Testing Twitter cards — test post

This post is testing Twitter cards to see whether I can get them working OK. Below is a photo — not terribly exciting, I know — of the clocktower of College Building at City University London.

College Building, City University London

City University’s historic College Building enjoys a tranquil setting on St John Street, Islington, London EC1

Tweeting headlines for breaking news

Getting breaking news out quickly but also accurately has long been a key challenge for news journalism. Given the volume of news items that some news organisations publish on their Twitter feeds, and the time pressures involved — particularly for breaking news — it is perhaps surprising that more mistakes don’t occur.

This is one error that highlights what can go wrong — and also raises an issue about auto-tweeting published headlines. It came at the end of the trial (for fraud) of the former personal assistants of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi. The Grillo sisters were found not guilty on 20 December 2013 — as the main Associated Press (AP) Twitter account accurately noted in its initial ‘BREAKING’ tweet.

Following up around 14 minutes later with a further tweet that linked to an AP story, however, it inadvertently cast Lawson and Saatchi as those cleared of fraud — in a case in which they had appeared only as witnesses (and they had not faced any charges):

The situation was particularly confusing because the story to which that inaccurate tweet linked was correct  — as the Twitter card preview showed (below). So although the wording from that headline would have made for a less effective tweet than the first ‘BREAKING’ tweet, it would have been accurate.

The mistake was corrected about 20 minutes later:

In general, news tweets work best when written specifically for the medium rather than simply replicating headlines written for a website story, say. But this is a counter-example in which tweeting the headline from the web version (as some accounts are set up to do automatically) would have ensured it was at least accurate.

Are data journalism and online engagement coming of age?

It’s more complicated than a one-word answer, of course, but data and online community work (developing communities and engaging users) seem to be moving from niche ‘extras’ to core essentials in much of journalism.

The word ‘data’ has been creeping into advertisements for reporters. “Experience of data journalism” in a vacancy on Health Service Journal and Nursing Times, for example. A reporting role at Times Higher Education asked for “skills to handle large data sets to identify trends and spot stories, and the ability to use the data to create news graphics”.

Data journalism and social media are not only for specialists

My point is that these are not specialist “data journalist” roles: breaking news stories lies at the core of both jobs. My colleague Paul Bradshaw offers two reasons why every journalist should know about web-scraping, a key part of data journalism.

Similarly, using social media in reporting — to find stories and sources, for example — is now an accepted part of the skill-set for most journalists, I hope. At least for those now entering journalism.

It’s no surprise that The Huffington Post UK, online-only of course, expects that applicants “will already be utilising and fully understand the power of social media to promote content” for a blogs assistant editor role. But — as with data — social media and engaging users online seem increasingly to be an explicit element.

Channel 4 News advertised for a political correspondent who would “use social media to maximise the impact of your stories and engage with our audience”, for example. A junior writer on The Sun’s Fabulous Magazine online will be “helping to manage our strong community of Facebook and Twitter followers”. A reporter on Farmers Weekly will be “using social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and forums, to engage with readers”.

Again, these are not specialist social media or community roles – but jobs that require skills and experience in these areas.

Specialist jobs growing alongside ‘integrated’ roles

Fortunately for those coming into journalism, specialised roles appear to be thriving alongside those in which online community, social media (and/or data journalism) are ‘integrated’ into reporting or other roles. Engaging communities and building networks lie at the heart of a new Thomson Reuters project — with *nine* new jobs — for example. Metro has been recruiting for a social media executive as well as a head of insight and social.

This picture of specialised plus ‘integrated’ roles is reinforced by two other sources. First, discussions at the news:rewired event last month, where data journalism and online communities were key themes. Many people were there to learn how to do things better, and/or to benchmark their (or their publication’s) own activities.

Jobs in interactive journalism and online

Second, it’s an impression consistent with the jobs gained by students from the first year of our MA Interactive Journalism (at City University London). One is working as a data journalist at The Guardian, for example – while two others there are in content coordinator roles in which community and social media are part of a broader brief that includes writing, editing and commissioning. Others again have gone on to more specialised web analytics and social media work – as well as more ‘traditional’ journalism jobs, reporting on a regional paper and sub-editing for a national newspaper.

PS: Anyone unconvinced by the importance of mastering online/digital skills should look at some current job advertisements. A business reporter at The Telegraph will be managing the flow and placement of web content. An assistant features editor at The Sun will be “keen to adapt to digital platforms”. “An interest in digital publishing/social media would be an advantage” for a senior editor at The Economist group. And so on. [NB The job ads on Gorkana will to be taken down at some point.]

