cnni panel discussion at the frontline this thursday

By on Jul 20, 2010 in blogging, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, conferences/events, journalism, mobile, newspapers, social software | 2 comments

I've been involved in helping CNNi, a client, organise a panel discussion on the role of mobile phones in news gathering, journalism and the consumption of news. The event, which has as an online media partner, will take place on Thursday 22 July at the Frontline Club in London. Tickets are free but you'll need to sign up in advance. Here's more detail: Mobile phones are changing the way we learn about and experience news. Citizen journalists and ordinary people are, increasingly, beating TV crews to the scene of breaking news stories. Mobile technology is becoming an essential part of the professional journalist's tool-kit. Mobiles are also changing the way we consume news, allowing people on the move to keep abreast of the stories important to them. This panel discussion brings together a range of experts from journalism, academia and mainstream media to discuss the role of mobile phones in newsgathering, reporting and the consumption of news. Topics include: * The role of eyewitness reports, captured and shared via mobile, in news today * The motivation of citizen journalists and others who share news related content via their mobiles * The importance of mobile journalism skills to the work of professional journalists * Inspirational examples of stories covered by journalists and others using mobile phones * Tips on creating great stories using a mobile phone * How are mobile phones changing the way we find and consume news * The impact of new technology on the business of news Panellists: Louis Gump Vice President Mobile, CNN Louis is vice president of CNN Mobile, responsible for managing CNN’s mobile business. Based in CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, he directs CNN’s mobile strategy and development to meet consumer needs and grow overall reach, usage and revenue. Alex Wood Freelance Mobile Journalist, Producer and Lecturer Alex is a freelance journalist and co-founder of Not on the Wires, a multimedia journalism production company. He created G20 London Live, a mobile journalism project covering the G20 summit in London. He also teaches mobile journalism to students at London South Bank University. Andy Dickinson Course Leader, BA Digital Journalism Production, University of Central Lancashire Andy teaches Digital and Online Journalism at the Department of Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, which has had dedicated postgraduate and undergraduate courses in Online Journalism since 1999. In his spare time he edits TV programmes and provides training for journalists moving to Digital. Ben Hammersley Editor at Large, Wired UK Ben is Editor at Large of Conde Nast's Wired UK magazine, Director of Digital at Six Creative and Principal of Dangerous Precedent. Hammersley previously worked as the first Internet reporter for The Times and as a reporter for The Guardian as well as reporting from  Iran and Afghanistan. Jonathan Hewett Director, Newspaper Journalism, City University Jonathan is Director of Newspaper in the Department of Journalism at City University, London. The course combines practical skills training in reporting, interviewing, writing, editing, research, newspaper production and digital production skills, including the use of mobile phones and social media. Drinks and networking from 6.30pm Event from 7pm It's free, but you need to sign up in...

twitter users tweet round the ashpocolypse

By on Apr 19, 2010 in BBC, citizen journalism, location based services, mobile, social software |

In a blog post yesterday, the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones describes how stranded European air passengers have been using twitter and facebook to organise lifts home. Like no fewer than six of my Headshift colleagues, I too have been grounded by the volcanic ash cloud hanging over Europe – abandoning plans to travel on Saturday to pick up my kids who are visiting relatives in Poland. This isn't the first time I've used Twitter to solicit or provide travel information, something that the format is particularly well suited for. During a fierce snow storm last year, I was enroute to Luton Airport for a flight to Glasgow when we were told, on board the train, that all buses between the railway stop and the airport, a good 2km or so up a steep hill, had been cancelled, as had many flights. I did a quick twitter search and found someone, who coincidentally also works in the social media industry, tweeting from air side. He confirmed that they were still plowing the snow from the runway and de-icing planes. Because of his information, I continued to make my way to the airport, tweeting and posting photos as I did for the benefit of other passengers. My tweets were picked up by BBC Radio Three Counties, where I'm familiar with several journalists, and before I knew it I was doing two ways as I trudged up the snowy airport approach road with my luggage. I eventually did manage to get my flight, after having a coffee with my new friend, and made my way up to Scotland as planned. Twitter isn't going to get me a lift to Poland this time – I simply don't have the time, or inclination, to drive – but whenever or weather or transport crisis hits, it's the first place I check for details from the...

real time snow reports via twitter

By on Dec 16, 2009 in BBC, citizen journalism, journalism, location based services, mobile, newspapers, social software |

I came across this really clever use of twitter this morning as London got it's first snow flurries of the season. #uksnow Map 2.0 monitors twitter for mentions of snowfall, then plots the snow on a google map. To make best use of it, you need to use a special tweeting convention – insert #uksnow followed by a postcode and 0-10 rating (0 being nothing, 10 being a full on blizzard) – for example, #uksnow SE1 2/10. This reminds me of a pilot I set up at BBC Leicester, where we loaded some 3g mobiles with Yahoo's Zonetag and asked 5 members of the public to contribute a few weather photos each day, directly from their handset, to a flickr group that automatically fed a BBC template page. It would be interesting to see the #uksnow map displaying images from twitpic and I can imagine all sorts of uses of this – flood monitoring, disaster relief, coverage of the Olympics, etc. See the #uksnow map here:...

