Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

The Next Generation Journalist and entrepreneurship

Posted in Freelance, Journalism, Next Generation Journalist by Adam Westbrook on July 5, 2010

I was recently interviewed by journalist Andy Bull on my Next Generation Journalist ebook and the idea of entrepreneurial journalism.

Andy knows what I’m talking about-an entrepreneurial journalist himself, with a portfolio career, and an actual proper book to his name (on paper an everything). It’s called Multimedia Journalism: a Practical Guide (Amazon affiliate link) and alongside Mark Luckie’s Digital Journalist Handbook is probably the most up-to-date and relevant book for journalists trying to grapple with the new media age out there.

I’m working my way through it and I’ll do a full review for you in the next week or so. In the meantime, here’s a few clips from our interview. The full collection can be found on the website which accompanies Andy’s book.

What is a Next Generation Journalist?

How do you build a portfolio career?

Can anyone be an entrepreneur?

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Learn multimedia on the cheap – and how to make money from it

Posted in Adam, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on June 15, 2010

Image: StarbuckGuy on Flickr (cc)

I’ve been preparing for a day-long course this coming weekend for photojournalists wishing to make the leap into multimedia.

Run by multimedia evangelists Duckrabbit and hosted by Rhubarb Rhubarb, Photography Still Moving is what the industry needs more of – training with an optimistic edge. I’ll be there running a session on how to get kitted up to do video, audio and slideshows at affordable prices; the day ends with advice on how to turn skills into money.

Interested? Here are some details for you.

The running order for the day goes like this:

  • WTF is multimedia?
  • Getting to grips with the kit (on a budget)
  • Sound for idiots (interviewing techniques)
  • I got pictures, I got sound, now what?
  • Show me the money

What’s more, at £45 it’s some of the cheapest training you’ll find – and there are spaces still available! So what will you be doing on Saturday? Face-palming at another England howler from the night before? Probably. But then get out of bed, get your camera and come and learn some new skills.

If you’re interested, click here to get yourself a ticket.

Why 19th June is a good day for photojournalists

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on May 26, 2010

More and more photographers are appreciating the creative satisfaction, revenue potential and damn necessity of getting tooled up for multimedia.

From experienced photojournalists like John D. McHugh and Paul Treacy teaching themselves how to produce film and audio slideshows, to the dozens of excellent pieces showcased at Foto8’s monthly Slideslam Carousel, the trend is clear.

There are many, many photojournalists who haven’t taken the leap yet – if you’re one of them and you’re not sure where to start, then help is at hand.

My good multimedia friends Duckrabbit have teamed up with Rhubarb Rhubarb to offer a day long course in London, at quite astonishing value.

The details

When: 19th June 2010

Where: Direct Studios, London

What:

Photography Still Moving will explore just how still photographers from all disciplines can make the leap to digital storytelling.  We’ll show you the tools you need, as well as sharing how you can make money from multimedia.  One lucky participant who submits a set of pictures in advance will also have their work transformed into a multimedia feature on the day.

Price: £45…yes you read that right, £45!

I’ll be there, running a session on the kit you need to go multimedia, and how to do it without giving your bank manager, or husband, or wife an aneurysm; as well as benefiting from the knowledge of multimedia masters Ben Chesterton, David White and Anna Stevens one person who submits their images early gets it made into multimedia during the day.

I think it might be cheapest day long course of this quality there is, so places are bound to be booked up hyper-fast. Don’t delay!

Click here to book tickets.

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Looking for awesome multimedia training?

Posted in Adam, Broadcasting and Media by Adam Westbrook on February 12, 2010

…then look no further!

If you’re in the UK in April and looking to skill up on your video shooting, editing and radio skills then the Journalism Weekender will be perfect for you.

News agency Feature Story News have team up with Newsleader Consultancy to offer an awesome weekend of hands on training on professional camera and audio skills. And I’m happy to announce I’ve jumped on board to help out over the course of the weekend as well.

According to the site, you’ll get a lot out of it:

…sessions on writing and presenting as well as the skills of multi-media working, including using social media; Practical assignments in either TV or radio; One to one coaching including CV building; Final session on marketing yourself to the media market.

Tickets are on a 20% discount ’til end of play Friday so if you’re thinking about it, think quick!

