Online Writing Tips: Interviewing for the Web 101

recorderWriting content for the web can take many forms, but a good number of those forms will probably involve an interview at some point or another. As a general rule, good interviews have three characteristics: One, they make you forget that someone other than the reader is asking the questions. Two, the reader leaves knowing something they didn’t before. Three, the reader doesn’t learn anything about the interviewer from the interview. The tips that follow should help you achieve these things. Read More about Online Writing Tips: Interviewing for the Web 101

Time to Take a Stance on the Future of Journalism

[qi:085] OK, I admit it. I’ve become one of those snooty guys who is telling the rest of us what the future will look like. Case in point: I’m one of the authors of the “Internet Manifesto,” a collection of positions about the future of journalism that was published yesterday. The original manifesto was in German, collectively written by 15 journalists and bloggers more or less known in the German new media landscape, but it has since spread well beyond the krautosphere. Journalist Jeff Jarvis tweeted about it yesterday, an official English version was published earlier today, and users have contributed Finnish and Romanian translations.
The manifesto is a collection of 17 declarations about the future of media production online. At the core of the text is the claim that the Internet is a different medium with a disparate social and cultural impact than traditional mass media, and that publishers need to acknowledge these differences, rather than pretending they don’t exist or trying to make them go away. “Tradition is not a business model,” we wrote, arguing that we need new forms of journalism rather than regulations to protect the old. Fine by me, you might think, but why would anyone need a manifesto for that? Well, let me tell you why.
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The Future of Work: Noded

Recently, I’ve been talking to many local journalists about the unfolding implosion of the newspaper industry and its implications for their profession.
As the industry struggles to adapt to a world which is moving onto the web, journalists are not only learning to blend social media with traditional reporting, but as UK-based multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook explains, some are also exploring how distributed work teams could replace the newsroom.
Westbrook’s piece introduces the philosophy of Noded working: principles for forming distributed teams for particular projects. Read More about The Future of Work: Noded

University Makes Apple Portables a “Requirement”

iphone-ipod-touch-firmwareFile this one under “Apple is secretly buying up schools with their healthy stack of cash.” I’m only kidding, but in a move that probably has a lot of parents eyeing their teen’s list of required materials with a considerable amount of suspicion, the University of Missouri is making Apple’s iPhone and/or iPod touch a requirement for some incoming freshmen. It’s true that many programs make having an Apple (s aapl) computer a requirement, because of the industry-specific software and programs they teach with and for, but even Stanford’s iPhone development course doesn’t have the devices themselves as a requirement, making this a notable first.

The “requirement” in this case is more like a recommendation, though, since it won’t be monitored or enforced. And it doesn’t apply to all students at the university, only those in the journalism program. The reasoning behind requiring students to have the devices is not that they can listen to music or play Bejeweled 2 if they find their lectures boring, but that they can use their iPhone and iPod touch to augment their learning experience. Administrators at the university are hoping that by recording and listening to their lectures more than once, knowledge retention and understanding will go up. Read More about University Makes Apple Portables a “Requirement”

App Roundup: 10 iPhone Weather Apps

weatherIn my line of work, I do quite a bit both indoors and outdoors. As such, it is crucial for me to know the weather forecast at the drop of a hat. The weather app built into the iPhone is a simple, no fluff, no garbage, weather app. It does its job well, but any weather app can give you the highs and lows for the day. Oftentimes I find myself needing to know the humidity, wind speeds, or sunrise/sunset times and other nonsensical information.

Below is a roundup of weather apps for the iPhone, with features ranging from video forecasts to airport delays. Read More about App Roundup: 10 iPhone Weather Apps

From Print to Web: Tips for the Transitioning Writer

Thanks to a few lucky opportunities at school, my transition from print to web was a gradual process, and a move that I made voluntarily. That’s not the case for a large number of writers currently making the same transition. The print journalism and publishing industries are in big trouble, with no sign of turning a corner anytime soon. More and more print publications are switching to the web, and finding it hard to deal with the fact that they can’t just move their existing content and keep on doing the same thing, business as usual.

Likewise, writers can’t just keep producing the same kind of content for a different medium. The web, and its readers, demand a different kind of writing, delivered in a different way. It can hard to find the right mix, especially if you’ve spent your entire professional life writing one way, only to be asked to completely change that up. Here are some tips and resources to help get a handle on just what kind of change is required.

Don’t Be Fresh

Fresh — is this app “Fresh” or is it “Exciting”?* Well, let’s talk about it. Just this week, the folks at Ironic Software released this clever little utility for all to use. When I first read the product information and watched the instructional videos, my interest was piqued with what the product could do for me.

So what does Fresh do? From the Ironic site, here is their description:

“Fresh was born on that sinking feeling we have whenever we head into the Finder to ‘Find’ that file that we are working on, just downloaded, or like to keep handy. Fresh is designed to hide itself when you are not using it — keeping your onscreen clutter of windows more manageable.”

Translated, Fresh does multiple things:

  1. Using the Fresh Files Zone, it’s a replacement for the Finder Recent Items/Folders/Drives feature.
  2. Using the Cooler Zone, it is an enhancement for the Open (not Save) dialog box in that you can quickly drag files as email attachments or insert files into another document via drag-and-drop.
  3. Using either zone, you can organize your items with tags and filter either the Fresh Files or Cooler Zones by those tags.

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Post Online Video and Risk Going to Jail

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) this week published its annual prison census, which puts the spotlight on imprisoned journalists from around the world. 2008 marks the first year in which the report is dominated by online journalists, with 45 percent of those jailed bloggers, online reporters or editors. And the report makes clear that repressive regimes are increasingly targeting online video makers.

The findings serve to show how quickly online all forms of online media are gaining importance. When it comes to online video, many repressive regimes are afraid of the worldwide audience garnered by sites like YouTube, using the same laws meant to control state-run TV stations to crack down on video bloggers and video journalists.

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