June 14, 2017

In honor of my 100th column for Poynter, I thought I would list 99 things that I’ve learned, discovered, and uncovered over the past two years:

  1. If you have a podcast, it’s probably a good idea to also ask your audience to do something and report back to you — which makes them more engaged and also gives you more content for your next podcast.
  2. Not sure what people in your newsroom want to learn? Put up an easel with a big notepad in the corner and ask people to write what training sessions they’d like to have.
  3. Work in a small newsroom? Find some journalists at other newsrooms to form a Slack collective so you can brainstorm, get feedback, and find support with people who are likely doing the same things.
  4. Are you a student? Work in public. It may help you get a job.
  5. You can treat your social accounts like a homepage.
  6. Wondering whether a certain story is worth an interactive? Use these questions that Matt Liddy uses.
  7. Want to tell a political story that isn’t boring and gets your audience to engage and care? Pick one person — and tell the story through his or her eyes.
  8. Need a workflow management tool? You can use Excel for that.
  9. You can tell the same story in lots of different ways. Fritz Klug published an article, an explainer, an animated gif, a database, a video, an editorial, and a quiz to explain a complicated ballot proposal in Michigan. Each was designed to reach a different audience.
  10. Want a new idea to engage readers? Try installing an artist-in-residence, or creating a state-wide book club, or asking readers for help uncovering stories from the archives — all three ideas come from the Alabama Media Group.
  11. You can use Twitter to keep up with the most-retweeted ideas to come out of journalism conferences. Here’s how.
  12. Want a low-cost way to create a podcast? Stick a recorder in a quiet spot, add a cardboard sign, and voila! You have a decidedly low tech “Radio Box.”
  13. Dave Winer says, “If you want to be in the news business, you also have to be in the distribution business.” And a lot more thought-provoking statements on the way journalists may be able to distribute content.
  14. It’s very hard for journalists to cut the cord(s) and take a vacation.
  15. Need a pick-me-up? You can ask your audience(s) why local news matters. Or just read these.
  16. For archival purposes (and future historians!), you may want to routinely export your activity from social media platforms. Here’s how.
  17. Can’t attend a conference? That’s okay — you can likely follow through Slack and Twitter.
  18. If you record people in a taxicab for a story, be sure to use a very high quality internal microphone.
  19. Make every event at your organization a podcast. It creates a feedback loop between people going in person and people connecting and listening from afar.
  20. Covering a local election? Partner with other media organizations in your town or city – they might be reaching an audience you’re not, and vice-versa.
  21. Never be discouraged by no.”
  22. “I realized a long time ago that I was giving up certain things (like straight A’s), when I decided to pursue journalism.”
  23. Young or new journalist? “Experiment! Take more risks. In a high school or college newsroom, there is so much freedom.”
  24. You don’t need to be a journalist to cover local news. There’s a great newsletter about local news in Seattle written by a realtor.
  25. According to the 2010 Census, there are 5 million people in the United States between the ages of 85 and 94, and roughly 13 million people between the ages of 75 and 84. A 2014 Pew study shows that 37 percent of people older than 80 go online; that number jumps to 74 percent when surveying adults over 65. How do we design accessible experiences for them?
  26. News organizations should adopt HTTPS by default in order to better protect their readers.
  27. New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles housed almost one out of every five reporting jobs in 2014. Over the past decade — outside of those three cities — journalism jobs have shrunk by about 25 percent.
  28. Imagine the possibilities if a particularly good podcast episode — not show — with a niche but loyal audience was heard on hundreds of public radio stations.
  29. Want to engage your audience and ask a question everyone can answer? Start with this one: What’s the earliest news event that you remember? And who introduced you to the concept of news?
  30. We measure analytics internally at news organizations, but what if we designed analytics for the end user?
  31. Don’t call millennials lazy, particularly if they’re the audience you’re trying to go after.
  32. Think about the number of teenagers broadcasting to dozens from their bedroom on YouTube or a podcast. How could they benefit from a relationship with a local news entity — and vice-versa?
  33. If the Pope visits your town, you may have to camp out in your news organization’s office — or work from home.
  34. If you’re looking for programming for your airwaves, and also want to create deeper connections with your community, you can invite them into your studio to use your podcasting equipment.
  35. Thinking about membership programs? Look to Harley Davidson for inspiration.
  36. Looking to connect with your community? Hold an exhibit in a store-front art gallery.
  37. Want to learn GitHub? Here are some tutorials.
  38. New to journalism? Here are some Twitter chats and Slack channels to join.
  39. Want to get your creative juices flowing? Make it easier for people in different departments to mingle.
  40. Tired of headlines as push notifications? Here are some other ideas.
  41. Here are some of the most interesting open source journalism-related projects that you can learn from, improve, use and/or contribute to.
  42. Could we create more civically-engaged people by asking them to read the news as if it were a Bingo card?
  43. “It is in our best interest to share our finished work, obviously, but also to share our work in progress, and to share it especially with people who might take it, learn from it, and then spin it off into something completely different.”
  44. Want a unique sound for your podcast? Don’t prep your host.
  45. If you want to stay up to date with an event like the Iowa Caucuses, turn to the Iowa reporters who cover politics all year, every year.
  46. What’s the best way to cover the lead-up to a presidential race when some people will be satiated by a search query?
  47. Want to listen to non-English-speaking podcasts? Radio Atlas subtitles them.
  48. You can measure water quality using a sensor in a Gatorade bottle. Total cost? About $80.
  49. “While attending Open Data Day, I saw many examples of what I consider great local, civic journalism — work that gathered data, processed it and then told a story that would help people better understand their local community or government. I also saw many opportunities for journalists to fill in gaps, tell more nuanced stories using the uncovered datasets and collaborate with a community of technologists who may benefit from the context and storytelling skills that journalists have.”
