Storytelling apps to try from ONA13

coding, Journalism

As part of the UGA ONA group that attended the Online News Association conference in Atlanta this past week, we all covered a few sessions. I really enjoyed this one about new storytelling apps that are free and easy. Posting here for my benefit, but feel free to peruse and use as well.

 

Innovative Storytelling on a Shoestring #lowcosttools

11:45 am Friday

(Covered by Carolyn Crist)

Christopher Wink, Technically

Tiffany Shackelford, executive director of Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Christopher Wink ‏@christopherwink17 Oct

New ways to tell stories http://ona13.journalists.org/sessions/innovative-storytelling-on-a-shoestring/ … Tomorrow @tiffanyshack and I are sharing ideas for inspiration. Yours? #lowcosttools #ona13


Christopher Wink ‏@christopherwink18 Oct

@ONAConf Our list of Innovative Storytelling Ideas can be found here https://docs.google.com/a/aan.org/document/d/1rQCigt1un1Sad3fL2UDKsaDBM-QaklwD2HaX8pbPD7s/edit … Would love to hear more #lowcosttools #ONA13


Rebecca Aguilar ‏@RebeccaAguilar19h

Tweets from #ONA13 #LowCostTools for News http://sfy.co/jTgK  #storify #lowcosttools #ona13 @newstreadmill

We’re not going to talk about: citizen journalists, Knight Foundation money, highly technical examples


Amy Z. Quinn ‏@AmyZQuinn18 Oct

What @christopherwink @tiffanyshack aren’t going to talk about: citizen journalists, getting grants, or unworkable high-tech. #lowcosttools

Crowdsourcing doesn’t have to suck. Partnerships can work.

 

#1 Partnerships — easily translated to waste of time

You can’t start with revenue.

WHYY Newsworks Philly NPR affiliate, going through budget mess — how many times can you write that story? Q&A with humor and trying to explain charter schools (use local comedian to promote her stuff but also explain their news in a funny way)


Amy Z. Quinn ‏@AmyZQuinn18 Oct

Partnerships: they don’t have to suck. But they can’t be about revenue, has to be storytelling, says @christopherwink  #lowcosttools

 

The Media Consortium, Assoc Alt News Media story about Plan B approved for OTC use

whereisyourplanb.com — WordPress site that pulls in past reporting about update

 

Graphic artist wanted publicity, instead get artist to cover conference and draw a Web comic about a startup event — different way to tell a story and later he became a paid freelancer for themTeresa Gorman ‏@gteresa18 Oct

@christopherwink says – ‘remember what your mission is.’ What does your audience NEED? #lowcosttools

#2 Crowdsourcing — feels like making out with lot of people don’t know


sherylrockin ‏@sherylrockin18 Oct

“Crowd-sourcing can feel like making out with a bunch of people you don’t know”- if you don’t do it right. Key. #ONA13 #lowcosttools

 

Curating your community, not speaking to.

Embed strategy of tweets, instagram

#MyMadisonDay from Wisconsin paper, use hashtag to talk about their day, putting it together get a taste of the community, compelling look at mundane to interesting, been one of most popular stories


Brian Creech ‏@brcreech18 Oct

Running theme of #ONA13 : pay attention to the people, human stories behind the digital tools. #lowcosttools

 

Wikipedia is largest crowdsourced site. Have a Wikipedia day and source yourself because it’ll tell stories in new way, why not share what you’ve been doing.

 

#3 Technology — VCR? 🙂 Doesn’t have to suck or be intimidating.

infogr.am: Create interactive infographics.

visual.ly: More visual data content

RebelMouse

Zeega

ZooBurst — digital storytelling tool to create 3D pop-up book


Teresa Gorman ‏@gteresa18 Oct

@tiffanyshack says stop just looking at other news orgs for ideas of what to do. Take off the blinders #lowcosttools #ona13

 

Take off blinders. Look for ideas and tools outside of journalism. Look for ones dedicated to educators. Some are easier than ones for journalists.

 

Know why you’re trying to tell a story.


Mila Sanina ‏@pgMila18 Oct

. @tiffanyshack thought that there needed to be a pop-up book explaining the #governmentshutdown http://zooburst.com  #lowcosttools

#4 Staff – Know what they do and use it.

