GalleyCat AppNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook AllTwitter TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser FishbowlNY FishbowlDC MediaJobsDaily UnBeige

transparency

Knight News Challenge Winners Make Courts, Local Government More Accessible

Anyone who’s ever tried to follow a court case, interpret a legal document or even obtain one in some jurisdictions, knows how difficult it can sometimes be, even for the dogged journalist determined to see what’s in those dockets. Those legalese-filled decisions and depositions are gold mines of information and stories, but they’re often out of reach or understanding of the average person. This week alone the Supreme Court of the United States this week alone handed down major judgments invalidating parts of the Voting Rights Act and bans on gay marriage, to name a few of the decisions released. How many other court cases out there are setting precedents in your state and community? Chances are you don’t know, or even more likely, don’t know how to know. Figuring out what’s on the docket, where things stand and what they mean … well, who has time and the skills for that? Enter Oyez Project. Now, thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation, the group that has long brought clarity to SCOTUS proceedings can take it down a level, so to speak, and expand its interpretations to state supreme courts and federal appellate courts.

Oyez is one of eight projects aimed at opening up government data and resources that received a combined total of $3.2 million in funding in the latest Knight News Challenge contest. While not all of them are, strictly speaking, related to news, they are all related to making government more transparent and easier to understand and work with. That’s the goal most journalists aim to achieve as well. Here’s a brief glimpse of this round’s winners, announced this week:


Read more

Google, Native Ads and What It Means For Publications

Earlier this week, Google solidified their take on so-called “native advertising,” one that they have been slowly crafting due to the rise of these advertisements in places like BuzzFeed and the Atlantic.

To put it simply: Google has created resources for publications to build native ads with Google’s blessing, but you’re not going to see it anywhere near Google News.

Tools for native advertising are a first for Google, as companies have had to scramble to bring native advertising templates to their own publications. Google will now support these ads through DoubleClick for Advertisers, allowing publishers to adopt a plug-and-play code system that makes setting up and tagging the ads much more easier to execute.

Read more

3 Ways to Up Your Reader Engagement

We all have social media and digital best practices coming out of ears. But after thinking about how big media companies make their dough, I realized that, although there aren’t always the resources and staff and innovation teams at smaller papers, there are some simple, almost silly, tips smaller papers can take from the behemoths in terms of reader engagement. Things that make your organization seem relevant and savvy.

1. Go Vice

Ok, you don’t have to start covering the sex beat in your town, but start thinking outside the box. Vice isn’t just a magazine anymore, it’s also a production company, and a marketing agency. Is there a crime beat reporter who could easily start posting video reports along with his written one? Are there events or causes you could sponsor that you aren’t? Run a summer program where high school students can run their own vertical. Nothing is more niche than a local hometown. Be all over it. If there is a kinky sex beat, start covering it.   Read more

Should Gawker Take Down Crack-Smoking Mayor With Public Money?

In Toronto, citizens are wrestling with a difficult scenario: wily, unstable mayor Rob Ford is now implicated in a video that allegedly shows him smoking crack cocaine. But, the video is in possession of a group of Somali men who are involved in the very trade that supplied the crack to Ford, and they’re looking to sell it for six figures.

Determined to gain possession of the tape, Gawker editor John Cook (who flew to Toronto and saw the tape personally) has appealed to the wider audience of the website and asked that those interested in breaking the story with Gawker donate towards a $200,000 fundraising goal to purchase the tape and post it online for everyone. The Indiegogo fundraiser, the pun-laden “Rob Ford Crackstarter,” already has more than $86,000 a week before the goal deadline and includes a $10,000 tier that offers the phone that recorded the video in the first place.

Read more

The Anonymous Tip Box: Why Do We Bother?

Yesterday, the New Yorker launched an anonymous tip box. Excuse my skepticism, but I’m not sure why any newsroom wastes their resources on those things. (Sorry, boss!)

Instead of being a useful, secure tool for the public to use as a means of contacting an organization, tip boxes are in reality just a kitschy, spammy, and not particularly secure design element. I get why we have them — to make a show of transparency — but how many leads have you ever gotten from the tip box?

Every time I glimpse one of the notifications from ours in my inbox, I half expect the Syrian Electronic Army to pop out. But it’s usually an insult, jibberish, or a well meaning publicist with a request to cover an event entirely unrelated to the theme of our blog.

The key element here is safety. No one in their right mind– or at least the kind if people you’d want to be conversing with concerning a potential story– is going to try to contact you via the tip box. It’s like calling someone on a landline: intrusive and unlikely to result in a timely connection. It’s called email, or at this point, even a Twitter DM. 

If it weren’t for the disturbing news this week about the Justice Department’s seizure of AP’s phone records, maybe I could find room in my heart for the tip box. But if phone records aren’t safe from our own government, why would anyone leak something through an online tool such as the tip box? Perhaps I’m still just in shock and feeling vicariously betrayed, but the digital anonymous tip box is akin to the charming little crinkly noise my Kindle makes on my iPad. It’s a cute reminder of the more idealistic days of yore — the ones we like to think existed or hope for. But it’s all sort of a farce, isn’t it? 

<< PREVIOUS PAGENEXT PAGE >>