Twitter and the art of 140 character storytelling

In essence this is why I think Twitter remains interesting:

Those who insist that Twitter is made up of nothing more than trivial, self-indulgent and tedious posts simply haven’t seen it at its best. And Twitter works best when people accept that it is their job to add the layer of creativity on top of what is a very simple platform, namely SMS text messaging minus 20 characters.

Like the best tabloid headline writers and advertising copy writers, the craft lies in the ability to convey meaning and emotion in a limited space.

Continue reading; David Mitchell, Twitter and the art of 140 character storytelling

 

 

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Posted in Social media, Writing for the web

In the course of ‘Politics and the English Language’, Orwell offers not one but three numbered lists. Eat your heart out BuzzFeed

Q. What can George Orwell teach us about language and readability?

A. Quite a lot.

His 1946 essay, ‘Politics and the English Language’ is not to everybody’s taste but as guide to simple and effective writing it’s a great place to start. I’ll be using it in my Writing for the Web workshop at the Frontline Club in November and I’ve written a piece on it for Content Desk.

Among the advice Orwell offers is this:

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

1. What am I trying to say?

2. What words will express it?

3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?

4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And in the course of the 5,000+ word article, he produces not one but three numbered lists. Very now.

Read: What George Orwell Can Still Teach Us About Writing And Readability

 

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Posted in Blogging, Content marketing, Journalism, Magazines, Newspapers, Training, Writing for the web

Newsnight’s future, data journalism, and town hall Pravdas

A couple of weeks ago I appeared on the Media Focus podcast hosted by Paul Blanchard. I was on with Suzanne Franks from City University. We talked about:

- Newsnight post-Jeremy Paxman and came up with a list of obvious (and not so obvious) replacements
- Data journalism (with a little Channel 4 FactCheck nostalgia); and
- Local council freesheets

MediaFocus

You can listen to it here (second on the list, as of posting)

 

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Posted in Digital strategy, Journalism

Web headlines have to work harder than print headlines. Here’s why

Over on the brand new Content Desk site, I’ve written a post on the craft of online headline writing. Underscoring the piece is an argument that web headlines have to work harder than print headlines. Here’s why:

Invariably a print headline, whether in a magazine or a newspaper, will be supported by:

- a standfirst (sometimes known as the sell, intro or kicker)
- an image or photograph
- an image caption
- a pull-quote; and
- the article itself

All of the above help sell the article. If the headline doesn’t pull you in, the image might; if not the image then the standfirst, the image caption, the pull-quote or even the opening few paragraphs of the piece itself.

By contrast, an online headline will often act alone – seen among a list of links on your website, a link on someone else’s site, on Twitter or on a search engine results page. And because it frequently works alone, the headline must do more.

We can argue over the merits of some online headline (link bait, anyone?) but what is more difficult to dispute is this: if a headline gets clicked on, it has succeeded; if it doesn’t, it has failed. That’s web meritocracy in action.

Click here to read ‘How to write headlines for the web‘ in full.

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Posted in Content marketing, Journalism, Training, Writing for the web

Social media reader: Mastering Social Media

Some recent articles and resources I’ve come across that may prove useful.

Facebook
Facebook at 10: Tips and tools for journalists (Journalim.co.uk)
12 Best Practices For Media Companies Using Facebook Pages (Facebook.com)
FB Newswire, A New Tool for Journalists (Beyond Bylines)

Instagram
7 ways news outlets can use Instagram (Journalism.co.uk)
 How journalists are using Instagram (ReadWrite)

Pinterest
5 Ways Journalists are using Pinterest (Poynter)
Journalism tools (Pinterest.com)

LinkedIn
5 Ways Journalists Use LinkedIn for Research and Reporting (Beyond PR)
10 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Company Page (Social Media Examiner)
Long-Form Posts on LinkedIn – Overview (LinkedIn.com)
LinkedIn for Journalists (LinkedIn.com)

Google+
How to Create Google+ Hangouts On Air: A Step-by-Step Guide (OnlineVideo.net)

Twitter
If a tweet worked once, send it again — and other lessons from The New York Times’ social media desk (Nieman Journalism Lab)
Twitter freshens up its service (Battenhall)
Study finds that most UK Twitter users follow newspapers (Press Gazette)

More reading
Mastering social media: a reader
Mastering social media: another reader

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Posted in Social media, Uncategorized

Who are the best reporters on Twitter?

I was part of the judging panel put together by Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford to vote for the best UK reporters on Twitter and other social media. It was a really interesting exercise — the long list came from reader suggestions — and made me aware of a number of journalists I hadn’t followed before.

Among the was @AlexandraRucki, formerly with the Wandsworth Guardian and now an online journalist with the Evening Standard. She was beaten to the top spot by Peter Jukes, @peterjukes, who has done an excellent job covering the hacking trial.

Here’s the top 10:

 

1 Peter Jukes – @peterjukes – Author and journalist who has been live-tweeting from the hacking trial

2 Alexandra Rucki – @AlexandraRucki (formerly @WandsworthHack – Online journalist for the Evening Standard, formerly with the Wandsworth Guardian

3  Alex Thomson – @Alextomo – Chief correspondent and presenter Channel 4 News

4  Steve Hawkes – @Steve_Hawkes – Deputy political editor The Sun

5 Faisal Islam – @faisalislam – Economics editor Channel 4 News (joining Sky as politics editor)

6 Paul Waugh – @paulwaugh – Editor of Politics Home, editor in chief of Dods

7 Lucy Manning – @lucymanning – ITV News UK editor

8 Mark Stone – @Stone_SkyNews – Sky News Asia correspondent

9 Dave West – @Davewwest – Chief reporter Health Service Journal

10 Phil Mac Giolla Bhain – @Pmacgiollabhain – Journalist and writer living on the west  coast of Ireland

 

You can read the full list over on the Press Gazette site.

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Mastering Social Media Workshop at the Frontline Club, 23 May

I’m running my latest social media workshop at the Frontline Club on 23 May 2014. You can find full details on the Frontline site. Meanwhile, here’s a taster:

 

From understanding the basics of social media and their applications in journalism, to the fine art of online editing, this workshop is ideal for established and emerging journalists alike. It will also appeal to anyone in a communications role who truly wants to understand the power of social media.

The workshop will be divided into two parts:

How to Tweet: A social media primer

This session will teach journalists – in-house and freelance – and communications professionals how to raise their profile, extend their reach and understand how to integrate social media into their newsgathering, research and campaigning.

How to Blog . . . For reputation, profile and reach

In this session, Bernstein will explore the basics of blogging, the dos and don’ts, reveal who are the masters of the craft, and layout the editorial techniques – as well as the tactics and tools – you’ll need for success.

 

More information here.

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Posted in Social media, Training
Jon Bernstein: I am a digital media consultant, writer and editor and this is my personal blog.

Previously, I was digital director / deputy editor at the New Statesman, the multimedia editor at Channel 4 News, launch editor of Channel 4 FactCheck, editor-in-chief at Directgov and editor-in-chief of silicon.com.

How to contact me>>


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