Anthony Moor

Exploring Media in Transformation | Transforming in Media Exploration

/ˌtrænsfərˈmeɪʃən/ n. 1: a process of change from one form to another.

Hiding behind objectivity is not just outdated, it's boring

A weekend debate over journalistic objectivity between former New York Times editor Bill Keller and Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald got me thinking. I believe the traditional style of writing which seeks to hide the reporter behind a veil of impartiality is not only unnecessary, it's also uninteresting. In today's socially-fueled media landscape, we prefer to connect emotionally with the people who report for us, not just with what they write, curate or share.
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What does it mean to be a journalist covering Newtown?

I just read a touching first person story from the site of the Connecticut shootings by Yahoo! reporter Jason Sickles, a former CBS Evening News Producer I hired when I was at the Dallas Morning News, and brought over when I came here. It explains what goes on inside the mind of a hard news reporter at such times. We've all been there. One commenter dismissed his terrific piece saying we're just in it for the money. Click to see my reply.
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Yahoo! local and 'observational journalism'

Last week we at Yahoo! took the wraps off the beta version of our new local product and so I'm taking the mothballs off of this blog to talk about it. It's encouraging to see that even in its nascent form what we built it getting some positive feedback. Users are telling us they like the community focus and the ability to see news, events and deals in their area.
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The news waves begin to break onshore

OK that's too much punning and metaphorization but hey it's my blog.

Following my last post about how articles are morphing into topics, on Old Media New Tricks, Robert Quigley details his first attempt to use Wave to cover a topic -- Austin News:

I posted a link to the Texas constitutional amendments that are up for a vote, and people immediately began discussing why anyone should care about them, which are the the most important ones and why. I dropped in topics a few times throughout the day, from the election to the launch of the Texas Tribune to some local economic news. I included links to our stories. People discussed each item as they came in.

There is potential here.

 

The next paradigm shift: From 'article' to topical 'Wave'

We're seeing the rise of the topical page as the atomic unit of content. Journalists will no longer write stories, persay. They're going to write topics, which will have story-like elements, but won't look anything like the articles they focus on today.
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Bay Area media: Don't miss digital news conference deadline

I want to be sure you consider attending ONA09, Oct. 1-3 at the Hilton San Francisco. The early bird deadline to register ends Aug. 28. If you're a Bay Area netizen, you will find ONA09 exciting and useful, for networking, learning and business. Last year every journalism organization's conference was hurting -- but ours was sold out as it has been year-over-year. That's because ONA is at the intersection of technology and journalism. Our members represent the crossover between the two worlds.
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Getting a handle on the 'content ecosystem'

There has been a lot of blather recently about efforts by traditional content creators (read: newspapers) to extract more payment for uses of their articles on the Web. The typical line of thinking on the newspaper side is, "hey, it costs a lot of money to accurately report, write, edit and publish the news that we provide, and we're not getting paid enough for it by the people who read it." Now comes new technology and initiatives to better understand in detail just how the news and information that mainstream reporters publish is used and reused in the virtual world.
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One word for NYT: Innovative

The annual awards that identify the most innnovative digital journalism conferred on The Gray Lady a some big-ticket bling. the Batten Award for Innovation.  NYT scooped up the $10,000 first prize for six "striking entries:"

  • Represent, which helps city residents keep tabs on their elected officials, culling information from dozens of sources into a Facebook-style activity feed.
  • Document Reader, which allows documents to be posted online in a clean interface that allows searching, bookmarking, comments and annotations.
  • Custom Times, a prototype for personalized Times news reports that seamlessly transition across print, Web, mobile, television and even the car.
  • Debate Analysis Tool, a replicable tool that allowed users to watch the 2008 presidential debates and speeches on demand with a searchable transcript scrolling simultaneously alongside.
  • Living with Less, engaging audio and video portraits of peoples’ lives that have been upended by the recession.
  • One Word, a replicable tool that asked users on Election Day to share “What One Word Describes Your Current State of Mind?“
  • I'm not surprised.  The Times started investing in digital innovators a couple years back and it's been obvious for months that they've hit their stride.  As I noted earlier this year, they figured out how to cut through the technical and bureaucratic limitations that big newspapers are famous for and proved that the MSM can do digital right.

    Congratulations.

    Did Yahoo! pull a fast one on the papers?

    Yahoo!, which is the primary reason a host of newspapers formed an entity known as the Newspaper Consortium a few years back, is making some moves that analysts rightly indicate should cause the newspapers some indigestion.

    They've struck a deal with AT&T to use the phone company's local sales force to sell ads on Yahoo's ad platform known as APT.  That platform was built with the papers and designed so papers could sell behaviorally-targeted ads to local customers on their sites and on Yahoo as well.  What happens when AT&T releases its thousands of sales people start to make local sales calls too?

    Ken Doctor, at Outsell Insights has some excellent perspective (you have to register but it's worth it):

    Outsell believes the week's developments should simply serve as a strong reminder to newspaper companies about nature of partnering in the digital world. Today's partner may be tomorrow's competitor, and vice versa. That means corporate development and business development need to be strengthened, ongoing high-level efforts to find, manage, measure, optimize, and sometimes replace the many web alliances that are key to success.

    Now is the time to enter the OJAs

    The Online Journalism Awards include about $30,000 in prizes and the entry deadline is at the end of this month. They're among the top digital awards in the world.

