Articles about "Innovation"


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‘Serial’s’ twist on traditional crime reporting

serial-adnanNot many journalists would dare compare a convict’s big brown eyes to those of a dairy cow: “Could someone who looks like that really strangle his girlfriend? Idiotic, I know.”

Yet that’s exactly what Sarah Koenig, the reporter for the public radio podcast “Serial,” did while talking about one of her series’ main subjects. Her style mixes traditional reporting with think-out-loud observations and thoughts, which is why it’s both compelling and uncomfortable for journalists to listen to.

“We try to minimize the reporter’s voice,” said Justin George, a crime reporter from the Baltimore Sun. “She’s literally telling readers how she feels. Not what she’s seeing but how she feels, and that’s probably why she is grabbing readers.”

“Serial” is about the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a high school student in Baltimore County, Maryland, and the arrest and conviction of her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, who was sentenced to life in prison. Read more

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Today at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, a switch to digital thinking

Starting today, staff at the South Florida Sun Sentinel will have to think differently about how they report, write and present the news — and differently means digitally.

As of Tuesday, everyone but a designated team will focus solely on reporting and producing news online. A separate print production desk will then choose from what has been produced each day to create the next day’s printed newspaper.

“Realistically, it’s a change for a lot of journalists who are traditional newspaper journalists, who’ve made tremendous strides at being more multimedia journalists than they ever were, but still love the daily newspaper and love the cycle,” said David Schutz, design director, in a phone interview.

That cycle is changing now, he said, and “I think it’s a big mental change for a lot of people, especially more senior journalists, including me.”

It’s also a natural progression from a change made three years ago, when the Sentinel gave the print section editors responsibility of their sections online and merged the digital team with the newsroom. Read more

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Storify adds a way to collaborate on breaking news

Storify now has a way for journalists to collaborate on breaking news, Livefyre announced Tuesday. Storify Enterprise, which was previously Storify VIP, lets several people “simultaneously add text or content in real-time, see who else is working on the story at any moment and access the editing history to clearly identify what changes were made by whom,” according to a post on Livefyre by Samantha Hauser.

“Covering stories has always been a collaborative process, and that’s even more true when you’re sifting through huge volumes of social media for a breaking story or brand campaign. While part of the team seeks out great photos and quotes, others craft the story and give context,” explained Burt Herman, co-founder of Storify and vice president of editorial at Livefyre. “Storify Enterprise delivers on what our users have long wanted: true collaboration that enables everyone to easily tell stories together.”

Storify Enterprise is for larger customers and the cost varies per customer, Lynne Cox, vice president with Livefyre Communications, said in an email. Read more

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Omidyar’s First Look Media looking to find its focus, target an audience

Pierre Omidyar has issues. Several problems, actually.

The billionaire technologist, philanthropist, and publisher is stitching together a strategy for his weeks-old First Look Media group, and he’s grappling with some essential questions:

  • What’s the focus?
  • Will First Look be one big brand, or a confederacy of brands?
  • Will it serve a mass audience, or a niche audience?
  • Will it be “problem-pointers,” or problem solvers?
  • Can its journalism innovation match its technology innovation?

First Look Media launched in February with The Intercept, featuring Glenn Greenwald, who, while working for The Guardian last year, was the first to report on the National Security Agency’s far-reaching surveillance program. Greenwald practices what he calls “adversary journalism.”

The hiring of Greenwald has framed the public’s view of First Look. Many people, include journalists, thought that First Look was Glenn Greenwald.

In fact, The Intercept, which focuses specifically on national security and privacy issues at this point is just one of several digital magazines that Omidyar envisions. Read more

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Creative management (Depositphotos)

Building a creative news environment can be a matter of routine

Newsroom managers have always needed to be good jugglers. When someone asked how I was doing, I often answered:

“I’ve got a lot of balls in the air — and I’m trying not to let too many of them land on my head.”

But listen to managers talk today about their daily challenges, and the juggling metaphor no longer feels sufficient.

Not when they say things like, “I’m just trying to survive.”

With more work, over-stretched resources and frequently changing expectations for themselves and their staffs, managers say their top priority is to get the website updated, get the paper out, get the show on the air.

Just get the work done.

Notice what’s missing from that statement: “Get the work done … well.”

