Posted in Education, Innovation, journalism, multimedia journalist

Best of NABJDigital Blog: A Patch (.com) Of Hope…

Editor’s note: We are taking this week off to enjoy the holidays with our families.  So this week, we’ll be re-running past posts.  Today’s post is from DJTF digital intern Sadiyyah Rice, who writes on an innovative way Ohio University is benefitting Patch’s site consolidations.  It originally ran on Oct. 16.  Enjoy!

Hyper-local online news company announced last month that several of its websites would be shut down or consolidated by October 15th. While those sites are undergoing these processes this week, Ohio University is looking to bring the hyper-local news structure into the educational sphere with impending web experiments.

Associate Dean for Innovation, Research/Creative Activity and Graduate Studies, Scripps College of Communication, Dr. Michelle Ferrier recently spoke with Patch editors of the closing and consolidating sites. While the editors are dismayed at losing their jobs there is a sense of hope and optimism that permeates with this group. AOL, which owns Patch, also seems to be rectifying their mistakes, Ferrier says.

“Patch editors have identified a couple of key points where AOL made certain business decisions and assumptions about the marketplace that may have been incorrect,” she says. “I think what Patch has learned is that doing hyper local online news is hard. There are costs associated with it and there are certain communities that are able to support those kinds of activities and others that are not. So they are regrouping through these layoffs to get back that core set of Patch sites that can be profitable by the end of the year.”

Of the possibility of Ohio University partnering with Patch to create new university–run hyper-local news sites, Dr. Ferrier says don’t rule it out.

“While Patch is soliciting commercial partners to be able to take on some of their sites, Ohio University and [I] are in active negotiations with them to try take on some of those low performing sites to build [a network] that is more of a non-profit, private-public partnership model that looks at building the investment of a community in its own communication vehicle,” Ferrier says.

“Our goal, “ Ferrier continued, “is to work with Patch to try and identify those communities for which a viable commercial media is impossible and then look at ways to partner with higher education entities and local government and local foundations to keep those site alive and to keep them fresh with news and information.”

Dr. Ferrier further explains that the new model will experiment with different styles of leadership which may include student-run, student-led sites or even former Patch employees teaching students community journalism through a university curriculum.

Though no tentative launch date has yet been set for this new model of online journalism, new life and hope is springing from Patch.

Sadiyyah Rice is the digital intern for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force, recording secretary for the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists and video editor for Higher Education Channel Television (HEC-TV).

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, multimedia journalist, Social Media, Uncategorized

Best of NABJDigital Blog: How To Get DIGITALLY Ready For The NABJ Convention

Editor’s note: We are taking this week off to enjoy the holidays with our families.  So this week, we’ll be re-running past posts.  Today’s post is from Syracuse University Journalism graduate Janine Mack, who advises 2013 NABJ Convention & Career Fair attendees on how to enhance their digital presence.  It originally ran on June 26.  Enjoy!

janine mack

By Janine Mack, recent graduate, Syracuse University, master’s in broadcast and digital journalism

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Janine Mack offers tips to digitally prepare for the NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair July 31-Aug. 4, 2013.

It’s that time of year when I urge those in my network to start getting ready for the annual convention. Successfully preparing for NABJ can make the difference between landing an awesome first job or internship and heading back home empty handed. Here are a few tips to get started now.

1. Get an online portfolio! If you do not have a website with at least 8 to 12 clips of either video stories that aired or published print articles, then you are already behind. Ideally, you want your that way when people Google your name, your web presence will be the first thing to come up. I didn’t thing people Googled me until my website showed me and Weebly are good places to start building a simple portfolio.  Some great examples of each come from Vanessa DegginsSarah Glover and Kirstin Garriss, respectively.

2. Google yourself. I always thought people were crazy when they said this, but one day I found old comment I thought was deleted and pictures of other people named Janine Mack half-naked. Recruiters and prospective sources will look so should you. A good rule of thumb is to delete anything that you would not want on your website.

3. I have a website, now what? Make sure to put your resume, some details about what you do and your aspirations, your clips and a nice professional picture of you doing whatever aspect of journalism it is that you do. Some of my favorite examples of how it’s done are Wesley LoweryStephanie SiekFadia Patterson and Eva McKend. Don’t forget to update it whenever you get a new job or an internship, to have it critiqued BEFORE you head to the convention and that the link is on anything you hand out such as business cards, resumes, demo reels, etc.

