Category Archives: technology

Seminar to focus on newspaper newsrooms

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be blogging and tweeting (@marducey) from the Beyond the Newsroom Seminar being sponsored by the American Press Institute and The Poynter Institute.

The seminar focuses on ways newsrooms are tackling providing quality journalism in cash-strapped times. Speakers include author and media blogger Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine, and Charles Lewis of the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

I’m looking forward to learning about ideas being worked on in the newsroom trenches and to sharing that with you. I’d be remiss if I did not thank the James H. Ottaway Fellowship program for making it possible for me to attend API’s seminar.

If you are a jounajunkie like me, I encourage you to check out the American Press Institute’s offerings. In addition to opportunities to learn about the newspaper industry, the group offers a number of fellowships to make its programs accessible.

I’m in love with iWeb

True confession: I went from Mac Hater to Mac Lover in the course of one hour.

I’m a PC person — I use PCs at home and, most of the time, at work. I do, however, teach one class on Macs. It was like trying to speak a foreign language. I’d try to hit my shortcut buttons and they didn’t work. Everything was in a different place. I didn’t know what I was doing, and quite frankly, blamed the Mac instead of me.

And then last week I was introduced to iWeb, the fabulous web site creation program on Macs. I’m in love. The designs (most of them, anyway) are beautiful and it is incredibly easy to use. Although I know HTML and CSS, I didn’t have to use any. And that got me thinking: What if this program — or one like it — could be used on multimedia news sites?

Not only would the sites be cleaner and easier to use for the news consumer, but it also would be easy for almost anyone on staff to update and tweak the sites. (Admit it, most news sites are not beautiful.)

And now I’m off to figure out a way to talk my husband into getting a Mac … 🙂

Project for Excellence in Journalism site must see

If you’ve never been to the Project for Excellence in Journalism web site, you are missing a lot.thumbsup

I’m hooked on the Weekly News Coverage Index, which examines what stories get the most coverage. But there’s so much more there for journajunkies like me.

For researchers, downloadable data on close to 71,000 news stories are available. For journalists, teachers and students, a list of journalism resources. For the curious, an annual State of the News Media report.

Page after page is full of information about journalism and what gets covered. It’s a journajunkie’s dream.

Viewing those missing web pages

Have you ever googled a name or group only to find that the page you want has been changed or removed?

I learned a cool trick to solve that problem from one of my students, Amanda Seef.

Use Internet Archive, put in the URL and voila!

It worked for me. I had googled a person’s name, and the page with all his biographical information had been removed. I put the URL for that page into Internet Archive and up the page came.  I printed it out and had the information I needed.

Thanks, Amanda! It just goes to show that teachers can learn a lot from their students, too.

Best of the Blogs for Teaching Journalism

I’m starting a new occasional feature here focusing on some good reads for journalism teachers. I will be sharing these blog posts with students in my journalism and web design classes.

Gina Chen’s Open Letter to Newspapers at savethemedia. She writes about what she wants from newspapers from the perspective of a newspaper reader, not a journalist. It’s excellent.

Mark Luckie’s Why Journalists Should Learn to Code at 10,000 Words. It’s difficult for journalism students to understand why knowing HTML and CSS might give them an edge. After all, it’s the story that matters, right? Luckie does a great job of explaining why coding matters.

Erica Smith’s Multimedia Toolkit:  55 Sites You Should Know About at graphicdesgnr. This will save me hours — literally — and give me lots of cool new tools to show my students.

Thanks to all for making the life of this journalism teacher a little easier and for making classes more interesting and relevant.

WGRZ-TV’s multimedia coverage of crash

WGRZ-TV in Buffalo has had amazing multimedia coverage of the plane crash in Buffalo that killed 50. At its site, you can watch local TV coverage live as well as get updates on everything from some of the names released to a Facebook group formed for people to come together to support one another.

When going to commercial, the anchors are continuing to talk to online viewers, addressing them directly and telling them what is coming up next. Right now, at 10:54 a.m. Friday, more than 3700 online are watching the live feed.

Name 14-year-old accused of shooting cop?

