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Archives: April 2011

Humorous websites for journalists

Being a journalist is exhausting. We work long hours, often in odd shifts and for low pay. We see gruesome events unfold in person and hear a lot of personal anecdotes that people in other lines of work would describe as TMI. Then, we spin those issues into inches and call it a night (or early morning), and get up the next day to rinse and repeat. News doesn’t take a holiday, so neither can the people putting it out for mass consumption (and no, furloughs don’t count). So, while the beach is out of reach this spring, here are a few places journalists can get a mini-vacation from the comfort of their cubicle while waiting on calls or copy.

@FakeAPStylebook

This Twitter account is so much better than the real thing (and way less useful than the real @APStylebook). Their approach to mocking journalism conventions is often laugh out loud funny. That’s because no journalist can deny the underlying absurdity in some tried and true rules. The posts can get a bit borderline, but it’s all in good humor.
If trolling the archives of the Twitter stream isn’t enough, they even went old-school and wrote a book “Write More Good”, it’s even available in deadwood edition (i.e. print), like newspapers and other things your grandparents used to read — only this is way, way funnier than any funnies in the paper.
A few examples to get you started:

Overheard in the Newsroom

Newsrooms are breeding grounds for awkward mis-overheard conversation snippets that taken out-of-context — not that a journalist would ever do that — make for amusing, if often raunchy, reads. But hey, this is a newsroom, and anyone who’s spent any length of time in one knows humor and innuendo come standard. Here are few recent funnies to get your bearings (funnier ones exist in the 7,000-plus conversation archives):

  • Editor: “I oughta just re-tweet the texts [reporter] sends me. I could call it ‘Shit my pain-in-the-ass reporter says.’”
  • Sports Editor to Managing Editor putting more paper into the printer: “You having fun with Jimmy Hendrix over there?”
    Managing Editor: “What?”
    Sports Editor: “I named it Jimmy Hendrix, because it always jams.”
  • Reporter after being shunned by a government employee: “I was looking to do a puff piece about that project. Now I want to know how much it costs, why they’re doing it, and who authorized it. I’ll show them who’s an asshole.”
  • Reporter 1: “I have an ethical dilemma.”
    Reporter 2: “Whichever choice is the least fun is the right one.”
  • Copy Desk Editor: “This photo you have is kind of boring. All they are doing is standing around looking at rocks.”
    Reporter: “If you think that’s boring, wait until you read the story.”

Stuff Journalists Like

So the “Stuff (group) likes” meme is probably passe by now, but that doesn’t discount the hilarity that comes from recognizing the grain of truth in these posts. Stuff Journalists Like is a compilation of items that often hits close to home. If you’re just getting started here are a few gems to start off:

  • #3 Free Food – Because really, what journalist would turn away cold pizza or left-over sandwiches from the executive luncheon? Not this one.
  • #40 The Grumpy Old Reporter – There’s one in every newsroom, and right now he’s probably time-sucking the cub reporters/ copy editors/ photographers/ anyone-within-earshot by regaling them with tales of how times used to be and how long their predecessors lasted in the job. Meanwhile, can someone tell him how these #$!&^@% blogs work and what the $&!@ Twitter is anyway.
  • #58 Being Font Snobs – I’ll admit it: I judge your press release — and by extension the seriousness of your cause/business/pitch — in part by the font you choose.
  • #101 Weather Stories – Because readers are dying to know how the rain that fell yesterday affected Man-On-The-Street-#1’s gas pumping and how much road salt the city has remaining in its stockpile to fend off the next #snowpocolypse. That’s local news people can’t get anywhere else … except, maybe by looking outside.

Did I miss your favorite humorous journalist hangout/feed? Tweet @10000words or post the link in the comments.

Creating Change in an Online Community

One of my favorite blogs about online community management is Fever Bee, written by Richard Millington, an online community consultant.

Much like Seth Godin, Richard’s posts are short and to the point.

His post on April 21 is one of my favorites that he’s written. He writes about creating change in a community because the community asks for it, not because a company wants change in the community, and thus expects the community to follow along.

Here’s the take-away point:

You shouldn’t decide to add a feature without having a clear motivational driver underpinning its use. It’s far easier to create and changes features than it is to create and change motivation.

This concept also extends to news organizations that use Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.

Read more

First Impressions of Trove, WaPo’s News Aggregation Tool

Tuesday evening, Trove — a news aggregation tool out of WaPo Labs — opened for public beta. Trove pulls in news from more than 10,000 different sources to give readers a diverse tasting of news based on social connections and personal topics of interest.

Personalization at a new level

What I like about Trove is that it gives me a taste of everything, in a way I’ve never quite seen on the web. Sign-in is currently only available through Facebook Connect (other modes of login will be available later), which allows the web application to pull your likes and interests from Facebook to establish news channels. Read more

Journalism, Social Media and PR: An Interview with Romey Louangvilay

Romey Louangvilay, senior account executive for digital and social media, Euro RSCG Worldwide PRThe context of social media in journalism today cannot be ignored. Several mainstream media organizations such as The Guardian, Slate, and The New York Times have realized this, and are using social media to tap into their audiences and deliver breaking news while maintaining an active and engaged audience. This has started to happen across the media spectrum, particularly in public relations.

Recently, I had the chance to talk with Romey Louangvilay, senior account executive for digital and social media at Euro RSCG Worldwide PR. Romey’s work with high profile brands involves an interesting mix of traditional journalism, public relations, and social media. In this interview, Romey explains how technology and social media play a pivotal role in the accessibility of news and information to the general public.

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The 5 Best iPad Apps For Consuming The News That’s Important To You

With the recent release of the iPad 2, the Apple App Store is swarming with new and updated apps tailored for interactive news consumption. Some of the most compelling news apps are those that take a familiar concept–such as the simple act of reading a newspaper–and adapt it to the iPad’s unique platform. These are the apps that remind us that reading the news can be a fun and social experience. Here are five of our favorites:

1. Instapaper

Though many of us may spend all day on our computers, we don’t always have the time we want to devote to reading the interesting news stories that crop up throughout the day. Luckily, Instapaper exists for just this reason. The easy-to-use “Read Later” bookmarklet allows you to keep track of and aggregate all the stories you want to return to later, effectively allowing you to create your own personalized, well… instant paper. The iPad app easily integrates with the articles you’ve saved through your browser so that you can read through them at your own leisure. With version 3.0.2, updated just last week, the app boasts plenty of impressive capabilities including offline dictionary integration, a built-in web browser, and full-featured, native sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

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