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Archive for the ‘Training notes’ Category

Digital storytelling workshop to start 2018

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The impressive library hosts the workshop

For the first major project of 2018 I was pleased to be invited to a StoryLab event run by The Thomson Reuters Foundation, in partnership with the Stanley Foundation . The event was part of a wider programme for experienced journalists and academic researchers who are interested in similar security-related topics. The event gave them the opportunity to work together – to learn from each other, to share skills, expertise, resources and contacts.

The organisers say:

The programme will support journalists to collaborate with researchers to uncover emerging threats in specific communities, countries or regions worldwide, and produce stories that reach a wide audience.

The group was hosted at the impressive Wiston House in West Sussex and worked through a series of workshops on different approaches to their reporting. My involvement was to introduce ideas around digital storytelling and run a hands-on workshop where the group could create story elements including maps, timelines, charts and interactive photography.

It was a lot of fun and it will be interesting to see how the collaborations deploy their newly acquired skills for the final work they will pitch for the programme.

In advance of the session I researched some great storytelling examples – with more than a little help from my Facebook friends who  recommended some of them.

I settled on these seven as examples where the techniques used are all very different and cover a variety of countries. I share the list here as they are all worthy of further exposure. I hope you enjoy them too.

The seven great storytelling examples shown:

  3. e-biles.html




Written by sarahhartley

January 14th, 2018 at 6:50 pm

Data journalism academy sets to work

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Journalist Raymond Joseph addresses some of the first fellows at the data journalism academy

The doors opened, and the first Fellows came along. The data journalism academy at Code 4 South Africa is now up and running.

Day one saw participants explore some of the data tools available including the impressive Wazimap which takes census data to a new level and provides journalists with embeddable graphics as well as new insights into geographies and demographics.

Likewise, People’s Assembly which allows for in-depth connections to data about elected representatives.

The activity at the Academy is now also being detailed via social media with a dedicated Twitter stream
@Code4SAJourn and on the Facebook page:

* This is a School of Data initiative kindly sponsored by Omidyar Network, Code for Africa, Knight Foundation and the Indigo Trust.

Written by sarahhartley

February 2nd, 2016 at 7:45 am

A look at the training we’ve been doing in Cape Town #mediaCT

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Written by sarahhartley

February 18th, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Media training in South Africa with #mediaCT


“Do you have a Twitter and a Facebook account?” That question is just about standard these days at the start of any training session which is going to involve media and comms.

And so it was for the participants of the latest citizen reporting training sessions I’ve been running with Raymond Joseph for activists in South Africa. Nothing unusual in that and it can be a great starting point to a wider discussion about social media with a group.

But ultimately, it’s also a pretty limited question – after all, just because a person has an account, it doesn’t follow that a. They know how use it effectively or b. It suits their professional needs.

During our training sessions to date, we’ve tended to talk more about the underlying principles of social media and how it works in the whole mix of media available to a storyteller these days.

Tips include:

  • Try out different platforms, but go back to the one that works best for you. If your audience mainly contact you on Twitter use that; if they favour Facebook, focus your energy building the community there.
  • Pick a metric and measure the impact of your social content. This might be likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter or simply the quality of conversation you have around a topic.
  • Keep your organisation’s tone of voice consistent. Having lots of different styles is confusing, so establish your values, have them agreed and supported across all levels of stakeholder plus provide training to those involved.
  • Think about a visual element. How about publishing video clips regularly on YouTube, Instagram or Vine? Use more pictures. Images embedded directly into Twitter are 94% more likely to get more retweets.
  • When. Post less and at specific times. Facebook or Twitter analytics tell you when your community is most active, so concentrate on those times.
  • Think short and shareable to cut through the noise. It needs to be new, important or genuinely funny to engage an audience.

Having some general approaches in mind can help people focus on which platforms will be most suitable for their particular projects and campaigns as well as hopefully providing them with some future-proofing for when THE NEXT BIG THING inevitably comes round the corner.

However, there is also a role for some detailed hands-on, ‘how to’ training which is why I’m pleased that we’re going to be offering two short one-day courses which will get into the nuts and bolts of the most popular platforms in the new year. (If you’re interested in signing up for that, please do get in touch).

This work in Cape Town is going to continue in February when we’re going to be working with some of those mapping, investigating and exploring major issues thanks to the support of the Indigo Trust.

Their work unearths some incredibly important issues – participants in this last workshop are looking at everything from the campaigning around antiretroviral drugs to the state of a township’s public toilet provision for example.

