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Slides from presentation about from the Multimedia Meets Radio Conference #mmr12

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The story  of the open journalism toolkit became the focus for a session at one of Europe’s big broadcast conferences that I was invited to attend this week.

The Multimedia Meets Radio event for members of the European Broadcasting Union looks at initiatives in other countries and media which could spark ideas, inspiration and innovation in radio as broadcasters move towards a more digital, engaged relationship with listeners.

This is the sideshow I presented during a session on the theme of User Generated Content and interactivity. The other speakers were Brett Spencer of BBC Radio2 and Yan Luong, social media manager at RTS. (There’s some notes from their presentations and others here under the #mmr12 tag). Creating an open journalism toolkit from Sarah Hartley

A few explanatory points to accompany the slides:

- slides 1 – 14 look at some of the thinking behind the n0tice project, its beginnings at a hack day trying to solve the problem ‘what’s happening near you’ , the general environment it operates in and again making the point that it’s a platform and not an editorial product for one publisher – a point I often find difficult to properly get across due to the fact n0tice is supported by GMG.

- slides 15 – 27 show some of the current user case studies, namely the noticeboards for, the Guardian’s crowdsourced investigation, the ability to collaborate and crowdsource  by the platform’s tagging ability eg. #yarnbomb, #streetart and finally the Northern Landscapes photography challenge.

- slides 28 – 32 gives brief details of upcoming initiatives for the n0tice team such as experimentation in augmented reality environments with Talk About Local, assisting local Uk campaigners with important community issues such as High Street renewal and finally , of course, spreading the word more widely.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the tools available at for your community project, news enterprise, major media organisation or whatever it is you do, please feel free to contact me.

Happy to take questions here on the blog, via email ( or arrange workshops or talks with you.


(This blog post is cross-posted from the n0tice blog where there’s also more user case studies, how to guides and news).

Written by sarahhartley

September 21st, 2012 at 7:45 am

Liveblogging journeys with n0tice shared

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n0ticeOver the years I’ve tried a whole host of different platforms for liveblogging with varying degrees of success, so getting the opportunity to help shape a platform from the start, as I have atm with, is a bit like being let loose in the proverbial sweet shop.

One of the big challenges is how to get multiple bloggers involved in collaborating on one blogpost at the same time with whatever devices they happen to have and without any particular pre-planning.

I don’t mean just curating the activities of others going on in the same place such as random tweets on a hashtag – although that’s essential too – but actively collaborating to produce a multimedia report.

This could be fun for events where there’s lots of people attending such as conferences – but imagine what a powerful tool it could be for breaking news events where the journalists and other participants are unknowingly thrown together at a location.

I’ve been experimenting at a couple of events over the past few days and thought it worth sharing the experience for the benefit of others who might like to try it out and also in the hope of hearing from any livebloggers out there who’ve particular issues which could be answered in a new ground-up platform like this.

The first experiment was the the Salford University Innovation through Heritage  event where I found myself in the room with several n0tice users including the prolific Nigel Barlow who has been busy developing a noticeboard for InsidetheM60. Given that, this was an easy test run and we simply updated some basic text commentary between us and posted a picture. Interesting to see that when I logged in earlier today that it’s been updated since by another user – a story that can continue to develop? Existing users can see the test here.

A more substantial test came at the weekend where I offered anyone attending the Culture Hack North event an invite to join me with a live blog. My volunteer, the wonderful Linda Broughton, isn’t a regular blogger but wanted to give a try – and ended up blogging the whole of the second day of the event!

This was rather more adventurous and the final result was a live blog of 29 updates which contained text from us both, curated other people’s tweets, pictures, a video and a link to a presentation. Existing users can give it a look here.

Five things I’ve learned from the experience;

* Updates can be added as frequently as required using the simple update box -  works a bit like my old friend, FriendFeed.
* Adding pictures can be done from a link, not just a file from a camera or desktop, eg. Flickr, Twitpic.
* Video is easy to add from a youTube embed  added to the update box.
* Curating other people tweets into it is simply a case of dropping the link from the timestamp on twitter.
* It’s more fun when someone else joins in!

If you fancy giving it a try – please do sign up for an invite,, and let me know how you get on or let me know what must-have feature would get you using it.

Written by sarahhartley

November 14th, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Build your own newsroom – software for independent publishers

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Open source media organisation Sourcefabric has been in touch tonight with news of a new software called Superdesk which it’s starting work on.

It’s something that could be of interest to independent publishers, as well as larger news organisations, so I’ve posted their release below – I’d like to hear from anyone who tries it out too.

