News applications teams are starting to pop up in newsrooms all over the place — yep, even I’m on one. As is the case for any new concept in the journalism world, we’re all still trying to figure out how to do it the right way. No one has all the right answers, but we can all learn from each other both in terms of technical and cultural problem-solving and collaboration. Here are a few resources you can use if you’re just getting started with a news apps team.
We all hailed The Boston Globe when it launched its responsive site last year, and Engadet — one of the oldest and largest technology blogs – recently launched a similar redesign. Here are a few points where newspapers and other media can draw inspiration as they move increasingly to responsively designed websites.
1. Display section header as you scroll
This is something I haven’t seen in this style before. For the more extensive, long form articles on Engadget that are broken up by section headers, the title of the header remains at the top of the window as you scroll through. This visual indicator helps those of us with short attention spans to keep track of where we are in a story and remember the the theme for that section. It also helps us feel like we’re being productive — recognition that we’re making progress as we read.
When Apple first announced its fourth-generation iPad and iPad Mini, I’m sure many journalists out there were extremely excited for the opportunity to get their hands on these new gadgets. I know I was. But for all the functional uses the iPad provides us, I wonder how many journalists have truly incorporated it into an everyday work tool? I know I haven’t.
In terms of incorporating into an everyday work tool, I’m not referring to using it as a device for reading content, sending emails, or communicating through social media channels. I’m talking about using it in the field – whether that’s shooting video, taking photos, writing pieces on the go or using the technology for interviews. This last point is something that I’ve never used the iPad for because I often use a voice recorder or take hand notes.
So I did some digging, and asked for some suggestions, and these are five apps (listed in alphabetical order) that I think are great for handling interviews.
1. Dragon Dictation
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the accuracy and speed of Dragon Dictation, which transcribes voice recordings into text. According to a description of the app, “it’s up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard,” and I can note that it is pretty accurate in picking up my voice and translating that to copy. This information can then be sent via text message, email, social media platforms, and much more. The only downside of this app is that you need a Wi-Fi connection in order to do any transcribing. On the positive side, this app is free to download.
It’s increasingly rare (at least from a digitally entrenched perspective) to imagine a journalist watching a presidential debate without simultaneously watching his or her tweets. This is certainly fine, and in many cases, helpful. But with CJR’s recent piece on “pack journalism” and in light of some recent studies on Twitter makeup and preferences, I figured it’d be good to review a handful of the findings together and what they may mean for journalists.
The larger aim is that a thorough understanding of the Twitter community – placed at least in the back of one’s head – could help one from being heavily influenced by that scary hive-mind (if it’s true), and regardless, put into perspective the general sentiments that may soak in when one repeatedly scans TweetDeck.
Understanding the community in any medium you regularly use, not just Twitter, is a good practice. There is always a filter bubble wherever we engage online—we tend to regularly admit that, and some of us take steps to pop it by whom we follow and what we search for. The recent findings I’ve compiled about Twitter, however, seem of a particular importance, for they shed some light on what may be a wider filter bubble (“filter fish tank”?) of what is increasingly many journalists’ anchor.
It may not seem natural because of Facebook’s “like” button, but Twitter “favorites” can be for storytelling.
The page on which they are chronicled, after all, is a timeline of sorts, tracking whatever tweets you decide to attach a star. It’s essentially curation, even if often unused. It’s another platform to reach folks — particularly the most curious — and convey information, hopefully all while keeping an experience fluid.
I don’t know anyone who regularly checks a Twitter user’s favorites, of course. But favorites are there, and you have to expect it happens. At bare minimum, it’s fun to go poking around on your follower’s favorites and see how they’re using them.
So that’s what I did: poked around, but on the favorites pages of some journalism organizations I follow. The result? Usually some laughs (which isn’t necessarily bad).
Below are some examples of what I saw, some of which are kind of funny. The conclusion? Many a time, at least to the average user who stumbles upon them, a journalism organization’s usage of the “favorite” is rare and/or obscure.
The New York Times (@nytimes)
Kudos for favorite-ing that last one?
NEXT PAGE >>