Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What are the benefits of mobile journalism?

In line with my goal of getting our reporters and photographers to file their content from the field over the next month, I thought I'd take a few minutes to explain some of the benefits I see coming out of this at the local level for The Record.

First off, I'm not envisioning that we are going to be the ones who report every bit of local news faster than our competition. It'll be great when it happens that way and I certainly encourage our staff to strive for that when possible, but, being realistic, we won't be doing something new in the industry so much as catching up to the numerous other news outlets across our area and the country that have been doing this for years now. They've already developed mobile journalism as part of their normal reporting routines (something I hope to see happen over time locally as well).

That being said, I think it's a great benefit to be able to provide the news as we learn it at the office, whether it's some large breaking event like a shooting or bank robbery, or simpler events like the outcome of a city council vote on local legislation.Read more »

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Friday, August 27, 2010

What are the goals of the ideaLab, JRC?

In my last post, I mentioned my goal for the next 30 days of getting our reporters and photographers to file their content from the field, along with a few of the other projects the team will be working on.

You can check out the full list of projects identified so far for each member over at the main ideaLab blog here.

There are also some recorded streams of the majority of our meetings and presentations throughout the day below if anyone would like to watch some of the progress being made for themselves.

Betsy Morgan's Presentation

ideaLab talks with Jay Rosen about their plans

Arturo Duran talks about digital trends in the industry

ideaLab group presentations on creating a fictional online newsroom


Thursday, August 26, 2010

The ideaLab at Journal Register Company

There's so much to detail about our first ideaLab meeting Wednesday that it is difficult to know where to begin.

JRC Corporate Office

After a long night of introductions and good food, everyone gathered at JRC's corporate offices in Yardley, PA and filed into a large board room equipped with a projector, Wi-Fi and plenty of outlets for 15+ laptops, iPads, and other devices that we all had with us.

Jon Cooper, vice president of content for the company, began the day by talking about the structure of the ideaLab , as well as how the company planned to re-organize its operating model to become more efficient and stop the same work being done multiple times in different offices across the company.

For the ideaLab, Cooper stressed that there are no rules for this experiment. Our goals are to play, experiment, learn, and teach, since sharing knowledge with others had not typically been the norm at JRC in the past.

He also pointed out that the company's Digital First mandate did not mean "print never," but rather a change in the mindset of how the company operates - the goal being to create products which include audience engagement and provide customers with the option to choose the content they want and what medium they want to consume it with.

Read more »


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Meeting the ideaLab

Tonight, for the first time, all the members of the ideaLab, dispite the fact that some of us drove or flew long distances to get here, were actually able to meet in person.

Along with CEO John Paton and some other JRC corporate staff members, we were joined by two members of JRC's advisory board: Betsy Morgan and Jay Rosen.

I personally sat at the table with Morgan, where all of us had some great discussions about how our different markets function and what we're hoping to get out of the ideaLab.

We also talked a lot about how each of our properties handles comments on our websites, how we feel about tech like the iPad so far and how we handle breaking news vs traditional "slower" news days.

Everyone I've met so far is very enthusiastic about being a part of this team as well as watching JRC transform in front of our eyes.

Wednesday morning we'll meet at corporate for a day or further discussions before heading back home.

More about that next time.


On the road towards JRC

Just got to Kingston to meet up with Ivan and now we're on our way to the hotel and then off to dinner to meet with the ideaLab. Tomorrow we'll head to JRC headquarters in Yardley for a day of brainstorming sessions and who knows what else.

More later...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting use to the new tech

ideaLab netbook
As I mentioned last week, my netbook and iPad arrived over the last few days and both are quite phenomenal as far as technology improvements go in the office.

My desktop computer at work is a piece of tech fit for a museum - Windows 2000 Pro, 256 MB RAM, and continually over worked every day to the point of freezing or near-crashing.

With the new ideaLab netbook - a Verizon Wireless HP Mini - sporting Windows 7 Pro, 2 GB RAM and a 1.6 GHz processor - it's like night and day switching between machines.

I have to say that I'm surprised. I've used a few netbooks briefly in the past and felt that the experience was rather horrible. They were way too slow to start-up and would crawl when it came to normal tasks or navigating a media-heavy Internet session.

This little book is a workhorse. When it has a decent Internet connection, it flies like a decent-spec full size laptop should. This is great for me because I no longer have to bring my own, personal MacBook into work everyday to get much of my work done in an efficient manner.

Plus, one of the best things is that it has a built-in air card, so I can get online with it anywhere without an open Wi-Fi connection or having to keep track of a USB dongle wherever I go.

My recommendation to my editors and the company would be to get this netbook, or something very similar, for every reporter in JRC. Filing stories from the field would be a breeze, and although I haven't had the change to put FlipShare on it, I'm sure video editing will probably work just fine on it as well (if only a tad slow based on the specs).

Read more »


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Posting from my iPad

So, in a surprising turn of events, all of my ideaLab gear has now arrived. My HP mini net book showed up yesterday and the iPad came this morning.

After a bit of a wait downloading iTunes on the work DSL connection, I got things up and running with a few free apps.

As expected, I was blown away by how smooth the Flipboard app pulls in social media data, including photos and links.

There are near limitless possibilities for what I see as possible with this device, especially for the news industry.

The Wordpress app, which I am typing in right now, is a bit limited in it's functionality but can certainly get the job done for blogging from the field.

That's all for now - I'll update more later once I've had some more time to try out all of the features and download some more apps.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

HTML and gear delays

It's been a few weeks since I've updated this blog. That was not my plan, but busy work schedules and a week of vacation without much Internet access decided it for me.

When I've had a few minutes, I've still been tinkering with the steps to develop the iPad and iPhone applications from the book I had mentioned previously. It's been slow going so far and has basically still involved writing examples of code that will change pictures on the device's screen with the push of buttons created.

I've also started looking more into HTML resources with a few books I took out from the local library. I taught myself really basic HTML in high school and a little earlier in the days when Angelfire web-pages were some of the easiest, free ways to make something on the web. The sites I made back then were extremely basic - a simple frame setup with links, photos and text in a non-creative design.

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