Kristen Hare

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Russ Kendall and oven catering 2

There’s a Facebook group to help journalists figure out their plan B

Last May, Russ Kendall learned that another friend and journalist had been laid off. Linda Epstein, McClatchy-Tribune Wire’s senior photo editor for 15 years, would lose her job in July when the company shuttered its wire service. By July 21, Kendall launched a closed Facebook group. Here’s what he wrote on the page’s first post:

What’s Your Plan B? was created to be a forum for journalists who have been laid off and those who haven’t been laid off yet, to share ideas, business plans, anything that might give hope and help to those who need it.

Two days later, Jim Romenesko reported that the group already had 400 members.

Now, more than 2,670 people are part of What’s Your Plan B? (including me. Kendall reached out last month after I wrote “Advice for journalists who’ve lost their jobs from journalists who’ve lost their jobs.”) People share job openings on the page. Read more

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Study: People read more on sites with modern designs. They also remember more.

A new study from Engaging News Project found sites with contemporary design have a significant increase in pageviews over sites with a more traditional newspaper layout. That part of the study, released on Tuesday, isn’t too surprising. But the study also found that people remembered more (50 percent) from the contemporary sites than they did from the traditional ones.

From the study:

Some of the 2,671 study participants browsed a site with a classic newsprint layout, while others looked at a page with a contemporary modular and image-based layout. The same 20 articles with identical text appeared on both sites.

The Engaging News Project team consistently found that the contemporary site garnered more page views than the classic site. In all three of the experiments, the contemporary site had at least a 90 percent increase in unique page views compared to the classic site.

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A former journalist created a site to help journalists find experts

Screen shot, Expertise Finder

Screen shot, Expertise Finder

Stavros Rougas and Ebrahim Ashrafizadeh created a site a few years ago to help journalists find academic experts. Originally called Media Spot Me, the site is now Expertise Finder.

I spoke with Rougas, a former journalist, via email about why he helped create the site and what you’ll find there.

Stavros Rougas and Ebrahim Ashrafizadeh, co-founders, Expertise Finder. (Submitted photo)

Stavros Rougas and Ebrahim Ashrafizadeh, co-founders, Expertise Finder. (Submitted photo)

What are the roots of Expertise Finder?

I was a TV producer on a current affairs program called The Agenda with Steve Paikin, it’s on a public broadcaster called TVO located in Toronto. I was looking for experts with depth all the time, too often scrambling for deadline and ending up with less than ideal guests. I thought there must be a better way so I looked and looked and looked. Read more

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Lost newsroom sounds, part 3

Peta Pixel

Let’s add the photo transmitter to our growing collection of lost newsroom sounds. On Sunday, Michael Zhang wrote about United Press International’s Model 16-S photo transmitter for Peta Pixel with “This is How Press Photos Were Transmitted Back in the 1970s.”

First, you place a print on the drum and start the transmitter. The drum then rotates at a consistent speed while a scanning beam would move slowly across the photo, scanning one line at a time. Transmitting the analog signal required a connection to a phone line.

Last February, I wrote about The Museum of Endangered Sounds, which has a series of newsroom sounds that have already vanished, including the dial-up modem, the typewriter and the teletype, (part 1 in this occasional series. Read more

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Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 3.01.39 PM

Chicago Tribune used an illustrated narrative to revisit a 100-year-old disaster

Rick Tuma's sketchbook. (Submitted photo)

Rick Tuma’s sketchbook. (Submitted photo)

On Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune published “Eastland Disaster,” a nonfiction illustrated narrative reconstructing a July 24, 1915 disaster that killed hundreds in Chicago. The project comes from graphics producers Rick Tuma and Ryan Marx. Via email, Tuma answered some questions about the project, the medium and what he discovered from 100-year-old newspapers.

Rick Tuma (Illustration by Rick Tuma)

Rick Tuma (Illustration by Rick Tuma)

To start, I saw this project was called a “nonfiction illustrated narrative.” I’ve also seen the terms graphic journalism and comics journalism. Is there any consensus on what we should call projects like this?

This is actually my second project. The first — “Harsh Treatment” — published late in 2014. As we were wrapping up, discussions were going on behind the scenes regarding what to call this style of journalism. Read more

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Commentary: Front pages still matter

Part of my morning routine is to look for front pages. I check Newseum. I check Kiosko. I check the Twitter and Facebook feeds of places where news is happening, such as Kenya on Friday.

Newspapers have had a tough time for awhile now, but when something big happens, we still share their front pages digitally. I saw them everywhere after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson almost one year ago, after the murders at Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January and after the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling last month. The (Charleston, South Carolina) Post and Courier’s Sunday front page after nine people were murdered was so powerful. So is the art that the (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Sentinel and Enterprise has published since an artist took over its front page for 26 days. Read more

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leo

Front pages in Kenya welcome President Obama

leo

eastafrican

Newspapers, radio and television stations across Kenya led with a welcome to President Obama on Friday, including Taifa Leo and The East African on the right. The BBC’s Janet Onyango shared images of the coverage. In Nairobi, journalist Rachel Jones Instagrammed images of many Friday fronts.

On Thursday, Poynter’s Ben Mullin wrote about why Kenyans are mad at CNN after the network called the country a terror hotbed. That led to the hashtag #somebodytellCNN. The same hashtag was used two years ago by Kenyans, journalist Nanjala Nyabola wrote for Al Jazeera at the time.

Also on Thursday, Committee to Protect Journalists’ Sue Valentine wrote about the president’s visit to Kenya and asked “Will Obama’s visit boost hopes for press freedom in Kenya?”

Here’s a small collection of fronts from Kenya I found through the sites, Twitter and Facebook accounts of these newspapers. Read more

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Ice Cream Bot_Credit Jenny Ye, WNYC

WNYC’s Data News Team wants to build things that are playful and useful (like an ice cream finder)

WNYC's ice cream bot. (Photo by Jenny Ye/WNYC)

WNYC’s ice cream bot. (Photo by Jenny Ye/WNYC)

At 3:15 each afternoon, WNYC’s Data News Team knows if it’s ice cream weather or not. They built a bot for that. On Tuesday, the team shared their love of ice cream with New Yorkers with the debut of an ice cream finder. The project is one in a new series that comes out every two weeks.

So far, the team has created projects including a Live Subway Agony Index with emoji to indicate wait times between trains and A Field Guide to NYC Subway Cars, which helps riders identify what kind of train they’re riding on. That helps them figure out if they’re on the type of car that’s known for losing AC.

John Keefe, senior editor for data news, said the team’s data project roots started with hurricane evacuation maps created for Hurricane Irene and then Hurricane Sandy. Read more

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(Submitted photo)

This newspaper is giving its front page to an artist for 26 days

The letter G in newstands on Monday. (Submitted photo)

The letter G in newstands on Monday. (Submitted photo)

The moment Anna Schuleit Haber convinced a newspaper publisher to let her take over the front page for 26 days went like this: Schuleit Haber, an artist, sat in a meeting the editor and the publisher of the (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Sentinel & Enterprise.

How about page three? she remembers publisher Mark O’Neil countering with after hearing her request.

Not good enough, she remembers saying. There’s no risk involved.

“In fact, anyone with deep pockets can technically buy page three for a day or longer, but the front page can’t ever be bought,” she said. “It’s the holy grail of the news.”

O’Neil still wasn’t convinced.

Imagine this, Schuleit Haber said: “Let’s say, I were Jackson Pollock at the height of my career. Read more

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4 more journalists are missing in Syria

Committee to Protect Journalists

In the last month, four journalists have gone missing in Syria, Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Tuesday.

Those journalists are Ángel Sastre, Antonio Pampliega, and José Manuel López from Spain and Jumpei Yasuda from Japan. All four are freelance journalists.

Syria has been the most deadly country in the world for journalists for the past three years. While most victims are local journalists, at least 12 international correspondents have been killed in the course of the war, according to CPJ research. More than 90 journalists have been abducted in the country since the conflict began and approximately 25 are currently missing, most of them local.

On Tuesday, The Guardian wrote about the three missing Spanish journalists. On Wednesday, the Associated Press wrote about the missing Japanese journalist. Read more

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