Really Wired Journalists
Wouldn’t it be useful to be able to take your computer
with you when you’re out in the field reporting? Not just a little
handheld device, but a full-fledged computer. Columbia University is
working to make that possible, developing the Mobile Journalist
Workstation, a wearable computer "that can help a reporter literally find
The New York Times reports. The system is built into a backpack and
see-through headgear and uses Global Positioning System satellites. "In
one prototype, John V. Pavlik, a professor of journalism, embedded a fiber
optic camera in the goggles that records video while also encoding
location, time and ownership, thereby "watermarking" the video and
establishing whose exclusive pictures are whose." This system is still 10
years or so away from being used in the field, but The Times also reports
new tools being used right now to free up TV journalists to roam.
Creeping Across the Screen
The Wall Street Journal runs through a number of the new forms of
Internet ads that are "whirring, blinking and crawling their way around users’ screens,"
including the new ABCNEWS.com ‘introductory’ ad first reported on CyberJournalist.net
earlier this week (see item below). "Any kind of ad that’s technically available is
something we’ll consider running," said Steve Jones, executive producer of
the site, "provided it doesn’t diminish the quality of ABCNews.com."
sorts of new ad forms are popping up across the Internet, but
CyberJournalist.net has spotted what may be the most daring yet:
ABCNEWS.com is forcing a full-page ad on people who attempt to visit the
site — before they even see the home page. Earlier this week, for
example, this American
Express ad displayed for 10 seconds before the home page appeared with the
text, "ABCNEWS.com brought to you in part today by American Express."
A note on the site read, "This ad is a special ‘introductory ad’ which
precedes the ABCNEWS.com homepage. It is designed to be seen only once per
day, per computer." Other news sites show full-page ads after readers
click on story or section links, but ABCNEWS.com is taking the concept
further — possibly too far. It’s the online equivalent of a print
newspaper running a full-page ad — on the front page! This makes pop-up
ads look user friendly.
Columns Live Online
Unemployed journalists continue taking advantage of the Net as an easy way
to keep publishing,
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Dan Fost reports. Check out Rafe
Needleman’s Catch of the Day,
formerly a feature of Red Herring; Jimmy Guterman’s
Media Unspun, by the team that
produced The Industry Standard’s Media Grok; and Mark Glaser’s
360news, also from a former Media
Groker. All are worth reading.
Write Your Own State of the Union
What makes a good State of the Union address?
Christian Science Monitor put together a nice package on the topic,
including a clever "Be a
speechwriter" interactive which helps you craft your own speech. Try
it out and then see how yours compares to President Bush’s.
Resistant to Change
Judging by readers reactions to WSJ.com’s redesign, online users are
growing very attached to the Web sites they frequent and are thus
resistant to change, in much the same way newspaper readers are. You may
recall that Salon got such a negative reaction to a redesign last year
had to change things to placate users. WSJ.com readers spew forth in
a series of letters
to Jim Romenesko’s MediaNews. Bradley J. Fikes compares the revamped
site to New Coke and begs for a Classic version.
Will Frederick, meanwhile, says the old site
was badly outdated and complains, "You can’t change anything in this world
without some naysayers getting crazy."
How About Online?
Project for Excellence in Journalism produced an
interesting study looking at how the media have
covered the war on terrorism, finding that
49 percent of
the stories examined ‘contained only viewpoints that favored U.S. policy.’
The project examined television, magazines and newspapers, but we would
have liked to see online included as well.
The Web makes it far too easy for sites to
pilfer content from each other. Now Sina.com is accusing portal rival
Sohu.com of constantly stealing Sina content from its short-messaging
services (SMS) and its financial, news and sports channels. Sohu, which
last year had complained Sina posted negative reports of Sohu online,
called the claims false: "Sohu’s dynamic news centre is a growing threat
to Sina . . . and Sohu is the leader in SMS, so there is absolutely no
grounds for this accusation,"
Little Sites That Do Big Work
The Online Journalism Review profiles more
small-budget independent news sites. This time J.D. Lasica looks at
three sites run by current or former
print journalists: The Car Place, Theme Park
Insider and Consumer World. These are great examples
of consumer watchdog and community news publications made possible by the
Save Your Work!
