Archive for November 2007

What two aspects of journalism will never change?

November 27th, 2007 — 10:05pm

Here’s the answer Bryan Gruley of the Wall Street Journal gave a group of Medill business reporters today:

People’s need for knowing what they didn’t already know.

People’s need for good storytelling.


Most truths are.

If you have access to the Wall Street Journal archives, I’d suggest reading Gruley’s tribute to Tim Breslin, a former Chicago Wolves hockey player who died young of cancer – especially if you ever played hockey. It’s simply great.

Here’s a great piece on Gruley by Poynter.

Comment » | Journalism, Wall Street Journal

Young adults weigh in on political parties

November 20th, 2007 — 6:33pm

Medill reporters Emily Wood, Kelly Mahoney and Rachel Zahorsky in D.C. put together this off-the-cuff piece on youth attitudes toward political parties.

I say Republican, you say?

They are also soliciting comments on the piece so you can weigh in and they’ll be doing a follow up story.

Comment » | Medill

Newspaper video: It just has to work

November 19th, 2007 — 10:04am

Haven’t posted in a while, but I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Boston working on a research project for the Newspaper Association of America on trends in online video and had a thought to share.

I’m taking a course in Web videography offered at Medill and taught by a Tribune Interactive video guy, Brad Piper. Longtime print reporter James Janega from the Trib put together a video on Fallujah, Iraq, and came in to discuss it. One of things he said that stood out the most to me was his point that when you’re in the news business, “It just has to work,” he said.

Although Janega had a background in broadcast before switching to print, he discussed how time constraints and the limited access reporters enjoy in Iraq due to safety concerns both limited what he could produce as a one man reporter with a handheld video camera. Furthermore, Janega was primarily responsible for coming back with a print piece of the paper.

But his piece did work. Plenty of his shots were shaky. His camera doesn’t have a jack for a microphone. And the video didn’t delve into the issues nearly as deeply as his print piece did. But his video worked. It showed a side of the story that his print piece couldn’t.

It’s an inspiring bit of news for small papers, in my opinion, with limited means to produce video. People have voted with their clicks and shown that they are willing (and eager!) to watch videos of lower production quality on YouTube, if the story is worth it.

I don’t see a compelling reason why they wouldn’t do the same when it comes to local video.

Comment » | Online Video, Video

Facebook’s Social Ads uses the wrong approach

November 9th, 2007 — 8:14pm

Facebook logoA lot has been said regarding Facebook’s controversial advertising scheme dubbed Social Ads. Here’s my problem with it: it uses its users instead of empowering them.

No way to opt out

One thing I’ve read thus far is that there is no opt out option for the Social Ads program. This fact overlooks another interesting one: there’s no opt in. Why not build the program and ask users if they even want to participate, and then share the revenue with its users.

Now, I’m sure there are a ton of issues with this route as well. But, I think it’s better than what Facebook is doing. What do you think?

2 comments » | Advertising, Facebook, Media, Social Media

Business to business journalists use blogs as sources – report says

November 7th, 2007 — 2:08pm

The Arketi Group, an Atlanta-based public relations and integrated marketing consultancy, issued a report looking at how business to business journalists use blogs. Here is one finding:
Arketi graph

The graph to the left shows that 84 percent of business to business journalists reported they would use a blog as a primary or secondary source.

This report kills me. Here’s why:

Blogs are defined by their medium, bloggers are not

Could you imagine a report asking whether or not a business to business journalist quoted a “speech” or an “interview” or a “written report” as a primary or secondary source? No, that’s nonsensical. All of the above, including blogs, are simply different media, across which sources of varying levels of reputability convey information – which brings me to my second point…

Blogs are not uniform sources of information

Do I get story ideas and learn about journalism trends from Jarvis and Romenesko? Sure. Do I get them from the latest blog indexed by Technorati? No. Just like I give more credence to something I read in the Journal as compared with the National Enquirer.

