It all seems so logical: If you want to connect with your neighbors, invite them over.
The public is invited to join daily news meetings at the Register Citizen. (From RegisterCitizen.com)
That’s the concept behind one of my favorite experiments going on in journalism these days. Just a few weeks ago, the Torrington (Conn.) Register Citizen opened a newsroom café – coffee and muffins and all – where the public is invited to be a part of the process. Residents can explore the paper’s 134 years of archive material, mingle with reporters and weigh in at afternoon editorial meetings.
But for every Register Citizen, there are a dozen other newspapers seemingly unsure of what to do with newly discovered extra space in their newsrooms (the result of a decade of downsizing), with an archival bounty and with the desire to connect with the community.
This is where universities can step in. These institutions of advanced learning, these manufactured communities, have built the fiscal infrastructure, developed the resources to archive materials and honed the skills to effectively teach people.
What if universities created open newsrooms that journalists from hyperlocal or community news sites could use collaboratively? Or, what if a local newspaper opened its doors so that a university-run news site could share its space?
One of the biggest journalism buzzwords in recent years has been transparency. The term so often used by journalists (as in, Congress ought to be more transparent about earmarks), should be used more about journalists.
Two steps-in-the-right-direction came this week, but both demonstrate the industry has not embraced the issue with the same fervor as it has Wikileaks blame and ski lift ‘tragedies’. One was a Walmart-sponsored piece on the Today Show that is not clearly labeled as such, and the second is an apparent third case of plagiarism for upstart Patch.
Screen capture from msnbc.com, with no visual or audio representation that the piece was sponsored by Walmart.
Today Spreads Walmart’s Cheer
The first was delivered just before Christmas, as Matt Lauer began a segment on military moms-to-be in much the same fashion as you might expect: More than a hundred excitedly screaming pregnant military moms crowded in a liveshot and after the heart-tugging taped story, Lauer was interviewing three military moms-to-be and a husband just back from Afghanistan, complete with child born during deployment held in the man’s arms.
And this is where things took a turn. I was fully expecting the “big surprise” to be a husband-and-pregnant-wife reunion on national morning television, one of those moments that touches your heart.
This just blew my mind. Forget searching for travel in the traditional Orbitz-Sidestep-Delta sort of way…
The old way.
Hipmunk takes that normally drab and painful experience and instead offers a visual representation of your options that makes it easier to find exactly the right flight. See it for yourself after the jump.
Despite all the gadgetry and gizmology, the pomp and the pundits, there’s still one thing missing from the horse race coverage of a night like tonight: Perspective. There are glimmers of it (NBC’s Brian Williams noted as I write that there haven’t been this few Democrats in the House in 60 years, for example), but we journalists should strive for more.
NYT's Tracking Twitter Traffic
I have, for the first time in many, many years, a different perspective this election night. I’m not at a campaign “headquarters” with a sideline coach’s headset messing up my hair. I’m not in a newsroom frantically checking the latest wires and cuing talent. And I haven’t spent the day ferrying a campaigning family member around his district.
I’ve gotten to arm chair quarterback this whole thing, and it gives me the ability to say things like this: Continue reading
Don’t worry, friends. I’m still here. But most of my time is focused on Censorship and Media, a course I’m teaching this fall at American. Care to follow along? Read our class blog: This Blog Is Censored, where we’re taking on craiglist’s recent decision to “censor” the adult services ads they used to run, for example. Your regularly scheduled programming will return in the near future.
Lost in the coverage (including mine) of the much-ballyhooed launch of TBD.com is the fact that a revamped cable channel launched in Washington, D.C., too.
NewsChannel 8, a pioneer among local cable news operations, is no more. Taking its place is TBD TV with Steve Chaggaris at the helm as V.P. of Cable News (@stevechaggaris, bio).
Rarely does an opportunity come along to rebuild a television news operation from the ground up. Even more uncommon is the tail wagging the dog: A decidedly fresh website serving as the mold for the TV station, rather than a TV station creating a website in its image.
Chaggaris and I got a chance to sit down together a few weeks ago — and he recognizes this as a chance to revolutionize the way things have always been done. [Video after the jump.]
The title of this post comes from the first line of something I stumbled upon this week. In the footer of Bay News 9′s website is a link to its “Crime Guidelines” — what I find to be a refreshingly transparent and important move by a local news organization.
Two of the ten guidelines. Read the rest.
It goes on to discuss the placement of murders within a newscast: