This continues a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms.
Daily news meetings are an important place for editors to emphasize priorities.
If a morning meeting focuses on the next day’s newspaper, that will be the focus of the staff’s energies. A Digital First editor should place the focus, especially in a morning meeting, on plans and results for digital content. Don’t critique the morning paper (or, if you must, critique it briefly at the end of the meeting). Instead, you should discuss what’s resonating this morning with your digital audience: What’s getting strong traffic? What’s generating comments on your site or your Facebook page or on Twitter? Do you have plans (or should you make them) for advancing those stories through the day?
If you have projection capability in your conference room, show the site and/or your Facebook page and/or your analytics page(s) on the screen to aid in the discussions.
Discuss digital coverage plans for the day: What video are you shooting? What stories might you be able to supplement with YouTube videos? What stories provide good crowdsourcing opportunities and how should you pitch them to the community? What are photo gallery opportunities, and are you planning to shoot them (and/or to seek community photos)? What events will you be covering live this day (and the next)? Will you be livetweeting them, liveblogging, livestreaming or some combination? Are you planning a live chat about an event or timely issue (or should you?)? Discuss what you’re promoting (or will promote later in the day) on social media. (more…)
Jason wrote about all the gifts he had given away over the years, or passed on to a YDR charity auction, guided by the ethical imperative to maintain independence from sources. His colleague, Buffy Andrews, called the dilemma to my attention, asking what I thought.
Here’s what I think: We should absolutely – and insistently, if necessary – politely refuse gifts of significant value that could threaten our integrity, if only by appearance. But journalists don’t have to be assholes. Our jobs too often force us to annoy – asking difficult questions, refusing pleas not to publish embarrassing information, intruding on grief and other private situations. I defend (and have practiced) all of those actions and many other unpopular things journalists need to do. But we don’t have to insult people who are being kind in ways that don’t threaten our integrity.
As I’ve been suggesting new ways for Digital First journalists to work, I’ve been aware that my advice for copy desks has been incomplete. I made some suggestions for copy editors earlier this year, but I’ve been pondering something more meaningful for copy desks. Now I know what to say: Check out what the York Daily Record/Sunday News is doing.
A recent email listed the work done in the past week by the YDR’s Night News and Digital Desk. I asked for some elaboration and received multiple responses (lightly edited) from Tom Barstow, News Editor, Night News and Digital:
As you know, the YDR hasn’t had a copy desk in more than a year now. Instead, we are the Night News and Digital desk with multi-platform journalists on the staff. That nomenclature change has been important to re-define what we do daily beyond traditional page production and copy work. (more…)
Randy Parker, center, interviews sports writer Steve Navaroli as GametimePA producer Matt Goul shoots video for a livestream.
I’ll be blogging tonight from the launch of NewsVroom at Panther Field in York, Pa.
NewsVroom is the mobile community newsroom/classroom of GametimePA, ydr.com, Smart magazine, FlipSidePA.com and the York Daily Record. But tonight it’s a GametimePA van, carrying tents, digital equipment, ice, water, coolers, freebies, tables and chairs for journalists and the public as Central York and West York launch the high school sports season.
One of a news organization’s most important jobs is helping voters make informed decisions before they go to the polls. We try to do that with lots of coverage during the election campaign: stories about stump speeches, horse-race stories, issue coverage.
But the fact is that lots of voters aren’t paying attention, particularly in the down-ballot races. They might be following the presidential campaign or races for Senate or governor. But a congressional race usually doesn’t command as much voter attention. Sometimes, especially with House races and local races, voters just want some help right before election. Historically we have tried to meet that need with voter guides readers could scan through, getting a quick look at candidates’ bios and their stands on key issues.
The York Daily Record offered readers a helpful tool in deciding how to vote in Tuesday’s primary races to choose the fall candidates to replace incumbent Todd Platts in the 4th Congressional District. With seven Republicans and three Democrats, voters had lots of candidates to follow, and a poll showed that two-thirds of registered voters were undecided as the primary approached.
The Record offered a quiz, asking voters’ opinions on issues, then showing them which candidate most closely reflected their views and priorities. The quiz, powered by GoToQuiz, asked what kind of experience voters valued, whether it mattered where a candidate lived, and about views on positions such as tax cuts, health care reform, climate change and the war in Afghanistan. You choose which statement most matches your position and the quiz awards points to the candidate whose position you chose. (more…)
Front page tease to "Finding Their Way Out" package in York Daily Record.
