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Archives: July 2010

The Washington Post gets 'Luckie'; Goodbye Cali, Hello D.C.!

I am extremely excited to announce that I have just been named the new National Innovations Editor for the Washington Post. I will be responsible for helping to coordinate the online strategy for the Post’s National desk, identifying multimedia and social networking opportunities, and other web-related endeavors. The new position will also mark the end of my tenure as a producer for the Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch.

For the first time in my blogging career I’m actually speechless. If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that my career has had some highs and lows and this really is an amazing high. I’m really excited about working with one of the greatest teams of journalists in the world and helping to take the Post’s online reporting to the next level.

And if you’re reading this I thank you — to both longtime readers and recent inductees into the 10,000 Words universe — for all your support and making 10,000 Words into the big thing it has become. My feelings are best expressed by the video embedded below…Stay tuned!


You make my dreams come true!

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How to be a rock star at your next conference

Conference season is already underway and this summer thousands of people will gather in dimly lit rooms to discuss any number of topics. Make sure you’re the star of the show and a power networker by following the tips below:

Tweet early and often

Before the conference gets underway, find out the official hashtag or if there isn’t one, make up your own and encourage others to follow suit. Hashtags give Twitter users a way to follow what’s going on in the sessions without actually being there or to share behind the scenes commentary or information on seminars in progress. You can use hashtags to share insight, tweetable quotes, or observations on sessions you attend. If you do, you will more than likely pick up new Twitter followers interested in what you have to say.

However, you should be careful not to overdo it. Remember, not all of your followers will be in attendance or even care about the conference, so if you overshare you may encourage some to reach for the unfollow button. Tweet in moderation and if you know in advance that you will overshare, consider creating a temporary Twitter account just for the conference.

Presenters: In addition to making your presentation available online, you should also conclude your session by providing your Twitter username (you do have one don’t you?). Once the presentation is over, send out a tweet with the link to the presentation and include the hashtag for the conference.


‘Bump’ it!

Have you ‘Bump’ed lately? Bump is a free iPhone app that allows users to share contact information, including email, Twitter, and LinkedIn info, just by bumping iPhones. Not everyone will have an iPhone, but considering many people do it is an easy way to network and share your information with others. Which brings us to our next point…


Bring business cards

Despite all the advances in technology, it is still important to have a business card. A conference attendee without a business card is like a rower without a paddle…going nowhere fast. Business cards are still the de facto way of exchanging information so you should be prepared. Your business card doesn’t even have to be a boring white rectangle. Check out this previous post for inventive and unique business cards.

Be ‘smart’ about it

If you work in a visual medium such as photography or design, you can instantly show your work to potential employers, clients, or colleagues by having it loaded on your smartphone, netbook, or mobile device. If you are a photographer or graphic designer, you can have a gallery available on your mobile to show others your work. If you are a web designer, you can have live examples on hand to share with others. If you work in video or radio you can show off some of your latest projects right on your handheld device. This is, of course, much better than simply giving someone a web address and hoping they check out your work later.

If you are a print journalist or work in another non-visual medium, all hope is not lost. When you attend a conference, have thumb drives containing your work on hand that you can distribute to selected attendees. Thumb drives are now almost as cheap as floppy disks (remember those?) and can be bought in bulk from your local office supply store. If you want to get really snazzy, you can get your logo imprinted right on the drive.

Drink up

Some of the most interesting conversations don’t happen at the workshops themselves, but at post-conference dinners and happy hours. While you don’t have to indulge in alcohol, you should stick around for the informal events to chat with your fellow conference goers. You never who you might meet!

Also on 10,000 Words:

Why you should ditch your company business card
How to turn online social networking into real-life relationships
How to make the most of your journalism internship

Should journalists learn programming skills?: A Flowchart

With the current revolution in technology and journalism, many journalism pundits are blindly advocating non-technical journalists learn programming and web development skills. Programming, as opposed to coding HTML or CSS, takes a considerable time commitment to learn and may or may not come natural to the average journalist.

Use the flowchart below to determine whether or not learning programming/web development is the right choice for you.

(Click for larger version; feel free to share or distribute)

Also on 10,000 Words:

Why journalists should learn to code (and why some shouldn’t bother)
Essential multimedia tutorials and resources for do-it-yourself training
Journalists: Change starts with you

No resources? No problem: How a local Russian paper took on the New York Times

A large number of the ambitious or innovative digital journalism stories featured on 10,000 Words are produced by larger newsrooms with more resources to devote to more elaborate projects. One in 8 Million, a multimedia look at some of New York City’s interesting residents, is one such project.

As part of a training workshop I recently conducted in the Russian city of Berdsk (view photos from the sessions here), I showcased interesting slideshows and online journalism, including the New York Times feature.

The staff of the local paper Курьер.Среда (Kurer-Sreda) were immediately intrigued by the project and set out to replicate it in what they called “Один из 97000″ or “One of the 97,000,” a nod to the Berdsk’s 97,000 residents. The number of staff was less than you can count on two hands, yet within hours they began reporting and capturing photos and audio, despite a considerably fewer resources than a major news organization like the Times.

Also unlike the New York Times, there are no Flash developers in the newsroom so the staff took a low-tech approach. They built photo slideshows with the free program Windows Movie Maker, uploaded them to YouTube and posted to the site. They also created photo stories accompanied by text. The slideshow below centers around an employee of a local tanning salon and her advice on getting a good tan.


Instead of featuring all of the individual photo stories in one package, the paper’s staff decided to feature one or two a day on the front page of the site so as not to overwhelm readers. The result is a compelling series of multimedia stories that offer insight into the lives of the citizens of Berdsk. Best of all, the reporters had a fun time putting them together. All of the stories are in Russian and even if you don’t speak the language I’d encourage you to check them out here, here and here.

The lesson here is to be inspired by some of the large-scale projects produced by major news organizations but don’t be so intimidated that you don’t attempt to create them for your audience. Also, don’t just copy what other newsrooms are doing — make a project your own and create interesting multimedia stories that will appeal to your readers or viewers.

Also on 10,000 Words:

10 Inspirational New York Times multimedia and interactive features
5 Creative uses of Flash and interactive storytelling
8 Ways to save money on your next multimedia project