How to Report for New Media

How to Blog

While talking earlier this week to a journalist about the future of news, I again heard the story of newsroom leadership that has issued an edict that all reporters must blog. While I believe there are many contributions that the blog format can bring to news reporting, I can think of no more certain way to kill their potential than by making them mandatory.

If you think “blogs suck,” then there ain’t anything I’m going to say here that will convince you otherwise. I never knock another person’s religious beliefs.

If you are looking for more evidence to arm yourself in the battle of whether bloggers are/are not journalists, then please stop reading now. I have about as much interest in the answer to that question as I have in debating whether figure skaters are athletes.

BUT… if you are a journalist who wants to start blogging or be a better blogger then welcome. And if you’re a blogger who wants to be more newsy, then read on, my friend.

And if you don’t have time, just check out the PDF one-pager.

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Online Class Discussions and Twittering Breaking News

Things were a little out of rhythm all day today, with a weird snow storm that couldn’t decide whether it did or did not want to close down UNC today.

The bad news is that I didn’t get a chance to have MDC’s Richard Hart host a discussion about the N.C. dropout rate. The good news is that I had a chance to run two good live experiments in online journalism.

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Lecture: The Online News Audience

Before I let the students in my online reporting and editing classes touch any piece of technology or blurb their first blog post, I think it’s important to spend some time talking with them about the behaviors of the online news audience. The way people consume news and information online is fundamentally different than the way they consume it in other media, and it’s pointless to practice online journalism without understanding those habits.

This is not a lecture about how I wish the online news audience behaved. It is a lecture based on years of watching actual site usage at national news sites, watching focus groups, and reading industry surveys — primarily those done by Pew and collected in the annual State of the News Media reports.

This isn’t a lecture about how to change audience habits. It’s a lecture about riding a wave that is SO much bigger than journalism. Continue reading “Lecture: The Online News Audience”

Newsdesk, Day 1

The other class I’m teaching this semester is “Newsdesk,” a capstone convergence lab class for journalism students at UNC. Here’s the syllabus.

The idea of creating an online newsroom from the ground-up has been a bit of a tough sell. I have four takers this semester.

I’m most excited about the possibility of collaborating with other classes and other local media. There is also one national partnership I’m looking forward to announcing here soon.

We kicked things off today with a discussion of how people read news online and how it is different from the way they consume news in print. I’ll be blogging more about it over the next three months. You can follow along here.

DIY Online Newsroom: Budget Edition

Starting an online newsroom at a journalism school isn’t exactly the same as starting one in the world outside those friendly confines. First, the staff tends to pay us to work there. Second, there’s usually a pretty substantial technical infrastructure already in place.

That said, there are still technical hurdles to overcome before we can start doing good journalism. Let me give a brief rundown of where we stand on technology on this third day of classes.

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