Sarah Booker

12/06/2014

Student journalists scoop Brighton traveller stand-off

Last night (June 11-12) I burnt the midnight oil with three Journalist Works students who went into a hostile situation for a breaking news story.

Travellers evicted from Wild Park in Lewes Road, Brighton, had moved onto a community playing field in at he suburb of Patcham.

Angry neighbours blocked the field with a car and a four-hour stand off with travellers began.

Walking into a hostile situation takes gumption but Georgina Townshend, Lisa Meakin and Federica Bedendo did just that.

The story they put together had strong quotes from both sides.

People in Patcham and across Brighton and Hove are frustrated at repeated incursions on public parks and playing fields.

Equally travellers need to park up for the night and lack transit camps.

Their article gave a voice to both sides of the argument.

As a nursing mum I’m often up at unearthly hours so could advise on a copy edit to tighten up the story and keep it in Argus style.

The stand off finished at 10.30pm and the first draft was completed at 1.30am with pictures.

It was an excellent piece of work and read for The Argus website first thing in the morning.

15/05/2011

List making is hard to resist

Filed under: Social media,Twitter — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 12:24 pm
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Curiosity led me to the Sunday Times Social List after spotting a few #stsl tweets and reading this blog by Adam Tinworth. I don’t consider myself influential, I share the occasional opinion and find other people far more interesting, but put myself on the list anyway for a laugh.

This will be my highest rank ever:

Sunday Times Social List ranking

Bet I won't be a 'tycoon' for long

In some ways this is a bit like Word Nerd, the Times game to show how clever you are. It was fun for about half an hour and a great piece of promotion.

At Journalism.co.uk we created a top 100 most influential journalists in the UK, in early May. We seeded the list with 50 people and then threw it out to the crowd. There are journalists missing from this list, but the people on it were nominated by their peers, and then ranked according to PeerIndex‘s algorithms.

Personally I don’t think there is a definitive list. There are people who are useful and interesting to you, and they are the most important.

14/03/2010

Brighton Future of News election special #bfong

Brighton Future of News Group has an election theme for the second meeting on Monday, March 22.

Web developer Richard Pope will be talking about his work with Democracy Club, The Straight Choice and My Society.

I am an election geek living in a constituency where a three-horse race is developing between Nancy Platts (Labour), Caroline Lucas (Green) and Charlotte Vere (Conservative).

Sorry Bernadette Millam (Liberal Democrat) and Nigel Carter (UKIP), but it’s true.

All three have been campaigning. As a resident I’ve been aware of Nancy Platts beavering away in the background for a year or so now.  Charlotte Vere seems to have taken up a Saturday morning residency in London Road and Caroline Lucas has also been spotted.

One of the ideas suggested at the first Brighton Future of News Group was a candidate tracking Google map. Jo Wadsworth, web editor of the Brighton Argus had the Brighton Pavilion map up within a few days.

This is the sort of innovative idea that can come out of an event where journalists, bloggers and technical wizards can get together.

Personally, I’m very interested in The Straight Choice, and have started collecting up the few election leaflets my partner hasn’t thrown straight into the recycling.

Once this election is over it will be interesting to see the stories arising from the literature targeting our votes.

Join in the discussion at The Skiff at 7.30pm for a prompt start.

Your hosts are Judith Townend from Journalism.co.uk and me.

Brighton Future of News Group is open to all with an interest in news and journalism, from broadcasters to bloggers, PRs to podcasters, programmers, students, writers, journalists and all media folk.

08/03/2010

Women in journalism

Filed under: journalism — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 8:29 am
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Judge people on merit.

That’s a philosophy I’ve always had and how I judge others.

I started thinking about my experiences as a female journalist after seeing Judith Townend asking journalists to blog for International Women’s Day.

As a teenager I  opted to study physics at O-level, rather than biology, purely because it was a “boys subject”.

It didn’t matter that I’d come top of the year in biology, I had a point to make.

We girls were encouraged to challenge gender stereotypes and consider careers in engineering.

Those of us who didn’t take this road were confident enough to fulfil our ambitions.

During my years as a journalist some of the most inspirational people I have worked with have been women.

