Posts Tagged ‘election’
12 Aug

Running for ONA Board reelection

Comments off

In the four years I have served on the board, ONA has gone through some significant changes. And while I serve alongside some of the industry’s best and brightest leaders, I – humbly – would like to think I’ve played an active role in the organization’s positive changes.

During my time, I have tried to truly represent the diversity of our needs as members, from different skillsets to different backgrounds.

ONA is the one journalism conference that brings diversity in digital together. Whether we do social media or data or multimedia storytelling or something emerging, ONA brings us together in the hopes of sharing our knowledge and experiences with one another. ONA believes in the strength found in the sharing of our differences.

My work reflects this core mission:

  1. Teaching professors how they can be more digital, by co-teaching at Poynter’s Teachapalooza.
  2. Outside of my classroom, talking to students as a keynote for Journalism Association of Community Colleges and Associated Collegiate Press conference.
  3. With colleagues, recently re-launching the Diversify Journalism Project, which is on a mission to eliminate the we-can’t-find-a-digital-journalist-of-color excuse.
  4. #wjchat, more than four years old, continues to bring people together to nerd out about what we do. One recent highlight was an international edition with ONA Jerusalem.
  5. Sharing my work, most recently with my Glass Journalism class. No, I’m not a Glasshole. I’m a nerd that is putting on this dorky looking supercomputer on my face in the name of journalism… and sharing via Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress and IRL meetups.

What’s the point of gaining knowledge if you don’t share it? What’s the point of having access, if you don’t bring others with you? What’s the point of being part of an organization if your not actively participating?

With that in mind, I’d like to declare my candidacy for re-election.

And I’d like to call on you to do one simple act: participate.

How? Step one: vote.

I don’t care if you vote for me or for one of the other amazingly candidates are running, but please vote.

In addition to voting: Speak up.

Using your voice to express what you want from ONA is vital to the organization’s future and relevance.

Lastly: Act.

Don’t be on the sidelines simply complaining about or just benefiting from this community. Give back. In fact, take over. This is yours.

I’m asking for your vote.

I’m asking you for your voice.

I’m asking you to act.

This organization works for me. As a board member, I work for you. As a whole, this community works for us. I am proud and honored to have had a seat at the table shaping how this community grows and develops.

There is still more work to be done. I’d like to continue to help.

Categories: Journalism, ONA Tags: ,
18 Aug

Comparing presidential candidates’ fake Twitter follower accounts

Comments off

There have been a couple stories recently about using fake Twitter followers as a way to show influence in politics.

Thanks to the Status People, there is a way to check to see how many alleged fake followers you or other Twitter users have:

It’s not perfect, but it’s something.

It takes a “sample of your follower data. Up to 500 records depending on how ‘popular’ you are and assess them against a number of simple spam criteria.”

They also say that this tool is accurate for 10,000 followers or less. “If you’re very ‘popular’ the tool will still provide good insight but may better reflect your current follower activity rather than your whole follower base.”

You can read more about the Faker Followers tool here:

With those caveats in mind, here are screenshots of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates:

Presidential candidates:

Out of Obama‘s 18,653,463 followers, 7,088,316 are identified as fake accounts following. Out of the 868,277 that follow Romney, 173,655 are considered fake, by the site.

On the flip side, that’s 4,849,900 “good” accounts following Obama and 425,456 following Romney. We’ve leave out the inactive ones.


Vice-presidential candidates:

That’s 22,491 fake accounts among the 112,455 following Biden and 52,916 fake ones among the 203,523 accounts following Ryan.

The “good” accounts are 42,733 for Biden and 77,339 for Ryan.

Truthfully, there are no real conclusions to make here… just some numbers/stats to look over.

NOTE: I took the “test” and am proud to say that only 3 percent of my followers are fake.

16 Aug

What does Google’s autocomplete say about the 2012 U.S. presidential election?

Comments off

As we know, Google’s mission “is to organize the world’s information” and one of the most influencial ways they help their users is through their suggestions via their autocomplete feature.

Autocomplete suggestions occur when you begin typing out a search. According to Google, it’s “algorithm predicts and displays search queries based on other users’ search activities and the contents of web pages indexed by Google.”

So, I was curious. What are Google users routinely searching for when it comes to the candidates for president and vice president?

Here are screen grabs displaying the current suggestions:

Google autocomplete results for Barack Obama


Google autocomplete results for  Mitt Romney


Google autocomplete results for Joe Biden


Google autocomplete results for Paul Ryan

Search details: These searches were done on August 16, 2012 at around 2:30PM PT. I used a “reset” Safari browser. I reset the browser before each search. I was not logged into Google. I did these searches from my office USC campus, in Los Angeles.

