How fear cripples courageous newsrooms

Posted: September 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | View Comments

To Roger Fidler, 1995 represented a sea change in journalism.

For the last three years, Fidler had been directing the Information Design Lab at Knight-Ridder Inc., the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain.

Up until that point, things were looking good. Under the leadership of Jim Batten, a reporter/editor turned chairman, the company was flourishing. It owned about 30 newspapers across the U.S. and was posting millions in profits.

With Batten at the helm, the company was also investing in R&D amid a period of rapid technological change. From the IDL facility in Boulder, Colo., located right next door to an Apple Computer Inc. lab,  Fidler led a staff of 10 people who were tinkering with a variety of new media techniques. They worked closely with their next-door neighbors to develop content for the Newton, a PDA predecessor. They had close ties with Japanese electronics firms Toshiba and NEC. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 5 Android apps for breaking news

Posted: August 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , | View Comments

pressAndroidAfter 30 long months with my faithful Nokia 6126, I finally broke down and splurged on a new phone. I’m now the proud owner of a MyTouch 3G.

There’s so much about this phone that excites me, mainly because I’m a geek who doesn’t typically get my hands on new technology until it’s cheap enough to be evaluated in terms of the number of meals I’ll have to skip to afford it. So for a mere 200 double cheeseburgers, I have finally gained entry into the smartphone club, much to the dismay of people who are actually hip.

In just a fews day, I was blown away by the potential of this device to help in the reporting of spot news.

There’s already been some talk about iPhone apps that have the potential to revolutionize mobile journalism. But check out how five apps from the Android market can enhance the way news is gathered, produced and delivered — even from the field. Read the rest of this entry »

Why e-editions are so 2001

Posted: April 15th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | View Comments

Other products under development at The News & Observer: The Newsboy Tamagotchi!

To be honest, I thought it was an April Fools joke.

On a day rife with bad spoof articles and terrible gags, I figured when blogger Ginny Skalski tweeted that Raleigh’s metro daily, The News & Observer, was going to begin distribution of an electronic edition, it was just another one of those things that would go away when the clock struck midnight and the pranksters hung it up for another year.

I was wrong. In an e-mail sent out Tuesday, The News & Observer was “proud” to hawk it’s newest product, the N&O e-edition.

Aside from the fact that the hip name already includes abbreviations, which is sure to draw the texting crowd (r u srs?), the paper’s marketing team also highlighted some of the other features of its “newest newspaper product.”

The e-edition is a digital replica of the print newspaper, available on your computer 7 days a week.  It’s visually pleasing and reads like the real thing – perfect for the traveler, youngster or mover and shaker in your family.

I would love more than anything to join the managers at the N&O in a hearty laugh and a hard drink and congratulate them on a prank well pulled.

But they’re not smiling. Read the rest of this entry »

'Game over man, game over'

Posted: March 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , | View Comments

co_rmnAs most people have already heard, The Rocky Mountain News went the way of the successful Wall Street trader and published its last issue on Friday. The move came after a month-long attempt by owner E.W. Scripps Co. to sell the Colorado tabloid.

Being the cynical, often disinterested guy I am, I didn’t think I’d be affected by the paper’s closure like I was.

It’s not that I didn’t expect it.

I’ve been in a lot of the arguments over the years about whether newspapers  and journalism are dying and I try to keep up as best I can with the blackness that is the state of the industry. I read Romenesko religiously,  I keep in touch with all my furloughed friends and I watch the increasingly prophetic earnings reports from the major media companies. But like all good journalists who express their feelings through alcohol consumption, I tried not to let the bad news get to me. Read the rest of this entry »