May 22, 2015

Links shared in Poynter’s internal Slack channel are quite frequently from Medium and almost always about journalism and media (although sometimes not.) So this week, we’re trying something new and gathering them up here. Throughout the week, let me know what you’re reading on Medium and we’ll try to include it next Friday, if we try this again. Here are six things about journalism from Medium this week (with thanks to Ren LaForme and Vidisha Priyanka for helping curate.)

Lessons on using WhatsApp for publishing — an election experience

On May 18, Paul Bradshaw wrote about how students at Birmingham City University used WhatsApp for election updates during the U.K.’s recent election.

Frankly… they nailed it. In the process they learned a lot, so I thought I’d share some of the things that came up throughout the process — as well as the experiences of the person responsible for the Mirror‘s political WhatsApp account in the week leading up to the election.

Bradshaw includes eight lessons learned.

A New Crowdfunding Campaign Connects Community, Small Businesses and Solutions Journalism

Also on May 18, Josh Stearns wrote for The Local News Lab’s page about a crowdfunding campaign from Manhattan-based The Lo-Down. Stearns, director of journalism and Sustainability for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, breaks down why the campaign is smart.

The project builds on years of terrific reporting by The Lo-Down on changes in the neighborhood. Since they were founded in 2009 The Lo-Down team have been documenting contentious real-estate, land use, and housing debates. However, with this project, Litvak and Rice are applying a solutions journalism approach to the reporting. If funded, this project will help strengthen their capacity to do this kind of ground-level reporting and give them the flexibility to test events and engagement activities with local residents.

How we covered the crash of Amtrak 188

On May 19, Billy Penn’s Editor Chris Krewson wrote a behind-the-scenes piece on how the site covered the Amtrak crash.

Beth, shod in one shoe, with no laptop, purse, or credit cards, was our heads-up about the crash of Amtrak 188 in Philadelphia. It was also what put us on the story, and provided the first real-time test of Billy Penn’s content strategy around curation, social media and original reporting.

Voices from Nepal: Earthquake survivors tell their stories

On May 20, cartoonist Jess Ruliffson shared on The Nib’s Medium page a collection of illustrations with reporting from Sarah Hunt. There’s no point in aggregating any of the quotes here. You need to see them with Ruliffson’s illustrations.

Here we are

On May 20, Andrew Losowsky wrote a post for The Coral Project, from Mozilla, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Losowsky, project leader, wrote about the project itself.

From the lead:

The Coral Project has been created to change how news publishers and audiences interact.

Right now, most sites struggle with finding meaningful engagement and controlling abuse. We’re going to build open source tools to empower both readers and publishers to reshape the conversation.

So you want to run a newsroom experiment

On May 21, NPR’s Eric Athas wrote about some personal lessons he has learned with experimentation. One lesson: Make some rules. Another: Break some rules.

Yes, some structure is important and helps you stay focused.

Here’s the tricky part: It can also kill the experiment.

If you over-engineer it, you’ll limit your ability to discover something you weren’t looking for in the first place. The purpose of structure is to create an environment where you can focus on experimenting and avoid distractions.

So create structure. Have a roadmap. State objectives. Just be flexible enough to throw some of it out halfway through because you learn something new or your assumptions are proven wrong.

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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