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Meranda Adams

Meranda Adams (née Watling) is a senior online editor for a magazine by day and journalism blogger (or more prolific twitterer) by night. She's loved writing and design since childhood, and developed an early interest in technology when she started teaching herself HTML at age 10. She's a graduate of Kent State University‘s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is about a half hour from her hometown of Akron, Ohio. Currently, she lives near Indianapolis with her husband and their dog, Dickens. Contact Meranda at meranda at merandawrites dot com or on Twitter @meranduh.

Journalists Reading Mean Reader Comments (Video)

It’s been done by celebrities, but any journalist who’s ever been published online knows cruel commentary from the masses isn’t reserved for the famous.

sharetheloveValentine-webkindThe Indianapolis Star newspaper wants to change the tenor of conversation, and recorded several of its journalists this week reading some of the comments users have left on their articles, columns and editorial cartoons. They’re using the mean things people say as a tool to encourage readers near and far to #ShareTheLove this year with a social media campaign to accompany the video.

Among their requests for visitors to #ShareTheLove?

Diffuse one unkind person today. Go to the comments on any story on IndyStar.com, or on social media — or anywhere online — and give someone a compliment. Tell them you love their hair in their profile photo. Or that you wish they have a wonderful day. Or, simply, tell them to #ShareTheLove. Celebrate the love while diffusing the hate.

To be honest, a lot of those comments were tame compared to what I’ve seen on their site and read about my own work. But they’re still mean. From “It’s going to cost the Star some subscribers AND Facebook followers” to “I know a really good stylist and photographer if you’re interested in upgrading your professional image,” it’s clear they were meant to be mean and succeeded. My favorite of the readers, who range from online editors to news columnists to the Publisher, was columnist Leslie Bailey — who previously wrote about the mean things people say — when she read the two-word comment that sort of sums up most of the comments on the Web: “You’re Dumb.”

If nothing else, I’m glad to see these professionals taking the “criticism” that’s anything but constructive or critical thinking in stride. Keep on keeping on, and oh yeah, share the love!

What Happens When Journalists Show Up To An Unprepared Sochi: Twitter Gold

Journalists often fall into one of two extremes: The nothing-fazes-me, I’ve-seen-everything sort, and the quick-to-complain, give-me-what-I-want-now set. It’s not often the two overlap, but this week both of those types have a reason to vent in unison.

That’s because the cadre of journalists covering this year’s winter Olympics have arrived and taken to Twitter to vent their frustration and amusement with how host-city Sochi is so unprepared for this year’s winter games. It’s the most expensive Olympics in history, and many reporters report their hotel rooms aren’t finished or are lacking essential ingredients, like running water, light bulbs or even door knobs.

If there were a medal for making us appreciate what we have, these guys would have won the gold. The following are my favorites, but the Washington Post collected many more good (or bad depending how you look at it) observations as well:

Dan Wetzel, of Yahoo Sports, joked that “Early impressions of Sochi is that everything should be ready and spectacular for the 2015 Winter Games.” He wrote at length about what he encountered when he arrived in Sochi to find an unprepared hotel and city, but he also shared this:

Sorry folks, they fixed his doorknob, so the offer’s not valid anymore. But he might be in the market to trade for some new light fixtures soon: Read more

Still Making Summer Plans? Deadline Nears For Google’s Journalism Fellowship

It’s the time of year when young journalists start hearing back about their internship applications or perhaps getting worried if they haven’t heard back yet.

googleIf you haven’t already received and accepted an offer and made your summer plans, you still have some time to apply for one of the coolest opportunities available this summer: the Google Journalism Fellowship. But not much time — the deadline is this week.

This isn’t your typical summer internship, though. It’s something more immersive, more data-centric and, honestly, sounds more fun. They’re looking for journalism students who have already demonstrated proficiency and interest in digital projects and technologies, but the desired skills and interests are pretty reasonable for j-school students these days. Here’s how they describe the gig:

The program is aimed at undergraduate, graduate and journalism students interested in using technology to tell stories in new and dynamic ways. The Fellows will get the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to a variety of organizations — from those that are steeped in investigative journalism to those working for press freedom around the world and to those that are helping the industry figure out its future in the digital age. There will be a focus on data driven journalism, online free expression and rethinking the business of journalism.

And they will pay the fellows $8,000 (plus a travel stipend) for 10 weeks, from June through August, to work at one of these journalism organizations:

  • Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Investigative Reporters & Editors
  • Nieman Journalism Lab
  • Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project
  • Poynter
  • PRI.org
  • ProPublica
  • Sunlight Foundation
  • Texas Tribune

This application is due Friday, January 31… So, um, why are you wasting time?! Apply here.

The Hottest Social Network These Days? Not Facebook — But It’s Owned By Them

Facebook remains the undisputed king of social networks. If you’re sharing your stories or looking for sources, your time is well spent there.

But if you want to keep up and catch up with your audience, you can’t be only there, especially as the web moves to an ever more-visually driven medium. (And no, “But I’m on Twitter, too” isn’t enough these days.)

A study out this month finds that the clear winner in growth is another Facebook-acquired property is gaining on its photo-sharing corporate cousin: Instagram. According to research firm GlobalWebIndex, whose quarterly social summary (for Q4 2013) released this month pegs Instagram as the fastest growing — by a long shot — social network.

According to their survey, Instagram grew a whopping 23% in active usage in the fourth quarter of 2013. That same period saw a 3% decrease in Facebook’s usage, as well as in YouTube. To be fair, Facebook is still the most trafficked network, and with far more users already signed on it has less room to grow, but other budding social networks are gaining on it. Read more

Get Us Your Ideas For This Year’s Journo-Valentines

Valentine’s Day is one month away. Gulp. But don’t worry, we’ll be here for you again this year with another batch of fun journalism-related Valentine’s e-cards for your sweetie. We hope they like puns more than chocolate, because those are easier to come by on this list.

We’ve already come up with some fun ideas based on trends and perennial topics, but we want your ideas too! Because we’ve already covered a lot of ground in past year, we wanted to see what card you’d like to share with your journo-loves. Maybe it’s a journalism-inspired pickup line? Or a it’s-only-OK-to-use-puns-for-punchlines-once-a-year traditional Valentine idea? It could be anything related to writing, reporting, designing, coding, copyediting, social media, etc. Pretty much anything in a journalist’s life is fair, as you’ll see if you flip through past editions (linked below).

Send us your ideas in the comments, on Twitter @10000words with #journolove, or on Facebook.

And in the meantime, enjoy some favorites from the previous sets we’ve published. Maybe your gem is already out there?

We go together like pizza and election night
2013 (full set)

Read more

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