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

Kudos for Kent and Tawnell's DISD blog

BeatBlogging.Org is giving props to our education team for their efforts (as part of the BeatBlogging experiment) at covering the fiscal meltdown there.

The blog has seen more than a 100 percent increase in page views to be exact. The two have been covering the districts developing financial crisis in real time, and people have responded by coming back to the blog over and over again, while also leaving hundreds of comments a day.


(Thanks Jason Sickles)

Rocky Mountain News shows how NOT to use Twitter

Victor Godinez has a bill of particulars on bad decisions at the Rocky regarding Twitter.

First, in its coverage of the Democratic presidential convention, a reporter accidentally used a profanity in a tweet, and other reporters were told to quickly throw up their own entries to push the post with the offending word off the main page.

Then, not content with that blunder, the paper dispatched a reporter to the funeral of a three-year-old boy killed in a traffic accident caused by an illegal immigrant.

How one News staffer used the two-way Web for a scoop

A post at reveals how Dallas Morning News education reporter and blogger Kent Fischer used the Web for an A1 story. Fischerexplained how his Friday cover story unfolded a day earlier on his education blog and continued after print publication on the comments section at

Among the nuggets:

  • He posted to his blog after a teacher emailed him
  • His post prompted a reader to forward him some district documents
  • Fischer posted a memo with a "quick and dirty" translation
  • A flood ofcomments followed, and after the story published on A1 the next day, more people commented on the Web version of the story.

"In this instance, the blog really paid off, in that readers tipped us off to a good story that was still mostly obscured from the public," Fischer told

Techies talk about newspaper bloggers

The Houston Chronicle's tech reporter Dwight Silverman has appeared a couple times on a podcast that I (and a zillion other Silicon Valley tech-obsessed digerati) listen tocalled This Week in Tech.

And on TWiTshow#150 here, Dwight and host Leo LaPorte along withWeblogs Inc. guru and Mahalo founder Jason Calacanisstarted talking about the future of newspapers in a digital era, about newspaper bloggers and the rise of advertorial editorial content. Download the show and zip in about 22 minutes and you'll hear them start talking on the subject. Quote from Dwight:

"We tell our writers to use their blogs to do their print jobs. If you take it and integrate it into your workflow, it works great."

The survival of journalism: 10 simple facts

I just discovered this post from University of Florida's Mindy McAdams -- who wrote the book (literally) on multimedia journalism. Mindy looks at what she calls the "500 pound gorilla" in our business -- who's going to fund what we do -- and suggests some facts we should probably just accept so we can move on to finding an answer. Among them, for instance:

Journalism CAN be done, and done well, without newspapers. It’s okay if you love newspapers, but they’re really expensive to produce and the audience is abandoning them, as are the advertisers, so it doesn’t help us much to go on talking about newspapers.

It's worth clicking above to check out the other 9.

Something has to give to innovate on the Web

Kent Fischer addresses that in Something has to give to innovate on the Web, as he talks about what he's had to give up to do the DISD blog.

Yes, you make your day longer but you also stop doing stuff you did before. For me, the trade off is the enterprise reporting. Not every reporter is going to want to give that up, because generally that’s the fun, stimulating stuff. But for me, that’s what got dropped given the ridiculous amounts of daily news produced in a huge city school district that needs reporting.

Hyperlocal: It's not about the articles

Steve Outing crystallizes the gap in understanding that we have as a newspaper covering a local events, which is article driven, vs. the way in which the Web needs to 'cover' a locality. Here's his post: Finally: the answer to hyper-local coverage. In short, it's not about the articles:

Local newspapers need to figure out how to find the data and information like train delays and dog-park news, then deliver it to the people who care about it. That is the “hyper-local news” that will allow newspapers to renew themselves as important in people’s lives.

This isn't a revelation, but it is a change in mindset that means we can't assume that taking what we do for the zoned sections of the paper, or asking users to submit 'their news' can substitute for a truly unique online experience.

Be sure to click the link above to see Steve's recommendations for what to do.

Cool mapping stuff

Here are a couple of neat maps folks have sent me recently.

One is from a friend in Tampa, business journalist Rich Mullins: a Google map of notorious crimes, which he says is getting tons of traffic.

And then there’s a map chronicling tornado destruction in one town that Des Moines did that editor Michael Landauer found. I think they’re using Arc GIS on that but I'm no mapping expert.

Great job!

Editing's a drag

Sorry, but I'm on a Buzzmachine tear tonight. Ever provocative, the blog contends editing’s a drag and makes a good point about how we use our Web systems to the detriment of the pace of news.

Jarvis talk about the editing process and how that can work against our audience. I would add to that the fact that the content management systems we use for news are similarly inadequate.

They're mostly designed to publish 'an article' to 'a spot' on 'a page' and can't keep up when the article, the spot and thepage have to change dramatically in real time.

That's why we've adopted blogs as our new content management systems in recent years -- they're much more flexible in a 24/7 environment. In most newspaper.coms these days at least 10-percent of Web traffic is going to blogs -- which are generally done outside the traditional content management system, because the 'tradtional' system just can't handle the pace of publishing necessary to maintain user relevancy.

Awards deadline in two days

Just two days left to submit your great work for the 2008 Online Journalism Awards. To submit:

And don’t forget, if you want to have a say in the outcome of the awards and see some great work you might not otherwise see, sign up to be a screener of the awards.

