Monthly Archives: October 2010

Friday Fast Five + Five: The Blogging Edition

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

As I continue working on my own journalism portfolio blogging page, I thought I’d pass along some of the sites I have used for inspiration and advice.  Enjoy!

  1. 10000 Words – 15 Journalists’ outstanding personal portfolios. This post could not have come at a better time, because it gave me some great ideas of what I may want to do.
  2. My Name Is Kate – What To Look for in a Blogging Platform
  3. GigaOm – Step-by-Step: Creating Your Blogging System
  4. Mashable – 4 Tips for Writing SEO-Friendly Blog Posts
  5. Daily SEO Tip – 10 SEO Tools Every Blogger Must Use
  6. Ink Rebels – 100 Sources of Blogging Inspiration
  7. Pro Blogger – 5 Life Skills You Already Have that Can Make You a Great Blogger
  8. Zombie Journalism – Social media for bloggers. This is a slide show from TBD.com’s Mandy Jenkins
  9. App Storm – The 10 Best Blogging Platforms
  10. Daily Blog Tips – The Minimum You Need To Spend On Your Blog

Make That Investment In Yourself

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

Thanks to a scholarship from the National Association of Black Journalists and the generosity of my employers, I recently had the chance to take a course at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.  My class was Storytelling With Multimedia Video.  I have embraced technology and tools enthusiastically, but video was the last missing piece.

So the week of Sept. 20, I joined a group of 15 journalists from around the world, along with our teachers — Al Tompkins, Regina McCombs and Alexandra Garcia, a multimedia journalists with the Washington Post — to learn how to shoot and edit video for news stories.  We had a nice mix of young and older, along with print and broadcast, and even a PR professional.  We were all there for the same reason — to learn a skill that would enhance our storytelling and keep us relevant in a rapidly changing newsroom.

By the end of the week, I had shot and edited a video to be proud of.  And the bonus? I was able to do my story about the St. Pete’s Flying Service, a flight school and fixed-base operator at the historic Albert Whitted Airport.  We were all blessed to have Al, Regina and Alex as instructors. It was especially great to see Alex Garcia’s work in the Post for inspiration, ranging from The Healing Fields to Joining The Dance.

I was pleased with the diversity of our group, and more importantly, that most of them had traveled from as far as Iceland — on their own dime — to make this investment in their career.  My grandmother Claressa always loved to say “you get what you pay for.” She was a master bargain hunter, but she also realized that you have to pay for value.

The training offered at Poynter is value.  It’s training that could be the difference between you keeping your job or being laid off.  I am already saving my pennies for my next training –  Essential Skills for the Digital Journalist, May 2-6.  I encourage you to take a look at the current course offerings and see what might be of interest.  And check with NABJ or other minority journalist associations for scholarships.

Time to Vote – Finalists for UNITY’s NewU: News Entrepreneurs Projects

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

Back on April 13, UNITY Journalists of Color, Inc. received a $100,000 grant from The Ford Foundation to create the New U: News Entrepreneurs Working through UNITY (New U) project.  The effort was designed to support the creative ideas of participating journalists of color through a series of two-day “boot camps” held at each of the four summer 2010 UNITY alliance partners’ conventions.

A key component of New U is  a competition for $5,000 in start-up funding to help news entrepreneurs to realize their ideas.  Now that participants have completed their training at their national conventions, it’s time to vote for the winners from the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.  Click here to see 30-second proposals from four journalists from each organization.  Your support of this deserving enterprise is appreciated.

First, Do No Harm: The Pressing Need for Source Protection

By guest blogger K.M. Britton

Hello, there!  I’m here to talk to you today about source protection, why you should care more about it and how you can do it.