Journalism, an old saying goes, records history
as it happens. Thus it’s crucial for online news sites to archive their
work, much of which changes and disappears into the ether. Too many sites
fail to do enough archiving. More on this from
The Boston Globe’s Hiawatha
Bray, who says, "It’s irreplaceable stuff, the collective
memory of the digital world nearly lost by the forgetful Internet." And
from Poynter’s Steve Outing, who adds in
or information published on the Web once but that now looks ‘worthless’
could provide a useful historical record down the road."
The Year That Wasn’t
Remember the :CueDog, DeadBanner.com and the
recycled media news on ClassicInside.com?
Wayne Robins will remind you. He offers a little online news humor to
brighten your day. Compare his list to what
New WSJ.com Redesign
Check out a preview of the upcoming
WSJ.com redesign, including a personalized home page.
How Much is Your Home Worth?
News sites need to do all they can to beef up their online real estate
sections, or else they risk losing the valuable listings business to
realtors’ sites (More
on this from Gordon Borrell in NewsFuture).
WashingtonPost.com has taken a good step in that direction, unveiling
a new online
real estate section, which includes tools commonly found on other real
estate sites. But note in particular the handy database of regional home
sales and tax assessments, searchable by location, owner, seller and
Digital Medicine for Newspapers
Is the newspaper industry a failure online? Vin Crosbie says so. "More
Americans get their news from Yahoo, AOL, and MSN than all U.S. newspaper
Web sites combined." His prescription? "Newspapers need to migrate their
existing Web efforts into newer online media that will wirelessly and
automatically deliver into portable devices interactive, intact and
individualized editions with sophisticated graphic layouts featuring
finite amounts of display-quality advertising space." This, plus reports
on online news credibility and community in
issue of The American Press Institute’s NewsFuture.
Web Tips: Reverse Directories, Finding
Poynter’s latest Web tips: Jonathan Dube on
How to find phone
numbers by address and neighborhood. Plus Sreenath Sreenivasan on
finding data online.
Solo Site Scoops Newspaper
Murphy’s milwaukeeworld.com broke a major pension fund political scandal
online, but few took notice at first. "I would send out press releases
to TV, and I would get zip in terms of response," says Murphy. "Unless
it’s in the Journal Sentinel, it’s almost like they don’t believe it’s
true." The Journal Sentinel finally caught on, though, and admitted it got
"It’s a story we should have had," says Journal Sentinel
editor Martin Kaiser.
Howard I. Finberg says publishers should watch out for six
developments: Peer-to-peer, Consumercentric
systems, XML publishing, Remote digital publishing, Wireless for the
company, and wireless for the consumer.
Black Hawk Down
you plan on seeing the new movie Black Hawk Down, you might want to check
great Web package the Philadelphia
Inquirer published in 1997 about the crash and rescue of the
Army helicopters shot down in Somalia. This is the series by Mark Bowden that led to the
book the movie is based on, "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War."
Thanks to Mike Reilley of the
Journalist?s Toolbox for
pointing the site out. "To this day, it?s one of the best examples of a
linear and non-linear storytelling package I?ve seen," he says. "It’s
organized by 29 chapters and includes maps, biographies and some
interesting video." Also check out the 20 (!) Ask the Author Q&As.
Free Multimedia Seminar
Looking for convergence or multimedia
training? The Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism is offering
a free seminar that includes hands-on instruction in computer-assisted
reporting, digital editing tools and multimedia applications. Discussion
sessions will focus on the future of news, trends in convergence and
usability issues. Find out how to apply.
Web of Intrigue
Even while we’re in a recession, new upstart
news and gossip sites keep popping up. A new site devoted to New
York City politics has been scooping the local media and making
launched as a sister site to
PoliticsNJ.com on Dec. 3, was the first to report that
former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was establishing his own repository
for his official papers,
according to the New York Post. But the mysterious writers
behind the site won’t reveal who they are:
"We have chosen to remain
anonymous, much like when James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and
John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym ‘Publius,’
" they say on the site.
