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Posts Tagged ‘Online news association’

Are You Ready to Pitch for ONA’s Challenge Fund?

ONA Challenge FundHave you been wandering around your j-school campus, mulling over a good idea? It’s time to get a team together — applications opened this week for the Online News Association’s Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism. ONA is rewarding 15-25 micro-grants, up to $35,000 each, to ‘live news experiements’ to be completed in the 2014-2015 academic year. You have until February to get your project toegther.

It’s all about ‘hacking the curriculum,’ and they’re not looking for projects that are already flushed out or have matching funds. From their website:

Your project should stretch the limits of what you think you can do. Don’t be afraid to fail. We’re looking for projects that implement live news experiments in a variety of ways by empowering journalism schools to lead professional innovation and thought leadership. The size of your school or program shouldn’t limit the project’s ambition.

ONA makes it clear that they want teams to be collaborative — mixing students, faculty, developers, and your local news outlet and community is mandatory. You should also be ready to test run your project,  publish the results, and add it to the curriculum. The Challenge Fund website says they’re looking for teams that:

  • encourag[e] collaborative, student-produced local news coverage
  •  bridg[e] the professor-professional gap
  •  us[e] innovative techniques and technologies
  • and produc[e] shared learnings from their digital-age news experiments

One grand prize will be given to the project most likely to change the newsgathering status quo, and another large prize will go to the team with the best project evaluation, regardless of the outcome. It’s a win-win all around.

You can apply here and follow the competition at #hackcurriculum. The contest is run by ONA and funded by the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund.

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2013 Online Journalism Award Finalists Announced

Monday afternoon, the Online News Association (ONA) announced the finalists for this year’s installment of the professional journalism organization’s awards ceremony. To win one of these prized honors, you’ve got to be “pushing the envelope of innovation and excellence in digital storytelling and distribution,” the ONA says.

The topics of the news stories and commentary up for 2013 honors reflect much of the tragedy encountered by Americans over the past year, including Boston University News Service’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, the wreckage Hurricane Sandy left behind according to the New York Times and Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s fantastic coverage of the three Ohio women found alive after years of imprisonment. Important reporting by the Texas Tribune, ESPN, Mother Jones and ProPublica found its way onto ONA’s list also, alongside lesser known niche projects like EarthFix, an environmental reporting venture based out of Oregon. And duh, the NYT’s “Snowfall” multimedia feature is in the running for an award, despite the semi-controversy surrounding what the legacy paper’s foray into experimental online storytelling meant, and implications for the future of Web journalism. Going to go ahead and call an early win for “Snowfall” under the large feature umbrella.

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Repost.us: The YouTube Of News Articles Lets You Embed News Stories Anywhere

SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube videos are embeddable; why can’t news stories be embeddable? That was the question asked at the Collaboration vs. Competition session at the 2012 Online News Association conference by founders of Repost.us, whose product does exactly that.

Repost.us is a repository of millions of free articles from top publishers that others can “repost” (e.g. smartly syndicate) on their own sites using embed code that retains original content, links, ad tags, etc. You can embed the stories on your WordPress blog or Blogger blog or any other website with just a few clicks. On the other end of the spectrum, you can also syndicate your content for other publishers to repost.

I’m a fan of this concept because it lets publishers control their own brand and track their content as it appears on different platforms, with an option of using their own ad tags and analytics to make money from that syndication. As updates are made to a piece of content, those updates flow through to all the other versions that are embedded on the web, and meaning publishers get full, true ownership of their content online.

Don’t want your competitors to reap the benefits of reposting your content? Or maybe you disagree with another site’s mission and don’t want your brand associated with it? Repost.us lets your essentially blacklist certain domains from reposting your content, and you can blacklist retroactively to remove your content from another site.

In terms of SEO, Repost.us uses a javascript embed to render the content on the page, which search engines read as a link back to the original publisher, which can boost traffic back to the original source. The only red flag that might be  a problem for some newsrooms  is that content isn’t editable by the site syndicator. If you repost a news article with a typo or factual error, you’d have to contact the original author to get it changed.

As Jeff Jarvis says, Repost.us represents a reverse link economy.  And it’s about time (he’s been writing about the concept since 2008).

What do you think?

How Can Gaming Platforms Be Used For Participatory News? Conference Will Explore Possibilities

TechRaking, the conference series dedicated to “collaboration among journalists, innovators and community members at the intersection of journalism and technology” is back for round two, this time focusing on gaming platforms as a way of engaging participatory news gathering.

You may remember when we covered the first TechRaking conference at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View back in April. That conference focused on investigate reporting, bringing together technologists and muckrakers. The second installment, to be held in September just before the start of the Online News Association conference in San Francisco, will focus on social gaming’s role in public information.

And the conference itself will be gamified, too. Participants will be divided into teams and develop pitches for game ideas that connect palyers in “radically new ways.” The winning team will receive incubation money to jump-start its idea with the Center for Investigative Reporting, a sponsor of the conference.

The event will be held at IGN headquarters; registration is limited.

Online Journalism Awards Entry Deadline A Week Away

It’s that time of year again! Seven days remain to enter for the Online News Association’s 2012 OJAs, the “premiere awards” for online journalism. The deadline for entry is June 21.

This year, there are changes to the awards categories, expectations, partnerships and metrics in order to keep up with a rapidly-changing industry. Via ONA:

“Since its inception in 2000, the OJAs have recognized major media, international and independent sites and individuals producing innovative work in multimedia storytelling,” said Joshua Hatch, OJA chair. “Over that time, we’ve witnessed incredible innovation in the tools and techniques journalists have used to tell their stories. Not only are journalists publishing content on the web, but they’re making interactive applications, mobile apps, tools and more. We need to make sure the awards reflect that innovation.”

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