Comment » | Journalism, News, Reporting

New York Times startup LifeWire provides syndicated lifestyle content

November 6th, 2007 — 11:23pm

I recently saw a job posting on for a full-time editor to commission and copy edit articles for LifeWire, an online content startup from the New York Times Co. that creates “on-demand lifestyle content” for top Web publishers.


A quick Google News search shows that, although their own page isn’t live yet, LifeWire has ran stories in CNN’s living, and travel sections for the past month or so.

I looked for some more information on LifeWire, but hadn’t read much about it. Any leads?

And P.S., doesn’t the site look awfully “Drupally”?

2 comments » | Journalism, New Media, News, Newspapers, Wire services

Alex Kuczynski at Medill – Style and Substance: Reporting on Popular Culture

November 6th, 2007 — 6:02pm

Alex KuczynskiAlex Kuczynski is scheduled to speak at the Medill School of Journalism at 12 pm on Monday, November 12 2007 in Fisk hall.

I picked up on it from a weekly newsletter I get, Flavorpill, which describes Kuczynski, saying:

“For some, the Critical Shopper columnist is bafflingly superficial, an over-privileged aesthete who sullies the paper’s reputation with conspicuous consumption and the jet-set lifestyles of the ultra-rich. Others simply see her as a shrewd and pragmatic businesswoman. After all, she delivers what people want — high-end shopping tips, luxury-product critiques, and the best place to buy a $5,000 chinchilla coat.”

I’ll be attending, so if you have any questions regarding Kuczynski, her work, or reporting on popular culture, let me know.

3 comments » | Medill

Ravelry, the future of online communities, and what it means for journalism

November 6th, 2007 — 10:16am

Medill logoAs part of an independent study I’m doing on online communities with another Medill student, I moderated three focus groups yesterday looking at why and how students used social media. Once we got beyond Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, one student brought up an interesting site I’d heard of, but must admit I’ve never checked out: Ravelry – a knit and crochet community.Ravelry logo

The student explained that before she discovered Ravelry, she would spend a lot of time trying to find free patterns online. Now, she can log in to Ravelry and trade patterns within the community easily.

The future of online communities…?

Her insights helped highlight some of different motivations people have for joining and contributing to online communities. People overwhelmingly have the same responses for joining Facebook and MySpace: my friends are there, I want to find old friends or it helps me keep in touch. Topically oriented communities offer something entirely different.

TripConnect logoI’m sure other examples of topically oriented, niche sites abound. The only one I’m personally familiar with is TripConnect, to which I contributed reviews.

Magazines and newspapers

At first glance, it seems that Facebook accomplishes what local newspapers once accomplished, although in a more extensive and personalized way, whereas topically oriented online communities are more analogous to magazines.

What’s your take? Are there any vibrant online communities that particularly impress you? Or any old media companies doing anything particularly interesting in this arena?

This is a thread I’ll hopefully develop more fully in the future.

Comment » | Magazines, Medill, Newspapers, Online Communities

Slate’s Comedy News Contest features Clare Baker

November 4th, 2007 — 8:37pm

The appendix joke was told by none other than Clare Baker, Xavier University alum, friend and former house mate.

Way to go Clare!

Comment » | Viral Marketing

The future of journalistic objectivity

November 3rd, 2007 — 12:35pm

Chicago Tribune logoTimothy McNulty at the Chicago Tribune wrote a great article yesterday on journalistic objectivity.

Objectivity is an oft-debated topic amongst journalists. To what extent is it possible? Where are the lines drawn? Has it diminished in the age of cable TV’s talking heads and the numerous opining bloggers? Or, as McNulty says, does objectivity get reduced to neutrality? “On the one hand this” and “on the other hand this,” without any attempt to truly seek the truth?

One thing that interests me is the potential of objectivity on a macro level – especially given the democratizing potential and decentralized nature of the Web.

Continue reading »

1 comment » | Broadcast, Journalism, Media, Medill, New Media, News, Newspapers, Online Communities, Tribune

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