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Archives: June 2011

Crowdsource Photojournalism Projects With Emphas.is

emphas.is

When you’re an independent journalist, it can be difficult to raise funding for purchasing equipment, covering travel, and pursuing your stories. Crowdfunding is a popular method of fund raising, and services like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and ChipIn can make the process easy. There’s now a new crowdfunding platform on the Internet — Emphas.is — and it’s specifically for photojournalists.

The project acceptance process on Emphas.is is very similar to other crowdfunding services. Photojournalists must draft a compelling proposal including a detailed budget, and a team of advisors reviews the proposal for acceptance onto the site. Contributions start at $10, and like Kickstarter, projects must be fully funded by the proposal’s deadline in order to receive funding.

Emphas.is has an interesting model that builds on the traditional notion of crowdfunding. If you fund up to 50% of any given project, you can acquire first publication rights. The site has already funded six projects, raising just over $75,000. Emphas.is has forged partnerships with Reporters without Borders and World Escapade Travel Insurance, and the British Journal of Photography (among others).

The site is still fairly new, and there are several interesting photojournalism projects available for funding. The specific niche that Emphas.is serves can help projects stand out from other crowdfunding platforms, especially with the possibility of acquiring first publication rights. Take a look at the projects over at Emphas.is and help fund the next great photojournalism project!

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Tips To Define Your Newsroom’s Mobile Presence

By 2014, mobile Internet is poised to take over desktop Internet usage. With smartphones and tablet devices like the iPad penetrating the mobile market, media consumption was at an all-time high in 2010 and is on a steady increase. A recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Report shows that 26% of American adults get some form of news via their cell phone, with cell users under 50 almost three times as likely as their older counterparts to get news on the go. With numbers like these, the growth of mobile Internet is driving companies to take a long, hard look at their current digital strategies and put mobile first.

We’ve reported here on 10,000 Words about ways to create a mobile version of your website, and even spotlighted 15 well-designed iPad news applications and 21 iPhone-friendly news sites, but the work of creating a mobile application (or mobile website) for your news organization is less about aggregating current content and more about developing an information workflow based on the device and on how people use that device. Here are a few basic principles to have in mind when it comes to developing your mobile presence.

Keep It Simple

Because the screen size of mobile devices has a pretty wide range, it’s important to keep the interface of your mobile application or site as simple as possible. You don’t want to make it difficult for users to read the news if they’ve taken the time to download the application or navigate to your mobile site. Use a grid layout to logically organize headlines and stories, and allow enough space between links and modules to allow users to navigate without mistakenly clicking other links. For mobile websites, using responsive web design techniques allows for your layout to fit according to the dimensions and viewing orientation of the viewing device.

Reuters' iPad app has an easy to read grid layout with intuitive controls.

Reuters' iPad app has an easy to read grid layout with intuitive controls.

By contrast, The Associated Press' iPad app shows stories are that not aligned in a grid format, and the design is not clean and concise.

By contrast, The Associated Press' iPad app shows stories are that not aligned in a grid format, and the design is not clean and concise.

Keep Dual Orientation Support in Mind

When you are designing your mobile application or mobile website, you want to design for two different orientations — landscape and portrait. This is especially important for mobile applications. You don’t want elements of your app to disappear or lose prominence when you turn your device from one position to another. This goes for navigation as well — make sure that the type of navigation matches the orientation of the device once it’s rotated (horizontal for landscape, vertical for portrait)

Notice how the Rachel Maddow Show application has navigation controls at the top of the viewport, including a link to a Twitter Watch Party.

Notice how the Rachel Maddow Show application has navigation controls at the top of the viewport, including a link to a Twitter Watch Party.

In landscape mode, that navigation disappears. Where did it go?

In landscape mode, that navigation disappears. Where did it go?

Keep Flash at a Minimum

While there are mobile devices which can run Flash, using Flash should be avoided for both mobile sites and applications. For video, recent studies show that HTML 5 outperforms Flash on mobile devices. In case HTML 5 is not an option, offer streaming video options which utilize the device’s native video player. Streaming quality can change whether the user is on 3G or WiFi, so you will want to have a specific benchmark and format in mind for video delivery.

Notice the small video control on the thumbnail in the articles.

Notice the small video control on the thumbnail in the articles.

Splash pages are usually a no-no for mobile apps, but this splash page serves as a loading screen while the video buffers.

Splash pages are usually a no-no for mobile apps, but this splash page serves as a loading screen while the video buffers.

Keep Social Media and Sharing

Sharing content should be a key feature of any news mobile application or website. Users should be able to easily post news from your app or website to their social networks. If you include nothing else in your mobile presence strategy, make sure that sharing options and social media links are there.

On this app, the article can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instapaper.

On this app, the article can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instapaper.

These are just a few considerations news organizations should take into account when developing their mobile presence. What are some other things that should be taken into account? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

USC And The New York Times Collaborate On A Continuing Education Program

In a press release yesterday, the University of Southern California and The New York Times Knowledge Network announced a partnership to offer extensive continuing education classes for adults looking to “enhance their professional path.” There will be seven specific programs: architecture, arts management, business, cinematic arts, communications, medicine and politics. The programs will begin in Fall 2011 and will offer over 40 online courses that will feature both USC professors and New York Times journalists, as well as materials from The New York Times.

USC’s Suzanne Wu told 10,000 Words, “In addition to the classes for adults in areas such as arts management and politics, there is a journalism class specifically for high school students being offered in the fall. Since it’s online, it’ll be a rare chance for students all over the world to interact with one another and their esteemed faculty.”

Read more

When Building an Online Community, Facebook is Phase 1

When you’re looking to build an online community for your customers, Facebook is the starting point, not the end.

I’ve been reading more posts recently that praise Facebook’s ability to bring customers together online, but question the amount of information and customer data that Facebook gets to hold onto, free of charge, in exchange for a platform.

The question of data ownership comes up. Also, what happens if Facebook suddenly decides to pull the plug on your community, with little or no advance notice?

Read more

Two Days Remain For Online Journalism Award Submissions

The premiere contest for online journalism, held through the Online News Association and University of Miami School of Communication, has extended its entry deadline to midnight on June 30.

Online Journalism Award winners will be announced at this year’s Online News Association Conference in Boston on Sept. 24 at the conference’s dinner ceremony. The awards will also be live-streamed over the web. Read more

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