideshows and audio features and storytelling.

In the meantime, here’s a few examples to look at in class:

Water Dance from the New York Times

One in 8 Million, also from the NYT (we looked at this one last year). There are loads of different slideshows here, all of them excellent.

The Month in Photography from The Observer’s New Review

The Guardian actually has a whole section on its website devoted to audio slideshows. As does the FT – though their stuff is behind a paywall. The LA Times’ pop.u.LA.tion also has a few good slideshows. And you can find some of the New York Times’ current work in their Multimedia/Photos section.

The Guardian’s more recent stuff looks a bit rushed – as if they don’t always have the resources to do it well. But it’s still worth looking around at what they’ve done recently. I quite like this one about Japan’s Nozawa fire festival.

Here’s a few of The Guardian’s older pieces – for example, from last year a profile of the artist Jeremy Deller and of Cyra, a young teenager who’s spent her life in care.

A couple of years ago, The Guardian ran a slideshow about the recent Alexander McQueen menswear show, which goes for a more ambient approach.

Another example from a while bac in The Guardian – To Obama, with love from… This has no sound but uses captions to create a kind of list feature.

The Atlantic has a really good example of kind of slideshow journalism – Twitter from @A to @Z – there’s no audio here but it shows how to combine slideshows with a story. It followed it up with more of the same – Twitter from @0 to @9.

Finally – back to more traditional audio slideshow fare – One School’s Struggles – from The Washington Post -this feels like a mini-documentary.

There’s lots of good advice online about making slideshows. 10,000 Words has some really useful posts on audio slideshows – for example, a guide to five mistakes to avoid. Digital journalism teacher Mu Lin has some good advice on his blog (which is a really excellent resource) – for example look at his general tips on making an audio slideshow and his advice on shooting photos for a slideshow. I’ll post more links to useful advice later in the module.

Advanced Online Media – some links re data and storytelling

Here are a few more links re data and story telling: 

Nieman Storyboard on maps, charticles and stories

The American Journalism Review on the rise of the charticle

Nieman Storyboard on Cutthroat Capitalism – a ground-breaking piece of investigative journalism by Scott Carney, done as a series of graphic/visualisations and then turned into game online. The piece ran in the magazine last year and is still online. Carney talks about how he did the story on his blog – it was a lot of work. 

The New York Times' interactive data-driven story, How Different Groups Spend Their Day, which sounds a bit dull but is just brilliant. Related to this, Nieman Storyboard on 'statistics as story'.

The 'how are you doing today?' project

Here's a nice example of using infographics to get a story across – So You Still Think the Internet is Free

Here's an interactive visualisation of the way organised crime works, from Wired Magazine


Advanced Online Media – Some examples of live blogging

Perhaps the best way to learn how to live blog (and to learn what you can do and what kinds of things you can write) is to look at some real life examples. A good place to start is the The Guardian's Minute by Minutes page, which showcases all the live blogs they have running at any one time. Have a read of some of their liveblogs and think about the types of post they feature, the different media and news inputs a journalist uses as they live blog and how they can prepare, as writers, for this kind of job. 

Essential Journalism – Delicious

One research site we might look at today is Delicious - it's a social bookmarking tool – which means it allows you to store bookmarks online and then share those bookmarks with other Delicious users…

The site has recently be revamped by its new owners – the guys who started YouTube. They bought Delicious from Yahoo around a year ago. Before that it had been left to languish a bit. The new owners have added new social features and made the site a bit more visual. There are lots of other sites around that do similar things – for example, Diigo and Pinboard. It's worth playing around with them and seeing which one works best for you. 

Today we'll talk a bit about how best to use social bookmarking tools as part of your approach to research online.


Essential Journalism – Online research – Google Reader and Google News

The net makes it really easy to find and consume a wide range of media. I'm not just talking about pure news here. You can read a vast amount of cultural analysis/journalism, comment, opinion, reviews and more online.

But, obviously, you already know that. However, are you really taking advantage of all the information that's out there?

One of the key skills you need to develop as journalists (whatever medium you work in) is media literacy and news sense. Whatever your interest (music, sport, fashion), you need to read widely and really get a sense of what's going on in your field, what stories are being covered by who and why.

Here are a couple of tools that will help you broaden the range of media you consume:

RSS Feeds You can use special news reader programs to subscribe to news feeds. It's a good way of scanning a lot of news/information in one go. You can also use web-based services to do something similar. We'll try out Google Reader as an easy way into using feeds.

News Aggregators Google News is the best known of these sorts of sites. It automatically gathers news stories from sources all over the world and organises them according to various categories. News aggregators can give you access to a wide variety of perspectives on big news stories (but not always – we'll talk about this in class). There are various other new aggregators that build on what Google News does – for example, Silobreaker and Newser. NewsMap is an interesting attempt to visualise the flow of stories on Google News

We're going to do a couple of things today. 

I'd like you to set up Google Reader and subscribe to a few news feeds. Over the next week, I'd like you to use the service to track stories in a field/subject/area that interests you.

Also, I'd like you to personalise Google News.  Set it up to track news stories you're interested in and use it over the next week or so. Next week, we''ll talk about how useful you found each service. 


Essential Journalism – Research online

You're probably already brilliant at finding stuff (and people) online. But so I can find out what you know, let's try a quick research exercise. Here's a quick brief.

Imagine you've been asked by the editor of The Guardian to write a feature piece on old people and the net. It's going to go in the technology pages. You need to deliver tomorrow – they need 1500 words. Someone's let them down and they have space that needs filling quickly.

First of all, you need to decide what you need for a piece of this length. Next – can you find what you need online? Then you need to find it.