Archive — Resources


How live streaming helps natives abroad feel right at home

This is one of a series of blog posts from the third ONA class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Applications are open to apply for this year’s fellowship until June 6. Fellow Armie Garde is assistant content editor and multimedia journalist for Sun.Star Publishing, Cebu City, Philippines.

Filipinos are everywhere around the world. I have relatives who work as engineers in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, former schoolmates who work as IT professionals in Singapore, Japan and Australia, and former colleagues who are now based in the United States, Europe and Africa. In total, more than two million Filipinos are working abroad, according to the 2013 Survey on Overseas Filipinos.

Most of them only get the chance to visit their home countries every two to four years. They miss celebrating special occasions — Christmas, New Year’s Eve, festivals — with their loved ones. Responding to their need to keep close ties with their countries, the Sun.Star website marks major news events in the Philippines through live streaming or real-time video reports.

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OJAs now honor storytelling with data and visualization

What makes the Online Journalism Awards unique — besides being the only comprehensive honors for digital journalism — is that, like our industry, they’re constantly evolving.

Each year, the committee tasked with bringing the OJAs to journalists around the world revisits the awards categories to see if 1) they still hold up, and 2) they’re missing any truly innovative developments. That’s been the drill since ONA’s founders launched the awards in 2000 with the full understanding that technology would not only upend reporting, storytelling and distribution, but strengthen the role and power of the community.

This year is no different. Under the direction of Chair Josh Hatch, the OJAs have undergone the annual fine-tuning that has made them the standard bearer for our industry. The awards open with 33 categories, and 10 now come with a total of $52,500 in prize money, honoring data journalism, visual digital storytelling, investigative journalism, technical innovation in the service of journalism, public service and general excellence.

Three new or modified categories are worth noting as perfect examples of the need to keep pace with the creative work journalists are undertaking:

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Crowdsourcing Quality Content to Build Quality Communities

This is one of a series of blog posts from the third ONA class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Applications are open to apply for this year’s fellowship until June 6. Fellow Ashley Lohmann is a media entrepreneur and founder/director of Beyond the Bombs.

On the website for Beyond the Bombs—my multimedia project showcasing the untold stories of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—we publish content from contributors across the globe. This week alone features an article from a peace activist in Lebanon, a video from a filmmaker in Iran, and drawings from school children in Yemen photographed by a political researcher there.

Beyond the Bombs operates on a crowdsourced model to gather content from storytellers in a compelling way. Crowdsourcing is key to our mission because it helps us uncover stories and perspectives from and about MENA that rarely find their way into mainstream media.

However, crowdsourcing also has its downsides. When seeking content producers outside of the usual journalism channels, it can be difficult to know where to look and how to reach them. Once you’ve made contact, obtaining quality content (particularly pro bono) poses the greatest challenge, followed closely by enforcing deadlines. Finally, there’s the long-term struggle to build a consistent stream of content contributions.

I’m frequently asked how we get so much great content, so I’ve compiled a few strategies that I use for effective content crowdsourcing:

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A Plea For Video Explainers: Don’t Shy Away From Complex Content

This is one of a series of blog posts from the third ONA class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Applications are open to apply for this year’s fellowship until June 6. Fellow Kyle Stokes is the youth & education reporter at NPR member station KPLU in Seattle.

During one of Pyongyang’s more recent rounds of “crazy threats” — the Vlogbrothers’ Hank Green‘s words, not mine — Green did something really cool in his aptly-titled North Korea explainer vlog post, North Korea: Explained.

Screenshot / Vlogbrothers / YouTube

“Let’s see,” Hank says at the start of the video, ”what the world wants to know about North Korea using our old friend, Google Autocomplete.”

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How the OJAs mirror the digital revolution

The 2014 Online Journalism Awards — the only comprehensive set of prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism around the world — open today, marking their 14th anniversary. It’s worth taking a spin through their short but distinguished history, since they collectively mirror the stratospheric arc of digital journalism.

The OJAs were launched in May 2000 by ONA’s pioneering founders. As you might suspect, there weren’t a ton of entries that year, in part because there weren’t a ton of “online” journalists. There were only 11 categories to choose from, with titles like “GENERAL EXCELLENCE IN ONLINE JOURNALISM, ORIGINAL TO THE WEB” and “CREATIVE USE OF THE MEDIUM, ORIGINAL.” In hindsight, these categories look like baby steps, but they signify the commitment, excitement and sense of possibility surrounding journalism and the brave new world of the ‘net.

