Great Ideas

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...

Using the Web's Infinite Newshole

Great Enterprise Work, Great Ideas, Great Work Gallery
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 ...

Gaming the News

Great Civic Journalism, Great Ideas, Great Interactive Storytelling, Great Work Gallery, Innovation
A great city development game designed by KQED, San Francisco's public television station, complements a Bay Area gentrification program and gives users five different decisions to make about how to develop their city. At the end of the game, it explains the impact of each choice and it scores players on how well planned their cities are. The Pew Center for Civic Journalism discusses how online sites are using games and reports that the Seattle firm that built HeraldNet's Waterfront Renaissance project, Smashing Ideas Inc., is designing another city planning gaming that will soon debut on the Myrtle Beach Sun News' site. "[Games] are a great way to get information to people in a way that helps them understand the impact of their choices," Smashing Ideas' founder Glenn Thomas said.

Free MP3s

Business Bytes, Great Ideas
Newspaper sites are increasingly offering free MP3 downloads of local bands -- it's legal, a great service to readers and great free publicity for the groups. Among the sites offering this service are,,,, and The Topeka Capital-Journal's