Reliable Witness

Reliable Witness
Reliable Witness was a transmedia project for Birmingham Book Festival 2012, culminating in an interactive storytelling installation. Participants were asked to make several choices for the characters, affecting the final outcome I was asked to plot the various storylines, also showing the use of real-world media and social networks.  

I speak: Creating Usable Content event video

If you picked up my recent blog posts, you'll know I took part in the Creating Usable Content event in Cardiff a few weeks ago. It was an event for local gov and  health comms professionals, and  I delivered a workshop on Infographics, which went down really well, by all accounts. There was a camera crew at the event recording sessions and interviewing the workshop leaders. Watch out for my pals Dan Slee and Pete Ashton.  Caroline Beavo

Work in Progress: The Warriors plot-map

Intro If you follow me on Instagram  you may have seen a picture I posted recently. To most people it would have looked like a random arrangement of squiggles, lines and terrible sketches. In fact it was a draft sketch of the plot of  The Warriors, a film that came out in 1979 (trailer) The plot is set in a slightly-futuristic New York, where gangs in theatrical-costume uniforms roam the streets defending their turf. After being called to an

Infographics? Infovisuals? Stop and think

Visual communication is nothing new. Man has been daubing on walls and scratching into rock for centuries. Whether it's “5 Ways to Catch and Skin a Deer” or “The River Styx: Everything You Need to Know”, visual representations of information have been the simplest way to pass information from one person to another. Nowadays, the data explosion has meant there is not only more information to be conveyed, but an increased demand for access and understa

The Kernel Returns [updated]

The Kernel Returns [updated]
UPDATE Well, blow me down with a feather ...  new look The Kernel is  definitely worth a revisit. I was always put off by the overly-snarky comments (see below) and it appears I wasn't the only one. The  site has managed to shift from vicious bile to playful teasing  - and it works. It's definitely back in my RSS feed - I just hope the many tech power-players they took pot shots at in the past are willing to let bygone be bygones. In terms ...

Bham Council to cut grit bin numbers – but where are they now? [map]

Bham Council to cut grit bin numbers – but where are they now? [map]
A few weeks back I was inspired to map the grit bins in Birmingham, due to the *very* dangerous icy pavements around the Jewellery Quarter. This appeared on my hyperlocal Tumblr blog, This is the JQ. Now the Council bosses say they're going to cut the number of bins, in a cost-saving exercise - so this map will need redoing at some point View Birmingham Grit Bins location in a full screen map

How do you blog? Just do it

As part of my recent New Year Resolutions I mentioned blogging - and more specifically, how I'd like to blog more. Here are a few of my thoughts about the process. But I wonder - what stops you from blogging more often?   What I like about blogging is the fact you don't need to spend hours slaving over an article, creating a story arc or creating a masterpiece - you just need to get the information out there, whether that takes 3/4 par

Links [27 Dec 2012]

Links [27 Dec 2012]
A collection of the articles I've been reading and sharing recently ... Interesting Sites The Noun Project Buffer - A Smarter Way to Share on Social Media Open Data Portal http://www.quandl.com - open data sets Interesting Articles / Finds 10 Confidence-Building Exercises for New Freelancers Amazon Book Reviews Deleted in a Purge Aimed at Manipulation - NYTimes.com First trailer for BBC's clone drama Orphan Black looks intriguingly in

Update > 18 June 2012 – busy busy busy!

(this post was written weeks ago - just getting around to sending it now) Well it seems that freelancing is like waiting for a bus. After a few weeks of not-much-at-all, now I'm going through a very promising patch. Active Projects I am currently working on 3 dataviz projects - one for the London Fire Brigade (an infographics on cuts and spending), an infographic for Walsall Council and a project for regular client Communicate magazine. The

How long should online content be?

How long should online content be? According to this Writinghood article, the perfect length is between 500-800 words; other people say shorter is better; but surely there's more to it than that? For personal/fun blogging I say do whatever you like, but for something more structured and professional , here are a few things you might want to think about: (feel free to add your tips/thoughts in the comments below). What is the content? For examp...

