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Posts Tagged ‘liveblogging’

An editor at a mid-sized newsroom asked me some questions about digital productivity expectations for reporters:

We are banging our heads against the wall about this: How much content should reporters be required to write each day online? … Some feel they produce way more than others. So how do you even the playing field?

My quick answers:

  1. Everything any reporter produces should be published first online.
  2. Content is not all equal. You don’t measure reporters’ productivity or performance by counting widgets or credits.
  3. Expectations for reporters vary by beat and over time. Reporters should meet the expectations of their jobs.
  4. Running a newsroom isn’t like parenting. Your expectations for different reporters vary according to beat, experience, skill, news flow and a variety of other factors. You don’t even the playing field and I have little patience with whining about reasonable facts of life.

I’ll elaborate on those points in order: (more…)

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I was a long-distance participant in a workshop today for the Madison, Wis., chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

My first session, about going digital-first in your newsroom, drew heavily from my Project Unbolt posts, particularly those on breaking news, enterprise reporting, routine daily reporting and the post about the Five Satins story. Here are the slides for that workshop, on which I collaborated with Joel Christopher:

I collaborated on the second workshop, on mobile news-gathering, with Nick Penzenstadler. That relied heavily on my posts about live coverage and my livetweeting tips. Here are Nick’s slides (used with his permission), followed by mine:

Nick Penzenstadler SPJ2014

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Project Unbolt logoFrom the outset of Project Unbolt, a key goal was to produce a manual for other newsrooms to follow.

As I prepare to leave Digital First Media (tomorrow will be my last day), here is that manual, my recommendations for newsrooms to unbolt from the processes and culture of print. Our work on the project has not been as extensive as I had hoped, but I think we have produced a valid plan for accelerating the digital transformation of newsrooms. I hope my colleagues will continue the work and continue blogging about it.

Thanks to the editors and staffs of the four pilot newsrooms of Project Unbolt: the New Haven Register, Berkshire Eagle, News-Herald and El Paso Times. I applaud their willingness to change and experiment during a time of upheaval in our company and the industry.

Most of the manual is in earlier blog posts published here and elsewhere during the project. This post will summarize the important steps you need to take to transform your newsroom, with links to posts that elaborate on each of those points (some links appearing more than once because they relate to multiple points): (more…)

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Continuing my series on live coverage as one of the most important steps in unbolting from the processes and culture of a print newsroom, here are 20 tips on live coverage: (more…)

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Tony Adamis, from his Twitter avatar

Tony Adamis, from his Twitter avatar

Continuing my series of posts about live coverage, this guest post is from Tony Adamis, editor of the Daily Freeman in Kingston, N.Y., from an email he sent last month about his staff’s recent work, with tweets, links, last names of staffers and a few comments added by me.

The Freeman isn’t one of the four Project Unbolt pilot newsrooms, but illustrates how other Digital First Media newsrooms are applying the techniques of the project. The message came a few weeks after the editors of the company’s Northeast newsrooms met in New Haven, discussing much of what we had done and learned so far in the project.

I like the variety of live coverage events mentioned in his email, especially the sensitive way the Freeman covered a soldier’s funeral.

I’ve blogged before about the importance of praise in leading a newsroom. This is an excellent example, with Tony dishing out specific praise by name to several staff members and then passing the praise up the line to his own bosses. (more…)

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Newsrooms need to provide live coverage of most events and breaking news stories in their communities.

Live coverage will change your newsroom’s culture and workflow quicker and more profoundly than any other step you will try. It will make your news site more timely and produce more content and deeper engagement than any other step you will try. And it won’t take much more work from your staff; they mostly just have to start working differently.

If a journalist is covering an event for your newsroom, you should cover it live unless you have a strong reason not to (more on those later). Instead of taking notes at the event, the journalist should livetweet it, using the tweets mostly as notes if you need to write a story after the event. (You still might need to take notes of things you need to check out later.)

In all four of our Project Unbolt newsrooms, live coverage has been perhaps the most significant success, in our efforts to unbolt from print culture and processes. In a series of blog posts this week and next, I will address live coverage issues.