Musicians, artists, infographics

Charleston City Paper — writer is blacksmith, took photos of his friends in crafting community

 

What about your people didn’t come on the resume?


Paul Berry ‏@pauleberry18 Oct

Flexible staff: Learn what your staff wants to do outside of their roles. This requires getting to know your coworkers. #lowcosttools #ona13

#5 Formats — What is news, anyway?

Ignore limits.

 

NPR did Today in 1963. Live events that happened 50 years ago. Powerful and compelling experience and cost them nothing. What has happened in your community that you can do?

 

Annotated guide to 2011 – Washington City Paper

Alphabetized at top, blurbs of what happened, was popular and great way to wrap up year — know what happened in the year in 10 minutes, linked to old stories so use old work


Melody Kramer ‏@mkramer18 Oct

Good way to encapsulate year: annotate it, like @wcp did: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/41870/guide-to-2011/ … #lowcosttools #ona13

#6 Evergreen — What about content that lasts? It could help with sponsorships!

By the numbers: How the Treasure Valley’s school district adds up

Go through public data and make long list of numbers

Boise, Idaho paper did graphics about school money spent on textbooks, gifted numbers, percent of students who take advanced math classes

 

The Road c-ville.com/the-bypass

Albemarle County’s three-decade fight over the Western Bypass, Charlottesville, VA bypass

(partnered with small technology shop to do Snowfall-like scrolling page and maps and more)


Sara Clarke ‏@seclarke18 Oct

“Snowfall can suck it.” – @tiffanyshack at #lowcosttools #ONA13

 

Disclosures are important if you help organize a city council hearing or introduce a weeklong event and then cover it — Technical.ly Baltimore Innovation Week

 

Long island Press — special report Ripple Effect

cool presentation and storytelling but then no one looked at it, bar listings more popular

 

Sometimes when you’re trying to do a story on broccoli, it’s just broccoli.


Chris March ‏@marchmcfly18 Oct

#Lowcosttools Takeaway: Failing is okay. If you try something new and no one cares, move on, and try something else. But keep trying #ONA13


cristcarolyn ‏@cristcarolyn18 Oct

Once again, in a #ONA13 session being spammed on Twitter. Good job #lowcosttools.

 

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ONA13 techs me up, I’m zooming through Codecademy

coding, Journalism

The Online News Association 2013 conference in Atlanta really hammered the idea I’ve been thinking for some time — I need to freaking know how to code. So I came home Saturday and immediately started working on Codecademy. I’ve completed the HTML and CSS sections (refreshing what I learned a few years ago) and am now learning Javascript. I even laughed about infinite loops last night and posted about it on Facebook.

See here? Nerd.

javascript laugh

This pairs nicely with my favorite session from ONA — discussing what new story formats are. Are articles considered particles, waves, or things? I even tweeted with David Cohn of Cir.ca during the session. What a way to meet people online!

Here you go:

Optimizing Your Narrative: An Exploration of New Story Formats #evolvingnarratives

10:30 am Friday

(Covered by Carolyn Crist)

Zach Seward – Senior Editor, Quartz

Pablo Mercado – VP of Technology, Vox Media

Trei Brundrett – Chief Product Officer, Vox Media


Alfred Hermida ‏@Hermida18 Oct

Packed room for #evolvingnarratives at #ONA13 with @clockwerks @odacrem and  @zseward

Trei –

Big idea: How do we cover evolving narratives?

Stories are evolving through social and search and are always unfolding.

What type of experience is valuable for users?

Use media to keep people updated as they unfold.


Marena Galluccio ‏@MarenaGalluccio18 Oct

Not important: how we think about it, but rather how we portray and use it #evolvingnarratives #ONA13

 

And how do we organize content? Topic pages was it for awhile.

Liveblogs for some stories.

Articles. Let’s blow that up.


Martha Kang ‏@Martha_Kang18 Oct

.@clockwerks How do we cover evolving narratives? And what type of experience is valuable for users?  #evolvingnarratives #ONA13

 

The idea of “StoryStreams”

 

Pablo –

Particles or waves?

