The no-budget way to make BBC Instafax style video for Instagram

How to make fancy visual news videos on the cheap
How to make fancy visual news videos on the cheap

Last week I spent a very pleasant day at the Newsrewired conference in London.  I was moderating a panel on short form video. It prompted a lot of thinking about what that actually was. But one example of what it could be was the BBC’s project Instafax. I’m still a bit skeptical as to whether this a ‘new form’ as much as a nice use of a platform. (I’ll maybe blog more about that issue)

Actually I’m just more impressed that orgs like the BBC, Channel 4 and The Guardian are experimenting with visual story telling online. They aren’t alone.  A number of startups like NowThisNews are experimenting with using micro-video on platforms like vine and instagram to reach that much-desired mobile audience.

Anyway, above what I might think of the rhetoric around the experiments, I did think that it was an interesting idea to show to students. It struck me as a fun way to introduce images etc. and think about telling stories in different ways.   So I set about working out a way to do instafax style video on the cheap (well, free).

One of the things that was clear in the panel discussion was how much a lot of orgs still rely on quite expensive kit and infrastructure to make video happen. (The key seems to be in getting your initial settings right) Now we aren’t short of kit at the uni but we do have some restrictions on the tools we can use and things we can install.  So I was looking at a solution that was pretty much web-based and as universal as it could be.

So here it is:

Instafax on no budget.

The ingredients

  • Some nice images of news stories (make sure you have cleared their use before you start)
  • Access to an image editor. Photoshop and gimp are fine but in this recipe we will be using
  • Access to a youtube account
  • An instragram account
  • A phone with the instagram app to  upload your video.

The method

Making the image

  • Open up a new image in Pixlr.
    • Set the width and height to 640pixels.
    • cut-and-paste the image you want to use in to the image


  • Open up the image you want to use in your video.
    • Select the crop tool
    • Set the Constraint option to Output Size
    • Set the output Width and Height to 640px . Note. Be careful how you use this tool. The crop will resize to 640×640. If you highlight a small part of the image or your image was small to start with, it can ‘blow-up’ the selection and leave you with a blurry, pixel-ly image.
  • Use the text tool to add a suitable caption. It’s worth thinking about where you put your caption. It seems to be common practice to add a caption at the top or bottom but never in the middle of the image. I’m guessing that’s to avoid it being obscured by a play icon on some platforms.
  • Save the image(s) as a png file

Making the video

  • Open the
  • Click the camera icon and click Add Photos to the project
  • Upload the images you created
  • Add the image to the timeline. Remember your video has to 15 seconds so stretch or minimize to fill. A guide of 4 seconds a slide is not a bad starting point. It depends on the amount of text.
  • When you’re done, publish the video
  • When the video has been processed go to your video manager ( or click video manager on the video page)
  • Click the edit dropdown next to the video
  • Click Download MP4

The video looks something like…

Getting it on instagram

  • Copy the mp4 file to your device. Email is good or maybe dropbox would help here.
  • Upload using the instagram app as normal

When you add your video to Instragram, don’t forget the caption. You can get quite a lot in there are it works well as a kind of summary/intro/cue for the story.


As a process it’s a bit clumsy and the rendering up and down from youtube doesn’t leave the crisp edges that you would get from using better kit (or the whizzy transitions). But I think it does the job and with some music (which you could add using youtube’s own editor) I think it’s a viable, entry level way to explore image slideshows and mobile audiences.

What about adding video?

Instagram will crop out the sides of any video so framing is important.
Instagram will crop out the sides of any video so framing is important.

You can easily add video using the youtube editor but Instagram will crop the outer edges. So make sure you frame the video with the key elements in the middle. Also the youtube editor text tools are (very)very limited.


The big gap here is the ‘transfer to your phone’ bit.  There is site called Gramblr that will allow you to upload from the desktop but it wants your username and password. If that’s a price you’re prepared to pay (and I’ve no reason to assume that it isn’t safe) then it’s a workable solution. But I think Dropbox or email is just as easy and if you use the native app to upload you get all the other stuff like tags etc.

I’m convinced there is always real value in playing around with platforms. It isn’t just geeky tinkering. As I said, fair play to organisations that are experimenting in the way the BBC are.  For me, this was as much an exercise in something interesting for the students to try – exploring new platforms and playing with kit – as it was any attempt to prove it could be done.  But I think, like slideshows, this is an opportunity for those with plenty of image s to explore new narrative styles.

Let me know what you think.

