Thursday, 23 June 2011

14 new web-exclusive chapters have been added to Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide

They expand on what was already the most comprehensive guide for students of multimedia journalism, educators and mid-career journalists who want to keep up to speed with all that is developing in the modern media world.
Subscribers to MMJ – buy the textbook in paper or e-book form and you get access to the companion website and community – will be familiar with the structured learning that takes readers through three key stages: getting stated, building proficiency and professional standards.
New web-exclusive content has been added to each of those stages, to take into account the many developments since the book-version of the course was published in February 2010.
Future editions of the book version of MMJ will take in this new content, but for now it’s only available online.

Here are just a few of the essential new subjects the 14 additional chapters cover:

  • Getting started in Data Journalism
  • Creating mobile versions of your static websites
  • Smartphones as news gathering, editing, publishing and broadcasting tools
  • Building smartphone apps – a guide for non-coders
  • Live-blogging and real-time reporting
  • Location-based publishing tools for local journalism
  • Building a hyper-local site
  • Curation

Plus there’s an extensive new careers area.

There are guides, with advice from industry exerts, in entering journalism via
  • newspapers,
  • magazines,
  • broadcasting and
  • as a freelance.

We have a new chapter on entrepreneurial journalism – how to build your own job.

Plus, detailed guides to a range of the most popular journalistic specialisms:
  • politics,
  • sport,
  • business and finance,
  • travel,
  • fashion,
  • international journalism,
  • science, health and environment.

What’s next?

We know things never stop moving, and will be bringing a new programme of up-to-the-minute masterclasses on latest development in multimedia journalism during the 2011-12 academic year.
Also, over the summer, we’ll be developing an area for educators, offering a new support service for lecturers.
We’ll be consulting on that and will tell you soon how you can tell us know what material you’d find most useful.

To keep up to speed with MMJ, use any of these methods:

Or visit this link on your iPhone:
Or, if you are on a computer, send it to your phone by clicking here:
  • Web app that works on any smartphone:

Friday, 17 June 2011

Previewing Masterclass 32: Science, health and environment reporting

There are good reason for grouping science, health and environment together in our survey of journalistic specialismsIn terms of their subject matter, there are overlaps.

That’s reflected in the fact that many news titles and broadcasters give their correspondents responsibility for two or more of the science, health and environment categories.
The BBC, for example, has a science and environment correspondent, in David Shukman. Reuters has a health and science correspondent in Kate Kelland.
These beats have something else in common – they are often really badly reported.

Why is science reporting often poor?

Partly because the issues concerning science, health and environment beats are often very complex and impossible to boil down to a headline without risking getting things very wrong indeed.
Journalists and scientists work in diametrically opposed ways.
Journalists need it fast, scientists need to consider the import of a finding or event before they declare on it.

Can we overcome this?

Can science etc be reported well?
We’ll look in detail at how become a really good science reporter, taking advice from a range of experts – both scientists and journalists.
Environment, health and science also have this in common: they attract, and are appropriate beats for, those with science degrees. So we'll look at how scientists can become science journalists.
Our trio of topics make for great specialisms in B2B publications.
B2Bs are useful seed beds for specialist science, health and environment journalists, who often transfer to  serious newspapers and to broadcasters, both of which generally want specialists in these areas.

How to get into science journalism

We’ll take advice from the Association of British Science Writers on the various avenues into these beats – for those with a science background, and those without one.
I’ve known of pharmacists, scientists and others who have drifted into journalism and discovered that they are as good, if not better, at covering developments in their specialism as they were in practising it.
Because of the overlaps mentioned, much of what we say for science applies equally to health and environment.
So I’ve grouped a lot of information with general relevance under the heading of science journalism, and you’ll see that reflected in the modules, Just follow the bottom link on this screen to get started  If you aren’t a subscriber to MMJ, you can still  find out about the course here, but only access it until June 24 2011. You can buy the textbook, and hence become a subscriber, here.
So if health or environment are your thing, it’s worth reading through science as well.
We’ll profile the star science, health and environment journalists, so you can learn from the best, and we’ll focus on the university courses relevant to these journalistic beats.

Next: Science Journalism, how to get into it

Friday, 10 June 2011

Previewing MMJ Masterclass 31: Travel Journalism

What sort of travel journalist do you want to be: sensible specialist or insane adventurer?

We’ll do sensible later – the stuff about how difficult it is to make money as a travel writer.
The need to treat travel as seriously as you would any other specialism.
How you need to cultivate both editors and travel PRs, the rock and the hard place between which you place yourself as a travel writer.
Let’s do the adventurous, exciting stuff first.
The exciting approach to travel journalism is for people who love adventure and maybe danger, don’t care about money and security and just want to have a great time and tell others about it.
One who takes that approach is Robin Esrock.
Just look at this video of his, about the world's most dangerous hike.
This is probably the sort of thing you dream about if you want to be a real traveller, an adventurer...

In that video Robin Esrock demonstrates pretty much all that needs to be said about how being a travel writer can be so electrifying.
But how do you get to be paid for doing stuff like that?

