Recent posts in my Journalism Category

January 17, 2013

“All Bloomberg journalism is data journalism” - Marianne Bouchart at Hacks/Hackers London

After a lengthy hiatus, Hacks/Hackers London was back this week with a data journalism themed evening. First up was Marianne Bouchart from hosts Bloomberg, whose plush offices gave the whole evening a rather different feel to the usual dingy pub basement. Here are my notes…

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December 7, 2012

“The philosophy of” - Dave Wyllie at news:rewired

At news:rewired, Dave Wyllie of talked about the duty of care the service had to the citizen eye-witness sources it uses. Here are my notes

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December 6, 2012

“Matter: Long-form digital journalism that breaks all the rules” - Bobbie Johnson at news:rewired

Bobbie Johnson’s discussion of long-form journalism start-up Matter was the talk I was most looking forward to at news:rewired today. He didn’t disappoint. Here are my notes from the session.

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“The user experience of news” - Martin Belam at news:rewired

At news:rewired today I spoke as part of a panel talking about the importance of “user experience” for digital publishers. Here is the essay version of the talk.

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December 4, 2012

Training courses with Martin Belam for January and February 2013

I’ve confirmed a line-up of four different training courses that I’m teaching or taking part in early next year. All are open for booking now, and they cover a range of topics from blogging to digital journalism to the fundamentals of UX to the nitty-gritty of responsive IA.

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July 25, 2012

Is Godzilla destroying journalism?

I recently appeared at an event entitled “Is social media destroying journalism?”. Here is the essay version of what I said on the night. Featuring a certain B-movie favourite...

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July 4, 2012

“New digital divides” - Martin Belam at Hacks/Hackers Canterbury

On Monday night I spoke at the inaugural meeting of Hacks/Hackers Canterbury. Here is an essay version of my talk.

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July 3, 2012

“3 tips for working with programmers and journalists” - Nicola Hughes at Hacks/Hackers Canterbury

Nicola Hughes, aka @DataMinerUK, was talking at the first meeting of the Canterbury Hacks/Hackers group, giving her ten top tips for working with journalists and “proper” programmers if you were just starting down the road of being a datajournalist. Three things struck me as particularly important, and applicable to a wider circle of activity.

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June 21, 2012

Behind the scenes at the ITV News redesign

Design agency Made By Many hosted a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of the digital relaunch ITV News this week. Here are my notes on how they didn’t just redesign a website, they redesigned a newsroom.

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June 6, 2012

Forcing Hari to link only shows up how much the rest of the news industry doesn’t

The rehabilitation of Johann Hari continues apace with the publication of a column from him in GQ. The fact that he is being made to link out in footnotes is being seen in some quarters as a punishment. If only it was just normal best practice.

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May 23, 2012

Platforms not pages - solving problems with The Atavist, n0tice and

Three very different things I’ve spotted this week have illustrated a nagging thought in my mind that if you are purely focused on publishing web pages into the desktop environment, you’ve probably taken your eye off the ball.

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May 15, 2012

Google Currents - a system for publishers, not journalists

I always like to play around with new toys, and so as soon as the Google Currents production system was released to the public, I set about making an edition for myself - and discovered that it is a system for publishers, not journalists or individual authors.

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April 26, 2012

“Is blogging journalism?” - an FAQ

I have, it seems, acquired something of a reputation for going apoplectic whenever somebody asks if blogging is journalism. So I thought I’d just write a little FAQ for everybody so I can be completely clear on where I stand on this “issue” which has been going on for over ten years.

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“Wannabe Hacks - finding a route into UK journalism” - Nick Petrie & Ben Whitelaw at Hacks/Hackers London

Last night was the monthly Hacks/Hackers London meet-up organised by Joanna Geary and Jonathan Richards. Here are my notes on Nick Petrie and Ben Whitelaw talking about Wannabe Hacks.

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“Supporting public interest business journalism” - Maha Rafi Atal at Hacks/Hackers London

Last night was the monthly Hacks/Hackers London meet-up organised by Joanna Geary and Jonathan Richards. Here are my notes from one of the talks, given by Maha Rafi Atal, about Public Business.

