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  • The Wire’s final season « Breaking News
    Support Forum Themes Newspapers in danger of abandoning their mission Home Here s how we should be doing news on the web The Wire s final season By Bill on March 17th 2008 I have yet to see a single full episode of The Wire a critically acclaimed cable TV show out of the US that chronicled Baltimore s seedy drug subculture and ended its five season run with a long story arc set in a fictional Baltimore newsroom but after reading this blog post by exec producer David Simon I want to watch the whole darn thing In the post Simon rips US journalists who loved or hated the show and wrote about it extensively for failing to note the key point of the season the paper sucked It was no longer doing it s job Here s what happened in season five of The Wire when almost no one among the working press at least was looking Our newspaper missed every major story Amid buyout after buyout the Baltimore Sun conceded much of its institutional memory its beat structure its ability to penetrate municipal institutions and report qualitatively on substantive issues in a way that explains not just the symptomatic problems of the city but the root causes of those problems Simon a journalist with 13 years at the Baltimore Sun under his belt plus several books launches into a biting critique of modern daily journalism that is also a stirring call to arms about what this profession could and should be And he warns about the cost of our failures to live up to his ideas about what a great regional or city newspaper should do But absent that kind of reporting we will all soon enough live in cities and towns where politicians and bureaucrats gambol

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=49 (2014-10-09)
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  • Here’s how we should be doing news on the web « Breaking News
    and then embedded in wood pulp and for shipment hours later to a distant consumer Online news is a ongoing conversation it s a Hey Did you know that Elliott Spitzer was snagged by anti terrorism money laundering laws followed a little later by a Oh And you d better head home a little early today there s an Alberta Clipper due to hit town about 4pm Forget the print product if people want that they should darn well pay for it Here s how we should be doing news on the web We should publish a river of news which Dave Winer father of RSS has been advocating for years a torrent fed by many streams international national and local Professional and amateur alike full stories and blog like links to the best of the web Breaking news gets priority Speed is the altar upon which we ll sacrifice our young reporters The river would flow at a pre determined rate unless events overtook it such that the freshest stuff would take 3 maybe 4 hours to be pushed off the page by the weight of the river behind it Then fully tagged and commented it would flow off into some kind of archaic category rich dated news museum a sectioned off thing that would probably bear and uncanny resemblence to the websites we all have today But that s not all it s like radio we can program it And so we should My aha moment here came in one of my WebU classes when a reporter Melissa Dalton from the Record complained about the Globe and Mail s web site that they ve got all this soft news featurey stuff over here on the left I don t want to see that first thing in the morning

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=50 (2014-10-09)
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  • Screw the story « Breaking News
    I recoil Screw the story Show me something interesting It takes a damn lot of talent to tell a good story and to really make a story sing you ve got to get into that whole production value thing which as we know has damn little ROI on the web With video show me something interesting and check your storytelling at the door Howard Owens This is why I like reading Howard Owen s blog He can be as prickly and provocative as a thistle in your hiking shorts but generally does it to goad us off well worn paths and on to somewhere more interesting or at least somewhere we ll be forced to think our way back from if we want to return to that old path But while there s a strong point to be made about knowing the difference between your reach and your grasp when it comes to shooting video and adjusting your aim accordingly I think he s unwise to advocate such a complete abandonment of narrative in favour of this horribly ill defined concept of interesting Absolutely we should never forget one of our prime purposes as journalists is to witness to observe and report Posting video of a grassfire or flood or tornado damage should be the thing we nail every time we have the chance and you don t need to worry about story there In this case show me something interesting means show me something I would have stopped and watched a while and then told people about had I been there at the time Witness it for me But that s an awfully small room to live in Some stories need to be told in a narrative they cry and scream for it and when you can answer that

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=52 (2014-10-09)
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  • Newspapers’ online daily readership up « Breaking News
    2011 June 2011 March 2011 January 2011 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 January 2010 December 2009 October 2009 March 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 November 2007 October 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 Blogroll Development Blog Documentation DreamHost Blog Plugins Suggest Ideas Support Forum Themes Screw the story Home A novel use for twitter a teaching taser Newspapers online daily readership up By Bill on March 7th 2008 Okay it may not be rush out onto the streets and kiss the nearest nurse news but it s better than we ve been expecting the latest NADbank data shows growing online news consumption stable newspaper readership in the top markets and a healthy community paper business From Media in Canada NADbank s 2007 readership study released today shows readership results for 82 Canadian daily newspapers and two Detroit dailies in 54 urban markets across Canada and the industry is remaining stable Online is growing community papers are thriving and in market by market break downs there are some clear winners and close races

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=53 (2014-10-09)
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  • Slideshows versus videos – what do readers want? « Breaking News
    buzz in the room I found this hard to believe I ve always thought the slide shows and sound slide shows were the favourites of photographers and photo editors because that s about the only place on line that their core skill still photography gets a workout Videos seem to have a clear broad and growing audience Take a look at ComScore s latest video tallies Online viewers watched an average of 3 4 hours 203 minutes of online video during the month representing a 34 percent gain since the beginning of 2007 The average online video duration was 2 8 minutes The average online video viewer consumed 72 videos While the Comscore report doesn t break out news videos there can be no doubt that the deep penetration of broadband at home AND in the workplace has uncovered a still unsated appetite for video online But does that appetite include a taste for the kind of video newspaper sites are producing It s not idle curiousity In my WebU classes video storytelling camera operation editing and production suck up about 25 of our week long editorial stream while we give photographers one third of that time in sound and slide training So I went hunting to see if there was any data on slideshow views versus video views on newspaper web sites The closest I could find was a June 2007 post on journalism prof Mindy McAdams blog Andrew Meares chief photographer at The Sydney Morning Herald reports that slideshows have become very popular with online site visitors more so than video Total Soundslides pageviews to date are 1 214 918 since October 2006 Our video team pop the champagne with 5000 views our top text stories of the week rate 80 000 Meares went on to detail individual

