Archives for category: Tips & Tools

My slice of the online universe let out a collective “Nooooo!” when Google announced it would be shutting down Google Reader on July 1. It also sent lots of people off in search of an alternative to Feedburner, Google’s RSS management service.

Today, I’m giving a shot. In addition to whitelabeling, a WordPress plug-in and relatively easy migration, it’s got a pretty nice feature set for free. A $30/year premium subscription gives you display and click tracking, and upgrades to free features.

If you use, I’d love to know how you like it.

Time lapse photography and bad weather combine to make an Internet sensation. This video of the Boxing Day snowstorm that buried the Northeast has racked up 2.5 million views so far (it jumped by 200,000 views between yesterday and today).

While you can soundly argue quick-hit views aren’t the kind of traffic you want on your website, you can’t deny the share-worthiness and fascination factor of a well-documented time-based event.

Want to make your own video? Here are a few tutorials:

Photographer Chase Jarvis is credited with saying, “the best camera is the one you have with you.” Since you’re more likely to have your smartphone at hand than a DSLR, check out the 99 cent iTimeLapse and $1.99 TimeLapse iPhone apps, or the Vignette and Time-Lapse apps for Android phones. If you have other recommendations, share them in comments.

And finally, don’t let bad weather ruin your time lapse photos. Instructables has a tutorial on how to build an waterproof enclosure for your smartphone. Think of it as a little weekend project as we head into the New Year’s holiday.

Here’s something fun and educational: Feather, an embeddable, lightweight HTML5 photo editor by Aviary. For user instructions, see the Goodle doc.

Want your own? Get the APIkey and auto-generated code from

Have you heard? Though most Americans still turn to TV to get national and international news, for the first time, the Web has overtaken newspapers as a news source.

In fact, according to a late December blog post by Nielsen Online, about two-thirds of all adults who were on the Web looked for news online in the 30 days prior to the post.

The news business is changing, but people still want information. Let’s not let them down.

To that end, I’m going back to school.

Recording Gear by kino-eye

For the next week, a small group of journalists will attend Beyond Bootcamp at the University of Miami School of Communication to polish their newsgathering skills.

Organizer Rich Beckman says he’s taken the multimedia workshops he held at the University of North Carolina and kicked ’em up a notch. In email, he’s promised we’ll be learning a lot of practical skills during intensive three-day sessions.

I’m especially excited to be learning about infographics from Alberto Cairo of UNC and Xaquin G.V. of The New York Times.

With luck, I’ll be able to apply some of what I’ve learned here. For sure, I’ll be able to share notes when I return.

How about you? If you’re a mid-career journalist or blogger, where are you planning to go and who are you planning to learn from to gather new ideas and keep your skills fresh?

Photo: kino-eye/Flickr

2008 has been a tough year for news. In addition to massive layoffs as documented by Erica Smith at her Paper Cuts map, advertising revenues tanked last quarter.

Nevertheless, news companies still need content. And they’re still looking for people. Do you have the right skills and are you willing to be where the work is?

Webb Media is offering free training sessions for journalists who want to understand how their skills fit together with tech trends. Space is limited and you must sign up by Dec. 15.

Several people have asked where to find job listings. Tapping your network is best, as a personal recommendation or an “in” will often put you ahead of other candidates.

In addition to, Mediabistro and UC-Berkeley’s J-Jobs, here are some other places to look:

