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Posts Tagged ‘liveblogging’

This will be my keynote address to the Arizona Newspapers Association fall convention in Scottsdale today. I didn’t follow the script closely and I trimmed the court-liveblogging section for time, but this is the written version. I also will lead a breakout session on revenue-building ideas.

It’s kind of early on a Saturday morning to start thinking about the weighty matters of the news business, so I’m going to get us started with a little exercise. If you don’t feel comfortable with Twitter, please stand up (if you’re physically able).

OK, if you’re not comfortable using Foursquare, I want you to raise your right hand above your head if you’re already standing or stand up if you’re still sitting.

If you’re not comfortable with Facebook or Pinterest or Reddit or Banjo or Google Voice or Spundge or Storify or ScribbleLive or some other tool with an odd name that you’ve heard might be important, raise your left hand if your right hand is already up, your right hand if you don’t have a hand up and stand up if you’re sitting.

Now, if you’re not comfortable letting the public come into your newsroom every day and use your computers, browse your archives, drink your coffee, chat uninvited with your news staff and attend your news meetings, (in person or online), wave your right hand if both hands are up, put up your left hand if it’s not up yet, your right hand if it’s not up yet and stand up if you’re sitting.

OK, if you don’t feel comfortable with a future built on revenue sources beyond advertising and subscriptions, wave both hands if you’ve already waved your right hand, wave your right hand if both hands are up, raise your left hand if only your right hand is up and raise your right hand if neither hand is up and stand up if you’re still sitting.

Finally (no, I’m not going to make you jump): If you’re not comfortable with crowdsourcing, curation, live chats or user-generated content, clap your hands, whatever you’ve been doing so far.

OK, everyone sit down. Is there anyone who stayed sitting through this whole exercise and didn’t clap? Please stand. OK, you’re excused. You don’t need to listen to anything I’m going to say. But everyone else look around and identify some of these people. You might want to sit next to them at lunch or buy them a drink tonight and talk to them.

I’m going to talk today about what makes us uncomfortable as journalists and news business leaders. I’m going to talk about embracing your discomfort and working through that discomfort to find the hope and promise that lie on the other side.

My father was an Air Force chaplain and later an American Baptist pastor, so once a year he had to give what ministers call the “stewardship” sermon, preaching about the importance of tithes and offerings to support the chapel or church. His favorite line was: “Give till it stops hurting.” I’m going to steal and adapt that line from Dad today (I’m sure my sons have heard many lines that I stole from Dad). Here’s my advice from Dad filtered through my media lens: Journalists and leaders in the news business need to change till it stops hurting. You need to get comfortable in your discomfort zone.

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This is the prepared text for my June 2 keynote speech to the Pennsylvania Press Conference. I ad-libbed a bit, so this isn’t exactly what I said.

I’m used to leading 90-minute workshops at conferences like this. When Becky Bennett told me I would have only 15 minutes for my keynote address, my first thought was that I wouldn’t have much time to tell you about Digital First journalism and my company’s vision for the future of our profession. But we are, after all, meeting in Gettysburg, and I recall a tradition here of getting to the point quickly and saying something memorable without wasting words. Besides which, I’m better known now for my tweets than for all the long newspaper stories, editor’s columns, blog posts or workshop handouts I’ve ever written. So I want to steal an approach from my boss (always a good idea) and talk to you in a series of 10 tweets (with a little elaboration that might go over 140 characters, but definitely not over 15 minutes).

Before I start the tweets, I’ll say that these are focused on the journalism rather than the business because this is an audience of journalists. But we need to be as forward-looking in our business approach as we are in our coverage of the news. I am encouraged by the progress we’re making at Digital First Media in developing a new business model and finding new revenue streams, and you can read more about that on my blog and John Paton’s (he’s the boss who gave a speech to NAA that was built around tweets). But here I’m focusing on the future of journalism.

Much as you and I might love the feel of a newspaper in our hands and the smell of ink, and even though our craft uses a machine so precious it was mentioned in the Bill of Rights, quality journalism has no inherent connection to print. Liars Janet Cooke, Jayson Blair and Jack Kelley all worked in print and every crappy supermarket tabloid is a newspaper. The things that make us proud of our profession can make us proud of our digital journalism: commitment to getting the facts right, dedication to seeking and reporting the truth, high ethical standards, holding the powerful — and ourselves — accountable, serving the watchdog role with honor. (more…)

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I will be leading a digital storytelling workshop for Heritage Media staff and bloggers, with a special emphasis on liveblogging.

