Teaching Examples


Aussie daily rocks with slideshows
June 26, 2007, 1:17 pm
Filed under: news, newspapers, photojournalism, slideshows

Andrew Meares, chief photographer at The Sydney Morning Herald, reports that slideshows have become very popular with online site visitors — more so than video.

Total Soundslides pageviews to date are 1,214,918 (since October 2006). Our video team pop the champagne with 5000+ views, our top text stories of the week rate 80,000+.

The biggest hitters:

Pasha Bulker (129,646): Photos of the huge bulk ship aground on a Newcastle city beach (June 2007) — includes photos sent in by readers.

Golden Globes fashion (108,720) SMH fashion writer picks apart what beautiful celebrities wore to the Golden Globes. Well done — I can imagine that lots of people e-mailed this link to friends.

Danish baby princess (70,168): Handout photos from the Danish palace of the new baby princess (“Australian mum,” Meares noted). This is really interesting (I mean, the fact that it was so popular) — there’s no audio, just baby pics — and of course, a nice shot of Mum.

Hunter floods (54,063): Flooding in the Hunter region, narrated by a reporter on the ground.

* Adaminaby (46,428): Drought causes Adaminaby’s old town ruins to emerge from Lake Jindabyne. This one is a very good piece of visual news reporting.

“We have also sent Soundslides via sat phone from the middle of the ocean during a yacht race, and we are doing weekly shows with our foreign correspondents like this one,” Meares wrote in e-mail. The latter, from Lebanon, combines photos from various wire services with the voice of the Australian reporter in-country.

Thanks, Andrew! I really appreciated the chance to see how a photo department embraced multimedia in such a short time span.

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New aggregation idea catches my attention
June 21, 2007, 12:44 pm
Filed under: ideas, journalism, news

I’m going to keep my eye on Thoof, an upcoming news aggregation site, now in beta. It might end up getting taken over by technology wonks (like Digg) or being gamed (also like Digg) — but if not, it could be really useful.

Thoof’s founder, Ian Clarke, is:

obsessed with the fact that even when accurate information exists on the Internet, it often does not have the political impact that it should.

“I’m concerned that most Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “All of the information is there, but people are still ill-informed.”

He believes Thoof will provide a way to make sure accurate information can spread, and that he can profit in the process.

That’s from John Markoff, writing in The New York Times on June 18.

This is an interesting twist:

Based on data from comScore, which measures Web traffic, Mr. Clarke estimates that about 1.3 billion pages are viewed daily on news and information sites, generating advertising of roughly $51 million a day. But sites based on user submissions account for only about half of 1 percent of all news viewing on the Web, he said.

Thoof is negotiating with an advertising syndicator to put ads on the site based on demographic and behavioral data that the Thoof system will provide about its users.

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Good news for newspaper Web sites
June 18, 2007, 7:55 pm
Filed under: business, future, news, newspapers, online

Double growth rates — according to a Nielsen//NetRatings study, “the audience for newspaper Web sites is growing at nearly twice the rate of the overall online audience.” The study was described in a press release from the Newspaper Association of America.

“An average of more than 59 million people (37.6 percent of all active Internet users) visited newspaper Web sites each month during the first quarter …” This number set a record, according to NAA, and “represents a 5.3 percent increase over the same period a year ago.” The overall Internet audience grew 2.7 percent during the first quarter, NAA said.

If you’re familiar with the elegant and easy-to-understand diagram of how innovations are adopted, you probably realize that Internet adoption in the U.S. has slowed to a near standstill. That means almost all of the people who are going to use it are already using it. Unless we have a gigantic baby boom, the number of Internet users will probably maintain a very low rate of growth from now until the next big thing (whatever that’s going to be).

According to the NAA, the Nielsen//NetRatings data show that, compared with other Internet users, visitors to newspaper Web sites:

  • Have higher household incomes.
  • Shop online more frequently.
  • Are more likely to hold professional or managerial positions.

Newspaper Web site visitors also “use the Internet more frequently during their daily lives, and are more technologically savvy than the general online audience,” the study found.

Copied from the press release:

  • Nearly 73 percent (72.6 percent) of newspaper Web site visitors go online every day (compared with 57.8 percent of the Internet population as a whole).
  • Nearly 42 percent (41.8 percent) of those who have visited newspaper Web sites have viewed streaming video on their computers in the last 30 days (compared with 27.4 percent of the overall Internet audience).
  • More newspaper Web site visitors read blogs in the past month than the overall Internet population (28.4 percent vs. 16.7 percent).
  • More than one in five (23.3 percent) newspaper Web site visitors have read about politics or political campaign information online (compared with 10.8 percent of the overall Internet population).
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (28.9 percent) newspaper Web site visitors have sought out or posted a product review online in the past month (compared with 16.1 percent of the overall Internet population).

