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Archives: February 2009

Happy V-Day: Valentines for Journalists

Journalists need love too! Tell your journo sweetheart how you feel with the following Valentine’s Day cards. Right click images to download; feel free to share or send to your valentine.

More after the jump

Also on 10,000 Words:

30 Must-have gifts for journalists
Stuff Journalists Like 

Radio: Innovative ways to follow the aging medium

After radio was invented way back in the 19th century, few likely imagined they would eventually listen to the innovation on a computer (whats that?) or from the other popular invention, the telephone. Radio has evolved from sitting in front of a large wooden box to listening to what you want, when you want, wherever you want. These are the technical innovations that are pushing the medium into the 21st century.


Thanks to the internet, radio lovers are no longer confined to the stations in their area. Sites like and RadioBeta let users choose from radio stations all over the world and listen to a variety of genres and styles. RadioBeta wins out for its sheer ease of use, allowing the user to control any of the selected radio stations in a player at the top of the page, as well as bookmark favorite stations.

Seattle’s KEXP 90.3 FM has been ushered into the new millenium with KEXP Music Explorer, a site that aims to help listeners find out more about the music they are listening to. Like most radio stations, KEXPlorer lists the song currently playing, but also lists recently played and the most spun songs and encourages users to tag songs they like or don’t like. And of course, anyone can listen to the station live from their browser.

The interns have taken over National Public Radio! Considering interns can be some of the most creative members of the newsroom, it definitely makes NPR Intern Edition a must-listen. Aside from traditional news stories, the interns have also put together photo slideshows and maintain both a blog and a Twitter account.

If you prefer your NPR on the go, use NPR Road Trip to get travel directions and find out which NPR stations you can listen to on the way. For example on a trip from Manhattan to Hackensack, New Jersey one will be in the range of 13 member stations on the way. NPR Road Trip is limited to travelers in the United States.


With the iPhone came thousands of applications and with them the ability to listen to the radio on a mobile phone. Music radio applications like Pandora remain popular, but for those who prefer to listen to actual stations, the AOL Radio app has you covered. The free application gives users access to hundreds of music, news and talk radio stations from their handheld iPhone. News radio fans will also love Stitcher (previously covered here), which makes radio stories available on demand.

Radio fans/iPhone owners should also check out College Radio Tuner, an application that puts college radio stations from across the U.S. in the palm of your hand, and stay tuned for news of an iPhone app from satellite radio giant Sirius.

Other mobile phone users aren’t out of luck. Blackberry, Palm, Nokia and Windows Mobile users can download Mundu Radio, an application for listening to the music on the go.


Thanks to sites like, Twitter users have turned the microblogging service into their own personal radio station. An easy sign-up process lets anyone share their favorite tunes with their Twitter friends and followers.

Because there are so many tweeps sharing music, it was only a matter of time until Twisten.FM was created. The site tracks the music people are listening on Twitter and makes each song available for listening, all on one page.

Twadio takes the music sharing concept to an unforeseen level. Instead of sharing a song on Twitter, the @tweejay simply tweets a popular song and if you’re familiar with it, the song is supposed to start playing in your head. Of course, if you forget how it goes, you can also listen to the song in the sidebar of the site. Best of all, Twadio is interactive and list the tweets of people who either love or hate the song.

Of course, Twitter can be used for more professional and educational purposes. There are ton of radio stations on Twitter and many public radio stations are listed in this handy wiki. Thanks to Twitter you no longer have to call in to tell the DJ to play your song, especially if that DJ is thousands of miles away.

For more on the future of radio, check out Radio 2020 and radiocreativeland.

Also on 10,000 Words:

6 Sites that are changing the way you follow the news
Set up your own online call-in radio show in minutes
Where to find free sound effects and royalty-free music
10 Essential iPhone apps for bloggers and reporters
How to create, edit and embed audio for free

Multimedia… but why?

I was browsing through last month’s issue of Complex magazine when I stopped at a timeline of the history of Calvin Klein.

“They should have made that into a multimedia presentation,” I thought. I then paused and asked myself why. Why would this already nicely designed infographic need the interactive treatment?

The short answer: to attract more viewers and stand out in a sea of online graphics.

There are so many sources of news in the crowded online market that making print articles available online is enough to attract a substantial readership, but not enough to stand out from the crowd. Considering many web readers skim content rather than read it, interactive and multimedia news stories force users to interact with the content rather than passively consume it.

In addition, a good interactive story can yield thousands of Diggs and Stumbles, hundreds of mentions on Twitter and other social networks, and a slew of saves on social bookmarking sites like delicious, which in turn means hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of visitors. All that is worth the extra man hours if it means higher page views which also translates to, for those concerned with the business side of journalism, greater revenue.

A nice multimedia presentation doesn’t even have to be a complex database like those created by the New York Times. Popular Mechanics’ interactive map of proposed North American high-speed train projects could have been a simple infographic, but its interactive Flash graphic was Dugg more than 1,700 times, bookmarked on delicious by more than 60 different users and was Stumbled a gajillion times.

In the same vein, the Associated Press’ relatively simple interactive graph of the 2008 U.S. Presidential candidates’ fundraising receipts was Dugg 545 times and (which is already a great source of Flash journalism) created a simple six-slide slideshow on the “World’s Most Worthless Money” was Dugg a whopping 1,045 times.

