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Archives: March 2011

Get Your Social Presence in Shape at Social Media Marketing Boot Camp

This summer, mediabistro, SocialTimes and AllFacebook are hosting an online conference and workshop geared towards helping organizations and individuals alike optimize their social strategies. Social Media Marketing Bootcamp is an eight-week digital conference that takes place weekly on Thursdays from 2pm – 3:30pm EST. If attendees are busy at that time, sessions will also be archived in an online classroom to be viewed later, making it easy to participate even while balancing a hectic schedule.

With sessions covering everything from how to maintain a thriving lifestyle blog to how to implement audio and video into your social strategy, the conference is perfect for busy journalists already active in social media, but looking to bring their personal brands to the next level. Media bigwigs like Lockhart Steele, Guy Kawasaki and Charlene Li will all share their knowledge of the social sphere with participants through online workshops. Attendees will also go through a social media audit for information on their performance in the arena, as well as learn how to build a detailed and compelling social strategy.

For more information on Social Media Marketing Bootcamp, which runs June 9 – July 28, check out the program guide, or you can hurry up and register here; tickets are $399 ($375 for Avantguild members), but will be $499 after May 11th.

Mediabistro Course

Get a Literary Agent

Get a Literary AgentWork with a publishing consultant to find the right agent for your book and write a query that will get the deal done! Starting December 3, learn the best methods for finding a literary agent, how to choose the right agent for your book, the etiquette of seeking literary representation, and how to stand out among the numerous queries agents receive daily. Register now!

Using Intersect and an iPhone to show Recession Road

Two years ago, Washington Post reporter Theresa Vargas and photographer Michael S. Williamson hit the road. In a summer-long series of “Half a Tank: Along Recession Road” blog posts, the two drove more than 20,000 miles and visited 30 states to see for themselves how Americans were faring in the recession.

Now, Williamson is doing it again — but as a one-man band. And this time, he’s armed with an iPhone and Intersect.

Williamson generously agreed to chat with me in the wee hours before we covered the Three Mile Island vigil in Middletown, Pa. Here are just a few of his thoughts — and audio snippets — from our 45-minute conversation.

The iPhone

“I’m filing rather live,” Williamson said. “‘Half a Tank’ two years ago — the earliest it ever ran was the next day. But usually it was two days later. … And the hours — it was the most brutal stretch of road travel I have ever done. We worked until midnight every night, and then we filed until six in the morning.

“It was very rewarding,” Williamson said. “But it killed us. And so when I proposed going back, I said, ‘I can’t do it like that.’”

Instead, Williamson proposed to cover the entire trip — which would be accomplished throughout the year rather than in one long stretch — with his iPhone.

How the project originated:

Using the iPhone has completely changed the way Williamson shoots and approaches this project. After he said the iPhone photos’ quality is good enough to run five columns in print, I asked if he was concerned that there’s almost an indiscernible difference in quality between a traditional DSLR camera and a camera phone.

Read more

Five things I’ve learned in 4 years of blogging about journalism [VIDEO]

Thanks for watching.

- msl

How To Start Your Own Local News Site: Tips From a Berkeleyside Co-Founder

The prospect of starting your own news site is more viable an option than ever in the current media climate. Traditional news organizations are plunging left and right, the tools for publishing are free and easy, and communities are finding a new desire to access and share information. In Berkeley, California, the circumstances were similar in 2009, which led a group of journalists to fill the need by starting their own dedicated site, Berkeleyside.

I recently did an email interview with Tracey Taylor (@tktaylor), a co-founder of Berkeley’s news startup, Berkeleyside, to find out what it takes to start your own news organization.

A few notable points from that exchange:

  • Berkeleyside was founded in October 2009 by Lance Knobel, Frances Dinkelspiel, and Tracey Taylor who all have backgrounds as editors and writers.
  • The site is run on WordPress
  • Their main revenue stream is advertising (and they’re starting to build membership revenue)
  • After 18 months of existence, the founders have only recently begun to pay themselves a “very modest monthly salary”
  • currently has 117,660 unique visitors monthly
  • The Berkeleyside iPhone app calls for user contributions by allowing community members to submit photos from the scene of news events
  • Three trips Taylor offers to others wanting to start a local news site: do it your way, keep it lean and be transparent

The following Q&A covers everything from inspiration for founding the site, to business challenges, to technical details, to tips for others wanting to start a news site. Read more

How to create a time-lapse video of a Wikipedia page (or any website)

For a post over at the Washington Post’s @innovations blog, I wanted to communicate just how fast Wikipedia users created and populated the Japan earthquake Wikipedia page after the disaster struck. I wanted to create a time-lapse video using screenshots and tried to find the least laborious way of creating one. Here’s how I did it:

Every Wikipedia page has a revisions history tab in the top right corner of the page. I right clicked pages time stamped one minute apart and opened each revision page in its own tab. I launched the Firefox extension CopyAllURLs which grabbed the web addresses of each tab and copied the list of links to the clipboard, which I then pasted into a text file.

Next, I used the Firefox extension Grab Them All to capture screenshots of each the links in the text file, which were then automatically saved in sequence in a folder on my computer.

Here’s the fun part: I launched QuickTime Pro and selected File > Open Image Sequence… and selected the folder I created. Within seconds I had a time-lapse video of the screenshots. I went back and cropped some of the images in Photoshop for clarity and pulled them back in to QuickTime to create a new video. The result was truly captivating (click the image to view the video).

Wikipedia automatically archives previous revisions of every article, but for those websites that don’t, you can use the free software SiteShoter (Windows only) to save screenshots of any website at predetermined intervals.