Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Journalism’
02 Aug

Mediatwits #89: Google Glass: Revolutionizing News or Public Annoyance?

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I joined a the PBS podcast to talk about Glass + Journalism.

For those interested, I am maintaining a Tumblr about my Glass journalism experience here: http://glassjournalism.tumblr.com/

My latest tweets via the @GlassJournalism Twitter account:

24 May

My Google Glass app ideas for different news orgs



Google Glass is clearly in its early stages, but it is emerging as a platform that merits our attention as news and information distributors.

The NYTimes has an app, but I think it really falls short of understanding and using this new platform.

Inspired by Thomas Baekdal‘s Google Glass for news post, here are my Glass app ideas for other news orgs… to help spark ideas and conversation.

These app ideas are practical and based on reality… not hypothetical futuristic dream apps.

// LATimes (or any regional/local news org)
Offer the Glass user an app card with trending/editor selected keywords/topics. The Los Angeles Times already does the keyword selection with their sub-navigation called “trending now.” Today’s (5/23) included: L.A. Mayor’s race, U.S. drones, Boy Scouts, London Attack, Helen Mirren, Lebron James.

Via Glass, the user could say, “Okay LATimes, tell me about [TOPIC]” and it will load the headline and nutgraph… it will of course offer a longer version of the story, perhaps in audio form.

Newspapers and print media also have an opportunity with Glass to embed and launch multimedia elements like videos or photo galleries from their print pages. ​That QR code may finally have value!

 

// NPR
This one, for now, is the most traditional app to do. The app is a card that plays, when a user opts in, the latest Hourly News Summary that is traditionally read on the air.

These apps are fairly simple tapping into the existing technology and framework. These do not are not “futuristic” apps. Naturally, if we tap into the GPS, we can create an app that brings you the latest news from “around you.”

 

// @BreakingNews (or other breaking news Twitter accounts)
The obvious option for this essential Twitter account is just to notify the Glass user with every breaking news tweet… but that can be overwhelming.

I’d suggest creating an app where the tweets that get the most retweets at a faster rate get a category of “important,” and those items notify the Glass user. Think of the classic breaking news interruption.

 

// Circa news app
This new news platform is actually a great fit for Glass. They have broken down a story into bullet points, and they add points to the story as it develops. It knows what you’ve read about the story when you return.

What they should offer is a list of headlines, and, as you do know, you can follow the story for updates. Their app would notify you when a story has been updated. Since the information is a bullet point, it wouldn’t be overwhelming.

 

// Newsbound
This visual-storytelling platform presents information like a PowerPoint presentation, but it’s compelling. What’s also powerful about this format is that these slides add up to tell a long form piece.

Yes, long form storytelling for Glass.

 

// SoundGecko
If a visual version of long form doesn’t work, check out SoundGecko, which converts text — any text — into audio.

Yes, at this stage it’s like Siri trying to read you a story, but when you are on the go and you actually want to consume a long form piece, this new technology may be good enough.

 

Well, since I am pitching Glass app ideas, here are some more “future” and obvious ones:

  • Eventually be apps that are ​GPS aware to give information/news feeds.
  • Based on video’s audio as a timeline, tie bonus material content to the broadcast news story. (This already happens with DVDs/movies and will eventually become available to us.)
  • In terms of TV production, have Glass replace the TV new anchor’s Teletrompter and ear piece.

Two extremely obvious and simple ones:

  • ​Live stream a press conference, but audio quality is not ideal. You can at least do a live POV shot of a scene.
  • Using Glass as your second screen as you watch a live event either on TV on in person… like we do with tweets via hashtag.

I hope news organizations take advantage of this new type of platform and I look forward to what we will produce.

Personally, as a Google Glass Explorer (which gives me the “privilege” to buy and experiment with Glass early), I can’t wait to try these things out to see what works and what doesn’t.

12 Mar

Learn Code Project: A year ago…

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It was about a year that I was boarding my plane headed back to the West Coast, recharged and inspired by SXSW12.

By the time I landed, I had coded and launched this new project.
learncodeforjournalismwithme-logo-thumbnail
Man, what a difference a year makes.

Frustrated (and starting to get desperate) with finding partners to collaborate/experiment with, I figured I should put off the inevitable and teach myself code. I know I wouldn’t be the best coder — like I’m not the best audio storytelling or photographer — but I respected the craft and know its power.

