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 – Data Journalism

We talked a bit in the lecture last week about data journalism, when Tom Hannen showed us his inforgraphic work for the BBC. I thought we'd look at it a bit more today. Datajournalism has a bit of a hot topic in online journalism circles for the last couple of years with lots of developers and journalists experimenting with different ways to find stories in data. 

A good place to go for an introduction to the field is The Guardian's Datablog – The Guardian has been experimenting for a while now with making data available to people to use in various ways. Their best known efforts include their coverage of the MPs' expenses scandal and their ground-breaking experiment in crowd-sourcing investigative analysis and, obviously, Wikileaks.

A debate has been going on for a few years now, linked to the growing availability of data online, one that suggests that journalists need to be more than storytellers now, that they need to know how to work with data in different ways. A couple of years agi, the new media pundit Jeff Jarvis asked the question, 'Is Journalism Storytelling?' Adrian Monck tackled the same area around the same time, arguing that the future of journalism was maths, or rather 'presenting mathematised knowledge'. The story is now redundant, he suggests…

These are rather extreme positions – perhaps what Wikileaks shows is that data on its own isn't enough – that to reach a larger audience there needs to be some sort of story there, or narrative frame… Martin Moore has a good introduction to current thinking about the field – he argues that data journalism is about coping with information abundance and that it means lots of different things – it's not just about database programming.

If you want go deeper, Paul Bradshaw has published some excellent early drafts of a chapter from his book on online journalism, covering data and what to do with it – have a look at his general Data Journalism posts too. He also wrote a really useful intro for The Guardian. Jonthan Stray published a good list of links to further reader on data. 

One thing you can do online is find new ways to present data… There's a growing interest in data visualisation, in mixing data, maps, charts and text to explore and communicate ideas and issues…If we get a chance, we'll talk about this, I hope. 

We'll have a look at David McCandless' work in this area – his site has lots of great information and some brilliant interactives you can can play with (e.g Snake Oil?). We'll also look at his TED lecture. 

 And we might watch this: Alex Lundry's Chart Wars


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. 

AWJ – Google Maps and journalism online

Today we're going to look at how to use maps in your online journalism. Sometimes this is about telling a story in a new way. Sometimes it's about infographics – about getting across information in a clear and engaging way. We're going to look at various examples of online maps and then you're going to work on creating a few Google Maps.

Here are a few links we might look at:

Google Maps and the unofficial Google Maps Mania blog

Here are a few maps and some stories:

Some of these examples are a bit old now. But they show you some of the things people tried as the ideas of using maps in stories online developed. Now map-based stories are very complex – they blur with timelines and infographics in general and involve some serious programming and Flash animation. Reza will show you a bit of this in class today. You can also find state of the art map stories via the Maps Mania blog mentioned above. 

Advanced Online Media – My Instapaper RSS feed

I mentioned this in the morning workshop today – I use Instapaper to save articles for reading later. At the moment, I'm mostly saving stuff that's relevant to the work you're doing on this module. I do bookmark some of the pieces I on Delicious eventually. But another way you could get access to the pieces I'm reading is by subsribing to the RSS feed for my Instapaper Unread folder. I'm not completely sure this will work. But here's the link:

You could try copying that and then pasting it into the Subscribe box on Google Reader. Let me know if it works (or doesn't).


Advanced Web Journalism – Module Blog – The Critical Evaluations

I've written before about what you need to do for your module blogs. If you need a reminder, click the link.

You also need to add some short posts to your module blog that reflect and evaluate the work you’ve done over the last twelve weeks. The posts you need to do are:  

  • An explanation of the ideas behind your individual project and an evaluation of whether you think it works, what might make it better etc. Talk about how you came up with the idea, whether you learned from similar projects online, what might make the project work better.
  • An explanation of the idea behind the group site you worked on, the stories you did and the role you played on your site. Again, try to reflect critically on whether the site works and what might make it better. Talk about the sites you looked at when you were developing your site idea. Talk about the target audience for your site. Talk about how you used social media. Talk about what might make the site better.
  • An account of the work you did on the news day – you should talk about what you worked on – WNOL, the Inside WNOL blog, the Twitter feed or Facebook page for the site etc, the stories/posts you did. Talk about whether you were able to link what you were doing with what the broadcast teams were up to. Try to come to some conclusions about what you learned from the experience of trying to work in a cross media way with the other students on the course 

You don’t need to write a lot for each of these posts – say around 400 – 500 words for each post. That would make 1,200 – 1,500 in total. Try to be critical and reflective, to show what you’ve learned about working as a journalist online. Don't just document what you did. Try to take a more high level professional perspective.

If your group project didn't go that well and you want to talk about why and don't want to publish that part of the log in a public place (i.e. on your blog), you can email that part of the evaluation to me. 

Remember – the deadline for completing the module blog is midnight Wednesday May 4th.