Let’s back up to the 1800s when folks were figuring out the nature of life. There was an idea that light was a particle, but it was then also understood as a wave motion. For a long time, people thought it was one thing, but then it was useful to think about it in other terms. That paradigm shift led to advances, and we’re experiencing a similar shift in news now.

 

We need to adapt our thinking and our systems to account for this paradigm shift in news.


Phil Tenser ‏@pstenser18 Oct

Attending first formal #ona13 session of my day, #evolvingnarratives. Are stories particles or waves? pic.twitter.com/D9AUirYWgy


dana lacey ‏@danalacey18 Oct

Metaphor! Science accepted that light = particles. Then someone realized it also = waves, opening up massive innovation. #evolvingnarratives

 

 

Trei –

Every night is Election Night in the sports department.

–Explosion of social sources

–Rapid acceleration of news cycle

–Social and search discovery

–Increasing mobile consumption


Ariella Monti ‏@AriellaM18 Oct

Every night is Election Night in the Sports Department because something is always happening #evolvingnarratives #ONA13

 

 

In the past, AP would write an article and then push out another article. Our blogger mentality was to put an update at the bottom of the post. But we needed a new native format for these.

–Organize around stories and not topics

–Atomic unit of content is not the article

–Reverse chronological is familiar format for blogging

–Quick, in line publishing

–Include search

 

Kelly Chen ‏@chenkx18 Oct

Organize around stories, not topic because that was the story unforming. People want stories. #evolvingnarratives #ona13

 

Updates are pushed to you in the app. Launched as StoryStreams in 2009, and Google did Living Stories experiment for a story that keeps evolving. So many companies are trying this. Cir.ca has done this with mobile app chunking, and the workflow is designed to create stories in this way.


Karen Workman ‏@KarenWorkman18 Oct

“So when you come into a story, you find yourself in a stream of content.” — @clockwerks #evolvingnarratives

 

Workflow questions

When do you create a stream?

Who creates a stream?

Multiple authors in the stream?

Original writing vs. curating


Chienyi Cheri Hung ‏@cyhung18 Oct

news stream – As w/ everything, there are workflow Qs: when? who? multiauthors? Original vs curating? – @odacrem #evolvingnarratives #ona13

 

 

Streams for each team on SBNation. Nice to see all of those bloom, about 300 of them.

 

Pablo –

When trying to deal with new formats and cover stories in a way more like a wave, you have to consider workflow issues.

 

Design:

What order? (Give reader the option to switch it?)

Indication of sequence? Time?

Updates of equal importance?

Brief vs. in-depth

Summarizing current status

Sidebars that tell you where you are in the story? Live updates pop up while you read story?


Sebastian Horn ‏@herrhorn18 Oct

Another big challenge for news streams: how to present and summarize the story to readers who just joined in?  #evolvingnarratives

 

 

Distribution:

Everything at one URL?

Updates on individual URLs?

How does Google see this content?

All updates distributed to RSS/Facebook/Twitter?


David Smydra ‏@smydrad18 Oct

“How does Google see this content?” Admittedly, not as cleanly as static articles; but we’re getting better. #evolvingnarratives #ONA13

 

 

Zach – Verge (created 2012)

Things. I want to push back and make an argument for particles. There’s a fundamental tension here.


Matt Frehner ‏@mattfrehner18 Oct

Crux of discussion at #evolvingnarratives: what is the atomic unit of a story? The article page, or something more fundamental? #ONA13

 

 

There’s no demand for landing pages.

There’s no demand for packages.

There’s no demand for articles.

*May even argue there’s no demand for news.

 

I don’t think anyone has ever said, “I really love this landing page.”

 

Rachel Nixon ‏@rachelnixon18 Oct

Controversial… No demand for landing pages, story packages or even possibly articles says @zseward in #evolvingnarratives session #ONA13


Sebastian Horn ‏@herrhorn18 Oct

“Nobody ever says ‘I really love this landing page'” @zseward  #evolvingnarratives

 

 

We know the supply side we can do. What about demand?

PEW shows that not long ago people were equally divided between not having a news habit and having news habits at breakfast or checking CNN.com at their desks at lunch.

 

The new news habit it no habit at all.