4. Build up your social media presence. Start accounts with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Storify, etc. These accounts should also be as a fine balance of personal, but professional with of course no on grammar, spelling or punctuation errors. Every account should be customized with your first name, last name, a picture and a brief biography of you on it. Once the accounts are established, link them to your webpage and begin to familiarize yourself with each one. You want as many ways as possible for recruiters to search for you, to add you to their network and to keep in touch after the convention is over. Plus, it’s fun to live tweet at the convention.

Posted in Innovation, journalism, multimedia journalist, Uncategorized, Webinar

Best of NABJDigital Blog: NEW LINK Webinar: “Building An Online Journalist Portfolio Using Pressfolios”

Editor’s note: We are taking this week off to enjoy the holidays with our families.  So this week, we’ll be re-running past posts.  Today’s post is a link to a webinar on using Pressfolios, with Pressfolios cofounder Marc Sampson. Originally posted by DJTF immediate past chair Benet Wilson on May 21.  Enjoy!

By Benét J. Wilson, chair, NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force & social media/eNewsletters editor, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Editor’s note: the Digital Journalism Task Force is working on programming that will take us right to the annual convention. To that end, we’d appreciate it if you could take this quick 5-question survey to let us know what you want. Thanks!!

Due to technical difficulties, the link to Tuesday’s webinar did not work.  We have worked with GoToWebinar and we now have a link that works.  Click here for the hour-long webinar on using Pressfolios.   As a reminder, the code for the private beta is NABJ.  Thanks for your patience!

Posted in journalism, Social Media, Uncategorized

Best of NABJDigital Blog: What Journalists Can Learn From the Yahoo-Tumblr Alliance: Build It or Buy It

Editor’s note: We are taking this week off to enjoy the holidays with our families.  So this week, we’ll be re-running past posts.  Today’s post is from DJTF co-chair Tracie Powell, who gives her take on Yahoo!’s acquisition of tumblr. and  how this relates toother news organizations.  It originally ran on May 21.  Enjoy!

yahoo tumblrYahoo’s $1 billion purchase of the blogging site, Tumblr, is being heralded as a cool move by media watchers everywhere. It’s cool because the alliance brings in younger users to an aging Internet giant, a demographic advertisers crave, which translates into growing revenue—something legacy news media companies need.

Angel Investor and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis wrote for LinkedIn over the weekend that the then-pending deal had journalists livid. “Journalists are one of the first groups to lash out. Why? Because they have no chance of making big money in their jobs, and they have to fight for $5,000 raises while their pensions are replaced with 401ks. Also, they tend to have covered startups like Tumblr from year one and they can’t reconcile how something that didn’t exists five years ago is now worth $1 billion — and that they don’t have to balls to create something.”

I agree with Calacanis that the big-media purchase has many journalists more than a little bit jealous. But not because of our dwindling paychecks, which (for most of us) have always been rather paltry. But because journalists know – but aren’t saying out loud – that this purchase is just the latest right-left hook to our dying business model. We, along with everyone else, are waiting for the dreaded knockout punch while marveling ringside at such a gargantuan media buy.

We also know that our parent companies — be they newspaper giants, cable or broadcast stations – don’t exactly have a billion dollars laying around that executives or stockholders are willing to risk on a blogging site filled with porn, copyright infringing material and racist bullcrap—content advertisers don’t typically like.

That said, not all is bleak for journalists. The one thing we have going for ourselves is that Yahoo’s purchase shows, once again, that content is still king. We, content creators, just have a hard time  believing it. Both “Facebook and Google have demonstrated that a vast audience for free content can bring in significant advertising revenue,” reports The Wall Street Journal, a fact news executives surely take into consideration as they mount more pay walls. What the Yahoo-Tumblr purchase also represents is an opportunity for individual journalists (and some companies that can be cool enough for the younger crowd) to build their own brands while reaching a new, more coveted, audience.

For news organizations this purchase should not just be viewed as yet another opportunity to use somebody else’s platform to build a brand and distribute product. That’s alright for individual journalists, but for legacy media companies this purchase underscores the fact that they should be investing or creating their own innovative platforms that combine social networking with content to reach a critical mass of people. Sort of like The Atlantic Media Company did when it created Quartz, a mobile-first business news site, last September. Quartz exceeded its own expectations by receiving nearly a million unique visitors in its first month.

Not all of us can be like The Atlantic, which is navigating the digital age better than most of its contemporaries. But if we can’t build it, buy it. You know, like Yahoo just did.

