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Karen Fratti

Karen Fratti is a media and technology writer based in New York City. You can follow her at @karenfratti.

3 Symptoms of the Summer Newsroom Blues

summersky.jpgComing upon a three day weekend — and living through summer in general — it’s easy to make mistakes. We’re lucky, we can post and promote our stories from anywhere. Recently, I’ve seen some summer haze missteps. Don’t let this be you.

1) The post about a post that’s really a round up of other people’s posts.

Come on, guys. I know there is nothing to write about sometimes (I’ll wait for sarcastic comments about this post, too, it’s only fair), but did you really need content there, that badly? It wasn’t even noon yet and they had all but given up. Have another iced coffee and try again.

2) Overuse of social media cliches. 

ICYMI_intell.jpg

ICYMI. Winning the internet. Or worse, emojis. I’ve suffered from newsroom delirium. You stop caring, you think it’s funny, and let it rip. Once is allowed. Twice? Take a ten minute tanning break in the parking lot, come back, and try again. Ariana Huffington would approve. Read more

Best World Cup Coverage Around the Web

nytwc14.jpgIf you don’t have soccer fever yet, I feel sorry for you. It’s the one sport I can actually tolerate, and thanks to an extended overseas stint, know how to watch. With the World Cup playing on every television screen I walk by, it’s hard to not feel like there’s a extended holiday (and if the U.S. advances, it will only get more interesting).

Because I am a soccer geek, I’ve been consuming every bit of content I can find. Explainers that I don’t really need, background on Brazil, and listicles of the most attractive goalies from Ghana to Chile. Here are some of my favorite outlets for the game.

1) The New York Times. The New York Times has made downtime between the noon and three’o'clock games much more informative. Not only is their World Cup homepage clean and easy to follow — you don’t have to fight to find rankings and schedules —  they have great interactives like these diagrams of the clubs that national players come from. There’s also a great collection of essays about how different countries play the game that’s enough to make even the most skeptical soccer fan swoon a little for the game.

2) Vox. True to their mission, Vox does a lot of explaining and curating the World Cup. There’s the primer for those who want to care, but don’t really. And this collection of GIFs that not only shows some of the most popular (or infamous) players, but also has enough stats to fake a conversation with someone about Messi’s performance in past Cups.

3) Slate. By far, I have found myself tweeting and clicking on Slate’s coverage the most. Covering all things cultural surrounding the games, they take taje World Cup to another level with  this explainer about how Mexicans cheer, the ultimate defense of objectifying  soccer players, and my favorite: the Jerk Watch.

How are your favorite news outlets covering the games? Share your favorite World Cup content with me in the comments or @10,000Words.

Truthdig Launches ‘Global Voices’ To Showcase International, Female Journos

truthdig2This week, Truthdig launched an initiative to showcase international female journalists. Global Voices will allow the selected journalists to regularly report on breaking news and issues from their country, filling both the gender gap and the kinds of international news missing from some mainstream news sites.

The project is in collaboration with the International Women’s Media Foundation and funded in part by the NoVo Foundation Fund at Tides Foundation. If you’re feeling generous, you can also make a tax deductible donation to support them at the Truthdig Fund at Tides. The journalists currently featured have all been recognized by the IWMF with awards in the past, and they are all a dedicated, pretty hardcore crew; they’ve all been shot at, jailed, or persecuted in the name of journalism.

Truthdig publisher Zuade Kaufman has said that they envision Global Voices as a forum to gain perspective. From the release:

We envision a wide range of reporting through this project. We may choose an issue that affects many countries and ask reporters to provide a view from their region. For example, today’s major economic transformation fueled primarily by a female labor force is causing radical societal changes in many countries, rewriting thousands of years of family and village histories. This is a great human rights story and one that has barely been reported. We also expect to publish highly individual stories in which a reporter will write about an issue that particularly affects her country or a commentary on a subject in which she has expertise or a particular interest.

The vertical will also act as a mentoring program “in which the selected journalists will guide younger reporters in their countries.”

You can find a list of the current Global Voices writers here and follow them @Truthdig.

Knight News Challenge Winners Focus on Open, Available, and Secure Internet

knight2-262x193Today the winners of the first Knight News Challenge of 2014 were announced. This round, the theme was about strengthening and maintaining an open internet. The nineteen winners will all receive grants; nine of them receive $200-$500 thousand each, while the other ten receive $35,000, and the chance to participate in the Knight Prototype Fund, where they will develop their ideas fully, or as John Bracken, who oversees the fund for the Foundation, puts it, “get the ideas out of their heads.”

This News Challenge garnered over 700 “ideas” somehow centered on the rather general idea of “strengthening” the web. Interestingly, all of the winners have similar goals around internet privacy, security, open access, and journalism. Three of the winners center around public libraries and internet access. Bracken says a few patterns started to emerge. Read more

Knight Foundation Grants $3.89M to Build Open Source Platform for Engaging with Readers

knight2-262x193Yesterday, the Knight-Mozilla Open News initiative announced that it will lead a collaboration among Mozilla, the New York Times, and the Washington Post to create a new platform. With $3.89 million in funding, they’ll work together on a platform that will allow readers and users to upload pictures, videos, and other media for news outlets to use. From the release:

This open-source community platform will allow news organizations to connect with audiences beyond the comments section, deepening opportunities for engagement. Through the platform, readers will be able to submit pictures, links and other media; track discussions; and manage their contributions and online identities. Publishers will then be able to collect and use this content for other forms of storytelling and to spark ongoing discussions by providing readers with targeted content and notifications.

It’s sort of an unusual partnership, but it could turn out to be very fruitful. Instead of shying away from the internet, the projects seems to capture the essence of all things digital and all things journo: it’s open sourced so other outlets can use it, allows for management of data and verification, and treats readers as equal partners in news gathering. If that’s not what the digital publishing industry needs right now, I don’t know what is. The platform will also have a new sort of commenting system where users can highlighting system for journalists to better interact with readers. Instead of banning comments, they plan to make them more useful. Dan Sinker, the head of the Knight-Mozilla Open News Initiative writes on his blog:

Finally, this is a project that has the opportunity not only to improve community engagement in journalism, but to strengthen the web itself. Technologies likeBackbone.jsD3, and Django have all been forged and tested in the demanding environment of the newsroom, and then gone on to transform the way people build on the web. We don’t know that there’s a Backbone lurking inside this project, but we’re sure as hell going to find out.

Here’s to seeing what happens.

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