Media consultant Mario Garcia was at the Ottawa Citizen today to share his thoughts on a new wave in storytelling, in which four platforms (mobile, tablet, web and print) are considered at the conception of a story.
Thursday’s talk was a pared-down version of a course he’ll be teaching next term at the Columbia School of Journalism called ‘Storytelling in the age of the tablet.’
Multimedia storytelling is to be considered as a story is assigned, Garcia said, something all newsrooms should be doing, but they’re not, said Garcia.
“Multimedia is like sex in junior high,” Garcia said “Everybody says they’re doing it but nobody really is.”
I’ve spent the past four months researching community newsrooms and citizen journalism while a journalist-in-residence as a Michener-Deacon Fellow at Carleton University – and loved every minute of teaching and research.
But now my time is up. At the beginning of May, I’ll be moving on to my next challenge in the Ottawa Citizen newsroom. Bring on the adrenaline rush of daily news.
As this fellowship draws to a close, I’ve come to the following conclusions about community newsrooms:
Sneezing in space, putting a snowplough on the mayor’s car, and the appropriate level of snark in a tweet were up for discussion during two panels at Carleton University last week.
The event, titled ‘On the Hill, Online and in the loop: how social media is changing politics and reporting’ was co-presented by Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication, and the Canadian Journalism Foundation.
(full disclosure: I organized this event with the CJF)
Two panels on both end of the social media spectrum took to the stage.
Politicians, including Marc Garneau, Liberal MP for Westmount-Ville Marie, Megan Leslie, NDP MP for Halifax and Jim Watson, Ottawa’s mayor shared their thoughts. Chris Waddell, Director of Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication moderated.
Up first was a discussion with Ottawa’s top social media political reporters: Glen McGregor from the Ottawa Citizen, Kady O’Malley from CBC.ca, David Reevely from the Ottawa Citizen, Joanna Smith from the Toronto Star and Nick Taylor-Vaisey from Macleans.
Andrew Potter, Managing Editor at The Ottawa Citizen, moderated what he called “the most incestuous panel I’ve ever sat on.”
As I research community newsrooms, I plan to note the kind of stories are being produced.
Struggling with shrinking resources and budgets, I’m sure many publishers think it would be grand to think that a citizen journalist might sit down and cover a town council meeting – but is this really the case?
My gut tells me that the community would far rather review a new local burger joint than produce 750 words on a transportation committee meeting.
But that’s just my gut. I have no numbers to back this up.
And I want these numbers.
Put simply, I plan to measure (as well as you can measure journalistic productivity) these categories of content into hard or soft news.
We had an interesting situation on the weekend, when the Ottawa Police issued a missing man report.
This, in itself, is not that unusual – anyone who has spent some time in a newsroom will know that there are missing persons reports issued by the police every day. In most cases, the person is found within a day.
What was unusual about this one, was that our reporter, Zev Singer got the story – and the missing man, William Dupon.
Driving to an assignment, Zev spotted a man looking forlorn on a bench at a bus stop, wearing the same hat as the man pictured by police. As he writes in his story, he was tentative about approaching the man, who police had described as having ‘some limitations in his mental functioning’:
… I saw a man at the bus stop on the other side of the street wearing a black leather cowboy hat that looked just like the one in the picture of Dupon. I turned the yellow Citizen car around. …
I walked to the bus stop, and, after a moment of comparing, I showed him my Blackberry and asked: “Is this you?”
For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to know Zev, he is a kind-hearted man and that he drove this missing man to the police station so that he could be reunited with his family isn’t that much of a surprise.
So today, I am working to find a good spin on the fact that our newsroom is nearly 24 per cent smaller than it was yesterday.
Yesterday we saw section editors, copy editors, photographers and writers leave our newsroom – all of them excellent journalists – as part of a buyout program.
It’s no understatement to say the news business is in a period of transition, and change is never easy. This, too, is as cliched as it is true.
Our newsroom’s changes got me thinking about triathlons.
I recently started competing in triathlons again (No, not Iron Mans, and I’m no Simon Whitfield), and while the race is grueling, most competitors will agree that it is the transitions between sports that are the toughest test.
Enough is enough. At some point, you just have to just jump into the pool.
Or, in this case, invite everyone to come swimming.
A few of us have been messing around in google+ for a while, and we like the idea of its hangouts.
We’re not completely sure how people are using g+ (is it replacing Facebook for some??), and I was inspired by the New York Times, and how its tech team hosted a google+ hangout, talking about social media and asking readers how the NYT should use this platform.
Eighty people took part in that hangout. Wow, I thought, what an awesome way to get reader feedback.