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September 05 2012


August 31 2012


The rise of ad-hoc journalist support networks

PBS Mediashift :: Journalistic collaboration isn't just something that happens between newsrooms. Increasingly, journalists working outside of traditional news organizations are coming together to support each other in a range of ways, from offering safety advice when covering protests to sharing news tips, local resource recommendations and more.

A report by Josh Stearns, www.pbs.org

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Charlize Theron in talks to play war reporter Marie Colvin

The Hollywood Reporter :: Charlize Theron and producer Basil Iwanyk are teaming up for a film about the life of recently killed war journalist Marie Colvin.

A report by Borys Kit, www.hollywoodreporter.com

HT: Ben Child, Guardian

Tags: Journalists

August 24 2012


Staci D. Kramer, paidContent: Time for me to pursue new challenges

paidContent :: My two-month contract gig at paidContent turned into eight years of covering the economics of digital media while we were living it. But after thousands of posts, many paidContent events, one funding round, and two sales, it’s time for me to pursue new challenges.

A report by Staci D. Kramer, paidcontent.org

Tags: Journalists

August 14 2012


DiAngelea Millar: The last 'Money' intern at The Times-Picayune turns out the lights

Reynolds Center for Business Journalism :: Through my brief tenure at the paper during this summer I’ve been confronted by the reality of the journalism industry in one of the harshest ways imaginable. I know the business of journalism; it slapped me in the face this summer as the paper announced they were cutting printing back and firing reporters.

[DiAngelea Millar:] I’m the last Money intern the Times-Picayune will ever have.

A report by DiAngelea Millar, businessjournalism.org

DiAngelea Millar on Twitter

August 10 2012


August 01 2012


Gore Vidal, celebrated author, playwright and commentator, dies in Los Angeles

Associated Press | Washington Post :: Gore Vidal, the author, playwright, politician and commentator whose novels, essays, plays and opinions were stamped by his immodest wit and unconventional wisdom, died Tuesday, his nephew said.

A report by Associated Press, www.washingtonpost.com

Tags: Journalists

April 20 2012


Mareen Corrigan: Pulitzer’s no decision on fiction prize exposes flaw in process

Washington Post :: By late November, we three jurors, Susan Larson, Michael Cunningham and I (Mareen Corrigan) had to reach some decisions. In the end, we nominated David Foster Wallace’s “ The Pale King ,” Denis Johnson’s “Train Dreams” and Karen Russell’s “Swamplandia!”.

I’m angry on behalf of those novels.

We’ll never know why the Pulitzer board declined to award the prize this year, because, as is the board members’ right, they’ve drawn their Wizard of Oz curtain closed tight. We jurors have heard only the same explanation that everyone else has heard: The board could not reach a majority vote on any of the novels.

Continue to read Maureen Corrigan, www.washingtonpost.com

Tags: Journalists

April 14 2012


'Competition and sourcing' - How my job as a business journalist has changed: Herb Greenberg

CNBC :: Not long ago, after a particularly frustrating yet intriguing day in my almost fourth decade of business reporting, I tweeted that the way I do my job has changed profoundly in recent years. “How?” tweeted back Chris Roush, a financial journalism professor at the University of North Carolina, who also runs the TalkingBizNews blog. Well, Chris, the less-than-140 characters answer: Competition and sourcing.

TalkingBizNews on Twitter

More than 140 characters Herb Greenberg, www.cnbc.com

Tags: Journalists

April 13 2012


Top 5 Tech Ideas for Creating Better Explanatory Journalism


How can technology help journalists make sense of complex issues and explain them to the public in a clear, understandable manner?

Last year, Jay Rosen's journalism students spent an entire semester researching and making explanations in partnership with ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom which focuses on investigative journalism. The class did amazing work to highlight notable examples and develop their own "explainers," essential background knowledge to help people follow events and trends in the news. One of my favorite examples is this project from 2011, where students redesigned the same ProPublica background article as a video, a podcast, and an FAQ.