As a demonstration, we’ll feed tweets with the #dfmliveblog hashtag into a liveblog.

Here are some storytelling examples I might use:

In the afternoon, I’ll be discussing thinking and working Digital First with another Heritage Media newsroom.

Here are my slides for the digital storytelling workshop:

I don’t use slides for the workshop on thinking and working Digital First, but here are some slides I used to use with that workshop:

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Sports coverage is a great match for community engagement because engagement is about conversation and sports fans love to talk. We boast when our teams are winning, whine when they are losing and trash-talk with fans of rival teams. We analyze statistics and strategy and fantasize in games that involve both.

I’ll be discussing community engagement in sports coverage at a meeting of the Great Lakes Region of the Associated Press Sports Editors today. Here are tips I’ll be sharing:

Talk with fans. Twitter and Facebook are great tools for monitoring and joining the fans’ conversation. Follow the popular hashtags for the local sports teams and follow individual fans as well. Pose questions to fans on your Facebook page (individually or a branded page). Join the conversation on fan groups or fan pages on Facebook.

Live-tweet and liveblog games. Fans expect live coverage of all events at all levels now. Whether you live-tweet or use CoverItLive or ScribbleLive to liveblog, you should provide live coverage of every event you staff. (And if you live-tweet, you should feed those tweets into your site using CIL, Scribble or a widget.) If high school or small-college writers need to keep their own stats, they won’t be able to tweet or update as frequently, but they still should post major developments live. (And they should explore ways to get schools to provide reliable, timely stats, so they can liveblog more aggressively.) The approach may vary depending on whether a game is televised. If fans are likely to be watching TV while they read your live coverage, don’t bother with play-by-play. Do more analysis, color and commentary. Same if most of your readers are likely to be in the stands or reading after they’ve watched the game. But if the game is not televised, especially if it’s a road game, be sure you’re reporting what’s happening, even if you don’t do actual play-by-play. (more…)

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At the risk of repeating myself, don’t let valid obstacles in your newsroom become excuses for your failure to develop as a digital journalist. No one benefits (or hurts) more from your career than you do. So don’t leave your career success or fulfillment in the hands of bosses who are stuck in the past.

I also should note that this prolongs my already-long curmudgeon conversation. This post is prompted by a comment from “FormerStaffer” on my recent lessons-learned post, following up on my “Dear Newsroom Curmudgeon” post. FormerStaffer makes some valid points:

Some curmudgeons are made by their own newsrooms. Lack of decent training is a big issue. If a newsroom worker doesn’t have personal time off the job to learn these new skills (new baby, sick family member, working two jobs, aging parents, or similar problems), is it fair to penalize that worker for the problems in his or her private life?

Newsrooms also give mixed signals. If the paper claims to be web first, but only posts some stories first on the web, what is the message to staffers? If there are no consequences for failing to post on the web, but missing press deadline by 10 minutes produces an angry memo, what message is being sent?

If a staff member trying to learn Twitter asks for guidelines about using Twitter (what to post, what kind of language shouldn’t go in a quote in a tweet, whether tweets should refer to rival news operations, whether out-of-focus photos that are banned from the printed product can be sent with tweets, etc.) then the question shouldn’t be ignored or brushed off — someone should think about writing some guidelines, even if they’re only four or five items on a list.

I will address the issues shortly, but first I want to say this: I will be emailing FormerStaffer to ask whether he or she worked recently in a Digital First Media newsroom. If one of our newsrooms is operating this way, then Jim Brady and I will want to address these issues directly with the editors leading that newsroom. I’ll also offer to email FormerStaffer’s former editors if he or she doesn’t work in our company. Editors who operate like this need to be called out on their backward behavior. But now, I want to address FormerStaffer directly: (more…)

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I will be leading workshops this week for The Gazette in Montreal. Here are links and slides I will be using in workshops:

We will discuss leading a digital-first newsroom. Here are slides for that workshop:

We will discuss the thinking and values of digital-first journalists. Here are slides for that workshop: (more…)

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A beat blog gives a newsroom a vehicle for providing in-depth coverage that the general-interest approach of a newspaper generally doesn’t allow.

I have decades of memories of arguments with editors (when I was a reporter) and with reporters (when I was an editor) about the reporters’ desire to tell stories in greater depth than the interest level of this mythical “typical” newspaper reader. A newspaper has finite space, and to tell the stories that serve this general-interest need of the masses, its reporters gather far more information that has appeal only in niches of people with keen interest in a particular topic.

