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Get Advice from the National Crowdfunding Association Executive Director

Trying to use crowdfunding sites to launch your next journalism project?

National Crowdfunding Association executive director David Marlett will lead a short Crowdfunding for Media webcast with Mediabistro. Follow this link to register:

In this webcast, David Marlett, executive director of the National Crowdfunding Association, will use examples from the audience to explain how just about any project can be successfully crowdfunded. David will also outline how upcoming legal changes will allow for equity crowdfunding and Reg D/accredited investor crowdfunding. You’ll learn how to: Choose the right platform and reach out to investors for your potential project. Raise the right amount of money and provide appropriate investor rewards. Identify entrepreneurs whose businesses might make good investments. Understand upcoming legal changes that will affect crowdfunding.

30 Holiday Gifts for Journalists 2012

Holidays are just around the corner and we know most of you who read this blog have a journalist or two in your life that you’ll be shopping for. Here are the recommendations from our entire 10,000 Words crew for journalistic, geeky, fun gifts. We also have a holiday gift guide from 2011 that is still relevant (2010, 2009 and 2008‘s versions are fun, too!). Anything we missed? Add your favorites and must-haves in the comments. Read more

30 Holiday Gifts For Journalists

Holidays are just around the corner and we know most of you who read this blog have a journalist or two in your life that you’ll be shopping for. Here are the recommendations from our entire 10,000 Words crew for journalistic, geeky, fun gifts. We also have holiday gift guidesĀ from 2008 and 2009 that are still relevant. Anything we missed? Add your favorites and must-haves in the comments. Read more

Photo tagging: Journalism's next social experiment

by Mark S. Luckie

Faces in the crowd are no longer just faces. Photo tagging allows people to identify themselves and others in a photo and the technology is starting to catch on as a tool for journalism. Sites like Facebook and Flickr have offered tagging options for some time, which means many readers already know why and how to use tagging.

So what are the benefits of tagging a photo? MLB.com has encouraged sports fans to tag themselves in the crowd of a recent baseball game. As mentioned previously, NPR used Flickr to encourage readers to tag attendees in the audience of a Senate hearing.

A high-resolution photograph shot at the Glastonbury Music Festival recently broke the record as the most tagged online image ever, with approximately 7000 concertgoers identifying themselves in the photo.

Photo tagging is also being used to identify faces in a class photo, as in the example below:

Photo tagging allows newsrooms to get an idea of who is in the crowd and possibly connect with those people by allowing readers or viewers to tag themselves in a photo. Tagging also lets readers participate and engage with the newsroom by contributing in a small way to the coverage.

So how do you get started tagging? Many news organizations already have Flickr accounts, so you can use the tool to allow people to tag photos. While some photo hosting tools like Twitpic and Picasa allow for tagging, Flickr is likely the best tool for news media to use.

Flickr already has a built-in user base who are familiar with the technology and those who don’t can catch on quickly. Plus, a basic account is free. Alternatively, you can use proprietary, paid tools like Thinglink to embed a photo on your own site and make it taggable.

Rise of the machines: Robot reporting and automated journalism

The massive amounts of layoffs in the journalism industry in the last few years have left many newsroom positions vacant and many reporters and editors are charged with taking on more work than ever. Enter automated journalism.

Computer programs and artificial intelligence are taking over the tasks that were once the work of journalists and sometimes making an actual human obsolete. If this sounds like futuristic malarkey, consider the following examples of how automation is making the live reporter extinct.

Weddings

The New York Times is one of a few media orgs who have taken advantage of semantic web technology to automate wedding announcements. Instead of a reporter writing each announcement by hand, readers can simply input information in an online form such as the bride and groom’s name, occupation, and more. The information is then used to create a wedding announcement, Mad Libs-style.

 

Sports

Sports writers should also hold on to their notebooks as new technology is in the works to produce sports stories based on various stats. If one team wins or loses, a computer can automatically generate a readable story, including what happened in the game and when based on input data. You can check out an example of how this works in this Business Week article and more information on automation in sports journalism here.

Finance

Financial news and analysis will also be impacted by automation and advanced technology. Programs like Infonic’s Sentiment software can analyze thousands of news stories and determine how a particular company is faring. The technology is pitched to financial traders, but is, in essence, the news affecting the news.

News design

A number of academics have proposed the idea of using algorithms to determine the layout of a newspaper or print publication, an idea encapsulated by this post by Steve Yelvington. Instead of a news designer laying out the paper or magazine, a computer examines the content of available stories and lays them out according to factors like length and keywords. The idea hasn’t caught on just yet as human-powered news judgment is still the preferred method of design. However, the idea of automated layouts isn’t so farfetched.

TV news

It’s not just the print journalists who are becoming obsolete. This Variety.com article examines Tribune Company’s experiment with anchor-free television. Instead of news anchors, voiceovers are heard as video clips and images are played. In the experimental model, there would be no anchor desk and no on-air correspondents. (The article is worth a read, if only for this quote: “We’re trying to get away from Barbie and Ken sitting behind a desk chit-chatting with each other with their nice teeth.”)

If you still like to see and hear people delivering the news, check out News at Seven’s news reports delivered by animated characters. The voices of the characters are also computer-generated:

 
While the traditional reporter isn’t going anywhere just yet, automation will continue to find its way into journalism. Is this a good or bad thing? On one hand it frees up journalists to do less menial tasks and focus on “big J” journalism. On the other hand, it makes news reporting less human and gives up lots of control to computers. What do you think?

 
Also on 10,000 Words:

  Should journalists learn programming skills?: A Flowchart
  3 Ways journalism classes are making education more interactive
  5 Interactive maps that connect communities

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