Linking gets more specific at the New York Times: link to an individual paragraph or sentence

Users can now link to and highlight individual sentences and paragraphs in stories on the New York Times site, notes TNW Media:

“While it could be a tad complicated for an average reader, it’s a great tool for writers and bloggers who frequently link to NYTimes stories.
To simplify things, if you hit your shift key twice on a Times story, small icons appear next to every paragraph. Click on one of them and it’ll place the paragraph linked URL up in the address bar of your browser.

Using the Times’ new hyperlinking system might mean a little more work for the linker, but I like how it adds a new layer of specificity and clarify to a linked post. And it is definitely cool to see that the hyperlink is still evolving.”

Read more here [link]

How young people use social networks for news, particularly on Facebook

Some edited highlights from a BBC focus group of 19-39-year-olds:

*very clear understanding of what they wanted from Facebook (Twitter barely mentioned)

*sophisticated appreciation of the image they projected through FB… most used it for both personal and professional reasons

*used it on both their mobiles and their PCs, but to do different things. Mobile usage is about need; PCs about choice and pleasure

*all saw comment and discussion as a key component of enjoying news on FB

*very mixed view too on what kind of news should be posted by news organisations on FB (light vs serious). Most accepted that it was probably a good idea for media organisations to ‘put it all out there’ and let people pick and choose for themselves.

Having said that, nobody really believed what they read on Facebook, even if it had mainstream media branding all over it. If they wanted to know about a particular story, they would go directly to a mainstream media website either first, or via FB

Read more here [link]

Mobile breakthrough? Footage from cameraphones is now widely accepted

On a documentary about Neda Agha Soltan, who was shot in demonstrations in Tehran last summer (BBC College of Journalism blog):

“The home video feel of the conversations with her mother, sister and father meshes well with the footage from the streets filmed on mobile phones and uploaded to You Tube and Facebook.

The film has gone viral in Iran with the active support of HBO. So far it’s not been seen on British television, but you can watch it on You Tube.

After a recent screening at the Frontline Club in London, its director, Anthony Thomas, answered questions.
…the wider audience is far more accepting of You Tube quality footage than documentary buffs might think. It is now the raw material of news and therefore of documentaries – and Thomas and his team made great use if it.

When even a highly-produced programme like the BBC’s Imagine includes an interview with Canadian writer Margaret Atwood on Skype, in its recent profile of Diana Athill, you know that shift is permanent.”

Read more here [link]

Data journalism: how much — and what — do journalists need to know?

Some pertinent points on data journalism from Mary Hamilton’s Metamedia blog, reiterating the importance of journalists’ ability to make sense of data:

“We need to know our way around a spreadsheet. We need to be able to spot patterns in data and understand not only what they mean but also how we can use them to reveal stories that are not only relevant but useful.

We need to know where our skills can get us. We need to know our capabilities and our limits – and, crucially, we must be aware of what we don’t know. […]

Journalism is about asking the right questions. We research stories before we interview subjects so that we can ask pertinent questions whose answers will illuminate the subject. We need to be able to do the same thing with our data – we need to know what questions to ask and how, so that even if we can’t make the tools ourselves we can hand over the task to someone else without asking the impossible or wasting their time.”

Read more here [link]

Data journalism in action: hacks and hackers

Some interesting examples from a 'Hacks and Hackers Hack Day' run by ScraperWiki "to see what happens when you put journalists and developers in the same room and ask them to come up with a data-driven story in one day."??They came up with everything from mapping the shortest journeys and the profiles of candidates in the safest Conservative constituencies, to gifts and freebies received by the Mayor of London, and which MPs (and from which parties) write for which newspapers.

Read more here [link]

How news organisations are using Google Wave to engage their audience

The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye has a live public Wave on news every weekday morning. Hilary Fosdal writes:
“With each Daily Wave, RedEye connects with their readers and builds a sense of community. The RedEye is also demonstrating that is sees itself as more than a newspaper and more than a blog by embracing innovative technology that encourages a continuous and dynamic discussion about the news.