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March 30, 2012

The question that would not die. A decade of people asking “Are bloggers journalists?”

I thought I’d fallen asleep and been transported back into 1997 today when I saw a tweet from Media Bistro asking “Are bloggers #journalists?” After from issuing a caps lock ranting frenzy on Twitter, I thought I’d try and pull something positive from the experience, so I tried to find the first time anybody asked “Are bloggers journalists?” on the internet.

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February 24, 2012

Journalist-centred design for the CMS

This is my contribution to February’s Carnival of Journalism. The topic this month, set by Steve Outing, is “What emerging technology or digital trend do you think will have a significant impact on journalism in the year or two ahead?” I’m hoping it might be journalist-centred design for the CMS.

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February 15, 2012

“Twitter did/did not break news” is the new “bloggers vs journalists”

I tweeted today that “Twitter did/did not break news” is the new “bloggers vs journalists” - a tired old trope that gets periodically trotted out. It was this dreary ReadWriteWeb piece about the origins of news of Whitney Houston’s death that provoked it. News breaks for the user where they first find it - and that isn’t a broadcast network anymore, it is a real-time peer-to-peer one.

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February 14, 2012

“Social media, investigative journalism, ethics and security” - Nicola Hughes at news:rewired

As part of news:rewired earlier this month, there were workshop sessions on skills like SEO and datajournalism. Leading one of the sessions was Nicola Hughes, aka DataMinerUK, teaching people how to use social media for search. Here are my notes from a session that raised interesting issues of ethics and security for investigative journalists using social media.

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January 27, 2012

Do you hunger for stories, or hunger for sales?

In this month’s Carnival of Journalism, Michael Rosenblum asks why journalists can’t get themselves together and charge more for their work, or take on more of a business and entrepreneurial role. I think the desire to do journalism and the desire to make money may well be mutually exclusive.

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January 26, 2012

“Pulling the news from the social media noise” - Storyful’s Markham Nolan at #cmLDN

Last night I went to the Community Managers meet-up in London. Markham Nolan was talking about how Storyful sources social media content from accidental citizen journalists.

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January 19, 2012

Low numbers + small change = BIG NEWS

Headlines today have suggested that the murder rate has gone up by 5%, or that knifepoint robbery has gone up by 10% in England and Wales. The figures also show that crime overall has dropped by 4%. Reporting crime statistics is a data journalism minefield however, and last year I attended a fascinating set of talks on the subject.

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January 10, 2012

Even if we can’t legally define journalism, we should at least define our journalistic principles

An Oregon judge has inadvertently sparked a wider debate about the nature of journalism, as Cleland Thom reported for the Press Gazette. I think a public set of principles is one key way for publishers to set themselves aside from the general hubbub of the internet.

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January 9, 2012

Social media stories with happy endings

Everybody loves a social media story with a happy ending - by which I don’t mean that PR stunt about that other Martin guy. Here are two that have caught my eye over the last few days, involving a student trying to get an internship, and the Muscatine Journal in Iowa.

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December 9, 2011

“Presents for all!” - my festive #jcarn post

I’m hosting December’s “Carnival of journalism” on the Guardian Developer blog, so it would be a bit remiss not to join in myself. As neither a hack nor a hacker, I thought I'd take the liberty of answering both variations of the question...

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November 29, 2011

“Hacking the rendition flights” - Stephen Grey at Hacks/Hackers London

At last week’s Hacks/Hackers London meet-up, Stephen Grey was talking about the journalistic process behind his work to uncover the CIA’s network of rendition flights. Here are my notes from the session.

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November 26, 2011

December’s “Carnival of journalism” is on the Guardian’s Developer blog

I’ve only joined in the Carnival of journalism once this year, back in March, when I wrote “News innovation isn't just about writing code, it is about how we use that code to tell stories.” I'll be much more involved in December though, as I’m helping to host it on the Guardian’s Developer blog.

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November 9, 2011

An A-Z of journalism Twitter etiquette

There are a limited number of letters in the alphabet, and so, with the suggestion that journalists should be using “NT” to demonstrate a neutral point of view when retweeting, I thought we should just go ahead and define the entire alphabet of inept journalistic use of Twitter etiquette all in one go.

