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Added Features for Vourno, the News Centric Crowdfunding Platform

vournologo1This past spring, I wrote about Vourno, a crowdfunding platform for the news. This week, they’ve added an “upload a video” feature in an effort to “promote immediate growth and content to [their] network and opens up [the] site to journalists around the globe seeking another distribution platform to showcase their work.”

Of course, you’ve always been able to upload a video onto Vourno, but it had to be through their “create a story” feature. Now journalists can link to a Vimeo or YouTube account or upload an actual video file, put it up for the public to fund or watch, and gain exposure.

In an effort to boost participation, Vourno offered $50 on the launch date, November 5th, to any journalist who uploaded a video. Co-founder Joe Verdirame couldn’t elaborate on the number of users who uploaded videos just yet, but told me via email that the promo has “set them in a positive direction.”

Since their US launch, Vourno has launched in Canada, and the U.K. and is planning on opening up shop in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Spain in the coming year.

Have you used the site yet? Have a news video you want to upload?

Introducing Columbia Visuals, A Viz Journalist’s New Best Friend

columbiaIf a picture is worth a thousand words, then a blog covering all aspects of photography is pretty much priceless.

At least that’s what the Digital Media department at Columbia Journalism School is aiming for with its new project, Columbia Visuals. This new blog is meant to give advice for all visual journalists an online home. Basically anything that affects your career as a photographer or videographer — everything from copyright information and inspiration for great storytelling to practical tips on how to cover high-stress events like protests, for example — is fair game for Columbia Visuals.

Yesterday I spoke with Abbey Adkison, the Digital Media Coordinator at the NYC-based, storied journalism school (where she is also an assistant adjunct professor) about the blog, which just had its official launch Sept. 16.

Read more

Dispatch From Italy: Citizen Journalism and YouReporter Making Waves

imageDid you know that in Italy, to be a practicing journalist, you take exams and get certified? That’s what my Roman friend, a senior digital editor at one of the country’s largest publishing groups told me over lunch this week during my Italian holiday. It’s like being a lawyer, or an architect. And while the practice of certifying journos still stands, even over here where traditions are hard to break, the industry has been disrupted.

Italy is still a country in which practicing independent journalism is a political, and not just entrepreneurial, act. And still, YouReporter.it, a crowd sourced, video sharing news platform is widely used. Launched in 2008, the site has expanded with an app for both Android and iOS, and a text based news blog. Lots of “mainstream” news publishing organizations use videos or photos from the site, and all they have to do is use the logo and attribute the view to YouReporter.

When co-founder Angelo Cimarosti and his colleagues, Luca Bauccio and Stefano De Nicolo, started thinking about the site in 2006, bandwidth in Italy was weak, and hard to find. Smartphones had yet to saturate the market. So they started with a focus on photos, in addition to video. In fact, Cimarosti told me over the phone that when the earthquake in l’Aquilia hit in 2008, hundreds of photos were uploaded to the site; had it been just video based, YouReporter would have never gotten off the ground.

“You can start small,” Cimarosti told me over the phone. (All translations are mine)

“The success of YouReporter is about the small things, especially in a country like Italy, made up of small towns. People already have an outlet for the big news events — an earthquake, a cruise ship crash, even a big snow storm. What YouReporter users share and want to know about are the small things — suspended trash pick-up, the traffic sign on the corner that needs to be replaced.” Read more

The Texas Tribune Wants You to Help Fund Its Livestreaming Efforts

ttlivestreamingIt’s fair to say that before her marathon filibuster on the Texas Senate floor, not many citizens knew who Wendy Davis was.

But on the night of June 25, 2013, they learned. And nonprofit news organization, The Texas Tribune, which covers politics and policy across the state, is a big reason why Wendy Davis’ filibuster speech was broadcast worldwide via livestream. So, the Tribune wants to take its real-time video coverage efforts a step further and has launched an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to purchase the technology to livestream the 2014 Texas governor’s election (Davis is reportedly running for Gov. Rick Perry’s post).

That evening, the Tribune had enough forethought to recognize that Davis’ 11-hour appearance at the Capitol, pink running shoes and all, was important and potentially really impactful. The Democrat’s refusal to allow Texas Republicans to ban abortion in the Lone Star State earned her national attention, and the Trib says it provided more than 183,000 people with live, unfiltered coverage of what was going on in Austin.

Read more

How To Maintain a Work Appropriate Social Media Presence

It can be hard to separate the professional from the personal, especially when it comes to social media. Many journalists seem to have a hard time keeping their thoughts to themselves these days and the results are never pretty.

Remember when Shea Allen, the former investigative reporter for WAAY in Huntsville, Ala. got fired for her controversial blog (where she confessed to, among other things, going bra-less on live TV?) Or what about the NBC staffer who was fired for posting an embarrassing video of Bryant Gumbel on the Today Show from 1994, looking foolish and wondering aloud, “What is the Internet, anyway?”

There are so many examples of employees embarrassing themselves on social media platforms (and ultimately paying the price for it). After all, we live in a world where over-sharing is the norm, and privacy has become a thing of the past. Read more

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