“Superdesk’s aim is to allow news organisations to build flexible, scalable newsrooms and deliver content to any available platform. Superdesk has been nominated as a finalist in the Ashoka Changemakers Citizen Media Innovation award.
The tool’s core principle is “create once, publish everywhere” (COPE). Using APIs and content management, Superdesk allows newsrooms to pull in information from newswires, RSS, tools like InDesign, and social media and then output to web, mobile, radio, TV, and print. Forward planning calendars, source and data management and revenue components allow newsrooms to structure, prioritise and monetise their content.

Superdesk’s central paradigm will be the web, but it will be able to deliver on any platform, any device, anywhere, anytime,” said Sava Tatić, managing director at Sourcefabric. “Flexibility is key. Rather than trying to build a tool made for everyone’s newsroom, we are making a tool that everyone can build their newsroom upon.”

Superdesk’s lead consultant is David Brewer a media strategist who has consulted on newsrooms for Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN and ITV. “It’s a dream come true for me,” he said. “Superdesk could become the publication tool of choice for all who want to deliver content to multiple devices and a massive boost to the establishing of independent media.”

Work on the project has already begun, with prototype features already benefiting newspapers like the new print-online hybrid TagesWoche in Switzerland. TagesWoche is using Print Desk, which brings print and online processes into one workflow, and Feed Ingest, which integrates external newswire feeds into the editorial process. Both features will make it into the first Superdesk release, due in Summer 2012.

For more information visit:

Written by sarahhartley

November 9th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Few thoughts from Multimedia Meets Radio (#mmr10)

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What folllows are some notes and links from this week’s Multimedia Meets Radio conference in the Dutch town of Hilversum – it’s not intended as a full report, simply my take-aways.

An interesting event aimed at radio professionals and hosted in a town which gave the impression of having been a goldrush town in the era when radio was the emerging big media technology.

Some stunning remaining Deco buildings (including this former theatre I stayed at) hinted at a more glamorous era and a delegate visit to the present day Radio Netherlands Worldwide premises, still complete with sand-filled studio doors from the 1930s, was a reminder of just how enduring radio continues to be as a medium.

Being a complete radio junkie myself, it was a treat to be asked to speak there (about UGC and how The Guardian is making its news social) and have an opportunity to meet some truly passionate and forward-thinking practitioners.

Such as;

  • Audioboo CEO Mark Rock, who gave a live demo during his talk but also, in effect, plenty of other live demos by interviewing anything that squeaked! Check out his full output here which includes a brief chat over lunch with me about councils’ access for those who wish to tweet meetings. Couple of news breaks – although audioboo is best known for its iPhone app, it will soon be available for Nokia and Android plus, there’s a nifty looking desktop app now in use which I’ll certainly be trying out soon.
  • Freelance radio producer Kate Arkless Gray reminded everyone just how evocative audio can be with a presentation about the award-winning Save Our Sounds interactive map produced for the World Service. From the exotic to the humdrum, the sounds which capture just a glimpse of what every part of the world might sound like it just delightful. It’s a simple concept of crowd-sourcing clips and placing them on a map which you can see here. Although there’s some remarkable sounds (such as the ice break in Antarctica) it’s irresistible to look closer to home where I found the sound of the trams leaving St Peter’s in Manchester as well as a white van’s horn alarm from a car park in North Yorkshire.
  • Apple, in a presentation which seemed intended to create as much intrigue as possible, gave a demo of the new site tools for publishers which will effectively give them greater control over the way their content is presented. The way they packaged their presentation with “confidential”, wouldn’t reveal any surnames on name tags, came equipped with their own mic packs and refused to speak about “the future” made the two presenters as interesting to watch as what they had to say.
  • Update: 17.56: Just spotted that Justin King has uploaded the slides he did of the crowdsourced top ten social media tips too. See them here; Any more? come on in…..
  • The BBC’s Mark Friend gave a very detailed presentation about various aspects of his work, but the most interesting point for me came out of his use of examples of unofficial mashups such as the addition of a slideshow to a Stoke football audio and the comedy show visuals embedded below. I’ve spoken and blogged on this before I know, but it fascinates me to see how the BBC reacts to the sort of activity where its content is uncoupled from the original context in this way. [youtube=]Previously I’ve pondered that the BBC maybe just tolerated this sort of thing, turned a corporate blind eye rather than come the heavy-handed authoritarian.
    But there was something in Friend’s descriptions, and obvious enthusiasm, that is making me think again. OK, the Beeb can never realistically stop people doing this, and they can even facilitate it in a more controlled way with projects such as R&D, but perhaps it really rather enjoys what people get up to with the content. After all, is the corporation’s credibility damaged by it in any way? Or could it actually be enhanced?

I wasn’t at all of the sessions at MMR10, so if you’ve also blogged from there, please do feel free to share links below.

