Tag Archives: multimedia

Chunks, blobs and workflow conundrums

Diagram showing workflow confusionI’ve always been interested – and somewhat puzzled – by workflow patterns in news rooms (and when I say news room, I really mean any department in any organisation responsible for creating and publishing content). Every organisation, news or otherwise, has a series of workflow patterns in place in order to get the job done. And they’ll all be different. But the digital age and concept of multimedia, multi-platform, multi-everything, complicates workflow, particularly if people don’t have multi-skillsets.

How do teams (each with different roles and responsibilities) create a suite of content across multiple channels (meeting organisational objectives and target audiences, of course) efficiently, without too much duplication of effort and appropriately formatted for each press of the ‘publish’ button? And particularly when workplace culture is always evolving too? The answer is, I have no clue.

Until, that is, I watched a video on ‘adapting to adaptive content’…

This awesome presentation from Karen McGrane (I have her book too) set something straight for me… the problem doesn’t actually lie with us, the content creators, the teams we sit in, the organisations we work for or the editorial planners we work from. It’s all about the CMS (where content creators and web designers collide).

Write for the chunk, and not the blob

Add content into a cleverly designed CMS, stir in a nifty API which then transforms said piece of content, pulling it onto the right platform with the right tone and in the right form. All the content creator has to do is create good content and remember metadata, metadata, metadata… because this is where the magic happens. Metadata is not the boring form that needs filling in after filing your awesome story, it’s the backbone of that awesome story and will help it reach some awesome places and people.

Dictionary meaning of the noun 'API'

A CMS that is designed beautifully from the backend – with the content creator and their workflow in mind (budge over, IT) – will make for happy people. Happy people make more content. And so on.

Write for the chunk, and not the blob, says Karen. We are no longer publishing for the web, or publishing for print, we are publishing content, wherever that might be. And why are news organisations, as a rule, always the first to get to grips with the chunk? Because journalists are already used to writing for the chunk, whether they realise it or not… headline, standfirst, intro, body, pull quote, box out, caption etc.

And she refers to a couple of organisations who’ve coined their own acronyms when it comes to the modern way of content publishing (and I work for a university where we churn out acronyms like there’s no tomorrow.) They are COPE – Create Once, Publish Everywhere and PODE – Publish Once, Distribute Everywhere. I like.

And I’ll sleep soundly knowing this workflow ‘issue’ I roll over in my head all too often is too big for a single individual (me) to solve.



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Video chat: learning from others who are doing it well #MAent

The rain was pouring. In the space of an hour I’d driven around endlessly to find a parking space – the only one available was in a flooded patch of car park. I’d stepped in a muddy puddle in my nice, bright white Converse, I’d queued and paid for a train ticket I didn’t use (floods delayed or cancelled all trains to London Euston) and I’d lost my cars for 10 minutes in my own coat pocket. It hadn’t been the best start to the day. But it got better!

Thanks to the power of online, what was meant to be a cosy chat with Jennifer D Begg in the comfort of her Camden office space, turned into a Skype chat instead. I had a camera and online voice recorder set up, Jennifer was armed with a camera at her end too. And guess who’s footage came out best? Jennifer’s, of course, because she’s the expert. That’s right, she’s the co-founder of TeamTwoBees.com, a digital marketing and training consultancy – and the inspiration for ContentEdMK, the focus of my enterprise project.

Showing people how to do it for themselves

Jennifer came to my official place of work to talk about social media, creating super quick Instagram videos, and opening up access to her closed Facebook group offering a wealth of extra training materials and a place to continue our learning, ask questions and mingle with peers.

She inspired me with her informal approach, her enthusiasm and her passion for showing people how to do things online so they can go on and do it themselves. And she’s flying the flag for women in technology, selling to concept that tech doesn’t have to be intimidating and front-loaded with jargon. As she puts it, ‘education is a gift no one can take away from you’ and if Stephen Hawking can write a children’s book explaining complex scientific theories, then it should be pretty easy to teach people how to use technology.

Listen to Jennifer: she talks a lot of sense

Here are five super short videos (here’s the album on Vimeo) where Jennifer spills the beans on how she got started, biggest issues for small businesses, online training and fee structures.






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Neglected blog but for a good reason

Headphones on an RSS feed: ThinkstockEek, this blog has been neglected of late but I have the best excuse – it’s because I’m focusing on my latest MA project: multimedia journalism.

I’m creating a series of podcasts under the title of Ladies Wot Blog – celebrating female bloggers who will be attending Cybher 2012, the UK’s all inclusive female-only conference for bloggers.

Each blogger attending has their own story, big or small, and I’ll be honing in on some of them for my project. You can follow my progress on my Ladies Wot Blog Tumblr page.

Picture credit: Thinkstock

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Tips for Tuesday: Useful links if you want to dabble in multimedia goodness

  1. Vimeo Video School – a fun place for anyone to learn to make a video.
  2. Adam Westbrook, online video and entrepreneurial journalist. Some great tips and suggestions from Adam about what to do and what to avoid when it comes to telling a story through online video.
  3. Story Guide – how to make great video
  4. Media Bistro – 10,000 words by Mark S. Luckie, author of The Digital Journalist’s Handbook
  5. Digital Adventures – top tips for making audio slideshows for the web
  6. Journalists’ Toolkit – useful audio resources
  7. Spokesmanreview.com Video Journal
  8. Poynter: Photos, audio and the struggle to combine them
  9. MC Fontaine, audio engineer
  10. YouTube editor
  11. How to shoot and edit video on an iPhone


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If you like to read…

… and you’re interested in multimedia journalism, specifically creating online audio and/or video, then you might like these on your bookshelf:

Multimedia journalism reading list

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