    You should check out the categories, because there is something for every digital journalist, from the small, solo practitioner to awards just right for television, including "Online Video Journalism" and "Multimedia Feature Presentation." Also, for those folks working in startups there is an award for technical innovation in the service of digital journalism.

    Importantly, they will be announced at the Online News Association's annual conference, which this year will be in San Francisco from Oct. 1-3. So for those in the Bay Area, it's a unique opportunity. (I'm on the board of the organization and chairman of the awards committee -- full disclosure. I lobbied hard three years ago to get the conference to SF, so I'd love to see everyone there. But it is the one journalism conference that sells out these days.)

    Those of you who would like to get a free pass to the conference can be a screener (a first-round judge) of our awards entries. The sign-up info is here.

    Why you should support a journalist

    This isn't news.

    The long-term, secular decline of newspapers has run headlong into the current recession and accelerated the loss of reporters.  The Pew Research Center determined that about 5,900 journalism jobs went away in 2008, and by the end of this year, the job loss since 2001 could top 14,000, or one quarter of the pre-911 newspaper newsroom workforce.

    Regardless of how you feel about newspapers, the evisceration of the fourth estate is a lamentable development.  Our founding fathers knew well the value of independent oversight of our public and private institutions.  That's why they enshrined freedom of the press in the constitution.  As Thomas Jefferson said,

    The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

    So here is your chance to help support "the latter."

    The Online News Assocaition, of which I am a board member, has launched its Support A Journalist campaign.  With your contribution of as little as $10, this program will send journalists to our 2009 conference for networking and training in digital journalism.

    It will also go towards the 2009 Challenge Fund for Journalism, a project of the Ford Foundation, Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, McCormick Foundation and John S. & James L. Knight Foundation.  Your donation helps ONA better serve our membership by counting toward our fundraising goal during 2009, ONA’s 10th year.  We must raise $90,000 from individual donors in tax-deductible contributions by Aug. 1.

    Please help.  Please support a journalist.

    Good news: They'll pay. Bad news: Not for our news

    Poynter's Bill Mitchell reports on a new seven-nation study that looked at paying for content online.  The good news is researchers found that Americans are willing to spend 68% of what they spend for news offline.    The bad news is the general news we produce isn't what they're willing to pony up for:

    With general news likely to remain a commodity for the foreseeable future, that suggests the strongest potential for payment lies in "specialized, targeted and relevant" content that's usually quite expensive to produce.

    Actually, that's not a bad bargain.  The general news isn't as much fun to do as the tough, relevant and specialized stuff.

    Maximizing your social networks for journalism

    Belgian journalist Roland Legrand has some good tips on leveraging all those accounts you've probably set up on various social media platforms so you're not just wasting your time.  I recommend a clickthrough.

    To get the full benefit of social networks, journalists have to be do more than just sign up; they have to be engaged and active within their networks. And that means they need to carefully think about what image they want to project of themselves, to a group of watchers that might include both personal friends and business colleagues.

    Dallas launches stealth community sites

    You haven't heard about it in the journalism trade press. You didn't see images on the design blogs. They haven't debated it on the business 2.0 sites. Maybe it's because we didn't invest in whizbang technology, dismantle our newsroom or hire Rob Curley. But the Dallas Morning News has launched a serious effort to cover news in 15 neighborhoods and towns in our region, using seasoned reporters, community home pages, aggregation tools, staff blogs and citizen input.
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    A journalist in every coffee shop

    A news company in the Czech Republic is getting in to the coffee shop business, in order to attract people to its journalists who will be working nearby.  As the New York Times explains:

    The newsrooms-cum-cafes are part of a new venture in so-called hyperlocal journalism, which aims to reconnect newspapers with readers and advertisers by focusing on neighborhood concerns at a neighborhood level: think garbage collection schedules, not Group of 7 diplomacy.

    Our neighborsgo staff has been doing that in their own way for some time.  They've scheduled meet and greets in area Starbucks.  Some have been so popular Starbucks asked them to move elsewhere.  (What?  Not enough $4 lattes sold?)

    You might have thought that our industry would have understood this intuitively.  After all, journalists know that to cover a community effecitvely, you have to be in that community.  You have to live and breathe it.  It's old-school, beat coverage.

    But hyperlocal hysteria was a digital wave:  Use the inexpensive, unlimited canvas of digital publishing to create virtual town squares; bring together citizen content with reporter-generated content and have everyone talk about it together.

    Now we're realizing that if you stop there, you may not achieve your goal of helping the community connect or reap good journalism either.  Backfence failed because there wasn't anyone to orchestrate the online communities that formed, and maybe because those communities didn't feel enough sense of place just interacting in a virtual landscape.  Barista has prospered because there are reporters leading the Montclair, N.J. blog's community.

    Our own Dallas Independent School District beatblog has helped coalesce the community of people here intensely interested in the city's schools due to the real-world oureach of our lead reporters, who have engaged sources and citizens directly in conversation day in and day out, online and off.

    We're launching a host of new community blogs at The Dallas Morning News now, along with an intensive reporting effort in these communities.  Here's hoping we marry our understanding of social media and shoe leather more effectively; perhaps by setting up our blog shop in the corner booth at the cafe.

    How not to use Wikipedia

    Right on the heels of my defense of Wikipedia and thoughts about accuracy comes this story about a Wikipedia hoax repeated by journalists around the world. Some kid inserted a fake quote in an article about the recently-deceased French composer Maurice Jarre. Journalists took the quote, reportedly by the composer himself, and inserted it in their obituaries.
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