Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quick lessons in newsroom geek speak

Ever see Twitter posting minutes after you’ve tweeted? May be something with the API. Hear folks talking about cloud computing and not sure what they mean? Create a Google Doc, and you’re doing it.

Wonder what the hell I’m talking about? Poynter has the answers with a “Digital Journalist Survival Guide: A Glossary of Tech Terms You Should Know.”

It will help you understand what your web team. And it will help you understand your job. You need to know these terms as well as you do "ledes," "cutlines" or "b-roll."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ways to use Tumblr for journalism

I signed up for Tumblr about the same time I signed up for Twitter three years ago. But basically I’ve just used the tumblelog for personal musings.

It’s another great platform for microblogging, including photos, videos and short text posts, and people can comment quickly, “liking” your post, as on Facebook, or “reblogging” it to others.

Now, Chris Cameron reports, larger news outlets are turning to Tumblr, too.

I like what the New Yorker is doing.

Life is posting what it does best, photographs, including updating the stories behind some of its classics. Elle is posting fashion shots off the runway and off the streets.

Others have created tumblelogs but don’t have any content. Can't wait to see what Rolling Stone does.

It’ll be interesting to follow these and see how Tumblr can fit into our personal role as reporters.

For more details and links, check out Business Insider’s report.

(Via Kevin O’Keefe on Twitter)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Of video blogging and emerging narratives

I participated community session on blogging with colleague Carrie Rengers and Bobby Rozzell. Bobby has a great project, where he's indexed our city's blogs. I've posted the slides from my slice of the presentation, with links and videos to the multimedia approach I used with the development "Common Law" video series of our court system. The slides include various links and examples used in the presentation (my digital handout, so to speak)

Now that I've been doing this for the past year, I'm seeing an interesting trend within the vlog. We're starting to follow some cases as they progress from preliminary hearings to trials. Some defendants in previous episodes are starting to make return appearances, as they continue break the law.

These are emerging narratives within the series, reminding me of a theme in a recent post by Andrea Pitzer on the Nieman Storyboard.
In discussing developing fluid forms of digital story-telling, Pitzer says:

"It’s an interesting concept for journalists, which some storytellers have begun working on -- a kind of episodic, open-ended narrative made of individual stories that tie back into the issue at hand while providing outlets for viewers to engage on their own terms."

It's what I feel like is starting to develop with the video series. But it's taken some time. While patience isn't something journalists are known for, it certainly paying off with this project.

Monday, June 7, 2010

'Link journalism' means remembering the links

Reading Danny Sullivan’s “How the Mainstream Media Stole Our News Story Without Credit,” my first thought was:

“Dude, I feel you pain: about 30 years of it.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve busted my butt to turn out an exclusive story, only to see a broadcast outlet swipe my hard-earned facts, with no new reporting, and use it as their own. Without credit.

Then there’s the age-old strategy of The Associated Press – take a story from a member newspaper, write a new lead, and move it across the country.

But I’m not only the victim in all this, I confess to being a conspirator. I think all of us have had an editor at one time or another run up to us waving a story from a competing news organization, saying, “We need this story. Go out and get it.” What they mean is, go out and get a story just like it and don’t tell anyone we got the idea from another organization.

Not one to argue with the person who provides I paycheck, I comply, although I’ve always tried to add depth, context or new reporting.

But Sullivan makes great points in tracking how his story about a woman suing Google over its walking directions.

With link journalism, we need to be more cognizant of crediting sources by linking back.

From when I first worked for a newspaper that decided it needed a web site – in 1998, and we thought that was behind then – grabbing links of research has been a practice. Editors would always ask for “web extras” and reporters would shrug and say, “What’s that.” A list of links found during research worked to give readers context and more information.

Then came upload source documents, as Sullivan did, so people could see where we were getting our information.

Now with delicious and Publish2, it’s easier than ever to save those links. Download the browser tool bars, click and save. Then share the list with your web team and they can run it, or embed it into the story.

Old news, you may say? You know this already, don’t you?

Well, read Sulllivan’s post and you’ll realize that while this may be basic online journalism, too few people are doing it.