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.


Kevin Kelly on the future of the digital media landscape

Here’s a short lecture from Kevin Kelly on six verbs that sum up the future direction of the net.

Kevin Kelly: The Future of the Digital Media Landscape from WIRED and The Economist on

Advanced Online Media – Session 1 – Links

Here’s a few links we can use in class today:

A couple of old radio links that still might be interesting:

Advanced Online Media – Session 1 – Things to do

We need to sort out various things today:

  • Set up a new blog to use on the module – or sort out an old one
  • Set up Google Reader so that you can use it to tracks news in the areas you’re interested in
  • Set up Twitter so that you use it effectively to stay on top of news and new ideas in your areas. Remember – the best approach is to follow a lot of people and use lists so you can quickly get to the people you value most
  • Set up an account with Delicious and start bookmarking interesting sites – use the tag aomedia2013 to share what you find with the rest of the class. If you find something interesting, tweet it using the hashtage #aomedia2013 so that the rest of the class can see it too

To get us started, perhaps we should work on putting together a list of recent big online media/tech stories, share them via Twitter and Delicious with the rest of the class and then record what you find – with links to sources – on your blogs.

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.