Teaching Examples

Arizona State comes in first in Hearst Awards
June 14, 2007, 3:36 pm
Filed under: awards, education, journalism

Overall top-scoring schools in the 2006-2007 Hearst Journalism Awards Program — the Pulitzers of college journalism:

  1. Arizona State University
  2. University of Missouri
  3. University of Florida
  4. Western Kentucky University
  5. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  6. Pennsylvania State University
  7. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  8. University of Montana
  9. Syracuse University
  10. University of Kansas

Arizona State! I’m disappointed that the Gators are No. 3, but I’m very proud of my colleagues down in Tempe!

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Links to all EPpy winners
May 25, 2007, 6:49 pm
Filed under: awards, journalism

I’m really fed up with award lists that do not have links.

> 2007 EPpy Winners WITH links!

It took me 22 minutes to make these links. Link to this post, and I will consider it 22 minutes well spent.

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Knight News Challenge grantees announced
May 24, 2007, 3:32 am
Filed under: awards, journalism

Adrian Holovaty has been awarded a big Knight News Challenge grant to start a new Web venture. Read all about it at his site.

A list of all winners is at the Knight Foundation site.

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Good online journalism design work
April 29, 2007, 9:58 pm
Filed under: awards, design, Flash, graphics, journalism, online

SNDies award winners have been highlighted in a news posting at the SND Web site. Although the annual awards in the past have been decided in the late summer or early fall, for some unknown reason we now have “early SNDies.” Huh?

But in any case, these are interesting and varied examples of online journalism design and presentation. I had not previously see the Philadelphia 2006 homicides graphic — it’s a real winner! (Very effective interactivity.)

And if you have not seen Light Beneath the Streets, then have a look. Compare it with the excellent minute-by-minute graphic of the Virginia Tech shootings, which uses the same template. This is a good method for packaging this kind of work. It won’t work for every package, but you can see how versatile it is if you compare these two examples.

SND is the Society for News Design.

And hey, unlike the silly EPpy people, the SNDies people actually provide LINKS to the work! (Angela Grant has supplied us with links to many of the EPpy nominees.)

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Big stories — too big
April 17, 2007, 12:52 pm
Filed under: awards, journalism, multimedia, online, usability

I was just telling students yesterday in my Advanced Online course that when they are sitting in the online editor’s position one day in the future, and a big investigative project is under way in their newsroom, it will be their job to make it both appealing and manageable in an online format.

This means MORE than making the navigation and interface clear and easy to use (although that’s part of what’s required).

MORE than making the page layouts attractive and uncluttered (which is also vital).

MORE than following up-to-date Web standards so that the work renders properly in all Web browsers (very important, of course).

It means you’ve got to present the story in a way that does not overwhelm.

The Advantages of Print

In a newspaper (especially a wide old broadsheet newspaper), you’ve got a space advantage over a Web page. Wait, you say — the Web has a bottomless news hole! Yes, it does. That’s part of the problem.

In the day-by-day delivery of a giant investigative story (such as those linked below), the layout of the newspaper page imposes limits. Even though a busy person might glance, scan, and not read very much of the story, he or she can get a good taste of the story from that process.

Imagine yourself holding the paper spread open. Everything on the two pages is part of one story. You see multiple headlines. You absorb some charts and graphs, photos, large pullout quotes. You probably read a couple of captions too.

With a fairly small investment of time, you can get a lot of overview from those two pages.

Then cumulatively, as the parts of the story run over the course of three days, or a week, or longer, you can keep adding to your understanding of the issues that made this huge story worth the resources expended to produce it.

This is one of the most glorious things about the printed newspaper. Spending 20 minutes a day with it doesn’t permit you to read every story, but in 20 minutes, you can get a very full picture of the world, and maybe your community too.

We lose this on the Web.

What’s the Story?

The way most of these big stories are presented online makes me think of a warehouse. At first I told my students the presentation resembles a library, but then I decided the warehouse analogy might be even more appropriate. Because in a library, at least you can search efficiently (unlike most newspaper Web sites), and the items are arranged very logically (once you understand the system). But a warehouse has no standardized system, so each one has its own rules — and browsing and scanning just do not work at all in a warehouse.

You have to already know what you’re looking for — and then dispatch the forklift to bring it out.

Think about that. How does the warehouse model help us tell a story effectively?

It doesn’t.

These stories won the Pulitzer this year. (The SacBee won for the photo story.) At your leisure, check them out. Think about my warehouse analogy, please.

There are good stories in there. This is excellent journalism. But do these online presentations hook a person who comes fresh to the front page of the package? Do they present the story in its best light? Do they make you want to stay and find out more?

We should think about how we can do this better.

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NPPA – BOP winners for Web work
March 24, 2007, 1:23 am
Filed under: awards, multimedia, online, photojournalism

A partial list of links is online now. Don’t get too excited — it’s only galleries so far.

I encourage you to compare the functionality of these two gallery interfaces:

The Malacca Strait, from Time Asia

China’s Great Divider of the Sexes: Poverty (washingtonpost.com)

Do you find one of these two affords a much better experience for you to experience the photos? Why or why not?

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NPPA – BOP Best Picture Stories
March 22, 2007, 4:23 pm
Filed under: awards, photojournalism

Regarding the winners in the category Best Published Picture Story (large markets) — all of these went online weeks or months ago as slideshows:

  1. Joe Amon, Sun-Sentinel (online: AIDS Orphans)
  2. Andrea Bruce, The Washington Post (online: When the War Comes Home)
  3. Jim Gehrz, Minneapolis Star Tribune (online: Dad’s Kidney, or Baby Lance’s Long Year)
  4. (Honorable Mention) Pauline Lubens, San Jose Mercury News (online: Frank Sandoval: A Survival Story)

It’s a great pity that I can’t say the same for the winners in International News Picture Story and many of the other winning picture stories.

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