News for Digital Journalists

Posts tagged with: Content Management

August 17, 2010

Workflow Chart for Online Editorial Gets Update

A simple, but effective visual guide to the increasingly non-linear news process has been updated by digital consultant Amy Webb, who first developed it several years ago to show newsrooms how the Internet’s myriad feedback loops could help generate more news and content for their sites.

The workflow chart shows how content can be reported, edited, published and “propagated” in an endless cycle of commentary, feedback, and additional stories. The new version now factors in developments such as the growth of geo-social networks like Foursquare and recommendation engines like Publish2, as well as the overwhelming popularity of real-time publishing sites like Twitter and Facebook.

You can download the chart here or via Scribd or Webb’s Knowledgewebb site. UPDATE: The workflow chart is also available in Spanish and Portuguese (and soon Japanese).

March 11, 2011

Texas Tribune, Bay Citizen win Knight grant to build open-source news platform

Two leading new nonprofit news organizations have just received a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to develop a free open-source publishing platform. The goal of this software, to be jointly developed by the Texas Tribune and the Bay Citizen, is to help other online news organizations engage readers, manage content, and earn revenue…

Knight announced this $975,000 grant today at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, TX.

According to Knight: “At the first Knight Foundation gathering of news startups in Austin last spring, organizations revealed their struggles to find a publishing platform that is low-cost to implement, while flexible enough to allow constant innovation in content delivery, audience engagement and fundraising.”

Matt Waite, principle developer of Politifact and now a journalism instructor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, tweeted this reaction: “The Knight announcement today is a real opportunity. It’s a CMS with the benefits of a framework. ...It has a generic content model you can inherit and extend all you want, seamlessly integrated.”

The platform, which includes a content management system, will:

  • Manage an integrated library of text, video and audio files.
  • Maximize search engine optimization by improving the way articles are linked, aggregated and tagged.
  • Better integrate sites with social networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as bloggers.
  • Offer membership tools and integration with advertising networks to help online news organizations cultivate new revenue streams.

It will be interesting to see whether this effort will draw upon the large code base and developer networks for existing popular free open-source content management systems such as Drupal and WordPress. Those platforms are already widely used by many news startups, and they’ve attracted substantial module collections and developer communities. New platforms that are built completely from scratch sometimes languish due to a small developer pool and sparse module offerings.

Also, it’ll be interesting to see how easy it might be for existing news sites that have already committed to other platforms to integrate with, or switch to, this new one.

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

January 24, 2012

NPR releases free Project Argo WordPress tools for topical news sites

When a news topic gets popular, it might make sense to give it some special online treatment. NPR recently published its Project Argo toolkit for creating topic-focused websites using the popular free open source content management system WordPress.

Matt Thompson, Editorial Product Manager for Project Argo, explained how news organizations and others can use these tools…

Project Argo is a collection of sites, each produced by a full-time journalist-blogger (or, in some cases, a blended teams of full- and part-time journalists). Examples include Ecotrope (Oregon Public Broadcasting), Mind/Shift (KQED) and DCentric (WAMU). Each site focuses on reporting and aggregating news about a single topic of ongoing interest in the host station’s city.

Stations feed their work into NPR’s application programming interface (API), through which all Project Argo reporter-editors can easily access each other’s work. This allows them to “inform, enrich and add context as they produce their stories.” Project Argo is funded by grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

According to Thompson, NPR hopes this collection of open source tools and best practices will be useful to anyone seeking tools, themes, lessons learned, or inspiration for:

  • Niche websites
  • Blogs
  • WordPress sites
  • Web reporting projects

...Or any combination of those types of projects.

Thompson explained the three main types of tools offered:

1. Code and plugins. Over the past year NPR developed several WordPress plugins to make blogging easier for Argo journalist-bloggers. These include:

  • Jiffy Post, which “allows people to quickly post links with a super-simple—almost Tumblrish—workflow.”
  • Slideshow, “a low-footprint, flexible photo gallery plugin that extends the functionality of the native WordPress gallery functionality.”
  • Audio player, “Built with HTML5 so it’s compatible with your iPad and your MacBook Air.”
  • Media credit, which provides extra options for metadata and rights management for images.

NPR also is working on two more Project Argo plugins: link roundup and a plugin to make it easier to embed DocumentCloud documents in WordPress.

2. Themes. Thompson said that NPR web designer Wes Lindamood developed a series of “gorgeous, robustly-featured themes for the Argo sites—with fresh typography, sophisticated content promotion, myriad formatting options, etc. For the open-source release, he prepared a highly extensible foundation theme and three child themes to demonstrate some of the different ways that foundation could be modified. All four of those themes are freely available for folks to use and customize.”

3. Lessons and documentation. “Even for folks who aren’t using WordPress, or aren’t developing a niche site, we’ve tried to share a lot of what we learned over the course of the Argo pilot. We’ve compiled pretty much everything we wrote or presented into the open source site, and bundled up our overall lessons into four wrap-up posts on the Argo blog.”

But wait, there’s more! Thompson noted that people in public media who are interested in creating an Argo-style site but who don’t want to take on the overhead of supporting it, “NPR Digital Services will be offering to host, support and train member stations to develop these sites. That training is coming in Spring 2012.”

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

February 29, 2012

Prompt, obvious in-line corrections work best online, research indicates

As this year’s election season hits its stride, the misinformation is flying thick and fast. Every news publisher will have to make lots of corrections. A new social science research report suggests how to make online corrections that really work…

The report this month from the New America Foundation, Misinformation and Fact-checking: Research Findings from Social Science (by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifle), offers an overview of social science findings about how people perceive the accuracy of information—and how misinformation spreads and takes root.

They offer nine recommendations for how journalists and news publishers can combat the spread of misinformation.

Here’s recommendation #2 [emphasis added]:

“Early corrections are better. News organizations should strive to correct their errors as quickly as possible and to notify the media outlets that disseminated them further. It is difficult to undo the damage from an initial error, but rapid corrections of online articles or video can ensure that future readers and other journalists are not misled.

“In particular, media outlets should correct online versions of their stories directly (with appropriate disclosures of how they were changed) rather than posting corrections at the end (which are likely to be ineffective).

“They should also take responsibility for ensuring that corrections are made to articles in news databases such as Nexis and Factiva.”

In effect, this report advocates a Wikipedia-style approach to updating information and making corrections—yet another way that news publishers can learn from Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, in-line corrections are not easily supported by the inflexible content management systems still in use at many major news organizations—but they’re easier to implement with more modern platforms.

The current value of news databases such as Nexis is a bit sketchy, given the predominant role of the internet (especially search engines and social media) in facilitating the spread of information and misinformation alike among the general public. While this report did not mention search engines or social media, news publishers might consider how to leverage these tools to highlight corrections as a way to curb the spread of misinformation.

Standard news practices which effectively bury or sequester corrections to stories are unlikely to gain visibility to the general public, and thus are ineffective tools for combatting the spread of misinformation.

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