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October 20, 2011

Journalism archaeology of the internet - Wendy Grossman on copyright, Scientology, and a world without search at Hacks/Hackers London

I wasn’t able to make last night’s Hacks/Hackers London, which is a shame, as it is always a great night, I’ve always enjoyed seeing Heather Brooke speak, and it would have been brilliant to catch up with the BBC’s George Wright who I used to work alongside in Bush House many moons ago. George has published his slides about the BBC’s R&D department. Seeing all the tweets reminded me that, for one reason or another, I never got round to posting my notes from last month’s Hacks/Hackers. So here they are...

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September 2, 2011

How digital transformed the news cycle - and what you can do about it

This is an essay version of a talk given at last week’s Hacks/Hackers meet-up in London. I presented eight things that I believe news organisations need to stop doing, start doing, or do better, in order to cope with the way that digital has transformed the news cycle.

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August 24, 2011

Let’s train journalists for the future, not for the past

I’ll be speaking tonight at the London Hacks/Hackers meeting, and one of the points I’ll be making is that the digital publishing revolution is a perpetual revolution, one that requires constant learning. That section of my talk is partly fuelled by how angry I was made yesterday by a piece in the Press Gazette, which suggested that editors do not value digital media skills.

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August 12, 2011

Riots are an opportunity for long-form data journalism

It is easy to think of “data journalism” as being about automatic computer analysis of large datasets, but good data journalism has story-telling at the centre. Over the coming days, weeks, and months there is a lot of data journalism to be done about the riots and looting in the UK. It is an opportunity for long-form data journalism, and the responsibility of the media to use this data in a way that helps us understand the riots, not in a way that prolongs their negative impact.

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August 3, 2011

“Visualising big data” - Christopher Osborne at Hacks/Hackers London

On Tuesday I blogged my notes from my colleague Laura Oliver’s talk about news community management at Hacks/Hackers London. The other talk at last week’s event was from Christopher Osborne of ITO World, about visualising big data.

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August 2, 2011

“Community management in the newsroom” - The Guardian’s Laura Oliver at Hack/Hackers London

I’ve said on many occasions that I am genuinely baffled how so many news organisations seem to think they can grow an active community on their website, without investing in any community management. At the Guardian we have several people in a role called “community co-ordinator” who fulfill this remit. One of them, Laura Oliver, spoke at the last London Hacks/Hackers meet-up. Here are my notes on four of the key points that Laura made in her talk.

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June 30, 2011

Toby Young, Johann Hari, “stealth edits” and article metadata

A Storify looking at the timeline of edits on Toby Young’s blog about Johann Hari yesterday, and what they tell us about “stealth edits” and article metadata

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June 28, 2011

“Just to clarify, as a mere amateur blogger, I never make direct quotes up or deliberately misattribute them”

Pride comes before a fall. In the wake of the Johann Hari affair, I boasted that as an amateur blogger I never misattribute quotes. Only, four hours later, to be notified that I had done just that the previous day...

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June 26, 2011

Steve Buttry on what the reaction to Gene Weingarten’s column tells us about the Washington Post’s brand

I don’t very often post to this blog just to write “Yeah! What he said”. But this is basically just that...

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June 14, 2011

Introducing the rNews metadata standard at Hacks/Hackers London

Last night I was at the Hacks/Hackers meet-up to hear Andreas Gebhart, Stuart Myles and Evan Sandhaus talk about the proposed new IPTC semantic metadata standard rNews.

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June 8, 2011

Do psychics now pose just as big a threat to journalistic verification skills as social media?

The “Texas mass grave” that wasn’t demonstrates that the rush to get a story on air before it has been fully verified isn’t just something that happens when news is being broken on social media.

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June 6, 2011

"Designing for doubt" - Michael Blastland at London IA

Whilst I was taking a break from actively blogging I was still taking notes at the events I was attending, so I thought this week I’d whizz through some of the things I went to in April and May. One of the speakers at April’s London IA event was Michael Blastland. It was the second opportunity I’ve had this year to see him speak, having attended a panel session he spoke at about reporting crime statistics. For London IA, his theme was “designing for doubt”.

