Thursday, February 12, 2009

the sculpture in the courtyard just moved

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When Your Audience

Doesn't Need You

By Jose Pagliery

FIU Student Journalist

She doesn’t have to read your newspaper. She doesn’t have to watch your television show. And now she can fast-forward past your misdirected Viagra and John Deere commercials.

So what do advertisers do when Jill Q. Public consumers have become individuals with the world at their selective fingertips? Adapt with them.

“Convergence is here. People were talking about this in 1995, but it’s here now. It almost snuck up on us,” said Andrew Latzman of Dynamic Logic. He advises companies to create advertising content relative to the articles being read.

The goal: stop one-way advertisement and start an open dialogue with consumers.

Janeen Wasoski, managing digital director of sales at The New York Times, believes adaptation requires newspapers to becomes what she calls “platform agnostic.” In charge of increasing the pipeline of online advertising, her goal is to bring people their news and pertinent advertisements no matter where they are.

By launching My Times, a Web site where readers can personalize the topics of news sent to them and import their email accounts, the newspaper now allows advertisers the ability to reach an atomized target audience.

But individually-oriented commercials may not be enough, because now Jill Q. is on the move.

She does her banking on her way to work and buys her movie tickets on her way to the theater. Her cell phone has become her everything-machine, and advertisers better pay attention.

Gina Wilcox, director of online development at the Palm Beach Post, calls mobile-access ads “the ghost of Christmas future.” My Times might be proof. Their mobile platform launched in last year’s fourth quarter grew exponentially by February, thanks to smart phone and Blackberry users.

And now Jill can shop wherever, whenever and however she wants – reading news stories every step of the way.

Online Editors Share Recipes
for Great Online Video

By Joel Marino

FIU Student Journalist

Most of the sessions during this year's E&P/Mediaweek Interactive Media Conference focused on one big issue: the growing use of videos to appeal to online readers.

Though all the speakers had varying opinions on how the videos should be used, such as the number of clips each site should contain, there was some consensus on what exactly made the perfect online video.

This is the Golden Rule of video formatting. During the "Video Killed the Text Star" session, Christopher Kerr of suggested that the maximum time limit for web clips should be two minutes. This short time frame keeps readers interested in the subject and allows for more concise reporting. If it doesn't fit in that time limit, then you probably don't need it.

Just as readers may stop reading a print story that isn't creative or doesn't appeal to them, viewers won't respond to videos that don't grab their attention from the get-go.

"There are serious politics on YouTube which no one is using," said Lauren Vicary of during the "First YouTube Election" session. "The videos only bubble up when they're humorous."

In other words: Footage of John Edwards giving a speech on the campaign trail = Internet dud.

Footage of John Edwards combing his hair for several hours = Internet gold.
John Edwards fixing his hair before an interview. With appropriate music.
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Presidential candidate John Edwards delivers opening remarks at the AFSCME Forum (video 1 of 2)
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"We have a committment to telling great stories. We need to realize that videos can help us do that," said Patrick Stiegman of during "Storytelling of the Future."

As an example, Stiegman showed clips of a report chronicling the obstacles faced by an Alaskan town starting their first high school football team.

"This video was very popular because it told an amazing story of triumph," he said.

The video, which was conceived and executed by ESPN's web team, eventually aired on the ESPN network.

Though there is a market for stories about international affairs and national politics, more and more papers are relying on local angles to drive their news sections.

"We have to remember that the rest of the world lives in their backyards where dogs can swallow turtles and then gag them up," said Rusty Coats of, referring to a story about a turtle-swallowing dog that became a number one hit for The Tampa Tribune's online edition.

[Times photo: Chris Zuppa]
Pepper the turtle on the mend after sometime friend Bella decided to find out what turtles taste like.

Coats also gave a list of local subjects that could make good online filler. The list included community events, interactive weather updates and research on historical landmarks.

And of course, one rule that may make a lot of corporate big-wigs smile...

Michael Daecher seemed proud when he commented that his Web site,, was one of the first to feature videos on the actual online page instead of on separate pop-up pages.

However, he didn't seem as proud when he recounted the odyssey the site had to take to perfect their video format.

"We made the mistake of creating sleek, high-quality videos when we first started," Daecher said during the "Video Killed the Text Star" conference. "It looked nice, but we couldn't afford it."

His team eventually began using cheap editing software and even started to allow user-submitted clips.

"The production may suffer, but we're getting videos you don't see anywhere else," Daecher said. "The reader doesn't care how sleek the video is as long as it gets a message across. If we focus on that, we'll be fine."
First You Tube Elections:
Online Political Coverage

By Jose de Wit
FIU Student Journalist

The first YouTube election? Well, not so much.

Three panelists at this morning's breakout session evaluated the influence of YouTube and other video-sharing sites on political coverage. Their conclusion: It's important, it's affecting how we cover politics, true, but it's not about to replace or completely change political coverage as we know it.

