A look at Poynter Groups concept

“Bringing journalists together in a more organized way online” seems to this week’s theme.

I posted an item Tuesday about journalist/blogger Ryan Sholin‘s ReportingOn concept for a Web site, where reporters could discuss what they are covering. Today, I received a PoynterEvolution column by Interactivity Editor Ellyn Angelotti announcing Poynter Online’s plans for groups — a feature I first learned of by looking at one of their Web redesign concept images.

Of course, I’m all for connecting journalists and getting them talking. Communication is the name of our game. If we can’t communicate and interact well with each other as journalists, what does that say about our ability to do the same with readers?

Below is an excerpt of the column, click here for the full version.

“When we asked users last year how much they care about connecting or reconnecting with colleagues, we were surprised at the high level of interest. Maybe we shouldn’t have been. When we set up a page on Facebook called “Journalists and Facebook,” hundreds of you joined right up and more than 5,700 belong today.

That kind of response — and the need it suggests — is driving the creation of a network of our own — Poynter Online Groups. Not exactly social networking, not exactly professional networking, Poynter Groups represents our effort to tailor something special for the Poynter Online audience. We’ll differentiate our service from others you may belong to by keeping journalism at its center — especially content created by you and resources produced by Poynter faculty and staff. “

Weigh in: Do you use Facebook and other social networking sites to discuss journalism? Would you use Poynter’s groups? Would you stop using the other ones if you did?

Reporting on the "ReportingOn" concept

I’ve been reading Ryan Sholin, who blogs about journalism, for a few weeks now. I always enjoy his posts, but I found one item on a list of New Year’s resolutions particularly interesting.

The third resolution (“Graduate.”) includes creating a proposal for a Web site concept aimed at journalists, specifically beat writers, to discuss what they are reporting on; thus the name “ReportingOn.” To the right is a screenshot of the page, where anyone can submit feedback.

I think this a great concept to help better connect journalists — and readers — to improve the flow of ideas. One concern on the Facebook group wall (which is like a test site of the idea), is being scooped. Ryan replies: “Keep it broad. You might be working on a story about alternative energy, but there’s no need to say which type or which company is building it. Imagine a site where one click shows you a list of everyone ‘reporting on’ alternative energy…”

I’m a competitive being, as most journalists are, but the purpose of our profession is to inform. If you don’t want to be scooped, don’t give away the scoop. We must continue to adapt how we do our job to better inform readers and this site would be a great way to help do so.

I can’t wait to see the final site and join.

“ReportingOn will be a way to improve local news by giving reporters access to people they don’t talk to often enough: each other. This isn’t Facebook for journalists or Twitter for reporters or your own private Digg; this is the place to talk to the expert in the next cubicle, which happens to be three towns over — or across a continent.” – ReportingOn.com

Related links:
Web site
Facebook group

Ryan’s posts regarding ReportingOn:
Resolutions » Invisible Inkling
(Jan. 1, 2008)
ReportingOn: An ever so slightly more detailed explanation » Invisible Inkling
(Oct. 24, 2007)
I don’t care what journalists are reading; I care what they’re writing » In atvisible Inkling
(Aug. 15, 2007)

Weigh in: Journalists and readers, would you participate? What are some pros and cons?

Update, Feb. 9 at 1:01 a.m.: Ryan posted an update with a mockup.

Non-wired journalists and non-wired cameras

Interesting links:

Howard Owens’ media blog – 2008 objectives for today’s non-wired journalist
This is a good list for all journalists. The comment section is an interesting read as well. I’ve been working on a top 10 list of my own that relates to journalism students because too many of them do not understand they need more than a journalism degree and basically reporter skills.

“I suspect there are still too many non-wired journalists in most US newsrooms. Either out of fear, indifference or hubris, too many reporters and editors resist using the Internet for anything beyond the occasional Google search (and heaven forbid they ever click a search result link to Wikipedia) and a daily dose of Romenesko (and heaven forbid if you call him what he is, a blogger).” – from Howard Owens challenge post

The Boston Globe – Newton school newspaper gets the scoop on hidden cameras
A high school paper doing good journalism is always a nice read.

UPDATE, Dec. 31 at 1:04 A.M.: Howard Owens’ challenge has been reverberating across the journo-blogosphere the past few days. At almost every turn, there’s mention of it.

As a general comment, for student journalists wanting an “inside” at the community they hope to soon join, read the blogs written by journalists! I’ve been reading and clicking through to all kinds of knowledge treasure troves on the Web and learning a great deal from the nuggets (and sometimes tomes) that are posted on these sites.

I will continue to add these blogs to my favorite links area, so always be sure to check that area frequently.

Weigh in: How connected are you? Do you read blogs? Blogs about journalism? What are your favorite journalism sites and blogs?

Talking dirty diapers

Today I finished reading Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive by Mark Briggs. I also began voraciously consuming his past blog posts. I’ve made it as far back as September 2007 as of now and, in the process, have opened many of the links provided.

I created a J-Lab user account and commented on multiple postings, but one post in particular spurred a longer thought. Here is my response to “A 12-step program for journalists,” from Oct. 1, 2007:

Mark, I agree. Journalism definitely needs better well-placed humor and humanity. Reporters and editors still need to take subjects seriously when warranted, but if news organizations want to attract younger audiences (a community to which I belong), they need to understand why people watch Jon Stewart.

Many young adults are growingly cynical when it comes to the news and politics, so the Daily Show and the Colbert Report take an angle they can identify with and find entertaining. Those programs succeed with humor, sarcasm, parody, irreverence and such. They question authority and highlight absurdities. They remove the “filter.” In all, they are fulfilling a journalistic role, all the while providing an enjoyable watching experience for the viewer.

“Infotainment” is something we as journalists need to avoid, but that doesn’t mean news should be drier than a fresh diaper. Let’s not be afraid to soil ourselves from time to time, as long as we keep our reputations clean.

Please feel free to weigh in to the discussion by commenting below.

Sidebar: I’ve also been digging into Poynter‘s Web site and surfing for other journalism pages online. Basically, I’m trying to give myself a self-taught, Internet-based intersession course during winter break. Stay tuned…

Fair comment? Where do you draw the line with user opinions?

Online article comments are being talked about more and more, most recently in Miami Herald ombudsperson Edward Schumacher-Matos’ column in today’s Herald.

The topic was also discussed at the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors conference I attended a two weekends ago. Two of the sessions I attended focused part of their discourse on this issue: A writing for the Web session with The Herald‘s Martin Merzer and a session on ethics by Kelly McBride from Poynter.

Here are some articles to check out:

When comments cross the line by Steve Meyers

Looking for ways to tame poisonous words on Web by Edward Schumacher-Matos