Blogging the ongoing evolution of Poynter Online.

Instant Messaging the News

By Ellyn Angelotti
Interactivity Editor and Adjunct Faculty

During the typical work day, you can find me and most of my Poynter colleagues on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). When we work from home, AIM helps us to keep up with one another almost as if we were in the same building. We use AIM to write messages and video chat with each other to ask each other questions and collaborate on projects.

Using instant messaging to communicate with users is nothing new for news organizations. The Wall Street Journal (screen name: WSJ) has had a AIM news bot since 2003. My favorite WSJ feature is the stock quote retriever. See it in action in this IM exchange here:

In April, USA Today (screen name: USA Today) introduced its IM communication with users. When you send an IM to USA Today, you can choose to receive news alerts throughout the day via IMs of news headlines. Read more


Find Sites Al is Diggin’ on

By Mallary Tenore
Poynter Naughton Fellow

In the left rail of his Morning Meeting column, Al Tompkins links to sites that he’s “diggin,’” or finds interesting. The sites highlight compelling multimedia projects, reporting resources and new tools for journalists.
To help make this resource more useful for Al’s Morning Meeting readers, we are now saving all of the sites to our Poynter page. For a full list of the sites, visit’s_diggin’_sites. We will continue to update the page as Al adds new links to the rail in his column.   

We also post related sites to our Diversity at Work column to the Poynter page. You can find these sites at Read more


Monday, June 02, 2008

Join a Hunt for Quality ‘Media and Politics’ Stories

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Now that the election primary season is over and the national conventions are weeks away, journalists have time to do more than simply follow breaking news from the campaign trail.

We now have time to evaluate it.

The week of June 13, The Poynter Institute is teaming up with PolitiFact (a project of Poynter’s St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly) and NewsTrust to review the media’s political coverage. We hope to find the best journalism on the topic of “Media and Politics.”

Here is your chance to review the journalistic coverage you are consuming. For the next week, we’d like to encourage you to participate in our news hunt by signing up for NewsTrust. Each day you can review and/or submit two or three stories or videos you find online.

Throughout the week you can also view the top-rated “Media and Politics” stories reviewed by NewsTrust users. Read more


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Watch Walter Reed Seminars with Anne Hull and David Maraniss

We streamed and recorded two programs Tuesday about The Washington Post‘s investigation of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Our guests were Anne Hull, one of the two reporters who worked on the Pulitzer Prize-winning stories, and her editor David Maraniss.

In the first video, an evening talk open to the public, Poynter’s Bob Steele leads Hull and Maraniss through a thoughtful discussion of the Walter Reed project, war coverage in general and differences between the Iraq and Vietnam wars.

In the second video, a session called “Inside the Walter Reed Investigation,” Hull and Maraniss answer questions about the project from journalists attending the “Covering War at Home” conference.

Both videos are about an hour and a half long. Enjoy, and post your comments in the feedback area.

The Story of Our Time: A Community Conversation on Covering the War at Home

Note: To play the video, press the circular “refresh” button, which will restart the stream. Read more


Monday, Apr. 14, 2008

How to Create Facebook Applications

By Ellyn Angelotti
Interactivity Editor

Since I added the New York Times News Quiz Facebook Application to my Facebook page last fall, I have been envisioning what kind of Poynter Facebook Application we might create. But even with my basic HTML and programming skills, I cowered when I looked at the source code of a Facebook Application.

Until last week. We now have a Facebook Application that enables Facebook users to access Romenesko’s latest news from their profile page on Facebook.

How I did it
I’ve been checking out how news organizations create and utilize Facebook applications. A couple of weeks ago, I found some inspiration when I opened the San Jose Mercury News’ “Rethinking the Merc” application (the last post to this blog was in March). When clicked on the “About” page, I saw this:

Could I really make a Facebook Application in merely a few clicks?

I went to the Widgetbox Web site and saw I could make a Facebook Application based on RSS widgets. Read more


Friday, Mar. 28, 2008

Design is Done, Coding Under Way

By Jeremy Gilbert,
Managing Editor, Innovation & Poynter Online Redesign Project Leader

The design work is done.

The seventh version of Poynter Online has entered its final phase of development.

Incorporating months of feedback and several major iterations, we delivered design mockups last week to our programming team at DataGlyphics, Inc. We created mock-ups of major site areas, including the homepage, linked below, with each mock-up detailing how that part of the site will work.

