Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Quick hits

Visit Wired Journalists

Ryan Sholin has formed Wired Journalists, a group on Ning designed to help journalists get more comfortable with the tools and opportunities of he wired world. It's partly an outgrowth of Howard Owens' recent post challenging journalists to set objectives for 2008 that include getting more familiar with the wired (and these days, wireless) world. I've joined and look forward to helping out any way I can.

Actually, one of the first and best lessons for newsroom types out of this might be how easy it is to form such social groups using Ning. Just imagine had this been used during Katrina ...

Meranda Watling writes about following local folks on Twitter. I admit to not using Twit much (I'm cheap - I don't pay for texting on my cell phone and I forget to log on at the office). But I am intrigued by its possibilities (and probably more interested now that a few people have "found" me). I think Watling has a point when we may need to figure out a way to monitor relevant traffic. Just one more newsroom input. (Think of it as listening to the police scanner.)

She also points to the New York Times article on Twitter's use by journalists on the campaign trail. I don't claim any great foresight here, but this is why for the past year and some one of the syllabus requirements in my advanced editing class has been to produce an SMS version of every story. Students quickly find out it isn't always easy, especially when the story really doesn't have any news. I'm putting together an "Effective SMS" guide for class and maybe to use at the ACES conference, so all thoughts welcome.

(Personally, I'm a big fan of Twittervision, which scampers around a world map showing you the latest tweets. If we'd only had this at 3 a.m. in college ...)

And Bryan Murley points to a student journalist at Ball State who is Twittering a trial.

Everyblock is up and running in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. This is Adrian Holovaty's project to bring data to the masses. Crime reports, restaurant inspections, true confessions from the personals on Craigslist. Kind of gives a new dimension to the definition of "peeping Tom." It's a fascinating idea, but we'll wait and see if a bunch of raw data, even when presented in a relatively pleasing graphical way, can sustain interest. I predict it will if advertisers are comfortable with the audience churn (much as they had to learn to be at the advent of all-news radio, lo those many years ago). The project is funded by one of the Knight News Challenge grants.

If you're a journalism student planning to graduate sometime soon, check out Mindy McAdams' resources page for what you should be doing online.

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