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June 2, 2011

But who actually answered the question: “What time does the Super Bowl start?”

A link was doing the rounds today to a thought-provoking blog post by Donald Mahoney about journalism in a “post-content farm” world. Unfortunately, the thoughts it mostly provoked in me were: “You’ve missed the point”.

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May 30, 2011

“A uniquely digital media” - Live blogging discussion at news:rewired

The final session at news:rewired on Friday was a panel discussing the medium of live blogging, expertly hosted by Marcus Warren from the Telegraph, and featuring my colleague Guardian Blog’s Editor Matt Wells, Anna Doble of Channel 4, and Paul Gallagher of the Manchester Evening News. It was a really good session, with some good natured rivalry between the Telegraph and Guardian on display, and it really felt like the conversation has moved on from “What is live blogging and should we be doing it?” to “How can we use this new uniquely digital media to its best advantage and develop it further”.

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May 29, 2011

Paul Lewis, Alastair Dant & Jonathan Austin at the Knight-Mozilla News Innovation Jam

On Saturday I spent the day in the Guardian’s offices as a guest at the Knight-Mozilla News Innovation Jam. As a preamble to the actual brain-storming and designing, there were talks from Guardian journalist Paul Lewis, interactive technologist Alastair Dant, and the BBC’s Jonathan Austin. Here are my notes.

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May 28, 2011

My notes from news:rewired - Data journalism and social media

I spent a really good day at news:rewired yesterday. With one track dedicated to data journalism, and another to social media, it was no surprise that I found plenty of things of interest. Here are my notes on some of the things that stood out for me.

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May 27, 2011

Data journalism debate at FutureEverything

I recently appeared as part of a panel session at FutureEverything talking about data journalism. I’ve already blogged the four points I was planning to make. Here are my notes from the talks given by those I was sharing the stage with: Chris Taggart, David Higgerson and Paul Bradshaw

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May 20, 2011

My notes from the BBC Social Media Summit

I spent much of today at the BBC Social Media Summit, and thought it worth putting together a few quick notes on the things that stood out for me.

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May 12, 2011

Martin Belam - "Linked data / Linked stories" at FutureEverything

A brief return from my self-imposed blogging exile this week - today I am in Manchester talking on a panel about data journalism at the FutureEverything festival and conference. This is the script that I’ve written for my five minute opening monologue. It seems way too long to fill just five minutes... Martin Belam - “Linked data / Linked stories” at FutureEverything I often feel a bit of a fraud talking at these kinds of events. Just as at Hacks/Hackers...
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April 12, 2011

Sloppy science journalism - the rest of the web is laughing at us

For a while on this blog I had a Venn diagram in the top right-hand corner, which was there to remind me that I was supposed to be writing about stuff in the intersection between IA, digital media and journalism. That is where the professional communities that I belong to collide. So, it was uncomfortable to be sitting in Denver at the IA Summit last week, listening to one of my group of peers laughing loudly at the output of the other.

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April 6, 2011

“A manifesto for transparent digital journalism” at Hacks/Hackers London

At the last Hacks/Hackers London, Martin Moore and Ben Bradshaw of the Media Standards Trust were presenting their “Manifesto for transparent digital journalism”. Here are my notes from the session.

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April 5, 2011

Verifying social media in the middle of Egypt's revolution

Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott recently gave a lunchtime talk to assorted staff about a trip to Egypt, where he was talking to local journalists about journalistic ethics and press regulation. As well as The Guardian’s reporting having an effect in Cairo via Twitter, we were reporting what was being posted from there - and there was a good debate after Chris spoke about the verification standards that you could put to information collected this way, and how it should then presented to our audience via live blogging and other means.

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March 31, 2011

News innovation isn't just about writing code, it is about how we use that code to tell stories

Nick Petrie on the Wannabe Hacks blog recently asked why news organisations were only getting to grips with the concept of online community now in 2011. In the course of his post, he said: “What I wonder is - why didn't a newspaper invent Facebook or Twitter?”. He’s not the first to wonder that, but personally, I’m unconvinced that this isn’t akin to asking why the Great Western Railway didn’t invent the automobile.