Posted in multimedia journalist, Social Media, Uncategorized

Best of NABJDigital Blog: Four Ways Journalists Can Use Pinterest

Editor’s note: We are taking this week off to enjoy the holidays with our families.  So this week, we’ll be re-running past posts.  Today’s post is from former DJTF intern Ameena Rasheed, who offers up ideas on how journalists can incorporate Pinterest into their work.  It originally ran on Jan. 16.  Enjoy!

Pinterest   Home

A screenshot of Pinterest’s homepage.

By Ameena Rasheed, NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force intern

Pinterest, a virtual pinboard where you can share and organize images and video through “pins,” has become a popular social media platform since its launch in 2010. In 2012, it was the third most-visited social networking site, as reported by CNN.

As journalists and news organizations look for various ways to interact with its readers and viewers, and users are seeking to engage with more visual social media content, Pinterest provides a platform which can potentially facilitate both sides’ interest in promoting, distributing and sharing content.

Here are four ideas that we’ve gathered from across the Web and compiled together for how journalists can start using Pinterest.

1. Use compelling photos to share hard news headlines

While Pinterest is most known for its foodie and wedding posts, CTV News has created several boards to chronicle breaking news stories with its Occupy Wall Street, Tragedy and triumph and The World We Live In boards. Al Jazeera created The faces of Egypt’s voters board to capture to feelings of Alexandria’s residents in the historic election to choose the country’s next president.

2. Give previews of what you are working on

The Houston Press, an alternative weekly publication, releases its print issues every Thursday, but gives its readers a sneak peek at its creative covers every Wednesday on its Under the Covers board. Time magazine also does the same with its TIME Covers board.

For those times where you don’t have that perfect image to sell the story, follow the lead of The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Quotes board and highlight memorable quotes from your stories. You could also get a little creative and use infographics like on Mashable’s Infographics board, or like The Salt Lake Tribune’s Bagley Cartoons board and share editorial cartoons.

3. Display photo galleries, feature stories and reviews

It’s no secret that one of Pinterest’s most popular categories is food. The Salt Lake Tribune is taking advantage of that with its SLC & Utah Restaurants & Bars board to share its restaurant and bar reviews. The Orlando Sentinel has boards dedicated to local attractions such as Walt Disney World and Florida Travel. There is also a Feature Pages–Collaborative board, which features pages from newspapers across the nation.

4. Involve your audience

Some good examples of utilizing user-generated content on Pinterest are CTV’s Canada Through Your Eyes and PBS NewsHour’s Childhood Cancer Awareness: Your Photos. The New York Times asked for submissions to its Your Holiday Dessert Pins and then featured some of the best pins on its website.

Al Jazeera has a Crowdsourced News board, where users can share newsworthy items that Al Jazeera is and isn’t covering. Al Jazeera also has a web community and daily television show, The Stream, which is powered through social media and citizen journalism, and shares content from its viewers on Pinterest, too.

Last, but not least, NABJ experimented with Pinterest boards at the 2012 convention in New Orleans, creating boards on NABJ 2012 New Orleans, NABJ2012, NABJ Fashionistas & Fashionistos and New Orleans Food.

Please share how you’re using Pinterest in your work!

Posted in Awards, Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, Uncategorized, Webinars

Calendar of Multimedia Training and Events


  • The Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at Ohio State University is looking for innovative journalists who want to use social media to build a stronger following, develop new sources and better cover their beats. The program also aims to sharpen your digital media public-affairs reporting skills, thus helping you hold government and institutions accountable. We’ll talk Twitter, Deep Web searches, crowdsourcing, public records, spreadsheets and online data visualization. The fellowship runs from Sunday, April 6, through Friday, April 11, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. Applications are due by Nov. 30, 2013. Apply here.


