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Archive for February, 2014

Feb trafficI must correct an error in a Jan. 31 blog post. After analyzing how I’d set a record for traffic on my blog in January, I closed by saying, “I think I can safely predict that I won’t be breaking this record in February.”

I was wrong. Even with three fewer days, I set another traffic record in February, passing the January figure of 35,739 late this afternoon. I’m at 35,851, with a good chance of passing 36K this evening. And no post that I published in February topped 500 views or made it into my top 10 most-viewed posts of the month. More than 90 percent of this record traffic came from my archives.  (more…)

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Kansas City Times final editionI was present for the deaths of two newspapers: The Des Moines Tribune in 1982 and the Kansas City Times 24 years ago today.

The first time I was an editor at the surviving paper, the Des Moines Register. It was rough watching our sister paper die and it was rougher watching 50-plus journalists on both staffs lose their jobs. But it was unquestionably better, if you kept your job, to work for the surviving paper.

In Kansas City, the death was shared between the two staffs. The evening paper was dying, but that was the Star. And the name of the surviving paper was the Star, so the Kansas City Times was dying, too.

The company pretended that both papers would live on somehow in the new morning Star. The final edition of the Times didn’t even merit an above-the-fold mention. The story is at the bottom of the page, with the bullshit headline: “Death of a newspaper? No, a grand rebirth”: (more…)

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Thanks to conservative Texas Republican State Sen. Dan Patrick for this illustration of why you should edit tweets with rigor:

Here’s what Patrick meant to tweet:

If you go to the original tweet now, though, here’s what you see: (more…)

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Mike Crist, a Digital First Media colleague at the Delaware County Daily Times, asked recently about the importance of editing as newsrooms change:

Good question, actually. I answered in a few tweets, but said it would probably be worth a blog post. So here goes:

Project Unbolt logoEverything has changed in newsrooms and Project Unbolt is designed to accelerate that change in Digital First newsrooms, “unbolting” from our newspaper-factory processes and developing new processes (and standards) for a newsroom primarily focused on producing digital content.

We still want rigorous editing, but how we edit will certainly change. If “rigor” means multiple layers of editing, like newspapers enjoyed back in the day, I believe that won’t be returning. Newsroom staff cuts have already reduced editing ranks, and Project Unbolt isn’t going to change that. If we’re successful in growing digital revenue, we can stop the staff reductions and perhaps grow someday. But unbolting needs to happen, whatever size staff we can maintain.

I do expect every journalist who handles any copy, starting with the reporter, to edit rigorously. Absolutely we need to write and edit grammatically and follow AP style (or a local newsroom’s style) in our stories. And verify our facts.

As I have noted before, reporters (and photojournalists who write cutlines and occasionally stories) need to take responsibility for the quality of their own writing. (more…)

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I blogged in 2012 about Tim Tamimi developing a new header for my blog (below), in gratitude for a blog post about his mother several years ago. I’ve used it for about a year and a half now.

Well, Tim decided I needed to update the look, so he sent me a new logo for the blog. I post it again with much appreciation.

What do you think? Which do you prefer?

cropped-blog-header1.jpgHere are other headers I’ve used through the years:

Me at Bryce Canyon:

cropped-steve-at-bryce-canyon1.jpg

The sunset at Tofino, B.C.:

cropped-tofino-sunset.jpg

Flags lining the Shenandoah, Iowa, cemetery for the 2012 burial of my nephew, Brandon.

cropped-brandon-buttry-panoramic-flag-shot.jpegI don’t have a favorite. I’ve enjoyed each of them and I appreciate a change now and then. Thanks to Tim for noting that it was time for a change again.

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About halfway into my #twutorial series, I realized I needed a better table of contents.

The point of the series is to help journalists use Twitter effectively to do better journalism, and how I steered people from one post to others was with a growing list of previous posts at the end of each post, mostly in reverse chronological order. For a while, I’ve been meaning to organize the links by topic, to be more helpful for journalists seeking help with using Twitter.

Thanks to Suzi Steffen for giving me the nudge in this recent exchange of tweets:

So here’s an index to my #twutorial posts, organized by topics (with some appearing more than once if I think they would fit multiple places; the one on search will show up several places). I’ll update periodically with posts from other journalists that I think are similarly helpful as well as with my own posts. I am the author of all posts listed here, unless I mention another author.

(more…)

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I am leading some workshops for the Southern Regional Press Institute at Savannah State University today. 

I participated in a panel discussion on “Ethics, Urgency and Accuracy” this morning.

Here are some links relating to ethics, urgency and accuracy (I made some of the points you’ll see in these links).

How to verify information from tweets: Check it out

Suggestions for new guiding principles for the journalist

My version of Craig Silverman’s accuracy checklist

The Verification Handbook is now available

I led a morning workshop on using Twitter to cover breaking news. In addition to the links above, this workshop covered information from these workshops:

Denver Post staffers’ #theatershooting coverage demonstrates Twitter breaking news techniques

You don’t tip competitors on Twitter; you beat them

Twitter is an essential reporting tool

Here are my slides for that workshop (I developed them knowing we weren’t likely to cover all the topics. We covered the first three and skipped to verification):

I developed these slides to use in either the panel discussion or the breaking-news workshop. I ended up using them to wrap up the breaking-news workshop:

I also will lead an afternoon workshop on showcasing your work and your skills in a digital portfolio. This workshop is based primarily on this blog post:

Use digital tools to showcase your career and your work

The workshop also will cover points made in some of these posts:

Your digital profile tells people a lot

Randi Shaffer shows a reason to use Twitter: It can help land your first job

Elevate your journalism career

Tips on landing your next job in digital journalism

Job-hunting advice for journalists selling skills in the digital market

Here are my slides for that workshop:

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