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A screenshot of FiLMiC Pro

With more and more journalists using iPhone to record video for broadcasting online or on television, I thought it was a good time to look at the an app that is said to be the industry leader. FiLMiC pro is recommended by the website and mobile journalism trainer Glen Mulcahy, among others. The app itself includes some useful pointers about how to use it but you can find some good tips on the developer’s homepage.

You can read my story here: FiLMiC Pro – review: the Journalist May / June


This spring has seen a mix of successes and failures for programmers hoping to automise elements of journalism.

In mid-March the LA Times broke the news of an earthquake in the city within minutes of it taking place with a story written by a robot, but published by a human.

However, the Guardian’s experiment was not as successful as its own robot generated story came up with something barely intelligible.

My column reflected that this was good news for journalists on the whole, although I concede there may be times when robot journalism might help us rather than undermine us. You can read the story here:

Other useful links:

When Robot journalism goes wrong, example 1:

When Robot journalism goes wrong, example 2:


Livescribe 3 Pen Notebook App

One of the technology trends that media experts predicted for 2014 is a shift away from mainstream social networks towards private apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp, which are also known as chat apps. My column focused on the challenge for journalists who are going to have to find new ways of connecting with these audiences either for newsgathering or sharing news with them. You can read the column here.

I also reviewed the latest version of the Livescribe smartpen. I tried the pen out in several situations and it worked well in a lecture theatre, a meeting room and in a phone interview. The recordings synced well with the penstrokes on the e-paper. However, regrettably, I was pressed for time and was not able to explore another element of this pen – the handwriting transcription feature – before my deadline.

Another function of the LiveScribe app that I missed first time around was the ability to take pictures which can sit amongst your notes. You can even scrawl comments on them which can be useful for explaining what appears in an image.

But ultimately, these features don’t make a significant difference to my view of the product, which I was fairly impressed with. However, they are worth considering if you are thinking of investing in a LiveScribe pen.

Here are links to some articles I found useful when researching this column:

The Journalist, March / April 2014, private social networks

Chat apps and the future of news, BBC News

Snaps from last night, Nieman Journalism Lab

 The Journalist, March / April 2014, LiveScribe


In this issue, I decided to look at sensor journalism in the tech column, essentially data journalism is when electronic sensors are used to collect data for stories. It is seen as good pairing with data journalism, indeed sensor journalism can help to fill a gap when data is missing.

There was a lot of ground to cover in just a few hundred words. I couldn’t even begin covering the complexities of getting the right data, nor did I want to go over the ethics of sensor journalism having covered similar issues earlier in the year for the story on journalism drones.

You can read the story here. If you want more information about these elements of sensor journalism, please follow the links below to find some of the reference material I used.


The circadas are coming, Nieman Journalism Lab

Is sensor journalism feasible, or even ethical Paid Content

Sensor journalism: turning journalists into scientists, one data point at a time, Figure One

Sensoring the news, O’Reilly Radar

 The Journalist, December 2013 / January 2014, SoundNote

Soundnote website,

The use of drones in warfare has been rightly controversial. But they are also attracting the interest of journalists and with two US Journalism schools teaching students how to use drones for reporting it was a good time to look at this new tool for the technology colum.

There are a lot of ethical, legal and regulatory issues to consider, and while drones clearly have their uses, some journalists will clearly feel uncomfortable with this innovation.

Here are some links to articles I found useful when researching this feature. You can also see links to content on alternatives to Google Reader, which relate to my review of Feedly.

You can download the Journalist from the NUJ website.

Read the rest of this entry »

I have to thank a give-away of National Geographic Traveller at Stansted Airport for giving me the idea for my main piece in my latest technology column for The Journalist.

An article on “the end of the guide book” alerted me to Google Authorship – I was astonished that I hadn’t heard about what is potentially a really important development for journalists.

Authorship allows a creator of content to claim ownership of their work by linking blogs and article to their Google+ profile. You might have stumbled upon already when you see a thumbnail and byline in your search results – here’s a screenshot of my entry to illustrate Authorship.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 22

Speaking to SEO experts and online editors, it is clear that most media organisations know about Google Authorship and are beginning to implement it on their sites. But how many individually journalists know about it? Particularly freelancers who could potentially be the big winners from this development.

You can download a PDF of the column which includes this article and a review of infographic apps here. You can access the links that I found useful when writing both articles below.

The Journalist, April / May 2013, Google Authorship

Link your Google+ profile to the content that you create, Google

Authorship – Inside Search Google

Authorship: What and How and Why is it so Important to Google?, State of search

Claim Google Authorship for Your WordPress Website in 3 Easy Steps, Copyblogger

How to Use Google Authorship to Boost SEO and Reduce Piracy, Author Media

Don’t build links, build bubbles… Distilled

Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results, Kissmetrics

 The Journalist, April / May 2013, Infographics website,

Picktochart website, Author Media

Inspirational infographics, Information is beautiful

My latest technology column in the Journalist magazine focused on trends for 2013 – you can download a PDF version of it here.

Once again, I am including some of the links that I found useful when writing the column in this blog post.

The Journalist, February / March 2013, 4G

Everything Everywhere speed test, PC Advisor

Ireland should finally get 4G in 2013, Gigaom

4G auction bidders announced, Ofcom

EE field test, IT Pro

Not so fast – testing 4G, BBC News

What does the iPhone 5 offer journalists, BBC College of Journalism

The Journalist, February / March 2013, Trends for 2013

Matter -in-depth science and technology features

Atavist - self-publishing platform month my first technology column was published in the Journalist magazine – you can download it here (December 2012 / January 2013).

I subsequently worked out that it was only my third byline in print this year, showing the extent I have shifted over to online platforms. Perhaps this is why it felt a bit odd not having to link to my research as I would normally do as an online journalist.

I am now looking ahead to the next column and have the nagging thought that the difficulty of linking in print is a real disadvantage with a tech column. As a result, I have decided to start linking to some of the websites I found useful while researching my column via this blog.

Here are some links that relate to one of the articles in my last column.

The Journalist, December 2012/ January 2013, smartphone recording

The Best Voice Recording App for iPhone, Lifehacker

iOS apps reviewed: Voice Memos (no link available for stock app), Audio Memos

The Best Voice Recording App for Android, Lifehacker 

Android apps reviewed: Tape-and-Talk Voice Recorder, Smart Voice Recorder, Voice Recorder (no link available for stock app)

Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when a big story broke. Whether it is waking up in a Bangkok hotel to find that Michael Jackson had died or hearing about the 7/7 bombings on your radio during your journey to work you are consuming the news in its rawest form: live, rolling news as it happens.

Whilst I love documentaries, packages and films, news in its purest sense does have a beauty. The impact of those first reports is lost with editing and hindsight. You will never recapture that moment again. Read the rest of this entry »

Melting pot or goldfish bowl? BBC exposes engine room to the public gaze – TV & Radio – Media – The Independent.

This is nothing new. It was revealed by the Broadcasting House project manager in Ariel – the BBC’s in-house magazine – about 18 months ago. But it is fantastic news that the BBC has stuck with this part of its plans to promote the openness of the newsroom.

For more on this and other initiatives to move the newsroom back into the community, please see my feature for the Journalist in the February / March 2011 issue. I also blogged about newsroom openness at the time.

About me

I'm a London-based journalist with more than 13 years’ experience. I have worked as a freelance online journalist for Channel 4 News and the BBC. I have also experience of working on magazines, as a television researcher and of PR. Please see my biography or email me for further information.

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