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Posts Tagged ‘transparency’

BuzzFeed Shows AP Stylebook Isn’t Exhaustive, Especially for Digital Age

keep-calm-and-follow-buzzguide-1No one can argue this — the Internet has changed everything when it comes to journalism, and while the AP Stylebook will continue to be considered “ol’ faithful” in our industry on most issues of journalistic style, there must be a benchmark for the Web-speak so prevalent in social and digital media today.

That is why BuzzFeed, generator of hilarious lists and investigative stories alike, has made public its newsroom style guide.

While BuzzFeed said its style manual isn’t meant to cover all elements of grammar and journalistic style (they rely mostly on the AP Stylebook, except for their own overrides on words they use often on the site — we’ll get to those later), the digital publisher hopes the guide will be a good source for its media peers.

“Our perspective reflects that of the internet at large, which is why we hope other sites and organizations across the web will find these guidelines useful,” wrote BuzzFeed copy team staffers Emmy Favila and Megan Paolone for the official release of the guide last week.

Of note when it comes to words and phrases journalists (specifically those covering technology and media beats) might be prone to using? See after the jump.

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Steve Buttry Wants to Change How You Work (It Will Be Better, We Promise)

project unboltMost of our newsrooms, if we’re honest, are print organizations with the digital initiative “bolted on.” Or so admitted Digital First Media CEO John Paton. I can’t decide whether I’m jealous of or pity the man, Steve Buttry, who has been tasked with unbolting four test newsrooms as DFM’s digital transformation editor.

He obviously knew what he was getting into. More than just refocusing attention to mobile reporting, engaging with audiences over social media or creating new ways to play with and use data, Project Unbolt is about actually changing how newsrooms think and act. Buttry elaborated on his blog this week about what it will actually entail and look like to ‘wrench’ newsrooms away from thinking for print. Here are some highlights:

  • Everything is live, all the time. He writes:

Virtually all event coverage and breaking news coverage are handled as live coverage, with ScribbleLive, livetweeting, livestreaming, etc. This includes sports events, government meetings, trials, community festivals, etc….Live coverage is routine for the unbolted newsroom. Reporters and/or visual journalists covering events plan for live coverage unless they have a good reason not to (a judge won’t allow phones or computers in a courtroom; a family would rather not have you livetweet a funeral; connectivity at a site is poor).

  • In the unbolted newsroom, you post content when you have an audience. Digital content is fresh every morning, you aren’t planning for morning editions, and those ‘Sunday magazine’ style features go up during the week. Read more

Knight News Challenge Winners Make Courts, Local Government More Accessible

Anyone who’s ever tried to follow a court case, interpret a legal document or even obtain one in some jurisdictions, knows how difficult it can sometimes be, even for the dogged journalist determined to see what’s in those dockets. Those legalese-filled decisions and depositions are gold mines of information and stories, but they’re often out of reach or understanding of the average person. This week alone the Supreme Court of the United States this week alone handed down major judgments invalidating parts of the Voting Rights Act and bans on gay marriage, to name a few of the decisions released. How many other court cases out there are setting precedents in your state and community? Chances are you don’t know, or even more likely, don’t know how to know. Figuring out what’s on the docket, where things stand and what they mean … well, who has time and the skills for that? Enter Oyez Project. Now, thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation, the group that has long brought clarity to SCOTUS proceedings can take it down a level, so to speak, and expand its interpretations to state supreme courts and federal appellate courts.

Oyez is one of eight projects aimed at opening up government data and resources that received a combined total of $3.2 million in funding in the latest Knight News Challenge contest. While not all of them are, strictly speaking, related to news, they are all related to making government more transparent and easier to understand and work with. That’s the goal most journalists aim to achieve as well. Here’s a brief glimpse of this round’s winners, announced this week:


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TV News Search and Borrow: Knight Foundation Funds Expansion of Internet Archive Service

The Internet Archive announced this week that it received a $1 million donation from the Knight Foundation to expand it’s TV News Search and Borrow archive of television news clips. As of now, the archive has just over 400,000 clips that the public can access, link to, or borrow a hard copy for a fee.

“We want to make all knowedge available to everyone, forever, and for free. So it’s an ambituous mission,” laughs Roger Macdonald, the archive’s television news project director. 

And it all comes down to closed captioning.

The San Francisco based non-profit records broadcasts, and teases out the news using closed captioning tags and other meta-data. Twenty-four hours after the first airing, the clip is available in the archive. It’s an invaluable resource for journalists, researchers, and documentarians to study what was said, when, where, and in what context. Want to play John Stewart? Go ahead and search clips of ‘Benghazi’ on Fox last week. It can also be used for more noble causes, like tracking political speech. Read more

Is Journalism Ready For the “Open Interview”?

Would you ever let a subject put your interview on Youtube for everyone to see? That’s what Chad Witacre, the founder of online gift exchange program Gittip requests for each and every one of his interviews — something he likes to call an “Open Interview.”

The philosophy behind an open interview, to Witacre, is supremely simple: as a transparent company with an accessible open source API and clear funding partners, it only makes sense to bring out discussions with the media to the general Internet community and ensure users that there’s literally nothing to hide.

“With journalists I’m much more comfortable requesting openness,” Witacre writes in his article on Medium. “They’re writing for the public record, and it benefits readers and keeps us both honest to have the raw material on record as well.”

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