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Archive for the ‘Digital First journalists at work’ Category

Digital First journalists Cathy Hirko, Brittany Wilson and Buffy Andrews of the York Daily Record are doing some interesting work with tools that gather news content by its location.

Cathy used GatheringPoint to make maps of tweets, videos and other social media content relating to the removal of Joe Paterno’s statue and the NCAA sanctions against Penn State. Brittany made a similar map of social media content around the site of the Aurora theater attack (the map is embedded at the end of the story).

Cathy explained:

To help show readers what others were saying in social media at or near the scene of the shooting, we created a social media-based map — via GatheringPoint. The map highlights what others are saying via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, just to name a few. (more…)

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Journalists at the Denver Post demonstrated some excellent uses of Twitter in their coverage of the massacre at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colo., Friday.

I was planning to write about hashtags today in my #twutorial series on how journalists should use Twitter, but I’ve pushed that one back to next week. Breaking news is one of the most important ways journalists can use Twitter, and the coverage of the shooting illustrated several things individual journalists and news organizations should do in covering a breaking story.

Tweet the unfolding story

This was perhaps the strongest aspect of the Post’s Twitter use during the shooting coverage. Several Post journalists tweeted from the scene of the theater, from where families waited for news about victims and from outside the suspect’s apartment. Reporter Jordan Steffen explained in an email: (more…)

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I’m just doing some aggregation here, pointing to excellent how-tos by Buffy Andrews and Ivan Lajara and a great engagement story by Nancy March:

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I congratulate my Digital First Media colleagues on today’s launch of American Homecomings, a yearlong storytelling project that will chronicle the lives of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The soldiers will share their experiences as they reintegrate into American society, shedding light on the challenges they face upon returning from the battlefield,” said Jim Brady, editor-in-chief of Digital First.

The project has been directed by Greg Moore, editor of the Denver Post, and Lee Ann Colacioppo, the Post’s senior editor/investigations.

Journalists from the Post, the Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich., Salt Lake Tribune, New Haven Register, Chico (Calif.) Enterprise Record, Contra Costa Times and the York (Pa.) Daily Record tell the stories of eight veterans who have agreed to tell their stories. (more…)

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One of a news organization’s most important jobs is helping voters make informed decisions before they go to the polls. We try to do that with lots of coverage during the election campaign: stories about stump speeches, horse-race stories, issue coverage.

But the fact is that lots of voters aren’t paying attention, particularly in the down-ballot races. They might be following the presidential campaign or races for Senate or governor. But a congressional race usually doesn’t command as much voter attention. Sometimes, especially with House races and local races, voters just want some help right before election. Historically we have tried to meet that need with voter guides readers could scan through, getting a quick look at candidates’ bios and their stands on key issues.

The York Daily Record offered readers a helpful tool in deciding how to vote in Tuesday’s primary races to choose the fall candidates to replace incumbent Todd Platts in the 4th Congressional District. With seven Republicans and three Democrats, voters had lots of candidates to follow, and a poll showed that two-thirds of registered voters were undecided as the primary approached.

The Record offered a quiz, asking voters’ opinions on issues, then showing them which candidate most closely reflected their views and priorities. The quiz, powered by GoToQuiz, asked what kind of experience voters valued, whether it mattered where a candidate lived, and about views on positions such as tax cuts, health care reform, climate change and the war in Afghanistan. You choose which statement most matches your position and the quiz awards points to the candidate whose position you chose. (more…)

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Front page tease to "Finding Their Way Out" package in York Daily Record.

For most of my career, I’d need to wait until Sunday to read and write about a big newspaper enterprise project. But I read the York Daily Record and Sunday News’ “Finding Their Way Out” on Friday afternoon.

It’s an outstanding package by reporter Bill Landauer and photojournalist Jason Plotkin, designed by Samantha K. Dellinger. They examine the lasting impact of a local act of school violence. It underscores some old-school principles of journalism:

  • Reporters and photojournalists need to knock on some doors and develop good relationships to get many of the best stories.
  • Reporters and photojournalists should work together on big stories.
  • Editors should give reporters and photojournalists time to work on major enterprise stories.
  • Professional journalists bring genuine value to their best work.

The project also underscores some principles of digital journalism:

  • Digital journalism is first and foremost about doing good journalism.
  • We no longer wait until Sunday (when web traffic is slow) to publish our best work. Publishing the story online Friday and in print Sunday fits our company’s Digital First approach.
  • We build on strong reporting and photojournalism with strong interactive elements.
  • We promote and explain our work on social media and blogs.

I asked the York team some questions by email. Sunday Editor Scott Blanchard, lead editor on the project, answered, along with Editor Jim McClure and Assistant Managing Editor/Visuals Brad Jennings: (more…)

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I know you’re planning to watch tonight’s basketball game. I am, too. But I already know the big winners of the March bracket: The Trentonian and First N’ Ten.

