Thursday, 17 December 2009

Online journalism in Salford

This is my day job - News Editor at, a community news website based in Salford, Greater Manchester.

There are many, many interesting things that go on as part of this position - especially since it's a field in which there a NO experts. A lot of the things we do are made up on the hoof, as there's really no precedent.

For example - workflow. If you're a camera professional, you're probably working with a big, expensive, over the shoulder camera, with XLR connections, lights, separate audio recording, recording to DV tape, which you then stick on your computer by firewire.

Far too old skool for online journalism.

We shoot with very light, very flexible, very easy to use consumer-level equipment, with a minimum of extras. A SalfordOnline reporter must be a lighting cameraman, interviewer, reporter, video editor, actor, writer, presenter and journalist all in one. This is, in my opinion, the only way to make the online news model work.

Fuck all that "composing your shots" shit. I want you to get in there, do your interviews, take your cutaways shots and fuck off out of there back to the office, and have your piece edited and uploaded within the hour. Sound impossible? It's not. This Christmas lights story was shot in about half an hour, edited in about 20 minutes and online 10 minutes after that:

You have to be on Twitter as well. And aggressively market everything you do, everywhere you can. Social media is free, for fuck's sake!

Sorry about the swearing. But all journalists do that, I'm told.

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