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JA Tech Profile: Why adopt responsive design?

March 22, 2013 in Blog, Technology

responsive web design

The goal of responsive web design is a seamless experience across devices.

Journalism Accelerator

Responsive design is the big buzz of 2013. If 2012 was foretold to bring prosperity based on the Chinese zodiac, Mashable’s prediction for 2013 forecast a big year for responsive design, presenting a significant paradigm shift in the web design and development world where previously we were restricted by browser or device. With the adoption of responsive design, websites are now engineered to be “device-agnostic,” meaning that it doesn’t matter what device you’re using to view a site, you’re still viewing it in a way that was intentionally designed. The user experience can be controlled across platforms and devices: smart phones, tablets, laptops, PCs, or even a smart TV. In this post we’ll discuss the background and purpose of responsive design, why it is touted as creating a better user experience for media consumers, as well as offer a few tips to convert your site and resources we have found useful where you can learn more. Read the rest of this entry →

JA Tech-Tips: Twitter’s API is changing in March – what you need to know

February 8, 2013 in Blog, Technology

Twitter Word Cloud Bird

Twitter's API changes in March 2013, are you ready?

Journalism Accelerator

Twitter’s API (application programming interface) has become so popular that it’s rare you don’t see a website that has a feed of Twitter content or a way to login using your Twitter account. In August 2012, Twitter announced some upcoming changes to its rules and regulations to foster a more consistent user experience across platforms and devices. The deadline to meet the requirements of API v1.1 is March 5, 2013.

This could affect any website that uses the Twitter API and many third-party apps, such as Hootsuite or Flipboard, who have had to make major adjustments to adhere to Twitter’s new rules.

Even Journalism Accelerator has had to make some changes. Are you ready? Read the rest of this entry →

JA Resource Q&A: “Building a great community”

November 13, 2012 in Blog, Technology

Disqus is a third-party commenting platform, created in 2007 because the founders felt comment systems hadn’t evolved from the Internet’s early years. Disqus says it helps a range of customers “[f]rom small blogs to massive websites … build active communities.”

Journalism Accelerator

Having the option to comment on anything posted online seems ubiquitous and universal. But, as publishers covering local beats know well, there are many choices happening behind the scenes that affect how people experience online conversation, contribute to it and come to develop relationships as part of an online community on a given site.

Your choices could begin with something as simple as selecting options in a Word Press theme. As you grow and refine goals for the comment section of your site, you may begin to look at software that allows for more nuance and networking.

To discuss the pros and cons of commenting tools and learn more about how online conversation is evolving, we invited Disqus VP of Business Development Ro Gupta to share his insight and expertise. Disqus is the largest commenting system on the web, reaching over 700 million people per month, according to the company. This conversation is part of our series showcasing JA-curated resources designed to offer practical tips and useful insights to increase your yield and deepen your success.  Read the rest of this entry →

JA Resource Q&A: Sunlight’s Scout is “useful in an obvious way.”

August 21, 2012 in Blog, Craft, Technology

Scout is a tool by Sunlight Labs. Visit their resource page on the JA“Useful…right away.”

Scout developer, Eric Mill, click to visit Eric's JA Profile width=For developer Eric Mill, many goals came together in Scout. It’s a simple concept – a tool you might have expected to exist already. It helps public information flow freely – a key goal of Sunlight. And there is much more it can do. Mill says he’s proud of Scout because it’s “useful in an obvious way, right away.” Is it to you?

Journalism Accelerator

Last week we kicked off a new online conversation series by talking with Sunlight Foundation developer Eric Mill about Scout, a tool that alerts you to developments in legislation. This series is designed to help you learn more about resources you might not have had a chance to try yet, or share your insight into those that you know. To participate in or listen in on future conversations in this series, check back or follow @journaccel on Twitter to see what’s coming up.

Every couple of weeks we’ll choose from our growing collection of practical tools, reports, databases, blogs, platforms, new business models and more. JA “resource Q&As” go deeper into the tools and information featured on this site, bringing together both creators and those using the resource to help new iterations continue to align more closely with community interests and needs.