It is also worth noting that data, multimedia and technology topped the list of skills in a survey about journalism training, undertaken by the Poynter Institute.

PPS: I have resisted expanding this post to take in another key area, mobile platforms (also a focus at news:rewired), where news organisations are expanding their activities. Nor have I mentioned the demand beyond journalism for people with a good grasp of data, social media engagement and online/digital skills more generally…

Missing bookmarks and links from your delicious network? Recover them using RSS

Delicious.com has killed its network — the social in social bookmarking — since its relaunch by AVOS. Well, put it in cold storage, at least.  But you can revive it yourself — to some extent — thanks to the power of RSS.

The network still seems to be operating, and you can see the links that people in your network are tagging (a key feature, for me, of the ‘old’ delicious) by subscribing to the RSS feed for what used to be a page.

Use this format, replacing ‘username’ with your own delicious username:

http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/network/username

That should pull in the last 20 links from your network. Subscribe to the RSS feed in Google Reader or another RSS feed reader, and it should keep you updated.

But AVOS/delicious — lots of people would still like the network functions back on the site SOON!

Refining Twitter: how to filter out (or search for) tweets by specific keywords — using Tweetdeck

Using Tweetdeck, you can hide tweets if they contain words you specify — and, conversely, set up filters like a search, to show only tweets showing specific keywords. There are two main ways of doing this and, on the day of the iPad2 goes on sale in the UK, I’m using ‘iPad’ as the keyword to filter out or (Apple fans, please note) search for.

Filter out anything you don’t want to see from Twitter

One way is to set a filter to affect everything in Tweetdeck; this applies to all columns and accounts. In the settings, look for the Global Filter menu — and type in the relevant word(s). You can also filter out tweets by people and source. Farewell those unwanted updates from Foursquare or Paper.li, perhaps.

To filter out tweets from all columns/accounts, use the Global Filter

To filter out tweets from all columns/accounts, use the Global Filter

The other, more selective way is to apply a filter to a chosen column — which you can also use as a ‘positive’ filter to show only tweets as specified.

Filter columns for specific words in Twitter

Look for the row of icons at the foot of the column you wish to filter or search, and click on the filter icon (an arrow curving down to a line). Using the default settings that then appear, you can type in a word or other text to exclude. To remove a filter, click the ‘x’ to the right.

Use the column filter to hide tweets

Use the filter to hide tweets containing specific words

Use column filters to find relevant tweets

Finally, the small drop-down menus in a column filter also allow you to search for tweets containing specific words or other text — simply change the minus sign to a plus. This ‘positive filter’ can be a useful shortcut, eg to hunt down a tweet you glimpsed and need to find again, or quickly to show particular tweets or only those with links (filter for ‘http’).

Use a column filter to show only specific tweets

Use a column filter to show only specific tweets

You can also filter by name, source or time of tweets instead of text. The column filter provides additional flexibility when used with a search column, eg to remove (old-style) retweets from a search on a particular hashtag (filter out ‘RT @’).

Journalism meets data: J-school seeks professor, journalism seeks techies

An interesting vacancy at Medill School of Journalism (Northwestern University, Illinois), which is advertising for a professor of database journalism “to teach data analysis and interactive deployment of data”. Good stuff. According to the vacancy note:

The successful candidate will have expertise in analyzing data for journalistic work and will be expected to teach students how to create and deploy database-driven applications on the World Wide Web and other digital platforms.

I imagine this role will complement the Journalist-Programmer scholarships at Medill, set up by Rich Gordon (and funded by a Knight News Challenge grant). The scholarships are geared towards programmers or web developers who are interested in journalism.

Bringing people with an IT background into journalism, rather than vice-versa, echoes the experiences of Aron Pilhofer, head journo-techie at the New York Times. Eric Ulken wrote up some interesting points from their discussions, including:

When I throw out the old question about whether it’s easier to teach a journalist programming skills or to teach a techie the principles of journalism, he tells me it’s not so much a question of trainability. Rather, he says, “there are more programmers out there that will find journalism interesting to learn” than vice-versa. He tells me that, with a couple of exceptions, the people on his team have either “very limited journalism experience or none whatsoever.”

There’s another interview with Pilhofer here, on Old Media, New Tricks.

