Explaining in a light-hearted manner

The Martlet has published a great story in the vein of Vox in which they break down a university board meeting and answer some of the more pressing questions that readers may be asking. For Board of Governors and Senate meetings, this might prove a valuable format. We should be more conscious of how effectively our audience can digest the information we publish.  Just as we don’t get bogged down in specific scientific details,  Senate bureaucracy can be just as confusing.


Planning the Investigation

This booklet is a good resource for planning out an investigation. It explains the differences between story ideas and hypotheses. It also provides tips for working with budgets and timelines.

An online version of Planning the Investigation can be found here.

Course: Doing Journalism with Data, First Steps, Skills and Tools

This is a free, video-based course on data journalism available online. It has lectures, tutorials, assignments, readings and discussion forums.

The course has modules which teach journalism students how to find ideas with data analysis, managing messy data and telling stories with visualizations. It is taught by five journalism experts, including university professors and professionals specializing in data.

The course can be found here.

Long Form: Stereotypically Queen’s

You may be surprised to learn that The Queen’s Journal does a surprisingly solid job when it comes to long form stories. “Stereotypically Queen’s” incorporates interactive graphics, video and an engaging story within a beautiful interface. As you scroll through the page, the graphics and facts on the left change to keep readers engaged. You’ll also notice that this story had a team of eight working on it from writing, editing, research and multimedia. In order to have a strong story that features video and multimedia — it requires a team and planning ahead! When a story is pitched, these things were evidently thought about.

Video: Hillary Clinton & Hot Sauce

Now This is very strong when it comes to short-form videos that rely heavily on quick graphics and subtitles on the screen that briefly explain a story or issue. The Gazette has crafted videos like this last year (think the salt video) but Now This uses a variety of colour, graphics, found-footage, freeze frame, music, etc. to create more variety and a more engaging video that is more likely to cause people to stop when Facebook begins to autoplay it. This video about Hillary Clinton’s love for hot sauce is a good example.

Video: How Highways Wrecked American Cities

Vox is particularly strong when it comes to creating videos that don’t necessarily rely on footage they have shot themselves. Rather, they look to create a mini-documentary based on archival and found footage. There are many websites and resources that offer footage for copyright free. Moreover, I believe copyright material (film, television, etc.) is allowed to be used as long as you use less than 30 seconds. Regardless, this is a great example of a longer form video to accompany a longer story.

Course: Whose Truth? Tools for Smart Science Journalism in the Digital Age

“As journalists, we ignore science not only at our own peril, but at the peril of our readers, viewers and listeners.

In this course, you’ll learn to how make sense of scientific data and tell stories in ways that connect with your audience. You’ll get techniques and tips to improve your interviewing and reporting skills. You’ll also learn how to lift the veil from front groups to launch investigations based on informed fact-gathering.

When you’re done, you’ll have a toolkit of ways to identify and overcome the barriers journalists face when reporting on science-related topics.”

This paid Poynter course is available here. Editors and staff should contact the Gazette editor-in-chief for access to the course.

The NYT Innovation Report

The New York Times Innovation Report provides a deep insight in the digital shift of one of the world’s largest newspapers. It’s a long-read but definitely worth the time. The report was initially an internal document but was leaked. The report compares the NYT’s digital transformation to online competitors such as the Huffington Post and the Guardian. It also lays out the news organization’s plans moving forward.

The online version of the New York Times Innovation Report can be found here.