Scout tracks state and federal legislation, federal regulations and speeches in Congress on subjects you choose to follow. We picked Scout for our first resource Q&A because it’s easy to use and offers tangible results, such as cutting research time and delivering information you want quickly and directly. Based on comments in past JA discussions, including our forum on covering Election 2012, journalists value tools that are straightforward and practical. Read the rest of this entry →

JA publisher profile with ProPublica’s Stephen Engelberg: “This may shake out to be a Golden Age of investigative reporting.”

August 10, 2012 in Blog, Community, Craft, Distribution, Education, Experiments, Policy, Revenue, Technology

Stephen Engelberg

ProPublica managing editor Stephen Engelberg at the University of Oregon’s Turnbull Center. Image: Lisa Skube.

Journalism Accelerator

Raising money, gaining audience, having impact. Despite a ten million dollar annual budget, 34 reporters and partnerships with multiple major news organizations, ProPublica faces similar sustainability issues as many startup publishers. ProPublica’s managing editor (set to become editor-in-chief early next year) Stephen Engelberg spoke with a couple dozen journalists at the University of Oregon’s Turnbull Center in Portland this week. Here are his views on some of the major challenges investigative, nonprofit news organizations face today.

Stephen Engelberg had never done any fundraising before becoming second-in-command at ProPublica, the high-profile, nonprofit, investigative news organization set up in 2007. He didn’t have to right away; for the first three years ProPublica received ten million dollars a year from a foundation set up by Herb and Marion Sandler with their earnings from the savings and loan industry. ProPublica’s budget has remained the same, but the Sandler Foundation share fell to half last year. As Engelberg prepares to lead the first online-only news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize, money, branding, the expectations of donors and making an impact are on his mind. Read the rest of this entry →

JA How-to: A four-step guerrilla guide to social listening

June 4, 2012 in Blog, Craft, Technology

Social Media Signals

Investing time exploring social listening tools can help tune your business strategy, connecting the dots for greater profitability AND deeper audience connections. Image: Intersection Consulting

Journalism Accelerator

Have you been keeping up with all the hype around “social monitoring” software? There are scores of tools out there that promise to deliver a secret treasure map of insight and intel: how to decode the value of your products by “listening” to your audience “talk” about them across social channels.

Here at the JA, we have been evaluating social listening tools for our own work. This post offers a summary of what we’ve found, for you to consider as you size up methods for deeper knowledge of and engagement with your audience. We’ll tell you a little bit about how each tool works, and share a framework so you can consider how social listening may advance your success. Our goal with this list isn’t to cite everything that’s available, but to present a comprehensive range of options we think may be most useful in your work.

There are a number of ways publishers might apply social listening techniques. Some are simple, some more complex. To help guide the build of our service model, we subscribed to and tested the capabilities of one social listening industry leader, Radian6, over the past eight months. While it appears to satisfy major corporate brands like Pepsi, UPS, and Dell, it didn’t do as well helping the JA achieve its objectives, which are less about brand loyalty and more about tracking emerging trends.

So we began to explore other options. If you’re considering the offerings of the big kids on the block (such as Radian6, Crimson Hexagon, Lithium, Simplify360, or Alterian), know specifically what you want out of it before you go in. Also, don’t let budget stop you from experimenting. If you’re on a shoestring with little time to spare, you may find some tools you need in these free or low-cost alternatives.

Our best success in both choosing tools and getting a good outcome from social listening came from having a clear plan going in. Outlining your community and business requirements early on focuses your search for a social listening solution that provides the best fit for both budget and bandwidth. Know what you want to achieve before you start trying tools, and know how much time you have to invest in the effort. Going in with an idea of what you hope to learn sets up the experiment for a greater return on the effort.

