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Archives: December 2009

7 Posts you may have missed in 2009

There are some posts on 10,000 Words that become incredibly popular and others that don’t, but are equally compelling. Here are my favorite posts of the year that may have slipped under your radar.

1. A is for Audio: The ABCs of Multimedia

This Flash-animated guide to multimedia was the product of my brother and I goofing around with a microphone in my living room. I held onto the audio for a couple of weeks and resurrected it to create this fun, Sesame Street-esque sing-along.

2. How Twitter saved my career… and my life

2009 was a rocky year, mostly because I was laid off from my job in late 2008 along with many other coworkers. The experience was rough, but along the way I noticed how big a role Twitter was playing in maintaining my sanity and giving me hope that there was a job on the horizon. This post is a candid recount of that time in my life.

3. 5 Ways to take your map mashups to the next level

A lot of early 10,000 Words posts focus on easy ways to create map mashups, but as more journalists have mastered the simple tools, this post aimed to provide tools that could elevate maps beyond just a few markers.

4. Do you have a multimedia emergency plan?

This guide to creating last-minute multimedia projects was inspired by an experience I had at the LA Times where I had just three hours to create a Flash-animated guide to the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse. The Times handled the situation without pause, but the experience made me realize how many newsrooms can benefit from having a organized plan on how to handle breaking news and natural disasters.

5. 5 Online tools for following US government officials

During the 2008 US election season there was post after post written about how to track and follow the candidates and election coverage. This post proves that great online interactive and multimedia content didn’t end in January 2009.

6. Radio: Innovative ways to follow the aging medium

I don’t write about radio as much as I’d like because most of the in-your-face innovation is being produced by the medium’s print counterparts. This post proves that radio is mastering online technology and using the web as a vehicle for listener interaction and participation.

7. 4 Organizations more tech-savvy than your newsroom

The thought that the Pope is more tech-savvy than most journalists is enough to make anybody chuckle, except it’s reasonably true. Compared to the online presence of the Vatican, Major League Baseball, the FBI and the White House, news organizations still have a long way to go.

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The Top 10 most popular posts of the year

It’s been quite a year for 10,000 Words. More than 100 posts and almost a million page views later, there has been an overwhelming response to the content featured on this site. Here are the most popular posts of 2009 and the stories behind them.

1. 10 News photos that took retouching too far

One of the most controversial posts to ever appear on this site (behind last year’s 7 Fonts that should Die), this examination of egregious photo editing was inspired by the controversy over the work of photographer Klavs Bo Christensen. The digitally altered photos were not the first news photos to receive a heavy dose of retouching, as evident in the listed examples.

2. 7 Essential multimedia tools and their free alternatives

October’s post on free multimedia tools and software shot to the top of the list of most-viewed posts thanks to some pretty stellar StumbleUpon traffic. The list is really a collection of technologies that have been featured on 10,000 Words before, just aggregated in one list.

3. The top 7 mistakes new Twitter users make

This cautionary post was written when many people were just starting to use Twitter and making a few rookie mistakes in their profile. While there are some who still commit the listed errors, on further consideration Twitter can be used however one wants so there really is no such thing as a “mistake.”

4. 10 Ugly truths about modern journalism

Sometimes I write posts that rile people up. I never do it intentionally, I just don’t mind saying some of the things that other people are thinking but not saying aloud. The post sparked a heated discussion in both the comments and in social media about the structure and value system of journalists and the journalism industry

5. Journalism Grads: 30 Things You Should Do This Summer

I was reading one of those “How to prepare for your first semester of college” guides when I realized there are a lot of things journalism students could be doing over the summer break that would prepare them for their first journalism job or internship. Many students and many more working journalists used the list to set goals to improve their work and I used it as a personal reference for areas where I could improve. (For the record I have two items on list left to complete).

6. The 99 Greatest blogs you aren’t reading

In a conversation with Professor Michelle Ferrier and her classes at Elon University, I was asked a question that comes up a lot: “What’s in your RSS reader?” As you can tell from this post, the answer is a wide range of blogs focused on everything from technology to graphic design, all of which are key components of modern journalism.

7. 10 Inspirational New York Times multimedia and interactive features

It’s no secret that the New York Times is at the forefront of digital journalism and, judging by the response to this post, many others agree. This post received a second boost of traffic during the 2009 ONA conference after it was circulated around Twitter during one of the sessions. The post is a well-deserved kudos to a hard-working team.

8. 20 Photojournalists’ fantastic portfolios

This post was inspired by the fantastic work produced by photographers following 10,000 Words on Twitter. Any time someone follows @10000Words, I check out the site listed in their bio and if it’s interesting or captivating in any way, I bookmark it and save it for later. This post was the result of many bookmarks of photojournalist’s portfolios and highlights a diverse group of talented photographers.

