News for Digital Journalists

Posts tagged with: Resources

February 09, 2010

Covering disasters, trauma: New resources for journalists

Covering disasters and other crisis situations is some of the most challenging work any journalist can do. The International Center for Journalists has just published two new free downloadable and embeddable guidebooks to help (in English and Spanish)...

Disaster and Crisis Coverage: Advice on

  • Delivering news responsibly while staying safe
  • Creating a disaster preparedness plan for your newsroom
  • Ethics for working with grief-stricken survivors.
  • Dealing with post-traumatic stress

Journalism and Trauma: How journalists interact with victims, survivors, and eyewitnesses of tragedy—and how they cope with the emotional impact of trauma on their own psyches.

Also, recently on the International Journalists’ Network, digital media consultant Amy Webb posted a Crisis Reporting Toolkit. It covers tips for gear, background reporting, social reporting, and creating your plan.

March 15, 2010

New Pew Report: State of the News Media 2010

How bad was 2009 for the mainstream news business? The State of the News Media 2010 report just published by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism paints a generally bleak picture…

  • Newspapers now spend $1.6 billion less annually on reporting and editing than they did a decade ago.
  • Network and local TV news operations saw sharp drops in revenues, viewership, and jobs. Cable news was the sole commercial news sector that did not suffer declining revenue and layoffs in 2009.
  • Magazine ad pages sold across all titles fell by 26% in 2009.


However, there are some bright spots. Nonprofit funding for new media ventures since 2006 totals about $141 million, according to a J-Lab estimate. And this figure does not include many ventures that operate without grants or that come from legacy media. Also, new revenue streams (such as mobile advertising) are steadily growing—even though so far they represent only a small piece of the news revenue pie.

This report does seem to gauge the emerging economics, dynamics, and practices of the news ecosystem against benchmarks from the heyday of the mainstream news industry. This approach can make it harder to spot today’s opportunities. Still, this is valuable information that’s worth reading.

Meanwhile, a new Pew Internet & American Life Project poll found that news organizations face very grim prospects to convince consumers to pay for online news.

April 27, 2010

Who blogs around the world? Global Voices Online survey results

When news breaks around the world—or when you just want to know what life is like in Benin or Belarus—a good resource for word from another country is Global Voices Online. This site aggregates and curates blogs from around the world. Who’s writing there? This week GVO released new demographics about the bloggers who contribute to the site. Out of an estimated 200 active site contributors, about 116 responded.

The largest proportion of contributors (42%) blog from countries in the Americas—but only 16% of these are from the US. Here are the numbers for the rest of the world…

  • Western Europe: 17%
  • East Asia: 11%
  • Middle East & North Africa: 8%
  • South Asia: 6%
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: 6%
  • Eastern & Central Europe: 6%
  • Oceania: 3%
  • Central Asia & Caucasus: 1%


Don’t assume that fewer contributing bloggers from a given region means GVO doesn’t have much information or news coming from there. For example, journalist Chris Rickleton currently contributes to GVO from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia—where a recent violent anti-government uprising overthrew President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, opening questions about the future of Manas airbase, a crucial part of the supply line for US troops in Afghanistan. Rickleton provides an English-language overview of what Kyrgyz bloggers are saying, in addition to his own reporting and commentary. In effect, he’s a one-man aggregator feeding a larger aggregator.

According to the survey, most GVO bloggers are 25-44 years old, and there’s a pretty even gender split. They’re also highly educated: 85% hold a university degree of some kind, and more than 40% have a post-graduate or doctoral degree. On average, GVO contributors speak three languages. However, even though these contributors may represent an fairly elite class in many nations, most of them do a good job of expressing what’s happening throughout their societies.

If your community has significant immigrant or deployed military populations, or other strong connections abroad—or even if you’re just generally interested in the world beyond the US, or want more context on breaking international news—GVO is a valuable resource for any journalist.

April 27, 2010

Government Online: New Pew report

Increasingly, civic engagement means helping people interact effectively with government online. In the last year, 82% of US internet users (61% of all American adults) looked for information or completed a transaction on a government site.

A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life project, Government Online, examines how Americans use digital media to connect with government—what’s working, and what isn’t. This report could help news organizations and other community-building ventures spot opportunities to add value to (or fill gaps in) online civic engagement. Beyond web sites, it also discusses social media, mobile media, and e-mail.

...And, in case you missed it, KDMC’s recent civic engagement series suggested many specific ways that news orgs can help communities function better within a democracy.

June 01, 2010

“Daily Glob” Gulf oil spill news blog from SEJ

Last week the Society of Environmental Journalists launched The Daily Glob, a blog to help journalists and the general public track the Gulf spill story…

The Daily Glob features links to the best information sources about the spill and related topics—the US Coast Guard’s spill news page, lists of university spill experts, the Times-Picayune’s spill news portal, and more. It also aggregates hourly links to the hottest breaking spill news stories from all kinds of media.

