Friday, 20 May 2011

21 ideas on how to do the new journalism - and 21 reasons to subscribe to MMJ

New publishing platforms, apps and ways of multimedia reporting are emerging all the time.

So how do you make sense of all that is now possible?

What should you do, and how?

And how can you pick up skills you need?

That’s a topic we are looking at in great depth in the Masterclasses section of Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide.

Here, I’ve selected 21 from a far wider range of tips, advice and practical demonstrations, to give a flavour of what subscribers to Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide get for their money.

If you buy the textbook, in either paper or e-book form, (it’s about £26 or $48 via Amazon)  you get full access to the companion website, and the database of 28 up-to-the-minute masterclasses.

More masterclasses are scheduled.

This twinning of static paper/e-book and dynamic online masterclasses means that the MMJ project is never out of date – and always relevant to the needs to the modern, mobile, multimedia journalist

So here are those 21 tasters:

Idea 1: Drag the Inverted Pyramid into the 21st century by adopting the Digital Media Pyramid (DMP) to structure your multimedia stories.
The (DMP was invented by Ben Davis, journalism lecturerer at Rutgers University, New Jersey, because he didn’t think the inverted triangle took account of the use of photographs, video, interactivity and all non-text elements.
His triangle also takes account of the practise of ads being automatically selected for slots alongside particular copy depending on key words within it. That can have huge risks for inappropriate juxtapositions.
His triangle looks like this:

Idea 2: Create a Topic Page; an area that covers a big, long-running story as an ongoing process rather than as a finished product, but which gives you all the background and context you need to fully understand it. That’s in contrast to the typical, 200-word online news story which just nudges the story on the latest few centimetres.

Idea 3: Start a Beat Blog about the subject you want to specialise in.
Blogs have had a bad press.
They’ve generally been seen, at worst, as the self-indulgent ramblings of those who would never make it into print or, at best, second-rate print publication-style first person pieces: light and disposable

What we are talking about here is the Beat Blog, a very different beast. The Beat Blog, far from being peripheral to everything else a journalist has to do – and knocked off in the odd half hour when more important writing assignments allow – is actually central to a journalist’s work.

Idea 4: Learn about layered reporting, which spreads your content across Twitter, a blog, print and more, and lets you link to source material, documents, and reports.
Example: A roll-call of great exponents of layered reporting from Alan Rusbridger:

Idea 5: Think about the apps that enable you to link your content to place, and serve your audience while they are on the move.

Idea 6: Create content and community around a location with Bubbleby.
It's a great geo-location tool for any journalist who wants to focus on a place where he or she knows there is a good story

That might be an anti-social crime hotspot, the focus of a planning controversy, or simply a landmark or beauty spot.

Idea 7: Use maps in your reporting. Peg anything from traffic trouble spots and house price data to a travel feature on a Google Map.

Idea 8: Make Foursquare work for you. 
It’s not that big in the UK – yet – but in the US Foursquare is a really powerful social/location platform. You can get your blog or website on it, and add another dimension to your social engagement.

Idea 9: Build your own location-based smartphone guides, for free. 
Let users navigate around your area, or your subject, with a Geodelic app.
Example: Add the Geodelic app on your smartphone and look for: Multimedia Journalism Training

Idea 10: Use Gowalla to create an interactive journey for your readers.
Example: Load Gowalla onto your phone and search, under trips, for Ealing Comedy Capers.

Idea 11: Find out about curatorial journalism, and how you can do it without lifting a finger.

Idea 12: Use Storify to curate a story that’s important to you and your readers

Idea 13: Use to claim, and then curate long-term, a subject area that is important to you and your readers.

Idea 14: Learn how they do community curation so brilliantly on Wikipedia. 
If you check out a big story on Wikipedia, you’ll find a really comprehensive (if a bit sober) presentation of every aspect of the issue. They do that by harnessing the power of a crowd of volunteers.

Idea 15: Live-blog a big news story.  
Maybe a demo, perhaps a war, but most likely a conference or other event of importance to your readers
Examples: How the Guardian, BBC, New York Times and others approach live blogging:

Idea 16: Report live, using video, audio, stills and text, from a major event.

Idea 17: Run a live blog from your desk, drawing upon the input of your own reporters, other professional journalists, experts, eye-witnesses and citizen journalists.

Idea 18: Do some data journalism. 
It may sound scary, but it’s not. It involves taking large sets of figures and creating visualisations out of them – visualisations can be maps, graphs or tables.

These visualisations are to enable us to spot stories that were buried in the data.

So, data journalism is about using computers to find stories in data. It’s also about presenting visualisations that anyone else can delve into and then make their own connections, spot their own stories, and reach their own clearer understanding of the issues the data covers.

Idea 19: Learn how to combine Factual, Excel and Many Eyes to find, sift and visualise data.

Idea 20: Improve your video storytelling. 
You don’t need to be able to create a polished TV news-package, but you can pick up some tips from TV journos about telling stories in moving pictures.

Idea 21: Take your first steps in photojournalism, using tools that turn your smartphone into a great camera

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