Directors' blog

Links, thoughts and updates from the directors of Dim Sum Digital.

Archive for the ‘training’ tag

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

Northern Quarter to become home of Hyper Island school

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Readers of this blog could well be interested in this move by digital training giants Hyper Island. As I blogged here earlier today, the Swedish organisation is setting up in Lever Street in the new year and offering heavily subsidised places for students of digital media.

Written by sarahhartley

December 6th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

links for 2009-07-17

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Written by sarahhartley

July 17th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Journalism

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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

Will journalists write off journalists?


Councils, police forces, global brands and individual consumers.

All of the above are now publishers.

So what’s to become of us journalists?

OK nothing I’ve  posted above should be news to anyone but, attending Friday’s social media seminar in Manchester really brought one issue home to me – the relevance of the journalist is under scrutiny.

Addressing an audience of mainly public relations professionals, speaker after speaker questioned this relevance when revealing their day-to-day activity.

“Why just send your release to 20 or so journalists when you can go direct to your audience?”

“Journalists, if something happens in the national press, can turn something we we saw as a positive, into a negative story.”

Just two examples I picked out from the day at the Don’t Panic Guide to Social Media (there’s plenty more to be found on Twitter using #dontpanic or via my blog postings from the day).

Of course they are right on both counts. The West Midlands Police force posting youtube clips of operations ensures it presents its activities in the way the force wants to. The PR company can prove to a client that the story has been seen by x number of users thanks to the measurables all social platforms provide.

(I would say that both points also have a counter argument to do with credibility, authority and watchdog but that’s a different blog post).

Looking through the eyes of the delegates mentioned above, you have to ask the question –  what is the point of us?

Interestingly just a few miles away in Salford Quays on the same day, the National Council for the Training of Journalists was also looking to the future as it considered what sort of skills people are going to need.

At least part of the conference considered the skills survey carried out among employers and training providers, and what did the employers want of this august body – shorthand!

I know much has already been said on this topic but doesn’t this rather exemplify a gulf between what’s actually going on in a landscape where all the rules of engagement are rapidly shifting, and what’s perceived to be the issues within (still largely print-centric) newsrooms?

I would love to believe that a  beautiful T-line outline would make the role of the journalist truly connected with an audience and retain their relevance so safeguarding the principles of journalism for generations to come.

But does anyone, anywhere actually believe that it will?

Written by sarahhartley

December 7th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Online communities: Background resources

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Below is a series of links to further information about online communities.

These sources formed part of the research carried out in the preperation for my presentation ‘Online Communities: A social world’ at the Shape conference in Lisbon this week.

They are intended to provide further reading to those who attended the event, but could also be of interest to anyone looking at online communities.

Any thoughts, comments, questions or further links, as ever gratefully received – I see a conference such as this as the start of the conversation, not the final word and I look forward to hearing from you.

Either submit at the end of this page, contact via email at or choose your platform from the contacts page.

Anthropology of youtube
This is the full lecture from Dr Michael Wesch of Kansas State university. It does break the general rule of how long a clip online can be, but I think you´ll stick with it because it is so informative.

BASIC Principles of Online Journalism: C is for Community & Conversation (pt2: Conversation) | Online Journalism Blog
This blog post from Paul Bradshaw goes into greater detail and explanation of the ‘conversational loop’ diagram.

Reasons not to ignore coments: Julie Moult
Further information about what happens when things goes wrong from the case study of the the Daily Mail in the UK. Also goes into further detail and has links about “google bombing”.

Online communities best practice
This presentation is from the marketing company Forrester and gives more details about the concept of POST and that all-important taxonomy of detractors. Take notice of the trolls and bozos!

The “me sphere”
A further explanation of the diagram demonstrating the influencing factors for online audiences. This blog post from Jeff Jarvis looks at how this has come about in traditional publishing, but is relevant to any content providers.

Community a review of the theory
This is a vital piece of reading – it is not restricted to online communities but is concerned with community in general and how society operates. Goes into greater detail about the motivating factors of tolerance, recopricity and trust.

Recommended reading
This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to get on top of Web 2.0. It’s also an easy read and enjoyable. Goes into further details about the Egyptian experieince mentioned at the conference. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

There´s also a whole lot more to discover in my ongoing collection of links on the subject of community here. Please feel free to add me to your delicious network and share you own links. In that way we can build a repository of knowledge about online communities.

Written by sarahhartley

October 3rd, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Multi-media training sessions


With my training hat on, I’ve recently been planning some sessions. Looking back over them I thought these notes might prove useful to a  wider audience – perhaps for those attempting to arrange such things themselves.
If you’d be interested in hosting sessions similar to this for your organisation, please feel free to contact me.
1. Digital Away Day
Duration: Six hours.
Who’s it for?
Heads of departments and senior managers.
What’s the objective?
Bring management to a level of understanding of digital development in the newspaper sector.
What will be covered?
How the industry is moving with case studies from other newspaper groups.
An introduction to the new tools of journalism.
Challenges facing the organisation digitally. 
2. Video for reporters
Duration: One week.
Who’s it for?
Print reporters starting out in video.
What’s the objective?
To equip print reporters with the skills to shoot and edit “made-for-web” video packages.
What will be covered?
Camera skills; composition, audio, lighting, exposure, focus, tripod.
Content skills: differences with TV , what makes good web.
Editing skills: creating packages, using PremierPro.
3. Tools for newsgathering
Duration: 2-3 hours.
Who’s it for?
Newsdesk and reporters.
What’s the objective?
To educate newsgatherers in the host of digital tools at their disposal to track breaking news and generate story leads.
What will be covered?
Setting up personal RSS feeds to bring the news to you.
Tracking breaking news across social media.
Building your online contacts.
4. Better blogging
Duration: 2-3 hours.
Who’s it for?
Existing and wannabe bloggers.
What’s the objective?
Introduce some new skills to improve quality and quantity of output and grow audiences.
What will be covered?
The currency of linking.
Micro-blogging to extend reach.
Using social media.
Creating and distributing feeds of blog content.
Mo-blogging and live coverage.

Written by sarahhartley

August 26th, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Training notes

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