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Lauren Rabaino

5 Ways to Interact With the News Applications Community

News applications teams are starting to pop up in newsrooms all over the place — yep, even I’m on one. As is the case for any new concept in the journalism world, we’re all still trying to figure out how to do it the right way. No one has all the right answers, but we can all learn from each other both in terms of technical and cultural problem-solving and collaboration. Here are a few resources you can use if you’re just getting started with a news apps team.

1. ProPublica’s news applications style guide

Similar to The Associated Press’s general style guide, the news apps style guide from ProPublica outlines best practices around everything from bylines to hovers to meta tags.

The best part? It’s on Github, meaning you can fork it and push your revisions back to master. Read more

‘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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10 ‘Snowfall’-like Projects That Break Out of Standard Article Templates

“Snowfall” has become a verb in many newsrooms after The New York Times launched its beautiful multimedia project earlier this year. Though the format was touted as the future of online storytelling by some, The Times wasn’t the first to pull of this type of format. If you’re looking for inspiration to make snow fall in your own newsroom, here are a few other examples, not all of which come from newsrooms, as I think it would be irresponsible of us to confine ourselves to the sphere of news organizations when collecting inspiration for innovative storytelling formats.

1. Pitchfork: Glitter in the Dark

Favorite feature: Layering multiple shots in the background that change as you scroll, mimicking the action of a photoshoot.

 

2.  ESPN: The Long, Strange Trip of Dock Ellis

Favorite feature: Curtain-style parallax that reveals the next layer of content as you scroll. (Tutorial on how to do this).

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How Different News Orgs and Websites Covered The State Of The Union Address

Planned political events like the annual State of the Union address aren’t the most compelling events to cover, but they can be a low-risk way to plan and test different coverage formats that you can later whip out for unpredictable breaking events. Below are a few of examples, ranging from Bing News to the Washington Post, of how various websites covered this year’s SOTU. The common theme: A live video stream and a live blog combined with some form of reader engagement. Many of the major sites also had a sponsor for their live coverage. Cha-ching!

NPR: Live audio stream with a live blog and live reader chat. 

I appreciated the live blog, though the discussion functionality at a national scale was a little disorienting. 

 

WhiteHouse.gov: An enhanced broadcast that contained realtime captions, charts, graphs and other data. Social media participation and behind the scenes galleries.

Obviously they had a bit of an access advantage, but I still appreciate how they take an out-of-the-box approach to a standard event. News organizations could steal this concept for after-the-fact video coverage recaps.

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