Friday, 30 September 2011

Seven essential tools for visual storytelling - previewing the new MMJ masterclass

It’s now very easy for us to bring really engaging visual storytelling techniques to our reporting

A number of great apps and tools let us use the full range of media

MMJ Masterclass 36: Seven essential visual storytelling tools (mp3)

They let us geotag what we are creating – which means we can put it on a map

And some of them let us broadcast these great visual stories direct from our smartphones.
We’re going to look at a range of the latest apps here.
They don’t all do everything I’ve mentioned.
Some are great for live reporting, others are best at other things
At building mapped, multimedia travel features, for example
Or creating timelines

So here’s a quick introduction to the apps and tools we’ll be working with

We’ll look at:

  • Meporter – for live, multimedia, geotgagged reports filed direct from the scene of a story
  • At Intersect – for multimedia, mapped stories rooted in place and time, and which can intersect with other stories in the same place. (It’s actually a lot more straightforward than it may sound)
  • At iMapFlickr –which turns Flickr pictures into a journey told on a map
  • At Gowalla – a check-in site which has just reinvented itself with a focus on travel and storytelling
  • At Foursquare – another check-in site which is also developing its capacity as a storytelling paltform
  • At Dipity, which is great for creating embeddable timelines fast
  • And at Vuvox, which lets you create really professional timeline visualisaitons without having to learn Flash or Photoshop.

Those last two items have been picked up from a session we did in the MMJ summer school a couple of months ago. They’re added here to give an added dimension to our discussion and demonstrations of visual storytelling.
Some of the other tools we’ve looked at before, either in masterclasses or in the MMJ textbook. We’re returning to them now because there’s new stuff to be said – and new functionality to explore.
The whole subject of visual storytelling is a big, and fast moving one. There’s a good deal of other information on it elsewhere in the MMJ website and in the paper or ebook textbook. So we’ll finish up with a screen of links to other relevant tuition.

Next: Meporter; live, multimedia, geotagged reporting from your smartphone

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Previewing Masterclass 35: Getting started with RSS feeds


This masterclass is again set at the Getting Started level of MMJ's three-level learning programme.

Below is what the intro screen for students will say. There's a link at the bottom into the tuition.

A journalist is only as good as their sources

And building those sources is a vital part of becoming an effective and professional journalist
Some sources are individual, face to face ones.
The people you come into personal contact with in your day-to-day work. Or who you talk to by phone.
But we can also tap into sources online, and reach people, and information streams, we can’t easily get to in other ways.
With the growth of online publishing via specialist blogs, and the use of social media, the importance of monitoring these information sources has become huge – it’s one of the cornerstones on which you’ll build your career as a journalist.

RSS as social media

We looked in the last masterclass at how social media can be a valuable source of stories, contacts and tools for research.
We also looked at social media as publishing platforms, or distribution channels, for our journalism.
Now we add to that with a look at using RSS feeds to the same ends.
We’ll start from scratch, looking at what RSS feeds are, and how to set them up.
And we’ll look at how to use them most efficiently, by combining the sources you want to keep tabs on into folders.
We’ll also look at something Google calls bundles, which turn a whole bunch – or bundle – of individual RSS feeds into one big aggregated one.
These bundles can be a great resource for you, and for others. So they’re something you can share with your community.
Which brings us to publishing. We’ll also look at how you can set up RSS streams to distribute your breaking news and other information.

Next: What RSS is and how journalists use it

Friday, 2 September 2011

Getting started in social media: introducing MMJ Masterclass 34

Aims of this masterclass

This is the first of three co-ordinated learning programmes designed to form a comprehensive guide to the use of social media for journalism.

It fits into the first level of tution at MMJ, the one called Getting Started.
As such it sits alongside the other subjects that you'll find at the Getting Started level in the textbook and on this companion website.
It is currently available exclusively on the website, but will be adapted for inclusion in future editions of the MMJ print and ebook.

Here are our learning goals

To demonstrate the importance of social media to the modern practice of journalism
To establish professional presences for yourself and/or the journalism publication or programme you work on with the following social platforms:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Linked In
  • You Tube
To outline best practice in building a professional presence on each of the above.
To demonstrate how to use each platform, as appropriate, to promote you and your journalism.
To underline the importance of building up contacts on these platforms.
To show how to engage with the community you are a part of on them.
To explore how to find and research stories on each platform.
To give guidance on how to publish and/or promote your stories on them.
In addition, to explore the most time-efficient use of social media, using social media dashboards and examining the benefits and drawbacks of sending one post to multiple social platforms.