More training

On top of this, I’ve also been invited to join the KM Group of newspapers & radio stations in Kent later this month to share advice on multimedia, video journalism and making the most out of social media.

If you’re interested in finding out more, drop me a line!

Photo Credit: vinodvv aka vcube on Flickr

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10 trends in journalism in 2010

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on December 15, 2009

It’s that time of year again…

After a turbulent year in the industry, I’ve had a good think and put together my top 10 trends for journalism for 2010, wrapped in a big shiny positive outlook. But rather than roll out another list, I thought I’d be a bit different and crack out some video. Enjoy!

And is there anything I’ve missed? Add it in the comments box!

New book: basic skills for the multimedia journalist

Posted in 6x6 series, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on October 22, 2009

6x6 advice for multimedia journalists

If you found the 6×6 series back in August there’s a treat in store for you next week.

I’ve wrapped the blogs up,  tidied them up, corrected & updated them and put them into 1 handy ebook for you to download and take home. It means you have have an all-in-one desktop reference to giving your multimedia journalism more spark, and getting in the entrepreneurial mindset.

Chapters include: video, audio, storytelling and branding.

frontpage

It’ll be available from Monday, it’s 100% free and there’s no registration or anything. Just click on the button and you’ll be able to download it outright.

I’ve got plans for more guides of this kind in the pipeline, so any feedback will be much appreciated.

See you Monday!

5 even quicker ways to improve your newswriting

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on January 28, 2009

writingNot long ago I put down Three Ways to Instantly Improve your Newswriting.

It’s occured to me since, there are even more – even quicker – ways to instantly make your copy shine just that bit more.

Note: these ones are more for broadcasters, who write to be heard not read.

01. Get rid of “that”

Once you’ve written some copy, go through it and remove the word “that” and see what a difference it makes. For example:

“The International Monetary Fund has said that Britain will be hit hardest by the economic downturn.

It has predicted that the economy will shrink by over 2.8 percent in the next year.

Meanwhile the Institute for Fiscal Studies claims that the British government will be saddled with debt for the next 20 years.”

OK, so remove the “that”s and we’re left with something which slips off the tongue far more easily:

“The International Monetary Fund has said Britain will be hit hardest by the economic downturn.

It has predicted the economy will shrink by over 2.8 percent in the next year.

Meanwhile the Institute for Fiscal Studies claims the British government will be saddled with debt for the next 20 years.”

02. Contract words

This one is simple and should become automatic for broadcast writers. Contract everything where possible:

He is –> He’s

She will –> She’ll etc.

So our recession copy above can be improved further:

“The International Monetary Fund’s said Britain will be hit hardest by the economic downturn.

It’s predicted the economy will shrink by over 2.8 percent in the next year.

Meanwhile the Institute for Fiscal Studies claims the British government’ll be saddled with debt for the next 20 years.”

The only possible exception is ‘will’. It’s not so easy to contract that down – although I’ve done it after “government” in the example above.

03.  Knock it all into the present tense

Especially the top line. News is about what’s happening now. If you can’t put your topline into the present tense, you need to find a new angle on the story. If you can’t do that, it’s time to can the story.

“The International Monetary Fund says Britain will be hit hardest by the economic downturn.

It’s predicting the economy will shrink by over 2.8 percent in the next year.

Meanwhile the Institute for Fiscal Studies claims the British government’ll be saddled with debt for the next 20 years.”

04. A new top line

Let’s be honest, this copy is pretty boring. More bad news about the economy. Instantly sharpen it up by sticking in a new top line – something short pacy, which sums up the whole story.

Another headache for Gordon Brown tonight…

The International Monetary Fund says Britain will be hit hardest by the economic downturn.

It’s predicting the economy will shrink by over 2.8 percent in the next year.

Meanwhile the Institute for Fiscal Studies claims the British government’ll be saddled with debt for the next 20 years.”

05. Over is out

This is the one thing that turns me into a grammar nazi: the difference between “over” and “more than”.

When you’re talking about numbers, figures, statistics, you use more than. You can’t go over a number. You go over a hill.

So it’s “…the economy will shrink by more than 2.8 percent in the next year.”

Five quick steps and we’ve knocked that boring bit of econo-copy into shape.  On top of that, I’d get rid of the long organisation names and replace a few ‘says’/’claims’ with ‘reckons’.  But you get the point.

Any other tips you’ve picked up? Stick ’em in the comments box!