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Knight Foundation Helps Fund 17 Innovative Media Projects

KnightLOGOMore media innovation is coming, in part thanks to the Knight Foundation (and of course, the great minds they help fund). The foundation recognizes that money and time are often obstacles to people who have big ideas about making media and journalism processes better, so they have chosen 17 inventive projects to fund through their Prototype Fund program.

The $35,000 grant allows media creatives to fully develop their ideas over a six-month period and then demo the final product before their peers and Knight folks at the end of the ride. After glancing at the list, these projects stood out as significantly useful tools for journalists and digitally-native news organizations.

Louder – Based out of San Francisco, creator Colin Mutchler wants to go a step beyond sharing important content to social media. He’s testing Louder, a crowdsourced advertising platform that lets users donate small amounts of money in order to further advance the journalism they find most vital and share-worthy. Potentially, the “Make It Louder” button would allow readers to pay for more reach for a particular story, sort of how a “boost” on Facebook may direct more eyeballs to a post.

LibraryBox – There are 5 billion people on the planet without the Internet, meaning they lack necessary access to medical information, educational knowledge and up-to-date emergency-related news. That’s where LibraryBox comes in. The “box” is an open source and portable “digital file distribution tool based on inexpensive hardware” that is designed to make important information available to the 60 percent of the world who aren’t connected.

Minezy – This tool is being built to help journalists make sense of email archives, especially as they relate to business, political and social topics. Journalists utilizing Minezy would hopefully be able to break down “social relationships, hierarchical structures and topical importance from email archives.”

PressSecure – With the rise of social media and decline in press freedom across so many countries, the preservation of citizen journalism is of the utmost importance. PressSecure believes that and wants to figure out a way to safely and securely archive the work of concerned citizen reporters and photographers through a mobile app, all in the name of press freedom.

Tipsy – It’s not what it sounds like. The World Wide Web foundation knows there can be difficulties in the way of readers leaving news providers donations. Focusing specifically on the friction between consumers making small donations and big content providers, Tipsy is a software that would make it simpler for news websites to earn revenue through micropayments.

To see the full list of Prototype Fund projects (and they are all great), click here.

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AP To Spell Out State Names, Reporters Complain on Twitter

ap tweetThe AP announced that it will start to spell out state’s names in stories. That’s annoying, if only because I’ve finally got my abbreviations down.

Two things:

1) I get that it’s about clarity, but what about character limits? Does anyone prefer spelling state names out? If you read the full memo, it seems more confusing than not.

2) Since my gut reaction is “why bother? I’m thinking the AP is out of date. Buzzfeed says to lowercase ‘internet,’ and the AP says to capitalize it. In an increasingly mobile and digital first world, why don’t we make things easy and more conversational?

I’m not the only one who’s unimpressed, either. Share your AP woes with us in the comments or tweet them to us @10,000Words.

5 Ways For Freelancers to Increase Productivity

productiveThere’s no doubt about it; the freelance life is hard. And if the freelance writers in your life tell you otherwise, shoot me their emails because they are in the one percent, and I need to pick their brains. Of course, waiting on checks when your bills pile up is difficult, but if you’re like me and have transitioned from a highly structured full-time gig in an office environment to freelancing from the couch, operating at your maximum productivity level can be a tough nut to crack.

Here are a few simple ways I’ve been able to increase output and hone in on my various projects:

1. Get out of the house Read more

Behind the Scenes at The Guardian During the Edward Snowden Era

snowden_1370814166862_426887_ver1.0_320_240The Guardian has gotten more press in the past year than ever before. This is of course thanks to one Edward Snowden (Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras helped too). News outlets dutifully reported on the NSA leaks with fervor, but for media junkies, the real story went on behind the scenes. Read more

What Is Slate Premium? The Publisher’s New Method For Monetization

slate-premium1Slate is dipping its toe in the membership pool.

Digital publishers keep experimenting with different methods of monetization, whether through metered paywalls, crowdsourcing, events or subscriptions, to see which one’s the answer to the pressing and increasingly complicated revenue question.

In a blog post Monday, Slate Editor David Plotz introduced Slate Plus, a membership option for the most passionate Slate fans. For those who pay $5 monthly or $50 a year, Plotz said readers “who support [Slate] journalism and want a closer connection to it” get perks like access to Slate writers through Slate Plus member-only discussions, early viewing of certain articles, ad-free podcasts, 30 percent off live events, single page articles rather than pesky pagination and special commenting privileges.

But don’t worry — this is not a paywall. As Plotz noted, all the free stuff on Slate will stay free. The membership fee just buys you extras, a benefit package they’ll be adding to over time. This type of model has been described as a “reverse paywall,” one that GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram has said is a good way to reward loyal readers rather than penalizing them.

Read more

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