This is actually my first-ever official blog post.  Until now, I have flown below the radar.  For the past twelve years, my main talent/gift/what-have-you has been making sure that those with a story to tell can tell it to the right person, at the right time, without being harmed.  I have become a trusted middleman to journalists, documentary filmmakers, human rights organizations, legal aid groups, politicians and civil society members, delivering a source’s information without disclosing identifying information that could bring her harm.  In doing this, I take reasonable precautions to protect myself, but, as an educated white woman in the U-S-of-A, I’m not so concerned with my own safety.  My concern is with the safety of those who trust me.  I am a trust broker, never a trust breaker.  Hence, I have been privy to incredible stories.

Now I am switching roles from undercover go-between to official journalist and nonprofit executive director, which means I will be less anonymous, thus less able to do my previous work.  I am writing this for myself as much as I am for all of you, as a document to remind myself of the principles that have gotten me here.

I am also inspired to write because of three names in the news: Wikileaks.  Haystack.  Autoweek.

Autoweek?

Yes, Autoweek.

One of these things is not like the others, and not just because it is a magazine about cars.  Unlike supposedly activist upstarts Haystack and Wikileaks, Autoweek did its damnedest to protect sources.

After refusing to disclose photos of a street race, Autoweek faced the arrest of its editor-in-chief, police threats to destroy the magazine’s offices and a lawsuit against its publisher.  On September 14th, the European Union High Court ruled in the magazine’s favor for protecting its sources, reasoning that “forcing journalists to disclose sources not only hurts the source whose identity is revealed, but may damage the reputation of media in the eyes of potential sources and the public.”  It held that Dutch police officers’ confiscation of a data CD with relevant information was “in itself, an interference with the … company’s freedom to receive and impart information” as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The story here is not that Autoweek is awesome.  The story is that Autoweek appears to be a rare, ethical bird in an otherwise apathetic journalistic world.   This problem is being exacerbated by online tools, such as Haystack and Wikileaks, that purport to support free speech and protect would-be sources, but may actually do the opposite – Haystack due to technological limitations, and Wikileaks because its allegiance lies with information being free, sometimes at the expense of those who provide the information.  (All of this has been a handy distraction from the role of the mainstream media in endangering sources, which has actually sought to exempt Wikileaks from source protection law, not to mention bloggers…)

I write today because I see a crisis in news reporting.  Follow me, here.

Journalists want to stay employed.

People are employed when they are seen as solving a problem.

The problem journalists are paid to solve is the reader/viewer/listener’s inability to be all places or be an expert in all things crossed with her desire to learn about the things happening in the world that are relevant to her, that she cannot be present to verify personally or lacks the expertise to understand.  We are paid to witness and digest.

With me so far?

So.  With the internet being the bastion of messy information that it is, the demand for quality information about the world is high.  People seek trustworthy sources of analysis and distillation with which to make sense of the madness.   In order to be trusted and taken seriously by one’s audience, one must be credible.  Yet, media credibility is at an all-time low, and gaining credibility is a Sisyphean struggle.

Journalists are taught that publishing source names, source identification and source affiliation with the story will increase the public’s perception of credibility.  However, have we actually thought this through?

Do journalists even consider the issue of source protection, or what goes into it, unless and until a source asks not to be attributed?   Even when a source does ask, it is industry practice for a journalist to pressure that source to go on the record.  The New York Times and Reuters demand as much.

However, please consider the following: Human Rights Watch reports are one of the most credible sources of information on conditions across the world, yet they rarely publish source names.  And we trust them.

Why?

Because (a) they have rigorous internal checks to verify information, and (b) they have not let us down yet.

The latter is the true point of this article: don’t let people down.

Those people include your readers.  Just because you quote someone else as reciting a lie, that does not get you off the hook for reporting the lie.  You lose credibility either way.

They also include your sources.  Releasing information about a source – however innocuous that information seems – brings with it certain realities that it is your professional responsibility to face:

1.    That source’s name will now and likely forever be linked with whatever she shared with you.
2.    That source’s name will now and likely forever be available on the internet, thanks to your attribution.
3.    That source likely has a job, a family and a reputation she would like to protect, just as you aim to protect yours.
4.    That source may be the subject of government, corporate or community reprisals for engaging in her disclosure.
5.    And the last, most difficult one for journalists to swallow:  That source has told you information that impacts others, and your readers may actually be some of those impacted.