  • ACES Job Board. The American Copy Editors Society list includes openings for editors of all stripes.
  • Copy Editor Job Board. Posted by McMurry Publishing, the jobs aren’t necessarily in the news business and aren’t limited to copyediting positions, but all require editorial skill.
  • Ed 2010 Whisper Jobs. Ed 2010 caters to people in their early to mid-20s who want jobs in the notoriously insular magazine industry. In addition to combing through their job list, attend meetings in your city if there’s a chapter. Network, make friends, find work.
  • Gorkana Jobs. If you’re interested in the business and finance beat, sign up for email alerts from Gorkana PR. You’ll get word on job changes, freelance opportunities and more.
  • IRE Job Center. The list is a bit thin, but there are a few openings for investigative reporters.
  • Journalism Next. The site is targeted toward people of color and includes fellowship opportunities in addition to jobs listings at various outlets and wire services.
  • Lost Remote Digital Media Jobs Have you set your sights on TV? Look here.
  • Magazine Publishers of America. Want to join a magazine? Check here.
  • Jade Walker’s NYCWriters group. The list is part discussion group, part job list. Most of the gigs are in New York, many of the ads are culled from other sources, including Mediabistro and Craigslist.
  • Poynter Online. The people who bring you Romenesko’s blurbs of doom also, maybe ironically, have an extensive list of jobs. As you can imagine, many are in academia.
  • RTDNA Job Postings. RTDNA has been reshaping itself as an online news trade association, though its members primarily come from broadcasting. Check it out for jobs in TV, radio and online-only outlets.

Almost 10 years ago, four guys watching the way business was being done on the Web posted a 95-point proclamation of what worked and didn’t online. They called it “The Cluetrain Manifesto.” Its key tenets: Conversation is essential for business to thrive. Silence kills.

Conversation by eye2eye on Flickr

In the least year or so, I’ve heard more marketers like Ian Schafer of Deep Focus and Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research refer to it.

As news organizations scramble to engage its readers, it may be time to study the manifesto once more. And this time, it may pay off to read how market researchers are changing their engagement strategies. A good place to start is Cluetrain at 10.

For those who like slideshows, here are the 95 theses of the original Cluetrain Manifesto:

Cluetrain Review

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: web 2.0 cluetrain)

Photo by eye2eye/Flickr

Garrett Hubbard takes questions during a live Q&A online.
(Photograph by H. Darr Beiser/USA Today © 2008, used with permission)

Click below to read some of Garrett’s answers.


ONA08 Logo - Online News Association 2008 conference Washington DC

ONA08, the Online News Association’s national conference, has launched several sites online, where you can connect with others who will be in Washington, in person or in avatar, next week.


  • A Twitter feed that’s the “control tower” for all things ONA08 online

My team, the ONA08 Social Media Subcommittee, wants to make ONA08 as much about community as it is about industry. I hope you’ll join the conference online and in person. And if you want to get a hold of me, send me a message or reach me on Twitter.

The Subcommittee members are Mary Ann Chick Whiteside, who will be among those liveblogging the conference; Paul Hyland, who’s been a creative sounding board and instrumental in gathering volunteers for on-site help; and Steven Lubetkin, who’s putting in a tremendous effort producing the podcasts. This conference is made possible in no small part because of them.

Most freelancers will tell you when it comes to deciding who to write for, choose magazines. The pay better. And there’s something nice about seeing your name, your photos, your work on glossy — or if it’s a “green” publication, matte — textweight stock.

They’ll also tell you it’s good to develop relationships with editors. After all, getting assignments is as much about who you know as it is about your story idea.

But what if you’ve never pitched before? Writer’s Market and Writer’s Digest are two sources for beginners’ guidance. Freelance Success has morphed into a dynamic community of newish and experienced guns for hire. And MediaBistro’s popular writing classes provide in-person and online experience with feedback from working professionals.

There’s a lot you can learn online as well. Jason Tanz is posting a step-by-step article about landing a profile of “Adaptation” screenwriter Charlie Kaufman in Wired magazine. If you’re curious about the pitch process, check it out.

And to show you how quickly word spreads online, check out the Google search.

Photo by Sarah Sosiak/Flickr

Interactive Narratives logoDrew DeVigal’s Interactive Narratives has relaunched.

The site is a searchable database “designed to capture the best of online visual storytelling around the country and the world.”

Register, and you can submit your own work, as well as vote on and critique others’ multimedia projects.

“Our goal is to highlight rich-media content, engaging storytelling, and eye-popping design in an environment that fosters interaction, discussion, and learning,” writes DeVigal, who is multimedia editor at The New York Times.

As storytelling online evolves from the straight-ahead text+photos/photo gallery+video format, this new site should be an interesting resource to see what other people are doing. Best of all, you don’t have to be a journalist to participate.