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Posts Tagged ‘Middletown Press’

Continuing my series of posts on live coverage, Breaking News Editor Tom Cleary explains how Digital First Media’s Connecticut breaking news team works. Newsrooms and clusters of newsrooms pursuing Project Unbolt need to cover breaking news live and should consider forming a breaking news team.  

Tom Cleary, photo linked from Connecticut Newsroom blog

In early February, just as Project Unbolt was getting underway at the New Haven Register, the DFM Connecticut breaking news and digital staff was reorganized. The breaking news team was expanded and a team of web producers was created, splitting the duties that were once carried out by one team. The reorganization was done to improve breaking news reporting and web production and also to allow town reporters to focus more on enterprise reporting.

The breaking news reporting team includes an editor, assistant editor and five reporters (three in New Haven, one in Torrington and one in Middletown). The team is tasked with covering statewide and local breaking news, freeing up town reporters that had mainly been handling those stories to work on day-to-day stories and enterprise pieces.

Here are a few examples of stories the breaking news team has covered, or helped with the coverage of, since it was revamped: (more…)

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Digital First Media’s Connecticut newsrooms did some old-school watchdog reporting in their Sunshine Week project this spring. But they took a digital-first approach in planning and executing the project.

This post is mostly going to be a guest post by Viktoria Sundqvist, investigations editor for the Register Citizen and Middletown Press. Vik and Michelle Tuccitto Sullo, investigations editor for the New Haven Register, led the project, published in March. They started planning the project and did the reporting while I was in Connecticut working on Project Unbolt and I made a tiny contribution.

This was a traditional watchdog reporting project in many ways:

  • The project held local police accountable, checking how well every police department in Connecticut followed the state’s Freedom of Information law.
  • The work involved shoe-leather reporting, with reporters from DFM’s newsrooms visiting every police station in the state to ask for records that should be public (I checked the town of Plymouth).
  • The reporters wrote a big newspaper story about their results.
  • The project had impact, forcing changes by police departments that were revealed to be violating the law.

Here’s how the project took a different digital-first approach: (more…)

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Digital First Media newsrooms in Connecticut are already seeing results from the Facebook engagement tips I taught and blogged about last week.

In the two weeks prior to the workshop, Connecticut Editor Matt DeRienzo reports, the posts on the Register Citizen Facebook page drawing the most engagement in the Torrington area had 54, 43 and 40 engaged users (people clicking on the update in some fashion). All other posts had fewer than 20 engaged users, most less than 10.

But since last Thursday’s workshop, six Facebook posts engaged 44 to 122 users. Four of those posts used photos, rather than status updates with just text or a thumbnail photo, and one (about the New England earthquake) asked a question, both techniques discussed in last week’s webinar and blog post. (more…)

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A journalism student asked me a question last night that reflects a common concern among professional journalists and media managers:

I wasn’t exactly pleased with my reply (as tirelessly as I encourage journalists to use  Twitter, can I still blame the 140-character limit?):

Then this morning I got around to blogging about some analysis Matt DeRienzo did recent of Digital First Media’s branded Twitter accounts in Connecticut, and I realized Matt had a better answer: Serving your Twitter audience effectively drives traffic to your website better than trying to drive traffic. (more…)

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I have been meaning to post more of my old workshop handouts from No Train, No Gain to this blog. Unfortunately, I was prompted to post this one and another, about cheating, by a plagiarism incident at the Middletown Press. I encourage all of my Journal Register Co. and MediaNews Group colleagues to read this. Attribution is one of journalism’s most serious issues. Plagiarism is inexcusable.

Attribution is the difference between research and plagiarism. Attribution gives stories credibility and perspective. It tells readers how we know what we know. It also slows stories down. Effective use of attribution is a matter both of journalism ethics and of strong writing.

How do you know that? Attribution is a key ingredient in any story’s credibility. Readers are entitled to know where we got our information. If we are citing official statistics gathered by a government agency, that tells the readers something. If we are citing the contentions of an interest group or a political partisan, that tells the readers something else. If we don’t attribute our information, readers rightly wonder how we know that.

When should we attribute? Attribute any time that attribution strengthens the credibility of a story. Attribute any time you are using someone else’s words. Attribute when you are reporting information gathered by other journalists. Attribute when you are not certain of facts. Attribute statements of opinion. When you wonder whether you should attribute, you probably should attribute in some fashion. (more…)

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