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Archives: February 2013

NYT and Starbucks: A Real-Life Paywall?

Yesterday, the New York Times and Starbucks announced a partnership that would grant 15 free articles to digital users on the Starbucks Wi-Fi. This isn’t the first time the companies have forged a media partnership — Starbucks outlets across the country have carried a newsstand of the paper, and this loophole maneuver might draw more readers to the coffee shop (and pick up a digital subscription over time).

But is it just another paywall, buried in our real world instead of on our computers?

The Times has already clarified that the system will not allow readers to choose their articles at whim — rather, there will be an available landing page that features a mix of articles from various Times sections as well as breaking news and most-emailed and a rotating “special” section that rotates daily. All of these articles can be accessed daily, through the Starbucks Digital Network or SDN, a fancy way of referring to every store’s free Wi-Fi offerings. Read more

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Required Reading for the Digital Newsroom

There was a huge media event this weekend, and I’m not talking about the Oscars. It was when NASCAR took to YouTube and had a fan video of a crash taken down, in the name of the DMCA.

The posted video, showing parts of the crash not viewable in the official NASCAR version,  stayed down, although copies of it circulated on sites like Deadspin. Later, Google put the videos back up; NASCAR must have realized what a silly, corporate idea ti was to block the video just as news of the crash broke.

 The DMCA, and intellectual property online, is one of those looming questions surrounding digital journalism. I found myself embroiled in a lighthearted, but serious debate with another tech-minded friend about who was right in this case and its implications. Both of us found ourselves quoting and recommending books to each other by the end of it when we decided to agree to disagree. And it reminded me of how many really good, insightful books there are about copyright and digital culture that should be “required reading” for anyone with an email account.

In the name of a mid-winter Thursday, here are a couple to curl up with this weekend:

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‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’: The Book That Inspired New York Times‘ Snow Fall Project

A group of 100 journalists, academics, software developers, business leaders, designers, non-profits and government representatives are gathered at a hotel in Tennessee this morning to talk about weaving stories and data in the first-ever Tapestry Conference.

NASHVILLE — ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ is a children’s book by Brian Selznick that combines black and white charcoal photos and text to tell a story. And he doesn’t use your normal set of accompanying images like you’d see in most children’s books. Selznick’s images tell much of the story without words. The experience of reading it is integrated and undisrupted.

Hannah Fairfield, who does graphics at The Times, said this was part of the inspiration in creating Snow Fall, a narrative multimedia project that recently won two gold medals in the Society of News Design’s digital competition.

Many of the graphics in Snow Fall animate as a user scrolls down the page, meaning they only change the pace the reader chooses. The graphics don’t get in the way, they don’t distract, they’re not only supplemental to the story — they’re part of the story. They tell the story in a way that text alone couldn’t tell the story.  They’re “immersers” rather than interrupters.

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Highlights From New York Times‘ Science Graphics Editor Jonathan Corum’s Keynote Address At Tapestry Conference

A breakdown of Tapestry Conference attendees, compiled by Ellie Fields.

NASHVILLE — A group of 100 journalists, academics, software developers, business leaders, designers, non-profits and government representatives are gathered at a hotel in Tennessee this morning to talk about weaving stories and data in the first-ever Tapestry Conference.

Jonathan Corum, graphics editor at the New York Times, opened the conference with a keynote about how he finds stories in data. More about Jonathan:

Jonathan Corum is the science graphics editor at The New York Times. His print graphics have won 15 awards from the Society for News Design and 8 medals from the international Malofiej competition. In 2009 the Times graphics desk received a National Design Award for communication design.

He talked about narrative, exploration, editing, audience and more. Here are the best tweets from his keynote address (after the jump).
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4 Free DIY Coding Tutorials for the Online Journalist

These days, proficiency in computer science and online coding is just as essential to a journalist’s education as writing, reporting and editing. As our world continues to blur platform lines, knowing programming languages is the easiest way to gain an edge to secure your dream job, take on more responsibilities and become an indispensable tool in the newsroom.

But, there’s one overarching problem when a journalist gets psyched up to code: tutorials and books are often filled with codes and jargon that natively go against the way a humanities mind works. Getting into the material can be difficult, and sticking with it until code mastery can be nearly impossible.

Luckily, in an effort to get people of all ages and backgrounds into online programming, many companies have put together smart, interactive tutorials that explain methods in clear and easy ways. Some of them rely on a story or concept to drive the knowledge across, while others use reward systems and badges to motivate users to sticking with it.

Here are four free, interactive tutorials that you can do at your own pace that will help you learn four coding languages that have rapidly become must-knows in the world of online production and development. All of these courses assume users are complete beginners, so jump in! Read more

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