I had been director of development for seattletimes.com where we designed and built cool shit, which was ahead of its time… and now feels… so… quaint.

In my quest for dev skills, I tried a variety of different non-journalism, code classes… from video to web-based tutorials. I, as ONA pre-conference and NAHJ conference coordinator, recruited friends and colleagues to craft custom journalism focused all-day coding workshops.

I even offered a (nearly free) all-day, intro to Python bootcamp at USC Annenberg thanks to the awesome PyLadies.

For the record, while this benefited the community as a whole, I was doing it for me. And none of it worked… for me.

But after SXSW, inspired by Codecademy‘s Code Year (even though I had given up on it like other New Year’s resolutions) and a curious user of Google+ Hangouts, I created the Learn Code for Journalism with Me project.

Yes, it’s a loooooong name. My partner-in-crime Kim Bui openly hates it. I know.

But it comes from a series of projects I’ve hung around the domain journalismwith.me.

Anyway, the idea was a simple one and the reaction to it was overwhelming. I was clearly on to something… and I wasn’t the only one trying to solve this.

Cindy Royal of Texas State University was trying to build a curriculum, Dave Stanton (who was joining two other friends and myself in launching a cooperative consulting firm) had expressed interest and I’m sure others were trying to grapple with this issue.

But, again, what a difference a year makes.

As I wait for my plane to take me back to the City of Angels still recovering from SXSW13, the landscape for this has completely changed.

There are two projects I want to point out:

First is Sisi Wei‘s Code with me project that offers weekend coding bootcamps for about $85.

Second is For Journalism, the successfully-funded kickstarter from Stanton, which will create journalism-focused coding tutorials.

Outside giving money to For Journalism and being a cross-country supporter of Code with me, I had nothing to do with their launches.

Even if their project names sound familiar, as people have point out … to be fair, my loooong title clearly had all the right words required for any successful coding for journalism project aimed to empower the community.

For my little project that is reaching its year anniversary, I didn’t have the bandwidth to make tshirts to use crowd funding.

It was just me.

Actually, it’s not just me anymore.

It’s me and my amazing cohort of determined classmates-turned-friends that still meet every Monday at 3PM PT via Google+ Hangouts since April of last year.

We’ve abandoned Code Year and have been developing our own journalism-based, project-focused coding lessons. We’re teaching each other code and hoping to share what we learn with others.

You can hear about the LCFJWM phase 2 in this View Source podcast interview or read about what I’ve learned in this post.

What a difference a year makes. And I am so glad talented people have come into this mix and found ways to address this need… in ways I couldn’t have for lack of the bandwidth or connections.

God only knows what the next year will bring, but we all know we’re going to benefit from this work.

11 Feb

The Pope, the Invisible Gorilla and journalism

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This post is brought to you by today’s Morning Edition.

Two stories from today’s show, for me, are made relevant to journalism after running it through my journalistic filter.

Those who know me (or have read past rants) know that newsroom leadership, across the country and regardless of medium or market size, has frustrated me.

The news story about radiologists that invoked the ‘invisible gorilla’ reminded me about this struggle. Years ago, while I was at The Seattle Times, editors were brought into a retreat called Newspaper Next, I believe. (The site no longer exists, but thanks to the way back machine, you can still see it).

This was a retreat that had started popping up in newsrooms across the country, dealing with one central question: How do we pivot and use our existing resources to generate revenue for the newspaper.

Great topic.

During the presentation they played a video that has stuck with me for years since the talk, and which was played this morning on NPR (KPCC is my local NPR station).

I didn’t recall the name, but now know it is called the ‘invisible gorilla.’

While mine was slightly different, here is the video. Play it and follow the instructions.

The logo from theinvisiblegorilla.com is a gorilla reading a newspaper. A newspaper!

So, did you notice the gorilla? Or those other changes? Isn’t that amazing? According to the story and video, 50 percent of people who see this video are so focused on the task at hand that they miss the not-so-invisible gorilla that walks into the frame.

The take away from the video during that newspaper retreat was “are we so focused on newspapers that we are missing the gorilla?” And in newspaper speak, the gorilla meant digital.