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=57 (2014-10-09)
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  • The number – and story – of the Beast « Breaking News
    s one often voiced by members of the political press themselves but Rosen s piece goes deeper than complaining and takes a run at explaining what seems like mindless behaviour we all know it s wrong but we do it over and over and over By mindless I generally mean No one s in charge or the process is Conventional forms thrive even if few believe they work Routines master people The way it s been done chooses the way it shall be done Rosen points to some of the usual reasons fear of missing the story arrogance believing we have some special expertise or knowledge about politics and a convergence of judgement among journalists on the campaign trail But then he makes an insightful addition to our understanding of the problem we focus so much on pre empting the voter s decision because it s the only safe thing to do the only easy way we can maintain our distance from the process and cling to our much vaunted objectivity He points to an exception a Boston Globe feature that quizzed candidates on the limits of the executive branch power a critical issue given the recent abrogation of executive power undertaken by Bush and Cheney But the piece is inevitably both a journalistic AND a political act And that is a scary thing for many The post is well worth the read it s rich in context and links and certainly thought provoking My only suggestion is that he has perhaps missed another critical reason we and especially the US media cover politics as sport it s the narrative Whoops Wrong again Jay covered this off very ably in a post on the Master Narrative back in Sept 2003 Well worth reading It is impossible to underestimate the importance

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=58 (2014-10-09)
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  • How to create a blog for your paper, magazine or show – NOW « Breaking News
    wait for our over burdened digital media folks to get around to implementing or building out blogs for your paper using our TOPS and TED system Outsource it That s what the Spec The Record and The Mercury are doing They re all using the Typepad service from Six Apart I ve been using it for several years now and can attest to it s ease of use flexibility and stability I ve helped a half dozen non bloggers become bloggers a list that inlcudes several decidedly non techie types so Typepad must be doing something write in the usability departement If you choose Typepad get the Pro version For about 150 a year you get unlimited blogs broad design freedoms lots of templates to modify and make your own more storage space than you ll need and a fully featured easy to use blogging platform that allows you to post text photos in scrapbooks and galleries videos audio etc You also get access to domain mapping which allows you to use a web address like www yournewspaper com blog rather than the Typepad com address If you d like to see how easy blogging can be here s a pdf of a How to Post manual I made for some of the Spec s first time bloggers Download Posting3 pdf There are other services and blogging providers you might want to consider Blogger is Google s free blogging service a good place to learn how to blog but not really professional enough for our purposes And WordPress com an open source blogging tool supported by a large and avid community The best way to use it is to download the software intstall it then buy a domain name and lease hosting services 6 10 a month from a company

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=60 (2014-10-09)
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  • WebU – The Second Term (and a first draft of possible changes) « Breaking News
    s although this wish is more commonly expressed by advertising and marketing than editorial or creative stream members There is a constant friction arising from teaching single courses to such a mixed group people with widely varying jobs skills backgrounds and experiences The single biggest complaint is probably this they fear they ll have no opportunity to try out their ideas their new skills As I said we ve made many changes on the fly to deal with this feedback Teachers have been asked to incorporate more real world examples in their work The indigestible 3 hour lump of Web Gone Wild has been broken up with more time spent visiting and exploring the cool web sites we re talking about Six different news websites are examined in depth by students All students learn about social networking by joining the new WebU social networking site WebSalad that I built and there they try their hands at blogging posting photos and videos jumping into forum discussions and finding and messaging friends Students have been allowed to cross streams and we ve even juggled the schedule a bit to help make that possible Teachers in specific courses were asked to spend more time offering hands on help and less time on theory But there is still much more that we can do And to that end I m offering some changes to the curriculum itself to try and better meet the needs I m seeing The changes that I m offering for your consideration are suggestions not edicts and are based on those weekly feedback sessions and numerous conversations I ve had with you with students and with managers None not one of these changes are any reflection on the skills or performances of the teachers I ve sat in on every course now and listened carefully to the feedback and where I ve seen or heard of weaknesses I ve addressed them directly with the teacher that has only happened a handful of times These changes are I hope modest and represent a mid course correction more than anything else Your feedback is critical please be generous with it i e the more the better You are all experts in your field that s why you re teaching I need to hear that expertise brought to bear here Come to our lunch on the 22nd at 12 30 and tell me in person or put down your thoughts in an email or pick up the phone Your thoughts and advice mean a lot to me Thanks for taking the time My suggestions follow below Bill Dunphy WebU Manager bdunphy metrolandwest com 905 526 3262 Draft Suggestions Create new courses Innovation 101 a how to innovate course that leans heavily on the Newspaper Next project and Clayton Christensen s principles to teach staff some practical ways to search out areas to innovate in while offering them tools to help pitch and test their ideas All streams Online Ad Innovation We re still

    Original URL path: http://www.billdunphy.ca/?p=61 (2014-10-09)
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