Posts Tagged ‘digital journalism’

Jay Rosen

Jay Rosen

Jay Rosen, one of the leading thinkers in journalism and journalism education, is teaching a “digital thinking” class that I’d love to take and that I might sometime want to teach, stealing liberally from Jay.

But for now, he asked for my feedback. So I’m going to give the feedback here, because I want to spread the word about Jay’s thoughtful approach to digital thinking, as well as milk a blog post from my feedback to Jay. (Ask me a question that would result in a long email response, and I’m going to make it do double duty on the blog, unless it’s a private matter.)

In a Twitter direct message, Jay likened his class to my work on Project Unbolt during my last few months with Digital First Media. My initial reaction was that Project Unbolt was about action and Jay’s class is about thinking, but of course, the two go together. Digital thinking changes how you work and changing how you work changes how you think. One of my first blog posts for my DFM colleagues was about digital thinking.

Below are the main “currents and trends” Jay expects to cover in the class. He wants students in each case to learn “what it means, why it’s important, and where things are going with it.” I encourage reading Jay’s post, which has links to earlier posts he has done, as well as material from others.

What I do here is post Jay’s key points (in bold), followed by some of his explanation and my comments and any links to posts I’ve written that might be helpful. I recommend reading Jay’s blog to get all his comments and the links he shared, which elaborate well on his points. I’m ripping him off extensively here, but not totally. (more…)


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I’ll be leading a workshop today on digital planning for enterprise stories at the Excellence in Journalism conference in Nashville.

Much of the workshop will revolve around the questions for planning enterprise stories that I blogged about earlier this year.

Other links relating to the workshop:

Five Satins: A ‘Sunday’ story published digitally the Monday before

‘In the Still of the Night’: Five Satins recorded biggest hit in New Haven church basement

Sunshine Week project showed digital-first enterprise approach

Sunshine Week project

10 steps toward a mobile-focused culture for your news organisation

Denver Post’s Chasing the Beast

Denver Post’s The Fire Line

Nola.com’s then-and-now Hurricane Katrina photos

ProPublica Patient Harm Facebook group

Gettysburg 150 app

Cost of Dying app

Daniel Victor’s post on infusing community contribution throughout the reporting process

Carrie Jewell-Dugo project, story by Paula Ann Mitchell, photos by Tania Barricklo, design by Ivan Lajara, using Creatavist

Ed Stannard and Angi Carter interactive map on Yale’s tax-exempt property in New Haven

I’ll probably update this with some more examples. I welcome any you might want to suggest, whether by you, colleagues or competitors:

Here’s my first update, a Spundge from Buffy Andrews of the York Daily Record, explaining a variety of digital tools.

Here are my slides for the workshop (also subject to updating as I get more fresh examples):

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Texas Christian University’s student media are shifting to a digital-first approach this fall, producing content first and primarily for digital platforms.

I visited TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism in April, studying their student media operations and recommending sweeping changes. I’m back this week to lead a day of workshops for the students in the unified content team that will feed digital, broadcast and print media.

Links I will be recommending to the students for additional reading: (more…)

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Dear Newsroom Curmudgeon,

I sometimes share your anxiety and occasionally share your concerns about some of the changes in journalism. I learned journalism in the old school, same as you. I am steeped in the same values of accuracy, fairness, dogged reporting and good writing that you cherish. But I’m having as much fun as I’ve ever had in more than 40 years in journalism, I have as high regard for my colleagues’ work as ever and I’m as optimistic as I’ve ever been about the future of journalism and the news business. If you would like work to be fun again, if you’d like to be optimistic again (or, if you never were, to finally be optimistic), I’m writing to tell you about the fun and optimism that I find in journalism.

I wrote about you last fall, but you probably didn’t read that blog post. You’re probably not a regular reader of my blog or a regular user of Twitter, where a lot of journalists learned about that post. Maybe you’re reading this because a colleague emailed you a link or printed it out for you. That’s OK. I’m writing this because an editor asked me recently how to deal with curmudgeons who resist learning the skills, tools, techniques and principles of digital journalism. I gave him an answer off the cuff and sent him a link to that earlier blog post. But upon reflection, I think the best way to deal with a curmudgeon is to talk candidly and directly with him or her. So I’m doing that. (more…)

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This will be my column in Monday’s Gazette:

Good enterprise journalism in the digital age starts the same way it always did: with a journalist’s curiosity, initiative and persistence.

One of the end results is also the same: A page-one story.

Good enterprise journalism in the digital age also uses new tools and techniques that let us gather and analyze facts more efficiently, present them differently and to engage directly with our audience as a story unfolds.

Gazette journalist Adam Belz is using old-fashioned curiosity, initiative and persistence as well as digital and interactive skills to analyze and present information in his examination of the “hot 100” spots for Cedar Rapids police.

If you read the print edition of The Gazette, you saw Adam’s front-page story Saturday, accompanied by Liz Martin’s photo, about the only single-family home in his list of the 100 locations visited most often by Cedar Rapids police last year. The two-story white house at 1410 Bever Ave. SE is owned by Vinnie Huskey Properties LLC, a company incorporated by Kevin Bachus. City inspectors shut the houses down Feb. 27, three weeks after a man was stabbed there. Police visited the house 71 times in 2008.

Journalists have been uncovering stories like this for ages. Such work used to be more time-consuming. In 1993, I worked on a story for the Omaha World-Herald, tracking what happened to rape cases investigated by Omaha police and filed in Douglas County courts. I spent weeks combing through the records and charting the cases on legal pads, eventually documenting how few rape cases actually resulted in convictions. It was one of the best stories of my career and won a few awards. And it was an inefficient way to gather and analyze information.

A couple years later I started learning how to gather and analyze data. In my first story using a spreadsheet, I was able to document (and got state officials to concede) that the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s fund to clean up leaking underground gasoline tanks was broke and that work to clean up the contamination would have to stop for more than a year. That story took a couple of days, and I started to see the power of computers as a reporting tool.

I have exhorted journalists for years to develop skills in gathering, analyzing and presenting data. Spreadsheets and databases are as essential tools for a journalist today as notebooks, cameras and cell phones.

Adam is demonstrating how today’s journalist has to work.

He obtained data on police calls from the Cedar Rapids Police Department and analyzed the data to identify the city’s “Hot 100” places where police were called most often for matters other than routine checks and traffic accidents.

In addition to Saturday’s page-one story, Adam produced a series of blog posts, telling about other “Hot 100” properties (he’s profiled five so far). After Adam listed the top 25 on his blog, a reader put those properties on a Yahoo! map and posted a link in the comments on Adam’s blog. Adam then developed his own interactive map, showing all 100 hot spots, including information such as rank and number of police calls.

Other residents joined the conversation on Adam’s blog, helping him improve the map, suggesting questions to ask when he manages to reach property owners and in one case leaving a property owner’s phone number (they haven’t been returning his calls).

Interest in the hot spots was so strong that Adam’s blog reached its highest traffic level ever Friday. And the map got even more traffic than the blog.

This is the approach we will use increasingly to provide information that is important for our community: With a mix of new and old techniques, we will find the answers to important questions in the community.

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