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Creating content – WP for Journalists

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

This chapter offers examples of good multimedia journalism content online and explanations of how pieces have been put together. There are sections on layout, HTML/CSS, RSS, syndication, curation, images, video, streaming, audio, live blogging, infographics and maps.

Page Layout

When you first start working on websites (particularly if you have moved from print) it can be a bit frustrating when you realise how limited you are without a good working knowledge of HTML …

HTML and CSS

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the language a browser understands. This language allows you to put anything you like on a web page; images, text, videos etc. and it also is a way of allowing websites to connect with each other through links (hyperlinks) …

RSS

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (sometimes it might be referred to as rich site summary). An RSS is a live feed from another website of their content and I am a big fan of RSS – particularly when you are starting out. It is a really easy way of keeping your site fresh with up-to-date content (there is nothing more off putting than finding a news site and realising that the last piece of content was posted weeks ago …)

Syndicated content

Strictly speaking RSS feeds are syndicated content – the term just refers to third party content with back links that you are able to use on your own site and vice versa. There are plenty of plugins available which offer this service and there are hundreds of premium plugins that charge you to push your content through syndication to third party sites. Content marketing companies are built around syndicated content …

Curation

Running a news and features website is not just about producing original content – it should also be about providing a central point for your audience for all the great content online surrounding your topic area. You as a website owner should be across all trending discussions, all breaking news and every mention of something relevant for your audience. The term to describe this is curation …

Images

Images can make or break a website so you need to spend some time thinking about how you want to handle them. Some things to consider are, where are you getting your pictures from, what is your housestyle in terms of sizes, captions, portrait or landscape and what plugins do you need …

Video

  • According to stats on YouTube the platform has more than a billion users, watching hundreds of millions of hours every day … staggering.
  • According to tech giant Cisco video will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2021

Cisco (2017). Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2016–2021

Video content is vital on a website – it is the way you will get new visitors and keep the ones you have – as the figures above from Cisco demonstrate. But video content is not just about story packages or vlogs – video content can be used to add atmosphere, give context and illustrate aspects of a written article – they can be just a few seconds – just enough to give a flavour of an event …

Live streaming

Live streaming follows on from videos – it simply means being able to broadcast live to your audience – and there are a number of ways of doing it. You can use Facebook live, you can use Twitter’s Periscope, you can use YouTube, you can use Snapchat. Choosing which platform to use will to some extent depend on why and what you are streaming and what you want to do with the content afterwards. It also depends on your preference …

Audio

  • *4.7 million adults in the UK listen to podcasts (in the US according to Edison the audience is **57 million!)
  • The largest podcast age demographic in the UK is 25-34 year olds
  • Podcasts reach their highest audience between 8.15-8.30am
  • Listen Again or Catch up radio is mainly used in the evening – it peaks between 11.00-11.15pm.

*RAJAR Midas Audio Survey Winter 2016

RAJAR is responsible for providing the audience measurement service for the UK’s radio industry.

**EDISON The Infinite Dial 2017 

Audio is a fantastic medium – it is intimate, immediate and accessible, so it is not surprising that the trend for producing podcasts is growing in popularity. One of the factors for this is that it seems that once a listener gets hooked on a podcast they become loyal followers. Something to consider when you are thinking about producing content for your website!

Live blogging

Live blogging is a great way to engage an audience and really good fun – if a little stressful! My students love it when we do a live blog. The best way really is to have two of you – one to listen and comment and the other to translate the comments into a post, but you can do it by yourself if you are prepared.

The key to a live blog is research …

Infographics

Infographics are a way of using data to tell a story visually. They can be incredibly satisfying to work on and can be a really useful way of making something complex, simple, or driving home a staggering fact. The trick to infographics is simplicity. You should be able to tell what the story is without too much figuring out. The images you choose, the colours, the fonts, the stats – they should all work without too much explanation.

 

Maps

Maps can be a great way of adding interactive content on to your site. Of course you can use maps to show people where things are, and to add more information about a venue or an event but they can also be used to tell a story. You can add information about people, neighborhoods, murders … need some inspiration? Here are some examples of story maps: