Matt Thompson

I serve as an Editorial Product Manager at NPR, where I work with member stations to develop niche websites. Before coming to NPR, I worked with the Knight Foundation and the Reynolds Journalism Institute. As deputy editor of StarTribune.com, I launched the award-winning, social, arts-and-entertainment site Vita.mn. I also managed the creation of the Star Tribune's politics website Politically Connected, the development of an internal taxonomy, and other editorial projects related to community interaction and technology. Outside the Star Tribune, I'm probably best-known for being the voice and co-creator of EPIC 2014, an alternative history of the media, set in the future. Previously, I was the Fresno Bee's first online reporter/producer, and the Naughton Fellow for Reporting and Writing at the Poynter Institute. I currently sit on Poynter's National Advisory Board. You can find me and Robin (EPIC's other co-creator) blogging at Snarkmarket.My best Snarkmarket posts on journalism:The Attention Deficit: The Need for Timeless Journalism (8/07)The Press' New Paradigm (6/06)When Vox Populi Attacks (1/06)Three Rants on Rick, parts I & II, part III (11/05)The Era of Slow News (7/05)Websites you should really check out:We Feel FineJournerdismPopURLs


Newspaper Title Style Guide

Major U.S. Newspapers

  • The Arizona Republic
  • The Boston Globe
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • The Dallas Morning News
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Miami Herald
  • New York Daily News
  • New York Post
  • The New York Times
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • The Seattle Times
  • Tampa Bay Times
  • USA Today
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Washington Post

Alphabetical Listing

  • Akron Beacon Journal
  • Albany Times Union
  • Amarillo Globe-News
  • Anchorage Daily News
  • Anderson Independent Mail
  • The Ann Arbor News
  • Arizona Daily Star
  • The Arizona Republic
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Austin American-Statesman
  • The Baltimore Sun
  • The Birmingham News
  • Bonita Daily News
  • The Boston Globe
  • Boston Herald
  • The Boston Phoenix
  • Bradenton Herald
  • The Buffalo News
  • The Cape Cod Times
  • The Charlotte Observer
  • Chester Sun Times
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer
  • The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.)
  • The Columbus Dispatch
  • The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)
  • Contra Costa Times
  • The Courier (Houma, La.)
  • The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.)
  • Courier-Post (Camden, N.J.)
  • Daily Globe
  • The Dallas Morning News
  • The Daytona Beach News-Journal
  • Democrat and Chronicle
  • The Desert Sun
  • The Des Moines Register
  • Detroit Free Press
  • The Detroit News
  • Duluth News Tribune
  • East Valley Tribune
  • Edmonton Journal
  • Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press
  • The Florida Times-Union
  • Florida Today
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.
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freetombstone

Buzzwurgatory: Words and phrases we should use more carefully in 2013

Buzzwords are underrated.

A concept often doesn’t cohere for people until it’s given a name. Web designers had been using CSS media queries and Javascript triggers to present Web pages differently in different contexts well before Ethan Marcotte gave us the term “responsive web design,” but the phrase helped the concept to catch fire.

The problem with buzzwords is that they usually have a life cycle. As they become more and more popular, they get applied and misapplied to an ever-widening cluster of concepts, making them more vague than meaningful. This prompts a backlash, and before long, the term can seem outmoded or even wrongheaded.

Take the word “curate,” for example, recently hated-on in Jen Doll’s guide to 2012′s worst words. It’s not hard to see why. “Curation,” as it’s long been known, was a rarefied task, left to experts in museums and galleries. When folks started appropriating the term to describe basic Web behaviors like excerpting and linking, it felt like an abuse of the term. Read more

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paywall1

Why journalists should explore the business side of news

Most of us still remember a time when revenue was enough of an incidental byproduct of journalism that journalists could ignore it almost completely. We just did our jobs, and then — somehow — money happened.

This was the state of affairs for long enough that a lot of us grew up thinking it was some sort of law of physics. That’s how it’s supposed to be, right? We journalists take care of the audience-building part, and overnight, the magic gnomes deposit money in our stockings?

If that’s the case, the gnomes are failing us. How many recent journalism projects have successfully found an audience and proven their worth only to founder without a working revenue strategy? I won’t pretend it’s a new argument to say journalists should take at least an interest in the revenue foundations for their work. But it doesn’t get said nearly often enough. Those of us who care most about doing journalism have to take some responsibility for how that work is supported. Read more

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jobinterviewprep

10 ways to make your journalism job application better than everyone else’s

Dear Applicant,

The first time I finished a hiring process, having settled on a stellar candidate, my boss patted me on the shoulder and said, “You know, your first time really shouldn’t be this easy.” I took it as a straightforward compliment to me and the person I’d found. The position had attracted a solid pool of talented people, but the candidate I’d recruited and ultimately chosen had clearly stood out above all the rest. We knew we’d made an impeccable hire.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized my boss’ words had a double meaning — they were a compliment, yes, but also a piece of advice. Hiring — often the most important decision a manager has to make — should be hard. You want to have to make an excruciating choice from an impossibly talented pool of applicants.