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

Ambitious plans for BBC online in 2009


Bigger, faster and more personalised – that’s the direction the BBC news website is travelling in according to head of editorial development and multimedia journalism Pete Clifton.

Addressing students and academics at Salford University this afternoon, Mr Clifton gave a presentation to demonstrate what’s in store for online users – and for media jobseekers in the region.

He said that journalists being recruited in the future would all need to have online skills as well one other specialism, but he thought that would not seem unexpected for graduates from courses such as Salford’s journalism course.

And he said the move north would undoubtedly open new job opportunities for journalists in the region.

“The MediaCity expectation is that we will be able to work across more platforms. Online skills will be the other skill that everybody has to have,” he said.

Users of the website can expect more of social media feel to the site in the coming months. A project called Identity will open up the possibility of a passport-type registration which allows users to travel into different services and another called Spaces, which will give users their own pages.

But he assured the audience that the BBC would not become another Facebook. He said: “We want to make the site feel more social, make the activity of others obvious. We won’t be turning ourselves into a social media site, but giving more of a feel as to what others are doing on the site.”

And the site will continue to be underpinned by an improved breaking news service.
He said: “A lot of audience testing came out with the updating of stories being an issue.

“A fundamental of a successful news site is how we deal with breaking news. It has to be at the very forefront of that. They have to rely on you to do breaking news really well. Yes there’s all the polishing after that, contextualising and analysis but you have to put up the stories quickly.”

The site redesign will make it more obvious to users which stories have been updated and when, even if the running order of the pages has remained constant for an hour or so.

Some of the other developments coming up in the next year for the BBC sites include;

* Bigger video players and more profile on the front pages.

* Larger pictures and galleries which are navigated by thumbnail pictures to encourage users to stick around on the site.
* A new look for the local site which is currently being tried out in Norwich and aims to hold the news elements and local sites together better.
* Moving the management of the mobile sites into main news CMS to make uploading quicker.
* After the success of bloggers such as Robert Peston and Nick Robinson, the blogs are being redesigned, they are wider templates and we’ve learned a lot about how effective they can be about telling stories and letting people know what’s going on.
* Taking inspiration from the work carried out by the meta data team at the New York Times, BBC journalists will be expected to start putting more meta data tags around our stories. “When you start to do that you can start to do many more things automatically than we can at the moment,” said Mr Clifton.

It sounds like an ambitious lists of developments and one which has an ethos running under it which will encourage consumption of content in places other than the website – expect widgets, sharing options and embeddable video.

Written by sarahhartley

March 25th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

links for 2009-03-04

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Written by sarahhartley

March 4th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

links for 2009-02-18

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  • “The skills, though, aren’t the answer. As one news executive said, “We need to take staff to Web 2.0 and beyond – to make learning more nimble and flexible.” This executive, after putting staff through training pilots, realized that multimedia literacy and a basic understanding of what it meant to work in a Web environment was what people needed – before they could go about learning the hardware.” This thoughtful post also makes the understated point that “multimedia training is also about making new connections across your organization.”
  • has become the fourth-biggest online video distributor by unique visitors in January, behind YouTube, Yahoo and MySpace, according to the latest from Nielsen VideoCensus. In total video streams, it’s No. 3, with 232 million, behind YouTube (5.8 billion) and Yahoo (277 million).
  • A collaborative database unveiled. “We aim to overcome what we believe is a limitation of many “citizen journalism” initiatives to date, i.e. viewing citizen journalism as an end in itself, where citizens are supposed to replace professional journalists, filling up community sites with reporting. We believe citizen journalism is part of a larger process where professional journalists still play the vital role they always have.”

Written by sarahhartley

February 18th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Snapshot of UK regional/local newspaper multimedia activity

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Working this weekend on a presentation about UK local/regional newspaper activity online. Researching how all the major news groups are facing up to the opportunities of Web 2.0 is a rewarding journey.

So far I’m finding that there’s three major strands of activity;

1. Local/hyperlocal; great community sites already in Glasgow, Hull and Teessidewith many more planned across the country plus geo-tagging plans which signals a move to even more tightly targeted content provision.

2. Social;lots of innovative blogging projects such as these in Birmingham, Liverpool, the first steps into Twitter for Carlisle and Wrexhamplus widespread use of Facebook and Flickr.

3. Multimedia, multi platform approaches; Lots of video, some moves into mobile.

Some crowdsourcing on Twitter yesterday helped out with these case studies but I’m back on the case today so if you’ve seen something good along these lines I’d love to hear from you. If there’s another swathe of activity going on that I’m completely ignorant of – ditto. 

Written by sarahhartley

May 10th, 2008 at 10:32 am