Their appraisal of YouTube itself as a player in campaign politics varied.

Chris Cillizza, author of's political column "The Fix," described how online video sharing is changing the dynamics of campaign politics, making them more fast-paced and aggressive. Video sharing allows candidates to seize on their opponents' mistakes immediately by capturing them on video and quickly disseminating them over the Internet.

He pointed to the campaign last fall that brought down former Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Montana. When a video appeared on YouTube of Burns dozing off during a hearing, "it created a narrative about Conrad Burns - that he's out of touch," said Cillizzo. Burns ended up losing the 2006 election to Jon Tester, a Democrat, by a 25-point margin.

Such video posting activity, Cillizzo said, can make covering political races more challenging for journalists.

"They're now treating every public occasion, often even private occasions, as a public appearance," he said. "Politicians are more guarded. It's harder to get a candid moment, the real deal, the genuine article. It's harder to see what these people are like in a genuine way."

Lauren Vicary, political editor for, was cautious about YouTube's role in political coverage.

"People only look at politics on YouTube when it intersects with entertainment," she said.

Candidates put plenty of serious clips about policy on YouTube, Vicary said, but few people really watch them. She's tested this herself, asking researchers at MSNBC to find serious political clips on YouTube that got many hits. They found none.

YouTube aside, the Internet is allowing media providers to offer richer political coverage.

"The real challenge for the media is that there's so much video, so many words, so much commentary from bloggers. It can be overwhelming. Our job is to organize it for the readers," said Lee Horowitz of USA Today.

He listed just a few ways his company is using the Internet to cover politics. One is blogging. USA Today's On Politics blog is among the three most popular on the company's site, Horowitz said, ranking behind t wo direc tly rela ted to entertainment.

USA TODAY's political blog
The news, the people, the road to election day.

Horowitz also mentioned USA Today's partnership with the Web site and publication Politico, which allows his company to draw from a pool of resources that includes journalists from many mainstream publications. The partnership has allowed USA Today to deepen its political coverage and better organize it.

Cillizza said the Internet allows media companies to offer more specialized political coverage than they can offer on paper, and that specialized coverage draws a much more dedicated audience, which leads more to participation and interaction.

"Enough people are interested in campaign politics at a granular level that they'll build a community around it," he said.

While Cillizzo and Horowitz showed that the Internet provides new ways to cover politics, Vicary pointed out that online is not the be-all and end-all of political coverage, at least not yet.

"Since '96, people have been saying, 'This is the big watershed moment of the Internet and politics' - but it isn't," she said. "People are waiting for this big evolutionary leap, but it's really more like fish crawling out of the water."

She stresses that while it's important to keep up with advances in technology and take advantage of new kinds of coverage it allows, it's also important not to get further ahead technologically than one's core audience.

"We already suffer from the whole Beltway phenomenon, and we're covering politics, which makes us more insulated," she said.

The percentage of people who are politically savvy and tech geeks is very small, Vicary said. Getting too wrapped up in new technologies can shut a media provider off from all but a small section of its audience.

Proof of this, she said, is that politicians are still spending most of their money on traditional media campaigns, especially television. They're not investing too much time or energy in digital campaigns "because it's not successful, time-tested, proven. But the phone calls work, the community works."

Politicians who have used the Internet successfully in their campaigns have stuck to simple ideas accessible to most people. Hillary Clinton inviting supporters to upload and vote for her campaign theme song is a good example, Vicary said.

“I can explain it to you in under ten seconds,” she said.

A bad example is Mark Warner’s complicated campaign using avatars on Second Life, which Vicary said would take at least five minutes to explain. One was complicated, the other simple. Warner has dropped off the radar; Clinton is running strong.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spanish Media Share

Innovative E-deas

By Jose Pagliery
FIU Student Journalist

As journalistic mediums evolve, the world may do well to pay more attention to innovative ideas from Spanish-speaking news companies.

In a one-hour presentation discussing the distribution of news, operational directors from four major Hispanic news organizations urged journalism to follow creative paths for gaining and holding readers and viewers.

Their specific advice: engage in unabashed experimentation with new forms of multimedia, including citizen journalism and sending breaking news through podcasts, cell phones and even faxes.

“We all had to adapt,” said José Iglesias Etxezarreta, editor for El Diario de Hoy’s Web site.

Adjusting, the publication increased the size of its online department and granted it more responsibility than what Etxezarreta called “simply cutting and pasting from print reporters.”

It doubled its staff. It gave them attention. And what did it get in return?

The site, owned by El Salvador’s leading newspaper, is now visited over 2 million times per day – a startling figure for a country with a population just shy of 7 million.

“We are the country, online,” said Etxezarreta, who ended up with a symbiotic relationship between two independent newsrooms.