NYU's Explainer class focused especially on two things: presentation and conversation. They talked to cognitive psychologists like George Lakoff to learn how audiences take in what we read. They highlighted numerous presentation examples -- videos, timelines, infographics, mini-sites, aggregators, podcasts, interactive guides, flowcharts, and even a picture book by Google! The class at NYU also pointed out that explaining is often a conversation. In their journalist's guide to developing FAQs, the class suggests techniques for discovering what people need to know. I loved their advice on listening to readers.

Where can we innovate?

This term, I'm taking Ethan Zuckerman's Participatory News class from the point of view of a technology designer who wants to build tools to support great journalism. As we write stories and review other people's work, we're keeping our eyes open for parts of the process which technology can improve. As a startup guy, I also keep an eye open for alternative business models. Here are my top tech recommendations for supporting better explainers:

1. Peer Production

Jay points out in his "National Explainer" essay that it's OK to start with the clueless journalist. When learning how to explain something, our initial ignorance helps us appreciate where our audiences are coming from. This approach assumes that a professional journalist is doing the work; where else might we find uninformed, capable people to develop explainers?

I think we should take inspiration from Wikipedia to develop strategies for peer production of explanatory journalism, especially for issues that journalists can't or don't cover. Online communities like Metafilter have proven their ability to cooperate on investigations on occasion. How can we extend that to explanations? We could also draw inspiration from Instructables and CommonCraft, online communities of people who share video instructions and explanations.

Building online communities is hard. Instead of developing an "explainer" community, I would build a toolkit which existing communities can use when they feel the need to investigate and explain an issue.

2. Finding Voices

Many of the explainers in Jay's class involve narrative. "The Giant Pool of Money" succeeded because This American Life found the right cast of characters to illustrate a complex issue. But finding the right people is really hard, especially if you're not a mainstream media organization. Source databases such as The Public Insight Network can help, but it's a closed system unavailable outside of newsrooms. Social media networks through groups like Global Voices get us part of the way, but only as far as the people who might know those we're looking for.

I'm not sure the crowd can help here. In many cases, the people you want to interview might not be outspoken online. Instead, I would develop tools and research practices for individuals or small teams to find representative voices. Perhaps the tool could offer encouragement and ideas for following the trail from an effect to an individual.

We could support one workflow in particular. Given a set of articles which are already about a topic, we could automatically extract the names of the organizations and individuals who are quoted and referred to, creating a quick map of the issue in the media. A canny storyteller might be able to spot gaps in the story or simply remix existing material into an explainer.

3. Organizing Research

Explainers are by definition hard to organize and research. They're the messy, complicated issues that don't appear to make much sense. Often the story arc isn't apparent until partway through the project. It can become easy to get lost in the forest of information. As the pile of research grows, it can be difficult to follow the structure of a complex system or pull together the information you need for that next interview.

The most widely used writing tools are terrible at helping people organize and understand their information. I have written elsewhere about my use of software like Eastgate's Tinderbox to organize research around a complex issue. I think we need more of that kind of software (James Fallows' article on "Mac Programs that Come with Thinking Caps On" is a great place to start).

4. Rhetorical Forms

All storytelling on computers is in its early stages; we haven't agreed on very many common literary forms. Beyond the FAQ, the Timeline, and the illustrated lecture, most explainers require a custom rhetorical form. That's bad for anyone who wants to put a deadline on a project.

That's why I love The Explainer Awards that Jay and his students held. Awards are a great way to create norms and highlight innovation -- they have been an effective model as far back as 5th century Athens. But we need to take this further. An effective awards program would bring together finalists in each category to discuss common challenges and build technologies to solve those problems.

