Archives for the month of: June, 2011

When I wrote the Online Journalism Handbook I omitted to include a section on timelines. In the spirit of ‘do what you do best and link to the rest’ I thought I would suggest checking out Mindy McAdams’s post, which provides an excellent overview of the form.

Mindy mentions a couple of tools at the end, but for a longer list see my Delicious bookmarks for timelines+tools.


Twitter have now launched a resource centre for newsrooms at

For more advice on verification and online hoaxes, see Content, context and code: verifying information online.

It is worth noting that the world’s biggest photo-sharing website is actually a social network: Facebook. In his history of the site, The Facebook Effect (2010), David Kirkpatrick describes how the photo-sharing feature was adopted by users:

“For every screenful of shots of girls there were only a few photos of guys. Girls were celebrating their friendships … Ordinary photos had become, in effect, more articulate. They conveyed a casual message. When it was tagged, a photo on Facebook expressed and elaborated on your friend relationships. “Pretty quickly we learned people were sharing these photos to basically say, ‘I consider these people part of my life, and I want to show everyone I’m close to them,'” says Sittig. Now there were two ways on Facebook to demonstrate how popular you were: how many friends you had, and how many times you had been tagged in photos … In Facebook, photos where no longer little amateur works of art, but rather a basic form of communication … A month after it had launched, 85 percent of the service’s users had been tagged in at least one photo.”

If you’re trying to decide what sort of chart or visualisation to use, try the Choosing a good chart (PDF) Poster by A. Abela. Also useful is the Chart Chooser by Juice Analytics, where you can also download Excel and PowerPoint charts.

Page 153 mentions video conversation services, giving Seesmic as an example. has now closed, however (the sister service for managing social media accounts,, continues). For an alternative, try VYou.

Page 63 mentions DabbleDB, a service for creating, sharing and visualising databases. The service was closed in March 2011. Google Fusion Tables remains a useful alternative, as is the Firefox plugin SQLite Manager.

Research by Marina Vujnovic (in Singer et al, 2011) identifies a tendency among journalists to talk of UGC in economic terms, as having three benefits: building brand loyalty, boosting website traffic and remaining competitive.

“In framing the value of participation at least partly in economic terms, our interviewees draw user contributions into the sphere of commodity culture that also includes information produced within the newsroom” (p143)

Singer et al (2011) Participatory Journalism, Wiley & Sons

In ‘Closer Look: taking it further – resources on programming’ the website Scraperwiki is described as providing an environment for Python programming. The site has since added Ruby and PHP languages.

This report provides very helpful guidance on database rights and copyright: (PDF)