Covering a live event: a quick guide

Covering a live event: a quick guide
Covering live events can be a chaotic, stressful and sometimes unfulfilling experience. Battling with the digital elements can mean the finished product is disappointing. However- there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself (feel free to comment with more below  - I will also add to this as ideas come to me!) Background Research Find out as much about the event as you can. Where is it? - how are you going to get there? Public transport...

Six Ways to Spice Up Your Podcasts

Are your podcasts limp and lifeless? Then try these tips to spice up your audio output ... Location Location Location Get out there!!!  You might think that you need peace and quiet to record a podcast, but remember  - the joy of a podcast is that you can get to the centre of a situation or story. Sometimes silence just sounds strange. Example: If your podcast is about farming - why not record it in a field, with the sound of the wind, sheep and birds

Adventures #1 – SoLoMoDEN

Adventures #1 – SoLoMoDEN
In something of a mid-February resolution, I've decided to do more day-to-day blogging about the various online activities I am involved in. You have been warned ----- Yesterday I found myself at the SoLoMoDEN conference in Manchester. Right in the heart of Media City, it was hard not to be inspired about the future of the profession - even though there was a slight Legoland feeling to this regenerated part of Salford. The "DEN" bit of SoLoMoDEN,

How journalists can follow the story/find contacts online

How journalists can follow the story/find contacts online
(a few notes/ideas of using online resources for journalism from a recent 30 minute workshop with 2nd year Online Journalism students) - this is by no means definitive, so feel free to add any suggestions, comments below There are so many ways a journalist can follow the story, search for contacts or get leads online - but starting off is the hardest part. In this blog post I'l be running through a few very easy steps to jumping in - often using tools yo...

New website launch > The Hidden City

An interesting project to emerge in this time when questions are being asked about the role of the mainstream media is The Hidden City. It is a website covering the hidden stories of Birmingham through audio slideshows (a slideshow of relevant photographs with an audio track underneath). The brainchild of the guys behind Fourseventy Media, a local media production company specializing in audio, The Hidden City is a not-for profit project funded by donat

The Changing Role of a Journalist – a few thoughts

The Changing Role of a Journalist –  a few thoughts
What is the role of the journalist in today's world? During the Birmingham riots, when a huge amount of rumour and speculation was being passed around the social networks (Riot rumours - Guardian), should the local media have also stepped in to set the records straight? (check out this fantastic visualization of Twitter rumours by The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2011/dec/07/london-riots-twitter) Many believe that journalists sh

The embargo > a few thoughts

The embargo > a few thoughts
Embargo: a request by a source that the information or news provided by that source not be published until a certain date or certain conditions have been met News embargo - Wikipedia  A lot of talk recently about embargoes, after a journalist for the New Yorker posted a review of the new David Fincher film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ahead of an agreed embargo date.   You can read the email exchanges between the reporter - David ...

Top 10 Crimes of Online Writing

Top 10 Crimes of Online Writing
 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer - get in touch for more details Are you blog posts not getting the attention they deserve? Check out these points to improve your writing and reduce that bounce rate [toc] 1. Too Clever/Too Boring/Too Complex Title The title of an online post needs to be clear and succinct - no clever tabloid puns or vagueness here please! Avoid figures, but use place names,...

INTERNSHIPS: slave labour or opportunity?

INTERNSHIPS: slave labour or opportunity?
This post was written in November 2010. I am now no longer a member of the NUJ. However, my feelings on internships have not changed. There has always been some discomfort about the idea of unpaid internships, work experience etc. However, in the media they are considered something of a necessary evil. Image via Wikipedia The NUJ have launched a campaign highlighting the fact that anyone who's worked as an unpaid intern over the past six

Making Online News Pay – Pt 1 paywalls

Making Online News Pay – Pt 1 paywalls
I am currently exploring the various avenues for making money from online news as part of my MA Online Journalism. Over a series of Posts I hope to explore the various methods of generating revenue from online content - looking at the various issues, and pitfalls along the way. The Project My idea is a website that offers short, exclusive video interviews with bands - often bands that would not get mainstream coverage elsewhere (e.g. radio and televis

Photographers v Police 1-1 (after 1st leg)

