This is the BBC’s New Broadcasting House, just up the road from Oxford Circus tube station. It was officially opened by the Queen last month. However, it’s been a working building for the best part of a year or more. Although it lacks the glorious patina of Bush House, it’s still a fabulous place to work. You really are inside the heart of a global news beast when you enter this building.
I’ve been doing a lot of training for the BBC College of Journalism of late. I took the opportunity to blog a little bit of the background on doing the photojournalism story from Rubona, in eastern Rwanda the other week. If you’re interested in how to be a mobile foreign correspondent with minimal (and in some cases pretty old) tools, take a look at this post on the College site.
I have just spent a week with the AlJazeera.net news team in the Qatari capital Doha talking about a variety of online tools, how they work and why they might be useful for online journalists. We looked at a number of examples of some of them being used in the wild by journalists around the world. Below is a list of tools I either taught, demonstrated or just mentioned in passing during this week in Doha,
- seesmic desktop
- mobile twitter applications
- twitter translate
Organising the digital desktop
It's not that different a list to Alfred Hermida's from 2008, but no Mac only stuff in here – as I had no Mac users to train – and I've thrown a few Arabic tools into the mix. If you can think of any tools I'm missing do please make suggestions in the comments. For me, the key tools are Twitter, Publish2, del.icio.us and advanced use of RSS.
The more I talk to media companies, NGOs, journalism colleges and PR outlets about media training the more I realise just how much I've learned through blogging and associated online publishing over the past decade. I was in the offices of a pretty well known media organisation last week to discuss training. I'd been recommended by two of their employees whom I'd trained on separate courses in the preceeding year. It looks like I'll be setting up some blog/social media/news tracking courses for them. It intrigued me that they complained about the number of cowboys they'd met working in this field. I suggested they check the 'digital footprint' of anyone cold calling before they even think of letting them throught the door. It's good to see Suw expand on that a little lot. Lots of good stuff in there, but I like Dave's quality assurance test questions for any would-be trainer recruiter,
2. How do you go about pitching bloggers?
3. How do you monitor what people are saying about you?
4. Where can I find you online?
5. Can you (ghost) write my blog for me?
6. How do you measure results?
7. How would you define social media?
8. Can you just pretend to be me online?
Beyond all of this, my main bugbear I've encountered too many times in this field is folk who don't know how to give a presentation, have no formal teacher training (and boy does it show) and think that knowing stuff is enough. It ain't. Alors, for what it's worth, to add to Dave and Suw's thoughts, my two practcial rules for training/talking,
- Rule No.1: Never ever ever rely on wifi/technology. It will fail. Search through any of the Le Webs and wotnot and you'll see a litany of
awful presentations, mumbled words and presentations that don't work
simply because the idiot giving it designed it to work only if the
conference/seminar/webinar/twitup wifi works properly. And it never does.
- Rule No.2 Simple. Be bloody interesting. Most of this stuff is pretty dull to describe at the best of times. Don't grind your trainees into a coma with flowcharts, graphs, pie charts and slides packed with words. If social media is so much bloody fun, make it so.
If you ever happen to be at one of my talks, training sessions it's all pictures all the time. The longest piece of text you'll get on a slide of mine is about seven words. Over and out.
My god things are quiet round these parts of late… The thing is, or the things are, I'm spending so much time training people and planning to train people how to do all the stuff I've been doing on this blog and elsewhere since I started way back when that I don't actually have time to "do" much of what I speaketh when I traineth. The only place I seem to have time/make time to chatter online these days is Twitter – and if you haven't heard of that yet, just what rock are you living under? Alors, I loved the video above – which I now use to train folk – and which I first learned about on… Twitter.
P.S – I have also been working on a rather exciting web project which I hope to bleat about a little on the not too long and distant.
I recently started blogging for the good folks over at BBC Good Food Magazine. This is a regular gig. I’ll be blogging there every Friday. I’ve been chatting and working with the digital and the print side of the magazine on and off for around a year now and the blog just recently ‘soft’ opened. Please go take a look and tell us what you think. Also, look out for the February print edition of the magazine for more detail on the blog. I’ll be covering completely different food topics to those I blog about at The Observer and to a completely different audience.
I now blog professionally in three different places and it does somewhat curtail the time I can spend on this blog. However, I wouldn’t be doing any of them if I wasn’t totally into what they all do. Just a quick recap, here are all the blogs I currently work on, some are paid, most are not,
- Noodlepie – This one. The one you’re looking at. The good stuff is in the right hand column.
- awholelotofcrunch – All the Twiglets, all the time. The world’s
favouriteonly Twiglets blog.
