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Archives: January 2014

One Week Left to Enter the Sigma Delta Chi Awards

SDX_Awards13If you don’t have any weekend plans — because we’ve already seen all the Super Bowl commercials, right? — you might as well prepare a last minute application for the Sigma Delta Chi awards, presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. The deadline is next Friday, February 7, so there’s more than enough time.

The awards are only open to U.S. media professionals in categories ranging from print and online magazine writing, radio and broadcast journos, and even newsletters. You can see a full list of categories and sub-categories here.

Cost of submission is is $60  for SPJ members and $100 for non-members — but it looks like you can sign up and save some dough as you enter. There’s also a chance to submit after deadline for a higher fee, but if you’re entering for an award in Deadline Reporting, we don’t recommend it. See what I did there?

You can check out last year’s winners here for inspiration and when you finally get your work and cover letter prepped, enter here.

Mediabistro Course

Memoir Writing

Memoir WritingTell and sell the story of your life! Starting September 17, Wendy Dale, a published memoir writer, will help you to create your story arc around a marketable premise. You'll receive feedback on each of your assignments and benefit from personalized time with Wendy, to develop a plan for approaching literary agents and publishing houses with your manuscript. Register now!

‘Inside’ News App Seeks to Develop ‘World’s Best News Service’

inside“World’s best news service,” eh? Now that is a lofty goal. But it’s one that the team at Inside is shooting toward.

Inside.com, an app and website that presents 1,000 of the day’s most important stories in 300 characters or less (written by the site’s curation team), launched earlier this week to mostly positive reviews among tech and media bloggers. The founder and CEO of Inside, Jason Calacanisset out to create a news reader that would summarize in quick spurts the highest quality news, on any topic, because he’s tired of wasting time on click-bait articles and unsubstantial reporting online.

Calacanis and his team set forth the following guidelines in developing Inside, which they’re calling “sort of like Pandora for news.”

1. It would be mobile — specifically for smartphones
2. It would be real-time
3. It would be fact-filled
4. It would connect folks to the world’s best journalism
5. It would respect the reader’s time

Read more

How to Stop the Online Harassment of Female Journalists

woman-scared-article

“Happy to say we live in the same state. Im looking you up, and when I find you, im going to rape you and remove your head.” That’s a tweet Slate writer Amanda Hess received from her stalker. Unfortunately, Hess’ situation is not uncommon. In fact, female journalists being harassed and threatened online has become an epidemic.

Hess recently wrote a lengthy piece on the subject for the Pacific Standard. She discovered that of all the people who reported being stalked and harassed online from 2000 to 2012, 72.5 percent were female. “No matter how hard we attempt to ignore it, this type of gendered harassment — and the sheer volume of it — has severe implications for women’s status on the Internet,” Hess argued.

How can we change this situation? Read more

Steve Buttry Wants to Change How You Work (It Will Be Better, We Promise)

project unboltMost of our newsrooms, if we’re honest, are print organizations with the digital initiative “bolted on.” Or so admitted Digital First Media CEO John Paton. I can’t decide whether I’m jealous of or pity the man, Steve Buttry, who has been tasked with unbolting four test newsrooms as DFM’s digital transformation editor.

He obviously knew what he was getting into. More than just refocusing attention to mobile reporting, engaging with audiences over social media or creating new ways to play with and use data, Project Unbolt is about actually changing how newsrooms think and act. Buttry elaborated on his blog this week about what it will actually entail and look like to ‘wrench’ newsrooms away from thinking for print. Here are some highlights:

  • Everything is live, all the time. He writes:

Virtually all event coverage and breaking news coverage are handled as live coverage, with ScribbleLive, livetweeting, livestreaming, etc. This includes sports events, government meetings, trials, community festivals, etc….Live coverage is routine for the unbolted newsroom. Reporters and/or visual journalists covering events plan for live coverage unless they have a good reason not to (a judge won’t allow phones or computers in a courtroom; a family would rather not have you livetweet a funeral; connectivity at a site is poor).

  • In the unbolted newsroom, you post content when you have an audience. Digital content is fresh every morning, you aren’t planning for morning editions, and those ‘Sunday magazine’ style features go up during the week. Read more

EJC Releases Free Verification Handbook for Newsrooms

verificationhandbookNo one likes to make mistakes. Especially during a crisis and in a digital world like ours when it’s easier to make them and easier to find yourself in serious ethical trouble for it.

There’s finally a guide for all of that. This week, the Emergency Journalism Centre released their Verification Handbook, available for free on the web and soon in downloadable form. The Handbook was edited by Poynter’s ‘Regret the Error’ editor Craig Silverman, and compiled by a team of working journalists and media industry thought leaders, like Steve Buttry, Mathew Ingram, Anthony De Rosa, among many others.

The Handbook is useful for everyone (did you retweet that story about Elan Gale on a plane?). But it’s tailored for journalists reporting on emergencies or disasters, when information flows faster than usual, making it hard to triple check your work and get it posted. Think about the Boston Marathon bombing last year and how we were glued to our Twitter accounts for information. There are chapters on verifying, yes, social media accounts, but also images, video and user generated content.  There’re also a ‘Verification Checklist’ for newsrooms and chapters specific to preparing and implementing disaster coverage. My favorite part? The chapter on how to best ‘use the crowd’. Everyone throws ‘crowdsourcing’ around very easily, but it’s a skill and if it’s done improperly, your newsroom will be sorry for it.

You can read the handbook here and follow the EJC at @EJC.

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