First steps in freelancing and Winning and negotiating training in July

Having moved them successfully to Zoom in April, I will be running both of my NUJ freelance journalism training day-courses online in July.

First steps in freelancing is on Friday 17 July, costing £40 for NUJ members, £30 for student members and £110 for non-members. Winning and negotiating freelance work will take place on Fri 31 July, costing £50 for NUJ members, £40 for student members and £130 for non-members.

These are in addition to already-planned dates for First steps on 16 October and Winning and negotiating on 6 November, both of which are for now still planned to take place at the NUJ’s offices in London.

For more information and booking, click on the links above. If you would like more information on the courses, please get in touch.

Update: the NUJ’s London Freelance Branch has voted to subsidise these courses for its members so they cost just £25 each. You can claim this subsidy when you book by email. Details here.

Learning to teach online; NUJ freelance training going ahead on 1 and 15 May

Three weeks ago today, with two weeks of my data journalism module left to teach, Birkbeck announced that Covid-19 meant it was shifting immediately from face-to-face to online teaching. The good news was that it had software in place to facilitate this. The bad news was that I had no experience of using it and a guest lecturer booked for the following Tuesday.

It worked out fine, mainly because the Guardian’s data projects editor Caelainn Barr did such a brilliant job of explaining her work to her laptop rather than a group of students. Along with a further online class last week, some great Birkbeck training sessions and advice from David Thomas, I have had a crash course in teaching online.

As a result, my NUJ training courses First steps in freelancing on Friday 1 May and Winning and negotiating freelance business on Friday 15 May will take place online. They will include the same material, discussion and experience-sharing as usual, but rather than you coming to London, these courses can come to you via the increasingly-ubiquitous Zoom platform. The NUJ has reduced its usual prices, so the cost for First Steps in freelancing is £40 for full members and £30 for students.

If one or both of these courses sound useful, why not join me in acquiring some new skills?

Full details and booking for NUJ First steps in freelancing, 1 May

Full details and booking for NUJ Winning and negotiating freelance business, 15 May

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Searching for specialist search services

General search engines are an amazing free service that participants in one piece of research valued as being worth US$17,530 a year. (Not sure about that, although DuckDuckGo did help me find said piece of research in seconds.) But as I write for Computer Weekly, professionals can benefit from more-focused search services.

Several of these specialist search services are aimed at journalists. Krzana focuses on recent material, linked to geography and subject to minimise time wasted by journalists in Birmingham sifting out news from the city of the same name in Alabama. The Inject Project aims to provide related but different material, such as similar stories in another country. (More on both these services from the NUJ Freelance newsletter here.) Image library Shutterstock has launched services that let users search for images with images. Continue reading “Searching for specialist search services”

Data in journalism training at the NUJ on 17 May

I am again running an introductory day on using data in journalism at the National Union of Journalists in London on Friday 17 May. The course, which assumes little or no knowledge of the subject, covers risk, quality of data, assessing sources including surveys, government and open data, Freedom of Information and graphing.

The course, organised by the NUJ’s London Freelance Branch, costs £55 for NUJ members, £45 for student and temporary members and £110 otherwise.

More information and booking here.

Wikipedia gets it wrong even as a source of sources

I am currently teaching a term-long data journalism course at Birkbeck, University of London for MA students. Aside from seeing their overall projects develop, it is fun to see how students respond to challenges, such as to find data visualisations. (They came up with fine examples on gender pay gaps, China’s Uighur prison camps and trade discrepancies.)

One particularly interesting set of responses came when I asked students to find something wrong on Wikipedia (without editing in their own errors). Several found basic factual mistakes in pages on their home towns and other things they know well. Having said that, in data journalism courses I always advise using Wikipedia as a source of sources, to follow links and footnotes to good primary material. Continue reading “Wikipedia gets it wrong even as a source of sources”