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Angela Washeck

Angela Washeck is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas. She is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a journalism minor. Angela serves as an Editorial Assistant at PBS MediaShift and is a contributor to Paste Magazine and TexasMonthly.com. She was previously an intern at TV newsmagazine "Dan Rather Reports." Her work has been republished on Editor and Publisher, the American Press Institute and more. When Angela is not busy writing for MediaBistro, you can find her watching “How I Met Your Mother” reruns, watching Aggie football and attending indie/folk concerts in Dallas. Follow her tweets @angelawasheck.

The Comment Discussion Continues: APME Editors Say Comments Are Here to Stay

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 1.14.01 PMA writeup that surfaced yesterday from The Spokesman-Review‘s Gary Graham revealed some new perspectives from newspaper editors involved in the Associated Press Media Editors (APME) organization.

Graham is an APME board member and reported some of the following noteworthy results depicting what editors and journalists really think about the often-lambasted comment section. You may be surprised at the results of the Sounding Board survey, which included 101 responses:

  • 94 percent said they “consistently allow comment” sections on their websites. According to Graham, many “believe allowing comments is important to encourage community discussions in a public forum.” Still, some cited complaints such as incivility, off-topic and ill-informed comments, and negativity as reasons comment sections can be frustrating.
  • 71 percent said it is unlikely that they would ever ban online commenting on their websites
  • 11 percent said they would never ban online commenting on their websites
  • Nine percent said it is “very likely” they will ban all comments
  • A few respondents reported that they have taken the time to ban individual commenters who either dominate conversation or are consistently uncivil in the comment section
  • 14 percent said they find a “great deal of value” in their comment section
  • 46 percent of the news organizations that responded allow anonymous comments
  • 38 percent of the news organizations require commenters to identify themselves by first and last name

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‘Bellingcat’ Kickstarter Campaign Seeks to Unite Investigative Citizen Journalists

BellingcatCitizen journalism is more prevalent than ever with the upsurge in social media platforms. Now that so much information is available at our fingertips, it seems that reporters — both formally trained and novice — are even hungrier for accurate news.

A crowdfunding campaign by a man named Eliot Higgins has the goal of bringing together citizen journalists who are curious about hard news issues through an open-source website. His vision is for contributors all over the world to continue coverage of “Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Jihadists, Shia armed groups, the UK phone hacking scandal, police corruption, and more,” he wrote on Kickstarter.

Bellingcat, as he calls it, is based on the idea that citizen journalists have the power to do much of the investigation that traditional media outlets do. YouTube and Reddit are just two hugely important tools that anyone who values verification and getting to the bottom of a news story can use, and it’s totally open-sourced. Social media does the same thing, Higgins wrote on his Kickstarter page.

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New Draft of SPJ’s Ethics Code Now Available

SPJDid you know that the Society of Professional Journalists is in the process of revising its Code of Ethics for the first time since 1996? I didn’t, but I learned it from The News Tribune‘s Karen Peterson, based in Tacoma, WA, over the weekend.

The code was discussed most recently by The Ethics Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, and a final draft will be presented at the Excellence in Journalism event in early September.

Peterson is a member of the SPJ and noted that much of the journalism we see produced today dances on the ethics line — largely because of the technology we have at our disposal, that, of course, was way too far into the future to foresee in 1996.

She noted the following recommended addition to the code:

“Weigh the consequences of publishing personal information, including that from social media.”

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Center for Investigative Reporting to Launch Public Radio Show

CIRThanks to the Reva and David Logan Foundation, along with the Ford Foundation, the Center for Investigative Reporting has garnered $3.5 million in support to launch an investigative public radio show and podcast called “Reveal.”

CIR’s Lisa Cohen says the nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism outfit will co-produce the show with the Public Radio Exchange (PRX), highlighting some of CIR’s ongoing investigations, as well as the watchdog journalism of other initiatives, in their one-hour radio show. CIR and PRX also plan to create special digital video and animations and data interactives for their web properties, and host live events.

Right now, investigations on CIR include the current surveillance state, toxic waste in Silicon Valley, border issues, the American criminal justice system and more. I’m hoping to see continuing coverage of those topics on the air waves and wondering how they will be presented for radio.

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Seattle Times Columnist Writes Everything By Hand For Two Days

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

If you haven’t heard of Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman‘s crazy experiment yet, I’m here to tell you that it’s more important than it may initially seem.

Guzman got to thinking about how much more “writing” humans do than ever before, and especially journalists, what with tweets and Facebook posts to write, reader comments to which to respond, stories, note-taking, transcribing and of course, the dreaded email.

“I wanted to get a more tactile feel for my share of this digital mother lode. So last week, I did something crazy. I wrote everything by hand,” she wrote (or typed?) for the Times.

She says she didn’t do it because she loves writing cramps and cursive.

“I did it to hack my brain. To make it slow down and notice the flurry of digital mutterings it writes and sends so easily, they barely register as mutterings at all.”

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