We’ll start with situations where newsrooms should consider live coverage: (more…)

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I’m presenting a workshop on social media this afternoon for the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association, meeting in Calgary.

Links related to the workshop are my #twutorial series, especially the posts on breaking news, advanced search and livetweeting. We’ll also be talking about crowdsourcing and Facebook engagement, including the use of photos from your archives.

Here are slides for the presentation:

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My weekend post on why reporters shouldn’t worry about tipping the competition when they use Twitter generated at least two lively discussions:

Dan Kennedy asked whether it’s better to livetweet or liveblog. That launched a lively discussion among Dan, Malcolm Coles, Maureen Boyle, Matt DeRienzo and other (that also got into some business issues):

Dan Storified that discussion.

In another discussion, Dan Gillmor cautioned that when we tweet news on Twitter, we help Twitter more than we help our own company. That led to a vigorous discussion among Dan, Raju Narisetti, Steffen Konrath, Jim Dalrymple II and others. (It was a little challenging to keep up with and participate in both conversations at the same time.) (more…)

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You can’t get scooped because competition gets tipped to a story when you tweet about it. Your tweets already scooped the competition.

A Digital First engagement editor who’s been teaching colleagues how to use Twitter got these questions from a veteran reporter:

Thank you for helping me understand Twitter and how to use it. What I don’t get is: If we tweet where we are and what we’re doing, how do we keep the competition from making a few phone calls on a story we sat through a meeting to sift out and develop? Or they’re not at the fire, but I’m tweeting and now they know.

And if I give results on Twitter, why would they buy a paper to see the results of the game?

I thought Twitter was to draw readers to our paper. So this is a struggle.

This is classic print-centric thinking. The newspaper has an early print deadline so “they’ve been scooped a lot,” the engagement editor told me. In this kind of thinking, scoops are based on who has the print story first.

That’s not how Digital First journalists and newsrooms think. If we had the story first, we had the scoop. And you have the story first if you have it on Twitter and/or on your website.  (more…)

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Martin Reynolds (in the doorway) shows off the News MoJo to Northern California Digital First colleagues.

Martin Reynolds (in the doorway) shows off the News MoJo to Northern California Digital First colleagues.

This week I led engagement workshops at The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., and at the Santa Cruz Sentinel for Digital First Media newsrooms in Northern California.

I’m posting the links and slides here for the benefit of people attending the workshops.

Martin Reynolds led sessions on Oakland Voices (particularly discussing a post by Adimu Madyun) and on the forums and workshops he leads for the Bay Area News Group, including forums on asthma, Trayvon Martin and diversity in San Mateo and a workshop on public records. Martin also showed the News MoJo van and discussed how it can help in community engagement and news coverage.

Lanz Christian Bañes led a session on photo engagement (assisted by Chris Riley in the Vacaville workshop), discussing their Our Town and Generation Snaps projects. (Watch for more on those projects soon on the Inside Thunderdome blog.)

Here are Lanz’s slides: (more…)

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This continues a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms.

An editor must stand up for your staff.

This is one of an editor’s most important duties (and one you usually should avoid delegating because no one can do it as well as the editor).

Listen earnestly to critics. When your newsroom has made errors you need to correct and apologize. The obligation to stand up for your staff is not more important than your obligation to be accurate and accountable. But when you have not made errors and just have honest disagreements with critics, respectfully stand your ground and stand up for your staff. (more…)

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This post is part of a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms. Some of the advice might be good for veteran editors, too, and for editors in other companies.

The top editor in a newsroom sets a tone more powerfully than most new editors (and some experienced editors) understand. Your staff is watching. What you do speaks louder to your newsroom than what you say.

An editor who interferes in coverage of friends will send a message that ethics are going to be flexible in the newsroom, just as an editor who discloses friendships and steps back from involvement of coverage of the friends sends a message about the importance of ethics. An editor who micromanages or loses her temper is going to find that other editors on the staff micromanage or lose their tempers.

The editor’s example has always been important in terms of temperament and journalism standards. And it’s especially true and important as your staff learns new digital tools and techniques. (more…)

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