Want to track news vehicles in the fields, communicate with
reporters wirelessly or scan documents on the road? Bill Thomas
low-down, and Peggy Carpenter-Johnson says we must "Adapt
"Silly" Link Gets Time.com in Trouble
Time Magazine has been taking heat
ever since Timecanada.com
published the magazine’s exclusive account of the new iMac
computer, 12 hours too soon. "By flubbing an embargo and giving
Web-happy night owls a premature glimpse of the new computer,
timecanada.com broke Time’s deal with Steven P. Jobs, Apple
chief executive and ringmaster,"
The New York Times Felicity Barringer writes. "By pulling down the article
a few hours later, the site made it excruciatingly clear that
there was indeed a deal." But what really infuriated
some people was a link adjacent to the article on Time.com that
read, "Buy an iMac," and led to Apple’s online store. Richard
Stengel, the managing editor of Time.com, defended the link as a
common practice, saying it was "silly" to think it gave a
commercial tinge to the article. But then the link was removed.
"At the end of the day," he said, "we thought it wasn’t a good
idea." This is a good reminder to assess your publication’s
policies on linking to commercial sites in news stories — and
to develop a policy if you don’t have one.
Cutines are often dashed off with
little thought, even though they are often read before photos
and may determine whether someone keeps reading,
Poynter’s Monica Moses. She offers some great tips aimed at
print journalists, but useful for all media, including online. Cutlines are especially important online because on some sites,
headlines, photos and cutlines are all readers see before
deciding whether to scroll or click on.
Don’t Infect the Readers
Here’s a sure way to scare off
readers: e-mail them viruses!
The San Jose Mercury News accidentally
"Good Morning Silicon Valley" e-mail subscribers an attachment
infected with the data-destroying Magistr e-mail worm. This
may have happened by something as simple as one employee
mistakenly opening an e-mail carrying the bug and infecting a
server. The case shows the importance of investing in the best
virus safeguards out there, both for internal servers and for
scanning e-mails just before they get sent out — and of keeping
all employees alert.
The Infinite News Hole
In September, after the Newark
Star-Ledger became the first major paper to cut stock listings
from the print edition in favor of the Web,
CyberJournalist.net recommended others follow suit as
a great cost-saving measure. In
a new Editor & Publisher column, Steve Outing
recommends that newspaper forced to cut comic strips and sports
statistics take a similar approach, and continue to offer the
material online. "Make your print edition leaner and meaner, but
still offer print readers the same (or, ideally, more) value for
the same price by better leveraging your Web site," he says.
EPpy Finalists Named
WashingtonPost.com picked up eight nominations,
NYTimes picked up six, and The Topeka (Kan.)
Capital-Journal‘s Web site, CJOnline.com, picked up four in
2002 EPpy Awards competition. But check out the Web sites of
some of the other, lesser-known nominees you might not be
While Salon struggles, its competitor
Slate is expanding — abroad.
UK launched this week, edited and written by a team of anonymous
British journalists living in London. Slate UK won’t be a
stand-alone publication, though, but more like a sub-section of
Slate. Why anonymous? "Anonymity confers greater freedom on
contributors linked to other publications," the editors say. "As
for the editors, we are so modest about our attainments that we
think we could only damage the prestige of
Slate UK by
revealing who we are. We will leave others to expose us if they
wish." No doubt some will try.
Here are some numbers to bet the bank
on: "Online gets
about 1 to 2 percent of marketing budgets, when 10 percent of
people are online,? Steven Marrs, president and chief operating
officer of Tribal DDB, told MSNBC.com. Get the amount of
media consumption and media spending online in synch, and online
news business troubles disappear. The new Online Publishers
Association is among those working to make this happen.
Mike Wendland offers some
tips on how
newspaper and broadcast journalists can use the Internet to
built community around stories or projects. "E-mails
and messages have offered great information and yielded me
several important new sources who are now in my contact file,"
he says. "But what has been most heartwarming has been the
tremendous sense of community that sprung up online as readers
shared their common experiences and frustrations."
Partnering With the Enemy
You know times are tough when
archrivals make deals.
CBS MarketWatch and rival TheStreet.com
MarketWatch will feature headlines from
TheStreet.com’s subscription-based sister site, RealMoney.com, in
exchange for offering TheStreet.com’s subscription products, such as
newsletters and charts, for registration on MarketWatch. Will
the new deal help the struggling TheStreet.com, or hasten its death
by boosting MarketWatch’s lead even more?