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Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

February 8, 2013 in Education, Resources

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute engages media professionals, scholars and other citizens in programs aimed at strengthening journalism in the service of democracy. RJI generates and tests new techniques and new thinking that promise to improve journalism.” Source: RJI

RJI  was launched in 2004 with a $31-million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.  The goal was to provide a place which would engage media professionals, scholars and others to help them develop programs to strengthen journalism and, in the process, strengthen democracy. …

Now, fresh with a permanent endowment of another [$30.1] million from the same foundation, RJI is assured of being able to continue its mission.  And that’s good for RJI and for our business.

Not long ago, I sat down in our Washington office with Randy Picht, the Institute’s Executive Director, to learn more about RJI and how those of us in the electronic media might make better use of the resources it offers — resources that have largely been utilized by our print media colleagues in the past.

Randy told me of projects they have ongoing where, for example, they are developing new types of public affairs programming for local stations — using KECT-TV, St. Louis, as a laboratory.  Or doing research (using RJI fellows) to determine audience trends in social media and how to develop effective business models for ‘pay walling’ content on news websites. And there are other projects going on that look at the evolving usage of tablets and mobile screens for news delivery.

He hopes that more local broadcasters and web producers will explore RJI and what it has to offer — even to the point of proposing individual projects for their own news organizations.  Because it’s often those kinds of projects that can provide lessons others might learn from, as well.” Source: Mike Cavender, RTDNA

October 7, 2011 in Craft, Education, Policy, Resources

[] offers information on what data sets government agencies have. First of all, while governmental agencies collect a great deal of information, much of it is not available online. Nor is what is collected always publicized or well known.

This site lists what information is available. Think of it as a directory of information that’s collected by the state of Missouri. lists what data sets exists, what format the data set is in (i.e. Excel, Word document), the date the data was collected or time period which it covers, how often it is updated, any fixed cost for the database, the agency that collects the information, contact information and so forth.

Anyone can use this information, from citizens to journalists to businesses.

The site was officially launched in March 2011 and is the result of Herzog’s Donald W. Reynolds Fellowship. Herzog is a veteran investigative reporter, data journalist and educator. He teaches computer-assisted reporting (CAR) and data mapping to student and professional journalists.

The site includes an avenue to suggest additional data sets, comment on the sets and ways to use social media to share the information on the site. The site will eventually include a Sunshine letter generator to allow anyone to ask an agency to provide the information listed as available.” SourceColumbia Freelance Forum

Community engagement: A practical conversation guide for newsrooms

October 7, 2011 in Community, Craft, Resources, Revenue

There is a general understanding among journalists these days that flourishing in today’s media landscape involves more interaction with and responsiveness to our communities. Community engagement is often cited in future-of-news conversations as a key to continued success. Nine out of 10 editors in a Spring 2011 Reynolds Journalism Institute survey said they were talking in their newsrooms about how to make the news more social and participatory. The survey reinforced, however, that editors aren’t sure what exactly that means or how to go about it.

This discussion guide is an attempt to help get folks started.

As part of my 2010-2011 RJI Fellowship (“Ditch the Lecture. Join the Conversation.”), I spent several months interviewing journalists about their changing relationships with their communities. I focused on their attitudes and actions toward their intended news consumers. Along the way, I took notes about the questions these journalists seemed to be pondering, and of the tips and strategies they shared with me. I grouped those strategies into three categories of engagement: outreach, conversation and collaboration.

You’ll find many of their ideas on the following pages, and I’m indebted to everyone who shared their time and expertise with me.” SourceReynolds Journalism Institute

2011 Journalist Engagement Survey

September 22, 2011 in Community, Craft, Resources, Revenue

While editors at U.S. daily newspapers overwhelmingly say they think audience engagement has become an important part of practicing journalism, they’re often not sure what that means or how to go about it. Many have yet to embrace tools that allow them to understand and interact with their audiences. Not even half of respondents said that they use social media to listen as well as share information, that they interact with readers in comments sections, or that they use their analytics reports to help make news decisions.