Part of me feels lucky as I have never felt discriminated against in the newsroom.

Any sexism I have experienced has been in jest and not bullying.

Jokes about not understanding the off-side rule, or the line “of course I forget you are a girl”, are brushed off with a laugh.

I have worked as the only woman in a news team, and been part of a female dominated newspaper office.

Many of the journalists I admire who report on and work in online journalism are women.

However, at meetings with other Johnston Press web editors I’m frequently the only woman.

I have always felt welcomed and valued at these meetings, bringing my take on various issues, and suggesting new ideas.

All of us are there on merit, and judged on merit, and that’s all that matters.

I’ve always thought journalism is a profession where anyone can prove themselves.

Women are in positions of power throughout the industry, which suggests there is no glass ceiling here.

I just hope girls growing up today see their future in terms of what they find interesting and can do, rather than what is expected based on a chromosome.

Reuters is hosting a live blog for International Women’s Day at its website live.reuters.com

15/01/2010

General thoughts on News:Rewired

AFTER spending a day a Journalism.co.uk’s News:Rewired conference I’ve come away feeling inspired and armed with examples to present to others – within the news organisation where I work and to students at future online journalism workshops.

In his keynote speech City University’s head of journalism George Brock, former international editor of The Times, described the news industry as throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick – a mixture of chaos and discovery.

He referenced Jeff Jarvis and entrepreneurial journalism, necessity being the mother of invention, and told how Twitter wasn’t the big player in the Iranian counter-revolution, but slogans on bank notes.

It was the sort of upbeat and inspiring speech you want to hear from a person at the forefront of training a new generation of journalists and I needed cheering up.

BBC College of Journalism editor Kevin Marsh made me jealous during his presentation. A fully integrated 24 hour multi-media newsroom staffed by 1,100 journalists tweeting, blogging, writing, filming, Audiobooing, telling stories in the best possible way. Such luxury!

A particularly interesting working concept Kevin explained were the BBC story communities with journalists working as a group, initially using MSN as a communication tool, sharing their specialist skills for stories such as mapping, Facebook, data-mining etc. The community grows and shrinks around a story.

Can be set up by anyone with change from the bottom up and the top down.

“Big news organisations doing better than you think at taking new ideas and adapting,” he said.

The way he described the how the BBC newsroom works as a dynamic evolving beast putting the web and rolling news service BBC New 24 at the centre, and not wait for the bulletin, is just how I believe newspapers should go forward.

In my working environment there are senior members of the editorial and commercial management structure who would like the web to go away. It’s not going to, and the BBC model is the one to embrace.

Print sales were falling before the internet took off as political and social apathy seems to have become endemic. Some people are just not interested in news.

What are we journalists to do?

I would sum Kevin’s presentation up as saying there are many things to learn, we can’t be experts at all of them, but can find new skills to enhance those we have already as journalists.

Journalism is the sourcing and investigation of the story and reporting is the telling of it. This is what we do, there are just more ways to do it now.

I’ll blog my thoughts on the workshops I attended and the news business models discussion separately.

18/11/2009

Useful people to follow on Twitter – Part one

This week I am hosting my first online journalism lecture/workshop/seminar for NCTJ news and magazine journalism students at Brighton City College.

During the session I’ll be looking at Twitter as an information source. I have found stories for the newspapers I work for, and discovered a host of useful information to help me with my work.
Here is the first batch of journalism and social media folk I  would recommend for a #followfriday dedicated to journalists new to Twitter, but without the 140 limit.

George Hopkin – Johnston Press seo evangelist.

Mashable – Social media blog . The latest tricks, toys and gossip in the world of social media and a few handy guides, too.

Paul Bradshaw – Lecturer and social media consultant.

Online Journalism Blog – great tips from Paul Bradshaw and co

Joanna Geary – Times web development editor.  Also follow her professional account and her bookmarks @timesjoanna and @joannaslinks

Alison Gow – Executive Editor, digital, for the Liverpool Daily Post & Liverpool Echo.

Jo Wadsworth – Brighton Argus web editor @brightonargusjo

Glenn Mottershead – Journalism lecturer.