A high up editor at the time, after watching the video, said how eye opening the exercise was… me, being a bit of a loud mouth, responded by saying “I’ve been that guy in the gorilla suit. Not only waving my hands, but also jumping up and down.”

Most digital journalists have had this experience.

It’s the culture difference between traditional and, well, digital leadership and competence that is such a challenge. Many of us have dealt with this in a variety of ways.

Which leads me to the second story: The Pope.

In his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI said “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

In today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith … I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” said the Pope.

I hear that, then tweet this:

If the Pope can realize he’s not fit to lead in these modern times, why can’t some newsroom leaders? #thingsithinkabout
@webjournalist
Robert Hernandez

And then I write this post.

Look, there have been so many changes in newsrooms and its leadership. We are the better for it. But there is still much more to go. And it’s on us to push it forward.

We will have moments when newsroom leaders retire, take buyouts, etc. … and their incredibly valuable newsroom knowledge will be greatly missed… but we have to remember that we are moving — slowly — toward the goal of a modern, well, newsroom.

This is not about age. No. It’s about understanding culture… in this case digital/Web culture.

And these are the things I think about. And occasionally ramble on in a post.

Please feel free to tell me what you think.

For those interested, here is a Poynter piece from 2008 about Newspaper Next 2.0: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/business-news/the-biz-blog/87155/newspaper-next-2-0-way-outside-the-box/

29 Sep

Ode to the printing press operator (and many others)

This thought just occurred to me… so let’s see if I can express it here.

Our industry has experienced many, MANY changes. Obviously.

But one the things I think we tend to forget are the people outside of the newsroom and even the business side.

When was the last time you thought about the printing press operator? The one actually printing the beautiful broadsheet that millions still read. (Yes, millions.)

The people who know how to make the presses sing, carefully printing news and information efficiently… and under their own deadlines.

Those that love — or deal with — the loud roaring sound of the presses.

Those ones that truly get their hands dirty with newsprint.

The real ones who can actually “stop the presses.”

You know, they could be working somewhere else. They, too, know they could get another job where their industry isn’t “dying.”

But they choose to work the presses.

Why?

I bet they feel the same amount of pride working their craft as you feel in yours.

I bet they value their role — albeit one often forgotten, evolving but yet still vital — in helping inform their community.

I bet they are as proud to work for the masthead as the journalists across town.

I bet their chests get broader when they see a powerful headline that will help their community as it blurs fast through the presses… I imagine that they try to print it even faster to get the information to the community quicker. (But without compromising quality.)

They feel the same pain and have the same worries when they see the revenue challenges and face layoffs.

Let’s take this out of print and look toward audio engineers. Or how about those that run the backend equipment that makes the nightly newscast viewable via satellite.

Let’s look at the computers — granted old ones, typically stuck with IE — and the people behind making these crappy things last a little longer to help keep the budget lean.

The IT people that take pride in their work, knowing that they are facilitating the production of journalism. They can probably make more money elsewhere, but stay here because they want to help inform their community too.

How about the Web developer? Coder? Programmer?

They can make a ton of money elsewhere.

So can you… P.R. is right there. All companies are now media companies and they need help telling their own stories.

These are great, honorable jobs. But you, like the others, stay.

Look, we are all “suckers.”

Suckers because we believe in journalism, in informing our community, in doing the best we can with the resources we’ve got… on deadline. And we do it all while working long hours and being underpaid.

But we can’t imagine doing anything else.

These are all different crafts. All to be respected. All to be valued.

Just a thought.

// State of Play
The closing credits of the journalism thriller, State of Play, is all about the printing of the paper. It’s a great homeage to the process. I captured the final frames because I loved their CMYK moment that passes in a blink of an eye. Here it is slowed down,

Categories: Journalism, Personal Tags:
28 Sep

Nieman Lab piece on rebooting J-schools: Take control of your education

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I was invited by Nieman Lab to write a piece on rebooting J-schools. My take was bypassing the “debate” and empowering the students directly. Tell me what you think: Robert Hernandez: Reboot journalism school? Take control of your education instead

If and when I have time, I hope to Storify the reactions and add it to this post.

My favorite, though, came from Justin Ellis, who was the person that invited me to write the piece:

So we’re all “reboot the J-school” and then @ is like “Forget that noise. Google it.” http://t.co/C2nyPBt8
@JustinNXT
Justin Ellis

08 Sep

My work featured in CJR – twice!

