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Entries Tagged as 'Journalism Next by Mark Briggs'

‘Journalism Next’ Chapter 8 Summary

March 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Video is “the most powerful type of visual journalism,” according to Mark Briggs. In Chapter 8 of “Journalism Next” Briggs describes how journalists can get on the video bandwagon.

This might come as a shock to journalism students but apparently quality of the video does not matter. It can be amateur video or some professionally done production, so long as viewers know what they should expect from you. Authenticity, not editing skills, is what counts with video, Briggs says.   

Although quality of video does not matter, content does, Briggs writes. Those are two different things.  You can shoot video on a hand held Flip cam, but it is the content you capture that will matter.  

“Just remember: tell a story,” Briggs writes.

He also doles out advice for all the technical stuff: What cameras are available, what accessories are essential and what lighting equipment you might need.

Other tips he gives on capturing video is using the BBC’s five shot sequence:

  1. Close up of hands
  2. Close up of face
  3. Wide shot
  4. Over-the-shoulder shot
  5. Creative angle shot

Another important aspect of video is the interview, Briggs mentions. His main tips are to get good lighting,  prepare questions, and make sure your audio is good.

Audio for video is very important, so you have to always check that the person talking can be heard and that there are no background noises ruining your audio. Briggs recommends you wear headphones to hear your audio.

Once you capture your video you must go through the editing process and prepare the video for  the web, which requires compression. And of course learn to market your video to your audience. However, Briggs emphasizes that the most important aspect is still telling a good story.  His steps for telling a good story are:

  • Hook the audience
  • Have a beginning, middle and end
  • Don’t let viewers get bored
  • Focus on the story you are trying to tell
  • Have interesting characters in your video

Here is a video from YouTube uploaded by jthomas100tube of Briggs talking about video story telling.

Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs

‘Journalism Next’ Chapter 11 Summary

March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

There is an age-old question popular in philosophical circles, and TV, that goes along the lines; “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it still make a sound?” Well in Chapter 11 Mark Briggs asks: “If journalists produce great stories and no one reads them, how can news survive?”

Journalists must also be marketers if they want to attract an audience, but they must be marketers in the digital world. The new world of journalism comes with its own foreign language; words like “analytics” and “optimization” abound.

Briggs gives an overview of what those words mean and why you as a journalist should care about them.

  • Tracking content: This is about keeping track of your productivity. Track your blogging, Twitter updates, and news products. It is important because it can aid a news organization’s productivity and helps improve content. Tools to use: Web-based spreadsheet.
  • Web Analytics: This is about using metrics to track what is important to readers. This works by tracking traffic to your content, which helps you figure out what stories readers looked at most. Tools to use: Omniture, Hitbox, Google Analytics.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Basically present your content on the Web in a way that search engines are more likely to find it. If someone uses a search engine you want your content to show up in the first 10 hits, or first page of the search results. This can be achieved by understanding SEO; use popular key words in your headlines that will draw the attention of the search engine. Tools to use: just write good headlines, and use lots of descriptive links in your posts. 
  • Distribution through social media: This is about making it easy for readers to find, and share, your content. That means you have to publish it in many social media platforms. Tools to use: blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook.  Participating in social media builds your credibility in the online community, Briggs says.

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‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 10 Summary

March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Photo By Joe Hardy

News is a conversation now, not a lecture, and there is no going back, says Mark Briggs in Chapter 10.

Briggs acknowledges that some journalists would prefer a lecture style of news, but says that journalism is made better by audience participation. The key now is for journalists to learn to “manage, and leverage, that conversation.”

One common method of audience participation in news is the “Comments” section beneath an article. However, comments easily devolve into “inane,” “cruel,” and “a ghetto of personal attacks and flame wars,” Briggs says.

It is the responsibility of the journalist or news organization to help maintain a high-quality comments section, which will ultimately lead to better transparency in the reporting process and improve journalist-reader relations, Briggs says.

Other methods for joining the conversation include:

  • Make news participatory: Provide an opportunity for user generated content. Use message boards, have a “most popular” section, display blog links to an article, use social bookmarking tools on your content, and use social networking.
  • Get involved: Put in the extra elbow grease by participating in the reader community. Solicit content, do community outreach, run contests, moderate the comments section.
  • Develop sources through social networks: Find sources through Facebook or MySpace, on niche social networks or build a Google group of sources.
  • Collaborate with your community: Instead of competing with readers for a story, collaborate. Let readers provide the “what” while you provide context; the “why” and “how.”