Feedback from users and colleagues led to the final design. You’ll notice the final design still focuses on our most timely items, just as the initial design did, but in a vertical list instead of a horizontal scroll — as you recommended.

As we shared more of our prototyping process, you asked for more readable type and clearer headline hierarchies — which we worked on. When we discussed our ideas for journalism-focused social-networking, you told us how you wanted niche groups — and we are working to make that happen. Read more


Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2008

BlogNetNews: Aggregating Journalism Blogs

By Ellyn Angelotti, Interactivity Editor and Adjunct Faculty
Dave Mastio, Editor of

According to Technorati, 175,000 new blogs are born every day. Bloggers post 18 new updates every second.

This overabundance of options can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve been working with BlogNetNews to create the Poynter blog network. We want to direct you to what we think are the most informative journalism blogs. And we also want to make it easy for you to share the Poynter blog network with others.

BlogNetNews has been around for about a year creating blogging communities based on topic, such as politics, and location. You can select any state (for example see Virginia’s page) and find a collection of blogs from that area. They are teaming up with news organizations like the Knoxville News Sentinel to create hyperlocal community blogs.

We created the Poynter blog network as a guide to journalism and media news blogs.The Poynter blog network is divided into eight sections:

Read more


Monday, Mar. 17, 2008

Too Hot to Handle? See Diversity at Work

By Bill Mitchell
Director of Poynter Online

Some of the most interesting stories start out as ideas considered too hot to handle. They might offend someone. They might be misunderstood.  They might make people uncomfortable.

Stories about racial slurs, about sexual orientation, about affirmative action.

Those are the sorts of stories, among others, that we’ll be exploring in a new Poynter blog.

Building on the good work of former Poynter faculty member Aly Colón and others who powered the Journalism with a Difference column over the years, Naughton fellow Mallary Tenore has created the Diversity at Work
blog. (Thanks to Poynter Dean Keith Woods for coming up with the name.)

As we’ve done with Rick Edmonds’ Biz Blog (and as you’ll see soon in a couple of other upcoming new features), Diversity at Work reflects a new emphasis on timely, effective, engaging content that we aim to deliver with the new version of Poynter
Online. Read more


Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2008

NewsTrust: Assessing Users’ Trust in the News

By Ellyn Angelotti
Interactivity Editor

Journalists have been able to tell if users Digg their work, or even if users think the stories news organizations write are, but now they can find out how much users trust the news they are producing.

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NewsTrust provides new ways for journalists to see what people are saying about their work. It features an additional layer of functionality that lets users review content for journalistic value.

For the next week The Poynter Institute will be teaming up with PolitiFact — a project of Poynter’s St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly — in a partnership with NewsTrust for an online news hunt for stories about Media & Politics. Before you jump in and start submitting and reviewing stories, here’s a debrief on the tools NewsTrust provides.

What is NewsTrust?
NewsTrust is a Web site that lets users evaluate news stories, journalists and news organizations.
Read more


Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008

SuperVision: Jill Geisler’s New Blog for Leaders

Today we launched SuperVision, a new leadership column written by Jill Geisler, head of Poynter’s Leadership and Management Group. This blog is an evolution of the Leading Lines column. The main difference:  SuperVision will deliver more frequent posts, often featuring video.  Jill will offer quick tips and observations on leadership issues in the news, along with video illustrations.

Readers and viewers of SuperVision will find:

  • Hot topics with Jill’s take on real-life leadership scenarios in newsrooms and beyond.
  • Cool tips provide useful, at-a-glance ideas for managers, often with links to longer readings.
  • Help! Answers to questions submitted by those who manage — or are managed.
  • Leadership at Poynter with links to  upcoming Poynter leadership seminars.
  • Distance Learning through NewsU leadership courses led by Jill: Difficult Coversations and Lousy Listeners.
  • Leaders as Readers featuring book recommendations for leadership and management issues.

SuperVision is a natural next step for Jill, who is as comfortable on camera as she is teaching or writing.  “At its best,” she says, “SuperVision will be a mini-channel of daily information for newsroom managers.  I’m trying to weave my broadcast journalism skills with my love of leadership teaching.”

In bringing multimedia to her blog, Jill learned how to add basic HTML and upload photos to Poynter’s content management system. Read more