Beat blogging is a way to serve that deeper level of interest, to use all the information a reporter gathers. It makes a newsroom’s content more valuable to the community, by serving the broad but shallow general interest and the narrow but deep niche interests.

I’ll be leading a workshop today for Digital First journalists in Connecticut on beat blogging. You can watch the livestream and ask questions on a live chat, starting at 3 p.m. Eastern time. You also can read about how the beat blog fits into the full work of a reporter in my earlier posts that addressed the work of reporters covering courts, sports, statehouses and other beats. Other helpful resources would be the BeatBlogging website (no longer active, but loaded with helpful advice and links), my Introduction to Reporting course for News University and my general blogging advice. I’m sure others have produced many other helpful resources. Please share some of those links in the comments.

I will try to compile a list of good current beat blogs, and I welcome your contributions to that list. Who are good reporters who blog regularly about their beats (don’t hesitate to suggest your own beat or someone on your staff)? But for now, I want to offer some basic advice for beat blogging. (more…)

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Credit: Free images from acobox.com

An editor asked me to outline how a Digital First statehouse reporter should work.

I see nine themes for the digital emphasis of a statehouse reporter:

  1. Live reporting of events.
  2. Community engagement around the issues and events of the Capitol.
  3. Reporting breaking news and enterprised scoops as the stories unfold.
  4. Curation of content from other sources.
  5. Enterprise and daily reporting based on analysis of data compiled by state agencies.
  6. Video reporting of interviews and news events.
  7. Mapping.
  8. Digitally focused enterprise reporting.
  9. Beatblogging.

I’ll elaborate on them, but need to acknowledge up front that I’m not involved directly with statehouse coverage now, so some statehouse editors and reporters could certainly explain any or all of these points better than I could. This continues the discussion I started last month with a post on the workflow of a Digital First journalist. (more…)

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“Digital-first” means different priorities and processes for journalists.

As I’ve visited newsrooms discussing digital-first journalism, I’ve heard again and again from editors that they are “all in” for the digital emphasis. But in the next breath, some editors ask questions about what “digital-first” means for them and their newsrooms. They believe but they don’t fully understand.

Digital-first is way more than just publishing breaking news online and shooting video (though it involves both). Steve Yelvington explained:

Digital-first is about making the future your first priority, with everything that implies.

It requires restructuring all your priorities. Not just when you do it, but what you do and how you do it.

In a series of blog posts starting today, I will attempt to explain what those priorities mean.  (more…)

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I will be leading a workshop this afternoon for the National Newspaper Association on developing a culture of innovation.

I have already blogged about many of the topics we will be discussing in the workshop. Some links that will be helpful to workshop participants interested in following up (and others interested in changing their culture): (more…)

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Crowdsourcing is an important development of digital journalism. Friday Night Tweets is a way to bring the crowds that gather in bleachers during football season (or any sports season) into sports coverage.

I started my journalism career covering high school sports for a Monday-Friday evening newspaper. That meant games were nearly three days old by the time I wrote about them. If you cared about the game and weren’t there, you certainly heard the score on the radio Friday or Saturday or on the grapevine over the weekend or at school Monday before reading my story. I could have and should have made those stories more engaging and timely by bringing the crowd into them more. But mostly I just reported the old news.

Now journalists can cover games as they happen with liveblogs and livestreaming. Even if you’re not at a game, you can provide live coverage by encouraging and curating social media coverage by students and parents attending the games.

My boss in that first sportswriting job, Chuck Offenburger, recently suggested to our hometown audience that every school activity (including music, speech and other competitive activities, as well as sports) have a designated tweeter to provide live results of its games through social media. I heartily agree. And I’ll add the suggestion that every local sports staff should curate those results into a Friday night live prep sports feed. (Actually, you might want to make it any night that any team plays and Saturday during the day, when a lot of wrestling meets, band contests and the like happen, but Friday nights would be the peak.) I’m sharing this suggestion directly with sports editors throughout the Journal Register Co. (more…)

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We’re liveblogging about liveblogging again. My workshop this afternoon for the Morning Sun in Mount Pleasant, Mich., is about liveblogging.

 Liveblogging workshop

Here are some liveblogging examples from a 2009 workshop (some links are no longer live, but I will be using others today; I hope to post a fresher list of examples sometime soon).

And some liveblogging tips (also fairly old).

Here’s the liveblog from the last time I did this.

And here’s the curation of advice on sports liveblogging that I did earlier today.

I haven’t updated the slides much from these that I used in June:

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