It’s implied, you say? Maybe. But I don’t think so. Too often, managers respond with a polite “you must be dreaming” to the idea of improving the work with more coaching, brainstorming or long-term planning. Read more

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What makes journalism ‘innovative’? Lessons from this year’s Scripps Howard Awards

What is innovation in journalism today? I heavily debated that question with Dan Gillmor and Retha Hill earlier this month while judging the Scripps Howard Awards at Poynter.

The 44 entries in the “Digital Innovation” category we were judging were some help. But not as much we had hoped.

The top of the list, thankfully, exemplified the award criteria of finding “fresh, engaging” ways to do great journalism. What does that look like? Think Snow Fall from The New York Times, which ended up winning the award. Big data projects from ProPublica, narrated graphics from the Los Angeles Times, the killer iPad app by Reuters, Bloomberg’s infographics, and News 21’s interactive video trailer presentation also had the judges uttering words like “stunning,” “mind-blowing,” “amazing” and “powerful.”

What set them apart from the rest of the entries was the way that each one found a creative — and effective — way to use a digital technique or tool to tell a story or convey information. Read more

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Critics ask if Times-Picayune, other Advance papers are ready for their new digital focus

Forbes | Reinventing the Newsroom | Newsonomics | The New York Times
There’s been much consternation about the stop-printing-daily part of the news from The Times-Picayune and Advance Publications’ three Alabama papers. But what of the “exciting changes” — the new emphasis on digital? There are skeptics.

The goal isn’t bad, writes John McQuaid, who used to work at the Picayune, but Advance has so far fumbled efforts to integrate its legacy and online operations.

The company, McQuaid writes, “has pursued a web strategy that is only lightly tethered to newsgathering.” Its websites often combine information from several newspapers and “are not very attractive and are notoriously difficult to navigate.” (Wade Kwon Storified reader reaction to the Alabama papers’ bloggy design after it debuted recently.)

At the TP, the intrinsic clunkiness has improved somewhat of late; but in spite of all the bold talk, jargon and corporate branding going on around online news, Advance has yet to provide a clear sense it’s committed to making a systematic move to the online news ecosystem, or that it “gets” digital news at all beyond the crude basics: more blogging, tweeting, video, mobile.

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Eric Newton: Journalism education suffers from ‘symphony of slowness’

Knight Foundation | Common Sense Journalism
Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president at Knight, didn’t hold back in his criticism of the state of journalism education in a speech last week. Although he praised a handful of schools that have revamped their programs to help chart the future of news, he spent a lot of time criticizing “the middle of the bell curve.”

With all due respect, journalism and communication education plays at least second chair, and sometimes first chair, in the symphony of slowness. What I mean is the reaction time to new things. Consider this: On one side of campus, engineers are inventing the Internet, browsers and search engines. But the news industry is slow to respond. Then public radio slower still. Foundations even slower. Government slower yet again. Then comes the journalism and communication schools, on the other side of campus from the engineers. And finally, public television.

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Monday reality check: Journalism is being replaced by lots of non-journalistic things

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Software developer Stijn Debrouwere is getting attention with a provocative post about how journalism is being replaced by other sources of information that provide a roughly equivalent service to users. Add up all his examples (he provides plenty) and you see how people are gravitating away from traditional news stories to answer questions about music, real estate, health care, neighborhood news and many other issues.

There are organizations and websites everywhere that are taking over newspapers’ role as tastemaker and watchdog and forum. These disruptors don’t replace investigative reporting, but they replace the other 95% of what made professional news organizations important.

This is not sharing cat pictures, this is stuff that matters. People can read the health section in their newspaper and get drip-fed badly researched advice about how to live a healthy life, or they can visit the NIH or the Mayo Clinic online, or create an account on one of the many bulletin boards about anything from fitness to dealing with cancer.

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TechRaking conference seeds journalism community with ideas from tech

Thursday’s “TechRaking” conference, sponsored by the Center for Investigative Reporting and Google, was not an experiment in transporting journalists into the world of ideas before reality smacked them back to the realm of the possible. No, it aimed to bring journalists and tech types together and see if they couldn’t find some way forward for investigative journalism, which many people claim to love and fewer and fewer news organizations can afford to fund.

Matt Stiles, a data reporter who works on NPR’s StateImpact project, told me over the phone that the conference gave him some ideas for news apps that can “help reporters and the public understand politics better.” For instance, he floated the idea of a Google Analytics-type site with customizable widgets that would let news consumers arrange data about campaigns — ad buys, coverage, social media. Perhaps reporters could use a more sophisticated version to find stories in all that data. Read more

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