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  1. Maybes aye, maybes no! Covering the overnight count at the Scottish independence referendum

    Friday 19 September 2014, 15:08

    Suzanne Lord Suzanne Lord is the editor of TV news training at the BBC College of Journalism

    Suzanne Lord in the BBC's Glasgow headquarters Suzanne Lord in the BBC's Glasgow headquarters As I walked into work at ten o’clock, the polls were just closing. In a few hours we would find out if a union which has existed between Scotland  and the rest of the UK for hundreds of years would continue. It felt like when I was a small child on Christmas Eve - wanting time to go faster, as if any further delay would be just too long to bear.  

    My job for the night was as package producer - editing packages for the breakfast show. This was going to be busy as the formal result was expected while we would be on air. As polling stations  closed, a new poll put the Yes and No sides virtually equal.  

    The newsroom was busy. Two all-night election programmes were being broadcast from the BBC’s Glasgow headquarters, Pacific Quay. The whole building had been transformed to accommodate a massive screen on which the results would be shown. Banks of computers had been added so the number crunchers could input the vital details when as results were declared in each of the 32 counts.  As we settled in for the night there was a hum of excitement as everyone wondered what future lay waiting in the ballot boxes.

    Like other broadcasters...

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  2. Kelvin, Cleggy, Stringys and the News Bunny: The wonderful world of Nick Ferrari

    Thursday 18 September 2014, 10:41

    Charles Miller Charles Miller edits the College of Journalism blog and produces documentaries for BBC History and Business. Twitter: @chblm

    Nick Ferrari, left, and Phil Harding Nick Ferrari, left, and Phil Harding In the Boat that Rocked, Richard Curtis depicted the larger-than-life world of popular UK media on a pirate radio ship. If he wanted to write a follow-up he could use tabloid newspapers as the setting. And if he did Nick Ferrari would make a great central character - with very little invention required.

    Today Ferrari hosts the morning show on LBC, where he also invites politicians - Nick Clegg, Boris Johnson and recently Nigel Farage - to take questions from listeners in their own regular shows. It was Ferrari who hosted LBC’s Euro debate between Clegg and Farage.

    But at Wednesday’s Media Society evening Ferrari reflected on a long and distinguished career in journalism - distinguished by being about as deeply marinated in tabloid culture as it is possible to be. And by surviving it to remain, according to the evidence of Wednesday evening and his impressive range as a performer on LBC, a decent, sharp, opinionated and surprising empathetic human being.

    The household in which Ferrari grew up was itself powered by the UK press. His father, as night news editor (and later news editor) of the Daily Mirror, brought the next day’s papers home...

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  3. Changing media: E-books and the smooth highway between amateur and professional

    Monday 15 September 2014, 12:36

    Charles Miller Charles Miller edits the College of Journalism blog and produces documentaries for BBC History and Business. Twitter: @chblm

    Self-published author Nick Spalding BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours last week had an item about how self-published writers no longer want to be thought of as second division, below writers of books from what they call ‘trade publishers’.

    Self-publishing was once called ‘vanity publishing’ because it was mainly for those with money to pay for their own printing and the books were unlikely to interest anyone outside their family circle. The arrival of e-books has changed that. Today, self-publishing is free: you just have to upload your document and it’s available globally as an e-book. You can choose your own cover and set your own price, so there’s a chance to make money too. 

    The argument on You and Yours was that e-book self-publishing is now often a deliberate choice rather than a consolation prize for those rejected by ‘proper’ publishing.

    I came across this debate during the making of a documentary about Amazon this year when I interviewed Nick Spalding (above): a hugely successful self-published author on Kindle, Amazon’s e-reader. His initial success with writing, editing and self-publishing his comic novels led to huge sales on Kindle and offers from traditional publishers, some of which...

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  4. The new iPhones for journalists: Improvements and disappointments

    Thursday 11 September 2014, 18:39

    Marc Settle Marc Settle specialises in smartphone reporting for the BBC College of Journalism. Twitter: @MarcSettle

    The new iPhones are bigger and thinner The new iPhones are bigger and thinner Trying to assess what the new iPhones will mean for journalists using them in the field when I've not actually tried one may seem an unenviable task, but here I go anyway.

    The iPhone 6 and its bigger brother the 6 Plus will run on iOS 8, which I've reviewed elsewhere. Now they’ve both been unveiled we know the hardware which will take advantage of the new iOS.