I hope to be able to share more of their stories in the coming weeks and months. If you’re interested in following, there is a Twitter list for the participants here and we are using the hashtag #MediaCT.

* The picture gallery above is by participant and journalist Kim Harrisberg. It shows the session taking place at the home of Code 4 South Africa, Codebridge, Cape Town and the hook-up via Google + Hangout with The Guardian in London.

Written by sarahhartley

November 11th, 2014 at 11:08 am

50 tips for the factual storyteller from Adam Westbrook

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This Storify from the BBC’s Hugo Williams captures a lovely twitter event from this week which contains some gold dust tips for storytelling. 50 tips for the factual storyteller from Adam Westbrook.

Written by sarahhartley

October 25th, 2013 at 11:09 am

Selection of images from the protests in Turkey

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This is a cross-posting from a blog post I did for the blog earlier in the week as a demonstration of curating images from protests using trusted sources.The full version of that is here.

The images on this page are a small selection compiled from a few of the journalists I worked with in Istanbul earlier this year who I know strive for accuracy in their journalism. The embeddable gallery uses  twitpics tweeted by;

Pinar Dag – you can see her work on this website or follow her on Twitter @pinardag.

Ahmet Yılmaz Vural - see his work at @ahmetyv

mehves evin – see her work here or follow on Twitter @mehvesevin

If you’d like to use the gallery on a website or blog, the embed code can be found here at using the search term  ’n0ticeTurkey’. Please notice I have added an extra level of moderation to prevent spamming which means only images I have personally ‘n0ticed’ will appear in the gallery.

The tools used to create it are all available for free as part of the open journalism toolkit, which I work with, and demonstrates a form of collaborative journalism that can be carried out with contacts or invited contributors; via a ‘call out’ to an audience of existing users or by harnessing the efforts of multiple bloggers and journalists if you work in a newsroom.

There’s more information about setting up these social picture galleries here.

Written by sarahhartley

June 6th, 2013 at 9:56 am

Data journalism projects – large and small – to inspire

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I’m pulling together a list of data journalism projects (started below) by picking projects that could be interesting in some way to journalists starting out in this area looking for some inspiration and a little ‘howto’ assistance.

Later this month I’ll be joining colleagues from the Media and Digital Enterprise to help host our first Data Journalism Camp (DJCamp2013) in Istanbul – a place where journalists face a challenging environment when pursuing investigations.

In compiling this list I’m conscious that a lot of work in this area involves well-resourced big media groups which can be a bit daunting for independent operators and smaller outfits so I’m particularly interested in tracking down examples where the story is told using free or cheap tools and can be handled with a smaller staff (i.e. without a team of 16 devoting six months to it!)

So, although I’ve included the ‘big hitters’ at the bottom – including the winners of last year’s inaugrual data journalism awards – I’m keen to explore more modest examples too. Please do feel free to share links to any via the comments below (or twitter, email) and I’ll add them to this resource, they can’t be too small……



 Other visualisations

 Those international award winners……….

FBI Terrorists. (Mother Jones and UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program, USA) – data-driven investigations, national/international

Methadone and the Politics of Pain (The Seattle Times, USA) -data-driven investigations, local/regional

Riot Rumours (The Guardian, UK) – data visualisation and storytelling (national/international)

Transparent Politics (Polinetz AG, Switzerland) – data-driven applications (national/international) explores and illustrates voting patterns in the Swiss parliament (Nikolay Guryanov, Stas Seletskiy and Alexey Papulovskiy, Russia) – data visualisation and storytelling (local/regional) (Chicago Tribune, USA) – data-driven applications (local/regional)

* I’ve also started  bookmarking useful blogposts for data journalism at Diigo with the tag djcamp all suggestions and links gratefully received. 

Updated: Suggestions from twitter



Written by sarahhartley

January 2nd, 2013 at 2:41 pm

The 2012 Journalist: Your future?



Constructing the journalist of the future

A journalistic world where personal branding is a lifestyle, managing micro communities is second nature and developing areas of specialist knowledge is essential for survival in what is a freelance work sphere where multiple revenue streams as a sole trader are the norm.

Welcome to the lot of a journalist in 2012!

That’s my personal summary of far more detailed discussions spent considering such things as part of the MELD experience last week.

Held at the futuristic Sandbox at UCLAN, the two-day industry think-tank to consider what skills the journalist of the future might need prompted some interesting dilemmas.

