Friday, December 29, 2006

Listing of CT Journalism syllabus

1. Syllabi - Curriculum Outlines and Ideas Computer-Assisted Reporting - Database Journalism Online Research - Information-Gathering Methods Investigative Reporting/Public Affairs Reporting

  • 2. College syllabi on computer-assisted reporting, precision journalism and news research

  • 3. Introduction to ICT Journalism Syllabi

  • 4. Database & Public Records Reporting/JOU3121

  • 5. Online Journalism Course Syllabi

  • 6. Computer Assisted Reporting, COMM-535
  • Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    Search Wikia : A project to create the search engine that changes everything.

    Search is part of the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet. And, it is currently broken.

    Why is it broken? It is broken for the same reason that proprietary software is always broken: lack of freedom, lack of community, lack of accountability, lack of transparency. Here, we will change all that.

    There have been some amazing projects in recent years which have matured now to the point that a new alternative is possible. Wikia is funding and supporting the development of something radically new.

    Nutch and Lucene and some other projects now provide the background infrastructure that we need to generate a new kind of search engine, which relies on human intelligence to do what algorithms cannot. Just as Wikipedia revolutionized how we think about knowledge and the encyclopedia, we have a chance now to revolutionize how we think about search.

    Help me out, spread the word. I am looking for people to continue the development of a wiki-inspired search engine. Specifically community members who would like to help build people-powered search results and developers to help us build an open-source alternative for web search. Join the mailing list."

    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    Broadcasting TV on the Internet via Democracy Platform

    Democracy Platform provides the opportunity to build a new, open mass medium of online television. The aim is to develop Democracy internet TV platform so that watching internet video channels will be as easy as watching TV and broadcasting a channel will be open to everyone. Unlike traditional TV, everyone will have a voice.

    Saturday, December 23, 2006

    The annual IRE Award

    The annual IRE Awards recognize outstanding investigative work in several categories. The top award given is the IRE Medal. The contest also helps identify the techniques and resources used to complete each story. Entries are placed in the IRE Resource Center, allowing members to learn from each other.

    It's important to note that the IRE Awards program is unique in its efforts to avoid conflicts of interest. Work that included any significant role by a member of the IRE Board of Directors or an IRE contest judge may not be entered in the contest. This often represents a significant sacrifice on the part of the individual — and sometimes an entire newsroom. The IRE membership appreciates this devotion to the values of the organization.

    Entries will be judged on the basis of the IRE definition of investigative reporting:
    "The reporting, through one's own initiative and work product, of matters of importance to readers, viewers or listeners. In many cases, the subjects of the reporting wish the matters under scrutiny to remain undisclosed."
    Thus, entries will be judged on the following criteria. They must:

    * be substantially the product of the reporter's own initiative and effort.
    * uncover facts that someone or some agency may have tried to keep from public scrutiny
    * be about issues of public importance to the readers, viewers or listeners.

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Study: Journalists jailed around the world for Internet work on the rise

    Associated Press Writer

    NEW YORK (AP) -- When Iranian journalist Mojtaba Saminejad was sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the country's Supreme Leader, it was not for an article that appeared in a newspaper. His offending story was posted on his personal Web blog.

    Nearly one-third of journalists now serving time in prisons around the world published their work on the Internet, the second-largest category behind print journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in an analysis released Thursday.

    The bulk of Internet journalists in jail -- 49 in total -- shows that "authoritarian states are becoming more determined to control the Internet," said Joel Simon, the New York-based group's executive director.

    "It wasn't so long ago that people were talking about the Internet as a new medium that could never be controlled," he said. "The reality is that governments are now recognizing they need to control the Internet to control information."

    Other noteworthy imprisoned Internet journalists include U.S. video blogger Joshua Wolf, who refused to give a grand jury his footage of a 2005 protest against a G-8 economic summit, and China's Shi Tao, who is serving a 10-year sentence for posting online instructions by the government on how to cover the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

    For the second year in a row, CPJ's annual survey found the total number of journalists in jail worldwide has increased. There were 134 reporters, editors and photographers incarcerated as of Dec. 1, nine more than a year ago.