5. Conversation

Why not re-imagine explaining as a social movement rather than content production? Some of the best explaining comes from a two-way conversation, not a piece of content. We could start a service called Meet the News, a geolocated service which invites anyone to have coffee with someone affected by a news story. Participants could pay for the coffee and might be expected to contribute back to the community with a few paragraphs about the conversation, just like couch-surfing reviews. It could be a human library for the news.

Do you have more tech ideas for explanatory journalism? Let us know in the comments!

A version of this post first appeared on MIT Civic Media Center's blog.

April 12 2012


Journalists as personal brands: The Daily What founder Neetzan Zimmerman grows out of memes

If you haven't started to turn yourself into a personal brand yet, you shouldn't hesitate ...

New York Magazine :: In the age of the personal brand, it's surprising to come across a successful web proprietor who's not concerned with byline clout and self portraits, but Neetzan Zimmerman might be both the quietest and most obsessive blogger of his kind. While working a deadening marketing job in 2008, he secretly founded The Daily What on Tumblr, and quickly turned it into a CNN of Internet happenings, chronicling viral videos, Twitter feuds, celebrity gossip, and other Reddit runoff from a distant, all-knowing perch. "I don't really want to be a personality," Zimmmerman insisted to me over the phone yesterday. But this week, he started a new, highly visible job at Gawker, and his blog posts are immediately different in at least one way ...

Continue to read Joe Coscarelli, nymag.com

March 31 2012


Keith Olbermann's full statement

Keith Olbermann/twitlonger :: (full statement) I'd like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I've been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract. ...

Hat tip: Jeff Jarvis and his response:

Olbermann, Spitzer, Gore, Hyatt: equally obscure. twitlonger.com/show/gnlt4t

— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) March 30, 2012

Keith Olbermann's full statement - Continue to read here Keith Olbermann, www.twitlonger.com

Tags: Journalists

March 30 2012


The Awesome News Taskforce in Detroit Grows Up

The Awesome News Taskforce Detroit recently had their very first deliberation meeting to choose the winner of their first $1,000 grant. I listened in from my room in Somerville, Mass., 718 miles away.

We've come a long way since my first trip to Detroit in August to sow the seeds for the Awesome News Taskforce project.

On that first trip, I met with as many people doing interesting projects as I could to tell them about our plans, get feedback, and also to learn more about the core issues that shape the city. On the next trip, I interviewed candidates for the Dean of Awesome position and ended up hiring Marshalle Montgomery, a superwoman facilitator, organizer and filmmaker.


Marshalle and I have worked together since to bring together a passionate, diverse and multi-talented group of trustees to form the core of the Awesome News Taskforce, and I couldn't be more proud of the results. We ended up with a group of 20 trustees who hail from every corner of the metro Detroit area with backgrounds ranging from ethnic media to founding hacker spaces. Over the course of the next month, we're blogging short profiles of all the trustees here -- two of them are up already!

creating an alternative community

The Awesome News Taskforce project is, uniquely, not about making new tech or producing a new type of story. It's about creating an alternative community for people -- journalists and non-journalists alike -- to learn how to shape their own media landscapes together. So our equivalent of that magical moment where your code passes all the tests was the first deliberation, the first time that these individuals who were bound not by professional obligation but by a love of their city came together to discuss what they want to see more of. They discussed the feasibility, impact and implementation of the 45 projects that were submitted in this first cycle.

But in classic Awesome Foundation tradition, they also talked about excitement, joy and wonder. And the best part? I chimed in once or twice, but for the most part they did their own thing.

It's a wonderful feeling for an instigator of a group like this to be obsoleted so quickly!

So what project ended up with the money? It's a secret for now, but we'll be announcing it at the first Awesome News Taskforce Detroit party at the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Center at 6-8 p.m. this Friday. I'll give you a hint, though: It's pretty awesome.