Many more details are in this post at the Digital Edge blog (dated May 7, 2007).

One of the goodies there: “More newspaper Web site visitors had broadband Wi-Fi access at home or at work than the general Internet-using population.”

Well, yeah — they have higher incomes and better jobs than the general population, and that is the demographic that has broadband in the U.S. (Did you know that 53 percent of all U.S. households subscribe to a broadband Internet service at home? That’s where they are watching YouTube!)

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Disappearing multimedia: This is nuts
May 27, 2007, 3:50 pm
Filed under: graphics, journalism, multimedia, news, usability

Deadly Rampage at Virginia Tech
You have eight talented journalists working for hours under deadline pressure. They produce one of the best-ever examples of online storytelling. You post it on your Web site. You link it very prominently to the related stories. You feature it in the printed newspaper. And rightly so! It is a great achievement. It is a work worthy of study and appreciation long after the news event dims in memory.

For heaven’s sake, give the thing a permanent URL. What the heck is the matter with you people?!

I have Times Select, the paid premium service that provides access to The New York Times archives, video, etc. I’m not asking to get something for free. But you can’t even bookmark this graphic. I have tried everything. And you can’t properly search for it. Just try. NYT Multimedia search (only videos and slideshows come up). Archives search (only text stories).

You can search for “Deadly Rampage at Virginia Tech”; “Viginia Tech shootings”; “Virginia Tech graphic” — all useless. You can bookmark http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/17/us/20070417 _SHOOTING_GRAPHIC.html — but it will take you to an April 17 column called “The TV Watch.” And if you bookmark the full URL (including all the numeric garbage following .html), it will work for about 24 hours and then revert to “The TV Watch.”

So the only solution I have found, so far, is to go to this omnibus page about the shootings, scroll down to where you read “INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: Recounting the Events at Virginia Tech,” and click that.

Doesn’t The New York Times understand bookmarking? People like to bookmark things. They like to e-mail links to their friends and work colleagues. This is Online Usability 101, folks: Use permanent URLs.

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Participation, collaboration in election coverage
May 17, 2007, 4:55 am
Filed under: journalism, news, online

Spain will hold regional and municipal elections in 10 days, and the two major newspapers, El País and El Mundo, have pulled out all the stops in their online coverage. Be sure to compare these two comprehensive packages to appreciate their differences.

Guillermo López writes that the two news organizations make these three associated elements really shine:

  1. Emphasis on multimedia, with lots of video, audio and infographics.
  2. Increased circulation (or even symbiosis) between the content generated for the Web and other information media. For example, El País includes, in the print version, articles sent by the citizens to its “I, journalist” online section; meanwhile, journalists who work for various regional editions hold forth online in numerous diverse blogs linked to the site, writing about the campaigns in the country’s autonomous communities.
  3. Relevance conferred on the participation of the public. El País invites people to send SMS messages addressing complaints, proposals and initiatives to the new government of their municipality. Both news sites also invited people to speak out in a section titled “If I were mayor” (“Si yo fuera alcalde”; El País and El Mundo). El Mundo has also opened its site to free election publicity — which helps the minority candidates, López points out.

Participation from — and with — the public is evident throughout both sites’ coverage. Will we see the same in the 2008 U.S. election? (Or will the U.S. media continue to alienate the public by paying more attention to the horse race than to the issues?)

(Muchas gracias para Infotendencias.com.)

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A survey about blog use and political information
May 16, 2007, 11:19 pm
Filed under: blogs, news

Two researchers who have conducted several studies about blog readers, Tom Johnson and Barbara Kaye, have launched a new survey on this topic. They are seeking survey participants who read blogs and who also seek out political information.

If you’d like to help them out, please complete their online survey.

(See a list of research about blogs.)

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Fire season, and the blogs that cover it
May 10, 2007, 1:31 pm
Filed under: blogs, news, online, reporting

Where I live, in north-central Florida, our eyes are burning, our throats dry, our sinuses ravaged. Smoke fills the air. The smell permeates our homes and offices. Monday night, ashes flew like snowflakes about the campus. (See photo, photo, photo.)

Kay Day is covering the story in her blog, complete with maps and resource links.

At the Los Angeles Times, California fires are also being blogged.

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