  •  Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford offers 20 journalists the opportunity to spend 10 months experimenting, testing and developing innovative ideas for the future of journalism. Open to full-time journalists, journalism entrepreneurs and innovators (which can include independent journalists or developers) and journalism business and management executives. Deadline: Dec. 1. Apply now.
  • Writing for the Web is a free, four-week massive open online course (MOOC) offered by This free journalism course focuses on optimizing web texts for (a) easy online reading and (b) higher search engine ranking. This course was first offered in summer 2013 with 350 participants from more than 60 countries. It is now being offered again with revisions and updates based on feedback from the summer course participants. For enrollment instructions, visit MulinBlog Online J-School. Check out course here.
  • The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism will hold a free online workshop, “The Fracking Revolution: Finding Energy Stories Everywhere,” Dec. 4 at  4:00 p.m. ET (noon PT).  In this one-hour, free webinar, Marilyn Geewax, a senior business editor with NPR, will help you understand how this unleashing of massive supplies of fossil fuels is changing all of our lives. In addition to having a broad impact on the environment, tax revenues and politics, this energy revolution is making U.S. manufacturing competitive again and could soon be generating millions of jobs from Maine to California.

  • Learn how to write better headlines for digital media, including smartphones with Poynter’s webinar “Writing Headlines for Digital and Mobile Media“. Readers looking at an app for a news site are often deciding what to click on based on the headline alone. Headlines are just as important in the digital era as they were in traditional media, if not more so. Webinar begins at 2 p.m. Eastern time, Dec. 5. Enroll now.
  • Learn how to create specialized apps for a certain type of news for a specific target audience with little risk in Poynter’s webinar “How to Experiment with Specialized Mobile News Apps” , on Wednesday, December 11 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. While mobile device users prefer apps that focus on doing one thing well, news publishers can have more success by creating specialized apps for a certain type of news or a target audience. The webinar breaks down how these apps are made. Enroll now.
  • Prepare your newsroom to best serve the growing mobile audience in Poynter’s webinar “Changing Workflow to Create a Mobile First Newsroom” on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. With mobile traffic approaching or surpassing desktop traffic at many news organizations, it is time for newsrooms to make sure their cultures and workflows are set up to serve this growing audience. Just like the shift from print to Web or broadcast to Web, the shift to mobile requires thinking about the audience in a different way and making fundamental changes in how we cover the news.  Enroll now.
  • The CBC-UNC Diversity Fellowship Program is an intensive hands-on workshop led by professionals at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C. and the University of North Carolina journalism faculty in Chapel Hill, N.C. The program, scheduled for March 12-16, 2014,  is geared toward college seniors pursuing broadcast careers as producers, reporters, photojournalists and web editors. The deadline to apply is Dec. 15.


  • If you have the skills, passion and determination to be a journalist of the future – a trained professional who knows a good story when they see it and who has the confidence to tell it in a way that best imparts its relevance and importance to news consumers – an 18-month Hearst Fellowship may be right for you. Applications are open through January.

  • Reporters who want to learn more about federal data and the business of government are invited to be part of a special immersion training being conducted by SABEW in January in Washington D.C. The SABEW Business Immersion Workshop on Business Data will focus on data and accounting skills. Journalists will be able to work with experts at the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics to explore the large cache of data each agency produces, as well as understand its importance to readers. This event is possible based on donation from the Walter and Carla Goldschmidt Family Foundation. For more information & to apply visit:
  • The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism will hold a free workshop, “Investigating the Business of Government,” Jan. 23, 2014, preceding the Winter Convention of the Kentucky Press Association Jan. 23-24. If you dread analyzing the annual municipal budget for news and wonder how to tie government contracts to campaign-donor lists, come hone your skills at this workshop taught by investigative reporter John Cheves. The workshop will be held at the Hyatt Regency, 401 W. High St., Lexington, Ky.

  • The Reynolds Fellowship in Community Journalism is accepting applications. This fellowship is be awarded to “a journalist of accomplishment and promise who is committed to the role of the community press.” Open to journalists working at a U.S. daily and weekly newspapers with a circulation less than 50,000, journalists doing online work for community newspapers, or journalists who have established independent local news websites in communities where the circulation of the local newspaper is less than 50,000. Must be a U.S. citizen. Deadline: Jan. 31, 2014. Apply now.
  • The Nieman-Berkman Fellowships in Journalism Innovation are a collaboration between two parts of Harvard (the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society). This fellowship involves spending a year in residence in Cambridge, and full participation in both the Nieman and Berkman fellowship communities. Applicants must propose a specific course of study or project relating to journalism innovation. Open to working journalists or others who work for a news organization in a business, technology, or leadership capacity. Independent journalists are also welcome. Deadline: Jan. 31, 2014.Apply now.
  • The Knight-Wallace Fellowships at Michigan is now accepting applications. Spend an academic year at the Univ. of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Fellows devise a personalized study plan with access to UM courses and resources, and are encouraged to nurture their creative and artistic tendencies. Includes twice-weekly seminars as well as domestic and international travel. Deadline: Feb. 1, 2014. Apply now: U.S. and international.
  • The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism will hold a free workshop, “Perfecting Personality Profiles,” Feb. 5-6 at 4:00 p.m. ET (noon PT). To make your beat coverage more accessible and engaging, you need to focus on people – those in positions of power or influence, and those who consume goods and services, work for wages and pay taxes. In the first hour of this lively two-part webinar, Pulitzer winner Jacqui Banaszynski will explore the characteristics of memorable and accurate profiles, as well as offer a range of profile approaches that can suit your purpose, publication and audience. In the second hour, on Feb. 6, she’ll dive more deeply into the reporting and writing techniques that can help any beat reporter pursue sparkling profiles.
  • Investigative Reporters and Editors and National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) will hold their 2014 Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference in Baltimore, Md., Feb. 27, 2014 – March 2, 2014. Join IRE and NICAR for their annual conference devoted to computer-assisted reporting. Come and learn about tools you need to dig deeper into stories and give readers and viewers the information they want.