Oh and hey BBC!  if you’re looking to drop the insta bit, how about something that sums up what it is. Facts that you can see. Maybe, seethefax…seefax…something like that.


The commercial blindspot:Funding news

The idea of the weekend – a £2 levy on broadband that can be used to pay for journalism.

There are almost 20m UK households that are paying upwards of £15 a month for a good broadband connection, plus another 5m mobile internet subscriptions. People willingly pay this money to a handful of telecommunications companies, but pay nothing for the news content they receive as a result, whose continued survival is generally agreed to be a fundamental plank of democracy.

A £2 levy on top – collected easily from the small number of UK service providers (BT, Virgin, Sky, TalkTalk etc) who would add it on to consumers’ bills – would raise more than £500m annually. It could be collected by a freestanding agency, on the lines of the BBC licence fee, and redistributed automatically to “news providers” according to their share of UK online readership.

The logic being, I suppose, that all these big broadband companies make all this money from our hard-earned content, isn’t it about time they paid. Oh, and you consumers need to get that idea of free out of your mind as well.

Roy Greenslade thinks it’s a great idea but there are problems.

Of course there are problems to overcome, such as persuading the various service providers – BT, Virgin, Sky, TalkTalk et al – to become “tax collectors” for news outfits. But a case can be made that they benefit from news production.

The other concern is about big media getting benefits unavailable to start-ups. But I imagine there could be a mechanism to distribute a portion to them as well.

I’m not surprised by the prevailing argument – the web is stripping journalism of it’s inherrent value so they should pay. As much as people would love to think we are beyond it, the anti-digital curmudgeon class still exists in journalism.

I’m more surprised. No staggered by the willful act of ignorance required to simply dismiss the issue of what would essentially be a bail out .

It’s a chilling thought that some of the best, most respected and senior journalists around can still flick a switch in their heads that separates the ‘journalism’ that they do from the organisations that they work for. That somehow journalism transcends the reality of money.

I’m not sure if it’s a blindspot (so steeped in journalism they fail to see the building and infrastructure around them) or blinkers (that many still have a hard-on for making evil digital pay). Whatever it is the idea is as sad for the attitudes it highlights as it is misguided.

Update: Dominic Ponsford has decided that David Leigh’s broadband tax plan is bonkers . But his article is just as bad. Instead of taxing broadband he wants to tax Google.

How well would Google do without all the free editorial content which it is indexing I wonder?

I think (and I might be wrong) they’d be ok, but I digress. Yes, the media benefits from Google…

But with Google UK ad revenues set to top £3bn this year the newspaper industry owners are increasingly looking like householders who, having been woken in the night by burglars, rush downstairs to make them a cup of tea before helping them into their van with the flatscreen TV and the silverware.

The logic might appeal if you are frustrated at the lack of solutions to the complex issue of sustaining journalism. But replacing broadband with google is just as simple and transparent.

More: This response to the original idea is brilliant.


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Daily mail student media awards?

Yeah, wouldn’t happen. But should it?

The always interesting Wannabehacks posted yesterday stating that The industry isn’t doing enough to support student journalists. The post really should have been titled The Guardian isn’t doing enough to support student journalists as it takes a pop at the frankly risible prize the Guardian is offering for its Guardian student media award:

[T]he quality of prizes has diminished year on year: “Seven weeks of placement with expenses paid (offered 2003-2006) is a good way to spend the summer. Two weeks of self-funded work experience is an insult to supposedly the best student journalists in Britain.”

It’s a fair point. Just how good you have to be to actually be paid to work at the Guardian?

Maybe we are being unfair to the Guardian though. Why do they need to carry this stuff? I know plenty of students who don’t want to work for the Guardian. So why don’t more papers step up? If it’s about spotting talent then shouldn’t every media org have a media award?

Truth is there is a bit of black hole out there when it comes to awards. Aspiring journos could be forgiven for thinking that there is very little on offer between that letter writing competition the local paper runs for schoolkids and the Guardian awards. There are actually quite a few – the NUS student awards for example. But none with the direct association of the Guardian awards.

But maybe it’s not about the award. The wannabe hacks post (and the letter it references) suggests that there is more a problem of expectation here.

The Guardian is a very attractive proposition to many aspiring journos. In a lot of respects it plays on that strength; it presents itself as a like the paper where things are happening. But there is a danger that things like competitions exploit that aspiration and begin to suggest a slightly dysfunctional relationship – aspiring journos trying their best to please the indifferent and aloof object of their affection.

Show them the money.

This isn’t just a print problem. The truth is the industry has a bit of problem of putting its money where it’s mouth is when it comes to student journos.