    It’s also a matter of judgement as to which improvements benefit journalists specifically. For example, the faster processors in the new devices get tasks done quicker, which will obviously help...

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  5. We need an international media strategy against the likes of Islamic State

    Tuesday 9 September 2014, 10:14

    William Horsley William Horsley is the international director of the Centre for Freedom of the Media and media freedom representative of the Association of European Journalists

    Islamic State fighters in Mosul in June Islamic State fighters in Mosul in June At last week’s Nato summit, international leaders groped for a common strategy to defeat the so-called Islamic State.

    Maybe the world’s free media organisations should be holding their own strategic summit meeting, too. Because they also face common existential threats, and need to pull together.

    There would be plenty to talk about.

    Like how to recover working access to the virtual no-go areas where many mainstream media have been effectively shut out: places in the Middle East and Africa under extremist rule or racked by armed insurgencies. That...

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  6. What does iOS 8 offer journalists? 2: Messaging and location features

    Monday 8 September 2014, 12:32

    Marc Settle Marc Settle specialises in smartphone reporting for the BBC College of Journalism. Twitter: @MarcSettle

    Apple iOS 8 The new iOS 8, like earlier editions, is being keenly studied by journalists who rely on Apple’s operating system in their day-to-day work. We asked the College of Journalism’s mobile technology expert Marc Settle for his expert analysis of what’s changed and the implications for journalists. This post follows an earlier one which looked at changes to camera and editing features.

    Away from photos, video and audio, it’s notable how Apple has opened up iOS more than ever before.

    Just look at the keyboard: in the past you had no choice but to use the installed one for email, notes, text...

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  7. What does Apple’s iOS 8 offer journalists? 1: Camera and editing

    Monday 8 September 2014, 09:21

    Marc Settle Marc Settle specialises in smartphone reporting for the BBC College of Journalism. Twitter: @MarcSettle

    The new iOS 8, like earlier editions, is being keenly studied by journalists who rely on Apple’s operating system in their day-to-day work. We asked the College of Journalism’s mobile journalism expert Marc Settle for his analysis of what’s changed and the implications for journalists: 

    My intermittent reports on each new version of iOS, the  operating system which powers iPhones, iPods and iPads, can lead to accusations that I’m worshipping at the altar of Apple when I should be admiring Android instead. After all, around four out of five smartphones currently sold run Android; it is...

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  8. The news with feeling: How technology can read an audience’s mood

    Thursday 4 September 2014, 10:14

    Charles Miller Charles Miller edits the College of Journalism blog and produces documentaries for BBC History and Business. Twitter: @chblm

    CrowdEmotion technology measures emotions from facial expressions CrowdEmotion technology measures emotions from facial expressions Journalists and producers have long been able to study their audiences using data on things like how many people watched or listened, how old they were or their gender.

    And there are more evaluative measures: BBC programmes, for instance, get an Appreciation Index (AI) - a figure out of 100 for how much a programme was liked by a sample of its audience.

    But the founders of a start-up company based inside a BBC building argue that until now what’s not been successfully measured is an audience’s feelings about the output...

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  9. Managing the legal risks of UGC: Copyright

    Tuesday 2 September 2014, 15:11

    Damian Radcliffe Damian Radcliffe is a journalist and researcher. Twitter: @damianradcliffe

    In a previous post, Damian Radcliffe wrote about some of the issues arising from a new report outlining the key legal considerations facing publishers of user-generated content. Here he looks at the question of copyright.

    Pictures of Scotland: results of a BBC appeal for UGC Results of a BBC appeal for UGC

    Following my discussion of defamation and issues relating to third-party comments, copyright is a third, highly complex area in relation to user-generated content (UGC). I’m surprised that we don’t see more high-profile cases of copyright violations - particularly given the rise and relative ease of scraping.

    Perhaps the complexity of...

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  10. Managing the legal risks of UGC: Key issues to consider

    Friday 29 August 2014, 15:54

    Damian Radcliffe Damian Radcliffe is a journalist and researcher. Twitter: @damianradcliffe

    A new report outlines some of the key legal issues faced by publishers of user-generated content. Damian Radcliffe dives in and identifies some high-profile risks that no digital journalist can afford to ignore.

    BBC online appeal for UGC BBC online appeal for UGC

    User-generated content (UGC) is an established part of 21st Century journalism, with contributions ranging from the submission of photographs and comments through to the hosting of regular columnists and guest bloggers.

    As research by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism has recently shown, many established news organisations struggle to understand how to...

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