There are four basic steps to successful social listening: discovery, analysis, management and integration. We list tools that can help with each element below. Read the rest of this entry →

JA Interview: CJR’s Michael Meyer and Street Fight co-founder David Hirschman on technology and revenue for publishers

May 16, 2012 in Blog, Revenue, Technology

Journalism Accelerator

The JA’s most recent forum explored how collaboration could increase revenue for publishers. This JA interview, below, opens a discussion about innovation; how publishers are responding to rapid technological developments that often focus on commerce over content, and what role innovation plays in bringing bucks to journalism. For two perspectives, we asked Street Fight co-founder David Hirschman and Columbia Journalism Review staff writer Michael Meyer to share their insights. We spoke via Skype late last week, as David was finalizing the agenda for Street Fight Summit West, his organization’s California iteration of its annual New York conference, and Michael was adding startup #267 to the CJR’s Guide to Online News Startups. Read the rest of this entry →

Storify adds social dimension to live forum: Can collaboration in journalism increase revenue?

April 19, 2012 in Blog, Community, Experiments, Technology

JA Storify

The Collab / Space 2012 event unfolded on the JA in an online conversation. Our storify thread captures its essence.

Journalism Accelerator

 

The extended conversation with live outreach exploring collaboration and revenue wrapped up at the end of April. Some highlights: examples from the trenches of small startups, the view from a highly collaborative foundation, exploration of the up and downsides of working with other news organizations, emerging thinking about framing consumer rights as directly correlated to accurate news, and a debate over whether journalistic collaboration even SHOULD aim to increase revenue. The discussion thread includes three live chats: Co-founder of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting Trevor Aaronson and executive director of San Francisco Public Press Michael Stoll compared their experiencesKeith Hammonds of Ashoka’s News & Knowledge Initiative offered how-tos and examples of collaborations structured with revenue in mind and Michael Skoler, VP of digital for Public Radio International provided a wealth of ideas on to integrate collaboration and revenue. Read the entire thread here or take a shortcut with our Storify thread for an overview of the highlights. Read the rest of this entry →

The JA and Collab/Space 2012 test a new way of extending the conversation

April 10, 2012 in Blog, Community, Experiments, Technology

Journalism Accelerator

When you invest time in a professional conference, the experience of connecting with others can be deeply energizing, leaving you inspired by ideas you hope to explore and people you intend to follow up with. But back in the daily grind we face familiar demands, accountabilities and our regular routine. The great energy and good intentions often dissipate into the ether. How to keep the momentum from fading? Anti-ether – aka the continued conversation that the JA, MediaShift’s Collaboration Central and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism are testing. We’ll expand the conversation that starts this week in a room in California to a JA online forum for deeper exploration over the next couple of weeks. Read the rest of this entry →

Publisher point-of-view: What’s your revenue story?

February 14, 2012 in Blog, Distribution, Revenue, Technology

Journalism Accelerator

We kicked off this year talking with a group of people with different experiences in news and publishing about what they anticipate in 2012. Since then, we’ve been asking more publishers, business pros and startups about their expectations and hopes for the year.

The JA online forum coming February 28th and 29th is designed for local news publishers and businesspeople to share their experiences and experiments creating revenue.

Cash Machine -- Upcoming Business Forum

Money and publishing: What different keys are you pressing to bring in revenue? Photo by Sean McMenemy on Flickr.

Some publishers – both new and legacy – have established multiple revenue streams and are now working to amp up the return. Some are successful in one revenue area but finding others – ads, events, community donations or something else – tough nuts to crack. Some are considering, or have taken, a hiatus as they evaluate how they might publish content to serve their targeted market AND thrive financially.

The forum February 28th and 29th features publishers with different experiences and intentions, but common business interests. More publishers, businesspeople, social media specialists and others with relevant tips or ideas are invited to share their perspective, offer and vet questions. On forum days, the real time conversation takes place over a 90 minute window. You can stop by to read the comment thread or add to the discussion anytime. It’s a chance to broaden your network, spark connections and trade ideas. Read the rest of this entry →