Anthony Moor

Exploring Media in Transformation | Transforming in Media Exploration

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

Filtering by Category: Digital Journalism

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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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.

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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The BBC, Wikipedia, accuracy, speed and me

I had an interesting exchange with someone from the BBC at the RTNDA conference I attended last week. I was on a panel devoted to ethics in digital journalism, and much of the discussion and concern among the audience surrounded user-generated content, specifically user comments. Toward the end of the discussion, I made the point that people in the audience who were expressing disdain for the practice of inviting in user commenary should realize that this is about more than just controlling trolls. Wikipedia and Google, I said, were built on user input -- small acts of creation by millions of users. It's the 'collective intelligence' meme that has built powerful, new information tools, fundamentally transformed business and made billions of dollars for some on the Web.
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Local media should be compensated for exclusivity

Interesting perspective on how AP online is contributing to the demise in the value of the scoop from fellow Belo-ite Cory Bergman on Lost Remote:

The problem here is local media is paying AP to distribute our most valuable content to others who in turn pay the AP to receive it, therefore helping collapse our window of exclusivity. As this window collapses, our revenue generation goes with it. Since enterprise reporting is the most expensive to produce, in a way AP is disincentivizing local media companies from investing in original stories with national potential.

Cory's KING5 is one of the best local TV stations in the country, but let's face it, local TV rarely breaks stories of national interest that get picked up by the wires.  Metro newspapers, on the other hand, receive this treatment weekly if not daily, and to some extent have long ago thrown up their hands as to what can or should be done.

Journalism’s fatal disconnect with business

Former Belo employee Cory Bergman artfully describes our challenge in doing journalism in the digital age. The recognition that we have to encompass community, journalism and technology reminds me of the 'three circles' conversation started by Steve Yelvington. Each circle is similar to one these elements: the Town Crier is the journalist, the Town Square is the community and the Town Expert is the technology overlay.

By splitting journalism and business into two buckets separated by a longstanding cultural divide, the two groups fail to collaborate on ideas that tap the strengths of both. And neither have a track record of understanding how technology enables community, the greatest opportunity of all. In fact, nearly three-quarters of local online news consumers say newspapers have failed in providing a sense of community and “connective tissue” in their local cities and neighborhoods (Forrester Research 2009). After all, most journalists want to control the conversation. So do the sales folks. So you need a third element: creative technology folks, empowered with resources, who can infuse community in content and revenue generation, providing value to both users and businesses.

Newspapers should integrate "status culture" into sites

Romanesko pulls out a highlight from a terrific editorial by the New York Observer on how newspapers need to change:

For example: What are readers reading right now? How many people have their eyes on one story? Who are they emailing it to? Where are they blogging it? How are their friends using the site? New York Observer writers note: "It's all about giving users attention, because that's mostly what people are looking for when they're online these days."




Commenting on newspaper Web sites -- in a nutshell

One of the recent commenters to summed up how comments tend to go on our site. Sadly, he's funny because he captures a measure of truth:

1.Story breaks
1a. Someone wonders why this is considered Top News
2.Ethnicity is brought up immediately
2a. If Bush or Obama are mentioned get ready for Obama is a terrorists, if Bush he is a dummy and shouldn't move to .
3. Bashing of anothers views
4. Somewhere around this time KKK is usually mentioned to all whites by black posters. At which point all blacks claim that all whites are saying they are criminals.
4a. If a mexican name is involved anywhere in the story many many folks will claim that individual as an "illegal" (look up for definition)
5. My personal favorite the Grammar Gods arise and anything and I mean anything that one types is criticized. The accusers post stating this usually has at least 3 errors of their own. Hint: add webster link to your favorites.

We require registration, we ask users to flag abuse,and do monitor our comments after the fact, but it sure is hard to keep things as civil as we would like.

How a tweet of a photo turned a social network into a news site

CNN recounts how social networks are becoming key ways in which news is distributed and discovered by digitally-active citizens.

More people are turning to social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr when news breaks to share stories and pictures.

As I have said many times before, this means news organizations, such as ours, have to get out onto social networks and become trusted friends with people, if we want to stay vital in the coming decades.

How the medium drives the message

There's an absolutely terrific column in NYT about how the way in which stories are told needs to conform to the medium in which they are told. It is an excellent summary of the reasons we can't just take what we do for print, put it on the Web, and assume we've done justice to digital journalism. What we do on the Web must dramatically differ. If that wasn't clear to you before, this is a great read.

Jarvis: The article is no longer the fundamental unit of journalism

It's being replaced with a curated, topical page

It’s a blog that treats a topic as an ongoing and cumulative process of learning, digging, correcting, asking, answering. It’s also a wiki that keeps a snapshot of the latest knowledge and background. It’s an aggregator that provides annotated links to experts, coverage, opinion, perspective, source material. It’s a discussion that doesn’t just blather but that tries to accomplish something (an extension of an article like this one that asks what options there are to bailout a bailout). It’s collaborative and distributed and open but organized.

Some good ideas from AASFE

I learned a few things at this past weekend’s American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, thanks to a presentation by Matt Thompson. Matt had a number of good concrete ideas for boosting user-generated content. I recommend you ask yourselves how we can incorporate them into what we do.
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In his post, Not-to-miss multimedia training workshop coming to Miami, Danny Sanchez reports:

The infamous multimedia boot camp at the University of North Carolina is now coming to the University of Miami in Miami, Fla. Taking a look at the roster of instructors, I get goosebumps at the freaky amount of talent that’s going to be teaching multimedia skills. They’ve got Alberto Cairo. They’ve got Andrew DeVigal. They’ve got Brian Storm. If you’re looking to learn about creating awesome interactive graphics, that’s the mod squad right there.

He's right about that. The reason it's moving: Rich Beckman, guru of multimedia, has moved from UNC to Miami. I recommend multimedia editors attend.

DISD budget crisis fuels blog traffic

At they're chronicling the growth in our schools blog since the Dallas Independent School District discovered it would have to lay off hundreds of teachers to close a multi-million dollar budget gap.

Fischer and Hobbs have been able to greatly increase traffic to their blog while also encouraging more conversations in the community. They have done this by giving people unprecedented information and new level of coverage during a crisis.

The post also gives Hobbs props for her liveblogging using CoverItLive.