The entry deadline for this year’s EPpy Awards is Thursday, Feb. 15 — one week from today. Go here to enter.
The EPpys are sponsored by Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek, and they honor the best “media-affiliated Internet services.” (How corporate is that?!)
New this year: The Knight News Innovation Award, which will honor “creative uses of technology that extend the audience for news in the public interest and expand the means and places by which people receive news and make news more engaging and interactive.” (My reporting professor would have docked me a whole letter grade if I had ever written a sentence like that one.)
The fee for each entry is $150, except in the College Newspaper category ($50 per entry).
The 2006 winners are listed — but NOT LINKED, which gives you a pretty good idea of how clued in these people are (oops, sorry, but I couldn’t resist). However, last year ELPAIS.es was the winner for Best Overall Design of an Internet Service (over 1 million unique monthly visitors), and that is a very-much deserved award, in my opinion. They have since changed their domain name to ELPAIS.com, and the site is even better this year.
Last year there were more than 400 entries from 150 sites. Okay, that’s almost $60,000 in entry fees. So why aren’t the winners displayed like this? I mean, the EPpys could afford to build a database, yes?
Steve Outing talked to a variety of people about the future of news, and the one whose views matched my own was Robin Sloan, manager of new media strategy at Current TV:
“I think ‘news’ just becomes a less distinct category. You don’t sit down with a newspaper, or even a news website, or even a super wireless e-paper device, for 10 minutes in the morning to very formally ‘get your news.’ Rather, you get all sorts of news and information — from the personal to the professional to the political — throughout the day, in little bits and bursts, via many different media. With any luck, in 5-10 years the word ‘news’ will be sort of confusing: Don’t you just mean ‘life’?”
This is the way I already get my news today. Largely because I’m in front of a computer at least six hours a day — that’s just the most convenient thing for me.
But also because my cell phone has a fully functional Web browser and I have an unlimited data package. When I’m in the doctor’s waiting room, I read my RSS feeds — on my phone. When I think of seeing a movie while riding in a friend’s car or eating lunch, I check the local movie showtimes (via Google) — on my phone.
Robin went on to say:
“A key point is that news will continue to be delivered on many media — websites, blogs, TV, phones, pamphlet-y things, those little java jackets they have at coffee shops, whatever. It’s not about everything going digital and never seeing a molecule of real matter again. But it IS about the death of the monolithic news experience.”
That has happened already — at least for me.
What’s more, I think it has always been that way for my current students, most of whom were born within two years of 1987. When they were 10 years old, the Web was already commonplace.
I teach a class about the history of communication technologies. The first great technology of communication is writing – yes, just writing, which humans came up with about 5,000 years ago. Because not every society had writing, anthropologists and others have been able to study tribes and other groups who have a purely oral culture — a culture without written history, stories or religion.
The many scholars who have written about this difference make a huge point of one thing in particular: We who have been born into a writing culture, a society inundated in written signs and texts and knowledge, can hardly even imagine what that other kind of life is like.
A lot of people today, including many who are making million-dollar decisions for media corporations, are having the same difficulty. They cannot imagine, cannot accurately understand, what the digital culture is. They are caught in a middle place, in the culture that developed after the invention of world’s first mass production machine — the printing press. That culture is being replaced by the next one. Now.
Ryan Sholin, who is walking the walk as an online journalist, employed by a daily newspaper, answered a question posted on his blog from an up-and-comer. The question: “How many skills do you think an online editor/reporter needs?”
Ryan answered, in part:
I would want someone who knows enough HTML to write their own Web update into a content management system without needing training.
I would want someone who has no fear of a digital camera, a video camera, or an audio recorder.
I would want someone interested in using databases, maps, and public records as source material.
I would want someone who knows how to tell a story.
Frontline is touting a new documentary series about the practice of journalism today. They have a nice Web page up for this, complete with six video previews from interviews with William Safire, Pat Buchanan, Bill Keller, John McLaughlin, Eric Schmidt and Jeff Jarvis. (Yes, every single one of them a white man over 40. You’d think Frontline could have found one woman to talk to somewhere in the upper echelons, don’t you? I do.) The interview with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, is quite interesting.
News War: Secrets, Sources & Spin, Part I is scheduled to air on PBS stations one week from today — on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2007, at 9 p.m., but check your local listings.
Frontline examines the political and legal forces challenging the mainstream news media today and how the press has reacted in turn. Correspondent Lowell Bergman talks to the major players in the debates over the role of journalism in 2007, examining the relationship between the Bush administration and the press; the controversies surrounding the use of anonymous sources in reporting from Watergate to the present; and the unintended consequences of the Valerie Plame investigation — a confusing and at times ugly affair that ultimately damaged both reporters’ reputations and the legal protections they thought they enjoyed under the First Amendment.
Found via Kevin Anderson’s nice new personal blog. (Gosh, Kevin, how do you have time to keep a personal blog?)
Meredith Artley will leave Paris and IHT.com to take the helm as executive editor at LATimes.com. Wow, that is a heck of a big job, and I wish her all the luck in the world.
After six years at NYTimes.com, Artley left New York in 2003 to run online editorial and business operations for the International Herald Tribune. She made a lot of positive changes there. Her qualifications definitely put her in the top league of online journalism leaders. It will be very interesting to see what happens when she takes the reins in Los Angeles in March.
The approach for photojournalists might be different, and the approach for the news graphics artists different again. But what about the reporters? What should they learn now?
Over the past couple of years everyone has told me that I need to learn how to do multi-media if I want to stay competitive in the newspaper market. But, editors seem resistant to writers doing anything other than writing.
The first thing I would put out there is NO Flash and NO video editing.
Why? The reporter must be primarily a gatherer, a person who digs up information, goes to see people, unearths records and supporting materials. Producing Flash packages and editing video are at the opposite end of that, and both processes are quite time consuming. So there’s little logic in tying up the reporters when you need them on other tasks.
When I think about the reporter as the person ON THE SCENE, then it makes perfect sense that the reporter must gather audio and, if necessary, shoot photos. If a photojournalist is out there too, then fine, that’s who should shoot. But are we willing to say, “Oh, well, we have no pictures,” because the reporter did not have a camera, or did not know how to use one? That would be too stupid.
I’ve warmed up to the idea of reporters shooting video, but I think it’s not smart for every story. People have to learn when something makes sense and when to forgo the technology and just do their main job, which is get the story. What I mean by that might be best illustrated by a photojournalist who slings the camera around back and goes forward with notebook and pen in hand at a certain point.
How do we learn? Well, it’s really great to get critiques after the fact. That gives us a good foundation for doing it better next time. But before you get that critique, of course, you must produce something. You have to bring back some video, audio or photos. And you have to show them to someone who can give you some suggestions.
In some newsrooms, there’s bound to be a lot of the blind leading the blind. But reporters who are really interested in staying in journalism for the long haul need to look outside their own newsrooms and see what others are doing too. There are all these blogs available now (look at the right-hand column of this blog!) where the journalists blazing the new trails are posting their work, their post-mortems and even tutorials.
There’s no excuse for not learning new things now. All you need to do is get started.
And hey — you won’t be an expert overnight. No one is! Be nice to yourself and just keep plugging away at it, little by little. It will get easier, and you will get better.