After a competitive month with strong community engagement, the Trentonian’s Facebook fans have chosen the best bar in Trenton. Jeff Edelstein, columnist and engagement whiz, who says his role was simply to “publicize on social media and host our live TV bits,” explains (lightly edited):

Our editor, Mike Topel, had the idea to have a “best bar” tourney to coincide with March Madness. He enlisted Joe D’Aquila to figure it out. Joe and I then posted on our FB’s and Twitter, and on the Trentonian’s, looking for nominations. Relatively unscientific, but it worked. Got 32 entries. Picked ’em out of a hat. Joe set up Facebook polls on the Trentonian page for the first round.

Honestly, I was expecting blah results.

I was blown away. (more…)

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A fatal fire that eventually killed nine people showed how the Charleston Daily Mail is making progress as a Digital First newsroom.

The Mail has an unusual situation that presents challenges that other newsrooms don’t face. It is part of a joint-operating agreement with the Charleston Gazette, and the Gazette publishes the weekend print editions Saturday and Sunday. So, where many print-oriented newsrooms spend a lot of Friday attention on the huge Sunday paper, the Mail staff is working Friday on its Monday edition. With no Sunday paper, the news staff pretty much takes Saturday off.

In a November visit to the Mail, I encouraged a stronger digital focus, especially on Fridays. In a workshop, I taught about the value of Twitter in covering breaking news, about liveblogging and about using Storify to curate social media content. (more…)

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I wrote last week about the work of an engagement editor (or social media editor or some related titles), a fairly new job in lots of Digital First Media newsrooms. Today, I turn the blog over to some of those editors to explain their roles (lightly edited by me):

Karen Workman

Karen Workman

Karen Workman of the Oakland Press:

When I became community engagement editor, one of my longtime sources asked me what that meant. This was my response to him:

I care about our audience. I care about engaging them, getting news delivered to them across a variety of platforms, expanding the diversity of voices on our website, making use of their comments and contributions, audience building and in general, making sure we’re fostering that all-important community conversation that is the essence of what we do.

Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis

Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis

Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis of the Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

I find this job to be incredibly exciting so far. I don’t know a journalist who doesn’t say that one of the reasons they love their job is because they get to meet new people and be involved in the community; this job is the ultimate opportunity to be intricately engaged with and inspired by my community. I love the creativity it allows, and I find the “uncharted territories” of a brand-new position motivating and invigorating. (more…)

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My Digital First Media colleagues at Heritage Media faced a huge breaking news challenge last week when a tornado ripped through Dexter, Mich.

The Heritage staff’s performance illustrates the range of breaking-news techniques that journalists use in covering disasters today. As Managing Editor Michelle Rogers explained in her blog post about the coverage:

As a group of weekly publications in print, it has been an ongoing challenge to get our audience to realize we’re now a daily online. I think the tragedy of the tornado served as a reminder to readers that they don’t have to wait until Thursday to get their local news, and we were happy to oblige, providing breaking news coverage, from news stories, Storify compilations, photo galleries and videos to Tweets and Facebook posts, and SMS texts to email alerts. (more…)

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Seeking photos from the public is easier when you ask for photos people are already shooting. This is why weather photos, holiday photos and travel photos often work well for community engagement.

I like a project by the Oakland Press, collecting photographs people have taken of their children with a statue of a boy at the Rochester Hills Public Library. The statue, part of a memorial to Andrew Moore, who died as a young man, virtually invites children to pose with the boy. So the Press wasn’t asking people to shoot photos, it was just inviting them to share photos they already had.

The community photos made an engaging package with a story, video and photos by community intern Susan Fine, reporter Krystle Anderson and photographer Vaughn Gurganian.

Update from Oakland Press Community Engagement Editor Karen Workman:

  • Since it was uploaded Friday afternoon, the video for this story is currently the seventh top video for our website with 167 views. Though this may seem low on views, it is actually quite good for a feature story video.
  • The story also did pretty well in terms of pageviews. For both story files (the first one archived, so I had to re-upload to get it back on the front this morning), the current number of views is exactly 1,000 — again, quite good for a positive feature story.

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Thanks to Lisa Fernandez of the San Jose Mercury News for sending along this example of an update and a tweet by editor Mike Frankel giving an extra boost to a story (lightly edited from Lisa’s email):

We’re all trying here at BANG (the Bay Area News Group) to figure out how to extend the life of a story. And then, voila. Something happened by happenstance today, that made a story dropping in clicks turn into the No. 1 “most read” story today.

On Monday, we wrote about a PayPal executive who was killed after he was struck by a train. Turns out he was suffering from bipolar II, and we had gotten a statement from his family. Colleague Mike Rosenberg wrote the first version, which ran online Monday evening and in the paper on Tuesday. (more…)

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