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Archives: August 2008

So you've been fired. Now what?

The time has come and like hundreds (thousands?) of fellow journalists around the world, you’ve been let go from your journalism job. So what to do now? Well according to career assessment tests from iVillage and The Princeton Review, there are many post-journalism career options, many of which were…a little off. Here are some of the suggestions:

  • Psychologist
  • Archaeologist
  • Career Counselor
  • Nutritionist
  • Child Care Worker
  • Antiques Dealer
  • Clergy
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Marine Biologist
  • Comedian
  • Philosopher
  • Social Worker

Okay, okay here are some of the more practical suggestions:

  • Novelist
  • Photographer
  • Graphic Designer
  • College Administrator
  • Film Director
  • Graphic Designer
  • Inventor
  • Public Relations
  • Market Researcher
  • Paralegal
  • Curator
  • Professor
  • Website Designer
  • Librarian
  • Consultant
  • Artist

If you are still committed to a career in journalism, there are several websites that will assist in finding the perfect media job:

10 Journalists you should follow on Twitter

Trying to keep track of what the Twitterverse has to say about new media and online journalism? Follow the tweets of these journalists to stay in the know.

Jay Rosen (jayrosen_nyu)

Jay Rosen is the multi-hyphenate author/blogger/academic whose Twitter feed is a more succinct extension of his media criticism over at PressThink.
 

Chrys Wu (MacDivaONA)

Chrys mixes tweets news on her professional life as an online journalist with random personal thoughts that prove she is one awesome journalist.
 

Suzanne Yada (suzanneyada)

On her blog, Suzanne surmises she will be the future of journalism, but her tweets are evidence that she is already a key player in the shaping of online news.
 

Robert Hernandez (webjournalist)

Robert is an assistant professor at USC Annenberg and is co-founder of #wjchat, a weekly online discussion between web journalists on various media-related topics.
 

Lauren M. Rabaino (laurenmichell)

Lauren has experienced a meteoric rise in the online journalism world since her graduation from college. She’s now product designer for Publish2 and a high-profile blogger with equally interesting tweets.
 

Amy Webb (webbmedia)

There are a lot of “gurus” and “mavens” on the web, but Amy truly encompasses those words. As head of Webbmedia Group and founder of KnowledgeWebb, Amy truly has her finger on the pulse of online media.
 

McKennaEwen (McKennaEwen)

McKenna is a master of multiple media, including online writing, video and photography and shares his experiences and knowledge on his Twitter feed.
 

Vadim Lavrusik (lavrusik)

Vadim has his hands on all things multimedia. His resume and accomplishments are miles along and every journalist who wants to be in the know when it comes to online media should absolutely follow him for the latest news.
 

Ben LaMothe (BenLaMothe)

Ben, a recent J-School grad and current master’s student in ePublishing at City University London, brings a fresh perspective to the journalism Twitterverse. His informative tweets are a mix between great links and great conversation and he’s got a great personality to boot.
 

Mark S. Luckie (10000Words)

Hey it’s 10,000 Words! Following this blog on Twitter is a great way to find out what’s going on behind the scenes, receive useful links that you won’t see here, plus (and here’s the best part) by sending tweets @10000Words you can get instant answers to your multimedia questions and dilemmas.

Below are a few more journalists you’ll also want to follow. To find out who else you should be following, please check out MrTweet or this list of Twitter tools.

alexgamela
amonck
amygahran
bydanielvictor
dangillmor
danielbachhuber
davidwestphal
Digidave
ehelm
ellynangelotti
ericasmith
gmarkham
greglinch
Hermida
HowardOwens
jeffjarvis
Journerdism
ksablan
macloo
markbriggs
meranduh
newmediajim
ryansholin
sona23


Also on 10,000 Words:

• How Twitter saved my career… and my life
• The top 7 mistakes new Twitter users make
• Beyond Twitterfeed: Innovative uses of Twitter in the newsroom
• The Top 7 types of Twitter avatars
• 25 Tools for getting more out of Twitter

How to create a great widget

A widget is an embeddable chunk of code that can be placed on a website, blog or social networking page. The ability to create a widget from scratch often falls outside the technical know-how of even some of the most advanced multimedia journalists and the process is often deferred to “the tech side.” If your newsroom doesn’t have the funds to hire a pricey widget developer (and who does these days?) there are a few inexpensive or free options to provide widgetized content to your readers.


