Liverpool Daily Post liveblogs Rhys Jones trial and banking crisis

It’s nearly a live broadcast of the trial — an impressive exercise in liveblogging by the Post (below), particularly given the legal restrictions on court reporting with which the paper’s reporters and editors have to comply. Reporter Ben Rossington seems to be including lots of details and quotes.

As the page notes at the top of the liveblog section,

Submitted comments cannot be published for legal reasons throughout the trial

(Are comments being submitted anyhow — to be published after the case, perhaps?)

I imagine there’s also a risk of having to edit material already published if, for example, the judge decides during the proceedings that a particular defendant must not be named.

Then there are the logistics, which must be easier where it’s a high-profile case (such as this) and proceedings are video-linked to a separate press area. Otherwise — assuming laptops are not permitted in the court itself — it would probably need a reporter to duck out of the gallery every so often and post from his shorthand notes.

Post editor Mark Thomas hasn’t had any responses so far to his blog request for feedback on the paper’s liveblogging. Deputy editor Alison Gow posted some interesting reflections on her experience of liveblogging at the Post last month, with some dos and don’ts. (If either of you would like to say more here about the Rhys Jones trial or bank crisis liveblog, please add comments.) The paper has used the technique to cover different events this year, including football matches and the giant spider robot La Machine.

The liveblog on the banking crisis (below) seems to be a joint effort with the Birmingham Post and The Journal (Newcastle), among others. Looking at the liveblog on the Post’s dedicated business site, I can see it’s been attracting a few comments — it would be fascinating to know the impact of either liveblog on the sites’ hits/pageviews. Both use the Cover It Live software.

The liveblog of the Rhys Jones trial isn’t the first time a UK paper has covered a case live (or as live as possible) — the Evening Star in Ipswich and the East Anglian Daily Times used similar methods earlier this year to report the trial of Steve Wright, with brief live updates.

Teaching and learning for digital (multimedia) journalism

Reflections from a syndicate at the World Journalism Education Congress — I’ve been part of a group of journalism lecturers discussing adapting journalism education to a digital age. Guy Berger from Rhodes University has blogged about this (and other points from WJEC).

The content of what we teach and what students learn (including skills) has formed a large part of discussions — but today we’ve also focused on how: teaching and learning strategies (hooray!).

I argue that teaching and learning needs to reflect more of the characteristics of digital journalism (and Web 2.0). This involves plenty of approaches and methods that have much to recommend them on proven pedagogical grounds, such as:

  • collaborative and interactive student-led group projects
  • open-ended assignments that foster exploration
  • peer feedback and assessment
  • enquiry- (or problem-) based learning (EBL/PBL)
  • students negotiating their own assignments and assessment criteria
  • students as fellow-explorers (even teachers)
  • lecturers as facilitators of learning
  • learning to make decisions on the basis of incomplete information
  • business models for journalism (and ‘new media’)
  • entrepreneurship skills and understanding.

I hope some of this makes it to the final session at the WJEC…

Newspapers’ online video: it depends where you look…

So what are local papers in London doing with online video at the moment? In many cases, not much.

Spurred by discussions at the AJE and in the exchange of comments on this podcast at Paul Bradshaw’s blog, including those from Neil Benson of Trinity Mirror, I’ve looked at a (small and unrepresentative) sample of websites of newspapers covering areas I know — and only one out five appears to have local video content online (as of 21 June 2007).

Here’s the run-down, in no particular order:
South London Press (Trinity Mirror): No local video content. Four ‘celebrity videos’, eg “UK nanny and TV star Stella Reid”; Joe Wadsack, “wine expert on Richard and Judy” talking about “the secret behind Aussie wines”.

Southwark News (Southwark Newspaper Ltd): No video.

Islington Gazette (Archant): No video.