Looking forward such a relatively short amount of time was a tricky experience, not least because the audience who will be old enough to vote in three years time, are one of the first who will be true digital natives.

Today’s teenagers have only ever known mobile phones, games, the internet and on demand services. They are also unlikely to have got the newspaper habit, so how will their experience of the world impact on journalism?

But as we all wrestled with the issues of who will be funding the journalistic endeavour of the future, how organisations will need to change their structures and the skill sets individuals might be faced with, there was one aspect which sparked little controversy – that the next generation journalist is most likely to be a freelance worker.

And for that individual journalist, the future which emerged from our discussions operated in a complex personal ecosphere where some sort of web presence was the essential hub of activity, where earnings could come from sponsorship and affiliate relationships alongside mainstream media commissions for content packages, or access to the special interest networks which they had nurtured and managed.

Contemplating the short-term with some of those who may help shape the future of the industry was a thought-provoking experience  – and wasn’t purely an intellectual exercise.

Some of the input from the sessions will help inform journalism educators about the tools the journalists of the future might need.

I’d be very interested to hear what other journalists think the future might hold – join in with the time travel if you will! What do you think lies in store? Is the scenario detailed above a world which you’d embrace or recoil from? Where do you see the journalist of 2012? Thoughts most welcome.

Written by sarahhartley

December 9th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Journalist as gatekeeper: Is that all there is?


Gatekeeping. This has to be the most (over) used description of what a journalist does that I’m hearing at the moment – gatekeeping. Conferences, blog posts, conversations……the G-word never seems too far away.

Even wikipedia accepts its connection to journalism:

“In human communication, in particular, in journalism, gatekeeping is the process through which ideas and information are filtered for publication. The internal decision making process of relaying or withholding information from the media to the masses.”

It’s cosy isn’t it? We, the journalists, can decide what’s good for you, the reader. Phew, we have a great and valued skill to bring to the world.

But there’s also something that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable about it, maybe it’s a bit complacent and assumptive which got me thinking about who keeps the gate for me, or how I gatekeep for my own sanity.

First there’s the things I don’t want to be subjected to – porn, gambling, material of a an abusive or corrupting nature. Largely I depend on software to keep these the other side of the gate and, largely, that’s successful.

Then there’s the things I want to find out about and for that I rely on my social network (Twitter, Facebook, Delicious), RSS subscriptions, Google alerts for certain subjects with some added serendipity via newspapers/magazines.

So yes, there are some journalist gatekeepers in here – the newspapers being the strongest of those examples – but, valuable though that activity can be, doesn’t this gatekeeping rather undersell what a journalist can bring to the world?

I think we’ve got a whole lot more to offer, skills which could be shared or put to good use in the new order that’s forming.

Just today a blogger within my Twitter network wanted to know where to turn for some libel advice – well a professional journalist friend might be a good start. All that legal training and practical experience could provide a repository of help to those writers and publishers coming from different backgrounds.

Then there’s fact-checking rigour, knowing where to go for information sources, an understanding of the institutions of public administration just to mention a few of the skills which we perhaps undersell in this gatekeeper/censor view of the world.

I’d be interested to hear from other journalists on this – what do you think is your most valuable attribute and how is it best utilised?

Written by sarahhartley

September 29th, 2009 at 10:35 am

Roadtesting Tweetdoc to create an archive from #foj09


I decided to put tweetdoc through its paces today.  A service created by a Manchester developer that promises to answer a need – archiving tweets.

I wanted to keep a record of all the discussions around last week’s Future of Journalism Conference which I attended and blogged about.(Links to that coverage here).

The hashtag was #foj09 but those tweets will soon be lost forever along with some valuable points and contacts I might want to retrieve at a later date.

 The interface is simple to use with a quick registration process. There’s limited personalisation – a choice of headers (mine is “Twitter”) – but input is simple to follow with a basic title, description, date range.

The document created has a maximum of 100 tweets and shows them with the most recent first on a pdf document. See the results for yourself here: Journalism-Conference

It’s worth noting that the process does take a long time – I left my computer dealing with it after 25 mins, checked back at the hour point and then left it running while I went out.

(As an aside, I remain baffled by the icon at the top right of the user interface which looks like a women wrapped in spa towels?? but…)

Keeping and publishing tweets from an event on such a document will be a useful reference tool for journalists but maybe it could also become part of how such an event is reported, providing additional, unfiltered information for readers to dig deeper.

Written by sarahhartley

September 12th, 2009 at 5:46 pm