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Quality Journalism in the Digital Age

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Photography tips for radio journalists

camera and micAs a radio journalist you’re supposed to produce a story for the ears but your editor may also want you to produce an online version – a story for the eyes.

It’s a common scenario in newsrooms around the world as broadcast and online newsrooms merge. It means you need to quickly learn new visual storytelling skills in order to adapt your stories for online publication.

While you can find loads of online training resources to help you get started, basic camera skills are only going to take you so far. If you’re required to produce photographs that document the story you’re covering, say an editor is suggesting to bring back eight photographs for a story or picture gallery, then you also need to employ skills from photojournalism.

OnMedia’s Guy Degen offers some tips for radio journalists to help produce strong images for their stories.


Tuesday 2014-09-23


Tools & Apps for Journalists: JamSnap

jamsnapPerhaps the easiest way to describe JamSnap is as an iPhone app that lets you make an interactive image by adding snippets of sound and then share it through social media. It will remind you of other apps, but JamSnap is a deceptively simple idea that lets you tell a short story. Think Instagram, but with an audio clip to provide more context or natural sound. Think Thinglink, but easier to produce. And while SoundCloud and Audioboo both allow you to attach photos to an audio clip, JamSnap lets you grab the interest of the audience with an image first. That’s probably going to be more attractive to mobile users.


Tuesday 2014-08-26


Upgrade your camera with a WiFi memory card

flash_cardsMy smartphone has a fantastic camera and it’s a like a digital notebook for documenting events and sharing content, especially photos. But when I want to produce a better quality image, say a portrait of an interview partner, or when I want to work in low light conditions, then I’ll reach for my digital stills camera.

The question is: how do I make my SLR camera as “mobile” as my smartphone so I can transfer images quickly from the camera to another device and share them on the web?

Yes, I can use a USB cable to connect my camera to either my laptop or my iPad or take out the SD card and plug it directly into the computer. But another way is to use a WiFi enabled SD memory card and there are some interesting advantages of using these cards for covering events.

WiFi enabled SD cards have been around for a while now. The WiFi chip inside the card creates its own wireless network, which allows you to connect your camera via the SD card to another device.

In this post I’m going to refer to two Class 10 WiFi SD cards: the Eye-Fi mobi and the Toshiba FlashAir.


Friday 2014-08-01


Digital photo editing and the ethical line between aesthetics and truth?

(Before) Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR for TIME Magazine

Which do you prefer? The original image of a white balaclava-clad rebel in Libya carrying a rocket propelled grenade, or the more dramatic looking battlefield with increased contrast that brings out richer greys and red hues in the clouds, smoke and earth?

(After) Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR for TIME Magazine

The spectrum of digital tools available to photographers to edit images is vast – from professional software such as Photoshop or Aperture right through to consumer tools such as iPhoto or PicMonkey, not to mention hundreds of mobile photography applications.

If you’re of a certain vintage, then you might be a bit nostalgic about the days of film, the whiff of fixer and the time spent honing your skills in a dark room. Today adjusting the fundamental elements of a digital photograph, its DNA if you like, such as exposure/brightness, colour/saturation, whites/blacks, contrast/shadows and much, much more, are as easy as moving a virtual “slider” with a mouse.

But having a palette of digital tools does not mean editing a photo is a piece of cake. Far from it. In fact for photographers and newsroom photo-editors it opens up a raft of ethical questions.


Thursday 2012-12-13



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How to correct shifting lines in photographs

If you take photographs, you’ve probably encountered this situation: You’re trying to photograph a building or a group of buildings, but you can’t move back any further. So in order to get the whole structure into the picture, you use a wide angle. In the resulting frame, the houses look like they’re about to fall over. This phenomenon is caused by a distortion of perspective brought about by the wide angle lens, the so-called shifting or converging lines. In many cases, a free software called ShiftN can help. It automatically corrects shifting vertical lines and turns them into straight verticals.

The video below shows you what this software can do.

This is how the programmers describe this free software: “ShiftN permits correction of converging lines; a majority of the correction work is taken over automatically by the program. Using the ‘automatic correction’ item in the menu is in most cases sufficient to produce a satisfying result. Both the effects of converging lines and poor camera angle are corrected automatically.”

It works, but it doesn’t work wonders

If you use ShiftN to correct converging lines, be careful not to overdo it. Seeing only straight verticals instead of shifting lines doesn’t look natural. Your photos will seem awkward and unnatural.

ShiftN is great if the distortion is only minor, as seen in the example video. But a case like those white high rises you see at the top of this page is too much for ShiftN’s automatic correction.

As you see on the right, the way ShiftN “corrected” this picture looks artificial. The manipulation is obvious and makes the viewer uncomfortable.

In some cases, you’ve just got to take another step back to get the perfect picture – or be prepared to live with converging lines.

By Thorsten Karg


Tuesday 2012-07-31



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Edit photos online with PicMonkey

When Google closed its popular Picnik online photo editing service earlier this year, there must have been a collective internet cry of “No!”. For journalist trainees Picnik was a great way of introducing the basics of photo editing, and it was available in several languages. So, what can fill the gap? Enter PicMonkey. Oh and by the way, it’s easy to use and it’s free.


Wednesday 2012-07-18



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