Blogging assessment: Different student approaches

AS discussed previously, I’m currently working with second year students to develop their journalism through blogging.

Each student has set up an individual publically facing blog where they’ve explored principles of branding, usability, social media optimisation and, of course, producing content.

Some interesting work coming out through the process. Hand in is on December 10th. Can’t wait to see where they’ve got with them.

One student, Leonie Garlick, produced this video as part of her blog My Little Charitees, which  encourages students to do charity.

Another Matthew Brown has really considered branding and consistency with his blog Northern Tone.

Lucy Moody has had fun at a Tea Dance, learned how to make Corn Dollies more than 1000 views since launching her Undiscovered Middlesbrough Blog.

And through Natalie Devonshire’s Preppy Couture, I learned the crucial skill of learning how to polka dot nails. I have a 15-year-old sister who’s going to think I’m really cool this Christmas.

And I really enjoyed her coverage of a Vintage Fair last week:

Using citizen journalism: verifying content from Syria

The proliferation of social media has meant it’s hard to imagine that a decade ago it didn’t really exist.

While MySpace was set up in 2003, it did not hit its peak of surpassing Google as the most visited cite in the world until 2006. Facebook launched in 2004 and surpassed MySpace in 2008 when it hit 100 million users. There are now 1.1billion. YouTube was set up in 2005 and now is the third most visited site in the would after Google and YouTube and twitter, which set up in 2006 now has 200 million users.

DIGITAL REVOLUTION: mobile technology is key to Arab Spring

DIGITAL REVOLUTION: mobile technology is key to Arab Spring

This communication revolution has had a huge effect on journalism newsgathering practices, not least in the utilisation of Citizen Journalism, often directly from the scene, (Thorsen and Allan 2009).

Many recent studies have examined the importance of social media and mobile technology in the production and dissemination of content. (Allan 2013, Howard and Muzamill 2012)  This is often seen as a watershed moment, allowing a direct link between digital technology and how it enables content gathering that can support the democratic process.

These studies highlight how the transformation of journalists from gatekeepers to gatewatchers is complete. (Bruns 2009). What mainstream media journalists are now are verifiers of truth. When utilising this content they must also utilise digital media to stand up source material.

One of my own key sources when looking for material of the Syrian conflict is the twitter feed @mosireen. But how do I know they are who they say they are?  And how can we verify the material they provide from the Syrian conflict?

This forms the basis for a live session with my students where we explore how we can stand up global citizen source material. I’ll get them to film it.

I don’t know if you’ve spotted Pearltrees yet, but I really like it.

It’s a a cosmic- looking social curation community tool, which allows collaboration between like-minded peeps for information building and sharing. Think a more visual, meets Storify, meets a kind of LinkedIn which introduces you to others by similarities in the content you’ve shared.

I’ve been using it to gather and find up-to-date information on digital journalism and storytelling for third year students, but I think it could be a really interesting way to create backgrounders for news.

At first glance I thought you couldn’t embed your Pearltrees on to WordPress.  A little hunting around the internet brought me to Vodpod, which allowed me to use my Pearltree embed code to create a video of one of my Pearltrees (see below.) Actually Vodpod is lovely too. Great usability –  which feels somehow more  intuitive than YouTube.

However, while at first it appeared as a video within the body of this blog, when I published it, it became a link (see below). That extra click is getting right on my nerves. Back to the drawing board –  suggestions gratefully received.

It needs Flash to work, so IPhone lot, we’re out of luck (allow the App already Apple!). But hey, we may all be buying PCs anyway this year, if you believe the hype about the new ultrabooks.

If you’re interested in similar things, why not team up with me. I’ve got some Pearltrees on the go at the moment on WordPress, collaborative working and digital journalism.

My Pearltree
– Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

The news in pictures

ONE of my favourite ways to access news online, is through picture galleries.

I’ve used Storify to attach my favourite ones into this post. Guardian, Reuters and Mail Online do this particularly well, with week or 24 hours in pictures. Their media galleries are easy to use and the captions tell the story in a nutshell. It also enables them to use striking images which are not associated with a specific news story, which may, otherwise, not be published.

Nick Ut of the Press Association's historic Vietnam War picture -one of the most memorable news images of all time.

This week my two favourite images are of a man taking plastic balls to market in India and a woman stepping off a bus into water in the Thai floods, both of which can be found in more than one of these galleries.
View the story “Fantastic Picture Galleries” on Storify]

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Bye Bye Berlusconi

Berlusconi: Pull my finger?

In the Italian Senate, right now, the debate is taking place which will mark the end of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s political career.

Berlusconi is the kind of politician most journalists would give their back teeth to interview.

Not because during his seventeen years as a politican have changed the European politicial scene for the better. Quite the opposite, his financial policies of tax reduction for the rich have contributed to the current financial disaster by extending Italian debt.

But Berlusconi simply can’t keep his trap shut – and what comes out is the kind of  nonsense that fills column inches, and keeps the public enthralled.

To mark the parting of the media favourite the interweb went mad yesterday with Top Ten Berlusconi gaffes features.

Here I’ve gathered the best ones for you A top ten list of gaffe lists if you will. Reading these really is a fun way to start the weekend.

I’ve used Storify – a really cool piece of software which allows you to gather content from across the web.

Journos – it’s an excellent resource for online news backgrounders!

View the story “Berlusconi’s Best Bloopers” on Storify]

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