We were talking Twitter for week six of Journalism Technologies at the University of Huddersfield. I first taught at a university in Leeds back in 2011, and I remember prefacing one of my early sessions by saying something to the effect of: ‘Twitter may not be the most important online tool for journalists forever, but it is right now, and that’s why I’m going to show you how to use it’. Then I sort of imagined it would have slipped from favour by now, but despite all kinds of headwinds, it remains as central to the day-to-day work of media professionals as it ever was.
The lecture took students through some of those headwinds, something which has been an almost constant feature of Twitter’s history, dating back to the in-fighting between the four co-founders and technical challenges which marked its early years. To be honest, Twitter became huge almost in spite of everything, and its utility as the best place on the internet for live, instant communication, remains its unique, and just about only, selling point.
One of Twitter’s thorniest issues is: what, if anything, it should do about Donald Trump. Having tweeted his way to the presidency, he spends his early mornings firing off all kinds of messages as these things take his fancy. Overnight, a Twitter employee, apparently on their last day, deactivated the account for 11 minutes, to widespread amusement. Not everyone within Twitter is happy to let the President keep on tweeting.
Meanwhile, I once again ran a contest to see who could come up with the best tweet on the #journotech hashtag during the lecture. As I was hobbling about with a dead leg after falling over on Saturday, the winner was undoubtedly this from Josh Lees.
I’m teaching the first year Broadcast Journalists at the University of Leeds again this semester, and along with a series of practicals I gave them a lecture last week. It covered a few of the familiar themes I like to bang on about, including how journalists can make use of public documents, open data and FOI, the world of hyperlocal journalism, and some other trends in digital.
I also got a mention in for the new local TV stations due to launch later in the year, including Made In Leeds. Given the relatively low budgets the channels will have to play with, I imagine recent graduates like the ones I teach in Leeds and elsewhere may well make up the bulk of their staff.
Here’s the full presentation.
I gave the last of my five lectures to MA International Journalism students in Leeds today. It was on social media and the role it is, and isn’t, playing in the ongoing uprisings of the Arab Spring.
As a journalist rather than an academic, I thought the students might appreciate a journalist’s perspective on it all. After putting the Arab Spring into a bit of historical context, I examined some of the ways in which social media and other new technologies were used, and looked at the response of the mainstream international media to the material being generated and shared in this way, including from citizen journalists.
But I told the students not to get too carried away with the notion of a ‘Facebook Revolution’ – just as the Romanian Revolution in 1989 wasn’t caused by people watching Yugoslavian TV in secret. It played a role as a way of spreading information quickly, but it was just one factor among many.
Here’s the full presentation: http://prezi.com/t1az4bd0nwoq/ma-lecture-5-university-of-leeds/
Posted in Lectures
Tagged 1848 Revolutions, Andy Carvin, Arab Spring, Bambuser, Boris Yeltsin, Egypt, Electric Telegraph, Facebook, Fidel Castro, Libya, Marie Colvin, New York Times, Romanian Revolution, Sandmonkey, Satellite TV, Soviet Coup, Syria, Tunisia, Twitter, University of Leeds, YouTube
My latest lecture to my international MA students at the University of Leeds was about hyperlocal news. It’s something I know a good bit about, having set up and run Saddleworth News for a couple of years, so hopefully I was able to give them an interesting perspective on this area of the media.
I explained to them that, while I learned a lot from running Saddleworth News, I was unable to find an answer to the problem of how to make journalism, and in particular websites featuring local journalism, pay. But then if I’d found that secret, something tells me I don’t think I’d have been there today giving a lecture!
Here’s the presentation: http://prezi.com/ckqvhfsdym7y/ma-lecture-4-university-of-leeds/
I’ve got one more lecture to give after Easter, and I’ve been doing a series of eight practical sessions teaching them practical journalism skills too. I’ve also been doing more teaching with the first year Broadcast Journalism undergrads, and I’ve got them all to find a local site in their hometowns to discuss in seminars later in the week, so it’ll be interesting to get their views on the value or otherwise of hyperlocal.