Social media guidelines for journalists

Most organisatiosn now have social media guidelines, which outline how their journalists should conduct themselves on social media. 
Such concerns inform the tuition here, but no comprehensive policy is given. If you'd like to consider this aspect of social media engagement, here is an outline of the BBC's policy for journalists.

Exercises and projects

The final unit holds series of exercises, designed to enable students to research the use of social media; and projects, designed to enable groups of students - or individuals - to hone their skills as social media journalists.

Further learning programmes

There will be two further masterclasses on social media for journalism, designed to fit the Building Proficiency and Professional Standards levels of MMJ tuition.
These will be designed to enable students to move to increasingly sophisticated and effective levels in the use of social media.
They will also take in additional social media platforms.
They'll be included in forthcoming masterclasses, which are introduced and indexed here.

Next: Module 34B, Why should journalists use social media?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

You'll find our topics for the 2011-12 Masterclass programme below

But first, this video introduces masterclasses: what they are, what they set out to do, and how you can get involved in them.

Masterclasses on your iPhone
Get Masterclass updates plus a great deal more from  Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide on your iPhone
The MultimediaJournalism iPhone app is the perfect way to stay up to speed with all aspects of multimedia journalism.
The free app combines:
  • Latest multimedia journalism news from a wide range of sources
  • MMJ Masterclass updates: previews of the latest tuition, from industry experts. Check out the Improve your Video Storytelling masterclass now
  • Twitter feed
  • YouTube channel
  • Audioboo podcasts
Install the instant app by visiting this link on your iPhone:
Or, if you are on a computer, Send it to your phone by clicking here:

Masterclass weekly newsletter

Sign up for the weekly newsletter for all the latest on masterclassses, plus other developments on the site and in the wider world of multimedia journalism. Sign up here

Masterclasses 34-50: the 2011-12 season

The next 16 masterclasses will appear during the 2011-12 academic year. Here’s an outline of what’s planned.
It’s not set in stone, and if there are items you’d like to see added, or if you have input into any of the topics listed, feel free to get in touch via the Contact button, or by DMing @andybull.

Masterclass 34: Getting started in social media

Because social media has developed so fast in the 18 months since MMJ was published, it’s time to bring everything up to date.
So I’m adding three masterclasses in using social media for journalism that correspond with the three learning levels – getting started, building proficiency and professional standards – of the MMJ project.
Those new chapter will be web-exclusive for now, but will be added to the next print edition of MMJ.

Masterclass 35: Building your sources with RSS feeds, bundles and pipes

We looked in the last masterclass at how social media can be a valuable source of stories, contacts and tools for research. Now we add to that with a look at the use of RSS feeds, and how to combine the sources you want to keep tabs on into combinations, known as bundles or pipes, that make such sources manageable.
September 16

Masterclass 36: Location-based journalism. The latest Geolocation and mapping tools

September 30

Masterclass 37: Building proficiency in social media

We take our use of social media to the next level.
October 14

Masterclass 38: How clever, well-crafted headlines and good SEO can be compatible

The latest advice on how the often-conflicting arts of search engine optimisation and headline writing can be reconciled.
October 28

Masterclass 39: Getting started in Wordpress.

How to create great, professional websites for your journalism. We’ll kick off by getting a basic site up and running.
November 11

Masterclass 40: Professional standards in social media

Bringing your use of social media up to the standard expected of a newly-qualified multimedia journalist.
November 25

Masterclass 41: Smartphone photography

Smartphones have become invaluable photographic tools. There are all sorts of apps to enable you to create really professional images on them, and hardware that helps transform them into fully professional cameras. We’ll look at all you can now achieve.
December 9

Masterclass 42: Building proficiency in Wordpress

Using customised themes to create a really impressive Wordpress publishing platform for your journalism.
January 6 2012

Masterclass 43: Building proficiency in data journalism

Building on what was covered in Masterclass 20 to develop your skills in finding, sifting and visualising data.
January 20

Masterclass 44: How to create multimedia promo widgets

We’ll look at building customisable widgets that will enable you to embed blog and Twitter feeds, photo and video galleries in your website.
February 3

Masterclass 45: Professional standards in Wordpress

Bringing your skills in creating and managing a Wordpress publishing platform up to those expected of a newly-qualified journalist.
February 17

Masterclass 46-50: How to choose a specialism, Series 2

We looked here at eight popular journalistic specialisms. Now we feature a second series, including:
  • Technology
  • Music
  • Education
Fortnightly from March 2