presentation on meaningful playfulness

By on Nov 10, 2009 in journalism, location based services, mobile, social software |

My Headshift colleague Eliot (@eliotf) pointed me towards an interesting presentation, Hiding Data, Content and Technology in Real World Games, shared by Chris Thorpe recently. I love how Chris describes layering a highly useful interface on top of play around social objects, utilising ambient data collection and injecting aspects of the real world such as physical places and objects into his message. Well worth a look: Hiding data, content and technology in real world games View more documents from Chris...

guide to using social media (in 6500 words)

By on Oct 21, 2009 in activism, blogging, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, headshift, journalism, mobile, social software | 1 comment

Late last year, and early this year, I embarked on a social media training roadshow (for Headshift) that took me to the far corners of England, Scotland and Wales. My purpose was to show each of the finalist communities taking part in NESTA's Big Green Challenge, a million pound environmental competition now nearing it's end, how social tools could help them communicate more effectively both within their groups as well as with stakeholders and other external audiences. Alongside the training, which was provided on-site in villages, towns and cities – and on one island – I wrote a series of eight blog posts, totally 6500 words, aimed at introducing a wider audience to the use of social media services, social networking sites and content sharing platforms. The original posts can still be found, for now, on the Big Green Challenge Blog but I have, below, brought them together as a single post. This content is now also available as a 15 page pdf (250k): Download Guidetousingsocialmedia Part One: Introducing social media and the whole web as your canvas Social media, as Vicki Costello pointed out in her post here last week, has lots of potential to help individuals, groups and communities to communicate more effectively. This is primarily because social media – a melting pot of social connectivity, conversations and content sharing – allows people not only to create and disseminate their messages in their own way and on their own terms, but also creates opportunities for: direct channels of engagement with and between stakeholders enhanced transparency of purpose and action increased opportunities for communities to form and grow around ideas keep members of those communities better informed and involved increase the visibility of the collective knowledge and creativity within the community reach out to new audiences of potential supporters It's pretty powerful stuff so, over the next six to eight weeks, I'll be writing a series of posts – this one theoretical, the rest practical – here to help you learn how to get the best out of emerging social media tools and techniques. This week, in what is likely to be the most theoretical post of the bunch, I'll set the scene by defining social media for those who are a bit unsure what we're on about and will talk about what I see as the key to success on the web today: the ability to use the whole web as your canvas. Over the coming weeks my posts will offer more practical advice on how to actually get started using some of the services and tools mentioned here today. As I started writing this post, I realised that I didn't really have a one line definition of social media, so I used a social networking tool called twitter to send a short message to my followers, essentially friends and contacts who subscribe to my messages, or tweets as they are called on twitter, asking if they might help. Within a few minutes I had half a dozen thoughtful responses including: "Social media is a new form of technology based communication. It fosters dialogue, transparency and collaboration." – Stefan "like real life, just electric?" – Dominic "Not media, but using technology for a conversation that connects, enables and leads to action, either online or offline." – Jason "Making things, sharing them, seeing what other people have made, commenting on those things and adding to them." – Chris My favourite response came from Howard Rheingold, a widely respected author, University Professor, past speaker at NESTA events and a longtime friend who I credit with helping me land my first real job helping build online communities back in 1998, who wrote: "Many to many media that gains value as more people participate, and which enabled people to connect with each other." There are hundreds of services and tools which could justifiably fall within the definition of social media – below are just a few that spring to mind: Social networking services such as Facebook, Bebo and Myspace Content sharing sites including flickr and YouTube Online discussion spaces such as message boards, forums and chat rooms Blogging platforms which allow easy publishing and more, including WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and others Micro-blogging services including Twitter, which is mentioned above Collaboration platforms, such as wiki's The important thing to understand about each of these services is that that they tend to do one thing very well indeed, but are less good at other things. Social media is no exception to the cliche, which often rings true, that you've got to have the right tools to do the job. So, for example, if you want to post photographs and have discussions with other keen photographers, you'd be hard pressed to find a better place than flickr to do that but you probably wouldn't want to use flickr for collaborative working. This is where we start talking about using the whole web as your canvas (with much owed to Tom Loosemore, who did much to bring this idea to life for me) – an idea which has, at it's root, the idea that the internet is a vast network of interlinking conversations. In the past, many people and organisations cared only about the growth of their own website. This is a bit like trying to plant a single apple tree at the end of a fenced garden. It might blossom, and bare a few...

my al jazeera appearance (re: social media use by protesters in iran)

By on Jun 17, 2009 in blogging, citizen journalism, journalism, mobile |

On Monday I was interviewed by Al Jazeera about the use of social media, in particular twitter, by protesters in Iran. Here’s the clip: Next time I’ll have to remember that Al Jazeera uses a split screen format rather than sequentially going back and forth between interviewer and interviewee!