With all of this in mind, I would like you to consider my source protection maxim, and then some tools to achieve it.  The title might have given my maxim away, but here goes.

I find it interesting that doctors are meant to take the Hippocratic Oath, while journalists often see themselves as neutral watchmen, obligated only to the truth.  Yet, in my experience, when one applies the doctor’s credo “First, do no harm” to journalism, magical things happen:

1.    One’s focus shifts from selfishness to compassion,
2.    One becomes more trustworthy and hence more trusted, and THUS…
3.    One is entrusted with more, richer, more nuanced access to the truth.

This is why I pursue the following course of actions in my dealings, and hope you will, too.

1.    Apply the Hippocratic Oath to interactions with sources.  ASSUME your source could be at risk of harm for disclosing to you.  Use technology and good sense to take initial protective measures, removing those measures as reasonable once you have determined their likely risk level with them, but also using your best judgment to determine what protection that source needs in order to really give you the story.
2.    Once the source trusts you with good reason, get the whole story.
3.    Once you have gotten the whole story and repeated back the key points to make sure you understood them, seek to determine what of the story could be harmful to the source, and disclose those risks before getting the final “OK” to go forth and publish.  Then, and only then, can you be sure that this source trusts you and is invested alongside you in the story.  If you walk away leaving a source with a queasy stomach, you have just lost a source.
4.    Vigorously check what a source says.  Apply the above principles to each subsequent “background” source.  Validate the story so even if the first source is lying, you have your story.  Police reports are meant to be the facts and nothing but the facts, yet anyone who has reported on crime knows to verify, verify, verify with as many sources as one can, despite the officer’s name being right at the top of the report (the human desire to protect oneself can inspire a creative recounting of the “facts”).

I am sharing this with you in the hopes that together, we can apply these norms and change journalism from a shallow search for the next hot story at all costs to a trust-based exploration of that holy “truth” we all serve.  Having written this post, I think I will actually start blogging if you are interested in learning more about the “how” that goes with this passionate exploration of “why.”  Please comment, let me know what you think and stay in touch!

KM Britton (@KMBTweets) is a writer, lawyer, listener, nonprofit founder, recovering filmmaker & public health degree candidate from Boston, MA.  She is currently taking a class in NPR-style radio reporting.

