Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Web journalism’
19 Feb

Sixteen apps for 2016

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This piece was written for SPJ’s magazine, Quill. You can read it here: http://www.spj.org/quill_issue.asp?ref=2245

One of the first workshops I gave as a new professor was to introduce journalists to a few tools and applications I found on the web that they could use when producing a multimedia story.

Six and a half years later, that small workshop has morphed into a side project that has a collection of more than 100 types of tech and tools to help journalists be more digital.

The collection can be overwhelming.

But, as journalists adapting and working in his quick-moving digital era, we need to add some of these seemingly countless tools to our journalism toolbox.

As we launch head first into 2016 and beyond, here are some tech, tools and apps every journalist should be aware of. This is just a small selection from the growing list of apps. Make sure you share your recommendations, too. (Ping me on Twitter: @webjournalist.)

NOTE: As we know, technology moves fast. By the time this piece gets published, there may be a new thingy that we need to add, or an old thingy that needs to be removed. The real goal here is to be aware of the diverse tools and be open to how we can each integrate many of them into our daily journalism.

Let’s start with the basic set of mobile apps all journalists should have on their smartphones. I am talking about the pillars of journalism: writing, photography, audio and video.

Read the list here: http://www.spj.org/quill_issue.asp?ref=2245

24 Aug

Hurricane Katrina and VR Journalism

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Tech has always been dorky. Long before Google Glass, nerds were looking like geeks in the name of innovation.

I’ve done my share of looking foolish, but I do it in the name of journalism.

This week marks the start of my latest innovative, hackathon style course… this year it’s Virtual Reality Journalism. (Last year it was Glass Journalism and Augmented Reality Journalism before that.)

This week also marks the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

There are a lot of things to remember and reflect on, especially in regards to journalism. I remember the amazing work done by the Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, that literally saved lives.

But, perhaps because I am a dork, I mostly remember this photo:

VR is something that I’ve always kept my eye on. My experience began with Apple’s QuickTime VR Studio and I managed to work that tech (paired with ambient sound) into some multimedia coverage I did at the Seattle Times.

Those links are pretty much dead, but the Bering Sea and the Olympic Sculpture Park were two projects I did this with.

That said, the first time I saw 360-degree video in news was ten years ago when MSNBC’s special Katrina project Rising from Ruin.

I saw the video and was blown away (video no longer works… they killed it, I think, for their year anniversary).

But they kept this page… a page I looked at in awe.

Direct link: http://risingfromruin.msnbc.com/2005/11/you_write_the_c.html

It never occurred to me to reach out to the guy in the photo (Ashley Wells / @DangerWells), but I did today:

He replied:

While impromptu and we both don’t have the time, I asked him for an interview. I’ll keep you posted.

21 Feb

NENPA: My #realtalk presentation to newsroom leaders

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I was invited to speak at the New England Newspaper Publishers Association in Boston to talk about industry challenges, pulling no punches. “We would be quite interested in your views on what most newspapers appear to be doing right or wrong, and the best path forward,” the invitation said.

I had been invited to speak at a different newspaper publishers association in the past.

It didn’t work out. (I got uninvited when I told them my topic.)

But NENPA was committed and even wrote a piece on what I was going to say in my talk.

This talk, for me, was years in the making… one that I imagined giving when I was in the newsroom and one I wanted to give if I have a newsroom leader asking for advice.

Here, for those interested, is my talk*:
[ Hour and 15 minutes ]



Direct link: http://youtu.be/Hc6ZwLKDLP4

* Sadly, the projector changed the color of the slides… it’s not perfect, but it’s the content that matters, right? Right??

For those not interested in watching the entire video, here’s an animated GIF of the nutgraph from my talk:

realtalk-with-news-leadership

12 Feb

#wjchat: Five years of thank you

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instagram-wjchat

It’s crazy to think that every Wednesday for the past five years, the Web/Digital community has come together for 90 minutes on Twitter to talk about their craft, sharing their knowledge and experiences.

The most important thing I cherish about #wjchat is the community.

I am grateful to be a part of it.

The next important thing I cherish is the incredible team of volunteers who, over the years, make this weekly miracle happen, often from behind the scenes.

Your past and current team #wjchat crew members are:

(I hope to god I haven’t left anyone off the list… if so, please contact me!)

And, of course, there are countless people who have supported our weekly efforts along the way.

Thank you to each and every one of you. Here’s to five more years and temporary tattoos that are a bitch to take off!

Note: You can read about the making of #wjchat here: http://blog.webjournalist.org/2010/02/27/the-birth-of-wjchat/

10 Sep

Why I’m running for the ONA Board again

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ONA logo
There’s more work to be done.

A lot more.

Simply put, that’s why I am running for re-election to stay on the Online News Association‘s Board of Directors.

As I said when I first ran, I believe ONA needs to be the center organization leading and guiding our industry forward. That goal and need is as strong as ever.

A core part of my work — from teaching/training to #wjchat to Learn Code for Journalism to Tech & Tools to Horizontal Loyalty — is in sync with the organization’s mission: empower journalists to move our industry forward.

I’m proud of the work we have done in the last two years with the board. The organization has added more training, offered more scholarships, expanded its programs and has taken important steps to solidify itself as an essential part shaping the future of journalism.

But please don’t think it’s easy.

It takes a lot of work and I am fortunate to work along side with incredibly smart and passionate board members and staffers that give it their all. You have no idea. (If you see them at ONA12, please thank them for their work. Hell, buy them a drink!)

I feel that I contribute to the organization. I bring diversity — culture, age, ethnicity, location and experience — to the group. I bring my Web/tech background and experience to the organization. And I… how do I put this? I’m that guy … that one who asks tough questions to keep us honest and hold us accountable. Some of you saw that with the Patch thing. It was not a fluke. Ask my peers, they see it in our board meetings.

