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Archive for July, 2011

An editor asks by email a question I hear often as journalists address the challenges of digital journalism: “Is it better to be first, or be right?”

Three times recently, the editor said, his staff was beaten (not on breaking news), but the competition had major errors in its reports. “When we published, we got the stories right, though, again, not first,” the editor said.

I regard this as a false choice, but if you must present it that way, my answer is that you always want to be right. Accuracy is one of our highest values as journalists, and you don’t sacrifice accuracy for the sake of competition. (more…)

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We’re liveblogging about liveblogging again. My workshop this afternoon for the Morning Sun in Mount Pleasant, Mich., is about liveblogging.

 Liveblogging workshop

Here are some liveblogging examples from a 2009 workshop (some links are no longer live, but I will be using others today; I hope to post a fresher list of examples sometime soon).

And some liveblogging tips (also fairly old).

Here’s the liveblog from the last time I did this.

And here’s the curation of advice on sports liveblogging that I did earlier today.

I haven’t updated the slides much from these that I used in June:

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I am a frequent advocate of conversation rather than rules when it comes to guiding journalists in the ethical use of social media. But I give my enthusiastic support to Rules of the Road: Navigating the New Ethics of Local Journalism, released Wednesday by J-Lab and written by Scott Rosenberg.

My primary criticism of “Rules” is that the title isn’t accurate (which pleases me). This isn’t a collection of rules. It’s a conversation (and, I hope, a conversation-starter) about journalism ethics at the community level in the digital age. The misleading title might actually be a good thing, because it might attract the attention of the people who want rules, and draw them into the conversation. And thoughtful conversation about journalism ethics leads to good ethical decisions and practices.

I’ve already noted on this blog and in Quill how outdated the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics has become. While I maintain hope that SPJ will update the code, I am most interested in thoughtful conversations among journalists about how to apply ethics in the new situations of journalism. So I applaud J-Lab and Rosenberg for this contribution to the conversation. (more…)

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I led a discussion of sports liveblogging at the Oakland Press Tuesday. I asked on Twitter and facebook for some advice and examples. I got a few helpful responses, which I have collected here: (more…)

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The Trentonian used Twitter, Facebook, community bloggers and the newest big-name social tool for journalists, Google+, to cover a shooting at an apartment building Thursday.

I learned about the Trentonian’s excellent coverage while preparing for a Friday workshop at another Journal Register Co. newsroom, the News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio. I quickly compiled an earlier version of this Storify account, pulling in tweets, news accounts and Facebook updates. But I didn’t know much about how the Trentonian staff did its outstanding work. I sent Interim Editor Joey Kulkin an email, asking him to send me a few paragraphs explaining how they had covered the story.

My workshop was about using social media in beat reporting and about curating social media content. In the questions during my presentation, a staff member asked how journalists could use Google+. I gave a pretty lame answer, saying that I had not had much time to dig into Plus and explore the possibilities. I said I had been impressed with Google Wave and saw considerable possibilities with it, especially after the Seattle Times used Wave in its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the manhunt for a cop killer. I thought Google Buzz was lame from the first and never found it useful for journalists. I had played with Plus enough to think it would be useful, but not to talk knowledgeably yet about how you would use it.

Just four hours after my workshop, I learned that Google+ had actually been an essential tool in the Trentonian’s coverage of Thursday’s incident:

“Google+ is what gave us, and no one else, the key information,” Kulkin said in his email telling me how the Trentonian had covered the story. (more…)

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The news companies I have worked for have changed hands a lot of times. Often the change was bad news. Yesterday’s acquisition of the Journal Register Co. by Alden Global Capital is great news.

Since emerging from bankruptcy in August 2009, JRC has been owned by a variety of investors, our ownership future uncertain as the company turned around its performance and gained international prominence by aggressively pursuing a digital-first strategy. (more…)

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