    In addition to the Internet writers, the total includes 67 print journalists, eight TV reporters, eight radio reporters and two documentary filmmakers.

    Among the 24 nations that have imprisoned reporters, China topped the list for the eighth consecutive year with 31 journalists behind bars -- 19 of them Internet journalists.

    Cuba was second with 24 reporters in prison. Nearly all of them had filed their reports to overseas-based Web sites.

    The U.S. government and military has detained three journalists, including Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who was taken into custody in Iraq nine months ago and has yet to be charged with a crime.

    CPJ recorded the first jailing of an Internet reporter in its 1997 census. Since then, the number has steadily grown and now includes reporters, editors and photographers whose work appeared primarily on the Internet, in e-mails or in other electronic forms.

    The increase is a testament to the increasing attention of government censors to the Internet, media experts say.

    "I refer to the freedom of the press as the canary in the coal mine," said Joshua Friedman, director of international programs at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. "It's a barometer of the insecurity of the people running these governments. One of the things that makes them insecure these days is the power of the Internet."

    The rise in jailings of Internet journalists is also an indication that reporters in authoritarian countries are increasingly using the Web to circumvent state controls.

    Shi, the jailed Chinese journalist, could have published his notes on state propaganda in the Chinese magazine in Hunan province where he worked as an editorial director. He chose instead to send an e-mail from his Yahoo account to the U.S.-based editor of a Chinese language Web forum.

    Cuban journalist Manuel Vasquez-Portal said he posted his articles on a Miami-based Web site for a similar reason.

    "Without a doubt, the Internet provided me an avenue. It was the only way to get the truth out of Cuba," he said through an interpreter.

    Vasquez-Portal, who was jailed for 15 months in 2003, said he had to call his stories in to the operator of the Web site, though, because Cubans are not allowed access to the Internet.
    On the Net:
    Committee to Protect Journalists:

    The Media Bloggers Association

    The Media Bloggers Association(MBA) is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of "blogging" or "citizen journalism" as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.

    The Media Bloggers Association advances its mission as follows:

    * Promoting its members by advancing the grassroots media movement generally, showcasing exemplary instances of media blogging and citizen journalism, making members available for media appearances, and otherwise creating promotional opportunities for the MBA and its members.

    * Protecting members by defending the rights of bloggers and citizen journalists generally, providing first-line legal advice to members, and partnering with organization dedicated to promoting values enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    * Educating its members through mutual support and robust internal discussion, by partnering with organizations dedicated to education in the area of technology, methods and standards and otherwise creating educational opportunities for the MBA and its members.


    Mobile tracking devices on trial

    By Spencer Kelly

    Your mobile phone is a beacon - a radio transmitter in a box. Therefore it is possible to trace the signal and work out where it is.

    There are now several web companies which will track your friends' and family's phones for you, so you always know where they are.

    But just how safe is it to make location details available online?

    There are several reasons why you may want to track someone. You may be a company wanting to keep tabs on employees during work hours, or a parent wanting to check up on a child's whereabouts.

    These sorts of tracking services, now available in the UK, get information from the network about which cell your phone is currently in, and, for a small fee, display the location on an online map.

    As well as checking where a certain phone is right now, you can run scheduled lookups, or snail trails, to record the phone's movements throughout the day, and produce a report for you to peruse at your leisure.

    Obviously you cannot just enter any mobile phone number and expect to track someone.

    First of all you need to prove your identity, via a credit card, and then, crucially, the owner of the phone in question needs to consent to being tracked.

    The owner is sent a text message telling them about the tracking request, to which they must reply.


    The question is: is it possible to circumvent this security, and track someone without their knowledge?

    I attempted to find out, using regular contributor Guy Kewney, an independent technology journalist and, for one day only, human guinea pig.

