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October 11, 2012 in Community, Resources, Technology

There are many schools of thought on how to improve commenting on the internet, most of which focus on trying to convince commenters to be more civil. But ReadrBoard turns that idea on its head, asking commenters to be more specific. And doing that, it found a whole new way of looking at the process. Co-created by Porter Bayne, Tyler Brock and Eric Chaves, ReadrBoard aims to change the face of online conversation as we know it. After a successful beta test on news site Hypervocal and (full disclosure) Latoya Peterson’s site, Racialicious, Bayne, Brock and Chavs decided to revamp the overall design and user interface in 2012.  Here Bayne explains the concept behind ReadrBoard, discusses redesign on the fly, and shares a visual history of ReadrBoard’s evolution…

At ReadrBoard, we all think that all reader engagement — a share, a Like, a comment, a bookmark, a copy-paste, anything — is preceded by some emotion or thought: “That’s funny,” or “no way,” or “really?” or “my friend would love this,” and so on and so on. And we’re sure that far more readers have a reaction to content than are currently Liking, commenting, etc.

So, ReadrBoard is working to make it simple for readers to do that: react to content, with just a click. Sort of like a Like button … but any emotion or thought. And you can react to the whole page, or any part of a page…

The biggest conceptual change we had was realizing that the reaction precedes everything. Our early, prelaunch versions would show a reader five buttons after they selected content: react, or comment, or share, or search or bookmark. But we wanted it to be as simple as possible, as it felt like work to have to pick. Steve Jobs would say, “make it have one button.” Well, which one?

So, we asked ourselves, “what is the ONE thing this MUST do?” It seemed clear: react. The idea of losing the other functions was a system shock in a way, but we dug in on it. We would ask, “what if someone wants to react & share? React & comment?” It was always “react and _____”. That helped us realize, “oh… everything comes from a reaction. Rating, sharing, & commenting are all forms of expression that elaborate on the initial reaction or thought. So let’s start there.” Source:

10 Best Practices for Twitter for Journalists

September 10, 2012 in Community, Craft, Resources

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become part of a reporter’s toolkit. Yet research shows that media outlets and journalists tend to approach these Web 2.0 services with a 1.0 mindset.

In an attempt to help newsrooms, journalism professors Susana Herrera and José Luis Requejo have put together a list of 10 best practice guidelines for using Twitter…

For the guidelines, the scholars looked at the academic research on Twitter and studied the official accounts of leading news outlets such as The New York Times, the BBC, The Washington Post and National Public Radio.

The 10 best practices they identified are:

  1. Have a voice that is credible and reliable, but also personal and human
  2. Be generous in retweets and credit others
  3. Link to external material rather than simply broadcast your own content
  4. Listen and respond to others
  5. Provide information that adds value
  6. Seek out the views of users
  7. Promote the most interesting and useful content for audiences
  8. Use hashtags created by the Twitter community
  9. Include multimedia with tweets
  10. Link to other networks where a conversation is happening, such as Facebook”


2012 Freelance Industry Report

September 10, 2012 in Community, Resources

Despite the meteoric growth in freelancing over the last decade, there is very little published information about who we are as freelancers — what we do, how we land work, what we earn, and why we do what we do…

In this free report…you’ll discover:

  • The biggest challenges freelancers face and how those challenges differ by profession, location, experience and other factors.
  • Attitudes toward freelancing, the economy’s impact on freelance work, and freelancers’ business outlook for the next 12 months.
  • Income trends, hourly rates, billable time, and how different freelancers price their services.
  • Lifestyle choices, including average hours worked, the importance of free time and flexibility, and attitudes toward reentering the traditional workforce.
  • How freelancers attract clients today, how much time they spend promoting their services and what marketing strategies they’re planning to implement over the next year.
  • An analysis of displaced workers who have given up their job search in favor of the freelance path: what challenges they face, how they feel about self-employment, their lifestyle changes and their likelihood to remain self-employed.
  • How freelancers contribute to economic growth, and how entrepreneurially minded freelancers perform against those who don’t consider themselves to be entrepreneurs.”

Source: 2012 Freelance Industry Report

This report is filled with meaty goodness and covers all aspects of being a freelancer. A few data points that caught my eye:

Of those who responded to the survey, 71% were women
This is an easy one: freelancing gives women more flexibility no matter what their age. I started freelancing part-time in 1998 so that I could be at home with my son. Now that he’s older I can work full-time; however, many women my age are now stuck taking care of aging parents AND their kids/families. Freelancing gives women the flexibility they need to juggle these responsibilities.

