News forms of the future

pumpkin_pieWe may lose someday newspapers in their traditional form, but we’re seeing a flourishing of alternatives fill those lost pieces of pie.

Some are more skeptical of how quickly we’ll be able to bring back the creation of that news, but through variation, experimentation and loyalty, it my well be done.

I very much see a future of journalism handled by an endless collection of small niche, targeted news sites, big investigative work done by nonprofits and foundation-funded, independents, in addition to a  handful of big news organizations finding their own niche — the NPR network and modified newspaper businesses like the New York Times owning international, the Wall Street Journal owning business (though they’re competing), USA Today and the Washington Post focusing on the national.

Below, I offer a hastily put together, rough breakdown of that.

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My favorite standard Microsoft fonts

These are fonts that graphic designers would appreciate, below are ones that they wouldn't.

Design and development types take fonts very seriously. They even make documentaries about them.

By almost no one’s standards am I either. Still, I love a good fight over typeface. Why I’d really never fit the mold as a serious graphic designer, though, is because I’m not one to giggle at the standard set of Microsoft fonts. Indeed, there are a handful I actually quite like.

At the risk of facing the wrath of design quarters, below I share some of my favorite fonts that you probably have on every standard PC word processor, design application and font kit around.

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Ten things a journalist should never do

Poynter curated a list of 100 things a journalist should never do.

As these things tend to do, it became a rambling collections of do’s and don’ts, but it was interesting nonetheless. Ten stuck with me as among the most important.

  1. Strive for context rather than information. Information is plentiful, context is scarce. (@rsm4lsu)
  2. Journalists should be skeptical, not cynical. (@jmestepa)
  3. Always make your last question “Is there anything else I should have asked?” (@jamessaft)
  4. A journalist should never be a friendly dog when reporting and then go snake at the keyboard. ABC. Always Be Congruent. (@carr2n)
  5. Always be willing to let any answer — including one on deadline — completely change the story’s direction.
  6. Journalists should be available. Let people know how to e-mail you, call, IM, DM or otherwise get in touch.
  7. Journalists should be active community members. If you aren’t of the people, you aren’t by the people or for the people.
  8. Journalists should be comfortable with silence during interviews. You’ll hear & learn more if you’re not talking.
  9. Journalists should never plead ignorance about the business of news, who pays, how & why. It’s not purist, it’s irresponsible.
  10. “Look for stories people might miss, even standing next to you. Be curious about seemingly ordinary lives.” http://ow.ly/IS94

New Jersey: the global epicenter of hyperlocal news

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Update: See October coverage from Newsweek and N.J. Monthly.

When the media history books (ha, I mean, media history e-reader files) look back at the beginnings of online hyperlocal news, there will be a clear battlegrounds.

New Jersey.

Gannet has gone big in the Garden State with its InJersey collective, and the New York Times first dabbled in town-specific news with Maplewood. Baristanet, the gray old lady of hyperlocal news, calls Montclair, in Essex County, home, and, while it has pushed into Connecticut and onto Long Island, AOL’s Patch network got its roots in the Jerz.

The reasons why, of course, are pretty clear.

Continue reading New Jersey: the global epicenter of hyperlocal news

Required reading from 2009 for hyperlocal news entrepreneurs

If you’ve walked into 2010 with plans on becoming, remaining or sustaining a hyperlocal news venture, there is lots you should already know and have already read.

Still, while thumbing through some links I thought were particularly important, I managed to find five stories from 2009 I think are most valuable.

  1. A Brief History of Hyperlocal News by Keith Hopper
  2. 10 new routines for a Hyperlocal news site by Nieman Journalism Lab
  3. Can the Grey Lady sell ads to hyperlocal businesses by Econsultancy
  4. Let’s build an ecosystem around hyperlocal bloggers by Jeff Jarvis for Guardian
  5. Ad shift throws blogs a business lifeline by New York Times

And, if I could, I might, hesitantly and humbly, also suggest folks read my “Hyperlocal news: a definition,” which argues that there is an important distinction between local and hyperlocal. Might be worth it.

What else might you add to this list?

My 10 best read posts of 2009

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Earlier this month, I bought another year on this domain and began a third year posting here. Back in February, I had my 500th post and am just shy of my 700th now. In July, I launched the self-hosted version of this site, which has left quite a bit of Google juice over at the free version here.

Anniversaries abound, so why not celebrate the end of another calendar year by noting the 10 best read posts I had of the past 12 months.

Continue reading My 10 best read posts of 2009

Hyperlocal news sites worth following

targeted-marketing

Updated @ 1:50 p.m. 11/07/10 Someone is doing a better job of keeping this up to date, so check that out.

