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Archive for July, 2012

Digital First Media’s curation team starts work full-time today.

They are taking on a new role for our company, curating national content for use by our newsrooms scattered across the country in 18 states and four time zones. I blogged recently with some thoughts about how news curators should work. We also asked candidates for the positions how they envisioned the team working.

Here, with some light editing, are their responses:

Julie Westfall, coming to DFM from the web operation of KPCC public radio in Los Angeles (a former colleague from TBD), will lead the team:

Curation is obviously a huge part of the future, and that’s exciting. Besides that everyone says so, it’s clear that verification, context and new formats for it are the best ways to utilize user-generated content and the huge amount of data and information that flows during breaking, developing and ongoing news. The way most news orgs do this is still slow, clunky, un-user friendly, and not well-distributed, and that means there’s a lot of space for growth and a lot more ways to engage the users who provide the content. 

Viewing content from a curator’s point of view is among the first ways to move into the mobile world. While these people may figure it all out, the article is not the ideal format for consuming breaking/developing news on mobile, but curating and its tools already give us what we need to start getting beyond that on mobile, and having a curation structure in place already rocking and rolling puts an org in a good position to create apps and take advantage of other mobile-friendly, article-busting storytelling innovations as they come along. Or hopefully as we create them! On that note … (more…)

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Hashtags help journalists find people tweeting about topics they are covering. They also help people who are interested in the topics you cover find your tweets.

My second #twutorial post on Twitter techniques explained how to use lists, saved searches and alerts to help you organize the chaos of Twitter. Hashtags also help organize Twitter.

We’ll start with the basics: A hashtag is the # symbol, followed immediately, with no space, by a word or phrase: #twutorial. In tweets, the hashtag becomes a hyperlink you can click to go to a search of recent tweets using the hashtag.

Journalists use hashtags in two primary ways: to find tweets and to help others find their tweets.

Non-journo tweeps use hashtags in at least four primary ways that are helpful to reporters: regular hashtags, event hashtags, breaking-news hashtags that catch on and humorous hashtags.

I’ll address these four types of hashtags in how they are helpful in both of the journalists’ uses: finding tweets and reaching people with your tweets: (more…)

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TCRover at the Minnesota Vikings training camp, with C.J. Sinner ready to engage fans.

Update: I’ve added several photos and paragraphs since this was originally posted.

MANKATO, Minn. — I usually don’t use datelines on my blog, but this post is about a mobile engagement project, and it seemed appropriate.

TwinCities.com rolled into Mankato this week with the first of four mobile community newsrooms Digital First Media will launch this year.

Staffed by reporter John Brewer and multimedia producer C.J. Sinner, TC Rover is engaging today with Vikings fans at the training camp at Minnesota State University in Mankato.

(more…)

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On more than one occasion, reporters have screwed up facts when writing about me. At least once I knew I was misquoted. So I have some empathy for Washington Post reporter Daniel de Vise, who is being taken to task for his fact-checking technique.

Getting our facts straight should be a top priority of every journalist. We get them wrong more often than we know (I usually have not corrected the journalists who reported inaccurately about me). We should weigh all factors in considering efforts to ensure accuracy.

As recounted in a story by the Texas Observer, de Vise emailed an unpublished draft of a story to University of Texas officials, inviting them to raise with him any concerns they had about it. The Observer obtained copies of emails between de Vise and university officials through an open records request and quoted extensively from the emails, which indicated this was a common practice for de Vise.

A Thursday memo to the Post staff from Editor Marcus Brauchli, reported by Jim Romenesko, makes clear that Post reporters should not share drafts of stories with sources except with Brauchli’s permission.

I question de Vise’s judgment, and I would have handled things differently. But people who reject the notion of sharing a story in advance with a source as unethical are trying to simplify journalism ethics to matters of black and white. Way too often journalism ethics are murky shades of gray or any of the many colors of the rainbow. We often wish life were simple. But it’s not, especially in many of the tough questions of journalism ethics.

(more…)

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This was a handout I developed in 2006 for a series of ethics seminars for the American Press Institute. It appeared online originally at No Train, No Gain, but has not been available online for the last couple of years. I am republishing it without updating to accompany a new blog post of the issue of advance review of news stories by sources

Some ethical issues in journalism are black-and-white: Every newspaper agrees that you don’t fabricate and you don’t plagiarize. Do either and your career may be over. Advance review of copy is an area of wide disagreement. For some editors, it would be a firing offense for a reporter to show a story to a source prior to publication. Other editors want their reporters to show stories to sources before publication, at least in some circumstances. Some prominent reporters make it a regular practice. We’re not going to resolve that issue here. That’s for your editors and you to decide. We will examine arguments on both sides of the issue and things to consider if you do show stories to sources, either as a routine or in special cases.

Why you shouldn’t show

For many years, journalists had pretty strong agreement on this subject: You didn’t show stories to sources before publication. Many journalists, probably a majority, still feel this way in most, if not all, cases. These journalists cite multiple reasons not to disclose the contents of stories in advance of publication: (more…)

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Digital First journalists Cathy Hirko, Brittany Wilson and Buffy Andrews of the York Daily Record are doing some interesting work with tools that gather news content by its location.

Cathy used GatheringPoint to make maps of tweets, videos and other social media content relating to the removal of Joe Paterno’s statue and the NCAA sanctions against Penn State. Brittany made a similar map of social media content around the site of the Aurora theater attack (the map is embedded at the end of the story).

Cathy explained:

To help show readers what others were saying in social media at or near the scene of the shooting, we created a social media-based map — via GatheringPoint. The map highlights what others are saying via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, just to name a few. (more…)

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Northeast Ohio political candidates visit the new community meeting space at the News-Herald in Willoughby.

The News-Herald welcomed local political candidates to a lounge area Tuesday, part of a three-phase approach of opening its newsroom to the community.

The News-Herald, with Editor Tricia Ambrose, Managing Editor Laura Kessel and Community Engagement Editor Cheryl Sadler leading the way, has a strong record of engagement with its community, east of Cleveland in northeast Ohio. (Check out the community-submitted Olympic-rings photos, where entrants are competing for prizes from a salon, a restaurant and a hotel.) (more…)

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