Reflection- Introduction to Digital Journalism- Week 6

Workshop notes:

A secondary source is an article, document or report that is used as source material for another article- e.g. articles

A primary source is material that you independently research- e.g. interview/phone call (required for journalists)

Secondary sources

  • Quotes from newspaper articles
  • Information from blogs or online sources
  • Material from social media
  • Quotes from books, films, TV or other narrative sources


How can secondary sources be used?

  • As the basis for a story
  • As a springboard for an opinion piece
  • As a source of quotes


Respecting copyright

When we use secondary sources in professional journalism online or off we must respect copyright law



Copyright is a form of legal protection that is automatically assigned to content creators at the moment of creation. Content may be

  • Photographs
  • A film
  • Music
  • Artwork
  • Articles
  • A poster design


Only the creator can:

  • Claim authorship of the work
  • Distribute the work
  • Reproduce the work
  • Create new works based on the original


The copyright holder can offer or sell these rights to other people


If anyone uses copyrighted work without permission in any of the ways above they are breaking copyright law


Many people assume that if content is online that it is “public domain” and that it’s not copyrighted. That is a myth.


Fair dealing

The term fair dealing refers to circumstances where some limited use of copyrighted material is allowed . These include:

  • Research and private study
  • Criticism or review
  • News reporting (except original photography and video)
  • Incidental inclusion


In all these cases

  • Sources must be attributed
  • The amount of the material quoted is necessary for the purpose


Turn it in- compares what we produce against original articles


Rules for secondary source use online

  • Respect copyright and the rule of fair dealing
  • Attribute sources correctly to the author
  • Link back to the original source where possible

Primary sources

Primary sources may be:

  • Quotes from an interview you conducted yourself
  • Information from statistics, reports or white papers
  • Material directly gathered by social media
  • Media that you created yourself- including photographs



The main way you gather primary source material is by interviewing people- talking to them on or off the record

On the record- means you can use their quotes in your work

Off the record- means you can’t use their quotes, but you can use the information to guide you research



On a landline- you’ll need a dedicated telephone recorder


Using a computer- Skype & audacity + Pamela (windows) + Piezo (Mac) Skype for VoIP calls audacity, Pamela or Piezo for recording

Smartphones- voice memo

SkyRecorder- app



When putting together questions:

  • Do your research in advance. Find out about the subject or their specialism
  • There are only 6 basic questions- Who, what, when, where, why and how
  • Avoid asking questions you can verify elsewhere- ask questions only they can answer
  • Get the human story, the persons opinions and feelings
  • If asked, you can give your interviewee questions in advance but remember you’ll get prepared answers
  • Don’t go on too long 20-30 minutes


Technical tips

  • Test your equipment
  • Check you’re recording properly during the interview
  • If positioning a mic, its more important you pick up their answers rather than your questions
  • If interviewing in person, choose a quiet location
  • When using Skype shut down any other applications that use bandwidth


Using the interview

  • Question and answer format
  • Block quotes
  • Inline 


Workshop Reflection

In this workshop we learnt the difference between primary and secondary sources and which are appropriate for certain kinds of articles that we are going to be producing. We also learnt some basics about copyright which was very useful as I am not very educated on this topic and it is vital for when I produce my articles. We then were taught how to prepare for interviews, what equipment is necessary and how to conduct the interview. Again this was useful as I have never conducted a professional interview, and will be doing so for the first time for Assignment 1. We were then given the brief for Assignment 1 and given time to plan what we wanted to base our articles on. I have decided to write my article based on the topic of ‘An up and coming Leeds band’ (See post ) This is the mind map I used to come up with initial ideas for my research:



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