Top 3 apps for journalists // week 10

The rise of online journalism and social media as a news platform requires journalists to be able to provide quality content as soon as information becomes available. This can be a daunting task for many young journalists but the great news is there are a number of helpful apps out on the market for journalists to utilise. Here’s three of the best mobile phone apps that every journalist should check out!

  1. FiLMiC Pro

This app is a great tool for journalists, enabling them to create and post quality video content entirely from their mobile phone. Forget using camera equipment, software programs and computers in order to reach a deadline. FiLMiC Pro turns your run-of-the-mill phone camera into a high definition video camera. With this app technicalities including the shutter speed, focus, aspect ratios and colour temperature are under your control. Once complete, FiLMiC Pro allows you to share the video to FaceBook, Dropbox and Vimeo.

In a Muck Rack article Multimedia Shooter journalist Koci Hernandez praised the app. “It’s the best video recording app on the market,” he said. “It’s simple to fire-up and record something right away and advanced enough to record more complex documentaries.”

The video below provides a great overview of the app.

   

 2. Nuzzel

No need to spend hours searching the internet for important news updates or links. Nuzzel is an app designed to display the top trending news stories and hashtags. By typing a search term into Nuzzel, the app gathers the top stories regarding that topic from user generated content and major news organisations all over the world into one place. You can also connect your twitter account and view the top stories shared by friends.

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Screenshot of Nuzzel’s story feed. Source: Nuzzel

 

In the same Muck Rack article Journalism Professor at University of Nebraska Matt Waite said he uses Nuzzel for news consumption. “Saves me so much time trolling through my twitter timeline for important links,” he said.

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Screenshot of The Economist writer Glenn Fleishman who tweeted a link to an article via Nuzzel! Source: Twitter.

3. RebelMouse

Fed up with keeping track of your 7 different social media platforms in order to ensure your followers are viewing your content? Well, this app is a social media aggregator which automatically updates itself when you post content on any of your connected social media accounts. Followers of your account will be able to see everything you post across all of your different platforms in a quick and easy format. RebelMouse can even be embedded onto your blog or website.

In a Poynter Institute article  Huffington Post senior editor Craig Kanalley said he used RebelMouse during the 2012 elections. “I tweeted the best things I was finding from around the Web in terms of coverage, including the best photos and what other news organizations were doing, and it turned into a nice hub highlighting coverage,” he said. “It’s a really nice alternative ‘live’ platform outside of live blogging and live video.”

The video below provides a quick overview of RebelMouse.

 

While each app mentioned above is starkly different to the others, all three are great tools for journalists to use when creating content online.

For more useful apps check out the article tweeted by CNAjournalism!

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Journalism ethics – transparency is key // week 8

Do the pillars of journalism such as accuracy, impartiality and accountability still have a place in the digital era?

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In a QUT online journalism lecture, Kellie Riordan from the ABC spoke about how legacy media and digital natives approach ethical standards in the digital age.

Kellie  says digital media allows for transparency in addition to, not in place of, impartiality. Digital media provides new ways for ethical standards to be upheld.

Content is flattened out through the online medium. Therefore, it can be difficult for readers to distinguish between opinion pieces and news features. In a newspaper these articles would be clearly labelled in particular sections, but online these stories are presented at the same level.

Thus comes the ethical dilemma of advertising posts.

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Advertising is a main form of revenue for online news websites and there is no shame in this. In a LastWeekTonight TV segment which can be viewed below, host John Oliver spoke about native advertising in the media. In the video TimeInc CEO Joseph A Ripp said, “as long as it’s clearly marked, as long as the consumer knows the difference between what is editorial and what is native, I don’t see any problem with it at all”. John Oliver went on to state that, “it is a problem though, because the consumer cannot tell the difference”.

Kellie says the issue arises when organisations do not signpost which articles are sponsored and which are not. “A lot of the time people are looking at content that is sponsored or paid for and are thinking it’s genuine journalism and I think that’s problematic,” she said.

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Source: Twitter.

Kellie says a great example of an organisation which effectively signposts it’s advertisements is Quartz.

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Screenshot of a Quartz article which clearly signposts the advertisement.

Unlike traditional newspaper giant The New York Times, Quartz places advertising and genuine journalism together but clearly signposts the sponsored post.“Quartz ads appear in the editorial stream, not as banner ads or pop ups,” says Kellie. Clearly labelling advertising posts at the beginning of online articles eliminates any potential ethical dilemmas. Kellie says pure objectivity is not as important as transparency – being honest with the reader.

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Screenshot of a Quartz article which shows effective labelling of the sponsored content and also the sponsored content appearing in the editorial stream.

Kellie says hyperlinking is an important aspect of journalism in the 21st century. “Actually linking to your sources, that is the practice of journalism,” she said. “That is what we did even before the internet by attributing information to sources.”

Kellie says she hopes journalist’s in the digital era uphold ethical standards. “I would like to hope that the next 100 years in journalism isn’t some kind of race to the bottom where just anything goes,” she said. “I’d like to think organisations even in the internet era, even in the 21st century, where things are changing quickly, that we still have some standards about publishing things that are true. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

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The rise of multi-skilled journos // week 4

The rise of online journalism brings immediacy to the reader. A story that traditionally would have taken a team of writers, editors, photographers and videographers can now be created by one multi-skilled journo.

