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How Tos

15 Steps For Changing Newsroom Culture

Change is hard. We all know that. But something about being in a newsroom makes it harder — the legacy systems, old habits, the necessity of providing content for old and dying mediums. But I think now more so than ever, newsrooms are ripe for change. They’ve been resistant for so long, but now I’m witnessing them coming around. The turnout to NICAR this year was the largest ever, Pulitzers are being awarded more often for digital storytelling, breaking news events keep teaching us more and more about social and mobile consumption. So in a very anecdotal way, I think the news industry might finally be at a place where it’s stopped denying that it’s moving too slow. Now, how to make that jump? This is my list of mechanisms, published here as a more thought-out version of an Ignite Talk I gave at West Virginia University last week. Not everything on this list will work for you, but it’s based on lessons I’ve learned first-hand and observed elsewhere.  Read more

3 Micropublishing Platforms to Start Your Publication

The world of publishing is treacherous. Today, coming up with enough capital to fully staff, produce and publish a magazine is a daunting task — and making a profit off of it is almost impossible.

But, it turns out, a new trend is rising that could help startup magazines produce, and even monetize, new and interesting digital content. Although micropublishing is not new — its roots date back into the book industry, when small Print On Demand books would get published — it has been an increasingly lucrative concept as more of the general public owns eReaders and tablets.  And, while its become popular among authors to produce micro-stories on platforms such as Kindle Singles, journalists now have the opportunity to ride micropublishing’s wave. Startups are scrambling to create proprietary CMS and publishing platforms that encourage anyone to produce a magazine.

Here is just a sampling of some of the different ways you can bring a digital edition of your startup publication to the hands of readers. They have different prices and limitations, but they should help you get thinking about whether micropublishing is right for you.

What do you think of micropublishing as a concept? Let us know in the comments.

1.  Zeen: Micro-Micro Publishing

If your work is less of a magazine and more of a one-off long read or a compendium of short articles with a single, then Zeen is the right choice for your micropublishing needs. Currently in Beta, Zeen is a free micropublishing website that enables users to input their own content, enrich it with multimedia (including pictures, video and maps), and lay it out in a “zine-like” digital format for publish to social media accounts or a personal blog. Read more

4 Free DIY Coding Tutorials for the Online Journalist

These days, proficiency in computer science and online coding is just as essential to a journalist’s education as writing, reporting and editing. As our world continues to blur platform lines, knowing programming languages is the easiest way to gain an edge to secure your dream job, take on more responsibilities and become an indispensable tool in the newsroom.

But, there’s one overarching problem when a journalist gets psyched up to code: tutorials and books are often filled with codes and jargon that natively go against the way a humanities mind works. Getting into the material can be difficult, and sticking with it until code mastery can be nearly impossible.

Luckily, in an effort to get people of all ages and backgrounds into online programming, many companies have put together smart, interactive tutorials that explain methods in clear and easy ways. Some of them rely on a story or concept to drive the knowledge across, while others use reward systems and badges to motivate users to sticking with it.

Here are four free, interactive tutorials that you can do at your own pace that will help you learn four coding languages that have rapidly become must-knows in the world of online production and development. All of these courses assume users are complete beginners, so jump in! Read more

How to Land a Journalism Fellowship

Scoring a fellowship can not only boost a journo’s career, but provide valuable resources to carry out a project in this cash-strapped industry. From year-long stints at Ivy League schools to short-term projects, there are many options for those looking to enhance their skills. In the latest Mediabistro feature, veteran journalists and fellowship directors give tips on what you can do to make your application stand out. Here’s an excerpt:

Come up with a doable project.

Some projects sound great but are far too ambitious, dangerous or simply not feasible to pull off within the confines of a fellowship program.

“Sometimes people have this idea that if they just come to Stanford there’ll be computer science geeks falling over to work on their project, but that’s not necessarily the case,” said Jim Bettinger, director of the John S. Knight journalism fellowship program at Stanford. “You have to show in your application that you have the skills to do what you’re proposing and that you are the right person to carry it out.”

For more, read 6 Tips for Landing Journalism Fellowships. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

How To Crowdfund Your Journalism Project

Crowdfunding seems to be happening everywhere these days. From small art-projects to large scale hardware ventures, the Internet community is eager to send cash towards a cause they believe in, and it’s a great way to fill in the financial gaps when pursuing an in-depth project on behalf of a publication (say, a trip out to the Middle East for a local paper) or to start a completely new publication.

And, given the recent (and major) successes of journalism projects like NPR and Public Radio Exchange’s 99% Invisible and long-form science feature magazine Matterthere’s plenty of stories out there that prove funding a journalism project can work. If you’re strapped for cash and looking to make your dreams happen, crowdfunding is one of the best ways to do it.

However, it’s important to note that a funding campaign for a magazine is very different from a funding campaign for an iPhone-linked smart watch. Because there isn’t a high-value product on the line, people won’t necessarily be clamoring for your work alone.

Here are some smart tactics you should consider when embarking on your own crowd funding. Good luck!

1. Make a Video That Shows You Off

Here’s a piece of Crowdfunding 101: If you want to get funded, make a video. Staticstics show that projects with an engaging video attached to their funding appeals boost their chances of full funding to 50%. But, it’s not as easy as it sounds — creating a dynamic video about an unmade (or as-yet undeveloped) journalism project can lead to lot of head scratching. Read more

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