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"Protect the public sphere": Paul Bradshaw on the importance of net neutrality for journalism

This is the last of three blog posts inspired by attending Paul Bradshaw’s inaugural lecture at City University. So far I’ve published my notes about what he said on news organisations and online communities, and on the problem of ego in journalism. Today I wanted to look at what I think was the most interesting aspect of Paul’s talk. It was the most passionately I’ve seen someone frame the arguments around net neutrality and issues of ISP regulation directly with regard to the tools and practice of journalism.

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March 30, 2011

"We are not scientists. We can't isolate variables" - Paul Bradshaw on the egotism of journalism

“Do we want to be Journalists with a capital J and bathe in the glory of our guild, or do we want to support journalism?”. This was one of the more provocative passages of Paul Bradshaw’s inaugural lecture at City University. Yesterday I posted my notes on what he said about news organisations and communities, and in this blog post I want to look at some structural problems he identified with journalism as a profession.

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March 29, 2011

Paul Bradshaw on investing time and effort to attract "the right kind" of contributors to a news site

It is a couple of weeks ago now that I attended Paul Bradshaw’s inaugural lecture at City University, entitled “Is ice cream strawberry?”. Paul has made a multi-part essay version of the talk available on his blog, and you can view the slides on SlideShare. Over the next couple of blog posts on currybetdotnet there are a couple of points he made that I’d like to dwell on, and the first is about users and community.

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March 23, 2011

Martin Belam interviewed by Artur Kurasiński

In just over a fornight’s time I’ll be opening the Polish IA Summit, with a keynote presentation entitled “Come as you are”. It is a reference to the Nirvana track, as an anecdote about the band from my days working in a record shop is one of the elements setting up the talk. It is also a look back at the key things I’ve learned through 13 years of working with websites and digital products, and watching and being part of the disciplines of information architecture and user experience design evolving into the established job roles that they are today. As part of the build-up I’ve been interviewed by Artur Kurasińsk

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March 17, 2011

The Telegraph's Conrad Quilty-Harper on why crime maps are rubbish

Over the last couple of days I’ve been blogging my notes from a panel about the reporting of crime statistics I attended at the “Data and news sourcing” event co-sponsored by the Media Standards Trust and the BBC College of Journalism. So far I’ve published posts looking at what was said by Michael Blastland, Andrew Trotter and Dominic Casciani. The final talk on the crime panel was from Telegraph data reporter Conrad Quilty-Harper, and here are my notes from the session.

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March 16, 2011

BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani discusses crime statistics

Yesterday I blogged some notes from a session at the “Data and news sourcing” event which had a focus on the reporting of crime statistics. Statistician and self-confessed “semi-detached journalist” Michael Blastland opened the panel, and he was followed by Chief Constable Andrew Trotter who described accurate reporting as “A hopeless quest”. Today's post features my notes of BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani discussing crime statistics

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March 15, 2011

"A hopeless quest" - Michael Blastland and Andrew Trotter discuss accurate reporting of crime statistics

I recently went to an event entitled “Data and news sourcing” jointly organised by the Media Standards Trust and the BBC College of Journalism. One of the panels I attended looked at the reporting of crime statistics, and featured Michael Blastland and Andrew Trotter amongst others.

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March 14, 2011

Guardian highlights from SXSW on Tumblr

The Guardian has a large presence over at SXSW at the moment, indeed I’ve seen it tweeted that if the BBC had sent a team as big, the Daily Mail would have an aneurism. One of the things that appeals to us is that the event features three areas where the paper has very strong coverage: music, film and technology. Rather than only sending journalists, this year we’ve also sent some of our technical development team.

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March 11, 2011

Paul Bradshaw and Turi Munthe discuss crowd-sourcing journalism

Yesterday I posted my notes from Paul Lewis talking at a panel event discussing issues with crowd-sourcing journalism. It was part of an afternoon entitled “Data and news sourcing” jointly organised by the Media Standards Trust and the BBC College of Journalism, and hosted by the Royal Statistical Society. Also appearing on the panel were Paul Bradshaw and Turi Munthe. Here are my notes on their opening talks.

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