Links for October 29th through November 3rd:
- Where to Get Live Election Night Coverage Online : CyberJournalist.net – I can't believe spokesmanreview.com didn't get a mention!
- Twitter Vote Report : CyberJournalist.net – A civic-minded application of Twitter. Would love to see somebody follow this and evaluate its efficacy.
- washingtonpost.com – TimeSpace: Election – Great idea. Novel way of organizing a huge volume of stories and photos geared toward a neational audience.
- Link Once, Publish Everywhere: Publish2 Launches Connection to Twitter and Delicious » Publish2 Blog –
- What’s the Difference Between a Blog and a Web Site? — contentious.com – "If you think you’ll want to do more than blog, choose a platform that will let you expand. If you think you’ll want things like a forum, video library, or wiki, you’re probably better off building a site in on a more full-featured platform like WordPress, Drupal, Movable Type, or Expression Engine."
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.
Where will I be working next month? Where will I be working next year? What’s the best platform for this story? How do I learn video storytelling?
These questions speak to one of the biggest challenges facing young journalists today: the need to be agile.
A quick bit of context: I’m writing this to participate in a blog ring of young journalists. This month’s topic relates to the challenges facing young journalists. I’ve been a working journalist for just about three years. And in that time I’ve observed that staying in this field for very long will require flexibility.
As someone else noted, a good attitude will give you a foundation. I want this post to be constructive, not discouraging, so I’m linking to resources that can help you become agile in terms of…
I recently stumbled upon the forums at twentysomethingjournalist and joined the party.
Realizing that as of mid-September I’ll only have a year of eligibility left, I took the occasion to check out what other forums for journalists are out there. Below is a rundown.
I didn’t go to Chicago last week for UNITY. If you’re unfamiliar with this event, Wendi C. Thomas of the Memphis Commercial Appeal sums it up as “the every-four-years convening of the ethnic minority journalist groups.”
But I did get a taste from the Internet.
Most of what I saw came from 10,000 Words, who was there blogging. And we’re not talking about mere summaries of panel discussions. If you’re new to multimedia on the Web, you need to check out Mark Luckie’s tip sheets for video and audio. Also, check out the impressive project he knocked out in 48 hours.
From Mark’s blog and the Commerical Appeal article, I sense that UNITY was the conference to attend for journalists hoping to stay invigorated during these troubling times. A quote from a recent journalism grad in Thomas’ story tells me everything I need to keep in mind:
“I’d rather have a roller-coaster marriage with journalism, filled with love and passion, than an empty relationship in law, PR or business, where there is money, but no sparks,” wrote (Angel) Jennings, a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, in an edition of UNITY NEWS.
Oh, and did I mention that Barack Obama made an appearance fresh off his overseas tour?
Since I entered grad school, I’ve been staring down the barrel of a shotgun loaded with questions:
- How can newspapers reverse falling readership and ad revenues?
- How can they compete effectively with other news providers on the Internet?
- How should newspaper journalists change their routines to serve multiple platforms?
- How can newspapers possibly maintain quality and innovate while cutting staff.
Now I’m in the middle of an 11-day assignment from Spokesman-Review Editor Steve Smith aimed at exploring some of those questions and drafting recommendations for restructuring the newsroom. The goals: to be more efficient and produce a more compelling, consistently multiplatform product.
There are eight of us, all relatively young in a newsroom notably filled with talented veterans. Most of us have come out of journalism school within the past four years. The group dynamic is solid.
This is exciting and scary as hell.
It’s strange how the people running newspapers have been talking about changing for most of my 20-year career. Yet, all they’ve really done in that time is tinker under the hood a bit.
We are tasked with doing far more than tinkering under the hood. We were picked, according to Steve, because we have a huge stake in what happens to this industry but little stake in the processes and organization that have driven this newspaper in the past.
We have constraints, as Nick notes:
[W]e can’t eliminate the print product, we can’t eliminate the new radio initiative, we can’t eliminate the community-oriented Voice sections, we can’t suggest layoffs.
It’s comforting and intriguing to watch other newspapers wrestle these questions and swing for the fences. Most recently, it’s been the Tampa Tribune. It’s shakeup is outlined on Mindy McAdams’ blog, and reporting intern Jessica DaSilva has a great account of the day Editor Janet Coats outlined the changes to the staff.
There has been grumbling within the newsroom and skepticism from without. But many staffers have quietly wished us well, and comments at Nick’s and Colin’s blogs have also been encouraging.
We’re under a tight deadline. At some meetings, we’ve got so many ideas its hard to chart a path through them.
But the biggest challenge is to be systematic, practical and yet visionary. We are supposed to blow up the newsroom, but, as I think we all feel, the model we propose must be functional. And above all, it must keep the newspaper coming off the press, the Web site (overhaul pending) updated throughout the day and our radio broadcasts filled with local content – and make all of this journalism as compelling as possible.
This may be my best, last chance to throw bold ideas into the mix and have them heard. Given the recent explosion of newspaper layoffs and Steve’s not-good-but-could-be-worse briefing Tuesday on the state of our company’s finances, I’m not optimistic that the business I went to grad school to enter will sustain me until I retire.
But now I’ve got a chance to suggest changes to help an enterprise, to quote Janet Coats, “worth fighting for.” I’ll see what I can do.
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.