Thursday, 19 April 2007

How to be an online journalist

Instead of just writing about how I found my latest article I thought that I would actually show you. In my first attempt at vlogging, observe:

And before you ask, yes, the fantastic music is royalty free!

N.B. As Journalism students, we are permitted to use Corbis images provided that we take into consideration the costs of their use in a professional context.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

How not to do a vlog!

Nice idea Dave but I can't see your series winning any sports awards in the foreseeable future.

Its not often I make a link so prominent but this is one that just has to be watched, if only to educate the vloggers out there:

Watch it if you dare

Need I say more?

And that was after thirteen attempts...are you brave enough to watch the first attempt?

Must have been a slow news day.

UPDATE: Paul Bradshaw has used my video on his blog and it's proving pretty popular. Take a look.

Reading Evening Post storms online

Having worked for the Reading Evening Post for almost an entire week now, I have not failed to notice the vast improvement in it's website since my placement at the company in March 2006. They seem to be waking up to the potential of online journalism, and have placed a much greater emphasis on interactivity. I was particularly impressed with the way in which they have utilised comments into each story, with some articles recieving well over double figures. Not only are the website encouraging healthy debate about the town, and tapping into their crucial market of middle-class workers who read from their desk, but they are incorporating the website's good work into the newspaper itself.

A double page spread has been dedicated to reader views and comments has been set up in the popular newspaper. Comments from the stories are used, as well as letters, debates and images sent in by readers, to form a 'viewpoint' section. This shows the website and publication working closer together, which can only be a good thing with the technological changes that are threatening the industry somewhat. It is about time too, with the site attracting almost 700,000 page impressions a month. And that information is 9 months old, with the figures only likely to have increased since.

However, not all is well with the website. An admirable Community Blogs section has been set up, but embarassingly does not seem to work, at least not on my Internet Explorer window. They could do worse than follow the fine example set by the Birmingham Mail Blog, which despite getting few comments is setting an early standard in newspaper blogs.

Similar inadequacies can be found in the Post's message board. This ugly, plain layout is not winning any fans amongst it's readership, with very few users. In fact, there is only one real discussion amongst it, and even that petered out a long time ago. A solution would be to try and create something similar to the pioneering Birmingham Mail, whose forums attract far greater interactivity. They even became the source for a story that I scooped the newspaper itself for!

The site has no doubt improved since I last worked there, but the webmaster must not stop there. The internet is the future for newspapers, and the Reading Evening Post still has a lot of work to do to maximise its potential.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Work Placement

Easter is upon us and Im spending my week working for the wonderful Reading Evening Post. Iv only been there for one day so far and it wasn't exactly the most thrilling, as I wasn't really given that much to do and it's kinda hard to find your own stories when you havn't been to the town for months and you don't get given a password to the wonderful world of the web until after lunch. Still, at least I was able to catch up on the nationals - I must have read almost every copy cover to cover this morning!

That said, I did manage to contribute a number of stories today. Quite a few were just nibs and most of them weren't particularly exciting. However, I did manage to get a international scoop on Guinea Pig day at a local vets! Im working on a story about flight paths over Reading, apparently the planes from Heathrow are flying very low these days so hopefully that will amount to something. I don't want to say too much never know who could be watching, especially as it hasn't been published yet.

One thing that disappointed me was that I didn't get out of the office today. When I worked at the Wokingham Times I was out almost every day - at inquests, court cases, vox pops and the like. Today I spent the day inside, working off the phone. I realise that this is the way of the journalism world these days, but I still fancied a trip out in the sunshine!

When I thought about it though, this is actually a practice that I tend to do myself when writing for UCE News site. If you were to watch me writing stories for the site, chances are you would see me lying in my bed at stupid o'clock in the morning researching things from websites and wondering whether 3am is too late to call somebody for a quote (unless they live in Australia it is). I like to think Im catering for our "foreign market".

I tried to adapt some of my Online Journalism skills to finding stories (when I finally got internet access!) but so far Im hitting blanks with my Technorati blog searches. Il keep trying tomorow.

Anyways, as I'll have Journalism on the brain this week, chances are you'll be reading more about my life this week. Hopefully some of my stories will be posted on their website so that I can show you all links and you can smile politely.

Bon Soir