December 17, 2013

When journalists trade newsrooms for business storytelling

5 scribes
From left, Michael Copeland, Ben Worthen, Dan Lyons, Harrison Weber & Brian Caulfield

More companies are hiring scribes to ramp up ‘content plays’

Target audience: Journalists, brand managers, SEO specialists, PR and marketing pros, business executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers.

JD LasicaAfunny thing is happening to a lot of journalists I know: They’re bailing on Big-J journalism.

But while many are leaving the profession of journalism, they’re taking their craft with them. Faced with the Incredible Shrinking Business Models of the old media economy, journalists have begun taking their storytelling skills to the business world, particularly tech.

Companies are snapping up journalists left and right. Today every company is a media company — and who better to tell these companies’ stories than journalists trained in the art of storytelling? Continue reading

June 4, 2013

55 expert tips to produce better & faster content

Hacking Media Produciton

Advice to streamline your media workflow

Target audience: Content marketers, Web publishers, PR execs, journalists, producers, businesses, media organizations.

David SparkIn just the first 20 episodes of my podcast “Hacking Media Production,” I’ve collected hundreds of tips from journalists and producers on how to produce content better and faster. What follows is my selection of the 55 creative content production hacks.

If you like what you see and want to learn more, feel free to click through on any episode to listen to the interview and see lots more tips on that subject. And if you want to learn lots more, please subscribe to “Hacking Media Production” via iTunes.

From “Using Crowdsourcing Tools for Cheaper and Better Production”

1If you can think of it, someone may do it for $5: The site Fiverr is filled with mini creative services available for $5 such as drawing a cartoon of your dad, recording a voice-over message in Sean Connery’s voice, or even a bogus video testimonial for your product.

2Crowdsourcing design work still requires an art director: Be aware that using services such as 99designs or Crowdspring will cost more than you expect because you’ll likely need an art director to spend hours of time managing the contest and interacting with the designers to get the final product you want.

Continue reading

August 29, 2011

How WikiLeaks has changed the role of journalism

Kristinn-Hrafnsson
Kristinn Hrafnsson, spokesperson for WikiLeaks (photo by JD Lasica)

 

WikiLeaks official criticizes New York Times before international group of journalists

JD LasicaWikiLeaks has changed the role of journalism and “made journalists braver,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, the official spokesperson for WikiLeaks, told an international group of journalists assembled in Santiago, Chile, on Thursday.

Braver, that is, with one striking exception: the New York Times.

“The timidity of the New York Times came as a surprise and disappointment to me,” Hrafnsson told the assembly of 60 news executives, editors and reporters. “It was not the New York Times of the early 1970s where the Times was willing to take on the Nixon administration by publishing the Pentagon Papers.”

It’s pretty much a given that Hrafnsson, or any WikiLeaks official, would be arrested if he set foot in the United States. Hrafnsson also is certain that the National Security Agency monitors every email he receives.

After his presentation, I asked Hrafnsson, a veteran journalist from Iceland, why he was singling out the Times for criticism. (I spoke to the same group a few hours later.)

When WikiLeaks released 77,000 Afghan War documents to news organizations in July 2010, the New York Times was accorded the right to publish the scoop on its website. Instead, Hrafnsson said, the Times apparently was so worried about the likely furor over release of the Afghanistan war logs that critical minutes passed, and the Times decided to report the news only after other publications had done so.

“They were deathly afraid of being the first one to post it on the Internet,” he said. “They were dead frozen with their finger on the button.”

Hrafnsson surmised that the paper feared it would be branded “a traitor” news organization by political figures still incensed over WikiLeaks’ earlier release of classified State Department diplomatic cables. Three months later, when the Iraq war logs were released, the Times — unlike the vast majority of overseas media outlets such as The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, Sweden’s SVT and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism — led with a peculiar news angle about Iran’s influence in Iraqi affairs. It downplayed the big news: that the U.S. military was routinely turning over captured civilians and Taliban militants to Iraqi government officials for torture.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they did what they did for political reasons,” Hrafnsson said. Continue reading

August 25, 2011

Reimagining journalism in the age of social media

 

9 ideas for taking journalism to a new place

JD LasicaSocial media is far more than social marketing, which is why Socialmedia.biz returns regularly to the subject of how social is reshaping the worlds of media and journalism.