    I sent him on a tour of London. He could go anywhere he wanted, and I planned to meet up with him later and tell him, hopefully, where he had been.

    Guy did not know that when I borrowed his phone for a few minutes earlier in the day, I took the opportunity to register it on one of the tracking services.

    I received the incoming text message warning him about the tracking, responded to it and then deleted it from his inbox.

    When I gave him his phone back, Guy had no idea he was now in possession of a consenting tracking device.

    Hence, a little while later, I could watch him emerge from the tube at the start of his tour.

    But just borrowing someone's phone for a few minutes is too obvious a loophole. It is one which has already been closed by an industry body which oversees new technologies such as mobile tracking services.

    Voluntary rules

    The Mobile Broadband Group has drawn up a voluntary code of conduct which the networks in the UK ask location providers to stick to.

    One of the conditions of the code is that after a phone is registered as a tracking device, reminder texts should be sent to the phone at random intervals.

    This way, it should be impossible for a malicious tracker to intercept every reminder.

    The problem is, those random reminders are not required to be sent very frequently.

    We tracked several phones over several days, and often had to wait for a day or two before receiving a reminder message.

    Hamish Macleod from the Mobile Broadband Group, who came up with the code of conduct, argues this is enough.

    He said: "We assessed this risk during the development of the code and consulted obviously with all the experts that we did, and the schedule of random alerts that we came up with we thought was adequate to protect against the risks.

    "This is a situation to be kept under review as the service is developed."


    With more and more children owning mobile phones, special attention needs to be given to who can track them.

    If you are not a genuine parent or guardian, the code requires location services to check that both the tracker and the person being tracked can prove they are consenting adults.

    Mr Macleod says: "The person that is to be located has to demonstrate to the service provider they are at least 16 years old.

    "They can do this through various channels, for example they can get a credit card number which is used as a proxy for age verification, or something like that."

    At least, that is what is supposed to happen. But neither of the services we tested asked the person being tracked to prove they were an adult.

    Although they did ask us for the age of the person we wanted to track, they did not check we were telling the truth.

    The companies were not following the letter of the code and, what is more, no-one was holding them to account.

    What do you make of the new mobile tracking services online? Is it ever possible for regulation to keep up with technology?

    Neither service would comment on this oversight.

    Although the code of conduct was well intentioned, the Mobile Broadband Group admits it will need refining as loopholes become apparent.

    It also highlights the limits of such voluntary codes, and the problems with policing them.

    Jago Russell from the human rights group Liberty says: "We have concerns in general about industry codes of practice. They aren't legal regulation; they don't give the consumer an effective legal remedy if the code of practice isn't complied with.

    "So in many ways they're not really worth the paper they're written on."


    As a result of our investigation, The Mobile Broadband Group is making some changes to the code of conduct.

    The frequency of the random reminders is going to be increased, and the code will make clearer the appropriate way to check the age of the participants.

    Guy Kewney says: "It's a shame but then if you start regulating new technology you usually fall down because people don't expect the unexpected.

    "The real problem is that you can't actually perceive the unintended consequences of your technology change, so a hard and fast rule that says 'don't do this' won't stop you doing that, in which case you've wasted your time passing it."

    Should we really be worried about being tracked by mobile phones?

    Guy Kewney says: "You can worry about anything in this society. If I wanted to track you, the easy way to do it is - well you've found one way, but if they've closed that loophole or if it becomes tricky - then I just hire a private detective.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2006/02/24 17:21:15 GMT

    © BBC MMVI

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    BBC moves to file-sharing sites

    BBC moves to file-sharing sites
    Hundreds of episodes of BBC programmes will be made available on a file-sharing network for the first time, the corporation has announced.

    The move follows a deal between the commercial arm of the organisation, BBC Worldwide, and technology firm Azureus.

    The agreement means that users of Azureus' Zudeo software in the US can download titles such as Little Britain.

    Until now, most BBC programmes found on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks have been illegal copies.