Guessing from the results, these suggestions change over time, reflecting the larger news of the moment.

02 Nov

Election night newsrooms

Comments off

Here’s a photo roundup of some newsrooms from across the country. Thank you to everyone for sending me your pics. I hope you had fun and ate decent pizza.

The Seattle Times // via @joeruiz


The Oakland Press, Pontiac, Mich. // via @PaulKampe


The Detroit News // via @kimberkoz


The Christian Science Monitor // via @andrewjh


The Wichita Eagle // via @GrammarMonkeys


Wicked Local, Needham MA // via @NeedhamTimes // via @karenmcallister


KOMO News // via @jenkuglin


The Denver Post // via @schneidan


DaggerPress // via @DaggerPress

Our “mobile” newsroom – outside campaign hq in 40* weather in the back of a truck on a wicker sofa


CNN iReport // via @Twheat


The Star News Online // via @StarNewsOnline
They maintained a behind-the-scenes blog election night.


Kitsap Sun // via @adice


KXLY // via @kxly


NPR // via @acarvin

There are other great photos from Andy’s Flickr feed. // via @MAlexJohnson


Q13FOX // via @Q13FOX


25 Oct

Tips and tools to innovate with during election night coverage

Comments off

NOTE: Originally ran on Online Journalism Review:

In our world, there is no better story that reflects the power and value of good journalism like an election.

Regardless of the medium, the stories from an election can include investigative pieces, people profiles, contextual stories, and, because politicians are so colorful, stories of the weird.

Put these under an umbrella of breaking news and see us do our thing.

The midterm elections are just around the corner and they have proven to live up to a newsy season. By now many of us have established a general plan for election night coverage.

But to help foster innovation and advancement in journalism, last’s week #wjchat, a weekly chat about Web journalism held through Twitter, had its first Elex Exchange where we shared ideas and tools to help with this year’s coverage.

Inspired by the chat, here’s a list taking advantage of the latest technology to help election.

TWITTER // reporting + distribution
It’s a basic tool that should be part of your daily journalism routine, but Twitter is still best tool for covering a real-time news event, especially when covering breaking news or election.

As written before, Twitter is the tool to help you find sources and trends in real-time. Either by zip code or by topics/keywords, make sure you are using and monitoring Twitter throughout the election. Use a Twitter-client like TweetDeck with predetermine searches that you occasionally check on.

The next basic minimum is to have a Twitter feed on your homepage specifically for the election coverage. No programming is required to create this widget, you just need to decide whether you want public tweets with a hashtag or you want to create a list of the accounts that will appear in the feed.

Either way, Twitter has got you covered with their ‘goodies.’ Make sure you take the time to customize the colors to have it match your site design.

If you haven’t yet, check to see if a hashtag or hashtags relating to your local races have been created by the community. If no one has, create them right away. If someone beat you to it, don’t worry and embrace them… but either way start using them NOW!

This simple act gives you a head start in becoming the lead authority on these races, in social media and beyond.

Take a page from the Pulitzer Prize winners for Breaking News,, and get in the habit of creating and using hashtags when covering all types of news.

FOURSQUARE // geolocation + distribution
This election season, news outlets should create ‘check-in’ places for polling locations in their town. The geolocation community is small but growing and will be checking in as they go to vote. Like a hashtag, if you don’t create a location, they will.

Become the leader in coverage by not only creating the locations but add a tip (Ex. Tip links to LAT story about Venice Beach fight) that links back to your site’s live, active, up-to-date election coverage.

Remember, by having these locations, you can also find potential sources as they check in to the venues.

USTREAM // live streaming
Who says TV broadcast gets to have all the fun with their live coverage. Okay, it may not be your idea of fun, but live streaming is a tool more newsrooms need to embrace. No expensive satellites required, services like Ustream allow you to do a live shot from your newsroom with a laptop and camera or from your smart phone.

Stream the candidates’ celebratory or concession speech election night live straight onto your homepage. It’s easy and it should be another standard tool in your journalistic toolbox.

CROWDMAP // crowdsource reporting + mapping
This tool comes from Sarah Day Owen, #wjchat colleague and Augusta Chronicle‘s Social Media Editor, who heard about it from the new hyperlocal site TDB in Washington D.C. She is hoping to experiment with this tool that takes crowdsourced information from cell phones, news and the web and maps them.