As an academic I see more offers of valuable experience than paid opportunities in my inbox. They tend to coincide with large events where industry doesn’t have the manpower to match their plans for coverage. In that sense there is no secret here, the industry is living beyond its means and it’s increasingly relying on low and no paid input to keep newsrooms running. But student journo’s bear the brunt of that. Yes, they get experience, but not much else.

No return on investment

Of course the flip-side to that argument is that many of those who enter the competitions would happily benefit from the association but don’t put back in. I wonder how many people who enter the Guardian student media awards have regularly bought the paper rather than accessing the (free) website?  You could argue the same when talking about work experience. How many students actually buy the product they aspire to work on?

But the reality is that, regardless of how much is put in, if you court an audience, you have to live up to their expectations – unreasonable or otherwise.

This is happening at a time when those same newsrooms are reporting on the commercial realities of education and how students need to demand value from their investment. As someone trying to respond to those expectations, perhaps I can offer some advice.  Perhaps the industry need to reflect on their advice to prospective students the next time they reach out or connect with student journalists.  Just how much are you expecting them to invest in your newsroom and what’s the return?


Twitter: the emergency broadcast system and the journalist

As you may imagine after yesterdays post, I’ve given a lot of thought to how journalists use twitter. Id been thinking about blogging a couple of key points to consider but Mary Hamilton beat me to it in a good (unless you’re Deborah Meadon) post on the Guardian website.

She illuminated a few things to consider when tweeting in times of riot:

  • Unless you can see it happening, don’t tweet about it.
  • Bear in mind that some people are making jokes.
  • Bear in mind that being scared of something happening isn’t the same thing as knowing that it’s going to happen.
  • If you see rumours, question them directly.
  • Get verification.
  • If you see something you know isn’t true, try to correct it.
  • If you’re tweeting about things you can see, be specific.
  • Follow people you trust to be accurate.
  • If you’ve been out looting and rioting, please tweet about it.

Developing the ‘be accurate about tweeting what you see’ point Mary makes an interesting statement:

Remember: if you can see it and you’ve got the means to publish information about it, that makes you a de facto journalist. So be responsible with your power. Be specific about where you are and what you can see.

As a journalist you should know that with great power comes great responsibility.

One way to read that list is ‘if you are going to be on twitter during the riots then be journalistic otherwise leave it to the “journalists”‘ – and by journalist we are saying those who behave journalistically. Defacto or professional.

But could we take that a stage further? Could we say that essentially in times of crisis, twitter is now such an important communication channel that all none-essential users should keep traffic to a minimum. Should Twitter be left to allow the essential users (fire, police and media!) to do their job more effectively? Twitter becomes part of the Emergency Broadcast System.

I know the answer to that is no. Trying to restrict the use of twitter at any time would be like shouting at a hurricane to stop – pointless. The intrinsic value of the network at times like the riots is built on the diversity of the users. It’s also were the value of the ‘journalist’ rests – filtering that content.

But it does highlight one of the challenges we have as journalists using twitter:  not everyone uses it the same way we do.

Twitter without the rubbish

Twitter is a massively valuable journalistic tool. For many it’s a vital part of the process of ‘doing journalism’. So its going to be frustrating when people come along and mess it up. When people get in the way of the process. Wouldnt it be so much easier to find that lead if people would stop tweeting about their lunch? In short, it would be great if people could behave in a way that made our job more straightforward.

But that chaos reflects the dynamic nature of the network – the thing that makes it valuable. It is what it is. So we need to see this and any challenges it brings as an issue with our process.  When things like the riots kick-off, we the media need a different approach to twitter.

That’s not just because (I believe) twitter behaves differently during things like the riot but because journalists do.

Much as I believe that sticking to a basic journalistic process has massive value in social networks for people (journos and none-journos alike), there is an argument to say that just as the media takes on a different role (and a need to be responsible) during events like the riots, so, people who take the role of journalist in particular those who claim the title through employment by the MSM, need change their approach. How?

Well, on top of the good points Mary makes, the best way I can think to develop that is with a couple of questions:

  • Should individual journos only tweet about the event through official twitter feeds for their org, linking to that from their ‘personal accounts’?

Journalists personal motivations for being involved in tweeting clearly came through during the riots and often feeds became a mixture of personal messages and professional information. Normally this mix is fine but when the situation is so serious and the information is so important (and their job as a journalist demands a response) shouldn’t that response be removed from the personal?

Would that better reflect the temporal nature of the event and the powers and responsibilities that bestows on the journalist?