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In a video from the Fairfax Collection a number of journalists provided insight into multi-skilled journalism.

Sydney Morning Herald Editor-in-Chief Darren Goodsir spoke about the importance of being multi-skilled in today’s journalism industry. “Multi-skilling is incredibly necessary,” he said. “I would never get a job now if I had the same skills that I had thirty years ago when I entered.”

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Al Jazeera journalists Femi Oke tweeting about multi skilled journalists. Source: Twitter

The Age Sports Writer Rohan Connolly said multimedia is a big aspect of online journalism. “You can’t escape the fact that with the rise of online journalism, multimedia and video, particularly, has to be a big part of what we do,” he said. “Video is just another strand of our job now. Yes I’m a print journalist but I’m not just confined to writing stories for a paper. I do blogs, I do videos, I do a lot of radio work.”

Rohan said prospective journalists need to be open to learning new skills. “I think particularly for people looking to get into journalism and the media, that’s probably the attitude you need to take,” he said. “Don’t really confine yourself to one particular stream because the chances are that at some stage there’s going to be a fairly healthy crossover.”

The good news is these skills are easily attainable for upcoming journos as their primary learning device is the phone in their pocket. Unlike in past decades for traditional print journos, young journalists now have the ability to learn video recording and photography skills via their phones. A story can be written, captured and posted online all via a smartphone in a matter of minutes.

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Source: Twitter

Canberra Times Digital Editor David McLennan said mobile phones are very important to today’s journalists. “These days a smartphone is becoming one of the key tools of a journalist,” he said. “It brings the immediacy to journalism. It means that we are so much more in touch at being able to get that information to our readers as quickly as possible.”

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Having the ability to write a good story is no longer enough for journalists in the 21st century. Traveller.com.au Managing Editor Craig Platt said a well written piece is half the battle. “The big thing with digital media at the moment is, you can have the most wonderfully written piece in the world but if no one ever clicks on it to find out, because they didn’t think the headline was interesting or they didn’t think the thumb nail image was interesting, then you may as well have not written it,” he said.

In a Mashable article Austin American-Statesman Social Media Editor Robert Quigley said journalists need to have a combination of skills. “The most valuable journalist will know how to use social media tools, can edit and shoot video, can write a good headline, understands a little about html or programming or databases,” he said. “Ideally, he or she can write a great SEO-friendly headline and understands why that’s important, knows how to write a sharp blog post and understands the value in interaction with the community.”

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Becoming multi-skilled will provide journalists with the tools they need to create successful stories for the online world.

Fairfax Canberra Bureau Online Political Editor Chris Hammer said his tip for young journalists is to become multi-skilled. “The more multi-skilled you are, the more employable you’re going to be,” he said.

The art of live blogging // week 3

In case you missed the ever-present memo, the journalism industry is changing.

It no longer revolves solely around news stories and the inverted pyramid. With the evolution of journalism comes the art of live blogging. Live blogging allows for continuous updates on a current event to be published in the one place for an audience.

In a QUT online journalism lecture, Fairfax Queensland political editor Amy Remeikis said any topic now is open for a live blog. If this means I can  give a running commentary on every episode of The Bachelor Australia and call it work then I’m totally on board.

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Amy says the key to live blogging is to keep your readers updated every 15 – 20 mins at MAX. This ensures they stay interested in the content and don’t click off the page. You want to keep readers on your site for as long as possible because that’s what drives advertisements and keeps you in a job. As fun as live blogging seems, having cash money to pay the bills is better, so maybe write that tip down.

Amy’s live-blogging nuggets of wisdom:

For any potential future live-bloggers out there, here are some tips to follow.

  1. Don’t talk down to your readers! “Journalists often make this mistake,” says Amy. “We know now this doesn’t work.” It’s all about a real time conversation with your readers.
  2. Provide context. “Context is key in digital journalism,” says Amy. “If you can tell the reader why the information is important to them today, you have already lured them in.”
  3. Don’t assume. “It makes it easy to make mistakes if you haven’t considered that maybe your readers haven’t read anything about the topic yet,” says Amy. Add a quick summary to ensure readers know the important aspects of the story.
  4. Time code. If you’re recording the event in any capacity make sure to write down the specific time an important detail happened. You don’t want to have to listen to 4 hours of recordings just to find that one great quote you couldn’t quite remember. “Time coding saves me every single time,” says Amy.
  5. Be aware of your bias. “We write through our own perspective and people read through their own perspective,” says Amy. You need to be aware of your bias in order to counteract it. Despite the truckload of changes, journalism is still about giving a fair and balanced account.

Live blogging is fast becoming the norm for news reporting. Here are some tweets from journalists and news organisations promoting their live blogs on a range of topics.

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Slate live blogging “the Trump implosion” otherwise known as the second US Presidential Debate. Source: Twitter.

 

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New York Times writer Sarah Lyall promoting a Rio Olympics live blog. Source: Twitter
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Source: Twitter

So now you have these tips, what are you waiting for?

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About the Author

Hi there and welcome to my blog!

My name is Georgia and I am a 20-year-old law/journalism student at QUT. I’m just your average dog obsessed, Brisbane Broncos loving, tv show binge-watching girl with a desire to live in London. I’m currently counting down the days until the Gilmore Girls Revival hits Netflix.

I hope you enjoy the content I post here. 

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Georgia