We face other challenges too.

As an organization, we need to find scalable ways that tap into the diversity of our members’ skills/experiences to share them and help them grow.

Web journalism is a broad term. Because we are inclusive, it’s an incredible strength for ONA. But if we don’t take advantage of it correctly, we look unfocused and diluted.

I think ONA needs to be the place that brings the diversity of Web journalism together to grow stronger together… and I’d like to continue to be at the table to make this happen.

Please help shape the future of this organization and journalism by voting.

And, if you think me worthy, please consider voting for me. I’d truly appreciate it.

Thank you,

Robert
Read my bio here

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!

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.

12 Mar

My proof, my metrics, my ROI on Social Media: #WJCHAT

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It happens on occasion (okay, with this friend it happens a lot), but I battle with a friend over Social Media’s role in our lives and relationships.

I’m not a fan of the outsider, knee jerk reactions to Social Media that say we are getting dumber, we can’t focus and we are so lonely.

All those things may be happening, but it’s not because of Social Media… not solely anyway. These are, in fact, the same claims that have been preached about with every new development ranging from radio, TV and, I believe, even books.

So, I’m not a fan of those re-occurring, blame-the-newest-thing-for-our-bad-thing argument.

Nor am I a blinded super fan of Social Media… there’s crap out there (lots of it) and “gurus” making money by ripping people off.

I am, however, a fan of the true connections that have been made possible because of platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These platforms are just the latest evolutionary step from mail to telegram to telephone to Internet to e-mail, etc.

And, as you may have guessed, I am a SUPER fan of communities like #WJCHAT, that support and educate each other by harnessing these platforms.

The two-year anniversary of our little community was in February and, in my hopes to gets some attention to it, I asked a couple journalism sites to do a write up on us. To be honest, I didn’t really make a hard pitch.

Naturally, as good journos, the question led to why… but more importantly, what has #WJCHAT done? Where’s the proof?

I don’t have those metrics.

While we often talk about analytics, ROI and such, for me, I don’t really care about those when it comes to #WJCHAT.

All I care about is that people know that they are not alone in their struggle to find their place in journalism, that they are getting educated on how to improve journalism and that they are sharing their knowledge and experiences so we collectively “save” journalism.

My latest reminder of this was today’s ONA featured member piece on Tauhid Chappell.

I remember Chappell popping into the #WJCHAT stream and meeting him IRL at an ONA event. But I didn’t know that our little community played a role in his journalistic development… but it was enough that he felt compelled to mentioned #WJCHAT in his profile piece.

That is my proof. He is my metric.

Tonight I will be meeting “strangers” for the first time IRL at our now annual #WJCHAT meetup at SXSW.

I will be seeing old friends and making new ones (once we get over the awkward oh-yeah-I-know-you moment after we connect the avatar or handle to the face and name).

That is my proof. They are my metric.

Do you know that I have only met, maybe, half of the people who volunteer each week to run #WJCHAT. Never meet them outside of email, a collaborative document or Twitter chat.

These folks are my colleagues. They are my friends. They, too, are my proof… my metric.

Everyone in this diverse community is my argument proving that Social Media is an undeniably positive element in our modern lives.

And, my goal when Twitter life and real life merges later today, is to be present with this community of friends… and, on occasion, awkwardly look at my phone to see if I need to tweet out something.

Thank you for being part of this community. < cheesy >It’s been a positive element in my life.< /cheesy >

08 Dec

The GoPano Micro could be awesome, but still has a bit to go

GoPano MicroI just got a new tech toy in the mail that I think could be pretty effective in journalism.

“Could” is the key word.

The GoPano Micro (around $80) allows your iPhone to record and upload 360 videos that lets users to zoom in/out and scroll while watching the video. (I didn’t know this, but they have adapters and software made for better-than-iPhone cameras.)

It’s pretty easy to install and start recording. First, you snap on an iPhone cover and pop in the periscope-looking lens. Then you install the app and creating an account. That’s it… you are ready to go.

You can record, view and share your 360 videos through your phone. The videos are even embeddable.

It’s all pretty simple.

Except for one significant issue… the image focus is not good. It’s bad.

Here are two tests I did:
USC Heritage Hall

My USC office

The @GoPano Twitter account did respond to my request for times on how to improve the focus by providing me with these links:

  • http://support.gopano.com/customer/portal/topics/98224-gopano-micro/articles
  • http://blog.gopano.com/2011/10/20/where_have_my_pixels_gone/
  • http://support.gopano.com/customer/portal/articles/221550-how-to-manually-calibrate-the-gopano-micro
  • They didn’t really improve anything, but I appreciate their responsiveness.

    I think software/app tweaks could really improve this device. Perhaps allow touch focusing as the video is recording… that way we can really control what gets in focus, rather then everything slightly blurry.

    If the quality of the image improves, I can easily see this in a variety news situations and events. Can you imagine how awesome this would be in the middle of a riot?

    Outside of the obvious need to improve the image, the next cool feature would be to live stream the 360 video.

    There is no doubt that the technology is coming… I just wish it got here with my GoPano Micro.

    20 Oct

    J/i Conf: Three CEOs, a president and me

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    [Posting this late]

    I played moderator for an impressive CEO panel during the inaugural Journalism Interactive Conference. It was a cool, informal conversation with Burt Herman CEO of Storify, founder of Hacks/Hackers; Edouard Lambelet CEO and Co-Founder of Paper.li; Evan Ratliff Co-founder, editor of The Atavist; Warren Webster President of Patch Media.

    Here’s the video:

    π