Free resource: Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency

Noted journalism educator Mindy McAdams has collected 15 of her blog posts on multimedia journalism into the “Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency.” The free 42-page PDF document is available in English and Spanish and is “fully linked and usable online in most Web browsers, or in Adobe Reader, or in Preview on the Mac OS.” Invaluable for the next generation of journalists!

Newspaper survival tips stress multiplatform reporting

In “12 Things Newspapers Should Do to Survive,” Vadim Lavrusik offers a range of suggestions for “what newspapers should be considering in order to survive and evolve with today’s technology-driven, short-attention-span world.” At the top of his list is “Putting web first and reporting from multiple platforms.” He explains:

Reporters need to focus on primarily gathering information and how to present that information in multiple formats: websites, mobile platforms, social networks and finally print.

The reason? Technology is changing the way people consume news, and though many are still getting their news through traditional print outlets, many others are shifting to get their news through various media, such as television, mobile phones, and the web.

Other tips focus on creating community, integrating real-time reporting and creating content for mobile devices. A good read with lots to get class discussions rolling.

The future of the newspaper? Maybe it’s the nichepaper

A pair of recent articles discusses the role of the nichepaper in the future of journalism. In “The News About the Internet,” Michael Massing recounts recent attacks on the Internet as leeching content from traditional sources. But Massing say critics fail to acknowledge an essential truth:

Over the past few months alone, a remarkable amount of original, exciting, and creative (if also chaotic and maddening) material has appeared on the Internet. The practice of journalism, far from being leeched by the Web, is being reinvented there, with a variety of fascinating experiments in the gathering, presentation, and delivery of news. And unless the editors and executives at our top papers begin to take note, they will hasten their own demise.

In “The Nichepaper Manifesto,” Umair Haque elaborates on some of those experiments and christens them “nichepapers.” The name is somewhat misleading, since like Massing, Haque also is talking about online journalism. But his definition is clear: “Nichepapers are different because they have built a profound mastery of a tightly defined domain — finance, politics, even entertainment — and offer audiences deep, unwavering knowledge of it.” Haque details eight essential rules and four models for such nichepapers. It’s a lot to digest, but it’s very important work.

3 steps to great online video stories

In “Three Ways to Become a Good Documentary Journalist,” Kurt Lancaster examines a recent New York Times video story about a young artist living on $12,000 a year. Lancaster believes the video succeeds because it reflects “three elements of strong documentary journalism:.” In his view, they are:

  1. Gives voice to the subject
  2. Takes us into the personal life-space of the subject. d
  3. Visually compelling. 

Lancaster’s analysis offers important lessons for anyone creating online video, no matter how much or how little training they have had in television journalism.

Video journalism resource

Ken Kobre, author of “Photojournalism:The Professionals’ Approach,” has created a great new resource for journalists shooting video. “The Kobre Guide to the Web’s Best Videojournalism” highlights video stories and offers custom video tutorials on a wide range of video journalism topics. Teachers and students can subscribe to a YouTube feed to stay current.

TV reporter uses Skype from the field

WTSP-TV anchor/reporter Janie Porter reported live from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on the run-up to a University of Florida Gators championship game. Rather than using a live truck for her feed,

Porter set up her own camera, opened her laptop, connected the camera to her computer, slipped a wireless connection card into her laptop, called up Skype and used her Blackberry to establish IFB (the device TV folks wear in their ears to hear the off-air signal).

Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute has the story, an interview and the video.

Advice for shooting video

While Bill Pryor’s “Top Ten Mistakes of Rookie Filmmakers” is geared to filmmakers, it offers solid advice for those new to shooting video. Even if you plan to shoot just short clips for online use, you’ll find Pryor’s tips very helpful. No. 1 on his list? Bad sound. “Remember it’s an audio-visual medium. Audio and video are equal.”

Newspaper survival advice: Use social media, multimedia

In “To Prepare for the Future, Skip the Present,” Dennis Roussel offers 10 steps for newspapers looking to survive. Among them are two of great importance to budding journalists:

  • Engage with your readers. The explosion of blogging and social media Web sites has created a culture in which consumers of news expect to be included in the news publishing process. Closed operations that shun reader engagement will increasingly be seen to offer a second-rate experience. Create functionality that encourages readers to share eyewitness accounts of breaking news, rate services such as restaurants and hotels, and get into discussions and debates.
  • Embrace multimedia. Train editors to see video, photo galleries, graphics and maps as equal storytelling forms to text. A story about Tina Fey’s takeoff of Sarah Palin is incomplete without video highlights from “Saturday Night Live.” A story about a soldier’s life on the frontline in Afghanistan is best told with video, a map, and pictures as well as text.

D.C. area TV reporters go “backpack”

According to The Washington Post, under a new agreement announced in late 2008, WUSA TV was to become the first station in the Washington area to replace its crews with one-person “multimedia journalists” who will shoot and edit news stories sion their own.

The Post reported:

The change will blur the distinctions between the station’s reporters and its camera and production people. Reporters will soon be shooting and editing their own stories, and camera people will be doing the work of reporters, occasionally appearing on the air or on in video clips on Channel 9’s Web site.

Newspapers embrace YouTube

10,000 Words offers an interactive map and table of the more than 150 newspapers that now have YouTube channels. A companion piece offers tips for creating an using a YouTube channel.