Jonathan Dube


Jonathan Dube is the Director of Digital Media for CBC News, the President of the Online News Association and the publisher of An award-winning print and online journalist, he also writes for and occasionally teaches at The Poynter Institute. Previously, he's worked as's Managing Producer and a national producer for

Lessons from

The’s meteoric rise in traffic in the past year has caused a lot of people to take notice. What is it about this blog-based site that has made it so successful?

The site, built on Movable Type blogging software, is a mix of news, blogs and commentary on everything from politics and media to business and the environment.

According to Nielsen Online, the site had 4.7 million unique visitors in May, a 255 percent increase from a year earlier, when it had 1.3 million uniques, according to Nielsen Online.

And the site has big plans: it is working on launching local editions, starting with Chicago.

In an e-mail Q&A, co-founder Arianna Huffington talks about the site’s biggest mistake, lessons media organizations could learn from The Huffington Post, and the future of news. Read more


Statewide Coverage: Finding and Filling Some Gaps

The Zonie Report is an online, independent media site that covers statewide issues in an unusual way.

At a time when news organizations are struggling for innovative ways to cover state news (see the recent story sharing partnership in Ohio), it could be a model for independent sites in other states.

The site, which is updated weekly, uses text, audio, video and slideshows to cover how Arizona is changing, tackling subjects as diverse as air pollution and battles over Native American lands.

The multimedia stories are a team effort. For example, a story we’re publishing next week is a profile of the Grand Canyon superintendent. A reporter and I spent a day at the canyon with the park superintendent just days after a biologist died there of the plague.
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Pulitzers and the Web

Online journalism is increasingly playing a role in the Pulitzer Prizes.

The Pulitzers first allowed Web elements to be submitted starting in 1999, when they opened up the Public Service category.

In 2005, a journalist at a weekly newspaper won a Pulitzer for a story he broke on the web (more details here).

In 2006, the Pulitzer Board modified the rules to allow online components to be included as part of submissions in all 14 journalism categories.

I asked Sig Gissler, the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, a few questions about how the Web factored into this year’s decisions. Here are his answers, followed by links to the online components included with winning entries.

Jon Dube: To what degree did online work factor into the decisions of the judges this year? Read more


Creating a ‘Primary Place’ for Citizens Online

New Hampshire Public Radio has spearheaded one of the more ambitious and innovative uses of the Web during the election so far.

The station created a citizen media Web site, Primary Place Online (PPO), as a companion to a year-long radio series that followed the residents of a New Hampshire town throughout the 2008 presidential primary.

One voter told NHPR, “I didn’t use it just to vent my own view; in fact, I used it to help make my decision in the election.”

As part of this project, residents of Exeter, N.H., (population about 15,000) were invited to describe their thoughts on the candidates and the campaigns. By the end of the project, there were 187 registered users; of those, 72 posted at least once and the total number of posts and comments was 275. Read more


Behind CNN’s New Citizen Media Site

Note: After seven wonderful
years of Web Tips columns, we’re going to broaden our focus from Web-based reporting tools to the variety of ways journalists are
using the Web.  We hope you’ll stick with us for Web Tips 2.0.

news organizations are looking for ways to tap their audiences for
photos, videos and eyewitness reports. But many still struggle with how
to embrace user-generated content while still ensuring accuracy and

After a year-and-a-half of experience soliciting
material from its audiences, CNN is embarking on a new approach worth

Earlier this month, CNN launched a new site
dedicated to user-generated content that is unmoderated — basically, a
news version of YouTube. The site, currently in “beta” or test mode,
can be viewed at Read more


Find out What People Are Saying Online

Wondering what new parents really think about co-sleeping and Ferberizing? Or what Harry Potter fans are saying about the possible spoilers circulating around the Internet? Whatever your subject, find out what folks are saying online using Omgili, a relatively new site that searches online discussions very effectively.

Omgili’s engine scans millions of online discussions on more than 100,000 message boards and forums.

On each search page, you also get an online buzz graph showing you how many discussion posts were made each day for the past month. Click on any day, and you get a list of all of those discussions.

In addition to the general search, check out Omgili Buzz, which gives a daily overview of the most popular discussion topics in areas such as videos, movies, news, games, DVDs and books. Read more


Tracking Web Buzz

The increasing popularity of sites that let users submit, save and vote for Web pages they find online means that journalists have great new tools at their fingertips for finding story ideas.

Sites like, and should be regular stops for all journalists. But there are now dozens of these sites, so tracking all of them can be time-consuming (unless you use RSS — see this tip on RSS for Journalists).

A great site to help you track all of these easily is

The site lists the top stories and Web pages that have been highlighted by users on a range of social bookmarking and citizen media sites, including:

Read more


Free Online Courses from the BBC

The BBC has one of the deepest training departments of any journalism organization in the world. Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of the BBC and British taxpayers, many of the BBC’s training courses are available free online for anyone to use.

The courses you’ll find here were originally designed for BBC. As a result, some of the modules contain specific references to BBC procedures, methods and services.

Nevertheless, they’re still useful, especially in a rapidly converging world. The radio courses, for example, are useful for anyone interesting in learning audio storytelling skills for podcasting.

The courses you’ll find on the site include:

You can expect more online material from the BBC in the future. Read more


24/7 Iraq News

A new site,, offers Iraq news links, original reporting and opinion, and is aiming to be “the world’s premier Iraq-focused information source.”

The site, which officially launches this week, is run by former CNN news chief Eason Jordan and produced by a staff with experience in both journalism and the military. The site’s contributors include 50 Iraq-based correspondents, experts, and tipsters; it also includes reporters and Iraq analysts in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Jordan says he started the site because “news consumers deserve better — a one-stop source for serious, original, comprehensive Iraq-focused news and insight, with contributions from multiple perspectives and nationalities, including Iraqis.”

Among the features you’ll find on the site:

Read more


Guide to Poll Data Online

Several researchers have put together an excellent guide to the plethora of public opinion poll Web sites now online.

The guide is one journalists will find particularly useful, as it avoids unscientific online polls and those focused primarily on market research, and instead focuses on scientific, public opinion surveys.

The guide includes scores of links that will help you find everything from information about the basics of polls to major national and regional U.S. media polls to polling data from around the world.  

In addition to links to detailed survey data from such polling centers as Quinnipiac University, you’ll find gems like these:

  • The Gallup Poll Editors’ Blog: “This blog is written by Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport and the other editors at Gallup in order to comment and provide analysis on recent polls.
Read more
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