This site also features news tools to help reporters find and enrich oil spill stories: mapping tools, infographics, photo and video resources, background information, experts’ phone numbers, Congressional hearings, and more.

November 29, 2010

RJI: Mobile tools guide for journalists

Mobile tools and skills offer journalists a range of new options for reporting. To help journalists decide how best to go mobile, this week Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow Will Sullivan published a mobile journalism reporting tools guide.

This guide covers mobile hardware and software that can enhance your field reporting. It’s a great resource if you’re doing some holiday shopping for your journalist friends—or for yourself!

Here’s what it covers…

In the “hardware” section, the guide compares the features of several devices that can help you get the most out of your smartphone:

  • Chargers and batteries
  • Keyboards
  • Lenses
  • External microphones
  • External lights
  • Tripods
  • Miscellaneous gear


And the mobile apps section compares programs for your phone that can enhance your mobile production capabilities for:

  • Audio editing
  • File transmission
  • Geolocation
  • Live Streaming
  • Micro-reporting (i.e., Twitter)
  • Note taking
  • Photo editing
  • Video editing


In addition to comparison tables, the guide also presents detailed product reviews.

January 21, 2011

US Census upgrades American FactFinder tool, new data coming soon

Many journalists have long relied on the US Census’ American FactFinder online tool to analyze Census data. This week, that tool received a major facelift—and it soon will be populated with data from the 2010 Census…

The new American FactFinder features more ways to search, and more ways to manipulate tables and map data.

Table-related upgrades:

  • Customize table views
  • Sort and filter columns of a table
  • Transpose rows and columns
  • Save customized table


Map-related upgrades:

  • Select geographies from the map
  • Create maps from a table
  • Place labels and markers on maps
  • Download maps as PDFs


Coming soon:

  • Transpose rows and columns
  • Bookmark, download, and save/restore query


Take a virtual tour and read tutorials.

There’s also a guide to building deep links into American FactFinder. If you have existing links to data in the old FactFinder, the Census site warns: “The current American FactFinder will be discontinued in the Fall of 2011. At that time, any deep links into the discontinued system will no longer work.

Data from the American Community Survey, the Economic Census, and Population Estimates will be moved to the new American FactFinder “in the coming months,” says the Census site. For now, you can access that data via the existing FactFinder interface.

April 05, 2011

Social media for news sites: New KCNN learning resource

For news sites, social media can play a huge role in engaging your community and supporting your business model). A new online learning module from the Knight Citizen News Network can help you understand this landscape and use social media strategically…

Likes and Tweets: Leveraging social media for news sites is available for free online. While KCNN (a J-Lab initiative) mainly serves citizen journalists and community news sites, the advice in this guide is useful for anyone in the news business.

The guide focuses on the principles of authenticity, transparency, and real-time crowdsourced communication that distinguish social media. It provides hands-on tools and advice to help you make best journalistic use of your daily social media activity. It includes information about tools to evaluate your social media efforts, including how to use Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.

Disclosure: I am one of the contributing authors for this guide. My Oakland Local co-founders Susan Mernit and Kwan Booth did the real heavy lifting on this project. The guide also features tips from journalism and social media luminaries such as Spot.us founder David Cohn and Share This author Deanna Zandt.

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

April 12, 2011

Budget cuts slash federal government online transparency programs

Getting online information about the federal government probably may soon get much harder, thanks to budget cuts approved April 11 by Congress…

Daniel Schuman of the Sunlight Foundation reports that six project areas appear to be affected by the cuts: ” The electronic government fund will be cut to $8 million from the $34 million appropriated in FY2010—a reduction to on fourth of its previous funding. ...Some projects facing defunding include the information repository data.gov, the government-spending reporting site USASpending.gov, the recently-launched cloud computing initiative, citizen engagement tools, and online collaboration tools.

Transparency is taking a relatively hard hit in the new budget agreement. Schuman notes: “By comparison, other programs in the ‘financial services and government sector,’ which includes the e-gov fund, were cut by a (comparatively slight) 10% from their FY2010 levels.”

These cuts are likely to make several data-focused and investigative reporting projects difficult. If your work relies on the affected sites or programs, it’s probably wise to get as much done with those resources sooner rather than later, before these cuts take effect.

June 07, 2011

New legal guide for digital journalists

This week, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press published its Digital Journalist’s Legal Guide—a resource for anyone who is disseminating news online…

The main topics covered are:

  • Newsgathering. Rules for open records and meetings, court access, and access to events or places.
  • Protecting and defending your work. How to protect sources, fight subpoenas, and what to do if you’re threatened with a libel lawsuit libel.
  • Understanding the law. Basic internet regulation, how to protect a domain name, copyright and trademark law, fair use, and more.

You can select a state to view additional content in the guide related to that state.

So far this guide can be viewed only via your web browser—but it’s the kind of content that would make an excellent downloadable app for on-the-spot reference.

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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