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Archive for March, 2013

I led a workshop Tuesday at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa., for engagement editors in the Pennsylvania cluster of Digital First Media.

(The cluster actually includes the Trentonian and some weeklies in New Jersey, but the editor planning to come from the Trentonian had to cancel. And it includes the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia, but they watched the livestream rather than making the long drive to join us in person.)

Thanks (again) to all the participants and to Mandy Jenkins, Ivan Lajara, Buffy Andrews, Diane Hoffman and Vince Carey, who helped me lead it.

If you participated in the workshop, I don’t recommend going through all this at once. I asked you in the workshop to choose one or two things to do this week. I’d read the links and/or re-watch the slides related to those one or two things. And then move on next week to the thing(s) you decided to try next week. I encourage digging into a single topic rather than trying to absorb everything at once.

Here are slides from Mandy, Ivan, Vince and me:

(more…)

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Daniel Victor wrote a thoughtful (and much-criticized) piece about hashtags for the Nieman Lab Tuesday.

I Storified some of the reaction (Storify apparently no longer offers the option to post to a WordPress blog, and it doesn’t embed here, so I’m just linking to it).

 

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Update: The March Engagement Madness winner is the Peeps contest of the Bay Area News Group. The Peeps defeated March Pet Madness, 540 to 329.

Boxes of candy will be heading to both newsrooms, the bigger one to the champions. (BANG covers several newsrooms, but the candy is headed for Walnut Creek, where Joan Morris, who spearheaded the project, works.

Read about the champion and the runner-up below:

Let the voting begin for March Engagement Madness championship: March Pet Madness vs. Peeps.

In the semifinals, the Morning Sun’s March Pet Madness, which has won the most votes in each of the first two rounds, came from behind to beat the York Daily Record’s Remember Series, 136-104. In the other semifinal, The Bay Area News Group’s Peeps contest beat the Loveland Herald’s Easter Egg Hunt, 83-38.

Vote for your favorite entry in the championship round. I’ll cut off the voting an declare a champion at 3 p.m. Friday. I’ll send a Priority Mail box stuffed with Easter candy to the winning newsroom.

Pets vs. Peeps

Peeps diorama contest

Source: mercurynews.com via Joan on Pinterest

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“Peeps Blanket Babylon” by Dora Grinnell of San Jose, Calif.

Ann Tatko-Peterson explains:

Love them or hate them, Peeps are everywhere during the spring.

So as part of an annual contest, we ask readers to build dioramas using Peeps and submit photos of their creations. Three winning dioramas are featured in print; photos of the others make up an online slideshow.

All of the photos are posted in a Pinterest board. We also use Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to the contest.

Entries show each year how imaginative readers are — from a pirate ship and Dr. Frankenstein’s lab to a fire rescue and election-themed diorama.

(more…)

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A while back Scott Leadingham of the Society of Professional Journalists asked me to contribute to a feature asking journalists for our personal codes of ethics. He posted my reply at the SPJ Works blog:

A journalist’s job is pretty much like a witness’s oath in court: to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. …

I hope you check out SPJ Works for the rest of my response, which was brief.

I called on SPJ in 2010 to update its Code of Ethics. I also recommended some changes in Poynter’s Guiding Principles for the Journalist, which are being updated.

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March Engagement Madness started a week ago with four first-round matchups.

The Morning Sun’s March Pet Madness had the strongest first-round performance, blowing away the Roving O’Herald project of the News-Herald, 74-34 in the Great Lakes Region. Roving O’Herald goes home with its head held high (note the deft use of sports clichés), though, winning more votes than two of our first-round winners.

Another first-round loser that outpolled two winners was the Los Angeles News Group’s Beer Bracket, which got a respectable 36 votes but still lost 44-36 in the West Region to the Bay Area News Group’s Peeps contest.

The closest contest was in the East Region, where both projects were entered by the York Daily Record. The Remember series beat another Peeps contest, 31-28.

In the Central Region, the Loveland Herald’s Easter Egg Hunt project beat the Pioneer Press’ Sexy Accountant project in a defensive struggle, 25-11.

In the next round, we have the East and Great Lakes winners facing off (a rematch of the top two entries in last year’s Valentine engagement contest) and the Central and West regions in a David-vs.-Goliath match between a small community daily and a regional engagement project:

Vote for your favorite entry in each semi-final. I originally planned to allow a week for voting in each round. But nearly all the votes come on the first day and we should wrap this up in March. So I’ll update Thursday with the championship matchup and will name the champion Friday afternoon.

Pets vs. Memories

 York Remember Series

Source: ydr.com via Matt on Pinterest

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Buffy Andrews explains this project:

Our Remember series engages the community by asking readers to share memories of the past. Our topics have included everything from remembering World War II and S&H Greenstamps to Woodstock and TMI. We have done about 50 of these so far and our readers love it.

We ask readers to call a designated phone line and share their memory. We upload these audio files and share them with our readers online. Some of them are transcribed for print.