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Entries open for 2014 Online Journalism Awards

New: Data Journalism and Visual Storytelling honored

The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, today opened the call for entries for the 2014 Online Journalism Awards (OJAs), emblematic of the best in digital journalism, featuring $15,000 for two new awards for excellence in data journalism.

Enter here. The deadline for entries is June 13.

Ten of the awards now come with a total of $52,500 in prize money, courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Gannett Foundation and the University of Florida. These awards honor data journalism, visual digital storytelling, investigative journalism, public service, technical innovation and general excellence.

“This year’s awards are easier than ever to enter, and feature new categories highlighting the critical and innovative work being done in digital journalism,” said Joshua Hatch, OJA chair and Senior Editor for Data and Interactives at The Chronicle of Higher Education. “We’re excited to see what our colleagues from around the world will be putting forward.”

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Free tools that make your online content sing

This is one of a series of blog posts from the third ONA class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Applications are open to apply for this year’s fellowship until June 6. Fellow Armie Garde is assistant content editor and multimedia journalist for Sun.Star Publishing, Cebu City, Philippines.

One of my tasks as an assistant content editor for the Sun.Star website is to keep myself up to date on the many multimedia and online tools available to journalists. I track how other news websites use these tools and then figure out how to maximize their features.

As much as possible, online content should be both interactive and visual. I take advantage of free online tools to achieve that, and some are even available on a mobile device. Here are a few I’ve found particularly helpful:

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What Digital Storytellers Can Learn From Salsa Dancing in Istanbul

This is one of a series of blog posts from the third ONA class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Applications are open to apply for this year’s fellowship until June 6. Fellow Ashley Lohmann is a media entrepreneur and founder/director of Beyond the Bombs.

“For the first time in history, true global citizenship is possible,” said former YouTube Director of Product Hunter Walk, addressing a room full of furiously tweeting digital enthusiasts at the 2013 Future of Media Conference at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Walk described YouTube’s transition from a website for funny cat videos to a platform for global discussion, including the infamous KONY 2012 video by Invisible Children, which sparked controversy and garnered hundreds of response videos. He mentioned an encounter he’d had with a teenage girl in Iraq during a trip in 2009 to support new media in the country. When asked about the role YouTube played in her life, she said simply, “It allows me to feel connected to the world.”

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A gift for grads: discounted ONA membership

Looking for the perfect gift for your J-school, tech, communications or business graduate? Give them premier networking, expert training and valuable discounts with a membership in the world’s fastest-growing digital media community — for only $50.

Membership in the Online News Association will start graduates down their professional paths with support from the brightest minds in digital media.

And as our gift to 2014 grads, we’re offering our Professional membership at $50 for one full year — a savings of $25.

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How To Start A Blog: The Kick In The Pants I Wish I Had In College

This is one of a series of blog posts from the third ONA class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Applications are open to apply for this year’s fellowship until June 6. Fellow Kyle Stokes is the youth & education reporter at NPR member station KPLU in Seattle.

Let’s start with a confession: Before I did it for a living, I didn’t get blogging.

I used to think reporting for a blog was Journalism Lite. A few bloggers emerged as leaders, including Andrew Sullivan, Anna HolmesNate Silver and Matt Drudge. I assumed other bloggers were Quixotic writers recording their streams of consciousness for nonexistent audiences. Why on earth would anyone waste their time? 

Now that I’ve spent two-and-a-half years writing an education blog for public media reporting collaboration StateImpact Indiana,  I can’t imagine a better, more relevant way for a reporter to own a beat. Nor is there any better way for an aspiring beat reporter to learn the trade — I’m looking at you, J-schoolers.

Publishing a blog is free, so don’t wait for your next class project before putting your reporting acumen on display. That said, a blog isn’t only about marketing yourself. Many traditional news outlets are downsizing, meaning there are not only stories out there dying to be told, but entire communities that may benefit from a moderator for their discourse.

Enter … you. With a blog you’re about to create. Right now. Here’s how you can get started:

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