Friday, April 18, 2014

The Twitter Hashoff

Apparently, I did well on a Twitter Hashoff, which:

1. Has nothing to do with recreational marijuana, much to my surprise; 
2. I did not know I was participating in; and 
3. I did not know was a thing. 

Power to the hashtags.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Making a table, part 2

Welding on the job. Do I get hazard pay?

A look ahead: My monthly favorite digital journalism tools

My latest favorite technological innovation. This is what we modern
journalists call a "typewriter." It is like a pen and paper, except it also
plays a really cute clicking sound when you write.

Starting next month, I will begin writing a monthly column for, featuring my favorite digital journalism tools and how to use them. 

If you don't already read, check it out. Don't worry if you forget; I will harass you regularly to make sure you do. 

What is NetNewsCheck? According to its website: covers the revolution in local media as it plays out online and on mobile. Readers are digital chiefs and senior executives competing at newspaper, TV, radio and Internet pureplay companies, as well as national media companies, such as ESPN, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, competing in local markets.

Trend stories, interviews, profiles, commentary and regular features punctuate continuously updated breaking news, written, edited and compiled for senior executives and digital media decision-makers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What makes for a successful editor-reporter relationship in this new age?

From a reporter's perspective:

  • Shared values for digital emphasis.
  • Fearlessness, trust and mutual respect. The understanding of the difference between acting and reacting. 
  • Willingness to learn new things and try new things, and the constant curiosity and motivation to grow and change. 
  • A reliable, reciprocated follow-through of promises, balanced with a healthy dose of flexibility. 
  • Excellent communication through a variety of different mediums: chat, email, text, phone, Skype, shared documents on Google Drive, traditional planning documents and even occasional in-person contact. The ability to listen.
  • Strong self-motivation and organization. 
  • Respectful pushing past comfort zones and healthy challenges to keep things fresh. 
  • A strong ethical foundation that fosters trust, accountability and freedom. 
  • Gratitude.
Most of these are also the same traits I think go into any healthy relationship, whether professional or private. Trust, respect, curiosity, communication, gratitude.

I also asked two of the best editors I've ever had what they think. Here's what they said:

Kevin Huhn, features editor: 
Perhaps I'm too old school but I don't think it has changed. 
Both sides have to listen to each other's ideas and not be too quick to dismiss something without fully considering it. Something can look on the surface as if it might not work but it actually might work with a tweak or two.
Both sides also need to realize they are a team and need each other to succeed.
This shouldn't be as difficult a process as some folks make it.

Cindy Sutter, Essentials (food and fitness) editor: 
I think brainstorming in advance about how to handle the story and what kinds of things work, both visually and in words. If the reporter knows what she's doing, the editor's job is to encourage and add ideas, then get out of the way. If the reporter needs more guidance, then the editor should offer it.

What do you think?

Lessons from the transition into 'Digital First' journalism

I feel fortunate to be a professional journalist right now. I've had the chance to experience:

  • traditional journalism, where my daily newspaper only put on story on the web per week and the process of reporting and news judgment was completely print-focused (Reporter-Herald, 2000-01); 
  • the rocky transition into digital (where I heard journalists say things like, "I don't have a Twitter because I don't like Twitter" -- as if that's an acceptable explanation!); 
  • and some of the nation's bravest and most exciting experimentation in digital journalism -- even at great risks (the Thunderdome project, which has come to an end but was by no means a failure, using my favorite definition of success, as stated by the wise author Earl Nightingale: "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal").
The lessons are endless and ongoing, but here are a few that have helped shape my career and and values:

  • Don't be afraid -- to ask questions, experiment, offer suggestions. Don't be afraid to fail.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What are your search keywords?

SEO continues to baffle many people.
I mean, who would have thought these search keywords would be the top two searches that led people to this site?
You learn something every day.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I made a table. And Storify slideshowed it.

Some stories beg for digital pieces. Like this story I'm writing about Soulcrafting, a new service that connects people in the community with master craftspeople for intimate help on completing a hand's on project.
Like building a table.
Which I started helping with today, so I could do this photo and video slideshow, below.

A Storify slideshow is the easiest solution to a slideshow. Simply drag and drop the posts from Instagram or Twitter into Storify, publish and add /slideshow at the end. Donesies. Or publish and switch the template to "slideshow."

Here's the regular Storify version, too (and embedded after the page break).

Part 2 on Monday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Our new mini, regional, digital-centric features 'syndication' experiment

This. Is. Exciting!

Initiated from the ground-up (from the reporters, not editors, which makes this particularly interesting), we have decided to band three different newspapers' efforts together to organize regional, digitally focused features stories whose production rotates between the different newspapers. 

Who is involved: 

Why this is different: 

In the past, we have always had features departments for each newspaper. I have done my occasional digital-first features, so has the Times-Call and so has the Reporter-Herald. 

I think of this as a mini, regional, digital-centric features syndication system -- with the potential to grow to a statewide digital features syndicate.