  • Should tweeting of live, ‘crisis’ events always be backed up with a presence on the main publication website?

I thought the Guardians use of a live blog in the riots was an excellent. Actually, in this instance, I thought it was vital. Not only did it give a valuable archive on which to build coverage, it also presented a single place where punters could go and get filtered, authoritative coverage.

Instead of users having to piece together the chronology and facts sifted from the truth and lies in the flow of tweets. It also gave reporters and others something to tweet to direct people away from the steady stream of rumours.

Power and responsibility

I know that some of the changes to process will always be dynamic and responsive; Who knows what the next event will be?

But I know that some of my thinking here (especially in my first question) is being driven by questions about where authority comes from and what that allows you to do. Where does the right to take responsibility for something come from?*

On social networks much of that is down to the quality of the relationship, the quality of your interactions and the value they add to the community.

But at times of crisis it’s not unusual to see the weight of the organisation a journalist works for being bought to bear in terms of authority – one day I am Andy the next day I am the Daily News.  – and that is the journalist changing the terms of the relationship.

You can claim it’s for the greater good but the relationship is still changed.

That shift is a little more fundamental and at the heart of the challenge of working online.


* For me that’s something that is distinct from taking responsibility – I can do this because of what I am compared to I do because of what I am. It seems common for people to see it as the act rather than the motivation

Guardian goes data crazy

oooh pretty colours...
oooh pretty colours...

It seems that everyone is in the mood for sharing at the moment. The BBC is allowing embedded video and now the Guardian is sharing its data.

It’s been on the cards for a while but it’s still great to see the Guardians new API come out of the traps. (I know I’m behind the curve, as all the related links show.)

Their Open Platform service is now available offering access to Guardian content and data in two different ways.

1. The Content API is a mechanism for getting Guardian content. You can query our content database for articles and get them back in formats that are geared toward integration with other internet applications.

The Content API is a free service. We have some limits and restrictions detailed in our terms and conditions, but we hope that you will use our service for whatever needs you have, including commercial applications.

2. The Data Store is a collection of important and high quality data sets curated by Guardian journalists. You can find useful data here, download it, and integrate it with other internet applications.

For the geeky but programming shy amongst us the Data Store is an obvious stopping off point. Essentially it’s a treasure trove of Google Spreadsheets. stuffed to the gills with data collected by the Guardian.

So you get spreadsheets across a range of subjetcs fromEngland’s population, by sex and race, to the ICM poll results for the popularity of polictical parties.

Once you have it, you can beging to mash it all up; and people already are

Mash it up

Super mashup guru Tony Hirst has already had a good play with the content pushing it through, amongst other things, Manyeyes and Yahoo pipes to create some nice visulisations and even nice tutorials (great work Tony)

Of course The Guardian aren’t the first. The NY Times has also got its Developer Network up and running with its own api. Lots of other orgs are also getting the labs bug, like The Times and Al Jazeera, all with good open-source attitudes. But this is a really savvy move by the Guardian.

Global players

As well as putting themselves on the same footing as players like the NYT, which can’t hurt their plans for a global brand, it puts them firmly in the centre of any benefits.People will take the content, develop it, grow it, use it and share it with the Guardian because they shared it first.

As I said in my new years convictions, media companies, and newspapers in particular will have to go open source to get the benefit of the online community.   From that perspective it could be easy to write this off as the ‘tech-savvy’ Guardian being geeky or the nationals fiddling whilst the regional Rome burns.  But the big regional newspaper  players, with centralised IT are a network big enough to compete at this level.

This is exciting stuff.

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Hubris and journalism

I’ve been catching up with some reading (that “mark all as read” option only kept things at bay for a while).

I started with Alison Gows take on the an event at my Uni last week. Mark Skipworth, executive editor of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, came in to talk about the tele’s digital transformation. In the process he seems to have strayed off the path in to the ‘journalists are better than bloggers’ debate. His phrase – “No one tells a story like a journalist.”

Alison comments on the general feeling in the room.

Ouch, that’s a poorly-expressed phrase, I thought. Except it wasn’t – it was what he absolutely believed… with his next breath he went on to dismiss the ability of bloggers to provide quality, impartial reportage.
I think it proceeded along in this vein but the muttering around me had actually become more interesting than the fuddled point the speaker was labouring towards. (Which was, I think, that journalists are impartial and quest for the truth.)