47.2% of freelancers are primary income earners
I found this data point very encouraging. It means we can earn enough to support ourselves and our families. It also means freelancers don’t have to buy into the the image of the starving artist living in a garret mentality.

What I’d love to know is how many women freelancers are primary income earners. Knowing this would give more women the encouragement to go out on their own after the loss of a spouse due to divorce or death — or those who have a spouse who can’t work due to injury / illness.

30.4% of freelancers spend less than 2 hours a month prospecting for clients
This one made me go WOW!! As in OMG WOW! How do you stay in business if you’re not marketing? Well, actually, you don’t. Wow.”

Source: Review of the 2012 Freelance Industry Report


August 17, 2012 in Community, Resources, Revenue, Technology

A new software tool developed by JJCS gives news organizations a direct means to facilitate community engagement and contribution in a time when many are struggling to find a way to efficiently and inexpensively cover hyperlocal.

JReporter, an application that works with the Android and iOS interfaces, allows a licensing media company to solicit content, whether it is text, video, audio or stills, from local citizens via geo-targeted messages. The user can then submit content to the news organization through the app, which integrates with the media company’s CMS.

The app offers local news organizations inexpensive content that they can subsequently turn around and monetize through digital ads. The app will ideally allow media outlets to cover more hyperlocal events, ranging from school board meetings to high school football games, that may otherwise not be cost-efficient…

From a journalism standpoint, the application makes sense as a way to foster community engagement and promote the local media’s role as the “place where the community comes to learn about itself” — a phrase JJCS has trademarked. At the very least, this content can be used to develop a searchable archive. But whether the app can develop a strong enough user base to drive ad revenue, both via resulting Web content and directly on the mobile app, through proximity-based messages from local merchants, will ultimately determine its success.” Source: Street Fight Daily

News organizations face four problems:

Dwindling Reporting Staff •  Lack of Content Ownership
Ineffective Revenue Streams • Lackluster Customer Engagement

JReporter makes it easy for customers and reporters to send breaking news video,
stills and audio directly into your editorial content management system with the
correct ancillary information (metadata) and a release.

In the today’s world, one of your customers is at every news event with a smart
phone and who will, if it’s easy, give you coverage. JReporter is easy to use and
ensures that you know who is sending you content, so that you can follow up, get
additional information, and interview the eyewitness…

Cloud based and advertising supported, JReporter ensures high availability and
low cost of entry. JReporter does not require any changes to your current working
environment and can be ready to go in no time.

JReporter includes embedded revenue opportunities and is white labeled for
sponsorship, branding or embedding.” Source: JReporter

Rules of the Road: Navigating the New Ethics of Local Journalism

August 16, 2012 in Community, Craft, Resources

With journalism entrepreneurs launching local news startups at a rapid pace, the local news landscape is evolving ­– and so are the rules of the road guiding ethical decisions.

Where a bright ethical line once separated a newsroom from its business operations, one person now often wears multiple hats, as editor, business manager and grants writer. Site publishers navigate new kinds of critical decisions daily. This guide examines a number of them. You can click to any topic in any order. Or, you can cruise through the Table of Contents.

On every page you’ll find a box that says, “Share your story.” We invite you to weigh in with an ethical problem you faced – and your solution.  Your participation will help inform a work in progress.” Source: J-Lab

Fifteen site operators and one digital ethicist candidly discuss dilemmas they’ve confronted and the solutions they’ve reached. The good news, [J-Lab Executive Director Jan] Schaffer said, is that the internal compasses of community news site founders are working well. Indeed, many actually draw more stringent rules for behavior than traditional news organizations do.

“We’ve seen how entrepreneurial news startups are trying to responsibly fill gaps in investigative journalism. With this publication, we see how local news startups are meeting new challenges of covering community news,” said Bob Ross, president and CEO of Ethics and Excellence Journalism Foundation.” Source: J-Lab

The Murrow Rural Information Initiative: Access, Digital Citizenship, and the Obligations of the Washington State Information Sector

August 14, 2012 in Community, Education, Policy, Resources

The accelerating speed of technological developments requires a concerted effort to educate the public, policymakers and journalists about the promise held by the state’s expanding broadband infrastructure.

From rural towns to the state Capitol, public officials must understand the role of technology in facilitating an informed citizenry, driving economic development and shaping public education systems. If public officials, news media and communities do not take it upon themselves to learn about and grow with technology, then they effectively perpetuate the digital divide through inaction. As a result, the state may experience a greater separation between its most digitally informed citizens and cities, and those trailing in the wake of technological advances.