As a thank you to screeners who step up and complete their assignments early, the ONA is offering an incentive. The first 20 who finish screening all their assigned sites will receive free registration to this year's ONA conference, Sept. 11-13, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., worth $399 for members and $699 for non members:

Learning Web 2.0 by doing it

I was lucky enough to go to Francis W. Parker school in Chicago, a private institution founded bydisciples ofJohn Dewey, who popularized "learning by doing" -- the educational philosophy that does what it says it does: gets kidslearning by doing.

That's the thrust of a post at the Knight Digital Media Center from the Newark Star-Ledger's John Hassell. Hassell explains how he learned so much more than he thought he knew once he started blogging. Says he:

...blogging is worth doing—even if you do it badly, even if it means having to find the odd pre-dawn hour to post something once or twice a week.

Running an online community like a political campaign

Cyberjournalist Jon Dube discovered a good set of principles from Michelle Ferrer, of the Daytona Beach News-Journal for starting an online community, as published in They're the kind of ideas any blogger should consider. And they're not that radical. For instance:

  1. Wear out the shoe leather. Hit the streets with camera and notepad in hand and go where the people are. Be willing to accept speaking engagements on a wide range of local topics. Recruit others to help evangelize your site and its uses. Don’t underestimate the power of a few committed believers/users... and reward them when you can.

I recommend any beat blogger click through, read and follow the recommendations on the rest of the post.


Newstrain heads into Webland, Cajun style

I had the privilege of leading two days of Newstrain training for an engaged and motivated group of editors and reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune last week. About 75 folks from around the region and Montreal (hunh?) packed a dingy room at the paper and made it the most exciting place to be for a journalist intrested in heading into the future.

My co-leader, Michael Roberts of the Arizona Republic, and I divvied up a basket of seminars. Michael's the Republic's staff development DME, and that paper's a Gannett shop, so they've completely reorganized their newsroom top-to-bottom (they call them "information centers" now.) So he's a pro at teaching things like how to do video, slideshows and multimedia.

I spent the better part of the past two weekends developing three hour-and-a-half sessions from scratch. I put together a big picture overview; a look at the new digital technologies (widgets, blogs, social networks etc.) that reporters can use to gather the news, and Web producers can use to distribute news; and a presentation on data strategy, with a focus on metadata and taxonomy. I also taught a session on writing for online.

I worried that I was trying to cram too much into what I did, and maybe I did a bit, but the attendees kept me on my toes with excellent questions and provocative challenges to my assertions. Not only during the preparation, but also during the give-and-take, I feel as if I learned as much as I tried to impart.

My slides for all four online news presentations can be found here.

Our host, Peter Kovacs, the Times-Picayune ME, also provided stimulating lunch and dinner conversation, especially as he recounted the amazing story of how the paper got on its feet right after Katrina.

Newstrain's embrace of Web training is a terrific development. The program, run in part by my former ME in Orlando, Elaine Kramer, is a bargain for journalists hoping to transition to the new frontier.

Sorting the Web's wheat from the chaff

You've probably seen that the much-anticipated second annual Knight News Challenge awards have been handed out.  And the big news has this headline: World Wide Web inventor gets Knight grant.

Tim Berners-Lee's grant aims to do something with tagging (yes, think metadata) that we've needed for a long time: Create a way to sort out credible news from the rest of the stuff. Here's how the plan is sketched out by Knight:

The public needs more help finding fair, accurate and contextual news. This project will create a system to do just that. The plan: to design a way for content creators to add information on their sources to their reports, as a form of “source tagging.” For instance, a reporter could note that an article was based on personal observations, interviews with eyewitnesses or specific, original documents. Filters would then use this data - the “story behind the story” - to help find high-quality articles. A reader searching the phrase “Pakistan riots” for example, might find 9,000 articles. But filtering by “eyewitness accounts” would yield a more selective list. Berners-Lee, Moore and the Web Science Research Initiative are working with the BBC and Reuters on how to best integrate the tagging into journalists’ normal workflow.

YouTube Citizen News channel

YouTube has launched a "Citizen News" channel, to highlight some of the best news content on YouTube. Check it out: YouTube Citizen News channel

Once again, my perspective is that the amateurs aren't going to magically self-organize and document the world in a coherent manner like the pros, but I do expect they'll provide useful snippets of information that we can weave together in a pro-am way, similar to what we're doing with our beat blog on the Dallas school district.

Each individual citizen submission may just be a piece of a story, similar to a single statement from a conversation. Synthesized and reported out by a journalist, they're as invaluable as first-person quotes in a 'traditional' story.

The press becomes the press-sphere

I'm on a Buzzmachine kick today.  Jeff Jarvis does a very interesting job in The press becomes the press-sphere of showing, visually,  how we're not at the center of the news anymore, nor is our work product (stories).  Click the link to see the diagrams. 

Some of the very powerful take aways:

  • The separation of content from presentation on web pages means that design, navigation, brand, and medium can change and are not necessarily controlled by an editor’s design.
  • Feeds also have an impact on — and can reduce the value of — packaging and prioritization (also known as editing).
  • Live reports from witnesses also reduce the opportunity to package and edit.
  • The ecology of links motivates us to do what we do best and link to the rest. It fosters collaboration. It changes the essential structure of a story (background or source material can be a link away).
  • Links also turn our readers into our distributors.
  • Links turn our readers into editors.
  • Aggregation, curation, and peer links become our new newsstand.
  • Search and SEO motivate us to create repositories of expertise (topic pages) and make news stories more permanent.
  • Search reduces the power of the brand.
  • We see ourselves not as owners of content or distribution but as members of networks.
  •  These networks can be about content, trust, interest, or advertising relationships or all of the above.