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Boston Globe Launches Catholic-Themed News Site

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 5.57.16 PMThe Globe is covering a new beat, and it’s not another Boston sports team. Nieman Lab’s Justin Ellis reported last week that the paper had launched a niche micro-site called “Crux,” focusing only on aspects of the Catholic faith, including lifestyle news and how the Pope and the Church handle political issues. Not only will the Globe Media-owned-and-run site feature Vatican news, it has also been designed to post quizzes and digestible chunks of content made for social sharing, Ellis found in his reporting.

It’s an interesting concept from a publication that has reported aggressively on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and an idea worth noting for newspapers that have long maintained a religion “beat” but never expanded the issues to a separate platform. The Globe‘s experiment begs the question of whether other big newsrooms should follow suit. With religion being just as much a part of many readers’ daily lives as sports, technology and food are, why shouldn’t the topic — or furthermore, a specific denomination — get its own vertical?

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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 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.

Culture and Political News — With a Hardcover

hrdcvrDanyel Wilson and Elliot Smith think, like most of us, that journalism as it’s practiced today needs fixing. So they’re focusing on the “soul” of our beloved craft and launching a magazine, in the form of a book. Yes, you read that correctly.

If you want to see it to believe it, you can donate now to their Kickstarter fund for the project, HRDCVR, which is open until June 5th.

Smith and Wilson are both journalists themselves, working at places like XXL and Vibe, respectively. So the magazine has a focus on culture and politics, with an emphasis on music, tech, and elections. Wilson “refined” the project while studying at Stanford University on a Knight Foundation fellowship. The magazine comes with an ethos of ditching the niche and the mainstream — something many publications are flocking towards — and being “multistream.”

Smith says in their release for the Kickstarter campaign that HRDCVR plans to:

make content from the revolutionary stance of everyone being equally interesting. We embrace the politics and cultures and passions of actual and projected populations in the United States. Our creative teams reflect and take inspiration from the humans and the humanity behind the new demographics

They’ve already raised about 4% of their goal, so if you want to see the highly designed (and heavy?) magazine, donate soon. You can follow the project at @HRDCVRx and fund it here.

For more on HRDCVR and to hear Wilson’s social media tips, read Hey, How’d You Become Hip-Hop’s Social Media Authority, Elliott Wilson?

Inflight Entertainment Company Global Eagle Inks Deal with Digital Newsstand Leader Magzter

global eagle post pic
A recent deal announced by inflight entertainment company Global Eagle and digital content provider Magzter will give airlines—and their passengers—access to thousands of local, regional and international magazines.

The initial rollout of the service will be made available to Global Eagle’s airline partners Dubai-based Fly Dubai and Brazil’s largest carrier, TAM Airlines. Read more

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