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Steve Buttry Wants to Change How You Work (It Will Be Better, We Promise)

project unboltMost of our newsrooms, if we’re honest, are print organizations with the digital initiative “bolted on.” Or so admitted Digital First Media CEO John Paton. I can’t decide whether I’m jealous of or pity the man, Steve Buttry, who has been tasked with unbolting four test newsrooms as DFM’s digital transformation editor.

He obviously knew what he was getting into. More than just refocusing attention to mobile reporting, engaging with audiences over social media or creating new ways to play with and use data, Project Unbolt is about actually changing how newsrooms think and act. Buttry elaborated on his blog this week about what it will actually entail and look like to ‘wrench’ newsrooms away from thinking for print. Here are some highlights:

  • Everything is live, all the time. He writes:

Virtually all event coverage and breaking news coverage are handled as live coverage, with ScribbleLive, livetweeting, livestreaming, etc. This includes sports events, government meetings, trials, community festivals, etc….Live coverage is routine for the unbolted newsroom. Reporters and/or visual journalists covering events plan for live coverage unless they have a good reason not to (a judge won’t allow phones or computers in a courtroom; a family would rather not have you livetweet a funeral; connectivity at a site is poor).

  • In the unbolted newsroom, you post content when you have an audience. Digital content is fresh every morning, you aren’t planning for morning editions, and those ‘Sunday magazine’ style features go up during the week. Read more

How Dallas Reporters Used Twitter to Get Un-Banned From Public Meeting

Twitter-birdI don’t think I can say it any better than Dallas Morning News reporter Tristan Hallman said it, when he blogged for the News about how he and a handful of local TV reporters were banned from a public, town hall-style meeting involving the Dallas Police Chief one night earlier this week:

“So last night was weird. For 40 minutes, reporters were banned from a public meeting with public officials in a public building.”

Definitely a weird moment, but especially unique was the way those reporters changed the outcome of their night through their tweets.

Read more

Google’s New Site Is A One-Stop-Shop for Journalists, Newsrooms

Google Media Tools, a new site from the search giant, is a resource for everyone in the newsroom: journalists, researchers, social media managers, publishers and developers. The site combines all of Google’s tools that could be of use to a news organization, providing a central hub for media outlets. The site is split into the following sections:

GoogleMediaTools

  Read more

Response: No Comments, No Problem

Be QuietI would like to claim responsibility for Popular Science removing its comment section, but I am sure it had little do with my rant a few weeks ago.

That said, I was thrilled to read their post that ‘in the name of science,’ they’ve turned their comments off.

John Kroll writes in this blog post that there is no good reason to turn off the comments. In fact, he says turning them off is lazy and has little to do with science, and much to do with the bottom line.

Maybe it did have to do with the bottom line, but let’s take a look at some of his points: Read more

Your Tweets Are Not Your Own And You Will Get Fired For Them

I’m shocked that public figures are still getting fired for what they say and do on the internet. Especially people who work in media. Sure, Pax Dickinson, brogrammer extraordinaire, was just CTO over at Business Insider, but this is a publication for the internet and of the internet. Someone there should have told him to put a sock in it — just blocking him is not enough for a news pub.

Gannett’s social media policy was posted on Romenesko yesterday. Perhaps they were shocked, too, and thought it was time for a refresher. Read it. Basically, anything you post can and will be held against you. I think that’s fair policy for media people. The rub for us is that while it’s all held against you, you don’t have the right to remain silent, either.

Like probably having to work weekends and holidays, the lack of delineation between our personal and professional digital selves is part of the job. It’s about being your own brand. From the Gannett policy:

Remember that social networks are forms of public expression and should be used for strategic reasons to enhance your journalism, engage your community of followers, enlighten your news outlet’s audience, and promote your news organization’s brand in a positive way. Like other forms of public expression – attending political demonstrations, voicing opinions on a talk show, making political campaign contributions – they are subject to the limitations that are placed on newsroom employees through the Principles of Ethical Conduct. These are designed to maintain credibility with the reader.

Putting “all tweets are my own” or some spin on that in might help you if you need to make a case for being fired for something you said, but it doesn’t protect you. So use the characters to make your bio more interesting. Especially if you’re employed by a news publication, your tweets are not yours. They belong to the digital strategy and marketing team. Don’t you know that nothing is proprietary on the interwebs?

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