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Posts Tagged ‘Ron Sylvester’

“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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  1. In a webinar this week, I covered some basic Twitter techniques for journalists and mentioned live-tweeting trials and meetings as an example. Thursday, Lisa Fernandez of the San
    Jose Mercury News live-tweeted a sentencing for the first time:
  2. Omar Siddiqui just arrived at federal courthouse in San Jose for sentencing.
    December 8, 2011 11:18:33 AM EST
  3. Fry’s exec cries twice when describing how Omar Siddiqui stole “$87 MILLION” from company during sentencing.
    December 8, 2011 12:24:23 PM EST
  4. Omar Siddiqui is very sick man, has no friends, has alienated himself from family, and will go to prison a broken man, attorney says.
    December 8, 2011 12:27:05 PM EST
  5. Omar Siddiqui declines chance to speak at his own sentencing hearing.
    December 8, 2011 12:34:27 PM EST
  6. Judge sentences Omar Siddiqui to six years in prison for kickback scheme at Fry’s.
    December 8, 2011 12:47:28 PM EST
  7. Omar Siddiqui takes off tie led to custody. Six years in prison for kickback scheme at Fry’s.
    December 8, 2011 12:59:09 PM EST
  8. Lisa had written some A-matter before heading to the courtroom, and editor Patty Hannon updated with Lisa’s tweets. Later in the office, Lisa polished the story into a more “writerly” version. (more…)

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“Do you know of any standards for content of live tweets?” a commenter asked on my blog recently.

“I have students live tweet meetings and speeches. Would love some specific guidelines for what makes a good tweet,” asked Michele Day, who teaches journalism at Northern Kentucky University.

I know of no such standards. And if I did, I’d probably react that “standards” for a developing pursuit such as live-tweeting might be a bit rigid. This is a new technique and we are learning about it as we do it. I don’t want standards to inhibit our development and experimentation with the technique. My standards would be the standards of good reporting: Be accurate, fair, interesting and engaging.

But I’m happy to offer some live-tweeting suggestions: (more…)

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I’ll be speaking today to Steve Klein‘s “Writing Across Media” class at George Mason University.

I’ve written lots about traditional writing in the style of newspaper stories and those styles and issues remain important. But digital tools and platforms present a broad range of challenges and opportunities for writers, which I will focus on here and in my presentation to the class. The best way to learn each of these writing techniques is to practice it. I will offer a few tips and link to some helps (I appreciate other links, if you can offer them in the comments). Some good places to learn about writing for different media are Mindy McAdams’ blog or Mark Briggs’ books. Some digital writing tools and types I will encourage the students to study and try: (more…)

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I can be a bit of a scold to colleagues, exhorting editors to move more boldly and swiftly into the future.

As an industry, newspapers have been slow and clumsy at innovation. But a lot of editors do outstanding, innovative journalism (as well as outstanding traditional journalism) and I would like to recognize some of them. I was honored today by Editor & Publisher, named Editor of the Year. As I explain in a separate post, I was surprised by the honor, not out of false humility but because I truly am no longer an editor.

While I am honored by this recognition, I do want to make the point that many editors are deserving of such recognition. Dozens, if not hundreds, of editors serve their communities honorably, elevate the journalism of their staffs and pursue innovative solutions, even in these trying times. (more…)

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My tweeps came through this week with lots of advice for journalists using Twitter.

On a trip to Ottawa, I led three workshops on Twitter for journalists for Carleton University, the Ottawa Citizen and Canwest News Service. I knew I needed to update the Twitter tips for journalists that I posted in July. Six months ago is a long time in the Twitterverse. So I crowdsourced this project. (more…)

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When I read Philip Lee’s ignorant anti-Twitter rant, Notes on the triviality of Twitter, my first reaction was that I needed to write another anti-anti-Twitter-rant rant.

But I’m getting tired of those rants (maybe you are, too). I previously noted how Leonard Pitts, Edward Wasserman and Paul Farhi wrote foolish things about Twitter without bothering to learn what they were talking about. Do I repeat myself just because Lee has echoed their whining, or could I find something new to say?

Lee did say lots of ignorant things about Twitter, but they are things I’ve addressed before, so I won’t dwell on them here. He has tried Twitter out (barely, 34 tweets in nearly a year), which the others noted above had not.

I want to address Lee’s concern about Twitter and storytelling: (more…)

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