    Beth Clearfield, vice president of program management and digital media at BBC Worldwide, said that the agreement was part of a drive to reach the largest audience possible.

    "We are very excited to partner with Azureus and make our content available through this revolutionary distribution model," she said.

    High definition

    Azureus is best known for developing a BitTorrent client, or program, that allows large media files to be easily shared over the internet. The program has been downloaded more than 130 million times.

    +++++++++Once you have watched a show, you can rate it, comment on it and recommend it to a friend Gilles BianRosa, Azureus++++++++++++++++++

    Earlier this month the company launched a video sharing site similar to YouTube, codenamed Zudeo. The site allows users to upload and view content.

    However, in contrast to most video sharing sites, Zudeo offers high definition videos. Users must also download a program to access and upload content.

    The new deal means that users of the software will be able to download high-quality versions of BBC programmes, including Red Dwarf, Doctor Who and the League of Gentleman. Classic series such as Fawlty Towers will also be available through a BBC "channel".

    The titles will be protected by digital rights management software to prevent the programmes being traded illegally on the internet.

    "This will be a very different experience from traditional file-sharing networks," said Gilles BianRosa, CEO of Azureus.

    Users will also be able to link to programmes from blogs, social networks and fansites.

    "If you have Zudeo running it will take you to that programme; and if you don't, it will suggest you install it, like the first time you download a flash movie," said Mr BianRosa.

    "Once you have watched a show, you can rate it, comment on it and recommend it to a friend."

    Mr BianRosa believes the cult status of many BBC programmes will make these features appealing to Zudeo users.

    Legal services

    File-sharing is often associated with illegal distribution of copyrighted content. But in recent months a number of networks have tried to shake off this old image.

    BitTorrent, the company behind the original file-sharing software of the same name, has recently signed a number of deals with content providers, such as 20th Century Fox, in a bid to become a legitimate download service.

    Earlier this year, Sharman Networks, the owners of Kazaa, did similar deals. Kazaa uses advertising to provide content for free.

    No pricing structure for the BBC content on Zudeo has been revealed.

    Azureus is expected to announce other partnerships in the New Year.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2006/12/20 07:46:13 GMT

    © BBC MMVI

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Smart Phones and Reporters: Perfect Together?

    A little while back I got a call from Kevin Coughlin, reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger. He said his paper's management is urging reporters to become more techno-savvy, so he was calling some journalistic technophiles to find out which tools and services are especially useful to working reporters.

    His questions triggered a memory for me about something I observed at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference this past October.
    While there were plenty of laptops in view at the conference, I noticed an amazing number of longtime reporters whipping out various brands of smart phones and using them for diverse tasks: taking notes, performing online searches, Web surfing, recording contact information, noting events on calendars, messaging with editors, recording audio and video, taking pictures, checking e-mail and feeds, and more. Occasionally, they even used them to place phone calls.

    I was surprised because I've known many of these smart-phone-wielding reporters for a decade or more, and several of them are rather, um, technophobic. At least, they used to be. But something about smart phones seems to suit them -- maybe even better than laptops.

    One thing's for sure: A really great smart phone costs a lot less than most laptops. That might be attractive to news organizations -- or reporters who are paying out of their pockets for better gear.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Blogging 'set to peak next year'

    The blogging phenomenon is set to peak in 2007, according to technology predictions by analysts Gartner.

    The analysts said that during the middle of next year the number of blogs will level out at about 100 million.

    The firm has said that 200 million people have already stopped writing their blogs.

    Gartner has made 10 predictions, including stating that Vista will be the last major release of Windows and PCs will halve in cost by 2010.

    Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer said the reason for the levelling off in blogging was due to the fact that most people who would ever start a web blog had already done so.

    He said those who loved blogging were committed to keeping it up, while others had become bored and moved on.

    ++A lot of people have been in and out of this thing
    Daryl Plummer, Gartner++

    "A lot of people have been in and out of this thing," Mr Plummer said.

    "Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it."