This application, originally built to crowdsource crisis information, begs to be used by news outlets, especially for something like election coverage. It’s free and pretty simple to setup… so you still have time to pull this off. Even if you don’t get participation from the community, get your reporters to file dispatches.

STICKYBITS // social media + user-generated content
I recently wrote about this tool and want news organizations to experiment with it, so here’s a second pitch.

Like Twitter’s hashtag or FourSquares’s digital makers, create your own barcode and literally post it at as many polling places in your town, asking a question (Ex.: What do you hope comes out of this election?) and a note encouraging them to download the stickybits app and upload their responses. See if you get people in your community adding election related “bits” – video, text, photos, audio, etc. – to your barcode.

IMAPFLICKR // user-generated photos + geolocation
Okay, so getting the community to download an app to scan a barcode then post a message is a sizable hurdle (I know, but try it anyway!), so here is a simpler tool that takes a Flickr feed and maps it.

In other words, you can open up a Flickr account and have people submit photos from polling places and get them mapped. Like the Twitter feed, no programming is required and the biggest decision you have to make is whether or not you make this a public or staff driven feed.

PHOTOSYNTH // photo + crowdsourcing + magic
This tool, originally created by the University of Washington before it was purchased by Microsoft, is something I’ve been trying to push into newsrooms’ toolboxes for years. It finally made its mainstream debut with CNN’s “The Moment” in 2008, but hasn’t been used much in news since.

It may not work perfectly in this scenario, but I would remiss if I didn’t mention it. PhotoSynth takes a collection of photos – from different contributors – of one location and “stitches” them together to create a virtual experiment.

So, let’s say we’re at a candidate’s headquaters for the party… take a ton if photos of the scene, throw them into this program and post an experience like no other. It’s more powerful if you crowdsourced the images.

STORIFY // social media + curating (Invitation required)
The great thing about Twitter and other social media networks is the real-time stream of content that flows out of them, often like a fire hose of information. The bad thing about these tools is the content can get drowned out rather quickly. Storify, who’s creator we profiled recently, is a tool that let’s you build a story through social media elements, adding context and comments around elements from Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and more.

You create an article on their site, but you embed the created piece on yours. It’s in beta and there are a few limitations with it, but if you want to tell the story of how the election night was covered through social media, this is the tool to use.

Do you have a tool you plan to use? Have you experimented with these? What examples of great election coverage have you seen? Make sure you add your thoughts and experiences in the comments, before and after the election.

Robert Hernandez is a Web Journalism professor at USC Annenberg and co-creator of #wjchat, a weekly chat for Web Journalists held on Twitter. You can contact him by e-mail ( or through Twitter (@webjournalist). Yes, he’s a tech/journo geek.

11 Jun

Polls open for the NAHJ election; Who I’m voting for

Comments off

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ (NAHJ) conference is about a week away and among the numerous activities is the Board of Directors election.

I’ve had the privilege to serve on the board for about three years, and, as I look over the candidates, I know the organization is in good hands.

Here are my thoughts on the candidates and endorsements… well, endorsements on some of the races.

:: At-Large Officer, Online

This race is first because it’s the position I am leaving behind.

I’ve had the honor of knowing and working with both the candidates for some time. Each brings a great deal of experiences to the board… but for me there is one clear choice.

Hiram Enriquez is also a model Web journalist. This guy is the real deal, with experiences working with CNN, Yahoo! and now Univision. He’s one of the forces behind the excellent panels and workshops we’ve offered at the convention in recent years.

Patricio Espinoza is the model of a hyperlocal journalist struggling to make it with his several sites, including He has served on the board as the At-Large Officer, Spanish Language.

For me, I have to admit that I have been deeply disappointed with the tone of his campaign. Let’s hope it’s in the past.

Who gets my vote: Hiram Enriquez

Why: He is converged in multiple ways. Bilingual, hard-working, well-connected, seasoned Web journalist. We’re lucky he’s a candidate for our board… I know he is being recruited by others.

:: President

For the presidential race, I’ve known these two amazing journalists for years and think they are fantastic candidates. Let me get this out of the way… I’m undecided on who I endorse.

Hugo Balta has been on the board as long as I have, I believe. A victim of the hostile time in our industry, getting laid off, but someone who won’t give up on journalism or the importance of our organization.

There are some topics, and sometimes approaches, that I don’t necessarily agree with, but this guy’s a fighter… and he’s thoughtful when he speaks. He’s going to fight for you and the organization.

Michele Salcedo is a journalism and NAHJ veteran. She too has gone through layoffs and has stuck it out in this downright volatile time, most recently becoming an editor The Associated Press.