March 18 2012


Bocar Dieng: Senegal, death threats and fraud at the polling stations

Doha Centre For Media Freedom :: Bocar Dieng works at the oldest media group in Senegal of Walfdjri, which everybody calls Walf. He lives in Fatick, a small village of 20,000 residents, situated 130 kilometres east of Dakar. On election day, February 26 2012, he went to all the different polling stations in the village to follow the voting process. In the evening he came back to work to report the results to Walf TV and daily newspaper. Dieng is one of fifty reporters dispatched throughout Senegal to do the same job.
Is there fraud at the polling stations?

Continue to read Victoria Baux, www.dc4mf.org

Tags: Journalists

February 27 2012


Andrew Beaujon is taking over the media beat at Poynter

AJR | American Journalism Review :: Andrew Beaujon's new career path began when he went after a job he didn't think he would get. "When the opportunity came up, I didn't think I had a chance," he says. "I got very lucky." Beaujon's new gig is covering the media for the Poynter Institute. The job opened up last August when Jim Romenesko, who pioneered the aggregation of news about the news business, decided to go part time. Romenesko left Poynter last November.

Continue to read Bill Braun, ajr.org

Tags: Journalists

January 12 2012


Mixed reviews and controversy: Jodi Kantor gets a grilling about her book, 'The Obamas'

Capital New York :: It's been a busy, rough week for Jodi Kantor, the New York Times reporter whose new book about the first family, The Obamas, entered the world on Tuesday to mixed reviews and controversy, as the White House aggressively counterspins her narrative. It started last Friday when a White House spokesman called the book "an overdramatization of old news," and went on to say that Kantor hadn't spoken to either of her subjects in years.

Continue to read Joe Pompeo, www.capitalnewyork.com

Tags: Journalists

January 10 2012


The problem with defining ‘a journalist’

Cleland Thom writes in Press Gazette today about the list of requirements specified by an Oregon judge before a person could claim protection as a journalist in his court.

  1. Journalism education.
  2. Credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity.
  3. Proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest.
  4. Keeping notes of conversations and interviews conducted.
  5. Mutual understanding or agreement of confidentiality between the defendant and his/her sources.
  6. Creation of an independent product rather than assembling writings and postings of others.
  7. Contacting “the other side” to get both sides of a story.

This seems a reasonable enough list of criteria – I’m interpreting the phrasing of the judge’s opinion as indicating that any single of these criteria would suit, rather than all 7 (as is the case in the Reynolds defence mentioned by Thom).

But I think there’s a broader problem (unrelated to the specific case in Oregon, which was about a protection from being sued for libel only afforded to journalists) with trying to certify individuals as journalists when more  journalism is done collaboratively. If, for example, one person researches the regulations relating to an issue, another FOIs key documents; a third speaks to a victim; a fourth speaks to an expert; a fifth to the person resposible; and a sixth writes it all up into a coherent narrative – which one is the journalist?

January 05 2012


Former NotW editor Colin Myler now editor-in-chief at New York Daily News

Guardian :: The man who was editing the News of the World when it was closed by Rupert Murdoch, and whose editorship of the Sunday Mirror ended after his paper collapsed a trial, is back – this time at Mort Zuckerman's New York Daily News. Myler knows New York, having spent the first half of the last decade as a senior executive at Murdoch's New York Post. The coming battle with the Post will be quite some boxing match.

Continue to read Dan Sabbagh, www.guardian.co.uk

Tags: Journalists

January 01 2012


Palestinian Preventative Security Service tries to silence journalist Majduleen Hasuna

DOHA Centre for Media Freedom :: Journalist Majduleen Hasuna received a phone call from Palestinian Preventative Security Service requesting to summon her for interrogation following her coverage, along with other journalists, of a sit-in held by families of political prisoners in Nablus. Majduleen refused to go, saying that it falls within the powers of the general prosecutor alone to summon her after notifying Journalists Union. Majduleen, who turned 20, didn't know that she would easily join the dangerous world of investigative journalism and would be labeled "trouble-maker journalist" that annoys security authorities in the West Bank.

Continue to read www.dc4mf.org

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