Mario Tascón Ruiz, general content director of PrisaCom, argued that internet journalism must be given a different kind of attention if it is to reach its full potential.

“Is this a newspaper? No, it’s another medium,” Tascón said.

And it must be treated as such. Unlike daily print journalism, e-publications can now calculate reader traffic by the hour, providing advertising companies vital consumer information. Editors across the globe are also noticing the ease at which readers can now provide input for breaking news.

“Readers are no longer passive,” warned Guillermo Riera, digital media director at La Nación.

Advertencia de Bush sobre las tropas en Irak

Whereas newspapers simply provide readers news and features, the internet allows for a more interactive, public dialogue. By providing a regulated forum for public discussion, getting the news becomes a personalized, democratized process. And breaking news, many believe, will never be the same again.

Citizens in Spain now send (translates to “I reporter”) pictures, graphics, cartoons, and videos, many of which are almost simultaneously published online. All are part of the new age of digital storytelling.

Tascón sees the reporter of the future as a video camera-touting, microphone-wielding writer, hooked up to the internet at all times – a self-sufficient journeyman of multimedia. As an image of dinosaurs flashed across the screen, he described the changes in journalism as a fight for survival, ending in adaptation or extinction.

“Print is the news of yesterday. Online is the news of today,” Etxezarreta said.
Knight Challenge Grant Winners Reveal Creative Plans

By Jose de Wit

FIU Student Journalist

Some three dozen people won $12 million in Knight Foundation grants Wednesday in Miami, seed money they’ll use to develop innovations in digital media.

One of the strings attached to the awards is that the recipients must blog about their projects,detailing their progress, the obstacles they encounter and the tools they develop to overcome them. Through their blogs, everyone – other grant recipients, fellow conference attendees, members of the media industry and even the general

Foundation CEO Alberto Ibarguen

public – can offer comments, feedback and possible solutions.

“The user’s manual manual for each of these projects will be open source and free,” said Gary Kebbel of the Knight Foundation.

That means you – whether your company is a newspaper with a Web presence or a ‘Net-based startup – can take these ideas and put them to use on your site. You can take them as-is or modify them at your convenience.

So pay attention to what some of the winners will be using with their money:

MIT Media Lab Awarded $5 Million

Chris Csikszentmihalyi and Henry Jenkins, from MIT’s Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies department want to use their $5 million to influence young engineers to think about journalism-related issues such as freedom of speech when designing technology.

Adrian Holovaty, already a celebrity for having co-created the Django open-source web development framework, plans to spend his $1.1 million on making a series of city-specific sites that aggregate local information. The sites would offer news, local blogs and public records. He came up with the idea, he said, after finding it hard to follow mainstream media publications and networks to stay on top of local news in his Chicago. Holovaty previously created The cities getting the new sites devoted to public records and hyper-local information will be Miami, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Jose, and Charlotte, NC.

Media Law Project to Encourage Citizen Journalists

Instead of using his $250,000 on creating new online content, David Ardia, director of the Citizen Media Law Project at the Harvard Law School, wants to help other citizen journalists. He plans on creating a library of online resources of citizen journalists that will include state and federal legal guides and a database of legal threats involving citizen media.

According to a Knight Foundation spokesman, the winners' blogs will most likely come online by August or September. Stay tuned to the Knight News Challenge’s Web site for more information.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation funded the contest with $25 million over five years to help journalism continue moving into a digital future. The initial winners -- chosen from among 1,650 applicants -- will receive $12 million, including several multi-year awards.

Other grants included:

$885,000 to VillageSoup in Maine to build free software to allow others to replicate the citizen journalism and community participation site VillageSoup.

$700,000 to MTV to establish a Knight Mobile Youth Journalist (Knight "MyJos") in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to report weekly -- on cell phones and other media -- during the 2008 presidential election.

$639,000 to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism for nine full journalism scholarships for students who have undergraduate degrees in computer science.

$552,000 to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University for an "incubator" in which students will learn how to create and launch digital media products.

Also, nine individual bloggers will each get $15,000 to blog about topics ranging from GPS tracking devices to "out-of-the-box" community publishing solutions.

"We want to spur discovery of how digital platforms can be used to disseminate news and information on a timely basis within a defined geographic space, and thereby build and bind community," said Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibarguen in a statement. "That's what newspapers and local television stations used to do in the 20th century, and it's something that our communities still need today."

Csikszentmihalyi, MIT's director of the Computing Culture Research Group, added:
"We are moving to a Fifth Estate where everyone is able to pool their knowledge, share experience and expertise, and speak truth to power."

Applications for the next Knight News Challenge round can be submitted at starting July 1, with the application deadline Oct. 15.The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has given out more than $300 million since its 1950 founding.

E&P Staff contributed to this report