Tag Archives: BBC College of Journalism

What I’m Reading: Fire In The Night, Nieman’s Riptide, And More

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The Piper Alpha memorial in Aberdeen. (picture: Lizzie/Wikipedia)

If you grew up in Aberdeen you remember Piper Alpha. I was six at the time, in July 1988, and I vividly recall hearing the rescue helicopters flying directly over my house from the airport out to sea. They returned with just 61 survivors; 167 men were killed.

In the 25 years since, the tragedy has perhaps not been revisited by the media as often as others from that time, such as Hillsborough and Lockerbie. But there was an excellent documentary, Fire In the Night, shown on BBC2 earlier this year. And as a result I’ve read the source material for the film, a book by Scotsman journalist Stephen McGinty. It’s thorough but highly readable, with the descriptions of the chaos on board the platform as the fire took hold particularly devastating. Recommended.

Also recommended is Nieman Lab’s oral history of the impact of digital technologies on journalism, Riptide. It’s been criticised for being too simplistic and lacking a suitable variety of voices, but it’s still a useful guide to some of the key developments and experiments in the news business over the past three decades. And this video of a 1981 news report on an early digital experiment in San Francisco is ace.

Elsewhere, Damian Radcliffe published another useful assessment of the UK’s hyperlocal scene at the BBC College of Journalism, an abridged version of his chapter in the new edition of What Do We Mean By Local?. This guide from the BBC’s Marc Settle to using Apple’s new iOS7 is also worth a read.

A couple of sport-related articles which I’ve enjoyed lately: Andy Bull in the Guardian on cricketer Scott Boswell’s battle with the yips, and some interesting speculation from the New Yorker on whether playing American football might have contributed to Jack Kerouac’s early death.

The always-good This American Life radio show had another cracker earlier this month, too. Michael Lewis (of Moneyball fame) tells the remarkable story of how Bosnian immigrant Emir Kamenica got into school and then college in the US. Listen to the whole thing: the podcast is here.

More Hyperlocal Thoughts For The BBC College Of Journalism

ImageThe second of my two articles for the BBC College of Journalism blog on my experiences with Saddleworth News is now online.

It’s largely about how I went about trying to sell ads to help fund it, and I offer some conclusions on what I think I learned about the financial viability of professional-standard hyperlocal sites.

You can read the piece on the BBC College blog by clicking here. There’s also an interesting discussion in the comments below.

The first article, published here last month, was all about the editorial challenges I encountered while running Saddleworth News (which I’m delighted to say is still going strong under new editor Stuart from Uppermill!).

Both pieces are taken from a chapter I’ve written from a new book, What Do We Mean By Local?, which has been edited by Neil Fowler, Ian Reeves and John Mair. It features a wide range of people from across the local and regional media having their tuppenceworth on various aspects of the state of our industry.

There’s more information and details of how to buy the book here.

Hyperlocal Thoughts For The BBC College Of Journalism

I’ve written a chapter about my experiences with Saddleworth News for a forthcoming book on local journalism, and you can get a preview of it today.

Part of it has been posted on the BBC College of Journalism site here.

A second piece will be posted in the next few days, focusing on my thoughts about the financial sustainability of hyperlocal journalism.

The book itself is called What Do We Mean By Local? and has been put together by Neil Fowler, Ian Reeves and John Mair. It features a wide range of contributions from across the industry, and comes out on 27 March.

You can read more about it in a Hold The Front Page article here. There’s also a preview of a chapter by Chris Oakley on Jon Slattery’s blog here.