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Archives: October 2008

U.S. Newspapers pick the president

The presidential debates are over and the endorsements from newspapers all over the country are pouring in for both Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. 10,000 Words is your guide to keeping track of these endorsements and by clicking on the map below, you will be taken to an interactive map so big it needed its own page.

5 Reasons why GOOD Magazine is the best thing to happen to journalism

Since the inception of “new media” journalism, newspapers and magazines have struggled to make sense of the multitude of emerging technologies that have changed the way news can be presented. Many media organizations have caught on, some are inundated, and many are still struggling to make sense of it all.

GOOD Magazine, the socially progressive publication for “people who give a damn” has not only made the most of burgeoning technologies like YouTube and Flash, but has also challenged traditional revenue models and publishing practices. Other media outlets take notice: This is how GOOD is changing the industry.

1. It understands video

Many media organizations have recognized the potential of YouTube channels as a way of promoting video segments and as a tie-in with an existing brand. However, a large portion of the video in these channels is unoriginal content that has been schlepped from a previous broadcast or video bank to pander to online viewers.

On the other hand, GOOD Magazine‘s YouTube channel is populated with a host of original and clever video infographics that synthesize complex topics in a few minutes. In addition to the videos below, the publication’s original five-part series on Skid Row, a section of Los Angeles populated by the homeless, proves that it is not a one trick video pony.

Oil Addiction

Palin v. Biden

Business of Death

2. It can say a lot with few words

Since 2006, the California-based publication has been known for its visually stunning, yet easy to digest print infographics that are every bit as educational as their video counterparts. Some say the New York Times is the pillar of online graphics, but the marked difference between the two is GOOD approaches its subjects with a wink and a smile. In the flat graphics below, as well as interactive graphics like “Wanderlust,” an exploration of history’s greatest journeys, the mag maintains an unmistakable voice that makes it rise above its media peers.

Vampire Energy, Currency: The Sinking Dollar


3. It challenges the traditional price structure

Magazines have always had a set price. Pay any more and you will make some clerk very happy. Pay any less and prepare to be escorted to the nearest jail. GOOD Magazine, however, took a cue from Radiohead and decided to let potential subscribers pay what they want for the publication. Not only can readers give more or less than previous fixed rate of $20 a year, 100% of the revenue goes to various nonprofit organizations. A bunch of business types probably just let out a collective scream of horror, but the model seems to be working: GOOD has donated more than $850,000 to global non-profit organizations.

According to the site: “Our goal is to create a collaborative community of individuals, businesses, and non-profits. We feel that the content is the invitation into this community and we didn’t want to make the invitation too expensive.”

4. It takes the news to the people

Not too long ago, GOOD‘s pocket publication was featured as an innovative way of saving the 10,000-word story. While the 6×6 inch newspaper — available in select Starbucks locations — consists mostly of a large infographic rather than a slew of words, its innovation lies in the fact that it is both a free and easily accessible counterpart to the magazine.

Whereas decades ago newsstands populated the country, nowadays most casual magazine readers have to go to a bookstore (or the airport) to get their weekly news. Because the pint-sized paper is available in a coffee shop where customers are in a reading mood, it will potentially change how people will seek out print media.

5. It’s still a magazine

With all its revolutionary efforts in online news and pricing structures, GOOD Magazine is still a magazine. Whether it’s the mag’s thought-provoking articles like “How Not to Win the Presidency” or clever essays like “Save the Earth with Dirty Towels,” the portable version is a necessary counterpart to GOOD‘s web efforts. Most importantly, whatever media the publication is presented it in, the content is consistent and shares one equal voice.

Everything I know about reporters I learned from the movies

Between watching the Scream series with Courtney Cox as reporter Gale Weathers and the latest zombie movie Quarantine with Jennifer Carpenter as a reporter trapped in the mayhem, I get it: Hollywood does not like journalists. If a reporter is featured in a movie, they will most likely be one or more of the following:

1. Reporters are ruthless bitches who will stop at nothing to get the dirt.

2. TV reporters are always followed by a cameraman who is most likely wearing a beret.

3. Reporters gather like wild dogs outside of courthouses, yet only one reporter asks a single question.

4. TV anchors are always drinking, cursing or fighting during commercials.

5. Reporters are either power hungry or incredibly inept. Or both.

Did you learn the tenets of journalism from movies? Share your lessons learned in the comments. And be sure to check out Great (or greatly amusing) fictional journalists. Shout out to Tricia Takanawa.

Quickly translate whole blogs, tweets, RSS feeds

Not too long ago, five ways to learn a new language and five blogs in languages other than English were presented in the hope that blog lovers would expand their online reading. If you haven’t yet begun learning a new language, there are a few ways to make reading blogs in foreign languages much easier.

Mloovi will translate any RSS feed into any of more than 30 available languages including Croatian, Filipino and Swedish. The results, like Google Translate or Yahoo! Babel Fish, a little spotty and shouldn’t be quoted, but it is a definite help.

On the other hand, if you want readers of your blog to be able to read it in another language, ConveyThis offers a button that will translate your content with one click. The site requires registration, which only take a couple seconds, and a button like the one below are available instantly.

On a smaller scale, Twanslate will translate tweets (or anything under 140 characters) into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian and Russian. Simply follow @twanslate and follow the instructions to send a direct message and received the translated reply in seconds.

The ideal journalism job is a mix of passion, innovation

Most journalists take a vow of relative poverty when they first enter the field with the unspoken understanding that they will, in exchange, perform a great service to mankind by reporting the news that shapes the world. I knew I was giving a little bit of that up when I took a position as an entertainment journalist, but I relished the opportunity for creative freedom — plus, I love all things pop culture.

I’ve found that my current position and my previous work at the Los Angeles Times are at opposite ends of the multimedia production spectrum: On one hand, at the Times I was producing stories that had a very long-lasting impact in the lives of millions, but I was restricted in the creativity of the projects I could produce. On the other hand, at EW I have full autonomy in whatever project I want to create, but the projects, which themselves are becoming formulaic, are just a passing curiosity with no real long-term impact.

My ideal journalism job would be a mix of the two, infusing both creativity and innovation into big picture news stories. Additionally, my ideal job would incorporate my passion for sharing new media skills with others.

10,000 Words has served as a supplement to my day job and is an outlet for me to share the things that I am interested in with other like-minded journalists and web enthusiasts. I am passionate about the work I am currently producing, but my ideal job should be like this blog, an opportunity for me to create innovative content that is both useful and timeless.

This post is a part of the TNTJ topic of the month: “What would your ideal journalism job be and why?”