Thursday 31 July 2014

Guardian and 'flu

Hey friends!

I've been in London over the last couple of weeks doing work experience at the Guardian as part of their Positive Action Scheme. I was meant to start another week of work experience in Bristol on Monday, but I got struck down with the 'flu and spent the weekend in bed, instead of on trains to Bristol ): Mum kindly drove me back to Bristol on Monday, where I proceeded to collapse in bed for another couple of days. Ugh. I'm hoping to start my work experience at Who Do You Think You Are? magazine tomorrow (perhaps armed with a pile of paracetamol since my head is refusing to stop aching).

Anyway, let's talk a bit about the Guardian! So over the two weeks I spent a couple of days at five desks (G2, Multimedia, Society, Travel and Culture) doing a variety of things. My personal highlight was cutting up clips of Edward Snowden for use as syndicated content. It was a pretty simple task, but being able to watch all that footage (four hours!) was an incredible insight into Snowden's life.

I also got to do some writing and had a little piece about the cabinet reshuffle published in last Wednesday's Society section (eee, a byline!), as well as some little bits in Saturday's Travel pull-out. It was pretty fun getting to write content on such a wide range of topics - from surfing to salamanders to Sinead O'Connor. Not all of it got published but I got some really useful feedback.

Here's some of the words I got published (the bits about CitizenM and Z Glasgow), from a feature on Glasgow, home of this year's Commonwealth Games:

CitizenM and Z Glasgow reviews by me - I claim no credit for the Grasshoppers one!

Thursday 10 July 2014

What is Computer Science?

Hello everybody!

I've been hard at work on my project, which I am very close to making public - just waiting on the last couple of interviews to be done before I release the site for testing.

I really wanted to share some of what I've done with you all, so I've put a video up on Youtube. To give you a little bit more context, my final project is about the new Computing curriculum in English schools and the outreach that is being done to get kids interested in Computer Science.

I wanted to keep the feature quite general, so it would be the kind of piece that could slot in to the features section of a national news website, rather than being specifically tailored to a technical audience. In order to achieve this, I had to explain what CS is. Throughout my undergrad degree, I often had people asking me what I even who better to explain than crytographer extraordinaire, Nigel Smart?

Nigel is a Professor at the University of Bristol, doing research into cryptography as a means of securing systems. Here's his take on CS:

One of the important things with a large multimedia feature is to have a variety of page elements - I didn't want it all to be text, but I also didn't want every section to have the same format. I thought I'd experiment and try making an audio slideshow - a great way of showcasing some photos and getting Nigel's point across without making people read swathes of text.

If you're interested in checking out some more audio slideshows, I would recommend the Guardian's poetic piece about Van Gogh. My tutor suggested looking at Ciara Leeming's work, which is simply beautiful, definitely worth viewing!