Robert Quigley, social media editor of the Austin American-Statesman has also held public waves with his readers.

“The challenge right now is keeping public waves on topic. If they get more than 50 blips discussion grinds to a halt […] for Google Wave to work during a news event, there needs to be the ability to moderate and/or easily spin something into another wave and link to it in the first wave to keep it on topic.” ”

Read more here [link]

How one reporter used Twitter to help with sources

Daniel Victor provides a detailed account, ending with three key points for journalists to note:

1) If I were sitting in my cubicle thinking, “Who could help me with this story?”, none of the five people would have immediately popped into my mind, and I certainly wouldn’t have met them outside of Twitter since this story wasn’t on my beat. This is the power of Twitter for reporting: You can find help in unexpected places, from people you wouldn’t normally have access to.

2) But it only paid off because I’ve taken the time to build a useful local network. I’ve counted 415 Twitter users I follow in the Harrisburg area, though I suspect I follow more who I’ve neglected to add to the list. Every one of them could prove valuable in a pinch — we just never know when it’ll be.

3) You’ll notice Twitter didn’t replace fundamental reporting, it just facilitated it. I still needed to persist and call the chairman three separate times before I got the source on the phone.

Read more here [link]

A reminder of Wolcott Gibbs’ points about good writing (from James Thurber)

James Thurber noted 31 points about good writing made by New Yorker editor Wolcott Gibbs. They include the following (via Charles Miller on the CoJo blog):

– Writers always use too damn many adverbs. On one page recently I found 11 modifying the verb 'said'. 'He said morosely, violently, eloquently, so on' … It is impossible for a character to go through all these emotional states one after the other.
– Word 'said' is OK. Efforts to avoid repetition by inserting 'grunted', 'snorted' etc are waste motion and offend the pure in heart.
– Our writers are full of clichés, just as old barns are full of bats. There is obviously no rule about this, except that anything that you suspect of being a cliché undoubtedly is one and had better be removed.
– The more 'As a matter of facts', 'howevers', 'for instances' etc, etc you can cut out, the nearer you are to the Kingdom of Heaven.
– On the whole we are hostile to puns.
– Try to preserve an author's style if he is an author and has a style.

Read more here [link]

How social networks can help save media (Jim Brady, True/Slant)

Social networks have created an under-exploited advantage for media companies, suggests Jim Brady:

"…news consumption has now become seamlessly blended into the daily lives of so many consumers. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to read the newspaper, you completely dedicated yourself to it at the breakfast table or dinner table or den for some fixed period of time. When you were done, you went off to work, paid bills or went shopping, and news wasn’t a part of the equation.[…]

Now, think about media consumption in the social media era. Today, content from media companies lives in the same stream as so much other information in a consumer’s life. […] Now, if you’re using e-mail, Facebook or Twitter — three pretty big chunks of time for most Web-savvy consumers — you can, at any moment, be pulled back into news and information. This is a massive opportunity, and one that requires news organizations become fuller participants in those venues."

Read more here [link]

Four factors critical to journalism and publishing

Adam Tinworth flags up social, mobile, real-time, and location-aware technology:

"I think it [this graphic] neatly encapsulated the four issues that will effect the web, and which the publishing business needs to get its head around. I talk a lot about social on here, and the whole hyper-local journalism movement is, to some degree, predicated on the idea of geo-centric technology, even if the potential benefits of geocoding information haven't really been discussed.

The whole mobile environment has been changed by the new breed of smart phones, led by the iPhone, which are turning users into voracious data consumers on the move, and the Real Time web is becoming, in a technological sense, a very real proposition (and, if fact, I should write a post about that).

This graphic is the sort of thing every publisher and journalist should be looking at and thinking "what does this mean for what I do?" "

Read more here [link]