We then choose one person to interview for a story and shoot a video of that person to go along with the story. We also maintain a Remember series Pinterest board in which we pin an image from the story. The pin back links to the story online. Some readers have found the story via Pinterest. And we developed a Remember New Hive page.

We promote via all social media channels and find opportunities to get the stories back in front of our readers when it makes sense (ie. Remembering Blizzard of 1996 during a snowstorm, etc.)

When I started this project several years ago, I wanted to capture local oral histories and create an online repository. I felt like so much was being lost as the older generation passed away — memories of World War II or what it was like during the Depression, for example. I think it’s up to us to capture their oral histories and memories and preserve them for generations to come.

I proud of this project and what we have accomplished. And I’m grateful to my staffers who shared my vision from the beginning and have worked hard to build this valuable resource. Now, when students go looking for local history, this is one place they can check.

I’m always amazed at what we discover. For example, in March’s Watergate remember story that came out Sunday, we discovered something that Nixon did that I’m sure few, if any, knew about. What? You’ll have to read the story.

March Pet Madness

Source: Uploaded by user via MorningSun on Pinterest.

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Holly Mahaffey of the Morning Sun explains:

Our overall plan is to do a March Madness-style bracket where readers submit photos and information about their pets, and we hold voting on each round to narrow down the bracket. The idea is for it to be a cute pet vs. pet competition where readers will vote who should move on based on cuteness, pet skills, things like that. Voting will take place through our Facebook page.

Our goals are to engage our readers in something fun and lighthearted, to increase our Pinterest following, bring additional exposure to our other social media accounts and to drive traffic to the website.

We solicited photos through social media and email, and got 64 submissions to fill out the brackets. We also made a Pinterest board with baseball card-style profiles of each pet so we can get some more eyeballs on our Pinterest page.

When we near the end of the project we plan to do a feature story about the final two pets and their owners, written sports-style, to encourage more of a frenzy of voting for the final ‘game.’

Easter Eggs vs. Peeps

Easter Egg Hunt

Reporter-Herald photo
Reporter-Herald photo

Jessica Benes of the Reporter-Herald explains:

We don’t want to be cliche and use words like “egg-stravaganza” and “egg-straordinary,” but the Loveland Reporter-Herald is hosting an egg-stra cool hunt for the prettiest eggs in time for Easter.

Our project will be in a couple of stages. We’re crowdsourcing through Facebook, Twitter and our website for egg decorators willing to give us tutorials on how to decorate awesome eggs. We invited the community to submit their photos of best decorated eggs to us by March 24, which will be placed in an ongoing slideshow and album on Facebook and Pinterest.

We will put those photos in an online poll March 24-27 to find the reader’s choice. We will interview the owner of that reader’s choice photo as well as four other unique eggs to feature in an Easter Sunday story of best eggs in Loveland.

BANG Peeps

Source: mercurynews.com via Joan on Pinterest

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“Peeps Blanket Babylon” by Dora Grinnell of San Jose, Calif.

Ann Tatko-Peterson explains (and yes, we do have the possibility of Peeps vs. Peeps for the championship):

Love them or hate them, Peeps are everywhere during the spring.

So as part of an annual contest, we ask readers to build dioramas using Peeps and submit photos of their creations. Three winning dioramas are featured in print; photos of the others make up an online slideshow.

All of the photos are posted in a Pinterest board. We also use Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to the contest.

Entries show each year how imaginative readers are — from a pirate ship and Dr. Frankenstein’s lab to a fire rescue and election-themed diorama.

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I’m spending this week at the Bennington Banner. I’m leading workshops each day (plus one Thursday at the nearby Manchester Journal). Here are the links and slides:

Monday: Using social media for journalism

I’ll repeat this workshop (with some Twitter worked in) Thursday in Manchester.

Facebook news-feed changes mean newsrooms need new engagement strategies

Correction on AP photos: Newsrooms don’t have rights to post them on Facebook

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

I’m starting to like Pinterest: a digital scrapbook (but potentially a baseball card collection)

How journalists and newsrooms can use Pinterest

Helpful links for learning and exploring Pinterest

Google+ Hangout helps with video interviews

Slides for these workshops:

(more…)

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Register Citizen photo

Register Citizen photo

Jessica Glenza of the Register Citizen did some excellent reporting in a story published today about sexual assault allegations against two high school football players in Torrington, Conn.

A critical aspect of the story and of Jessica’s reporting was her documentation of cyber-bullying of the 13-year-old girl named as the victim in the alleged assault. The story includes screen shots of nine tweets (four of them pictured above) that attempted to blame and shame the girl. One of them was retweeted 21 times and favorited 13 times. Without the tweets themselves (some of them using vulgar language that the Register Citizen wisely didn’t water down), second-hand allegations or rumors of cyber-bullying would have weakened the story. The tweets make the bullying a well-documented fact.

I have asked Jessica and her editors to provide a detailed account (when they have time) of how they tracked down the tweets used in the story. Editor John Berry gave a quick explanation by email this morning: (more…)

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