Archive for October, 2010

Most news stories are basically data in paragraph form.

Each of the 5 W’s could just as easily be a field in a database. Structured as data, not simply as stories, “who” becomes more than a fact for a story; it relates this story to the other stories with the same “who.”Databases give news content more lasting value, by providing context and relationships. (more…)


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It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, who wrote one of the greatest leads of all times, that is the theme for my presentation leading off an APME NewsTrain seminar at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth this week. (The two-day seminar breaks the group in half, with each half following a different track each day, so I will open the same program for a different group each day.) The seminar organizers asked me to give a big-picture overview of the changing media landscape for the frontline editors who will be attending. This is a blog version of that presentation.

It was the worst of times. I won’t spend much time on this, because everyone at newspapers (my primary audience at the seminar) knows how bad things are. So I’ll just review quickly: (more…)

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Sunset over the Pacific from Duffin Cove, Oct. 5, 2010

The glorious sunset was a daily marvel when I was growing up in Sunset, Utah.

Our home lay directly east of the Great Salt Lake, a mile or so away, and every evening, the setting sun would paint the sky a stunning array of reds, oranges, pinks and purples, the hues reflecting off salty water and wispy clouds. I can’t attest how much of this is selective childhood memory or meteorological fact, but I don’t think we ever had a cloudless sky or an overcast evening. It seemed that the Salt Desert to the west of the lake kept us from more than light rain, and that was during the day, but the lake itself gave off enough moisture to provide delicate brush strokes of clouds to spread the sun’s last rays across the sky. (more…)

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As you drive the main drag of Tofino, a coastal resort town on Vancouver Island, competing signs beckon you to go whale-watching.

The competition among tour operators is genuine on the street and in the fliers hawking tourist attractions and activities. Each business wants to attract the most tourists to its boats.

But out on the waters, the captains turn from competitors to collaborators. They share their whale sightings by radio, and the competing boats race to the area and follow the same whale(s) for a while, their boats bobbing on the water and their passengers pointing and exclaiming each time a great beast surfaces. (more…)

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These are slides and links relating to my Oct. 2 presentation on the Complete Community Connection for the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association:

You can read more elsewhere in this blog in my posts on the Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection, on mobile-first strategy and on resources for journalists using Twitter. The slides are below:

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I led a workshop on multimedia storytelling Oct. 2 for the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. Below are links to the examples I used (and some that I didn’t get to but have used before in this workshop (or might use in the future):

Some examples of Jenny Rogers’ lists for TBD, showing that sometimes you still just write text, but in a different story form:

Things that are longer than the Redskins’ rushing total (more…)

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Howard Owens is one of the smartest journalism entrepreneurs in the business. He launched The Batavian as a digital challenger to the Batavia Daily News in New York, and his small business is thriving.

I was interested yesterday to see that Howard had blogged with some advice for local websites competing with Patch. I had written about the challenge presented by Patch a few weeks ago, and was interested to see what Howard had to say. Not surprisingly, his advice on competition was more detailed and better than mine. But I had also noted the potential for turning Patch into a collaborator or a customer. So after tweeting a link to Howard’s post, I tweeted a link to my own. (more…)

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