Andy Dickinson – Online journalism lecturer. See his bookmarks @linkydickinson

Sarah Hartley – Guardian local launch editor.

Clay Shirky – Influential future media blogger.

Journalism news Tips, news and a whole host of useful information.

Judith Townend – From Journalism News.

Media Guardian – Updated throughout the week. More than Monday’s weekly supplement.

Shane Richmond – Telegraph Head of technology.

Kate Day – Telegraph communities editor.

Martin Belam – Guardian internet advisor: Currybet.

Charles Arthur – Tech Guardian editor.

Ilicco Elia –  Head of mobile Reuters.

Channel4 newsroom blogger – follow the newsroom process before the bulletin.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy – Channel4 news.

Jemima Kiss – Guardian media/tech journalist and UK Twitter queen.

Patrick Smith – PaidContent UK .

Damian Thompson – Telegraph blogs editor.

Jeff Jarvis – The Buzz Machine blogger and journalism professor.
David Higgerson – Head of Multimedia, Trinity Mirror; Exec Editor, Bham Post and Mail.

Louise Bolotin – Journalist and blogger.

Richard Kendall – Web editor Peterborough Evening Telegraph.

Documentally – Mobile media maker.

Tech Crunch UK – Tech news and information.

Mike Butcher – Tech Crunch UK.

Neiman Journalism Lab – Harvard.

Richard MacManus – Read Write Web.

Daren Forsyth – Ex-BBC, now 140characters.co.uk

Josh Halliday – Journalism student and social media user.

Matt Cornish – Newspaper editor.

And to end part one, why not add me, too – Sarah Booker.

28/12/2008

Shares, newspapers and future journalism

Filed under: Web journalism — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 8:08 pm
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Nick Hasell’s article “Have faith: after a year of setbacks, I am a sadder but wiser man“, in The Times on Saturday, December 27, looked at the performance of the Tempus Ten, shares selected at the beginning of 2007 caught my eye because my employer Johnston Press Plc is given a kicking.

This year JP’s share price has dropped, dramatically, from a three to single figures.

Hasell’s article suggests it’s the journalists who don’t see the end of print and the rise of the internet.

As someone at the forefront of JP’s web operations in Sussex, I would say the problem is not with the majority in the newsrooms.

Embrace the web

There are many journalists across JP embracing the internet, because we know it’s the future.

Equally there are others who resist with every fibre of their being.

However, JP is moving forward and looking to the web, and taking its advertising platforms with it.

People have a great appetite for news and journalists possess the skills to source and interpret it for mass consumption.

Journalists will still be creating news for websites, as well as print.

Unexpected tales

Even though I consume a lot of news information through the web, from traditional news sources such as The Guardian, The Times, Telegraph, BBC etc, and specialist blogs, the serendipity of discovering something in print, which I wouldn’t necessarily read online, is what keeps newspaper important to me.

American journal Editor and Publisher published an interesting column by Ted Knutson “What I missed only getting news online” (the original is behind a paywall hence the Blogger link).

Ted’s right by pointing out the joy “of running across news I didn’t realize was there by leafing through all the pages of a newspaper instead of just looking at a handful of headlines on the home page of a newspaper’s web site”.

However, journalists and regular older readers will not keep a publication afloat forever.

Chase youth, keep old

Steve Outing’s interesting article, again in Editor and Publisher, My ‘Crisis’ Advice to Newspaper Company CEOs: 11 Points to Ponder” gives the solid advice to focus on the traditional demographic for print, and to chase youth with web.

This is what we’re trying to do at the Worthing Herald series, which is probably why our print ABC is rising along with our eABC.

Sussex Newspapers, the JP division which includes the Worthing Herald series, was one of the company’s best performers in 2008, so we’re obviously doing the right thing, but need to continue to do so.

Resistance is futile

The difficult market conditions and the changes in newsroom structure under consultation at the moment will mean journalists will have to think about their commitment to the web.

In the days before Christmas one of my colleagues admitted to having no interest in learning how to put stories online, hence they didn’t retain the instructions in their memory.

Hasell’s point about the perception that print will die might be the kick resistant journalists need to learn before they become unemployable.

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