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Category Archives: How-to guides

Time-saving tools help find, curate content for social media

Now your boss wants you to tweet three times a day, every day.

Something about building the newsroom’s brand and encouraging engagement with your audience.

Who has time for that these days? You’re already juggling three beats, taking your own photos and trying to learn the basics of smartphone video. Maybe, if there’s time, you can actually interview sources and put together a story.

Feeding the social media monster has replaced the newspaper challenge of yesteryear: filling the voluminous newshole. (To have “problems” like that again…)

Thankfully, several free and low-cost tools can help journalists find useful content to share on their social media channels. Investing a little time up front to set up a few search and curation services pays off every day — saving precious time to focus on reporting, writing and producing stories.

This chart summarizes tools that can help you find content, schedule posts and even automate some tasks. Descriptions follow of several key tools.

WorkFlow

Tools and services can help feed the social media beast. Dollar signs represent services that have a free component as well as premium, paid features.

At the Kiplinger Program, we’ve been experimenting for several months with tools to help us provide a steady stream of useful social media posts on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

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New Technologies Focus of Ethics Week

With the start of national Journalism Ethics Week, now is a perfect time for a review of our professional standards. While ethics is a daily review and execution, the last week of April each year is the time we set aside to mark the importance ethics play in our profession. Ethics matter every day, in every story, so let’s recalibrate our efforts beginning this week.

This year’s theme is Emerging Ethics: Best Practices for New Technology. Good choice since journalists struggle most with how to apply ethics to new forms of journalism.

As a service to Kiplinger readers, I’m sharing some of the highlights from the Social Media Ethics presentation I update and share each April during Kiplinger Fellowship Week. And, I’m sharing a number of sites you should visit to deepen your understanding of standards via codes of ethics and statements of ethical principles.

Keep this in mind when engaging in social media ethics:

  • Social media wasn’t invented with journalists in mind. It was invented for ordinary people who treat information and news values in a much different manner than trained journalists.
  • Journalists took up social media so they could better engage audiences, develop sources for reporting, push news content into an easier and more widely used medium and dwell amongst the populace.
  • Was there ever any expectations that social media communities would conform to journalism standards?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 11.56.39 AMWhat journalists soon realized was the community ethical standard for sharing information and engagement didn’t meet their standards (verification, sourcing, balance and fairness and accuracy.) The question is, how would journalists respond?

What are reasonable expectations for social media journalism?

  • We will make sure the truth always triumphs.
  • We will minimize harm to others.
  • We will always act responsibly and professionally.
  • We will be accountable for our mistakes.
  • We will avoid conflicts foremost and then be transparent when we can’t avoid.
  • We will verify information we produce and take from other outlets/sources.
  • We will be fair in treatment, balanced reporting.
  • We will avoid stereotyping.

Questions worth asking in your newsrooms, from situational to overarching ethics:

  •  Would you tweet something you wouldn’t put into print or in a broadcast?
  • Does your sourcing standards for social media differ from traditional?
  • Is speed a factor in good reporting? Is being first important?
  • Is context and perspective important?
  • Does your competition drive your decisions?
  • Is privacy a greater, lesser concern?
  • Should social media operate under a different set of standards that reflect the community temperament and not journalism?
  • Is truth, independence, reducing harm and accountability still relevant? What else? What isn’t?
  • What becomes of journalism if we change ethical standard for social media purposes?
  • What are the obligations of journalists with regards to standards?

 Lastly, check out these helpful sites for codes of ethics from the Society of Professional Journalists, Online News AssociationAssociated Press Managing Editors, American Society of Newspaper Editors, National Press Photographers Association and Radio, Television, Digital News Association.

 

 

 

 

 

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Panoramic, 3D photo apps put to test for journalists


360 Panorama shot inside the Ohio Union at Ohio State University. Hint: To view on a computer, click with one finger while swiping left to right with another, then releasing.

 

Think of the possibilities.

You’re in the middle of an intense news scene that words alone cannot describe. A fire has engulfed a block of houses, or a multi-vehicle crash shuts down the interstate.

Or maybe you’re writing a travel piece and stumble into a breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Or maybe the town’s star football player just got a new tattoo or broke his nose.

Two-dimensional photos are great. Yet what journalist hasn’t come across a scene that could be captured much better in 3D or panorama?

Time was (just a few years back) your photo staff would have to rent a GigaPan mechanical device to rotate a series of cameras, then spend hours calibrating and testing it. Kiplinger has one of those in storage.

But now a number of apps allow you — Reporters! Photographers! Anyone! — to capture surprisingly good-quality 3-D and panoramic images with simply a few taps on your smartphone.

After hearing a lot of buzz at recent journalism conferences, Kip decided to check some photo imaging apps out. We asked a photographer to test drive several. To be sure that they’re basic enough for everyone, we wordy types gave them a whirl, too. Big surprise: The photog liked them so much he decided to use them on assignment for his newspaper.

What we found:

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The skinny on recording apps, devices for journalists

Recording apps

Finding the right recording app can be a challenge for journalists.

Recording phone interviews got a whole lot trickier when journalists stepped out of the office and started using cells as primary contact numbers. As a freelance journalist, I fought my husband for years on giving up our home office landline because I didn’t want the poor-quality recordings that clunky suction mics produced.

That was 10 years ago. You would think that, given the leaps and bounds we’ve made in communications technology, we would have come further. Yet most cell recording options for roving journalists are still a bit “meh.” Bottom line: Almost none of the recording apps are free (no matter what they advertise), most recordings they produce are a somewhat muffled and many are cumbersome to operate.

Some options, though, are better than others. Here are a few that Kip Program — and journalists we know — have luck using.

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Top 5 Storify tips for journalists

Storify can help manage the firehose of tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook posts and other social media tidbits that threaten to drown us daily.

The free service allows users to curate public social media content in creative ways to tell stories. For instance, several news organizations used Storify to report on events in Ferguson, Missouri, after a grand jury decided against indicting the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen. The Mashable story makes terrific use of tweets, photos and videos to put the reader on the ground in the aftermath of the decision.

Mashable Storify

Because all of the content links to its original location (and credits whomever posted it), Storify avoids copyright infringement — whether the Storify is freestanding or embedded on an organization’s website.

At the Kiplinger Program, we strive to #PracticeWhatYouTeach. Here are our Top 5 tips for using Storify effectively:

1. Set up your Storify in advance. 

Whether you’re covering an event or breaking news, save time by setting up a Storify template in advance. Think about how to organize the story. Write explainer text and create links to websites with supplemental information. Find an image that works as a dominant visual. Prominently display the hashtag you’ve decided to use. For our Kiplinger Digital Media Summit, we created a Storify organized by the sessions at our workshop. In advance, we listed the speakers and built links to their LinkedIn profiles for biographical information. Continue reading

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