Modern Gonzo

We’ll be profiling Robin, who’s carved out a brilliant career for himself as a newspaper, TV and online travel writer, in a later module.
He calls what he does Modern Gonzo, inspired by the exploits of Hunter S Thompson.
We’ll also take a close look at how to approach travel journalism in a more sober way – to treat it as seriously as any other specialism: international journalism, sport, politics or business.
The ways to tell travel stories module is really central to this masterclass. Travel stories can be told on social media – via Twitter, Gowalla, using Google maps, with video clips on YouTube or Vimeo, stills on Instagram nd audio on Audioboo.

The Twitchhiker

One exponent of the new social and online style of travel – who has also got a book out of his exploits -  is Paul Smith, who goes by the screen name of Twitchhiker.
We’ll be profiling him, and showing how it's possible to use both new and old media as a travel writer.
Then there is the traditional travel feature for print. I love writing them, and I’ll try to show how to make a text travel article great feature, and a really good story as well.
The top 10 UK travel writers are profiled, and there are links to their work - so you can learn from the best in the busiess.

Next: The insane approach. How Robin Esrock did it

Friday, 3 June 2011

Previewing MMJ Masterclass 30: Business and financial journalism

Let’s face it: business and financial journalism is one of the most challenging specialisms you can choose

But also one of the most important
Oh, and it has jobs to offer.
Financially-savvy journalists are in demand, and business stories – once considered a niche area for the dull but worthy to make their own – are now central to every newspaper, website, TV and radio station. Because finance affects us all.
Maybe you think business journalism is not for you – that it’s all about numbers, stats, stuff you either don’t understand, don’t care about – or both.
But it’s not. As I hope to demonstrate in the modules that follow, business and finance are central to every aspect of our audience’s lives.
And hence business is a  vital area for stories, and a vital area for every journalist to at least have some grasp of.
One of the most prominent business journalists around, Gillian Tett of the FT, credits her ability to predict the financial crisis on her training as a social anthropologist.
A profile (left) of her in The Guardian (and how many journalists get profiled by other journalists in other publications?) had this standfirst:  “The banking world ignored Gillian Tett when she predicted the credit crisis. Laura Barton hears how her training in social anthropology alerted her to the danger”
So if you have, or are working towards, a science, social science, arts or humanities degree, you shouldn’t dismiss business journalism out of hand.

So here’s what we’ll look at in this masterclass...

The challenge is for us is to tell business stories in ways that make sense to our readers and demonstrate how business, finance, economics impact on their daily lives.

So we’ll explore how to find and tell business stories, drawing on wisdom from some of the best in the business, from both the US and UK.
A couple of those experts will talk on video about where they think the next big business stories will come from.
We’ll get clear exactly what business journalism is – and define all its sub-divisions: City and Wall Street reporting, personal finance, economics and so on
And we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty by itemising the core business terms and processes that you’ll need to understand. But don’t let that section put you off – it will take time to master the business beat, but if barrow boys can make millions as City traders, you can do it!
The star business journalism performers will be listed, and links provided to their work, so you can learn from them.
And there’ll be a module on universities in the US, UK and elsewhere that offer specific business journalism courses.
The modules that follow will be free to non-subscribers for a short time, and then go behind the paywall.
If the link below doesn't work for you, you either aren't a subscriber, or you haven't logged in.
If you need to subscribe, just buy the book, which costs about £28/$47 on Amazon, in either paper or ebook form, and you'll find the code to get through the paywall on the inside back page.

Next: Why every journalist needs to understand business and finance

Masterclass 29: Celebrity, showbiz and arts reporting

Celebrity and showbiz news has traditionally been looked down on by the posh newspapers and the BBC

They have arts correspondents, putting the emphasis on culture and arts policy matters

Celebrity News magazineIt was redtops, and the more ‘tabloid’ TV channels that went for showbiz gossip, kiss-and-tell tales about soap stars, footballers and reality TV wannabes.
But that’s all changed. Now even the poshest papers recognise that their audience, however high-minded it might be, is also interested in celebrities and what they get up to.
On channels such as BBC3, the news is bite-sized showbiz gossip. The Guardian and The Times both have writers who focus on celebrity.
In this masterclass we’ll look at what a massively expanded journalistic area this is, and at the opportunities for celeb and showbiz reporting there now are.
Much of the growth in celeb news has been fuelled by websites – often maverick, sometimes plain nasty. But while they began often as email newsletters distributed among friends, the most successful now have millions of readers, make millions a year, and are challenging the existence of established celebrity publications and the red tops.
The other big driver of celebrity news is the way celebrities themselves have taken to Twitter, often writing about themselves and what is happening to them, and sometimes conducting their love-lives in public.
So we’ll look here at several things:
  • Why celebrity and showbiz news is so big - and how it got that way
  • How to do celeb and showbiz reporting
  • Twitter's vital role in your reporting
We’ll have a case study in how to create a full newspaper article from the tweets of celebs (and a bit of telly watching) by analysing how The Times’s Caitlin Moran told the Royal Wedding story through celebs' tweets.
We'll also have:
  • Celebrity Twitter accounts listed
  • Star celeb and showbiz reporters
And we won’t forget about arts reporting. We’ll look also at what it is and where you can get a job doing it, plus list the Arts tweeters you should follow

Next, for subscribers to MMJ only: Why celebrity and showbiz news is so big - and how it got that way