9. Move over Soundslides: 4 Free online slideshow creators

There are some posts where after I write them, I’m not so happy about what I’ve written. In light of the hyperbolic title, none of the featured tools were at the time a match for Soundslides and I felt the post was a little misleading. Fast forward a couple of months and PhotoPeach, one of the sites featured on the list, introduced some dramatic improvements that actually made it a viable replacement for Soundslides and the post was saved.

10. 20 must-have gifts for journalists: 2009 Edition

Last week’s post on quirky and fun holiday gifts for journalists quickly edged out the rest of the posts to make it the tenth spot. While Care Bear body armor and a desk for your car’s steering wheel may not be “must-have” gifts, they certainly are enough to put a smile on your favorite journo’s face.

Thanks so much for reading 10,000 Words and being a part of this experience. Is your favorite post from this year not on the list? Share it in the comments!

20 must-have gifts for journalists: 2009 Edition

This holiday, let the journalist in your life know you care with one of these cool gifts. For last year’s roundup of gifts for journalists, check out this previous post.

1. Jumbo Post-it Notes

Vat19 | $8.95

2. Customized Sharpie

Sharpie | $11.99 for 6

3. Notebook and Pencil Socks

Vat19 | $12.95

4. Retro Weather Magnets

Museum of London | £8.50

5. Newspaper Tie Tee

Charlotte Russe | $14.99

6. Notepod

Notepod | $17.95 for 3

7. Laptop Steering Wheel Desk

Amazon | $18.75

8. Ctrl-Alt-Del Keyboard Cup Set

Gadget.Brando.com | $19

9. Wi-Fi Detector Shirt

Think Geek | $19.99

10. Earmuff Headphones

Urban Outfitters | $20

11. Four SD Slot Pen

Geek Stuff 4 U | $22.43

12. “Follow Me” Panythose

Etsy | $23

13. Newspaper Boxer Briefs

eBay | $24.99

14. Comb USB Flash Drive

AudioCubes | $35.99

15. Messenger Bag

Red Hot Phones | $130

16. Handsfree Blackberry Watch

Allerta | $149

17. The Home Studio USB Spherical Microphone

Hammacher & Schlemmer | $189.95

18. Tricycle Desk

Opulent Items | $500

19. Care Bear Body Armor

A bulletproof vest for the crime reporter who cares

GlamGuns.com | $512.95

20. Asus 16″ Lamborghini Laptop

A top-of-the-line laptop for the reporter who has everything.

Saks Fifth Avenue | $3,000


Also on 10,000 Words

30 Must-have gifts for journalists
6 Creative uses for old newspaper boxes
10 Not-so-essential (but totally cool) iPhone apps

Innovative uses of audio

7 Reasons why your readers hate your blog


1. You talk down to your readers

Nobody likes to feel stupid. Phrases like “unless you’ve been living under a rock” and “if you didn’t already know” make readers feel insulted or guilty for not knowing something. Instead of assuming that everyone has already heard about something, just assume that you’re the only one.

2. You don’t spellcheck

Nothing says “crazy, ranting blogger” more than glaring spelling errors. Readers will only come back to your blog if they believe it is credible and poor spelling makes you look sloppy and unprofessional. It only takes a few minutes to reread your post and save yourself from looking like a crazy person with a computer.

3. You go off topic

Most blogs have an established topic for a reason — often readers are visiting your blog because they share a common interest. So if you usually blog about technology and suddenly have a group of posts on your fluffy kitty Sam, you will frustrate your regular readers and give the casual visitor less of an incentive to return.

4. You don’t post very often

If your posts are months apart and your last few posts apologize for not blogging enough, do your readers and yourself a favor and just close up shop. The best blogs are those that are frequently updated and posting infrequently is no way to build an engaged audience.

5. You don’t link

There is no quicker way to drive your readers crazy than to write about some hot new website, product or event and leave them scrambling over to Google because you didn’t provide a link to more information. Make your readers lives easier by including links in your posts where they should obviously appear.

6. You turn off comments

A blog isn’t just about writing…it’s about stimulating conversation and discussion. If your readers have no way of responding to a post then you look like a jerk. Even worse: turning off comments on a particular post because someone disagrees with you.

7. You don’t offer RSS

There are many valid reasons why bloggers don’t enable RSS — most often its because they want readers to visit the actual blog and drive up page views. Many internet users, however expect an RSS feed and may not read your content at all if they have to keep visiting your site for updates. Enable some form of RSS, even if its just headlines or summaries. After all, a person reading your content is better than having them ignore you completely.


Also on 10,000 Words:

10 Reasons why online news sites suck
The top 7 mistakes new Twitter users make
Editors: 10 ways you annoy your staff
10 Ways to make your editor love you
10 Ugly truths about modern journalism

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