- From the Frontline – news from the world of foreign correspondents, war reporters and the media in general. I really enjoy all the blogs I work on, but I am pretty much addicted to doing this one.
- Filthy France – don’t tend to tread much in here these days. But France is no cleaner than when I started this blog.
- Word of Mouth – The brilliant food blog from the brilliant Observer Food Monthly magazine.
- BBC Good Food – The shiny new BBC blog from the ace recipe magazine.
- idrawsnails – And chameleons, whales, ghosts, spiders and caterpillars. Every kid should have a pixellated scrapbook.
- Commentisfree – Really don’t know if I’ll write here again. I hope so.
- Twitter – useless and useful. I recommend.
Along with the blogging gig at The Observer. This week I also started work with The Frontline Club. The club is a registered charity and supports those working in journalism in the world’s trouble spots and war zones. If you don’t know what The Frontline Club does, click the video above to find out. I’m really excited about working with these folk. We’re still ironing out the details, but I’ll be working mainly on the digital/social media side of things.
Keeping with the online theme, I’m doing more and more ‘social media’ training. Mainly for journalists, editors and print media staff. Much of that is with BBC Worldwide magazines. It’s very enjoyable, very productive stuff. I leave each session knowing the people have the skills, knowledge and access to information they didn’t have before. I’m lifting curtains, blinds, shutters and plenty other things 🙂
For all that, actual journalism hasn’t really taken a back seat as been almost dumped. I’ll still be doing bits for The Press Gazette and its ilk. Hopefully, I’ll be doing more for the UK and US food press too. However, for the moment, Frontline, media training and foodblogging are the main interests and I’m really pleased with this set up. If you can see any crossover with what you do, or you’re interested in asking me to come in and train/talk to the folk within your organisation about blogs/social media/online journalism/foodblogging, drop me a line.
"The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of
Culture and Information are to target bloggers and blog-hosting
websites in the latest move by the government to restrict what
Vietnamese write about and post on the internet. The chief inspector of the Ministry of Culture and Information Vu Xuan
Thanh said the two ministries would issue a joint circular to strictly
control and monitor what is written in online blogs, especially views
against the state." via Intellasia
I wrote a piece for the Press Gazette while I was in London last week. It’s about how the BBC plans to use social media – blogs, flickr, youtube, twitter etc. – in their coverage of the build up to the Turkish election at the end of July.
“This is an experiment to look at how a series of international reports can be spread through social media sites and hopefully reach new
audiences,” says Richard Sambrook, director of BBC Global News. “We
talk a lot about convergence – but we want to explore what that can really mean in international reporting.”
If anybody can remember in the very dim and distant, this is a theme I’ve been keenly interested in for a number of years. However, as Ben Hammersley – who’ll be doing the reporting for the BBC – says, "the tools are all now in place" That wasn’t quite the case a couple of years ago. Also, the ever growing popularity of social media site like facebook, twitter and the photo and video sharing sites illustrates just how easy these tools have grown to use. It’s not the preserve of techies anymore.
I think the real biggie is time. To do a good social media job – with all the interaction that demands – on top of the old media job could potentially take an awful lot of time – especially the video and the interaction. Have you ever tried uploading a video to YouTube??? One video I uploaded took more than ten hours to appear. Most of the other stuff is fairly quick to do and even automated as Robin points out.
It’ll be interesting to see what lessons old media outlets like the BBC learn from this "pilot project" and how, if it is successful, they will get other reporters to follow suit, in full or in part. FWIW – regardless of all the hype surrounding a lot of social media, I think if journalists have to choose one tool from the cannon, let it be del.icio.us – best collaborative research tool out there, IMO. Lastly, links to all my public social media accounts can be had in the top right column.
I have my own ideas, but last I heard there are at least 200,000 food blogs in existence. That number’s not decreasing and I don’t think one person can know 200,000 of anything anyway, no matter who you are. If you have a strong view on this, feel free to voice it in the comment box. If you prefer you can email me. This is a for a feature I am writing this week. The end result will inevitably be subjective, but hopefully informed to a large extent by you. Beyond the knowledge picked up through the three or more years I’ve been food blogging, there are a few places I’ve already stopped by to help me with this piece,
- Food blog section at the Bloggies
- My (not at all up to date, but will update it…) copy of my food blog RSS feed.
- What are your favourite food blogs? – Serious Eats.
Plenty of other sources garnered over the years – foodpornwatch, kiplog, Elise, grabyourfork and the countless newspaper features, but I hope this post and my Twitter will throw a few pleasantly unexpected spanners into the final 10. I haven’t written a word of this feature yet and I won’t start it until, at the latest, Friday morning.