'Backpack journalists' cover Iraq

"Backpack journalists" who rely on lightweight laptops, satellite phones, inexpensive editing software and digital cameras are among those reporting on the Iraq war -- with more mobility than those toating heavy gear. Experts, though, worry that because they often work alone, they can fall prey to fatigue and fear and produce reports that lack context.

The Ultimate E-War — or Not

While on the one hand a war with Iraq could be the "ultimate e-war, with its satellite-guided munitions, night-vision goggles and pilotless drones," some, like CNN's Kevin Sites, worry that an electromagnetic-pulse weapon the military may be developing to disrupt communications could force reporters to rely on outdated tools. "The prospect of such a weapon is the bogeyman of TV network news executives' dreams because it could affect the media's equipment -- and with our reliance on satellites and microwave technology, TV is particularly vulnerable," writes Sites, who's embedded in Kuwait. "We journalists worry that we would have to revert to technology that hasn't widely been used to cover news since the mid-to-late '70s."

'We Media' and Interview Voyeurism

Essays and Commentary, Innovation, Online News and Convergence Tips, Online Reporting Tips, The Weblog Blog, Tips and Tools
Thanks to the Internet, Journalism is becoming less of a one-way street from reporters to readers and more of a dialogue. Two recent journalism review articles explore this phenomenon. "We Media augments traditional methods with new and yet-to-be invented collaboration tools ranging from e-mail to Web logs to digital video to peer-to-peer systems," writes Dan Gillmor in the Columbia Journalism Review. "But it boils down to something simple: our readers collectively know more than we do, and they don?t have to settle for half-baked coverage when they can come into the kitchen themselves." Meanwhile, in the American Journalism Review Barb Palser talks about writers posting complete interviews online and writes, "We are learning that people often are as interested in the ingredients of a news...

20 tips to improve newsroom integration

Convergence, Great Ideas, Online News and Convergence Tips, Tips and Tools
Here are tips on how to enhance working relationships between online and print newsrooms, summarized from the CONNECTIONS session, "The NEW News Team," by moderator Bill Mitchell, online editor of The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., with the help of panelists Fred Mann, general manager of, Kris Hey, senior producer for news at, and Mark Swendra, digital media director of the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News' SavannahNow. (more…)

Building Databases of Sources

Convergence, Great Ideas, Great Use of Community, Great Work Gallery
Under a new program through the Associated Press Managing Editors' (APME) National Credibility Roundtables, dozens of papers are compiling e-mail addresses of readers and sources that can be used for any number of stories and opinion reports. The 17,617-circulation Norfolk Daily News, for example, so far has 150 names and addresses in a database of people agreed to respond to e-mail inquiries at a moment's notice. Ken Sands, managing editor for online and new media at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., instituted the idea at his paper in 1997 and has been training editors at many papers involved in the APME program. Sands says APME hopes to build the effort into a national database that newspapers can share. "There could be a national story written about an issue with comments from 5...

Posting Transcripts Online: Go for it!

Great Ideas, Online News and Convergence Tips, The Weblog Blog, Tips and Tools
Last fall reported on Sheila Lennon, a J-blogger for The Providence Journal, posting the complete transcript of an interview with The New York Times' David F. Gallagher, who reduced it to one paragraph for his story. Now J.D. Lasica has done a similar thing from the writer's end, posting the complete transcripts of interviews he conducted for an article he write for the Online Journalism Review on RSS feeds, because he didn't have room to include all of them. News sites will post complete interview transcripts from time to time, but, in an explanation in his New Media Musings Weblog, Lasica speculates more "journalists don't do this because (a) it's a hell of a lot of work, and (b) it could call into question the decision-making process on which quotes the writer select...

How Technology Will Change Journalism

Innovation, Special Features
Journalists may even be in for a sea change, Managing Producer Dorian Benkoil writes in an article for Digital technology may revamp what the public thinks of as ?news,? just as television and radio remade what had been a world ruled by print. If the news ?platform? becomes irrelevant, he says, will the cyberjournalist be someone who gathers massive quantities of journalistic ?data? that can be parsed in numerous ways? Or will the need for intelligent sifting and analysis become ever more crucial to help the info-harried user rise above the cyber-torrent? The answer, he says, is both. Continue reading...

Using the Web's Infinite Newshole

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The Web has become a great secondary outlet for journalists frustrated by the space constraints in newspapers or the time constraints on air. This week New York Times technology columnist David Pogue wrote more than 2,000 words about MacWorld in his first draft, but had to cut nearly half of it to fit the newspaper's newshole. "What a shame, I thought, to have to cut so much interesting secondary information - and what luck to have an e-mail column where I can put it!" he wrote. And so he penned a companion e-mail column, writing "what I would have added had I had the space, with quotations from the printed review for reference."

Personalized weather on the Web

Essays and Commentary, Great Ideas, Great Interactive Storytelling, Great Work Gallery, Innovation
What can be done with weather content online far surpasses what even the most ambitious meteorologist-editor-designer team can devise for the printed page, Steve Outing says. Newspaper sites like the Star Tribune's in Minneapolis offer "My-Cast," a personalized weather service developed by a local meteorologist and his company, Digital Cyclone. "What makes My-Cast special is its ability to pare weather data down to the neighborhood level. One My-Cast feature lets the website user type in a home address, then receive a personalized weather forecast, neighborhood-specific heavy-weather alerts, and maps with the user-defined address at the center. (Users can even set up multiple addresses.) The service uses weather data that is specific down to an area of about 4 miles square -- smaller than ...