Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Results of my 30-day project to grow bloggers

My 30-day project of training newsroom staffers to recruit and serve as contacts for new community bloggers on reached its deadline with just over half of the number of new blogs that I had originally hoped to attract in that time period. However, all of the staffers involved learned new skills through this project and believe that they will do well in their recruitment efforts going forward.

By using the resources already compiled by fellow ideaLab members Kaitlyn Yeager and Karen Workman, I was able to pass along easy-to-understand instructions and tips to both our staff members and the bloggers they recruited from our readership without trying to recreate the wheel, so-to-speak, and do it all on my own.

Kaitlyn’s “Blogging 101” presentation, which she had shared previously with me after using it in several of The Register Citizen’s blogging classes, was a great resource for me to have on hand. I used it to go over the basics with staff members on setting up a WordPress blog from scratch and encouraged each of them to send the document out to their recruits as well.

I ended up approaching 12 Record staffers to participate in this project over the last month – each of our seven reporters between news and sports and a few of our newsroom editors as well. As I had originally planned, I approached each employee in either a small group or one-on-one to make sure that I could engage each of them as I outlined the project and address any initial concerns they may have had.

Several of the employees involved had some ideas of potential bloggers ready to go from Day 1 and were quickly able to secure the interest of their recruits and help me get blogs added to within a week or two.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Using Photosynth to create 360-degree images of news scenes

Photosynth is a free online tool available which "synths" several photos together, allowing you to create 360-degree views of any scene you'd like without very much effort.

While you can view the completed "synths" online using both a Windows PC and a Mac once you've downloaded the Silverlight plug-in, you need to use a Windows computer to create each project. This makes sense since Photosynth is a Microsoft-run project.

The first thing you need to do when you're ready to start trying this website/software out is a group of photos which will be stitched together.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

NYPA 2011 convention, part two - LinkedIn, Computer-Assisted Reporting

As promised, here are some more of the great tips that I picked up while at the New York Press Association's annual convention last weekend.

When most people think of the social media networks making the most noise these days, their minds instantly go to Facebook and Twitter. Those are the ones you tend to hear about most often in day-to-day life for keeping up with your friends, family, and colleagues, as well as the world.

Growing somewhat in the background for the last few years, but regularly on the mind of business professionals and job seekers versed in the digital would, was LinkedIn, a networking site which now has 70 million members worldwide.

I attended this session, led by Shannon Kinney, with fellow Record editor/community engagement guru Rebecca Eppelmann. As she has already done a great blog post on the information we took from the session, I'd recommend her post on the subject for Read more »

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NYPA 2011 seminar in Saratoga Springs, Part 1

Over the weekend I was able to once-again attend the New York Press Association's annual convention at the Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs, a meeting of staffers from mostly weekly publications across the state which gathers a number a great presenters each year to talk about a variety of topics in the field.

On Friday I attended a great session on the effective use of Social Media by Regina McCombs of the Poynter Institute (here are all of her links from the presentation) and walked away with some great tips that I hope to soon be able to incorporate into The Record's newsroom.

One of these was that journalists can develop relationships with their audience via their personal Twitter accounts. This was not new information, as I had heard it and tried to stress it to our Record reporters in the past. However, the example she provided - journalist Jason DeRusha (@derushaj on Twitter) - was especially interesting since he posts the stories he’s working on every morning and gets user input, not worrying about other news outlets competing for the story first.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Social Media forum instructional for newspaper staff and public

Cailin Brown and Rhea Drysdale.

We had another great community forum at The Record on Thursday, Mar. 31 which focused on getting the most out of Social Media.

Rhea Drysdale, CEO of Outspoken Media in Troy, talked about the benefits of using social media for personal branding, using tools for two-way conversations, and using tools like TweetDeck and others to manage data feeds.

Cailin Brown, an associate professor who teaches journalism at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, discussed the benefits of social media from a journalism perspective, based on her experience both as a reporter and professor, including some of what she currently teaches as best practices to her students.

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