Calendar of Multimedia Training and Events

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

  • Webbmedia Group has a great calendar of events that catches things not covered below. If you want to subscribe to the calendar, click here. You can also subscribe to this calendar so the information appears on your personal Google Calendar. Just go to the Webbmedia Google calendar, click the “+Google Calendar” icon at the bottom right, and then click “Yes, add this calendar” in the dialog box.)
  • The Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism will host a talk, The Big Story: National Public Radio’s Tamara Keith, Oct. 6. Journalist in residence Keith will discuss radio journalism, the challenge of covering disasters, and NPR’s transition in the digital age, while outlining her experiences covering major stories ranging from the world financial crisis, to the earthquake in Haiti, to the BP oil spill in Louisiana.
  • City University of New York’s J-Camp will be holding the course Secrets of the NYC Economy: A Crash Course on City Economics, Business and Politics October 7th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.  The cost is $29 for early registration and $35 at the door.
  • Columbia University Journalism Professor Sree Sreenivasan will hold a four-week course entitled “Smarter Social Media for Journalists, Bloggers and Media Professionals.” Scheduled for Thursdays, October 7, 14, 21, 28, 2010; 6:30 – 9 p.m., the course will teach participants how to use social media, including sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, YouTube, among others, to find new story ideas, trends and sources; connect with readers and viewers in new ways; bring attention and traffic to their work; and create, craft and enhance their personal brand.  The cost is $495.
  • News U and the Online News Association (ONA) will broadcast the webinar “Hyperlocal News Startups: What’s Working? What’s Not?” on Oct. 14, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. This Webinar will give you a landscape view of the world of local-online startups: their scale, their prospects for success, and their challenges.  The cost is $27.95, and free to ONA members .
  • The BlogWorld New Media Expo will be held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas Oct. 15-16.
  • Think like Google — what you need to know about SEO is a Webinar being offered by the Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute on Oct. 19.  The hour-long session will help reporters and editors understand the Web and how search engines find online content, explain some fundamentals of SEO and why journalists should care and give journalists tips and tools for writing good headline and ledes for the Web.
  • DJTF member Tiffany Black will be holding an online course — Advanced Social Media – on Wednesdays from Oct. 20 through Nov. 17.  Participants should be ready to dive into a class filled with practical, actionable tips and case studies on using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Buzz.  The cost is $350.
  • FreshWorkShops will hold a webinar “WordPress For Busy People” on Oct. 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT.  The webinar will teach participants how to customize WordPress using themes, boost performance with plugins and keep your site up to date.  The cost is $49.
  • Media Bistro will hold the online course “Intro to Multimedia Journalism” on Thursdays Oct. 21-Nov. 18 from 9-10 pm Eastern time. In this class you’ll learn how to translate news stories into fascinating multimedia packages.
  • Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is holding a “Two-Day Final Cut Pro Workshop” Oct. 23-24.  Students will learn to capture footage, import images, text and audio files, edit from larger clips and trim footage in a timeline. Participants will also learn how to mix audio levels, create text, animate images and export video for broadcast or the Web. The cost is $695.
  • Registration is now open for the Online News Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., Oct. 28-30.
  • She’s Geeky: Connecting Women in Tech will be holding its second annual unconference in New York City Oct. 29-30.
  • Nov. 1 is the deadline to apply for the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism’s Strictly Financials Fellows 2011 program.  The Reynolds Center is offering fellowships worth $2,000 for four days of intensive study in financials and accounting Jan. 4-7, 2011, in Phoenix at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  Fellowships cover the full cost of training, lodging, materials and most meals. In addition, fellows receive a $500 stipend to help offset travel and other costs.  This seminar will cover the essentials of covering financials, from stock markets and bonds to financial statements and company research.
  • Nov. 1 is also the deadline for students to apply for a summer internship at the Washington Post.  The newspaper 12-week paid internships for reporters on the Local, Financial, Sports, Style and Editorial desks, as well as internships for Visual Journalists, Multiplatform Producers and Web Designers.
  • The Social Media Club is holding Social Media University Nov. 10-12 in Orlando. Learn from a dozen of the true Social Media Masters in this deep dive for Social Media Professionals.  The cost is $395 for members and $500 for non-members through Sept. 30. On Oct. 1, the price goes up to the full retail price of $495 for members and $595 for non-members.
  • The Freedom Forum Diversity Institute is offering a Multimedia Boot Camps for Journalism Professionals and Educators.  The boot camp is scheduled for Nov. 17-21 at the Freedom Forum’s John Seigenthaler Center in Nashville, Tenn.  The cost is $850.
  • The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism is holding an online webinar “Writing Business News for the Web: Online” Dec. 1-2.  The webinar, taught by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jacqui Banaszynski, will help writers and editors write with clarity, efficiency, brevity and transparency. Participants will study story approaches and language use that enhance the readability of Web copy.
  • The Knight Digital Media Center has spaces for 20 fellows at its Interactive Census Hands-On Workshop Dec. 12-17 at the University of California-Berkeley.  KDMC is offering a customized visual storytelling workshop to train journalists on new ways to process data from the 2010 Census. Fellows will illustrate the information using visualization and mapping tools to create a clearer, more meaningful picture of the complex statistics gathered in the national survey.
  • The 2011 Kiplinger Fellowship will award 15 grants to journalists to help them hone their social media skills and learn about SEO, strategic tweeting, and other information about the Internet.  The deadline to apply is Nov. 30.
  • The Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute is offering the Webinar Writing Business News for the Web Dec. 1-2.  This Webinar will help writers and editors write with clarity, efficiency, brevity and transparency.