A police officer in Rochester, NY, was shot in the head while walking away from a group that police had questioned but not arrested.  Three days later, a 14-year-old turns himself into police, according to police and judicial officials at a press conference. They did not name him during the press conference.

The child (and to me, a 14-year-old is a child, not a man) pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault and second-degree attempted murder. Although charged as a juvenile, his case is in adult court and his name was in The Democrat & Chronicle’s news story Feb. 4 and his photo was on the web site. His face and name were also all over R-News, WHEC-TVWOKR-TV and WROC-TV.

The child had been in trouble with the law before this and had not reported to the people supervising him since April 2008, according to the D&C. The D&C’s editorial board is right to ask, “How is it that a 14-year-old can go for nearly a year without reporting for adult supervision as required?”

I’m not sure, however, that the D&C and other Rochester area news media are right to use this child’s name and image. He is innocent until proven guilty and he is 14. Just because journalists have the name and image does not mean they should use them.

The shooting has been an emotional story that has gripped the Rochester, NY, region. Prayers, donations and messages of support for the police officer and his family rightfully abound.

My concern is that, after the media coverage, this child, regardless of the verdict, will never be seen as anything but an attempted cop killer. Some of the people posting reactions to today’s D&C story are already calling for the death penalty and talking as if he has been convicted. This child has already been sentenced for life.

College Media on Twitter

Ah, the power of social media. ‘Tis mahvelous.

I asked a question about college newspapers and twitter today on the College Media Advisers list serv. A short time later, Innovation in College Media pulled together a list of college media on Twitter. How fabulous! If you know of any, please visit the site and enter the info. It would be great to have one-stop repository for this information.

FYI, I also found a list of college newspapers that Twitter on college rag.

WNY and CNY media on Twitter

Carlos Granier-Phelps at NewMedia Strategy has a great list of news organizations on Twitter. The list is updated with comments by posters aware of other media on Twitter. (Erica Smith has a similar fabulous list with many newspapers on twitter here.)

This got me thinking:  What Western New York and Central New York news media are on Twitter? I know the Buffalo News is not, or at least not that I can find. (Come on, Buffalo News, Syracuse University’s Daily Orange is on twitter but you are not?!).

Here’s my list. If you know of any that I left out, please let me know.

Buffalo area

Buffalo News: none found

WIVB-TV: @news4buffalo

WGRZ-TV: @2onyourside

WKBW-TV: none found

Rochester Area:

Democrat & Chronicle: @DandC

WROC-TV: @news_8

WHEC-TV: @news10nbc

WHAM-TV: @13WHAM

R News: @R_News

Syracuse Area:

The Post-Standard: @syracuse.com and @PostStandard

(Many PS writers, editors and sections are also on Twitter, too.)

WTVH-TV: none found

WSYR-TV: @newschannel9

WIXT-TV: none found

WCNY-TV: none found


To e-mail or not to e-mail, that is the question

To my surprise, a post I wrote yesterday praising The College at Brockport‘s student newspaper, The Stylus, for getting the news of the spring concert act out to students over the break sparked some debate.

Dan Reimold at College Media Matters questioned the need for an e-mail alert to the story as opposed to simply posting the news on the web site. I appreciate his feedback. I’d like to clarify  that quite frankly I believe the e-mail alert was necessary because this is occurring during the break and students and members of the college community would not be checking the student newspaper web site for updates when they know the students aren’t there working on the next issue. (Full disclosure: I am the newspaper’s adviser, but knew nothing of the story or e-mail until I received the e-mail.)

I don’t think those receiving the e-mails would view them as cluttering their mailboxes. The community here would see this as big, breaking news. Maybe in New York City or San Francisco or a huge university this would not be big news, but here in Brockport it is. (And please don’t take that as a sign that The Stylus is a sleepy little paper. It’s not.)

Part of determining the importance of news and even what is news is knowing your community. I certainly don’t slight Mr. Reimold for not being familiar with Brockport. I just want to offer some clarification as to why I think it is fantastic that Stylus editor Amanda Seef broke the story over the break, with the first newspaper of the semester still weeks away. She got the story, didn’t wait for the announcement to be “officially” released by the college and recognized that this would be important enough to her readers to alert them. That is good journalism.