Cheap laugh or reminder of juxtapositioning risks?

Take your pick which (or choose both) but it was hard to resist this, from the Media Guardian site today.

Salvation Army meets Daily Sport

Salvation Army meets Daily Sport

Makes perfect sense, with the War Cry going tabloid…

…except that the pic was intended to go with the item below it, about the £18.2m loss by Sport Media Group, publisher of the Daily Sport.

On a slightly less frivolous note, those horizontal rules between articles (but absent in this case — perhaps obscured by the pic?) do have their uses. And awkward juxtapositioning is arguably harder to avoid online; I recall a few clangers, particularly with ads.

But it does provide a bit of light relief from news about job cuts.

Nick Robinson: ‘I got too close to government in reporting Iraq’

The BBC’s political editor regrets:

The biggest self-criticism I have was [that] I got too close to government in the reporting of the Iraq war. I didn’t do enough to go away and say ‘well hold on, what about the other side?’ It is the one moment in my recent career where I have thought I didn’t push hard enough, I didn’t question enough and I should have been more careful.

Robinson offered this candid self-assessment in a debate on political campaigners and reporters at City University last night — as reported by one of my journalism students, Michael Haddon, for journalism.co.uk, and on his own blog. Michael also wrote about Iain Dale’s comments on political reporting (and on his blog).

As for the government line on weapons of mass destruction, Robinson said:

I don’t think the government did set out to lie about weapons of mass destruction. I do think they systematically and cumulatively misled people.

What’s the distinction? It was clear to me that Alastair Campbell knew how what he was saying was being reported, knew that that was a long way from the truth, and was content for it so to be. They knew it was wrong, they wanted it to be wrong – they haven’t actually lied.

Footnote to Michael and someone at Journalism.co.uk: check spelling — it’s Alastair not Alistair (corrected in quote above). Bring back the subs!

Journalism education: matters of principle(s) from WJEC

Some discussion has been emerging about the journalism education principles (full text here) that were issued at the WJEC — in a few blog posts and comments etc such as those by:

Mindy McAdams (Teaching Online Journalism blog, University of Florida)

Martin Hirst (Ethical Martini blog, Auckland University of Technology)

Rebecca MacKinnon (RConversation blog, University of Hong Kong) — more WJEC reflections here

Guy Berger (Conversant blog, Rhodes University) — article in the SA Mail & Guardian

It was good to meet the latter three at the WJEC.

I have mixed feelings about the declaration itself. It’s more descriptive than aspirational or, indeed, inspirational — an opportunity missed?

More positively, the principles emphasise the importance of journalism practice, “a strong vocational orientation” and “experiential learning” (principle 7), and “strong links to media industries” (principle 8). And “journalism educators should be a blend of academics and practitioners” (principle 3) — although I’m not clear whether this means every individual or collectively.

However, there is no reference to freedom, democracy, human rights, freedom of speech or of the press, censorship, media ownership etc. Perhaps this is not surprising, given the diversity of the organisations involved, including associations from Africa, China, Europe, North America and Russia, and of the political and cultural context in which they operate. I gather that the phrases “civil society” and “public service” dominated the discussions to agree the declaration — and neither appears in that form.

In part, the declaration probably reflects the ‘lowest common denominator’ effect — and key phrases such as “the effective and responsible practice of journalism” “serve the public” and “public interest obligations” are left open and undefined, and thus open to different (even divergent) interpretations. If you’re feeling cynical, try inserting “whatever that means”… (to add to the “where practical” phrases already present in places).

I would have liked it to say more about the teaching and learning of journalism. It can make a huge difference, and tends to be neglected — the focus being mostly on the content. Both need to be seen together, I believe.

Having said all this, it’s quite an achievement to pull together a statement of this kind, however imperfect. Work in progress, you might say.

Another factor is the purpose of the declaration, of course — and when he presented it to the WJEC session, Guo Ke from Shanghai International Studies University emphasised its role in representing journalism education to others. He’s pictured (right) with a slide making this point.

I wonder who will be using the declaration, and how. Some at WJEC suggested it might be of most use to journalism educators in developing countries and emerging democracies, particularly where they face state controls and other constraints. Guy Berger from Rhodes University suggests it could help to “reinvigorate journalism teaching and improve its effects on African media”.

In my situation, I don’t envisage using it much. The priority for editors and employers (of my students) will continue to be questions such as “are you turning out students who can do the job?” and “have they got a solid grasp of news, reporting, writing and interviewing?”

