houston-chronicle-1955

A note of thanks to all the editors of the world

For much of the 20th century, the newspaper industry had this curious role filled by “rewrite men” — though, of course, women, too, served these positions. For breaking on-the-scene news, when telegraphs and then faxes couldn’t do the trick, a reporter would get on the phone with a rewrite man and assemble a story live, using notes and standard formatting.

The reporter would speak his story — an impressive feat, actually, having heard a few veterans do this and often trying it to keep up the old tradition — and the rewrite man would record it, transcribe it, clean it up and run it. If you talk to a newspaper reporter of a certain age, she might have stories about the good rewrite men and bad rewrite men. The good ones would take your rough story and turn it into a gem (with the help of other editors too). A rewrite man might go years without ever seeing his byline in a newspaper, never getting any official acknowledgement of his work to put out a finished piece of copy.

Continue reading

Number of Views:2178
A photo of a Serengeti lion from a web interactive from National Geographic.

Innovative News Storytelling: 5 ways and dozens of examples

Define the mission underpinning the work of your news organization, and then allow yourself to experiment with new and potentially better ways of telling stories.

That’s my interest in finding new innovative storytelling methods, and so I was excited by the chance to share examples with nearly 100 reporters and educators who visited a session I cohosted during a national news innovation conference in Atlanta last week.

Know why you’re doing your coverage and find the method that best creates that outcome. While that may mean a beautiful, highly produced product like the Serengeti Lion web interactive from National Geographic, depicted above, my focus here is sharing low-cost or free ideas for inspiration.

Continue reading

Number of Views:5853
Before speaking before this Online News Association 2013 national conference session audience, I was on a Google for Media panel.

5 things I told Google about innovative local reporting online

Before the full Online News Association conference kicked off in Atlanta, I was on a panel discussion about lessons from local reporting online during an event Google held for members of the media.

I was joined by Joaquin Alvarado from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Thomas Wheatley from Atlanta’s Creative Loafing and Bryan Leavoy from WSB-TV and the moderator Daniel Sieberg from Google.

Continue reading

Number of Views:854
notatsxsw-drink-philly

Design elements you should steal from our Technical.ly redesign

After four years with the same Technical.ly Philly WordPress theme and six months after our Baltimore launch, we united our brands with a complete redesign under Technical.ly in March.

The design was led by Tom Rose and we partnered on the WordPress development (WordPress multisite) with WebDev Studios. We’re still making our way through bugs and looking toward a second phase, but I’m proud enough of a few design elements that I want to share.

My colleague Brian Kirk and I put no less than a year of thought into the effort, so we offered considerable direction and then watched Tom and WebDev exceed in making those plans a reality. Read a more general assessment of the redesign on our company blog here, and find a recap of our old site here.

Below, find some small elements that I’m most proud of and think should inform your design work.

Continue reading

Number of Views:16242
The 110 members and staff of the 2012-2013 Leadership Philadelphia class at Girard College in September 2012.

My experience taking the 10-month LEADERSHIP Philadelphia core class

LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is a more than 50 year old civic society development nonprofit that has been the model for similar groups around the country. Among its programs, its furthest reaching is the annual Core Class, which selectively takes 110 mostly mid-career candidates from corporate, philanthropic, institutional and community groups and takes them through a 10-month program about Philadelphia, leadership and civil society.

Since 1993, Liz Dow, the well-connected, well-regarded, clear leader has been the nonprofit’s executive director, and I was blessed to come to know her in the past three years. It’s through that very meaningful relationship, with someone whom I have come to consider a confidant, that I was offered the chance to apply for and be accepted into the 2013 Core Class.

As the next class gets settled, I wanted to digest what I learned from the experience.

Continue reading

Number of Views:11078