News for Digital Journalists

July 25, 2012

Civic Data Challenge: Apply by July 29

The Civic Data Challenge, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, seeks to turn existing data on civic/community issues, health, safety, education, and the economy into beautiful, useful applications and visualizations…

Participants will choose datasets provided by the Challenge, and analyze them in conjunction with at least one additional dataset. They will identify connections and correlations and create visual representations and interactive products to showcase their findings. These may include infographics, apps, animations, videos, or other products.

Learn more and enter now.

Deadline: July 29, 11:59 pm EST on July 29.

On Twitter, follow @CivicData.

Winners will be notified in mid-August and publicly announced at the 67th Annual National Conference on Citizenship. (Sept. 14, Philadelphia)

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

July 19, 2012

Digital First: New curation team, curation tips

Today Digital First Media announced its new curation team: Julie Westfall (formerly of will lead the team, and “DFM local superstars” Angela Carter and Karen Workman, will be moving to new roles as curators. Meanwhile, DFM Director of Community Engagement & Social Media Steve Buttry published a detailed list of best practices for curation…

What’s a “curation team?” According to DFM’s earlier posting for these positions, these jobs involve “curating content from DFM properties and elsewhere that would be of national and regional interest, and then making that content available to all DFM sites.”

On a smaller scale, local and niche news sites could easily adopt a similar approach to add daily context and value to their communities—either via their existing digital presences, or a spin-off additional website (or part of a site).

Also today, Steve Buttry published a detailed list of best practices for news curation. Topics covered:

  • Link and attribute.
  • Curators must add value.
  • Different types of curation.
  • Vetting, verifying and correcting.

Buttry’s post also links to additional resources and tips on curation.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

June 29, 2012

From the Journalism Accelerator: Lessons in content collaboration

The Journalism Accelerator has published a fascinating case study on a collaboration between traditional news organizations and start ups to produce an investigative report about the fate of Haitian deportees that was published across multiple news outlets.

As collaboration becomes more popular (and necessary) in a money-strapped news landscape, we can move past the concept at start looking at what works and what doesn’t. The Journalism Accelerator takes a step in that direction with “JA Use Case: Five steps to pave the way toward collaborative revenue.”

The collaboration began when a freelance reporter learned that one out of two Haitians being deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency were taken straight to Haitian jails, even when there was no conviction for violating Haitian law. The reporter, Jacob Kushner, approached the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. The Center then lined up additional Florida partners, including two public radio stations, and online news partners in other states who published localized versions of Kushner’s story. The effort cost less than $8,000, with several partners contributing to defray costs. If you are in the online news space and interested in content collaboration, be sure to read the details in the JA post.

Among key lessons of the collaboration:
- Find mutual benefit. In this case, FCIR wanted a larger audience, while some of the partners wanted investigative content they couldn’t produce themselves.
- Know the value a collaboration brings. Think about revenue, reputation and the prospect of an important long-term relationship.
- Make legal responsibilities and any editorial terms of collaboration clear in advance. The project was not without its disagreements. Different local partners had different editorial standards, something that is not uncommon in the dynamic local news space.

This case study is one of a number of recent reports from the Journalism Accelerator, a Portland-based start up that aims to be a resource and connector for actors in the emerging journalism space. Here is a round up of a virtual forum on collaboration that the JA staged last month. Lots of tips and ideas here.

June 26, 2012

Community Journalism Executive Training: October at KDMC

This October 40 community and investigative news publishers will receive expert guidance on business and market challenges through an executive training program offered at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)...

The Community Journalism Executive Training (CJET) program is being created by the Investigative News Network and [email protected], with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Patterson Foundation. It will be held October 18-20 at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism in Los Angeles.

The program will train 40 executives (20 from investigative sites and 20 from community news sites) in the practicalities of building sustainable community journalism organizations. Topics will include fundraising, business operations,  technology, community engagement and more.

Participants will work in small groups with expert coaches. The goal: to develop a 100-day tactical plan for building their businesses.

This training is offered to community news organizations affiliated with INN and the Block-by-Block initiative. Watch the News for Digital Journalists blog for updates for the application process.

“Our work during the last six months with 12 independent Super Camp publishers, supported by the Patterson Foundation, has shown that high-touch mentoring and coaching by business and revenue experts produces results,” said Vikki Porter, director of the .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). “We think the executive training program will show how focused business skills and strategic planning can result in sustaining revenue streams for startup news organizations.”

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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