This via cyberjournalist: An interactive map of newspaper layoffs and buyouts this year at graphicdesignr.net. The listed total is more than 4,880. You can also find one for 2007, which includes the cuts at my newspaper, The Spokesman-Review.
Two points: First, this map is more affecting than the daily reports on Romanesko or a simple number. Which is another example of why multimedia just makes information crackle.
My news design background is scantier, limited to the B section and wire pages at the S-R and a few A1 design shifts at the Missourian. But I would love to develop skills and a portfolio like Smith’s. It’s one big way I can help avoid becoming part of her next map.
At right, one of my better page one efforts.
On Monday we ran a story about the Old City Drive in Spokane, an excursion mapped out by the visitors center folks to highlight points of interest and charm in the Lilac City.
The city editor sent me a page of typed directions and asked me to post them with the story. I said OK but thought I’d go one up and replicate the drive in Google Maps. It was quick and the result, below, is embarrassingly plain. But I thought it might add something useful for a few readers.
On Monday morning, I was linking up content and read in the story that there was an online map of the new, longer city drive. When I found it at the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau website, I had to laugh: the folks there had also used Google Maps, and it looks like this.
As a vegetarian, summer grilling can sometimes seem limited. Fortunately, with encouragement from my friends, I’ve started a quest to diversify my options.
Not content with freezer-aisle hockey pucks or the quotidian portabella, I’m taking recipes for nonmeat burgers and giving them my own twist.
The action is under way at www.burgerrevised.com. Check it out, and share your ideas!
Last month I posted about story lengths for online news.
The general idea was that shorter is better.
In the meantime I haven’t necessarily practiced at work what I examined there. Then again, I’m an editor not a writer.
Basic premise: It’s just length that matters.
It’s style. Short paragraphs. Short sentences. Bullet points. Frequent subheds. Periodic bold-facing of words. Lots of links.
You should really check the link at the end.
So I thought I’d play a little game. Take a graf from a wire story and rewrite it like the Slate article.
Which really stems from this guy.
INDEX, Wash. – With little fanfare, Congress has embarked on a push to protect as many as a dozen pristine areas this year in places ranging from the glacier-fed streams of Wild Sky Wilderness here to West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest. By the end of the year, conservation experts predict, this drive could place as much as 2 million acres of unspoiled land under federal control, a total that rivals the wilderness acreage set aside by Congress over the previous five years.
Now I shall butcher it.
How much we talking?
Some experts predict more than 2 million unspoiled acres will be protected by December.
That means the feds will have say-so.
And that’s about what Congress has set aside in the past five years.
Not exactly poetry. But easy to digest. Maybe.
So, would you accept news written like this from the standard bearers?
Just got a new iMac. It’s speedy and has a much bigger monitor than I’ve been using. If you want a gushy description, I’ll just refer you to Apple.
In the picture below, my 2004 iBook sits above the new machine.
I’ve spent significantly less time staring at a computer screen the past two weekends. That’s because I’ve been taking part in an outdoor rock-climbing course through the Spokane Mountaineers.
My forearms and fingertips hurt.
In honor of my belief that we all need to play and sometimes rope and rock feel nicer under your fingers than a keyboard, here’s a video from brightcove.tv.
Synopsis: A guy with a camera walks the precarious Camino del Rey in Spain en route to El Chorro climbing area. This will give you goosebumps. Notice, too, how the cameraman doesn’t bother clipping into the safety line like so many of the people he passes.
Update: If you’re not seeing the video, brightcove.tv appears to be undergoing renovations. Please check back later.
We’ve been seriously mixing our mediums at the Spokesman-Review lately. We’re on the air. As in on the radio. And the broadcasts are coming from our newsroom. Check it out here. Read Editor Steve Smith’s announcement here.
We’ve been at it for about seven weeks, by my count, and I think editors, reporters and multimedia people have made strides in incorporating audio collection into our routines.
Regardless of what you think about newspapers doing radio, the push for multimedia in newsrooms makes audio collection and editing valuable skills. At a meeting yesterday, radio reporter/announcer Dan Mitchinson and multimedia guru Colin Mulvany led a discussion on good audio habits. Although we talked mostly about sound destined for the radio, these tips are important for video productions as well.
- Get your recorder/mic as close as possible to the source.
- Learn to listen: If you’re indoors, watch out for electrical hums or fans. If you’re outside, be aware of traffic noise, planes passing overhead, etc. Try to find a place where such background annoyances are minimal.
- At the same time, remember to get natural sound from your environment. This too can help tell the story. (Our editorial page editor raised a valid ethical concern: Don’t use these natural sounds in ways that mislead. For instance, don’t overlay sounds from a park with an interview conducted indoors.)
- Check those recording levels before you start interviewing. If you need to adjust, don’t do it while your source is in the middle of a sentence.
- It’s better to hold your mic a bit to the side of the mouth that’s talking. This helps avoid popping P sounds.
- Use headphones to monitor the audio you’re receiving. It may seem weird to talk to a source while wearing headphones, so just explain why you’re doing it.
- Just as some people are afraid of TV cameras, others are afraid of mics and the way their voices sound. Use humor and self-deprecation to warm them up. You probably don’t like the way your recorded voice sounds either.
We covered other ground germane to our particular operations, but I won’t go into that here. If you’re looking for more tips, check out Colin Mulvany’s blog. He’s been doing this a lot longer than I have.