  • The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism will hold a free workshop, “Social Media ROI for Journalists,” March 4 at  4:00 p.m ET (noon PT). In 2013, more and more newsrooms will revisit their social media strategy and ask, “What’s our return on investment?” How do we know if our newsroom is doing social “correctly”? What does this mean for our organization’s bottom line? This free, one-hour webinar will help you answer those questions on March 4.

  • The best in the business will gather for more than 100 panels, hands-on classes and special presentations about covering business, public safety, government, health care, education, the military, the environment and other key beats at the 2014 IRE conference June 26-29, 2014 in San Francisco. Speakers will share strategies for locating documents and gaining access to public records, finding the best stories and managing investigations. Join the discussion about how to practice investigative journalism in print, broadcast, Web and alternative newsroom models.

If you have items you wish to include, please email them to me at benet AT aviationqueen DOT COM. Thanks!!

Posted in journalism, multimedia journalist, Uncategorized

Spotlight’s On: Kelly Virella

Kelly Virella, Founder of the Urban Thinker magazine
Kelly Virella, Founder of the Urban Thinker magazine

Kelly Virella wants to bring today’s reporting into the 22nd century. Her new online magazine Urban Thinker plans to do just that. The journal will be based on in-depth, truly thought-provoking reporting on topics that are important to African-Americans but often go overlooked in media.




How did you start the Urban Thinker magazine?

When I first started working in a newsroom after j-school, one of the first things I noticed was how little diversity there was in terms of [news] coverage. The African-American population was only 10% in [our] area but, I started thinking about how that reflected in a lot of the news coverage on tv, even the coverage in “majority Minority” cities. A lot of “majority Minority” cities tend be very relaxed in their racially diverse news coverage. I knew then that I wanted to go into entrepreneurship and do something that was really about serving the community. As I developed more and more in journalism, I could see the tides changing in terms of what people were interested in. A lot of brands are getting into thoughtful journalism to distinguish themselves. I am creating a magazine to be a part of this moment.

How do you make long-form journalism something people will love to read in world of “quick and easy” blog posts?

It really just depends on the interest level of the individual. A lot of people swear by [long-form journalism] and some people are just not interested. One of the reasons why it is so interesting is that it’s because it’s based on characters. It’s just like you’re reading a novel, your getting into characters, you’re getting into all those elements that make it interesting for a person. It’s a form of entertainment as much as it is journalism for a reader. This is really for people who still enjoy the activity of finishing off their day with reading.

How did you go about finding reporters for the Urban Thinker?

My goal was to recruit reporters who had much experience as possible. I knew a lot experienced reporters who I was friends with. So it was really a matter of who [I knew] at the time could commit to writing something right now. So I was able to get some really cool people to write some pieces. Eventually, we will be expanding our network.

How do you plan to incorporate videojournalism into Urban Thinker?

I’m thinking about using it for front of the book or back of the book pieces. We are interested in having conversations with people who have solved various types of social or economic problems or political issues that the Black community has faced. We would give them time to talk on camera about what they did to solve these different kinds of problems.

Virella plans to uplift and inspire her readers with the intelligent journalism that we need now more than ever. Find out more about the Urban Thinker at and Kelly Virella at

Sadiyyah Rice is the digital intern for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force, recording secretary for the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists and video editor for Higher Education Channel Television (HEC-TV).