I arrived in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday to take part in a three-day event: first, a gathering of 150 journalism students from major universities in Chile on Tuesday. And today I’m giving the closing talk at a gathering of news executives, editors, reporters and academics from major publications and universities in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Venezuela, the United States and elsewhere, organized by Grupo de Diarios América — the world’s biggest online Spanish network with some 50 publications and sites with a reach over 50 million users per month — and held at the headquarters of El Mercurio, Chile’s best newspaper.

My colleague Chris Abraham asked me a few months ago to offer my thoughts on where journalism is heading — or ought to be heading — for the benefit of both those entering the profession and those trying to figure out how to navigate these choppy waters. So this seemed like a good way to do that.

Plus, I finally made it down to South America!

The presentation, embedded above and available for download or embedding on SlideShare, offers some ideas about how journalism might be reimagined in an age when more people are embracing the precepts of social media.

Questioning nine fundamental assumptions

I found that the two-day symposium had far too few opportunities for interaction (thankfully, the organizers thoughtfully provided translations for talks in Spanish that were broadcast into a Listen Display Receiver, a nifty mobile device and earpiece), and so I framed the presentation more as a series of questions rather than answers.

Many of the suggestions below — and for the now widely accepted idea that journalism should be thought of as a process, not a finished product — have been discussed by thought leaders in the space for years. It’s time to distill some of these ideas and reexamine them through the lens of journalism in South America. Here, then, are nine assumptions by journalists and media organizations, and suggestions on how those assumptions might be reconsidered or reimagined.

1Objectivity is our sacred goal. Yet, users are increasingly turning to transparency as the new yardstick of a news organization’s credibility. Is transparency the new objectivity?

2Content is all that matters. While people come for the content, they stay for the conversation. Shouldn’t journalists spend more time engaging with users and participating in conversations? Continue reading

September 28, 2010

Storify: Make stories using social media

Will it improve storytelling or lead to Frankenstories?

David SparkI’m at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco reporting for Yammer.

Almost a full year ago I wrote an analyst report entitled “Real-Time Search and Discovery of the Social Web” (get your copy of the 20-page PDF), and I argued that one of the failures of the value of the real-time web is the lack of editors monitoring the data and then republishing it in a digested form. While the volume of content being created is phenomenal, and the different search and discovery tools all provide amazing value, what’s lacking is the ability to truly make sense of all this content by someone who truly knows the category.

At TechCrunch Disrupt, I saw one possible solution with Storify, a web-based application that lets you search real-time content and add it very easily to your blog post. At the show, I was sitting in between two fellow journalists who were completely wowed by the product and immediately sent a link of it out to all their colleagues. They were both excited and scared. Will it improve journalists’ ability to create content or will it give power to non-content creators to create half-assed stories or, as one reviewer on stage called it, “a Frankenstory”?

Watch my demo and interview with Burt Herman, CEO of Storify, as he shows off the product. Continue reading

April 21, 2010

Social media: Increasing access to public meetings

Social media increases accessibility to public meetings from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaI‘m at NewComm Forum this week, probably the best gathering of minds around social media, marketing and new media anywhere. (I’ll be speaking Friday about the future of journalism.) It’s also a superlative venue for networking.

Last year I met Kathleen Clark of San Francisco-based CirclePoint. As part of our continuing series of vignettes with experts about different aspects of social media, Kathleen talks about the use of social media by government agencies in this quick 4-minute interview. She makes the often-overlooked point that members of the public who can’t attend government agency meetings in person can often contribute their ideas and feedback through sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

CirclePoint specializes in strategic communications development and environmental planning. Many of their clients are public agencies working on infrastructure projects and seeking to implement communications for public outreach and public education. One key client is the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, which wanted to reach a broader audience through a public presence for them on Twitter (5,215 followers) and on Facebook (I just “liked” them).

Why should companies and government agencies take up social media? “It lets you tell a story in a personal way, and to have a higher level of engagement with people,” Kathleen says. “Traditionally, the mode at a lot of government agencies has been to talk at people. Social media lets you talk with people.”

Accessibility comes into play, too. Not everyone can come to a public meeting. But if you’re a government agency, you can put out the call for feedback on Twitter, Facebook or other social networks, and you can reach a broader segment of the public and hear their concerns, she says.

Absolutely right.