Weekend reading: Five blog posts I’ve read this week

Newspapers v councils < < < Tom Calver

Blackburn with Darwen Council press officer Tom Calver  offers a different perspective on the council newspapers debate. He argues the decline of newspapers is more to do with the fact that reporters do nothing than churn out press releases and write stories and ‘take calls from complaining members of the public and attack the local council.’ The post is part contradictory, because he earlier said that journalists no longer talk to members of the public anymore. He adds: ‘he result is newspapers whose prime quality is a grinding negativity: crime and grime, overblown petty (and often pretty groundless) complaints, rent-a-gob criticism which people get fed up of.’ I’m not sure councils churning out publications which look and act just like newspapers, but which seek to push out a pro-council line, is the solution. But it’s an interesting insight all the same – even if his criticism of local newspapers doesn’t really resemble any paper I know in the Blackburn area.

Twitter time management < < < Steve Buttry

It’s a common question for people first exploring Twitter: How much time is too much time, and how do you find the time to Twitter? I think we all know people who spend too much time on Twitter, and probably say too much on Twitter, and hopefully the tips from Steve will stop that from happening in the future.

Starring Stories in Google News < < < Google News Blog

A potentially significant update from Google News for journalists – the ability to star stories as you go along. Why? Well, when you star a story in Google News, it’s one way to let us know that you’re interested in that subject. When there are significant updates, we will alert you by putting the headline in bold so you can get more information. You can also follow your 20 most recent starred stories in the “Starred” section of Google News. For breaking news, it could become very useful.

Five tools for the Mobile Journalist < < < Mashable

Further essential reading from the ever excellent Mashable

Basic shooting tips < < < Advancing the Story

Great advice from a New York Times VJ which covers how to avoid some basic errors which can ruin video.

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2 comments

  1. It would seem Tom is trying to justify the council’s three months behind news (?) publications dedicated soley to trying to convince the public how wonderful they are!

    But he does have a point about the negativity as Mark Twain once said ‘Get your facts first, and then you can distort ‘em as much as you please’.

    1. Thanks Linda. I see what you’re saying but what council press officers who moan about too much negativity fail to get is that ‘council does job’ isn’t a news story. Blackburn with Darwen failed to win city status on one day, but won council of the year the next. The LET, which I was working on at the time, made a full splash of the former, and then did a second lead on the front for the latter. A council press officer, no longer at BwD, rang to berate me about the fact we hadn’t given equal prominence to both over 2 days. What the council fail to ask themselves, it seems, is which is more newsworthy. Yes, too much negativity can grind readers down but it’s also worth council officers asking themselves the question ‘Why do these people feel the need to ring the paper rather than the council’.

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