Sutton Guardian (Newsquest): Separate ‘video news’ section, with six in ‘latest’ section, dated 30 May-18 June 2007. These six videos appear specific not to Sutton but to other areas covered by Newsquest South London (eg Croydon, Tooting, Kingston). In one case the video comes from another Newsquest title (Watford Observer) but is relevant because the story has a Surrey link.
‘Archive’ indicates a further 47 videos, ie 53 in total, dating back to 10 October 2006, which suggests one or two new videos going on the site each week (average 1.4 per week).

Croydon Advertiser (Trinity Mirror): No video — but soundslides (still pics plus audio and/or text) hosted at a blog run by David Berman, picture editor. I recalled reading about these on the blogs of Andy Dickinson and Martin Stabe. The lack of links to the soundslides from the Croydon Advertiser website seems odd: for example, the latter ran two stories about a crane collapsing (links here and here) but with no mention of the soundslide about it.

I also tried to look at the Hackney Gazette (Archant) but its site was not available. I don’t recall seeing any video there when I last looked.

Given some of the uncertainties, there may be good reasons for some newspapers NOT to dive into online video. Other papers in some of these groups are doing interesting things with online video — as is clear from those shortlisted for Website of the Year in the Regional Press Awards 2007. In addition, some of Trinity Mirror’s titles may be changing hands soon, and my sample does not include any Johnston Press titles.

It’ll be interesting to see how things develop at these sites (and elsewhere) — and not only with video, of course.

Convergence in journalism — online video

A few thoughts on video, which more newspaper websites are carrying, from discussions at the AJE meeting (where the focus was primarily on regional/local papers online, not nationals). These are some pointers that I’ve taken from the seminar, as someone with a background in print journalism, with an eye on the practicalities of journalism education.

  • It’s not TV or radio, so think web and the specific context there — eg complementing online text and perhaps hyperlinks. If the story is going on paper, too, what extra does the online video offer?
  • For similar reasons, there are good reasons to keep the technology simple. The video isn’t destined for a 72″ plasma HD screen or whatever, so a half-decent camcorder (or even a regular digicam in movie mode).
  • Similarly for editing software: something to be said for using free software such as iMovie, Audacity (for audio), Windows Movie Maker. I can vouch for the first two, in terms of ease of use for the essentials.
  • Think of such software as the equivalent of Word for text etc.
  • Remember that good quality audio is crucial — location (background noise), decent microphone etc (a downside to regular digicams).
  • A slideshow might work well — still pics and audio might outdo video for some stories.
  • Emphasise journalism rather than top-end production values.
  • Concentrate on visual storytelling — think this way from the start.
  • But don’t throw out print priorities of grabbing readers’ attention, relevance, focus etc.

Much of this came from the session led by Andy Dickinson (UCLAN). A podcast featuring him and Andy Price (University of Teesside) is now on Paul Bradshaw’s blog.

Convergence in journalism (education)

Journalism educators met in Cornwall last week, amid sun, sea and… convergence. Newspapers developing online; teaching video; student-led journalism projects across print, broadcast and online media; blogging and social networks in journalism education — it was all there at the Association for Journalism Education seminar at University College Falmouth last week.

Plenty of interesting stuff — and it’s helped focus my thoughts, particularly about blogging and the use of video online. More posts about such things to come this week, including more on my blogging project, about which I spoke at the AJE seminar.

Meanwhile, here’s the line-up that we had at Falmouth:
• Teaching using new media: Blogging as a tool for critical reflection – Jonathan Hewett, City University
• Teaching convergence – a project at Westminster. Geoffrey Davies, Westminster University
• A video project – Andy Dickinson, University of Central Lancashire, Preston
• Newspapers online: Changing values, changing practices, changing staff – Chris Rushton, Sunderland University
• Convergence in the classroom Andy Price, Teesside University
• Convergence, where is it going and what should we be telling students? David Holmes and team on a project at Sheffield University
• New directions: where is journalism going? Jim Hall and the team at Falmouth University College