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Columbia Journalism Review logoI’m really proud to share that two of my projects were featured in the Columbia Journalism Review – in both print and online.

While you can read the article online, I strongly recommend you check out the latest issue of the print magazine, which focuses on The Future of Media (this minute, at least).

In it you’ll find a two-page spread about my Tech & Tools project, where a Mad Men version of myself showcases some of my favorite apps. Below is a screenshot of an early proof, but go get the magazine!

Coincidentally, a few days later, CJR also decided to write a piece for its site exploring Twitter chats: Building a community 140 characters at a time.

While others are mentioned, #wjchat was prominently featured. For those that may not know, Twitter chats are virtual meetups held around a hashtag to discuss a topic. #wjchat is on Web Journalism and is a chat I created with four others in February 2012.

It’s crazy to think that this weekly miracle has been happening for two-and-a-half years!

06 Sep

UPDATE: Hartford Courant scraps Google Translate site

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Richard Prince‘s Journal-isms reports that Hartford Courant has killed it’s embarrassing Google Translate site. If you recall, I wrote about the horrible site last month.

Instead the Courant has developed Noticias, “a 100-percent Spanish language news site produced by our newsroom,” said Gary Weitman, spokesman for the parent Tribune Co.

Glad they came to their sense. And I sincerely wish them luck in their new venture.

28 Aug

CU-Boulder Hearst Professional-in-Residence

I usually don’t write about things like this, but, I have to admit, this one is pretty cool.

I’m proud to announce that I have been selected to be University of Colorado‘s Hearst Professional-in-Residence.

From their invitation letter:
“The Hearst program is made possible by an endowment from the Hearst Foundation, and its purpose is to introduce nationally known, accomplished journalists to our students to enrich their journalism studies. With your work both as a teacher and as a practitioner in digital news and social media, we can think of few people better qualified to play this role.”

As many in the academic community know, the Journalism school has gone through some serious challenges. They still have a journalism program and, like most programs, are re-building.

I’m honored that they’ve asked me to join them in the conversation.

I’ll be there September 27 and 28.

17 Aug

My response to The Hartford Courant’s “Spanish-language strategy” with Google Translate


Como una cortesía para The Courant, por demostrando ignorancia y falta de respeto a su propia comunidad, déjeme decir: lo cagaron.


If you were to translate this using Google Translate, guess what… it would be wrong. Anyone who is bilingual wouldn’t be surprised. But they would be surprised in hearing that a news organization would solely depend on using this primitive service as their “Spanish-language strategy.”

Sadly, this isn’t a joke: Hartford Courant’s Spanish site is Google Translate by Poynter

But, instead of just being disgusted or insulted by The Courant’s “strategy,” let me offer some tips for an actual strategy:

1. Hire a diverse staff, and in this case, a Spanish speaker. Listen to them. Anyone in their right mind would have told you this was a bad idea.

2. I know resources are tight, as an affordable alternative to hiring more staff, partner up with the local Spanish-language news organizations. Believe me, they are there. And they’d love to help you inform the community. (Hey Courant, have to tried working with Connecticut’s Latino News Source: ctlatinonews.com?)

3. No Spanish-language news organization in your town? Look again. Think radio, newsletters or neighboring towns. Any of these will be better than an automated site.

4. Still confused? Reach out to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists to find local members in your area, including Spanish-language news organizations.

5. But, let’s say there are no Spanish-language news outlets. Partner up with the largest, Spanish-language local business. They know their community and are fully aware of the information network that is functioning now.

Lastly, apologize to the fastest growing demographic in your community for treating them with such little respect. It’s not a smart business move to belittle them, especially if you want to tap into their growing influence.

I preach experimentation, risk taking and embracing failure. You experimented and took a risk… and you failed. Oh, did you fail.

Learn from your big mistake and start genuinely engaging with your own diverse community.

Do you have any tips for The Courant or any other news organization trying to serve its Latino community? Please share them in the comments.

 

Oh, and if you are wondering, here’s how I’d translate my statement:

As a courtesy to The Courant, for displaying its ignorance and lack of respect to its own community, let me say: you fucked up.

π