*Updated @ 9:36 a.m. 12/23/09 **Many thanks to Jess Durkin for others.

I don’t think anyone’s arguing that a big portion of the future of news will be this hyperlocal movement that continues to dominate the conversation and has grown in focus for many years.

So, I’m surprised to say I haven’t been able to find is a comprehensive list of already existing products. This isn’t going to be that list, but let’s give it a start. Help me highlight the existing, active hyperlocal news sites worth following.

Read my definition of What is hyperlocal news?

Continue reading Hyperlocal news sites worth following

Five reasons I should be professionally scared, but am (usually) not

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Click to enlarge.

Americans aged 24 or younger could be part of a “lost generation,” says a new cover story from Business Week.

For people just starting their careers, the damage may be deep and long-lasting, potentially creating a kind of “lost generation.” Studies suggest that an extended period of youthful joblessness can significantly depress lifetime income as people get stuck in jobs that are beneath their capabilities, or come to be seen by employers as damaged goods.

It’s the latest stylish trend piece at a time when general stories on an economy that might not return for two or three years are already old hat. A lot of the numbers are fuzzy and the effect may be questionable, but there’s no questioning that it’s daunting for many 20-somethings.

We graduated and walked into perhaps the worst economy since before our grandparents were our age. A few more distinctions this author has taken on has made those statistics seem even more frightening, but outside of the occasional sobbing, I try to remind myself that there’s no better time or place in the world than where I am now.

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I'm buying a house and looking for help

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Update August 31 @ 2:24 p.m.: I was pre-approved but for far less than expected, just $100,000, though I do have some savings that I could put to a larger down-payment. That said, some of my priorities have to be changed. Broadly speaking, I’m looking for a home that is selling at or not far beyond $100,000, is livable but could use real work. Some of my specific interests, though, are below.

Sometime next week, I’m told, I’ll be pre-approved for an FHA-backed mortgage through PNC Bank.

I hope to write about the process here a bit, particularly from the take of a self-employed young person, so it has relevance.

But to start,I’m beginning a more serious hunt for real estate in Philadelphia — a likely, but not certain decision to buy my first home in the 215.

I don’t have an agent. On the advice of a friend who plans to take the real estate exam next month, I’m starting by sharing what I want in that purchase and looking a bit on my own using powerful Web searches.

If I pick a neighborhood on which I am certain and come across an agent I trust who has some experience in that ‘hood, perhaps that’s someone who could represent me.

I’m a young, pre-approved first-time home buyer who is currently renting month-to-month and serious about for what I’m looking. I’m told I’m someone an agent might like to work with. While my pre-approval limit hasn’t yet been fed my way, it will likely be below $200,000, though I’ll be bargain hunting for something well below that.

Below, I share just what it is I want and will take any help or advice I can get.

Continue reading I'm buying a house and looking for help

My guest post on studying in Ghana and other personal travel blogs of interest

dateline-accra

I was asked to guest post on Dateline Accra, the small, personal travel blog of Stephen Zook, a young journalist whose spirit I adored when I was editing his copy a few years ago at The Temple News, the college newspaper I once worked and this year he’ll lead. He is studying in Accra, the capital city of Ghana in West Africa, this summer.

This was my contribution:

Don’t be afraid of the satchel water.

Pretty quickly on in the urbanized sprawl of greater Accra in coastal Ghana, you just might notice that the kids buy plastic bags of water, a corner of which they bite off to chug the contents. If no one convinces you otherwise, you just might stick to the bottled variety.

Don’t be afraid of the satchel water — that much I learned.

I spent a portion of summer 2005 studying at the University of Ghana in East Legon outside of the capital city of Accra. It wasn’t long enough to fully familiarize myself with even the university, set aside the city, the country or the region and Hell if I have even a taste of the continent, as one of the great lessons from travel should be that cultural learning comes from decades not days in a place. I did, however, pick up that the satchel water was refreshing, cheap and unique. Read the rest here.

Before he left, I promised him a beer when he returned. Now, I think he owes me one.

I hope he has a transcendent summer, explores and shares everything he can on that site. I also hope he builds traffic to share his story. He’s using Twitter, though he has some ground he can certainly make, as he’ll have plenty of compelling stories to tell.

Of course, this made me realize I follow a handful of low-traffic, personal travel blogs of friends or acquaintances who offer interesting reading. After the jump, peep seven such blogs that might be worth your time, whether you know the writers and their locations or not.

Continue reading My guest post on studying in Ghana and other personal travel blogs of interest