Teaching Examples

Database about local school discipline
May 2, 2007, 12:35 pm
Filed under: data, graphics, hyperlocal, journalism, news, newspapers, online

Here’s a nice local, local, local package that would grab the attention of parents in your circulation area (if you made your own version, that is):

Who Gets Suspended?

This package about public school suspensions, from the Northwest Florida Daily News (a 38,000-circ. daily located between Pensacola and Panama City on the beautiful Florida panhandle) might look like Flash to you — but it’s not!

It’s all JavaScript and CSS, with a database back-end. Sweet! The database was built from scratch in MySQL for this project by Daily News programmer Matt Minix. The data were gathered by education reporter Rachel Kyler. I got all this from online editor Isaac Sabetai, who feels pretty proud of what they accomplished. I don’t blame him.

The About This Project page explains how the newspaper used public records to create this interesting database. The complete project is here.

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El País gets into the citizen-j game
April 24, 2007, 1:07 pm
Filed under: citizen journalism, hyperlocal, journalism, newspapers, online

El País of Madrid — which has one of the best newspaper Web sites in the world — has launched Yo, Periodista (I, Journalist), its own citizen journalism experiment:

Help us build ELPAIS.com. If you have witnessed any news, send it to us, and we will publish it. You can send text, photos, videos or documents to us. Now the readers of ELPAIS.com become journalists. [Translated from the Spanish]

Obrigado a António Granado.

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The Miami Herald’s Pulitzer
April 16, 2007, 10:59 pm
Filed under: hyperlocal, investigative, newspapers, online

First, it’s online: House of Lies (WARNING: It is NOISY!).

Second, the Herald has posted a nice brief about the winning story, “which revealed developers took millions of dollars in taxpayer money to build affordable housing for the poor, but failed to deliver, leaving thousands without their promised homes.”

Third, Debbie Cenziper, the reporter, was editor of The Independent Florida Alligator in 1991. She was also a finalist for the Pulitzer last year in the Explanatory Reporting category, for reporting about breakdowns in hurricane forecasting.

Go Gators! (We are pretty good at winning competitions.)

“Other Herald staff members involved in the project included Larry Lebowitz, Susannah A. Nesmith, Tim Henderson, Monika Z. Leal, Chuck Fadely and Shawn Greene [Web design]. The series was edited by Investigations Editor Michael Sallah” (source).

Update (April 19): Cenziper is leaving the Herald to work at The Washington Post.

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Telling the whole world about citizen media
March 28, 2007, 1:02 pm
Filed under: citizen journalism, hyperlocal, international

Proponents of so-called citizen journalism want to maintain the momentum and spread the idea:

OhmyNews plans to establish a global network of international citizen media Web sites … while developing a global resource site of citizen journalism with relevant contents in the future.

The well-known Korean Web site (which is often touted as one of the most successful citizen journalism efforts anywhere in the world) dangles a free trip to Seoul as a carrot to entice people to research and write about citizen media in their home country.

OhmyNews would like to open up research into independent citizen journalism Web sites around the world and introduce them to our global readers. And we intend to conduct this research the OhmyNews way — open source and collaborative. For the successful implementation of this project, the participation of our international citizen reporters is absolutely required.

The article invites you to contact Todd Thacker, senior editor, or Jean K. Min, communications director of OhmyNews — but there is no contact info included.

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Knowing what “local” means
March 23, 2007, 2:34 pm
Filed under: citizen journalism, hyperlocal, newspapers

“Citizen feedback made me realize a few things about journalism in River Falls that others may want to know,” writes Debbie Griffin, staff writer at the River Falls (Wisc.) Journal.

She goes on to list 10 of those things, and they make good food for thought. My favorite:

As a community paper, we cover local, local, local people and happenings in River Falls and its surrounding areas: Beldenville, Martell, Clifton, Kinnickinnic, Troy and River Falls towns, and occasionally Spring Valley and Roberts. Sorry to deprive any hopefuls from our coverage of the Iraq war, high-level politics or the latest baby’s-daddy scandal.

My other favorite:

All media rely on their community’s eyes and ears to help them find important stories. The most important thing to most of us is when citizens speak about something or help substantiate the truth.

The rest are, as a guy eating fried chicken in a current TV commercial says, “all my favorites.” Go over to the River Falls Journal to read them.

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Bakersfield to launch its own Yelp-like site
January 31, 2007, 1:13 pm
Filed under: hyperlocal, journalism, newspapers, online, search

Bakotopia’s Dan Pachecho told the crowd at NAA that Bakersfield is “rolling out a Yelp-like ‘Insider Guide’ that will contain profiles on local businesses” (source: The Local Onliner).

Bakotopia is a site from The Bakersfield Californian, a family-owned newspaper.

Pachecho … sees the Guide as a natural extension of a MySpace-like personal profile section. “If a user can create a profile, why can’t a restaurant? Why can’t people review that restaurant?”

One advantage that his company has over non-local rivals is that it has established multiple access points for Bakersfield residents, he adds.

I have written about Yelp here before. Why I think Yelp is super-smart:

  • Good interface, easy to use
  • Search functions work great
  • Useful maps
  • Real people writing real reviews

It looks clean and attractive too, so it’s a pleasure to spend time on the site.

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