Mindy McAdams implores journalists who get online to do this in a recent post. And the sentence has been reverberating in my head all evening.
I’m fortunate to work for a newspaper where many people do get it. We commit sizable resources to video, audio and other multimedia. We’ve launched a radio studio with hourly reports. We’re about to unveil a new website that gives readers tremendous power to find information in the way that most makes sense for them.
But, a few days after getting back from a vacation in Montana during which I avoided the Internet, I wonder: Where can I take the lead?
This is likely a case where there’s no upper limit on leadership. And I was not the driving force behind any of the initiatives listed above, so I’d like to find that area where I can “step up” in my newsroom.
Helping my co-workers learn and master our new django site admin will certainly give me one avenue. Any other ideas out there?
Same song, second verse. Yesterday I posted about looking to other sources to embed a slideshow of my Flickr photos (proud pro account holder for one month!).
Here are the same photos I posted yesterday but in a Flickr skin:
I like the look, the share features, and the full-screen toggle.
This tool is a digital SLR to Slide.com’s Polaroid camera: the latter still has campy appeal and a distinctive effect, but the former is a lot more practical and professional. Of course, that metaphor breaks down at the cash register. Both Flickr and Slide provide free accounts.
I blogged last month about making a how-to video (paper flowers) based on an assignment at work. Since the column the video accompanied is a monthly feature, I got another opportunity. This time the subject was felt faux food. You can check out some examples at Megan Cooley’s blog (she’s the star of my video).
I learned a few more things I thought I’d pass along:
- Avoid reflective tables when taking stills (doh).
- Recording the audio of the instructions in a separate take is good. But encourage your subject to write out a script. Use short declarative sentences in said script. This will save you lots of audio editing work.
- Be creative with your still/static shots. Like with the sandwich stacking.
- Use titles/text to save time. It’s just as effective as the narrator’s audio instructions.
- Kids provide great ambiance.
Ever wonder what goes on below the hood when you generate a Google Map?
White Rock Solutions wants to give you a clue and teach you to do it within your text editor.
I first noted White Rock’s tutorials last month. The early tutorials I reviewed were ideal for people just starting out. In the meantime, White Rock has uploaded several advanced Google API how-tos that will teach you to:
- Sign up for a Google Maps API
- Create a custom template
- Add map controls
- Add placemarks to a map
- Add standard info windows
- Add tabbed info windows
By the fourth volume, you’ll have started from scratch and written code to create this:
If you’re interested simply in creating a custom map on the fly with a WYSIWYG interface, go to Google Maps and dive in or follow the basic tutorials at White Rock or any of the resources Mark Luckie notes at this useful 10,000 Words post.
I came to the online world via the night news copy desk. I truly loved parts of that job: editing the wires, writing heds that thousands of people would see, catching mistakes at the 11th hour. But I decided to leave to bolster my resume with online experience.
In some ways, I’m still a copy editor. When I post a story, I edit it (of course). When things are slow, I read the stories I haven’t seen. They’re live by that point, but I figure it’s better to catch the error later than never.
My job also involves news judgment, which I developed doing the wires and laying out local news pages.
I’ve often thought that my copy editing background is what helps me be especially effective in my position. But I’ve wondered whether this is common among online producers.
I found at least one parallel in this list via Mindy McAdams via her colleague. In it recent grad Nick Rosinia, now working for MLB.com, passes on pointers to editing students. I liked his opener:
The new job title is “editorial producer.” It means little else than the Internet is too cool to have “copyeditors,” but you might win a few points with a recruiter if you know it.
He goes on to address writing heds, cutlines and teasers, and the importance of being clean and quick. All things I confront daily, all things that a good copy editor should handle adeptly.
At the end of her post, McAdams writes, “It looks like there will always be jobs for good copy editors.”
I hope she’s right, but I might tweak that statement a little. It looks like there will always be need for good copy editing skills, because in online journalism you often are your own copy editor.
BTW, searching Journalismjobs.com for the keywords “copy editors” turned up 67 listings today, most at daily newspapers. If you’re willing to work in a small town and have little job security, there certainly are jobs for good copy editors right now.