    Last month blog tracking firm Technorati reported that 100,000 new blogs were being created every day, and 1.3 million blog posts were written.

    Technorati is tracking more than 57 million blogs, of which it believes around 55% are "active" and updated at least every three months.

    Gartner also predicted that:

    # By 2010, the average total cost of ownership of new PCs will fall by 50%

    # By 2010, 60% of the worldwide cellular population will be "trackable" via an emerging "follow-me internet"

    # By the end of 2007, 75% of enterprises will be infected with undetected, financially motivated, targeted malware that evaded their traditional perimeter and host defences
    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2006/12/14 09:28:05 GMT

    © BBC MMVI

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Community websites take wiki path

    The founder of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia is launching a service offering free tools for people who want to build community websites.

    Jimmy Wales has said his company wikia will offer software, storage and network access and that website creators can keep advertising revenue.

    Sites built with Wikia tools must provide a link to the company, which itself earns money from adverts.

    Wikipedia is built and edited by users and is free for anyone to use.

    Wikia is the commercial counterpart to the not-for-profit Wikipedia site.

    Wikipedia was founded in 2001 and is seen as a serious rival to commercial online encyclopaedias.

    It is built using wikis, open-source software which allows anyone to edit, add, delete, or replace an entry. It relies on volunteer contributors to update its pages.

    Businesses have started to embrace the wiki model to allow employees to collaborate and communicate about projects, while special-interest groups are also using them to share ideas.

    "It is open-source software and open content," Mr Wales told the Reuters news agency.

    "We will be providing the computer hosting for free, and the publisher can keep the advertising revenue."

    Thirty thousand users have posted 400,000 articles so far on sites.

    Mr Wales believes the falling cost of computers, storage and network access will mean success for the service.

    "It is becoming more and more practical and feasible to do," he said.

    "We don't have all the business model answers, but we are confident as we always have been that the wisdom of our community will prevail," he said.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2006/12/12 08:35:03 GMT

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

    The refereed journal Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies was launched in 1995 by members of the Media, Art & Design Department at the then University of Luton (UK), and became a quarterly in 1997. In August 2006 the University of Luton became the University of Bedfordshire.

    It is published by SAGE Publications.

    The journal's editorial base remains at the University of Bedfordshire, Luton, where we are assisted by editorial assistant Jason Wilson.

    Edited by Julia Knight (University of Sunderland, UK) and Alexis Weedon (University of Bedfordshire, UK), it has an international editorial board, with Associate Editors in the USA (Jane Singer and Amy Bruckman), the UK (Jeanette Steemers) and Australia (Rebecca Coyle).

    Convergence invites papers on multimedia, gender and technology, satellite and cable, control and censorship, copyright, electronic publishing, the internet, media policy, interactivity, education and new media technologies, screen interfaces, virtual reality, technology and arts practices, sound/music and new technologies, and media theory.
    Convergence Journal

    The February and August issues are edited by the editorial team, while the May and November issues are guest-edited themed issues.

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Blogs: brilliant or biased?

    The world is witnessing an explosion of online weblogs or “blogs”. IJNet would like to explore how journalists should make use of this new medium.

    Do you have your own blog? Do you know of any journalists who are active in this medium? If yes, do you think you/they write and report about issues they can’t talk about in their own media organization? Or is it just to present a different or more personal point of view?

    Do you think bloggers have a responsibility to adhere to the standards conventional media outlets follow?

    Are there any blogs you consider to be a useful source of information? How do you verify the information posted?

    We invite you to send us your ideas. Join the discussion by going to and clicking on “Add a Comment” below. Please identify your country if possible. We reserve the right to delete any inappropriate comments or block those who abuse the privilege.

    Thank you for participating.

    The IJNet Team

    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    Nordic Network for ICT, Media & Learning

    The purpose of the network is to create a Nordic platform for research and development in ICT, Media & Learning. Relevant research and development topics include:

    Media education
    Educational media
    Didactic design
    visit for more information

    Papers battle online news sites

    By David Reid

    "All the news that's fit to print" was once the newspaper man's slogan. Now, with news-junkies turning increasingly to the net for their daily fix of world events, papers are beginning to feel the pinch.