Briggs also reminds journalists of the importance of accuracy, and the importance of correcting errors when they do happen.

A mantra that is mentioned again in this chapter is that journalists should realize that readers “know more than we do” and that reader knowledge can be leveraged to improve reporting.

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‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 7 Summary

March 1st, 2011 · No Comments

Audio journalism from Edward R. Murrow. 1945.


Sounds are a bit like smells. Just like a scent can transport you to your childhood, so can a certain sound transport you to another place. In Chapter 6 of “JournalismNext” Mark Briggs argues that as a reporting tool, audio deserves another look.

“Audio journalism is about more than just getting a sound bite,” Briggs says. He adds that audio can help journalists build a “textured, layered” story that takes on “multidimensional” aspects.

The chapter lists some abilities unique to audio reporting.

Presence: Sound can take readers to the scene.

Emotions: The sound of a voice can convey emotion better than print (and without the distraction of visuals).

Atmosphere: Natural sound helps pull listeners in.

Briggs describes audio as a personal experience that builds an intimacy with listeners that is absent in print or video.

There are several ways journalists can do audio journalism:

Reporter overview: Simple audio overviews of a story.

Podcasts: Regular audio episodes on a particular subject.

Audio slideshows: Adding audio to a photo slideshow to create a compelling multimedia story.

Breaking news: Quick audio reports which can be filed from the field.

Briggs says that it is not difficult to compile an audio story since they just have a few basic parts; interviews and voice-overs, natural or environmental sound, and imported sound clips including music.

There are several steps to get started.

  • Record an interview. Interviews can be used as stand-alone audio files with a story, podcast, stand-alone audio file for a blog post, audio for a slide show.
  • Prepare. Improvisation won’t do. Here is a class that can help you improve your voice if you are a print person nervous about doing audio.
  • Choose your location. Make sure the place is not noisy.
  • Gather natural sound. Listen for natural sounds that will help set the scene for your story and record the sound separately from your interview.
  • Prepare your subject. Let the subjects know about the story you are doing and give them questions in advance so they can prepare answers. This helps in audio so you don’t have audio with awkward pauses.
  • Watch what you say. Your voice will also be recorded so try to stay quiet and give nonverbal cues to your interviewee.
  • Try delayed recording. Record an interview after the initial print interview. It will make your subjects more confident since they have already answered some of the questions.
  • Note the time. If you jot down the times for the best quotes it will be easy to go back to them when editing the audio file.

Finally, make sure you pick up a good digital recorder and find a good audio-editing program.

If you are not convinced audio can be a powerful tool for journalism listen to the classic report at the start of this blog post. It is Edward R. Murrow reporting from the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945.

Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs

‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 6 Summary

February 24th, 2011 · No Comments

Photos are powerful storytelling tools.
U.S. Army photo by Antonieta Rico.


        Brevity is part of the ABC’s of journalistic writing, and what could be more succinct than using a photo to tell your story? In Chapter 6 of “Journalism Next” Mark Briggs says that “journalism without photographs is like writing without verbs.” 

        Photos are famously “worth a thousand words” but don’t forget the credit. That is, Briggs cautions against ever using a photo without the proper rights to the image. He suggests you ask first. Or you could check out Creative Commons for images licensed by the creators for sharing, so long as the artist is given credit.

        Briggs gives an overview of photography by covering the following topics: 

  • Basic information about digital photography

Digital photography allows almost anyone to be a photographer. Familiarize yourself with the type of camera that can fulfill your needs and then get to know your camera. Learn the camera functions, read the manual.  

  • How to take a good photo

Good photos don’t just happen. Lots of practice and patience goes into making a photo. People should consider composition and lighting. Get close to your subjects and think creatively in how you approach a subject to be photographed.  

  • How to edit and manage photos on your computer

Once you have captured your images you need to get them on your computer. Learn to have an organized workflow. How will you label your photos and where will you save them?  Find photo editing software and edit your photos, keeping in mind that for photojournalism you cannot manipulate or alter a photo in a way that changes the original scene.    

  • How to publish photos and slide shows that tell the story

Finally you should decide which photos you will use and how you will present them “for maximum impact” Briggs says. Consider photo size, and layout design. Will you create a slide show or a gallery? Will you publish photos in a blog? Just remember what Briggs says, “Blogs without art are lame.”  


Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs