Monthly Archives: December 2006

Develop and use expertise

Robert Niles has posted a list of common web publishing errors, nothing technical, but good advice for newsrooms and others planning web initiatives.
Excerpt:
Over the past year, I’ve spoken with at least a dozen newspaper-dot-com
executives who’ve expressed frustration that their organizations are now playing
"catch-up" to amateur niche media due to their company’s obsession with
maximizing profits, in part by not funding new projects without immediate
revenue attached. That policy’s left too many newspapers with seemingly "safe"
but overly broad, voiceless websites that fail to engage the reading public,
just like their print parents.
–and–
Pick a topic, whether it be a business, hobby, field or neighborhood, that you
know well and can write about with authority. One of the conceits of the news
industry is that reporters do not need to have specialized training or knowledge
of the topics they cover – they just ask questions and let their sources provide
the information.
Read the whole article.

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Beyond the zipcode

The Cincinnati Enquirer (Gannett) has set up home pages for news from each community in its market. They are divided into newsroom-produced items and reader-generated items. Producers or editors prime the pump with contests (i.e., holiday lights). A list of all the communities served is here. Gannett listed m.e. Hollis Towns, among 15 selected for leadeship awards, saying, "Hollis was involved in the newspaper’s efforts to expand Get
Published!
, the launch of 184 Ohio/Indiana community Web sites and the
launch of the Data Desk."

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Filed under Hyper-local, User-generated content

Headlines by Zipcode

In Arizona, the Daily Star has started a web collection of headlines by zipcode. A click on any zipcode brings the reader to a collection of stories, and data on home sales and school test scores.

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Filed under DataBank, Hyper-local

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban on newspapers: If Google or Yahoo are immediate gratification for everything and anything
globally, Newspapers can be the library for everything and anything locally. The
attraction of Youtube isnt the quality of its content, its the breadth. You can
find anything and everything. Your website can be the same. Its what we did at
broadcast.com . We drowned them with volume and alternatives. We didnt care if
it was audio or video of a cat screeching, 2 people playing bridge or a cousin
telling jokes. We figured if there was enough choice, people would come back out
of curiousity to find out what was there. Only your newspaper can do the same
thing locally.

The interview you did with the high school basketball
player who went on to the nba, you are idiots if its not posted. The interview
with the cheerleader who went on to do Debbie Does Dallas 19, you are an idiot
if you dont have it up. Every interview from every high school football game,
lacross game, talent contest or 3rd grade recital shoujld be on the net. Who
else has the amazing library of great stuff that you have accumulated over the
years ? Your editors’ mundane is the high school kid discovering audio or video
about their parents and spending all day looking for more and telling all
his/her friends and family about the amazing and crazy stuff they found. Every
thing that isnt digital needs to get digital and every new piece of information
/story/feature/report/editorial needs to be digital an added to the website as
its found.

Then you take a page from Youtube and create a "related" or
recommended listing of stories in the paper that day or upcoming that would
refer people to the paper.

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Rob Curley and data

Rob Curley, the editor who had such a success in Naples, is now in Washington. According to Peter Krasilovsky, the next step is coming into focus: "Curley is working on “local, local, local”….and video too. None of “the trough
full of projects” that he’s been working on have been put up yet, Curley told
Barnako. But a key project is “very local,” presumably located in the suburbs
rather than the District; and features a big time database, using the FAST
search engine; SMS, audio and video."

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Filed under DataBank, Hyper-local

Newspaper next

The Newspaper Next project.

Here’s what the leaders said about it: "Newspaper companies have only begun to scratch their innovation potential. To
succeed, they have to learn to look at markets in new ways. They must invest to
create new capabilities and rethink the way they work individually and
collectively.

The mind-set shift starts with how they think about consumers. For a long
time, newspapers stood by as readership slid. Print executives tried to answer
the question, "How can we convince more people to read our paper?" But the
question has to be "What indispensable roles can we play in the lives of the
consumers we want to serve?" "– from Forbes

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Finding diamonds

Looking for websites that routinely collect recent examples of excellent journalism. Here are are a few:
1. Featured articles and essays posted regularly on a site maintained by the Nieman Narrative Digest.
2. The Casey center sends out an email list. Sign up for the daily or weekly list of articles from the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families.
3. Investigative Reporters and Editors compiles investigative articles on this page, Extra! Extra!
4. Health care stories are highlighted in a box in the lower left corner (under Hot Health Headlines) on the website of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
5. Similarly, the National Education Writers Association website has a list on the left side of recent articles.

6. A professor at the Medill j-school at Northwestern, Jon Marshall, keeps a blog that tracks what he calls News Gems.

Who knows of other well-curated examples?

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