What these interactive graphics all have in common is they are simple but compelling ideas that are presented in an interesting way. One could argue that the examples illustrate their respective issues better than they would be with plain text or a flat graphic. Web users are spending more and more time online and are better served with content that piques their interest rather than puts them to sleep.

In the end, the most important thing is that interactive news stories encourage the reader to walk away with a greater understanding of the concept presented before them and encourage a larger audience to do so. After all isn’t the point of journalism to spread the news to as many people as possible?

Also on 10,000 Words:

Online news games are fun (and informative!)
Where to find the best in Flash journalism
Eyetrack studies: What we’ve learned and how to conduct your own

Twitter is…

What is Twitter? Here’s what the Twitterverse/ blogosphere has to say:

“Twitter is just compensation for the human fear that the world doesn’t exist when you aren’t looking at it.” — Joshua via Twitter Blog

“Twitter is transforming from gimmicky messaging tool to marketing powerhouse.” — Caroline McCarthy, WebWare

“Twitter is chat for *adults*. But without the guilt.” — @SnowVandemore

“Twitter is a narcissists paradise” — @murrad23

“Twitter is way overhyped. Fun to communicate and market here and there, but its just a tool. Like a mini screwdriver.” — @jephkelley

“Twitter is like exercising. It’s gotta be made into a habit.” — @oktechmachine

“Twitter is not a shallow popularity contest, it is about forging interesting connections and conversations with other people.” — Atherton Bartelby, Mashable

“Twitter is NOT a dating service, you know?” — @happygrrrl

“Twitter is paying my rent” — Marshall Kirkpatrick

“Twitter is destroying our English. You’ll recognize fellow Twitters as people who instinctively shorten their words & grammar in daily life.” — @iStylesMK

“Twitter is stupid to mainstream writers because you are not suppose to waste time you could be using to read their crap.” — @Bill_Lenner

“Twitter is scary in that I have begun thinking of my friends all having an @ in front of their names.” — @teamawesome

“Twitter is for terrorists” — Revision3

“Twitter is like a perpetual chatroom except no one asks for your a/s/l” — @10000Words

“Twitter is for twits… such useless drivel.” — @hkvoigt

“Twitter is like a sauna: we are all in the same space, we show everything, but are not really looking at each other.” — @boris

“Twitter is entirely populated by people from the music industry and 15-year-old girls. Brilliant.” — @readplatform

“Twitter is a wonderland” — PR Squared

“Twitter is journalism’s Obama.” — Alana Taylor, MediaShift

“Twitter is an awesome invention, high-tech haiku proving that even in this web of flash and film well written text still has a place.” — Luke, TechCult

“Twitter is a place to flush the brain – like dropping thoughts off at the pool.” — @kim1989

“Twitter IS the new email chain letter” — @10000Words

“TWITTER IS MY LIFE” — @Freyland

What the journalism industry can learn from the U.S. Army

Advertising for the U.S. Army is everywhere — from movies to television to print ads — and all with one message: joining the Army is the coolest thing you could ever do and you should find out why. Media organizations should adopt similar marketing techniques to regain the readers that we so desperately need to survive.

Make use of the swag

When the Army sets up its recruiting tables, they are often stacked with Army-branded footballs, Frisbees and other assorted bric-a-brac so even if the taker doesn’t plan on joining the armed forces, they at least have the Army burned into the back of their minds.

Every year, recruitment tables at journalism conferences around the world are also filled with company-branded notebooks, pens and the like, but the people who take away the loot are mostly other journalists and media types who already have thousands of notebooks lying on their desks. Since attendance at journalism conferences will likely be down this year (lets face it, who can afford these pricey shindigs anymore?), why not give the swag to people in the community who will be genuinely impressed by the free loot? Many communities complain about lack of interaction with their local papers, so the leftover piles of swag are a perfect way to bridge the gap.

Go where the young people are

The U.S. Army is notorious for taking its recruitment efforts to colleges around the country as well as placing large ads in many college newspapers. While it may sound strange to suggest professional newspapers advertise in student publications, it does bring home a point — no one knows how awesome your coverage is if you don’t tell them. Media outlets cannot rest on being the long-standing source for news; they have to advertise directly toward the very demographic they complain about not reaching.

Get a new attitude

One of the biggest draws of the Army’s television ads is it makes enlisting look like the most awesome thing ever: steel-faced soldiers march through a mix of smoke and flashing lights while rock music plays in the background…it makes one want to drop everything and join immediately.

While newspapers and broadcast stations likely don’t have the cash to hire 3 Doors Down to sing a song about them, they can ditch the old gray lady/non-regional diction/holier than thou/old media attitude make reading the news feel a little more hip. One of the biggest draws of Current and sites like the Sugar network is they make the user feel cool just reading/watching just my changing the tone of the delivery. Coolness doesn’t require the massive advertising budget of the army, it can be as simple as presenting news stories in a more conversational — and less condescending — manner.

Also on 10,000 Words:

What the journalism industry can learn from porn
25 Things I’ve Learned About Journalism
What Speed Racer taught me about multimedia journalism