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Archive for the ‘Digital First journalism’ Category

Search-engine optimization sometimes gets a bad rap from journalists (more on that later). But I always thought a headline’s job was to attract eyeballs, to get someone to read the story.

That’s the job of a digital headline, just like it was when I wrote print headlines as a copy editor for the Des Moines Register 35 years ago.

What’s changed is how people find our headlines. Instead of having the newspaper delivered to their door, and browsing pages for a headline or photo that catches their eye, many people find our stories in answer to the questions they ask search engines. Just as I tried my best to catch the browsing reader’s eyes, now I try to catch the search engine’s eye.

But it’s a two-step process: I need some keywords (utilitarian and sometimes dull) so the search engine will find my story and I need an enticing headline, so people will click on it (getting onto the first page of search results only gets me the chance to compete with nine other headlines for your click).

Susan Steade has a great metaphor for the SEO headline: Business up front, party in the back. In other words, start with some keywords, so the search engine will find your headline, then have some fun, so people will click on your headline rather than the others the search engine presents. (more…)

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I spent last week visiting four Digital First newsrooms in New England.

On Tuesday, I collaborated with several colleagues on an engagement workshop for Digital First colleagues in New England and New York.

Here are the slides that Mandy Jenkins, Ivan Lajara and I used in the workshop.

Laura Lofgren used this presentation on engaging through Facebook.

Mandy used these links in her presentations:

New Haven Register live events

Scribble Market

Tout

Berkshire Eagle sports page (to show sports SocialWire)

Berkshire Eagle SocialWire

These links relate to Ivan’s presentations:

Flickr map

Statigram

Twitter Advanced Search

Google Images

TinEye

Karma Decay

Curation in journalism

Google Glass and journalism

Ivan’s Google Glass posts curated on RebelMouse

Google Glass photos

Reddit AMA on Google Glass

Ivan’s Glassplainer Touts

Storify bookmarklet

Using the RebelMouse bookmarklet

Kelly Fincham’s Updated guide to Storify for journalists

Storify best practices

RebelMouse How-tos

Getting started on RebelMouse

DFMchat on RebelMouse and Storify

Earlier posts on this blog relating to topics we discussed in the engagement workshop:

What does community engagement mean?

Facebook news-feed changes mean newsrooms need new engagement strategies

Community fun drives Facebook engagement

‘Remember when?’ photos have great engagement potential

Don’t be selfish on Twitter; tweeting useful information is good business

Advice for building engagement through newsroom Twitter accounts

Links to all my #twutorial blog posts

Other workshops I did in the New England newsrooms related to these posts:

How a Digital First approach guides a journalist’s work

Make every word count

Strong from the start

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I’m going to be interested in watching the New Haven Register’s effort to engage the community in an always-running liveblog:

The blog is at asktheregister.com and the community can ask questions on the liveblog or on Twitter by using the hashtag #asktheregister.

Initial posts include the budget of stories the Register staff is working on today and an admission by Connecticut Editor Matt DeRienzo that the Register is weak today on planning to cover the local impact of the federal government shutdown.

The blog “will enable readers to provide feedback or ask questions about what or how we’re covering particular stories, or why we’re not covering something they deem important,” Matt said in a blog post announcing the blog.

I like the approach and hope it is successful in engaging the communities in and around New Haven in a discussion of local news and issues. Other newsrooms should watch as well and consider a similar liveblog if this is successful.

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I have spent most of this week at the Marin Independent Journal, working with new Editor Robert Sterling and his staff. Here are links and slides for some of the workshops I’ve led (the slides are from earlier workshops on the same topics and might have been updated or edited some for this workshop):

Links on social media:

Facebook engagement

Livetweeting

Liveblogging

Liveblogging sports

Twitter search

Using Twitter on breaking news

Other Twitter tips

Writing tight

Writing leads

Attribution and linking

Beat blogging

Telling the Truth and Nothing But

Slides on engagement and social media:

(more…)

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I’ll be leading two workshops today for the Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim.

First I’ll be leading Kindling the Flame, a leadership workshop that used to be my most popular workshop before innovation and digital skills began to dominate my training. I’m pleased to do the workshop again (can’t remember when I led it last).

Related links for the leadership workshop:

The handouts I used to use for the Kindling workshop for newsroom executives and copy desk chiefs.

My advice for new Digital First editors series.

Related links for the Digital First workshop:

How a Digital First approach guides a journalist’s work

Digital First journalists: What we value

10 ways to think like a Digital First journalist

Questions to guide a Digital First reporter’s work on any beat

Slides I’ll use for the Digital First workshop (I won’t us slides in the leadership workshop):

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I have been leading workshops this week at Digital First newsrooms in the Los Angeles area. The workshop varies in each newsroom, depending on questions and issues the journalists raise. Here are some links that supplement the discussions we’ve had:

Engagement

Tips on liveblogging for journalists

Don’t be selfish on Twitter

Facebook news feed changes mean newsrooms need new engagement strategies

Using Google Voice for multimedia projects

Pottstown Mercury’s wanted-poster-style Pinboard is resulting in arrests

Attribution

You can quote me on that: advice on attribution for journalists

Plagiarism and Fabrication Summit: Journalists need to use links to show our work

Linking and checklists could have prevented journalists from Manti Te’o ‘girlfriend’ hoax embarrassment

4 reasons why linking is good journalism; 2 reasons why linking is good business

A quiz to teach journalists about plagiarism and attribution

Social media

My #twutorial series of posts

Whether I use slides in the workshop depends on whether we’ve had projection available. And I’ve skipped around in the slides in the workshops, so different groups saw different slides. But these are the slides I used:

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Some experienced print photographers are too dismissive of video and multimedia opportunities, a veteran visual journalist told me in an email.