I have to admit, I had a concern based on a comment she made about wanting to change people for access to our tweets. But, we talked about it… like many journo veterans, she is protective of our content and wants to ensure we have a stronger footing then where we are.

She’s served in pretty much every role NAHJ has to offer, so she knows our organization. She’s going to get things done.

Who gets my vote: [UNDECIDED]

Why: They are two great candidates!


:: Vice President, Broadcast

I’ve known both of these candidates for a few years, serving on the Board with Manny this past year. I’ve seen their engagement with the organization and both bring valuable experiences to this position.

Manuel De La Rosa, reporter at KII-TV (Corpus Christi, TX), is a hard worker, USC alum and die-hard L.A. fan. He’s served his region well, most recently organizing a conference there.

Mekahlo Medina, anchor/reporter at KNBC-TV NBC 4 News Raw, to me represents the future of broadcast. He’s on the cutting edge and has shared those skills with our student projects. Did you see the promo he made – unsolicited – for last year’s conference? Awesome.

Who gets my vote: Mekahlo Medina

Why: The student projects have a special place in my heart. I co-ran the online one for six years. I know the passion and commitment it takes. If you do that leadership role, you earn a spot on the board in my book. Plus, like I said, this guy is the future.

:: Vice President, Print

Gustavo Reveles Acosta, board member and reporter at El Paso Times, would get my vote even if he weren’t running unopposed. This guy cares. This guy works hard. This guy is a hilarious and wonderful person. We’re so lucky he has served and will serve on our board.

Who gets my vote: Gustavo “Goose” Reveles Acosta

Why: He’s brilliant! Thank him for his serve when you see him at the convention.

:: Financial Officer

Russell Contreras, reporter for The Associated Press, is also someone who would get my vote even is he weren’t running unopposed. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Russell for years and consider him a friend and Web journalism colleague.

Loved his 80s references in the video he made, but don’t agree with the perceived CCNMA beef he invoked. Those are old wounds we don’t need to reopen.

In these tough financial times, this is perhaps one of the most important positions on the board… and I’m glad someone like Russell is going to take on those responsibilities.

Who gets my vote: Russell Contreras

Why: I’ve admired his work and commitment to the organization for years. Plus, he included Ah-Ha in his video ad.

:: Secretary

Erin Ailworth, staff writer for The Boston Globe, is someone I hope to work closer with in the future. I don’t know her well, but am sure she’ll be a good addition to the board.

Who gets my vote: Erin Ailworth

Why: Erin is on Twitter and listed on

:: At-Large Officer, General

Rebecca Aguilar, a freelancer based in Dallas, is someone I’ve kept my eye on for sometime. She won Broadcast Journalist of the Year Award in 2007. She most recently has dove head first into blogging and multimedia.

J. Israel Balderas, a freelancer in Washington D.C., I don’t know much about. I’m sure he is a solid candidate and will serve the board well.

Who gets my vote: Rebecca Aguilar

Why: To me, she represents my vision of this position… someone who represents so many of our membership. Broadcast, freelance, laid off and experimenting on Web.

:: At-Large Officer, Spanish Language

Ada Alvarez, a freelancer in Washington D.C., is a force. If you have not gotten one of her emails or seen her work, let me tell you she works hard… non-stop… driven by passion. She previously served as the student representative.

Who gets my vote: Ada Alvarez

Why: She’s driven and passionate. I get more emails from her about NAHJ, than NAHJ. I think that’s a good thing.


:: Student Representative

Jose Antonio Acevedo, Universidad De Puerto Rico; Jacqueline Guzman, California State University, Northridge; Alejandra Matos, University of Texas El Paso.

I am note eligible to vote in this race and honestly don’t know the candidates… so, like completing my March Madness bracket, I’ll back someone for some random reason. I have a special place in my heart for CSUN. I grew up about a block away and my mom worked in the food court when I was in college.


:: Proposed bylaw changes

Should the bylaws of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists be amended to upgrade the position of At-Large Officer for New media to Vice President for Online?

My vote: HELLS YES! (Although it should be called Digital or Web instead of New Media)

Should the bylaws of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists be amended to expand the Board of Directors to include an Academic Officer At-Large?

My vote: Yes

Should the bylaws of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists be amended to give the Student Representative on the Board of Directors the right to vote?

My vote: Yes

Whether you agree with my choices or not, please go vote!

Help shape the leadership that will guide NAHJ through these incredibly difficult times. The polls are open up until the end of the convention.

Click here to access Election Logon Screen


Categories: NAHJ Tags: , ,