For most of my career, I’d need to wait until Sunday to read and write about a big newspaper enterprise project. But I read the York Daily Record and Sunday News’ “Finding Their Way Out” on Friday afternoon.
It’s an outstanding package by reporter Bill Landauer and photojournalist Jason Plotkin, designed by Samantha K. Dellinger. They examine the lasting impact of a local act of school violence. It underscores some old-school principles of journalism:
Reporters and photojournalists need to knock on some doors and develop good relationships to get many of the best stories.
Reporters and photojournalists should work together on big stories.
Editors should give reporters and photojournalists time to work on major enterprise stories.
Professional journalists bring genuine value to their best work.
The project also underscores some principles of digital journalism:
Digital journalism is first and foremost about doing good journalism.
We no longer wait until Sunday (when web traffic is slow) to publish our best work. Publishing the story online Friday and in print Sunday fits our company’s Digital First approach.
We build on strong reporting and photojournalism with strong interactive elements.
We promote and explain our work on social media and blogs.
Update: Buffy Andrews and her colleagues at the York Daily Record will be getting a box of Valentine’s candy soon, winning my Valentine’s engagement project with 365 votes just over 50 percent. But the voting and engagement was strong enough that I’m going to send a second box of candy to the second-place finisher, the Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., which got 283 votes for 39 percent.
Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis tweeted that her newsroom cared most about winning:
I also should add that this is not all the Valentine’s engagement that Digital First newsrooms did, just the ones that provided the information for the contest. Delaware County Times mentioned in a Feb. 8 message:
Tonight (Wednesday) on our live-stream ‘Live From the Newsroom’ show, we are assembling our special gastronomic panel to delve into the mysteries of romance for Valentine’s Day, and in particular what food has to do with it. One chef is preparing a rack of lamb and talking about what foods will – and won’t – put you in the mood. … For Valentine’s Day, we are soliciting readers via social media to share the ultimate sign of devotion – a tattoo. Hopefully we’ll have some decent video and stories that take a look at the love stories behind the tattoos.
Reporter Paul Luce elaborated in a Feb. 9 email:
For the Daily Times’ Valentine’s Day Community Engagement Project, we decided to take a fun look at “love tattoos.” Utilizing Facebook and Twitter, we’ve solicited responses from folks who have tattoos of loved ones, or — even better — have had tattoos of loved ones removed.
It has generated quite a buzz on our Facebook page, from which I have gleaned a couple of great sources for interviews for the story. Internet Editor Vince Carey, Assignment Editor Jon Tuleya and myself have been monitoring the Facebook and Twitter pages, using them as interactive tools to converse with readers online — which has been a lot of fun. One reader even went so far as to send us pictures of her tattoos! She has a great story to go along with them. I’ve also garnered a few more followers to my Twitter account from this process.
In addition, I’ve contacted a laser surgeon who removes thousands of love tattoos each year.
For a video component of the story, we have some videos of a father getting a tattoo of his late son for Valentine’s Day, as well as interviews with the above-mentioned surgeon and others with tattoos of loved ones.
We’re looking to wrap up interviews and video shoots today, and have the project finished by Friday.
I asked Paul for an update Tuesday and didn’t hear back, so I forgot to include it the Delco project. But I looked up the final project to show you that we had more engagement going on than what I included in the contest.
Digital First Media newsrooms have been competing for a box of Valentine’s candy. I offered to send a Priority Mail box stuffed with candy to the newsroom running the best community engagement project centered on the holiday we associate with romance.
Several newsrooms and their communities responded to the challenge with interesting projects. I’d like your help to pick the best one.
Here are the entries, in the order they were submitted (in some cases, I’m combining multiple messages updating the project): (more…)
Another excellent post, Steve. I totally agree about establishing a routine to check on digital sources. I do this every day (you are one of them) on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, etc.
What I love about using an interface such as HootSuite is the ability to set up various columns that search for people or hashtags or companies. This makes it easy to check every day. I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I’ve catagorized my searches. For example, I have the following (among others): (more…)
I am Digital Transformation Editor for Digital First Media. I also led community engagement for TBD.com. I have been an editor, reporter, writing coach, blogger and innovation coach for seven community and metro newspapers, most recently Editor of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I spent three years doing research, teaching and writing for the American Press Institute. I have pursued my journalism career in 44 states, 8 Canadian provinces, Ireland, Venezuela, Mexico, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Siberia. I write about journalism and innovation (and sometimes other stuff) on my blog, The Buttry Diary. My wife, Mimi Johnson, and I live in Herndon, Va. We have three grown sons, two daughters-in-law and two granddaughters.