The journalist messaged me privately after my post last week about the Chicago Sun-Times firing its whole photo staff. I asked the journalist if I could use the email in a blog post. We agreed I would use it but not identify the sender, who did not want to offend colleagues (so I have edited lightly to take out identifying information):

As a former staff photographer now working mostly in video, I surely empathize with the staffers who were let go, I also understand, but don’t agree with the business model that’s playing out at the Sun-Times.

While I agree that photojournalists are in fact the best-equipped members on staff to assume a visual leadership role for video, I’ve also witnessed first-hand a reluctance by newspaper staff photographers to take ownership of all things video. (more…)

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I will be leading a workshop this afternoon on ethical aggregation at the conference of the American Copy Editors Society.

I will draw heavily on points from my earlier blog posts on aggregation and curation. I also commend to your attention Maria Popova’s Curator’s Code.

Here’s the definition I will use:

I also mentioned this tweet from Andy Carvin and the subsequent Storify account of how he found his answers and his book Distant Witness (which I haven’t read yet, but a participant said the episode is discussed in the book).

 

Here are my slides for the workshop:

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I’m leading a workshop on crowdsourcing this afternoon for the Daily Times in Farmington, N.M.

I’ll be using a lot of the tips from my 2011 post about crowdsourcing.

Here are links to some crowdsourcing examples I will be using (what are some other good examples to add?):

Guardian project on MP’s expenses

Morning Sun crowdsourcing on winter storm

Crowdsourced flooding map

#wheretheyserved map

Guardian coverage of meteor explosion

Atlantic coverage of meteor explosion

Here are helpful links for crowdsourcing (what are some other links I should include?):

Lessons from the Guardian’s expenses crowdsourcing project

Daniel Victor explains a project that used crowdsourcing

Crowdmap

5 ways to crowdsource easily, legally & with quality (Jeremy Caplan)

Lisa Fernandez shares a crowdsourcing (or fetching) lesson

Crowdsourcing Hurricane Irene recovery map in Connecticut

Of course, I crowdsourced tips for the workshop, with pretty good results:

Here are my slides from the workshop:

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I really liked John Robinson’s blog post about fixing local news, so I tweeted about it:

Since I was tweeting after midnight, I figured my tweet might go unnoticed. But 20 people retweeted it and 17 favorited it (not all the same people). And a couple people responded. Cory Bergman, general manager of Breaking News, offered a valid criticism:

Then Lisa P. White, a Digital First Media colleague who covers the communities of Martinez and Pleasant Hill, Calif., for the Contra Costa Times, responded with several tweets.

While I still think John raised some valid observations about the need to rethink how we cover local news, the questions and criticisms were also valid. So I’m going to encourage John to share some specific suggestions to improve local news. (Update: John has responded.) But I’ll also note that I shared some suggestions earlier this month, asking what newsrooms should stop doing and earlier this year, I posted about how Digital First reporters on any beat should change their work and about beat blogs.

I’ll continue here with some more thoughts on how a newsroom might change some or  all of its beats: (more…)

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One of the most important questions news organizations and journalists need to decide now and in the years ahead is: What should we stop doing?

This was the question that lingered with me most after reading Post-Industrial Journalism, the outstanding report from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism by C.W. AndersonEmily Bell and Clay Shirky.

When the report came out, my first reaction was to drop everything, read it right away and comment in detail to its many points. But I found I couldn’t do that. The report came out just as I was trying to get back up to speed after an extended distraction from work as I helped my brother’s family deal with the death of my nephew Brandon. Work tasks beckoned urgently, so I couldn’t drop everything again. And when I found some time to read PIJ, I found my concentration weak, partly due to fatigue, partly because the next work task was always beckoning.

Meanwhile other people weighed in with more insightful things than I had to say yet (but often along the same lines, which would have made my points redundant):  Josh Benton of the Nieman LabJeff Sonderman of Poynter and Mathew Ingram of GigaOm.

Besides, what I wanted to say on about every page was, “Right on!” It’s much easier (and feels more urgent) to blog about something you disagree with (see my posts about recent CJR posts by Dean Starkman and Ryan Chittum or my response to an earlier Columbia report by Len Downie and Michael Schudson, calling for government subsidies for journalism). But I agreed a lot with PIJ. (I did blog about two disagreements with a particular passage, about whether journalism is in decline and whether smaller communities will feel this decline more acutely).

Post-Industrial Journalism makes a lot of important points journalists and news organizations should consider — about the importance of data literacy in journalism, about the importance of solving mysteries (rather than just learning secrets), about the importance of journalists developing computer coding skills, about the importance of sharing lessons from startup news organizations, about shifting our work away from finished news products and toward the continuous flow of a news stream, about developing more flexible “hackable” content management systems. I encourage reading the whole report if you haven’t yet. Journalists should especially read the section targeted at individual journalists.

When I finally finished the report on my fourth or fifth or sixth sitting, one point stuck out, and it wasn’t something they said, but my reaction to what they said: What should we stop doing? (more…)

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I am leading a group of Digital First Media journalists who are discussing issues relating to opinion journalism. We have agreed on several recommendations to our colleagues. On the Inside Thunderdome blog, I have published our recommendations for using social media to engage the community in discussion of opinions about important issues.

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