Further, emerging technology has the capacity to provide information, but news media are needed to curate that information, provide context and produce comprehensible content for rural communities. Indeed, more and more citizens are accessing state news online even as newsrooms at legacy media have shrunk.

In rural Washington, local news remains the backbone of community journalism. As broadband access and adoption continues to spread, rural journalists can make themselves even more indispensable to their communities. Rural journalists should routinely share best practices with each other and seek ways to receive new digital training in partnership with other professional media and the state’s journalism educators. They form the core of informed, literate rural communities in Washington.” Source: Murrow Rural Information Initiative

Tamarack: An Institute for Community Engagement

July 13, 2012 in Community, Policy, Resources is a learning community of members, from diverse sectors, who share a common interest in collaborative leadership, community engagement and change. It is made up of individuals who are united in our desire to change the world: one community at time…

Together, as we advance this field, we are building a body of practice that will strengthen our individual skills while making the work of communities collaborating easier and more effective for the entire field. As practitioners, our experience has taught us that, in this work, the journey is as important as the destination. And, we believe that “The future will belong to the integrators, the networkers and the collaborators. Chance favours the connected mind.”

…Conversation is at the heart of a strong community. As community facilitators, we have created this space to host an ongoing dialogue about community engagement, collaborative leadership and change. Through the articles, audio seminars and podcasts, and learning events you will find the latest resources in this field but, this is only the beginning. We hope that you, too, will engage, learn, find, and connect with us and others in this online space. By creating and building your profile in Connect, and contributing to the conversations found on this online space, you are helping to build a dynamic learning community. The success of this space requires your energy, creativity, so that, together, we can cultivate a mutually-supportive community of practice.

In addition to the Communities Collaborating facilitators, this site will introduce you to thought-leaders who contribute and are referenced regularly within this online space. Their blogs, comments, profiles, and seminars are meant to further stimulate your learning. Your ideas and contributions to this space are just as important, and are essential to generating the rich diversity of perspectives needed to distill experiences into wisdom.” Source: Tamarack

Cartoon Movement

July 13, 2012 in Community, Distribution, Experiments, Resources, Revenue

For the community

We offer a platform where you can discuss cartoons, and vote on the cartoon ideas submitted by our international network of professional editorial cartoonists. The best cartoons are published online 4 times a week.

For political cartooning and political cartoonists

We think that it’s prudent to assume that the future of cartooning is probably online. We hope that with this platform we’ll not only be able to continue paying a just fee for your work, but together we can also find new revenue models which will ensure that editorial cartooning can be financially sustainable in the digital age.

We hope to foster an environment of mutual promotion, revenue, and fair use for the work of political cartoonists. All of our members are accomplished freelancers and there’s no application fee to join….

For editors and media professionals

Together with our constantly growing network of political cartoonists, we offer a unique and lovingly curated collection of international political cartoons. In addition to granting publishing/syndication rights for this collection, we also commission ‘on demand’ editorial cartoons for a global list of clients. Our terms are deliberately flexible to accommodate your editorial needs.” Source: Cartoon Movement

100 Reporters

June 27, 2012 in Community, Craft, Experiments, Resources

100Reporters is a revolutionary news organization, dedicated to forging new frontiers in responsible journalism. It joins scores of the planet’s finest professional reporters with whistle-blowers and citizen journalists across the globe, to report on corruption in all its forms. The organization, spearheaded by veteran correspondents of top-tier news outlets, aims to raise the caliber, impact and visibility of citizen-driven investigative journalism, as a means of promoting transparency and good government.

Thanks to advances in technology and heightened transparency among international institutions, we are in an unprecedented position to know and report more than ever before on both the flow of illicit cash, and on the spending habits of government officials and their friends….

Our goal is to embrace technology’s potential to build new forms of journalism around a towering, intractable global issue. We’re working with citizens–the first victims of graft and cronyism–to expose the corruption around them, and bringing these citizens into the reporting of stories where possible.

With initial backing from The Ford Foundation, we are building a multiplatform site where sources can submit—anonymously, if necessary—news tips and evidence of corruption. These will become the raw material for stories to be reported and written by our professional journalists, and presented in hard-hitting news reports available to a worldwide audience. Where feasible, our 100 reporters will work hand-in-hand with citizen journalists, sharing bylines and payment.” Source: 100 Reporters