A bit of a blinkered view. As Alison concludes,

If you believe only a journalist can tell the story then you’re closing your eyes, ears and mind to the millions of people out there who are telling their own stories

But you’d be forgiven for thinking that, in some quaters at least, journalism really is the about the art of not listening to people.

That was my immediate thought as I read. James Silver’s article on n Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s rude awakening to hate comments on a recent piece. Having recieved over 900 comments, some apparently very hateful, to an article called “Spare me the tears over the white working class” Alibhai-Brown is less that taken with the transparent nature of the web.

“I think editors were initially overcome by the openness of it all,” she says. “But the time has come for them to think about where this is going. There hasn’t even been the beginnings of a proper debate and there really needs to be.”

But one commenter on the story thinks this is a lesson newspapers need to reflect on

I think it may have opened a lot of newspapers’ eyes as to the level of frustration their readers have about some of what passes for journalism in their papers.

It’s a sentiment that echoes a splendid quote in the article from Rod Liddle

“Some readers always thought we were a pack of self-obsessed wankers. Now they have both the confidence and the platform to tell us what they think. And seeing their words ‘published’ on the internet, next to lots of other comments, seems to legitimise what they say and spur them on.”

I find myself agreeing with the sentiment. If your gig is to write stuff to get people spitting out their cornflakes then don’t be surprised if some of you targets spit back.  Don’t get me wrong, hateful stuff is out of order but ultimately you have a choice; Invest in good moderation (time and people), leave it open and let the crowd police itself (a brave waiting game) or close all comments and don’t engage with the audience.

The inconvenient truth is that, unfortunately the last option can’t and won’t stand for long. The door is open and to paraphrase Liddles view, the web puts the commentators and commenters on an equal footing. You have to get that right or you lose the respect of your audience.

All of which added an extra resonance for me to the  kerfuffle that has blown up around criticism of the Press Complaints Commission by the Media Standards trust. The PCC is the newspaper industries (self) regulation body and according to the MST it isn’t fit for purpose.  Martin Moore picthes the report  in broad terms on his blog.

You would be forgiven, as a member of the public, for thinking that the system was geared more towards protecting the interests of the press than the public.

The resulting war of words has already raised some interesting debate, and I’m sure it will continue to do so. But it seems that, in the national press at least, there is a real need to move on from the idea that “no body tells a story better than a journalist”. If the MST is to be believed, the public don’t think so and , as the Alibhai-Brown case shows, they now have the means and the motivation to tell them.

Guardian redesign – expectation, habit and design



The Guardian has had a bit of re-design. Emily Bell gives us an overview

If you use our site regularly you will already be familiar with the improved layouts and bigger pictures, as well as the helpful ‘keyword’ navigation against articles, which tie into the look and feel we gave our homepage back in May 2007. The size of the task, which involves moving half a million pages into a new format, means that while the majority of the work will be completed over the weekend you might notice some irregularities over the coming week. Our sports, arts, life and style and education sites will also be moving over in the next few months.

I like it, although I would love for them to roll out whatever they are going to do in a quicker way. The mix of old and new is starting to show (like a fancy hairstyle that’s showing its roots) But the post is an opportunity to see the development of the site go on in the open. An exercise in transparencey or cheap weekend beta testing?

I think the later. And above that the dialouge raises some good points about expectation and audience.

Here’s the first comment on the post-one that I think illustrates that point

Well, the first thing I noticed is that there doesn’t seem to be any way to get straight to the Football home page from the main front page. I’m sure there must be others like me who frequently zip into the site to go straight to an overview of today’s football stories? It’s like buying the paper – yes, I go straight to the Sport section, but I expect to see the football news at or near the front of it – I’m not really interested in any other sport.

Interesting. Someone who wants to use a newspaper website like a newspaper. The crazy fool!

This sentiment is repeated over and over again and before you right this off as sport people being too lazy to click a few times it’s worth pointing out that it wasnt all sport.

With the shiny new makeover of appearing this morning, one issue seems more persistent than ever. Why are games kept in the “Technology” section? This makes no sense at all. Keeping games reviews in the Technology section makes as much sense as it would to put DVD film reviews there, simply because the film is delivered by electronic means.

It seems obvious to me that reports on games-related hardware are clearly the domain of the technology section, but software reviews belong in the Culture section.

Later on Bell responds (great interaction here)

Football link is clearly the number one ‘please change’ item – though I’m distressed that mouse over drop downs get such short shrift.

The other recurring theme – why do it at all…essentially, those of you who are loyal users probably haven’t noticed how bust our existing navigation was….each site having a local nav meant that there was no sensible way of navigating from section to section. Over the years the front page nav had become so full that things regularly got squeezed or dropped off. As we added more to the site the grouping of sites under generic headings is a better long term solution though it introduces some short term niggles.