Posted in Lectures
Tagged Advertising, Alderleyedge.com, Didsbury Life, Facebook, Hyperlocal, Lectures, Local TV, Manchester Transport Blog, New York Times, Patch, Saddleworth News, Sheffield Forum, South Leeds Life, The Guardian, Trinity Mirror, University of Leeds, Yorkshire Post
Today was the second of the five lectures I’m giving to MA students on the International Journalism course at the University of Leeds. It was on the theme of how more information is now freely available than ever before, and looked at ways in which journalists use this information for news stories and other purposes.
You can take a look at the presentation here: http://prezi.com/ko03xsk9mfco/ma-lecture-2-university-of-leeds/
Inevitably, it was a bit of a canter through lots of different but related issues, including filming of public meetings, open data, data-driven journalism, various Freedom of Information laws, and online whistleblowing of the kind made famous by Wikileaks. I fell back a few times on stories I’d done for Saddleworth News using various pieces of data, I’m not sure whether the students from around the world were particularly fascinated to know about road crashes on the A62, but I hope I got the general points across.
Posted in Lectures
Tagged Councils, Data-driven journalism, Freedom of Information, Last.fm, Open data, Police, Saddleworth News, The Guardian, University of Leeds, Wikileaks, Yorkshire Post
Today I gave the first of five lectures to MA International Journalism students at the University of Leeds. I’m also taking them for eight practical sessions, and it’s all part of a module aimed at giving them multimedia journalism skills, to go with some of the more academic work they’re doing in other modules.
The students are from several different countries, so I decided to use the first of the formal lectures to give them a bit of background on a few of the major challenges and possibilities facing journalism. I’m a journalist and not really an academic, so it was more of a personal perspective on some key issues rather than an in-depth critical analysis, but hopefully it’ll help put the practical skills I’m teaching them into a bit of context.
You can have a look at the presentation here: http://prezi.com/kgmt_p-4zioc/ma-lecture-1-university-of-leeds/
Posted in Lectures
Tagged Advertising, Alan Rusbridger, BBC, Daily Mail, eBay, Facebook, Le Monde, Liveblogging, Magazines, Newspapers, Rocky Mountain News, Saddleworth News, Sky News, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Sun, The Sunday Times, University of Leeds
The Parky building. Not named after the chat show host.
This week I’m starting a run of sessions teaching various online skills to broadcast journalism students at the University of Leeds. One example of how much journalism has changed since I did the very same course a decade ago is that back then we were taught very little about the internet. Tablets were, I’m afraid to say, something you took the morning after a few midweek pints of cheap beer in the Old Bar.
As I’ve already explained in a previous post, I believe it’s important for today’s student journalists to be on Twitter. But just having a Twitter account isn’t nearly enough. I’m keen to help the students get the best out of it for themselves and for their journalism. To that end, I’ve begun to curate a list of Leeds alumni who now work in the media. You can find the list here: http://twitter.com/#!/rlwjones/exleedsmedia
There are two main reasons for doing this. The first one is that many of the traditional graduate-level media positions which were still relatively widely available back when I left Leeds, such as jobs in commercial or BBC local radio, have either gone or are going. Student journalists need to think about their future careers earlier, to help give themselves more options when graduation time comes. I hope that looking at the successful careers many Leeds graduates are enjoying in various parts of the media will help and, yes, maybe even inspire them.
The second point is rather more prosaic. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is such a dreadful cliché it should be a candidate for John Rentoul’s banned list. But there’s no doubt a contact here or there can be extremely valuable. If a student sees a Leeds graduate tweeting about doing a job they’d like to do, there’s no reason why they couldn’t get in touch and ask for a bit of advice, a bit of work experience, or whatever. Less social network, more social networking, if you like.
That link to the list again: http://twitter.com/#!/rlwjones/exleedsmedia
If you know of anyone you should be added, then tweet me @rlwjones. They don’t have to have done the broadcast journalism degree, the list is for anyone who went to Leeds and is now in some part of the media.
(Thanks to @rowanc and @hr_smith for their help in suggesting people!)