2011

  • The Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley has opened applications for its 2011 Multimedia Training Jan. 9-14 and May 15-20. The workshop offers intensive training that covers all aspects of multimedia news production; from basic storyboarding to hands-on instruction with hardware and software for production of multimedia stories. Participants will be organized into teams to report on a pre-arranged story in the Bay Area, and then construct a multimedia presentation based on that coverage.  Applications are due by Nov. 19 for the January training and March 18 for the May training.
  • Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is holding a Five-Day Intensive Digital Media Boot Camp Jan. 10-14, 2011.  Participants will learn the basics of visual storytelling concepts through video production and post-production with Final Cut Pro (for Mac). Participants will leave with concrete skills and a better understanding of the technologies that are transforming the news business.  The cost is $1,195, and registration begins in November.
  • The Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley has opened applications for its Web 2.0 workshop Feb. 14-18 and June 13-17.  This training takes participants through the progression of reporting news for multiple digital platforms, starting with quick text posts and moving through photos and video and finally ending with a full multimedia presentation. The workshop provides hands-on training using Twitter and Facebook for reporting and driving web traffic, creating data-driven map mashups, dynamically updating a blog for breaking news, publishing photo galleries and audio slideshows, producing videos and editing videos using Final Cut Pro.  The deadline to apply is Dec. 10 for the February workshop and April 15 for the June training.
  • The Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley has opened applications for its Independent Journalists Workshop March 21-25.  The workshop will provide journalists with the hands-on training and tools to get started with an online publishing enterprise.  The deadline to apply is Jan. 28.
  • The National Conference for Media Reform will hold its annual conference in Boston April 8-11, 2011.  The conference brings together thousands of activists, media makers, educators, journalists, scholars, policymakers and engaged citizens to meet, tell their stories, share tactics, listen to great speakers and build the movement for better media in America.

If you have any items that I’ve missed, please drop me an email via the DJTF Yahoo! Listserv or at regaviationqueen AT yahoo DOT com.  Thanks!

Friday Fast Five + Five

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

It’s good to be back in the regular routine.  I’m still trying to dig out of my Fast Five folder, so we’re going to do a bonus five again this week.  Enjoy!

  1. 10000 Words3 Underrated but essential skills for journalists.  I was surprised with the list, but Mark Luckie is 100% right!
  2. Mashable6 Crucial Social Media Tips for Traditional Media.  All six are things that traditional journalists are not used to doing (promote your presence??), but the future is now.
  3. Blogging TipsReinventing Yourself and Your Blog. As I work on plans to revamp the NABJDigital blog, I found these tips to be very helpful. We all have to shake it up now and then…
  4. LifehackerUse Multiple Google Calendars to Balance Your College Life. OK, it says college life, but we could all use some help.  With all the things I need to balance in my life (family, work, associations, friends, etc.) this tool has been a lifesaver. Do it now!
  5. Insure.com10 amazing infographics to help you visualize disasters.  We’ve all heard from our newsrooms to use more infographics to illustrate our stories. Here are 10 great examples for inspiration.
  6. GigaOmFreesound Project: Creative Commons Licensed Audio Snippets. Check out this site for almost 100,000 audio snippets when you need a sound effect for an audio project.
  7. Photoline For All9 Tips on How to Learn Digital SLR Photography.  You have the camera. It’s gathering dust on the shelf. Read this, and get started!
  8. PBS Media Shift10 Ways to Make Video a More Interactive Experience.  These are some really good ideas, especially adding a video component to your CoverItLive chat.
  9. Free Technology For Teachers7 Resources for Detecting and Preventing Plagiarism. With content so easily available out there, it’s really easy for anyone to lift your work.  These resources help in the fight.
  10. Pelfusion30 WordPress Based Websites That Don’t Look Like Blogs.  These show the real possibilities of using a free WordPress blog as your website platform.