That’s design over expectation and habit. The mouse over drop downs get short shrift because people learn how to use a site by using it.  They don’t learn how to use navigation elements and then apply that knowledge to each site they visit.

The incremental tweaks, done in an open way will mean that most users will learn the new way round – I don’t  think they will lose anyone through the design. But its worth pondering on the expectation of your audience whenver you consider doing anything public facing.

They have a pretty strong idea of what they like and dont like. But only tell you when they think you have it wrong.

If that means that it’s football rather than sport for a link or that your culture section finds the odd review for grand theft auto next to a review for Doris Lessing then, well, the public gets what the public wants. No matter how crazy it may be.

Web 3.0 – MSM got no rep!

 A great piece by Jemima Kiss over at the Guardian as she lays out her case that Web 3.0 is all about rank and recommendation

If web 2.0 could be summarised as interaction, web 3.0 must be about recommendation and personalisation. While the Tim Berners-Lees of this world work out how to make the language of the web function more effectively behind the scenes, our front-of-house task is to get stuck in and intelligently work these technologies into our businesses. It is not enough to understand the strategy behind these new applications, such as Twitter and Reddit – they rely on participation. Tokenism won’t do.

Josh Catone over at Read/write web agrees that the Web 3.0: Is It About Personalization?.

He echoes what Jemima says with a reference to a contest they held last year:

Last April, we held a contest asking readers for their web 3.0 definitions. Our favorite came from Robert O’Brien, who defined Web 3.0 as a “decentralized asynchronous me.”

“Web 1.0: Centralized Them. Web 2.0: Distributed Us. Web 3.0: Decentralized Me,” he wrote. “[Web 3.0 is] about me when I don’t want to participate in the world. It’s about me when I want to have more control of my environment particularly who I let in. When my attention is stretched who/what do I pay attention to and who do I let pay attention to me. It is more effective communication for me!”

A great definition. Decentralized me. Love it.

And according to Kiss, this web3.0 thing is good news for the MSM as well.

Above all, the most reassuring trend is that the values of credibility and trust are more important than ever in the ocean of information we have to navigate every day. The technology is not enough on its own, and that should be a comfort to editors everywhere.

I agree with that in principle but the heart of that question comes from what defines that credibility. How is that trust measured?

Looking at the habits of people on facebook and other social sites, I get the impression that trust and credibility are different currencies to the traditional, more paternal, idea of trust that we associate with the MSM.
How many people would recommend a newspaper as a friend?

So if Web 3.0 is going to be about recommendation the question is are the MSM investing enough in their rep now to be able to punch their weight in a world where trust and credibility means ‘just like me’.

Guardian Suppliment: making video


The Guardian, my weekend newspaper reading, landed heavy on the doormat this morning with a really good suppliment on making video.

Plenty of great practical advice (although the imovie tutorials are for ’06) and camera advice that goes from phones to camcorders. There is also a good round up of formats by Dan Ghung.

In terms of camcorders they recommend (in order of price):

  • JVC GR-D720 – 199
  • Sanyo VPC-CG65 – 200
  • Canon DC201 – 230
  • JVC GZMG275 – 500
  • Sony HDR-SR8 – 900
  • Panasonic HDC SX5 – 700
  • Cannon HV20 – 750
  • Sony HDR HC7 – 750

Their site has one of the articles in the guide section already and I’m hoping that they will put more over the week. They also have their guides for sale so fingers crossed this one appears soon.

Also worth a look is their photography guide.

And it’s all much, much better than the Greek Myths and knitting malarkey.

Lessons in journalism from The Guardian



Neil Mcintosh has a bit of advice for jdeans and jstudents out there. Watch the Guardian’s US correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg ‘on the hustle’

Suzanne’s in fine form as she beetles round interviewing campaign workers, fending off absurd requests from officials to stop doing what every good reporter does – asking lots, and lots, of questions. You don’t often get to see a journalist at work like this, which is what might make it useful for those j-deans out there.

I watched it and  at times, hell, all of it was like watching Michael Moore with a fur lined coat and purple handbag.

The video is okay as an authored piece but it’s labored.

But I agree. You don’t get to see many journalists at work like this. Yeah, you have to be pushy. You don’t do what you are told.  You have to go the extra mile for a story.  But I think one of the reasons we don’t see more stories like this is that generally journalists try and remember that they are not the story.