Digital First Media launches engagement team

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Congratulations to Martin Reyolds, Ivan Lajara, Dan Petty and the newest member of Digital First Media, Mandy Jenkins!

Read Steve Buttry’s blog post on the team here.


Craig Walker of the Denver Post named Photog of the Year

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Craig Walker of the Denver Post, a MediaNews Group daily newspaper, has been named Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the

One of Craig Walker's images

Missouri School of Journalism’s Pictures of the Year International competition, “one of the most highly respected photojournalism contests in the world,” according to the Denver Post article about the win (2/12/12 written by Tom McGhee).

The article states:

Walker, 45, received the award for a portfolio of photographs that included pictures from a project about Iraq War veteran, Brian Scott Ostrom, who suffers post traumatic stress disorder, and others taken at Occupy Denver protests. “It is really special because it looks at an entire year’s work; it leaves me speechless,” Walker, 45, said Sunday of the award.

The York, Pa., native, who has been with The Post since 1998, won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for a collection of photos he took over 27 months that documented the transition of Ian Fisher from high school graduate to a soldier engaged in the Iraq war.

A news release about the Pictures of the Year award called Walker’s project on PTSD sufferer Ostrom “stunning.”

“In honoring Walker’s portfolio, the judges noted a strong balance of powerful aesthetic with solid journalistic content that reflects news events and social issues,” according to the release. POYi is a program of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the journalism school.

“I think it is important to document our history and I feel really fortunate that I can do that in a visual manner,” Walker said.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Photography, he began his career in Massachusetts, at the Marlborough Enterprise.

He credited his success to people who have opened their lives to his lens. “It is people like Ian and Scott who are willing to open up their life and share that personal a story. Those stories don’t happen unless you meet those people. “

See Walker’s portfolio here.

Check out a blog post by Charles Apple on the win.


Covering a deadly manhunt with precision – on a tight deadline

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Source: The Morning Journal - A shocking photo taken during the manhunt. Photographer Jim Bobel was in the right place at the right time.

At around 8:30 p.m. last Dec. 12, staffers at The Morning Journal in Lorain, OH learned to shift focus to breaking news – even while on tight deadline — when police announced they were hunting for a man — who would later kill himself. During the manhunt, a deputy was shot via“friendly fire.”
Veteran photographer Jim Bobel and reporter Allison Strouse rushed to the scene while reporter Rick Payerchin manned the phones. Editor-in-Chief Tom Skoch updated the website, Facebook, Twitter and sent SMS text alerts. Photos and video were posted to the web and, in follow-up coverage, TMJ live streamed press conferences.
The stories and the follow-up coverage drew 25,225 page views. Skoch blogged about the tools used to cover the story and then the user reactionto how it was covered, and a TMJ Community Media Lab blogger wrote about the shootout through the prism of mental health issues.
Skoch’s advice on fast-moving breaking stories: “Just be flexible and fast. Be ready to scrap your original plans for the night and throw everything you’ve got into getting the big new story.”

What if Romeo & Juliet were on Facebook? The Macomb Daily found out

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After receiving a press release stating, “”Imagine Romeo and Juliet on Facebook,” Maryanne Kocis MacLeod, health and lifestyles

Source: The Macomb Daily - What if Romeo and Juliet were on Facebook?

writer at The Macomb Daily, was intrigued. She reached out to local theater groups and others in the community to create Facebook profiles for several Romeo & Juliet characters and communicate. MacLeod wrote about the successes in a follow up article.

“It was successful because we created a fun, current and innovative conversation that embraced our community, local school districts and the southeastern Michigan groups for starters, and attracted local and international attention,” she said. MacLeod, the actors and colleagues, promoted it through several social media channels. The Toronto Star and CBC radio in Vancouver interviewed MacLeod and members of the cast, for an article and 12-minute radio spot.

MacLeod said the goal was to explore the impact enhanced communication via social media has on users. MacLeod said if other newsrooms want to replicate the project, “nurture strong bonds between yourself and other members of your newsroom, along with community contacts who may then receive, support and respond to your ideas with gusto.” She also said to share thoughts, be creative, don’t be afraid to take risks, be technical and supportive.

Google Voice successes at The Troy Record

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Following up on JRC Google Voice training, Troy Record Digital Specialist Tom Caprood launched his first project asking readers to give opinions on of a new McDonald’s opening in Troy, NY. Although the topic wasn’t timely, Caprood “took a chance to see if readers still had something to say about the issue.

Caprood first posted a story explaining he wanted readers to share thoughts and provided a Google Voice number. Caprood received 10 responses. In addition to using Google Voice for the project, he used AP Images to gather stock images of McDonald’s locations and products.

Caprood said newsrooms “have to be prepared for the fact that you might not get responses … If something doesn’t work, rethink your approach and try again. Also, as Karen Workman (from The Oakland Press) pointed out during the training session on Google Voice, it’s best to try and pick a topic that either is controversial or that you feel people will respond emotionally to.”

The New Haven Register launches The Citizens’ Agenda

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When Digital First Media announced a partnership to create Citizens’ Agenda, Angi Carter was excited. Carter, a community engagement editor at the NHR, didn’t want to wait to get a handle on what the local electorate was thinking. In order to find out, the NHR has a soft launch underway with an issues poll using a Google form and plans to augment stories with public forums, chats and debates with questions fielded from the public.

Six staffers formatted the poll, getting it in sync with Newsys and packaged the text with it for online and print presentations on Dec. 21 and Dec. 25. Middletown Press, The Register Citizen and Litchfield County Times also published it. The story was promoted on social media and during a live chat. The paper has launched Senate and House race Facebook pages and a blog. NHR has 147 responses and 38 people willing to participate in public forums.

Carter would encourage other publications to introduce the Citizens’ Agenda partnership and seek input from the voters on what issues are important. She also said to pay attention to social media presence around political coverage.

Using ScribbleLive technology to cover severe weather in the Denver-area

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Screenshot: The introduction to The Denver Post's live blog

In covering a snowstorm, The Denver Post used a free trial of the live-blog tool ScribbleLive. The idea came to Social Media Editor Dan Petty after he was impressed with other news organization live-blogging efforts.

Petty curated Tweets using the #COwx hashtag and searched for “Colorado snow,” “Denver snowstorm,” etc. He pulled from Facebook

Screenshot: The Denver Post used ScribbleLive to capture weather news live

posts, news organizations, bloggers and The Denver Post used their own content. All the content was posted in a live-blog with traffic coming from a main story. The Denver Post encouraged readers to submit photos through a Google submission form, attached live radars and widgets.

Six different reporters contributed, the blog got more than 300 shares on Facebook, was retweeted 137 times and had a dozen comments. The blog got a total of 5,581 page views.

Petty said for other newsrooms experimenting, have multiple contributors.

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