Category Archives: Workshops

Week 2

WordPress will be key to this project. As none of the class are any good with code, it would be too much of a struggle to try to do everything from scratch. Due to this, WordPress seems like the logical choice. It allows a variety of themes, customisation and plugins. This week was all about the first steps to creating our sites.

Stats

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/jetpack/

Twitter

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tweet-blender/

Spam protection

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/

Automatic backup

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wponlinebackup/

Landing page

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/launchpad-by-obox/

Themes

http://wpmu.org/top-10-free-responsive-wordpress-themes/

http://wp.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/08/100-excellent-free-high-quality-wordpress-themes/

http://www.woothemes.com/product-category/themes/free-themes/

http://www.dessign.net/

Useful links

Fonts

http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/

Colours

https://kuler.adobe.com/

http://blog.marketo.com/blog/2012/06/true-colors-what-your-brand-colors-say-about-your-business.html?fullsize=http://blog.marketo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/true-colors1.png

For my site, I have chosen the Photo Grid theme. With a bit of editing, it allows me to have six clear stories on the page, all above the page fold. The pictures will be the main focus of the homepage and must standout. I have to really think through what pictures I am going to use to portray the six stories but I believe I can do this with some thought. Also, the site is responsive so will allow for visitors from any device.

Finally, I have a web address for my site. You can visit it here.

Week 1

Usability and accessibility. When it comes to designing a website, those two aspects are key. How do people access content and how usable is it?

This has changed over recent years. The rise of smartphones and tablets has meant that more and more people are becoming producers of content, as well as the audience. This can be seen happening everywhere and especially on news websites. Due to more people accessing information on their phones, some organisations are creating responsive websites that change automatically depending on what device they are viewed though. This also for smooth usage over a variety of platforms.

It fit nicely with this article from Wired – The Web is dead. Long live the Internet. Now, it is about getting information faster, with less searching. Apps allow this, while web browsers slow you down.

To get across the point about usability and accessibility, we looked at a variety of websites from the previous years students. I landed Backing British, which actually won the NUJ award. I really liked the sites layout and was thinking about using panels for mine. This has reaffirmed that. However, a few issues did come up, not just on this site, but across the board.

Banners: What does it say about the site? Does it clearly show? Can I read it?

Content: How much is there? What is it? Does it fit with the site?

Social media: Is it there? How was it used? What is its purpose?

Semester 2

After a long break for Christmas, semester two is fast approaching and I can’t wait to get producing my own project. Over the break, I have had a big long think and I know now that I don’t want to follow through with my idea to write about journalism. I do that quite a lot for Wannabe Hacks and I also don’t want to encroach on the site. This has led me to two other ideas. I have two main passions in life and both seem to be having spot in the sun right now.

Cycling is big in Bristol. In fact, bristol was the first cycling city in the country. This has meant there has been a lot of progression around the activity, whether through leisure, commuting, sport or communities. I think this could be a really strong project with very diverse content and would come out as some form of special report.

Comics in the UK also seem to be on the rise. Recently there have been a variety of stories on national news websites and more people are becoming aware of comics due to films like The Avengers and the Batman franchise. Bristol is a great city to explore this is but it would also reach out across the UK. For instance, Bristol has, I believe, 4 comic shops. It also hosts a comic-con and has a vast community of fans. Elsewhere, lots of big name writers are beginning to emerge from the UK, taking the industry by storm.

I do have  a preference to follow the cycling route, but I shall talk more about it in my workshops.

Week Eleven

We delivered our pitches yesterday and it was more than a little nerve-racking. Lisa Sargood, the ex-commissioning editor from the BBC was back and we also had Jess, the new technical advisors for our projects sit it. I thought this was going to be a really relaxed thing where we all sat around and just had a chat. Oh, how I was wrong.

The three of them, Caragh was also on the panel, sat in a line and made it all seem a bit Dragons Den. But that was just the thing, we had to sell our ideas according to particular criteria. We had to address the audience, competition, multimedia aspects, billing and why the project is worth while.

Unlike some, I didn’t write anything down but just stood up and talked. I knew what I wanted to get across and all the different aspects, so I just went for it. It turned out surprisingly well. I got good feedback from the panel and everything now seems set for next year. For now at least.

Week ten

Today we got a real treat in the form of Lisa Sargood. She is an ex-commissioning editor from the BBC and came to talk to us all about pitching. This was really eye-opening to have someone from inside such a big institution to come and speak to us about something that we all may need to do in the not so distant future.

It was also reassuring to know that commissioning editors aren’t always against you, but will do what they can to help you get your project moving. This is a real fear amongst wannabes, that we will just be pushed aside, but as she said, they are desperate for new content.

Here is a recording from the talk. A small gap at the beginning and it is a little quiet. Still though, a good listen with lots of practical advice.

Week Nine

Week nine was great because it was based around an assessment Q&A. There have been a lot of questions floating around and this really helped to address some of them and put my mind at ease. Also, some questions came up that I hadn’t even thought of so it was a really good exercise.

We also went into detail about what was required for the hand in and all the different elements. This was good because if we hadn’t, I’m sure I would have forgotten something.

Week Eight

This weeks workshop was all about data. I’m so happy that we addressing the area of data journalism as it feels like this could be a real impact, already and even more in the future, on journalism. Having had a workshop with Paul Bradshaw for another module, it was also great to put some of the skills into practice. Here is some of what we did.

A simple word cloud, of top movie bad guys, using Wordle:

Top 10 movie bad guys

A map of a parade through Bristol that was crashed by a protestor, via Google Maps:

A simple pie chart, again of the top movie bad guys, using Chartgo.com:

Online Graphing
This has been one of the workshops I have most enjoyed. Data allows us to do so much in the world of journalism and I hope this is not the last time I try my hand at it.

Week Seven

Sadly, I was away this week. This meant I missed out on the editing and embedding workshop. However, I have done the reading and am very confident with WordPress so this shouldn’t hinder me too much.

Week six

This week we began the transition into video and the role of video within journalism. We spoke a lot about the merits of video and how in a digital age it is helping to break the text dominated form of news. The internet allows for a much greater scope when it comes to producing content. I myself cannot think of one newspaper online that has not tried video in some form.

This is why it is so crucial, as multimedia journalists, that we explore video and the different types that appear online.

Something that we addressed quite heavily this week was the health and safety forms that UWE require that fill out before hiring equipment. We went through a simple exercise about what we would need to address when hiring equipment for different situations. However, it seems like UWE ask us to go into far too much detail. As a class we were reassured that UWE and the journalism department are in talks to make this process a lot simpler.

We had a quick play around with the new cameras and they seem fairly simple to use. As a short exercise, we went off and filmed short interviews in groups. I went off with David and Amy and we reenacted an interview from the BBC website. This was just so we got the feel for framing and light. For framing, we aim for ‘nipple to head.’

The homework task is to do some filming, of a news worthy topic, before next week. Unfortunately, I am away all weekend and also have work the other days. This means that I would not be able to do any filming but Caragh agreed to let me edit some other footage next week.