Posts Tagged ‘university of sunderland’

I’ve left the digital coalface, I suppose.

I am no longer the digital editor of the Sunderland Echo. And I’ve just taken up a post as a senior lecturer in the well-regarded Journalism and PR department at the University of Sunderland.

Term hasn’t started, but I feel like a kid in a sweet shop.

I’m shelving my journalistic cynicism and trying not to think too hard about the tidal wave of pressure (and marking!) coming my way.

Instead I’m beaming. I’ve got bleeding edge technology all around me (amazing radio studios, TV studios, a lovely HD cinema, computers that work and versions of Photoshop I have only ever read about).

My colleagues are a formidably qualified bunch too.

I’m delighted at the prospect of enjoying the autonomy to play with the reporting and multimedia tools I’ve tried to get my hands on any moment I could during my time at the Echo.

And above all, I expect to do more actual journalism than ever before.

Plus, I’ll be able to pursue my growing interest in entrepreneurial journalism – both in theoretical terms and practical terms with my satirical news project www.thenewsgrind.com

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss some aspects of my old job. I’ve always thrived in low resource environments, and Johnston Press was certainly that.

But this is a great new start for me, and I can’t wait for term to begin.

The transfer deadline day coverage I put together with sports journalism students at the Sunderland Uni was very well-received.  I make no apologies for performing a brief celebratory jig on behalf of the team, who did a fantastic job on the day.

We syndicated the content across the Johnston Press network and the user experience was really good, which is obviously the key win.

>> Sunderland Echo transfer deadline day live

However here are some facts, figures and quotes from those involved and those who took the coverage. Please note the page views are for www.sunderlandecho.com only as I don’t yet have stats from the many sites who took this content.

Numbers

Visits to blog page – 10,000

Comments from users – 4,200

Clicks on articles produced by students 50,000+ 

What the students said

“It gave me a great insight into how these things actually work, and made me want to be a journalist more than ever!” Anthony Gair

“It was a great experience and I’d love to be involved again if you do a similar event in August.” Chris Fryatt

“Really enjoyed the day. Would be keen to get involved in another transfer day or similar projects” Dave Preddie

“Got loads out of it! Great Day!” Hamish Blackstock (via Facebook group)

What the pros said

“The deadline day live blog was a great piece of work. Congratulations on a job well done.” Alan Greenwood, Editor, Scotsman.com
“Thanks for the transfer deadline coverage, it was first class.” Kevin McLaughlin, Sports Editor Londonderry Sentinel

“Superb platform yesterday!” Jon Peake, Digital Editor, Lancashire Publications Ltd, http://www.wigantoday.net

“Congratulations on the blog yesterday, thought it was really good.” Matthew Brown, Digital editor Portsmouth News
 

 

transfer deadline dayLast transfer deadline day digital intern David Allison and I ran a CoverItLive blog from 8am through to 6.30pm. Hardly original, but we used several techniques to make it an engaging read for users and a fun (if stressful) day for us. For the next deadline we’re scaling up the operation and asking student journos to get involved.

>> Sunderland Echo transfer deadline day Summer 2009 coverage

The response in the summer – thanks to intense work, solid preparation and some support from our sport team – was phenomenal. 7,000 visitors viewed the coverage and left 2,400 comments. It was a hectic day, but it paid off spectacularly with hugely positive feedback from those who took part.

For February we’ll step up the coverage on two counts. Firstly, we’re working with John Price in the Media department at the University of Sunderland. We’re setting up a live transfer deadline day HQ with a suite of computers, TV coverage from other outlets piped in and hotlines to other football journalists. We’re taking over the newsroom at the David Puttnam Media Centre for a day. No news yet on what biscuits we’ll be laying on…

Once again the blog will be hosted at www.sunderlandecho.com. But part two of our plan to ramp up the operation is inviting digital editors and editors from all across the Johnston Press network of 300+ sites – from The Scotsman in the north down to the Portsmouth News in the south – to take our coverage. It’s likely several smaller titles, including some dailies, will be delighted to do so.

As a result of this two-pronged approach we’ll be competing with similar services from national news outlets. Exciting stuff…

Any media students who want to know more or who wish to take part should email me or comment on this post.

Just a note to say that I am now getting stuck into a part-time role as an academic tutor at the University of Sunderland.

Ran a session with journalism students today on Photo Story 3 in which they created their own slideshow from scratch. They seemed to enjoy having a tangible product at the end. And hopefully they appreciated the context of the lesson which was designed to show how a free, quick and easy tool can turn a two-dimensional story into compelling content that will generate significant traffic for a site.

Slideshows often out-perform videos on www.sunderlandecho.com. And they’re handy when it comes to covering poignant stories which are too sensitive for video intrusion, such as Sharon Dyer’s funeral.

Better still, applications such as Photo Story 3 can be learned in a few minutes and produce professional results in a matter of seconds.

>> Download Photo Story 3 for Windows