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Archives: October 2013

How Users Find, Share and React to News on Facebook

pewfbook2The Pew Research Center has released a study, in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, on how Facebook users interact with news on the platform.

The study found that while the majority of users still flock to the social media site to check up on family and stalk photos of their high school classmates weddings, this inevitably leads to news sharing. However, 16% of users reported being bothered when contacts post the news, even more bothersome are political agenda comments.  Read more

How Dallas Reporters Used Twitter to Get Un-Banned From Public Meeting

Twitter-birdI don’t think I can say it any better than Dallas Morning News reporter Tristan Hallman said it, when he blogged for the News about how he and a handful of local TV reporters were banned from a public, town hall-style meeting involving the Dallas Police Chief one night earlier this week:

“So last night was weird. For 40 minutes, reporters were banned from a public meeting with public officials in a public building.”

Definitely a weird moment, but especially unique was the way those reporters changed the outcome of their night through their tweets.

Read more

iFOIA: One Stop Resource for Filing, Tracking, and Sharing FOI Requests

rcfplogo2The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press released iFOIA last week at the Online News Association conference. It’s a great tool for reporters doing investigative work, but also for the general public.

The app makes everything about FOIA requests much easier — you can generate requests, track them, set reminders, file an appeal or a Vaughn motion, and even scan in any offline communication.

Emily Grannis, a Jack Nelson FOI Legal Fellow at the Reporter’s Committee was pleased with the reponses at ONA from reporters, but also legal teams.

Reporters for sure, [are] very excited that there’s this organizational tool and an improved version of our letter generator. But also the legal teams and lawyers that work with reporters. Reporters can add collaborators. So it’s all private unless you decide to share it, and then the whole team can look at the request. And if you get into a situation where you’re appealing a request, you can bring a lawyer in, too, and they can see all of the communication.ifoia twitter

It makes everyone’s life easier. Grannis notes that reporters who have been doing investigative work for years always knew how to work the state and federal systems, but also knew the ‘pitfalls,’ as she puts it. “So that’s what we focused on. What reporters needed to streamline the process.”

The project was funded by a grant from the Stanton Foundation, who has also worked with the Reporter’s Committee on other digital resources such as the FirstAid mobile application. The Reporters Committee offers many resources for journos, including legal advice, rapid response to inquiries on media law stories, and regional training seminars for reporters, among many others.

Have you started submitting FOI requests yet?



The Debate Rages On: Do Journalists Need To Code?

Do journalists need to know HTML? What about CSS? Javascript? … Python?

The debate rages on, with the flame fueled again this week by journalist Olga Khazan writing about how she resented the time she spent learning how to write bad code in journalism school instead of doing something more in-line with her specific career goal of writing. Her article for The Atlantic led to Twitter debates for and against. The merry go round of yes, no, maybe goes round and round and round.

hernandezquoteI’d join the fray (beyond my comments on Twitter earlier this week) except that I think Robert Hernandez, an accomplished web journalist who actually also teaches at the j-school that writer attended, does a great job explaining why learning code (or at least exposure to it) matters for journalists. As he writes: I’ve had an incredible career because I learn the power behind the phrase “Hello World.” Or as he says later in the post in reference to j-school students who don’t want to learn, “It’s 2013 — are you really arguing against learning technology?” Read more

Discover Is Looking For Multimedia Pitches


Discover magazine is on the hunt for freelancers. The monthly has recently undergone some transformations (relocating their headquarters, changing up their editorial staff) and are looking for pitches on technology, physics, chemistry and other sciences.

With 95 percent of the pub’s content generated by freelancers, editor-in-chief Stephen C. George says that he needs writers for several media platforms:

Discover seeks pitches for its website, especially for “The Crux” and “Visual Science” (stories on images and video). Editors are also looking for “great multimedia content that we can put online or in digital editions,” said George.

Furthermore, Discover recently made a foray into long-form, digital eBook singles. The series is called In Depth and stories are available as Kindle Singles. The editorial team had a goal of two long-form digitals for 2013 and “mission accomplished,” said George. As a result, “we are actively looking for longer-form stories,” he said. A bonus is that Discover shares a percentage of the sales of its Kindle Singles with its writers.

For editors’ contact info and more details on how to get published, read: How To Pitch: Discover.

– Aneya Fernando

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