Perhaps the most novice-friendly online widget creator is Widgetbox. The site not only provides a variety of widgets to browse for inspiration, but makes creating a Flash-, HTML/Javascript-, or web-based widget as simple as possible. For the Flash and web-based options, users can simply plug in the URL to the content to be widgetized and the site does the rest. Those users who want to create HTML/JS coding from scratch are assured their widget won’t be crap — Widgetbox reviews each widget and bounces malformed ones with suggested corrections before it is made available through the site.

Those who want to provide blog content in widget form can create a Blidget, or blog widget like the example on the right, in literally minutes. The blidget can be branded with a logo and a variety of colors and instantly be made available to fans of your content. A complete guide to creating widgets with Widgetbox can be found here.

iWidgets provides yet another reason to skip the pricey programmers. Multimedia techies with a basic knowledge of web development can create widgets that mimic the look and feel of social networks like MySpace and Facebook and move away from the basic rectangle look that many widgets have adopted. iWidgets touts its “PowerPoint-style drag-and-drop” approach to widget creation which is helpful for those budding widget developers. Creating widgets on the site is visually intuitive and offers great flexibility.

One other online widget creator worth checking is Sprout, which offers video, audio and photo integration. Sprout has a few widget templates to choose from or you can build your own using the site’s Flash-based editor (whose interface has the same feel as working in Flash). Best of all the online service is free.

No matter how a widget is created, it must be created with the user in mind. StickiWidgets has a definitive list of the ten things to consider when building a widget that everyone should read before embarking on a widget-making odyssey.

Now that you know how to create a widget, read this post to see what a good widget looks like.

What a good widget looks like

For the uninitiated, a widget is a piece of a website that can be integrated into another website, blog, social network and often onto a computer desktops. Widgets are a great way to drive traffic to a site by providing continually updated links in a place where the user is more likely to see them. Like RSS, users can access content without actually having to navigate to a site to check for updates. Click here for a more detailed primer on the technology behind widgets.

There widgets for everything on the web, including news. Here are some of the best.

NBC Nightly News

The Nightly News widget, adorned with a photo of news anchor Brian Williams and available through Yahoo! Widgets, pulls stories through the site’s RSS feed.

CNN

CNN’s podcast widget makes the audio shows available instantly and provides a link for downloading

Yourstreet

Yourstreet’s news widget is customizable: users can input their zip code and receive news from a variety of local sources.

MSNBC

The NewsScroller is the word in customized news widgets. Users can set the type of news they want, the colors that it appears in, expandable story items and more.

delawareonline

Delaware has a number of widgets available, but the standout is its video widget that makes the online news site’s video content embeddable in any site or blog.

WMBB

At last check, Hurricane Fay hadn’t made its way to the Florida panhandle, but if it does, or if any storm system should hit the area, anyone with this widget will be the first to know.

The clear winner when it comes to widgets is National Geographic. The site offers 11 different widgets for everything from the Photo of the Day to a U2 widget.

Photo of the Day Widget

Daily News Widget

Place of the Week Widget

The cream of the crop is the Mysteries of the Ancient World Game widget which does what every good widget should do: it encourages interactivity by providing content (in this case a game) that the user would be interested in; it has a stellar and exemplary design that separates it from other online clutter; and it promotes brand identity.

You’ve seen some exemplary widgets, now check out this post to find out how a good widget gets made.

What is the multimedia blogosphere talking about?

Whether it’s “mobile” (New Media Bytes) or “social” (Reportr.net) this is what multimedia journalism blogs are discussing:

Mindy McAdams

Technolo-J

Reportr.net

SteveOuting.com

Journalistopia

Robb Montgomery

New Media Bytes

10,000 Words

Word clouds created with Wordle. The online tool can extract recurring words from any site or RSS feed. See a practical application (Sen. McCain v. Sen. Obama’s blogs) here.

I originally intended to use mooColorFinder to extract the color scheme from each blog, but most use the same light blue, gray and white. We are reporters, not designers.

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