  50. Let’s rethink what a comment section on a news website could aspire to be.
  51. “Below are all of the publications I’ve found that use the Creative Commons license. I hope this list is helpful for smaller newsrooms and inspires some organizations to make some of their material available for other publications to reuse or extend.”
  52. “Imagine a dashboard that measures how many local publications or stories we read on a weekly basis; or recommends local news if we’ve read too many pieces in national and international categories. Imagine a ‘streak’ where people try to read a local news story every day for a set period of time. This is how calorie counting on MyFitnessPal works; there’s no reason the functionality can’t be extended to the information we consume.”
  53. Here’s a list of questions that news organizations could ask before integrating third-party tools or collecting information from users through apps.
  54. The ad tech market has grown from about 150 companies to over 3,800 in just about five years.
  55. There’s a newspaper at the South Pole called the Antarctic Sun, and like many publications in our industry, it has transitioned from a daily print newspaper to a weekly print newspaper to its currently online-only incarnation.
  56. What data are news organizations providing to a third party? And what could the third party do with that data to target new or existing users?
  57. Design ways for your news apps to stay on your homepage — so that readers can find them days after the publication date.
  58. Ad blocking may cost U.S. media owners billions of dollars by 2020 – are we at a tipping point?
  59. Going on vacation this summer? Here’s a reading list to take to the beach.
  60. One way to engage audiences? Project the news onto the side of a building.
  61. A summer listening list featuring 18 children’s podcasts from public radio.
  62. What kinds of storytelling experiences can augment augmented reality?
  63. Here are 50 different ways to think about analytics.
  64. How do people in really rural parts of Alaska follow national news? Let’s ask them.
  65. When is it appropriate for paywalls to come down — and how might that change during election cycles?
  66. We often think of sharing in terms of posting to social networking sites, but there are ways to think of sharing more broadly, particularly amongst generations living within the same household.
  67. “Engaging with readers may keep news organizations alive longer, but engaging with people who are not like us helps us empathize with others, see other people’s perspectives and eliminate the hostile climate that pervades so much of our national dialogue.”
  68. Many college newspapers are reducing their days in print. Here’s what happened when six papers across the country published on alternative schedules.
  69. If you’re throwing a journalism conference, here are ways to make it intentional, welcoming and inclusive.
  70. What kinds of skills might journalists of the future need — and what resources can they use to get there?
  71. “The problem is that we keep trying to get people interested in our coverage and content when instead our coverage should be more interested in the public and its needs.”
  72. Your newsroom should keep in touch with your alums. Here’s why.
  73. For many news organizations, archiving material for easy retrieval is easier said than done — but it might be useful during an upcoming election.
  74. Is the media biased? Let’s ask someone who studies it for a living.
  75. “We really had to think hard about how to cover Trump in a way that only we could as the college paper of his alma mater. We thought: What can we do that the Times can’t? Who do we have access to that they don’t? And that was digging into his time here at Penn, his ties to it now, and this disconnect between how campus views him and how he leverages his Penn degree.”
  76. Are you covering the news around the clock? Take care of yourself. Here are ways to do that.
  77. There is no reason to have your entire masthead based in New York and Washington DC.
  78. You can use this template to cover the President’s tweets.
  79. “The newsletter means I’m not as reliant on Facebook or Twitter because I’ve built this moat of subscribers.”
  80. News organizations have come up with creative ways to cover the President’s potential conflicts of interest.
  81. Here are 42 ideas for your newsroom’s next newsletter.
  82. Do you want to jumpstart your career, or switch gears? There’s a newsletter detailing fellowship opportunities and grants for journalists.
  83. Journalists collaborate together a lot. Here are 56 examples.
  84. Parental leave policies vary considerably by newsroom, and even if there is leave, taking your full leave may not be “culturally acceptable.”
  85. One way to contribute to public media? Help correct errors in transcription archives.
  86. Here are five ways to cover the rest of the Trump presidency.
  87. “A goal of this project is to move past the transactional nature of information gathering into a more nuanced relationship based approach to information gathering and sharing. When there are relationships between journalists, newsrooms and other community members, community members have a direct line to uplifting stories and issues.”
  88. “If one of the roles of journalism is to promote accountability, then our reporting must not shield responsible actors through our syntactic structure.”
  89. “I live and work in ‘official’ Appalachia but that doesn’t mean my experience makes me an authority on the entire region that stretches from Mississippi to New York.”
  90. 50 ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.
  91. “Everyone understands LinkedIn or a resume — everyone understands a two-sentence elevator pitch on a person’s expertise. It’s a nugget of information that’s accessible. You don’t need to understand what bylines are to understand experience.
  92. Not everyone in a smaller market wants to move to a bigger market. Most of the journalists I know in NC don’t.
  93. Up to 90 percent of all radio broadcasts that aired between the mid-1920s and the mid-1980s were not saved or archived.
  94. A lot of people wrote about journalism after the presidential election. Here are 86 of them.
  95. Here are 28 ideas for covering the president-elect starting in January.
  96. A lot of people are burned out. How do we design the news for them?
  97. Is it possible for news organizations to optimize for trust at a time when there are so many “alternative” ways to see the news?
  98. A new collaboration between a news organization and a public library helped high school students realize the importance of both institutions.
  99. Here are five ways to make your journalism job descriptions stronger and attract the candidates you want to attract.
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Mel leads audience growth and development for the Wikimedia Foundation and frequently works with journalism organizations on projects related to audience development, engagement, and analytics.…
Melody Kramer

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