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Archive for January, 2010

My tweeps came through this week with lots of advice for journalists using Twitter.

On a trip to Ottawa, I led three workshops on Twitter for journalists for Carleton University, the Ottawa Citizen and Canwest News Service. I knew I needed to update the Twitter tips for journalists that I posted in July. Six months ago is a long time in the Twitterverse. So I crowdsourced this project. (more…)

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The high point of an emotional week for our family was seeing my niece Mandy Poulter and her husband Matt reunited last night with their daughter, Maya Esther, at an orphanage in Haiti.

Matt, Maya Esther and Mandy Poulter

Since I blogged last week about how an ABC News crew and Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts found Maya uninjured at the orphanage, efforts turned quickly to bringing her home. Sen. Tom Harkin’s office and the U.S. Embassy in Haiti expedited paperwork to get her a visa to enter the United States. (more…)

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Note: I have added an update, in bold below, since originally posting this.

A study of Baltimore news sources was more deeply flawed than I initially realized.

I blogged Monday about weaknesses in the How News Happens study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and about the misinterpretation of the report by many journalists and media outlets. After further study of my own and a response from Tom Rosenstiel, director of PEJ, I have concluded that old-media biases by the researchers were so profound that they truly didn’t understand the “news ecosystem” they were studying. (more…)

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Update: Maya Esther is in the United States. Read the update.

A journalist gets an unusual perspective on disaster stories.

Chances are you remember the Oklahoma City bombing from the horrific television images of the demolished building or the heart-rending photograph of a firefighter carrying a dead baby from the building. I remember the bombing from the grit in the air I could feel and taste covering the aftermath in downtown Oklahoma City.

You may have forgotten about the catastrophic mudslides that hit Venezuela in 1999. I will never forget walking with a woman on a devastated mountainside as she pointed at homes where she and relatives once lived. “Es mi casa,” she said, gesturing to some rubble, part of it recognizable as the top of a wall, the rest of her home swept away or buried in mud hardened like concrete. Another woman recalled that horrible night, gesturing downward with her arm, talking about the terror that came rushing down the mountainside, repeating, “cadave” — corpses sliding down in a torrent of mud.

My role as editor of The Gazette during the 2008 flood has received plenty of attention, so I won’t belabor it here. And I recently recalled my role covering the 9/11 attack from a distance. In a career that started in the 1970s, I have covered dozens of tornadoes, floods and other disasters as a reporter and editor. The stories are emotional. You can’t help but feel the human impact, sharing joy and heartbreak with people you interview. But you develop a sort of professional shell that helps you function and keeps you from feeling too deeply.

This week I learned a bit of what it’s like to be one of those people I used to cover, waiting anxiously to learn whether a loved one had survived, trying to bring her to safety. (more…)

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I will be leading three Twitter workshops for journalists in Ottawa next week, and I’d like some help from journalists using Twitter.

Please share your best stories (with links, if possible, to tweets/stories) about using Twitter as a journalism tool in the comments here:

  • What’s been your best experience using Twitter to connect with sources on a breaking news story? (more…)

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People like to frame a conflict in simple terms: black vs. white, old vs. new, etc.

I recently noted some flaws in a study that generated some encouraging results for “old media” (if you ignored all the troubling results). I also faulted how old media covered the study. So to the people who like to simplify, I suddenly became “new media.” (more…)

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Robert Niles is one of the sharpest commentators about digital journalism and the business of journalism. So his tweet last night caught my eye:

Deal with it – There is no new revenue model for journalism.

He linked to his latest post at OJR: The Online Journalism Review. He makes a lot of excellent points, as I would expect, and I will review some of them later. But I believe he is wrong on his central point: (more…)

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