Jesse Rutledge ‏@jesserutledge18 Oct

“The new news habit is no habit at all.” #ONA13 #evolvingnarratives

 

 

Push vs. pull media (grab a paper vs get from CNN), how dramatically different news consumption habits have changed in a very short period of time. That forces us to think about things quite differently. When you’re pulling, there’s more room for packages. When pushing, there’s a tendency toward as much atomization as possible and distilling into “things.”

 

They’re diffuse constellation of sources than anything else.

Split among social media, news sites, direct, search

 

Things are the grist of the social web

They are the stuff people share: “Hey look at this thing.”

Headline style of “six trends to watch for” and “the chart Tim Cook doesn’t want you to see”

Articles are something that can be passed around and frame them as that.


dana lacey ‏@danalacey18 Oct

Majority of @Qz traffic comes via the side door — social media. #evolvingnarratives #ONA13

 

 

Quartz traffic comes from side door — social media

Facebook is most shared news stories — most are satellite photos or Steve Jobs patent interactive, letters by Warren Buffett and Steve Jobs’ sister — visuals, raw statements

 

NPR piece on inside joke on Arrested Development — flabbergasting in its scope

complete history of Twitter as told through New York Times


Kyle Stokes ‏@kystokes18 Oct

The @nprapps Arrested Development inside jokes viz gets a shout-out at #ona13. Here it is: http://n.pr/13tW5tY  #evolvingnarratives

 

 

“Thing” is authoritative take on subject — sells you a bit promise, things don’t have to be short but have to be surprising fact, chart, photo, authoritative feature, exclusive bit of news, strong argument, good headline, quip

… Things are always just one thing.


Catherine Cloutier ‏@cmcloutier18 Oct

.@zseward: “Think about articles as something that can be passed around and frame them in that way.” #evolvingnarratives


Chienyi Cheri Hung ‏@cyhung18 Oct

“Things are always just one thing” but it needn’t be short. Could be long narrative too. – @zseward #ONA13  #evolvingnarratives

 

Q&A

Trei: When do updates, may write-thru if there were tons of updates that need to be summarized, not worried about duplication. Push new pieces in and summarize if narrative has turned. If wrong, make update to point out that previous was wrong. Leave it there to reference and push out correction.

 

StoryStream isn’t liveblog in the sense that it doesn’t give full play-by-play and detail.

 

Zach: Wikipedia is good at updating news events but not a good read until after the fact. You don’t refresh the page and read through it. Pitch as “everything you need to know about xx” or “ultimate explainer of xx” rather than portraying it as a landing page. The technical differences may not be much, but in terms of demand, effect is different.

 

Zach on Circa: acknowledge they are experimenting, do atomize in chunks but there’s no way to liberate as individual chunks, what can spread is on story or topic level, sense as a user is you see they’ve done more news coverage that feels “thingy” lately because there’s no web component, on web and ways to spread, native app is different and more as a service, makes sense what they’re thinking, at least can’t imagine find solution for native apps works as well on web or vice versa, very different


cristcarolyn ‏@cristcarolyn18 Oct

Yes! Wish they were here to talk. More questions about @Circa at #ONA13 and how they handle atomization of news. #evolvingnarratives


David Cohn ‏@Digidave18 Oct

#evolvingnarratives panel at #ONA13 sounds like circa vocabulary (atomic units of news) getting more acceptance. @Circa narratives evolve.

 

Thei on Circa: Have talked to them, adding metadata to bits they have, ability to reference them and reconstitute them

 

Zach: Organize around obsessions. If people follow enough threads, it may make a sweater. We’re never claiming to be whole story (from ethics point of view)


cristcarolyn ‏@cristcarolyn18 OctYou know it’s a good session when #evolvingnarratives #ONA13 starts getting spammed. Good job, guys.

Catcher in the Rye = serial killer

Journalism, Observations, Writing and Reading

When I picked up Mein Kampf, the investigator also asked if I had ever read Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I haven’t, but it is most definitely on my reading list for this summer. I’ve been meaning to read it for years now.

“15 out of 18 serial killers own the book, you know,” he said, and we laughed about how he has read the book. It may not mean anything psychologically, but atleast the little random fact is interesting.