Photographers v Police 1-1 (after 1st leg)
Photographers are not a happy bunch. If they're not having their pictures used online without getting credit or being replaced in the festival photo pit by young bloggers waving iPhones, they're being persecuted by the police and accused of being terrorists. Authority 2.0 (Birmingham City University, 28 April, 2010) was a fascinating event, organised by the MA Social Media students to investigate how the UK's police forces should be using social media,

iPhone Apps: RSS READERS

iPhone Apps: RSS READERS
Continuing in my series of posts about my favourite apps, I move onto ... RSS READERS I currently run 2 RSS readers on my phone. I struggled to find one that could accommodate forwarding to 2 different Twitter accounts. iNEWS PREMIUM (£2.39)  I am a big fan of the iNEWS interface - it is fully customisable, so if you are a white-on-black text girl like me, then so be it! I use this app by importing my Google Reader feed. Unfortunately it does not sy

Audio slideshow – music news bulletin

Audio slideshow – music news bulletin
It was only a matter of time before I harked back to my old job of knocking out music news bulletins for the rock loving masses! Instead of a straight bulletin read though, I decided to turn a standard bulletin (recorded into my laptop with a clip on mic and with Audacity) into an audio slideshow. The Process Write the Bulletin Check the main music news websites (including NME.com, Kerrang.com and Gigwise) as well as the press releases I have rece

Ian Huntley coverage (news and Twitter)

Ian Huntley coverage (news and Twitter)
Following the news that Soham killer Ian Huntley was attacked in prison over the weekend, I decided to have a look at the reaction this story was getting online. First, a quick look at how the story was handled in 2 very different newspapers. Using the ManyEyes Word Tree visualization, I copied articles from The Guardian and The Daily Mail to see how the name Huntley was handled, and which words followed it in the articles. Can YOU guess which vis

Producing a video report entirely on an Iphone

Producing a video report entirely on an Iphone
Ok, for my next trick (ok, uni project) I am going to look into filming and editing a video report all on my iPhone. My plan is to record some stuff "to camera" (Ie me speaking and setting up the story), a clip of an interview and some cutaways or establishing shots. My plan it so get something that is tv-news report like, but turned around quickly and uploaded to Youtube within minutes. Has anyone out there tried this, or know of anyone elses wor...

Breaking Waves A Google Waves Experiment

Breaking Waves A Google Waves Experiment
Link to Breaking Waves: Birmingham Snow Wave Breaking Waves A Google Waves Experiment BACKGROUND OF GOOGLE WAVE Google Wave was previewed to Google employees on May 27th 2009. Described as a “personal communication and collaboration tool” it was gradually rolled out from September 2009 via invitation. A combination of instant messenger and email, users could send messages to their contacts in a chain (similar to Google Mail) but then move back UP th

Blogging: what is it worth?

Blogging: what is it worth?
Bloggers are often considering to be inferior to "proper journalists". Whether the argument is about training, responsibility, impartiality or audience, they are often treated as second class online-citizens, despite the fact many are competing with, and in some cases, filling a gap left by a declining traditional media. However, there is a definite gray area when it comes to money. Journalists are paid to do their job. They work for a title, rece

It seems we can’t have it all … hand held video recorders

It seems we can’t have it all … hand held video recorders
I am in a dilemma. I am the owner of a perfectly good (despite the reports) Sony Ericsson Satio mobile phone. The 12 megapixel camera (and other gadgetry) means the picture quality of video recording great for still interviews. The only downside, is the audio. the internal mic is terrible. It is useless for interviews, and makes the subject sound like they are down a mine the handsfree kit mic records excellent quality sound, but it gradually fall

Thomson Reuters: What Price the News: Live Blog #reutersethics

Thomson Reuters debate: What Price the News?? Intrusion. Payment. Scandal. Access. Ethics. Rights. Appetite. Celebrity. Obligation. Politics. Duty. Freedom. Harassment. Competition. Privacy. Security. Power. Press. In the last few years the way in which we consume news has changed but so too have the practices of news gathering - stories of plagiarism, cash for news and harassment charges have all questioned the accepted principles of good journalism.