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Combining journalism with digital features is now essential

Developers and journalists address students in lecture on collaboration
by Ed Grover

The combination of editorial andnull interactive features is now a key part of modern journalism, City students were told by an expert panel.

Journalists, developers and graphic editors from some of the country's best known media outlets, including the Guardian and the BBC, came together to reveal the reality of today's industry.

The lecture aimed to show how innovation and collaboration are becoming essential components of news production.

James Ball
, Special Projects Editor at the Guardian, stressed that simply understanding traditional journalistic principles was no longer enough.

"If you're coming into this profession, you need to accept it," he said.

Mr Ball explained it was critical that editorial staff considered interactive and digital features in each article - such as videos, images, infographics and engaging applications.

He added: "You can't be just amazing at one thing,"

I think this is where journalism is going - developing tools for journalists

The journalist described how outlets such as the Guardian were reorganising their news rooms to bring technical staff and journalists side by side.

"It's pretty impossible to pitch a story without all of these angles being thought about," he said.

Jane Singer, Professor of Innovation Journalism at City, set the tone by reminding students and academics in the audience that the days of reporters working by themselves were gone.

"Now, a lot of the really interesting things that go on are done by groups of people," she said.

Also speaking were graphic editorsnull Elliot Bentley and Michael Ovaska from The Wall Street Journal, who described the ways in which innovative images could be created to appeal to global audiences.

Digital media developer and visual journalist Melanie Moeller, of the BBC, explained how interesting visual representations of data were becoming much more common, with stories now built around them.

"What we have identified is that journalists are very keen on having DIY tools that help them to include graphics without doing coding," she said.

"I think this is where journalism is going - developing tools for journalists," she added.

It was also explained that news organisations are now using ever more sophisticated software to automatically gather and sort data.

Iain Collins, a developer at BBC News Labs, revealed the vast amount of data available to media outlets and described how it could be used to analyse coverage of different topics.

Mr Collins gave the example of the BBC News Juicer - a platform that automatically categorises content using tags and labels, such as those relating to people, places, organisations and themes.

The event concluded two days of lectures for students completing the Journalism Innovation module run by City's Department of Journalism.

Speakers included Kate Day of The Telegraph, Anna Doble of BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat, Joseph Stashko of TheTimes and Alan Strange of Sky News.

Also invited were Alastair Reid of journalism.co.uk, Vice's Ben Bryant, Siraj Datoo of BuzzFeed UK, Henry Kirby of Business New Europe, Quartz's Leo Mirani and Chris York of The Huffington Post UK.

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