    Not since the internet began has there been so much free quality newspaper content on the web.

    You will have to make the most of it because the current bonanza might not last forever.

    ++I think there is no doubt that growth in electronic media is the future, but there is still a future for print.
    Larry Killman, World Association of Newspapers++

    Newspapers are still not sure what to do about the internet, no matter how determined they are to prove wrong the doomsayers who claim they are dead.

    But Larry Killman of the World Association of Newspapers believes newspapers are "far from dead".

    "People have been predicting their death for years, television was going to kill newspapers, for example," he said.

    "I think there is no doubt that growth in electronic media is the future, but there is still a future for print."

    Over the years newspapers have been pretty resilient; they managed to ride out the challenge from radio and toughed it out with TV.

    Financial challenge

    But those challenges were more about who would be first or best with the news. The internet, however, is hitting papers where it hurts, in their pockets.

    "For more than 100 years journalism has been sustained by this virtuous circle in which the audience paid for their news, and the advertiser paid to reach that audience, and the publisher made a profit and paid his journalists and the society benefited into the bargain," said Michael Oreskes, executive editor of the International Herald Tribune.

    "That whole circle breaks down on the internet. This requires wildly creative thinking on the part of media companies to preserve the base of support that's created quality journalism for all these years.

    "And that's a subject that the whole of society needs to be interested in and not just those whose livelihood depends on it."

    The big question facing major papers is how can they compete with free. News used to be a saleable commodity, now they seem to be giving it away.

    ++I do think the internet is a problem, but it is also the solution
    Fabrice Rousselot, Libération++

    Papers like Metro have borrowed the internet's business model and make money solely through advertising.

    Given their fix of news, many people will not now fork out for a paper.

    That is hurting papers like France's Libération. It has traditionally shunned advertising it deemed politically compromising and relied on its cover price for its income.

    It is now in financial crisis: its doors threatening to close for good. The paper partly blames the internet.

    Complimentary strategy

    "I do think the internet is a problem, but it is also the solution," said Fabrice Rousselot, Libération's internet editor.

    "The mistake I think for any kind of media today would be to think they could do anything without the internet.

    "You have to integrate the internet as part of your business model."

    Which leaves papers with the problem of what, out of the pile of content they produce, should they put on the web?

    There is not much point, for example, putting exactly the same stuff on the website as they put in the paper.

    "If you offer on your website the exact same content as in your newspaper, why would people buy the newspaper? It makes no sense economically," said Mr Rousselot.

    "But if you show people that the content on the website is only made richer in the newspaper the next morning because what you have on the website in terms of news is becoming an analysis, is becoming a report from abroad, is becoming some kind of a huge interview on the newspaper, then there is a sense to it."

    While web strategy is being bandied around as the sink or swim buzzword of the moment, newspapers freely admit that no-one really knows for sure whether what they are doing is going to pay off in the end.


    The International Herald Tribune now sees itself as a media organisation rather than just a paper; their website features video stories and has taken the step of charging for premium content.

    "Good journalism costs money and so we are trying to see what we can do to make sure we can continue to grow and support the business," said Meredith Artley, director of digital development at the International Herald Tribune.

    "So far it is working. The advertising is growing at a huge rate and we are seeing, especially with mobile devices, that readers will pay for something they know that's valuable.

    "They'll do it on the web too, but with mobiles it is a little bit different. People will download things, they will pay for them.

    "So we are exploring that. It is still a little bit of experimentation, but that is what all this is about."

    These are scary times for newspapers and a crucial time for society.

    A fully functioning media needs more than fast reacting rolling news, it also needs newspapers which spend more time chewing over what the news actually means.