A telephone survey of 529 managing editors, executive editors, and editors of daily community newspapers in March, April and May of 2011, validated that audience engagement is on the minds of editors, and not just the editors I interviewed this year who are on the cutting edge of experimentation. Many acknowledged that their news processes need to be more social and collaborative, and some mentioned hiring people specifically with that in mind. The survey was administered by the Center for Advanced Social Research (CASR) of the Missouri School of Journalism.”

A resource for newsrooms: Measuring the success of audience engagement efforts

September 14, 2011 in Community, Craft, Resources, Revenue

Journalists have a lot to learn from other disciplines about tracking what works. We’re not used to gauging our success in ways more sophisticated than ratings or circulation numbers, and we’re behind the measurement curve. But these days, it’s hard to value what you can’t measure. And as newsrooms grapple with how to make room in tight budgets for audience engagement, it’s natural that they’d also wonder what the return on that investment might be.

With these issues in mind, a group of journalists invested in audience engagement gathered in early May at the Reynolds Journalism Institute to talk specifically about measurement ( Some of them were widely recognized experts. All were working to effect change in their traditional newsrooms or products. They came because they believe that as news organizations fight for survival, a more connected relationship with their communities should be valued, and therefore measured. They were joined by smart folks from other disciplines who shared their time to help guide the discussions and share their expertise.

Our multi-disciplinary group (see bios of some of the folks involved) focused our conversations around specific strategies for audience engagement, what their value is to the news organizations, and how the success of the efforts can be evaluated. We spent a day filling out a google spreadsheet together, and what you’ll find here is an edited version of that document. It’s not intended as a comprehensive guide to engagement, but instead as a sampling of practical ways to be strategic in our efforts.” Source: Reynolds Journalism Institute

RJI Mobile Journalism Reporting Tools Guide

September 5, 2011 in Distribution, Experiments, Resources, Technology

Most organizations don’t have the resources or knowledge to test all the different tools out there, so we were hoping to expedite the mobile evolution and shed some guidance and best practices on what works and what doesn’t. Obviously, we couldn’t review everything on every platform. Our focus was Android and Apple tools because they’re growing quickly and the most innovative and open platforms, but many of the hardware devices and some of the website apps are available on Blackberry, Windows Mobile and other platforms.

The majority of this guide is written for the perspective of news reporters — especially those covering extremely timely events, such as breaking news or sports — but most people in the newsroom could gain something from it. From photographers looking for quicker ways to transmit, tag and caption content to desk editors looking to collect reporting resources from multiple mobile reporters in the field. Organizations from the biggest traditional mainstream publishers to the new journalism start ups with limited resources can benefit from this guide. Hopefully, putting more reporting tools in more professional journalists hands will help create better journalism with more perspectives, especially among underserved communities and issues.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Mobile reporting — especially working with community members who have some of these — is going to grow for years to come as devices become more sophisticated, quality rises and network speeds. Citizen journalists, activists and anyone near a news event also stand to benefit substantially from this guide. Journalism organizations need to understand how to use the tools, as well as partner with others using them.” SourceWill Sullivan, Reynolds Journalism Institute

Carnival of Journalism

September 3, 2011 in Community, Education, Experiments, Resources

We are a group of bloggers who enjoy writing about journalism and related topics. Once a month we get together and write about the same topic chosen by a different host each time. For those unfamiliar with blog carnivals check out Wikipedia’s definition.

Collectively we have numerous years experience in blogging and a decent amount of knowledge about the subject matter (or so we hope).

In its current incantation the Carnival is made possible with support from the Reynolds Journalism Institute. The first four months of this “carnival” will discuss topics leading up to a conference at RJI organized by David Cohn made possible by the Knight Foundation.” SourceCarnival of Journalism