Dallas Morning News mid-internship recap and John F. Kennedy project introduction

I can’t believe my Dallas Morning News internship is more than half over.  It’s been great so far, specifically because of the freedom and opportunities I’ve been afforded. Here’s are some highlights so far (Update: now with links!):

I'm standing outside the Dallas Morning News building
I'm standing outside the Dallas Morning News building.
  • Working on a newsroom social media strategy, best practices and how-to guide with Travis Hudson (more on this in a future post)
  • Reporting, including a front page story on the DTV transition and following the story of an abandoned newborn
  • Managing the Facebook page
  • Occasionally managing the Twitter account
  • Occasional online producing
  • Worked with more than a dozen journalists, individually or in pairs, to better use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Helped produce live coverage of American Idol audition coverage, working with another Web producer, reporters at the scene and managing community collaboration and contributions
  • Contributing ideas to the interactive team, Problem Solver column and overall organization

And today I filmed a video for a feature, reporting alongside a another Web intern working on the article.

One of my backburner projects that’s now moving to the frontburner is re-imagining and rebuilding the DMN’s John F. Kennedy page.

I’ve been brainstorming and researching since before I arrived and, now that things are kicking into gear, I’d like your help and feedback.

For the first post in this series I’d like your thoughts about the following before hearing mine or anyone else’s ideas:

Current JFK page from 2004
Current JFK page from 2004
  1. Who is the audience/community?
  2. What is the purpose of this page/section?
  3. What story are is it telling?
  4. What’s the best way to tell the story?
  5. What content should be included? (More than 45 years later, we have loads of stories, obits, journalists’ accounts, photos, TV broadcasts, front pages, documents, etc.)
  6. What do you want to see when you first arrive?
  7. How do you want to navigate through this?
  8. With all of this, how can we engage people and foster quality conversations?
  9. How can we best integrate community content and comments?
  10. How can we best keep it dynamic and alive?

The first multimedia committee meeting for the project is Thursday Wednesday (July 29).

Know anyone who may have good insights? Pass it along! Many thanks in advance.

Announcing the beta launch of Multimedia Standards

After some teasing on Twitter (with the recently neglected #multimediastandards hashtag), we’re now ready to announce the beta launch of Multimedia Standards!

The site was created by 13 undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Miami as part of Rich Beckman‘s spring 2009 Seminar in Visual Storytelling class. It’s built on WordPress using a heavily modified Branford Magazine theme. The main feature is an interactive grid, which includes audio clips from the interviews with an awesome group of multimedia professionals, built with PHP, JavaScript and Flash (for the audio player).

Multimedia Standards (Beta) - A comprehensive resource for multimedia journalists
A clean and simple home page, with The Grid front and center.

We began the project in late March and launched in private beta in May. Thanks to everyone for their feedback!

Here’s a slightly tweaked description of the site that I wrote for the School of Communication:

There are plenty of Web sites and blogs devoted to multimedia journalism, and many of them are great. But there’s no single hub to discuss, share, critique, rate and learn about the field including in-depth thoughts from industry leaders. That’s the hole Multimedia Standards aims to fill.

But what about the name: Multimedia Standards? The site offers none. Instead, we offer resources and opinions on everything from “what is multimedia” to “what is good multimedia” and beyond.

Users can listen to an international group experts in an interactive grid; submit and critique projects; find other sites on our resources pages and easily subscribe to them (we provide the RSS feeds); see upcoming events on our calendar; and read about upcoming contests and recent winners. User input, from critiquing multimedia projects to saving links in our Publish2 newsgroup (which feeds to the top-right homepage widget), is key and we plan to continue updating the site with more featured links.

The team

Each student gathered and edited audio and were involved in the planning and research of the site. The class included:

The site

We spent a good deal of time early on discussing how to best organize the site’s content because of the nature of the content. The sections/navigation include:

  • Summary – a synopsis of all our research from the interviews, including an overview of the topics discussed and thoughts on the future
  • The Grid – 10 questions and answers from our interviews; links to profiles, which feature the full interviews
  • Resources – RSS feeds featuring multimedia producers, commentators and related organizations
  • Submit/Critique – submit multimedia sites and projects for critiques and star ratings by users
  • Events – a Google calender with upcoming conferences, training events, etc.
  • Awards – information about upcoming awards and recently announced winners
  • About – credits, photos and links to individual Web sites, Twitter accounts and e-mail addresses

The Grid

Unfortunately, The Matrix was taken. So we went with The Grid, which features (A-Z):

  • Alberto Cairo
  • Leo Caobelli
  • Pamela Chen
  • Andrew DeVigal
  • David Dunkley Gyimah
  • Kim Grinfeder
  • Kenny Irby
  • Gary Kebbel
  • Tom Kennedy
  • Brian Storm
  • Will Sullivan
  • Ashley Wells

What can I do?

Your interaction is key to the site being more than just a static presentation of our work. For example, submitting and critiquing projects, adding events and more.

Let me know if you’re interested in learning anything more about the site; I’ll respond via the comments or write another post, if the questions warrant. Also, please comment with feedback. How can we make the site better?

Send comments to multimediastandards [at] gmail [dot] com

Looking forward, there’s a second round of interviews in pipeline, which will be used to create a second grid. Although I’ve graduated and won’t be directly involved with that, I’ll be sure to post an update when part deux launches.

Follow tweets related to Knight News Challenge and Future of News and Civic Media conference 2009

I’m not actually there — I’m at my Web internship at The Dallas Morning News. So, what did I do?

I set up this CoverItLive blog to automatically aggregate all the tweets tagged #knc09 #fncm09 #kncmit (translation: Knight News Challenge, Future of News and Civic Media and Knight News Challenge Massachusetts Institute of Technology) so I (and others who can’t follow all the awesomeness minute-by-minute) can read them later.


WATCH LIVE: Bill Couch of USA Today at Poynter Fellowship 2009

Bill Couch livestream and liveblog.

Please check back for archived video, which will be embedded here.


WATCH LIVE: Matt Waite’s presentation at Poynter College Fellowship 2009

Matt Waite, who recently won a Pulitzer prize for PolitiFact, is speaking at the 2009 Poynter College Fellowship.

UPDATE: The archived audio has been added below.