As for the position of journalism in the university world, I suspect academics in other disciplines would look more to what’s going on in practice (outcomes) rather than descriptive statements. But there was plenty of interesting discussion about that at WJEC — a subject for another post sometime.

Finally, a modest prediction for where the WJEC declaration will crop up: look out for journal articles referencing and/or discussing the principles. As well as blogs, of course!

Journalism education principles from the World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC)

Here’s the full text of the declaration issued at the World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC), which took place at the end of June in Singapore. It includes a list of the 27 associations involved in the WJEC, whose representatives agreed the declaration.

I’m putting comments and other links in a separate post above.

Declaration of Principles of Journalism Education

World Journalism Education Congress
Singapore, June 2007

We, the undersigned representatives of professional journalism education associations, share a concern and common understanding about the nature, role, importance, and future of journalism education worldwide. We are unanimous that journalism education provides the foundation as theory, research, and training for the effective and responsible practice of journalism. Journalism education is defined in different ways. At the core is the study of all types of journalism.

Journalism should serve the public in many important ways, but it can only do so if its practitioners have mastered an increasingly complex body of knowledge and specialized skills. Above all, to be a responsible journalist must involve an informed ethical commitment to the public. This commitment must include an understanding of and deep appreciation for the role that journalism plays in the formation, enhancement and perpetuation of an informed society.

We are pledged to work together to strengthen journalism education and increase its value to students, employers and the public. In doing this we are guided by the following principles:

  1. At the heart of journalism education is a balance of conceptual, philosophical and skills-based content. While it is also interdisciplinary, journalism education is an academic field in its own right with a distinctive body of knowledge and theory.
  2. Journalism is a field appropriate for university study from undergraduate to postgraduate levels. Journalism programs offer a full range of academic degrees including bachelors, masters and Doctor of Philosophy degrees as well as certificate, specialized and mid-career training.
  3. Journalism educators should be a blend of academics and practitioners; it is important that educators have experience working as journalists.
  4. Journalism curriculum includes a variety of skills courses and the study of journalism ethics, history, media structures/institutions at national and international level, critical analysis of media content and journalism as a profession. It includes coursework on the social, political and cultural role of media in society and sometimes includes coursework dealing with media management and economics. In some countries, journalism education includes allied fields like public relations, advertising, and broadcast production.
  5. Journalism educators have an important outreach mission to promote media literacy among the public generally and within their academic institutions specifically.
  6. Journalism program graduates should be prepared to work as highly informed, strongly committed practitioners who have high ethical principles and are able to fulfill the public interest obligations that are central to their work.
  7. Most undergraduate and many masters programs in journalism have a strong vocational orientation. In these programs experiential learning, provided by classroom laboratories and on-the-job internships, is a key component.
  8. Journalism educators should maintain strong links to media industries. They should critically reflect on industry practices and offer advice to industry based on this reflection.
  9. Journalism is a technologically intensive field. Practitioners will need to master a variety of computer-based tools. Where practical, journalism education provides an orientation to these tools.
  10. Journalism is a global endeavor; journalism students should learn that despite political and cultural differences, they share important values and professional goals with peers in other nations. Where practical, journalism education provides students with first-hand experience of the way that journalism is practiced in other nations.
  11. Journalism educators have an obligation to collaborate with colleagues worldwide to provide assistance and support so that journalism education can gain strength as an academic discipline and play a more effective role in helping journalism to reach its full potential.

This declaration was agreed by representatives of the following organisations:
African Council on Communication Education
Arab-US Association of Communication Educators
Asian Media Information Centre
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (USA)
Association for Journalism Education (UK)
Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (USA)
Broadcast Education Association (USA)
Canadian Commission for Education in Journalism
Chinese Communication Association (US-based)
Chinese Journalism Education Association
European Journalism Training Association
Latin American Federation of Social Communication Schools
Brazilian Society of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication – INTERCOM
International Association of Media and Communication Research
Journalism Division, International Communication Association
Israel Communication Association
Japan Society for Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication
Journalism Education Association (Australia and New Zealand)
JourNet
Korean Society for Journalism and Mass Communication Studies
Latin American Association of Communication Researchers
Philippine Association of Communication Educators
Russian Association for Education in Journalism
Russian Association for Film and Media Education
Saudi Association for Media and Communication
South African Communication Association
Trans-African Council for Communication