Just thought I’d let you know what I’m learning from the police 😀

Mein Kampf at a police station

Journalism, Observations, Writing and Reading

When I went to the Newnan Police Department yesterday to look for crime and story ideas, I found Mein Kampf on my favorite detective’s bookshelf. As I was glancing at the books on the shelf, I laughed aloud.

“Shooting, How to Talk to Your Teens about Drinking, and Mein Kampf. Nice.”

He admitted that the book was his, and I expressed interest in reading it to actually see what Hitler had written. There are many sides to every story. Even though he conducted destructive and horrifying techniques, no one can deny that he was very successful.

So I took the book. Maybe I’ll actually read it this summer.

Famous in Coweta County?

Journalism, Observations

So before I went to the office today I walked to the local coffee shop down the street. A man sitting on a random bench shouted out, “Hey do you work at the paper?”

Me–“Uh…yeah.”

Him–“Yeah, I thought so. I was sitting here thinking, ‘Hey, that looks like the girl who’s interning at the paper this summer.’ I saw your picture in the paper yesterday. You’re getting famous already!”

Me–“I’m trying?”

Okay…so when interns join the paper, the first assignment is to write a bio about how they’re on staff. When I went to cover Career Day at a local elementary school today (awww), Mr. Carpet (yes you read that correctly…He calls himself that…) said that he liked my job description.

What?

Ha.

Undercover police work?

Journalism, Observations

Okay so I went to the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office yesterday with the county crime and courts reporter and visited a few people I knew from last year. I’m really surprised that exciting crimes are down in the county right now… 🙂 It’s all DUIs and minor marijuana charges.

Where are the prostitution spas and murderers when you need them?

Anyways, one of the invetigators who met me for the first time asked how old I was. When I told him I’m 19, he asked me if I would like to do undercover work. Apparently I could help out with underage drinking violations, although I’m not sure what they’d have me do that wouldn’t technically be entrapment.

Needless to say, I told them to keep me in mind.

I’m also thinking about taking their self defense course or being tazered. I know that sounds really stupid, but I’m sure it’d be an interesting experience. As we left, the crime reporter was telling me about how she had tried it when she went to report on one of the workshops (because policemen who use a tazer must experience it first so they know what they’re doing). All these huge men had to withstand 3 seconds, but she only had to do one second… 🙂

Another thing I thought was pretty cool is one of those shooting practice programs in the basement of the jail. Do you remember the scene in Men in Black when Will Smith and the other recruits have to shoot aliens in the simulation, and it shows where each bullet went afterwards? Well there’s a program like that right here in Coweta County. Yeah, the crime reporter did that, too. Apparently this program can shoot fake bullets back at you, too, but she had that turned off when she practiced.

But once again I’m back here writing stories about Career Day at a local school. Any ideas I can report on?

The life of a young journalist

Journalism, Observations

Okay after a few months of letting the blog die, I think I will pick it back up again. The entries before these were pretty sad, so let’s see if I can find a niche and hold on to it.

I’m interning at the local newspaper in Newnan, Ga., this summer, and I run across crazy people and incidences all the time. Let’s see if I can find enough to blog about it on here.

Today’s observations: Some people in small towns are just so friendly. Last summer I interned here and went to the Newnan Police Department everyday to get incident reports and talk to the detectives. The secretary who prints out the incident reports remembered me and started talking about her bladder surgery in February… Atleast we should all be glad she’s back at work, right?

Oh and I should note the trends in my internship, too. I got here early today and was enthusiastic to type up anything. I took a 30 minute lunch break and came back to my desk. Oh, and I was also suckered into writing about parades on Memorial Day. So much for going to the lake with my family, eh?

By August, I’ll be coming in late like everyone else, trying to look busy so I don’t get so many more assignments, taking 1.5 to 2 hour long lunches and making excuses for why I may not be able to cover something that runs outside of my 9-5 work schedule. I’m not terrible…I’m just normal. Life will do it to you.

I look back on my articles from last year and have deduced that they basically suck. Hopefully this summer’s work will be better, and I’ll post any that really make me happy. I’ve been working on leads this year at The Red & Black…

At any rate, if you have any ideas for something I can write up, let me know!