So, I’m in the midst of hiring for this wonderful job you’ve applied for. Read more

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quest

How the Internet is giving the quest narrative new relevance for journalism

From Odysseus’ journey home to Mario’s mission to rescue Princess Peach Toadstool, the basic template of the quest narrative has been used again and again to command our attention. Joseph Campbell famously dubbed it the “Monomyth” — the one story to rule them all — ascendant across every human society, in every age.

Ever since journalists moved beyond the inverted pyramid and into the world of narrative, they’ve found themselves in the inescapable thrall of the quest. When Gay Talese turned Frank Sinatra into a sniffling, irritable Everyman trying to vanquish the common cold and reclaim his untouchability, he joined a long line of narrative journalism structured, in essence, as a quest. And for good reason — the format remains hugely popular.

After Atul Gawande employed the quest format in the New Yorker to explore why health care costs differed so widely among similar cities, his piece quickly became required reading in the White House. Read more

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nprbuilding

How NPR benefits from agile project development & you can too

We talk a lot these days about how important it is for media organizations to be agile in the face of a rapidly shifting media landscape. And when I came to NPR in February 2010, I thought I knew what that meant.

I’d read the Agile Manifesto and its 12 corollary principles. I’d used 37signals products like Basecamp and Campfire, and I dug the company’s book, “Getting Real.” To me, “agility” was the enemy of formality. It meant doing away with processes and meetings, embracing the casual and chaotic.

But what I’ve found working in NPR’s Digital Media department has been a surprisingly rigorous, disciplined approach to product development. Not only have we not done away with meetings, we actually have regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the meetings. And it works. Agile development, along with a flexible approach to serving content, is what allowed us to launch an iPad app and a tablet-optimized HTML5 site the day the iPad was released, for example. Read more

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iStock_writing2

4 types of journalists: How they tick and what we can learn from them

Nine years ago, when I was working full-time for Poynter, my colleagues and I took the Myers-Briggs test during a team retreat.* I hadn’t heard of the test at the time, and aside from light Psych 101-ish readings during college, I had never learned much about the Jungian theories it was based on.

Candidly, my first reaction to the test was pretty dismissive; I considered the results about as useful as a horoscope. But as my colleagues and I talked about our findings, I was increasingly swayed by the very basic — but very important — truth at the heart of the exercise: We each interact with and respond to the world in deeply different ways, and it’s crucial to consider those differences as we interact with and respond to one another. If we understand each other better, we can work together more effectively.

Like I said, basic stuff. But I’m reminded of this basic realization very often as I work with many different journalists from a variety of newsrooms. Read more

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Ideas2

5 provocative ideas sparked by women in media

As 2012 gets moving, I thought I’d be the very last person to list some of the ideas that have gotten stuck in my mind from over the last year.

Last year, I wrote a list of lessons I’d learned from women in media, and I found that to be a useful filter for reflecting on the year. So I’ve resurrected it for a slightly different list. This year, I’m recounting not lessons, but ideas. Thoughts still tumbling around in my head, sparked — again — by several brilliant people who (mostly) happen to be women.

What journalism can mean

As we all know, journalism remains in the midst of a deep identity crisis. We aren’t exactly sure what it is, what it’s supposed to do, and whether it works. Every now and then, however, we happen across a work of journalism so self-evidently worthy that it needs no explanation or justification beyond itself. Read more

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keyboard

5 reasons to liveblog instead of live tweeting

Allow me a moment of nostalgia for the classic liveblog. “Liveblogging” was this thing we used to do before the rise of Twitter and Storify, much like good old-fashioned blogging itself. You’d have a host and a bunch of guests all watching the same Web page together, and for an hour or so, they’d make magic.

I should confess: every now and then, I get a hankering for some of that old magic. I pour some good wine, dust off a CoverItLive console, and invite some friends over.* And every time I do, I’m reminded why genuine liveblogging — real-time, browser-based liveblogging — is still one of my favorite instruments in the modern journalism toolkit. I highly recommend it to you, for reasons I outline below. And I’ll also give you some pointers on how to do it.

Why liveblog

Joking aside, I shouldn’t oversell the notion that liveblogging’s gone out of fashion. Read more

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phpcode

6 reasons journalists should ‘show your work’ while learning & creating

In a busy corner of the metajournalism world, a crowd of journalists is assembling what amounts to a public, open-source curriculum on how to do hacker journalism. In blogs, tweets, Git repositories, meetups and slide decks, they’re sharing code snippets, tutorials, data sets, How To’s and more, in ways that are often engaging and accessible to non-geeks.

If I lost you at “Git repositories,” let me back up a step. The process of becoming a hacker journalist is different for everyone, but the pattern is common. Eventually the tools of writers cease to be enough: Microsoft Word gives way to Excel, which gives way to MySQL. And then, almost without knowing it, you’re creating the tools yourself. Having conquered English, you start learning a few phrases in HTML, then PHP, then Python and Django. One day without warning, you find yourself tromping around a Git repository.[1] And liking it. Read more

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