Archive for March, 2011

I discussed mobile-first strategy today at the Ohio Newspaper Association. My slides are below. Here are some previous mobile-first posts that may help participants in the workshop:


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I will be a panelist tonight at a program at the American University School of Communication: “Making the Most of your Internship.”

I was asked to start with five tips that journalism interns should follow:

  1. Ask lots of questions. (more…)

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One of the best pieces of leadership advice I ever got came from Dave Witke*, one of the best bosses I ever worked for: Hire good people and get out of their way.

Our social media strategy at TBD worked because I hired Mandy Jenkins and managed (most days) to stay out of her way.

Mandy is one of those people of whom I know that someday I will say, “I knew her when …” After I hired her, I told the story of how she was already telling me things I didn’t know about social media before she sat down for the interview.

That was just the first of many days that Mandy amazed me. Soon she will be amazing colleagues at HuffPost Politics, the next step for one of the best digital journalists anywhere. I was shocked when our company eliminated Mandy’s position. But I wasn’t at all surprised that she had three outstanding offers within a month from leading  digital media organizations. (more…)

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I am pleased to be collaborating with Ken Sands to lead a workshop for journalists looking for jobs.

The workshop is presented by the Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program at Georgetown University. (Don’t go to the main Georgetown campus, though; we’ll be meeting at Georgetown’s Clarendon center, 3101 Wilson Blvd., just across from the Clarendon Metro station.) We’ll be meeting Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (more…)

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Janet Coats articulated better than I did the problem with the New York Times paywall: It reveals, she says, a “vision very much preoccupied with the rearview mirror.”

Janet, former editor of the Tampa Tribune and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (owned by the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group), notes how quickly last week’s paywall announcement followed Times Editor Bill Keller’s column about aggregation (which required a second attempt). (more…)

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Another member of our community engagement team, Nathasha Lim, left TBD this week.

Nathasha Lim


Nathasha will be a morning producer for WAMU, joining TBD colleagues Rebecca A. Cooper and Elahe Izadi, both of whom also found jobs with WAMU.

As community host, Nathasha recruited dozens of dining blogs to the TBD Community Network and wrote our @TBDRestaurants blog. (I’ll confess that I avoided the blog some days, because Nathasha’s engaging writing about food made me hungry, and I really should be trying to lose weight. However, my will power isn’t that strong, so I didn’t avoid it that often.) (more…)

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Not surprisingly, I was not alone in having a reaction to the New York Times paywall details, which were announced Thursday.

Lois Beckett of the Nieman Lab asked what I thought, so I told her (as did several others). Steven Brill says not to call it a wall. David Cohn says it’s more like a ramp (great Star Wars metaphor; I’m jealous that I didn’t think of something so clever).

Read Lois’s piece if you want to know what I think (though longtime readers of my blog know that I think most plans to charge for content are foolhardy). (more…)

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My favorite team of my journalism career is breaking up.

Again and again, I have been blessed to work with extraordinarily talented and friendly colleagues. But I have enjoyed working with the TBD community engagement team more than any team in my career. And I have enjoyed the larger collection of TBD colleagues more than I have enjoyed co-workers anywhere. (more…)

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A blog post by Jane Stevens prompted an interesting discussion on Twitter the last couple days. I pulled it together using Storify:

[View the story “To converge or “deconverge”? An interesting discussion” on Storify]

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Mandy Jenkins and I led a session, “Social Media and Community Connection” March 8 at the American Press Institute, part of a seminar, “The Battle for Community: Crowded, Competitive and Hyperlocal.” (more…)

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This is another Training Tracks blog post from the archive of No Train, No Gain, originally published Oct. 12, 2004:

Matt Baron

If you, or some journalists you coach, have trouble using numbers, or words that act as surrogates for numbers, perhaps you should “Go Figure.”

Matt Baron, a freelance writer and trainer, provides help for mathematically challenged journalists through his “Go Figure” workshops and columns.

You don’t need to know lots of math to understand the workshops or the columns. Without being condescending, Matt makes the issues he writes and talks about simple and understandable. (more…)

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This is another Training Tracks blog post from the No Train, No Gain archive. It originally posted March 29, 2005. Any updates from me are in bold. It includes links to a couple of my favorite stories and some outstanding narratives by other writers.

When a reporter asks for help, a writing coach needs to respond with helpful advice right away.

When I was writing coach at the Des Moines Register, a reporter asked me to take a look at a draft of a story he was working on. I said I’d take a look and get back to him. But I was busy. I can’t remember what I was busy with, but a day slipped by, then a couple of days, then a week or two. Then I found out I would need surgery and I was off work for a little more than a month. As I was sifting through the mound of stuff that accumulated while I was gone, I found the reporter’s story. It was an enterprise story that hadn’t run yet, so I responded with some advice and an apology. The reporter was understanding, probably giving me a pass because of the surgery. But he never asked for my help again.

The best training opportunity is when someone wants to learn. Ever since I blew off that reporter, I try to drop what I’m doing and respond right away when someone asks me for help. Pride of authorship keeps too many reporters from asking for help. When one does request help, that is an excellent opportunity for a writing coach or editor to have an impact and teach a new skill. (more…)

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