    There is a problem with free: it often comes unpackaged and without the know-how to understand it.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2006/12/08 15:42:16 GMT

    © BBC MMVI

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    The Demise of the Professional Photojournalist

    by Dan Gillmor


    The rise of the citizen journalist is not a new phenomenon. People have been witnessing and taking pictures of notable events for a long, long time. And they’ve been selling them to traditional news organizations just as long.

    But professional photojournalists, and more recently videographers, have continued to make good livings at a craft that helps inform the rest of us about the world we live in. That craft has never been more vibrant, or vital. But the ability to make a living at it will crumble soon.

    The pros who deal in breaking news have a problem. They can’t possibly compete in the media-sphere of the future. We’re entering a world of ubiquitous media creation and access. When the tools of creation and access are so profoundly democratized, and when updated business models connect the best creators with potential customers, many if not most of the pros will fight a losing battle to save their careers.

    Let’s do a little time travel.

    Zapruder cameraThis movie camera captured the most famous pictures in the citizen-media genre: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Abraham Zapruder, the man pointing the camera that day in Dealey Plaza, sold the film to Life Magazine for $150,000 — about half a million dollars in today’s currency.Zapruder Frame 246

    In Dealey Plaza that day, one man happened to capture a motion picture — somewhat blurred but utterly gruesome nonetheless — of those terrible events. Zapruder’s work, by any standard we can imagine, was an act of citizen journalism.

    Now consider what media tools people carry around with them routinely today — or, better yet, consider what they'’l have a decade from now. And then take yourself, and those tools, back to 1963.

    Dozens or hundreds of people in Dealey Plaza would have been capturing high-definition videos of the assassination, most likely via their camera-equipped mobile phones as well as devices designed to be cameras and little else. They’d have been capturing those images from multiple perspectives. And — this is key — all of those devices would have been attached to digital networks.

    If soon-to-be-ubiquitous technology had been in use back in 1963, at least several things are clear. One is that videos of this event would have been posted online almost instantly. Professional news organizations, which would also have had their own videos, would have been competing with a blizzard of other material almost from the start — and given traditional media’s usually appropriate reluctance to broadcast the most gruesome images (e.g. the Nick Berg beheading in Iraq), the online accounts might well be a primary source.

    (Less germane to the topic here, we’d also soon have a three-dimensional hologram of the event, given the number of cameras capturing it from various angles. And we’d probably know for sure whether someone was shooting at the president from behind that famous grassy knoll.)

    Consider, as well, how we might remember the horror of September 11, 2001 under similar circumstances. Recall that people inside the World Trade Center towers and on the four hijacked airplanes were making mobile-phone calls to loved ones, colleagues and authorities. Suppose they had been sending videos of what was going on inside those buildings and planes to the rest of us? The day’s events would go into history with even grimmer — and even more human — detail.

    London bombingNow consider another famous picture, the one at the left. It’s the single image that we will most remember from the July 2005 bombings in London. It was taken by Adam Stacey inside the Underground (subway), as he and others escaped from a smoky train immediately after one of bombs exploded.

    Again, the production values of the image are hardly professional. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is the utter authenticity of the image, made so by the fact that the man was there at the right time with the right media-creation gear.

    In a world of ubiquitous media tools, which is almost here, someone will be on the spot every time.

    And there will be business models and methods to support their work.

    Today, YouTube is the site of choice for all kinds of videos, including newsworthy ones such as the recent abuse-by-taser of the student at the University of California, Los Angeles (more than 764,000 viewings as of today), and the racist nightclub rantings of Michael “Kramer” Richards (more than 1.2 million viewings). Both were captured by mobile-phone video cameras.

    Others will make their way to sites like the newly announced projects such as YouWitness News (a joint project of Yahoo and Reuters), or operations like Scoopt or NowPublic. They and other companies want to be aggregators of, and in some cases brokers for, citizen-created media. (Disclosures: I am teaching a class with Yahoo’s editorial director, and I’m an advisor to NowPublic.)

    If reputable photojournalists face big changes, so do the paparazzi who capture celebrities’ public (and sometimes private) doings. Bild, the trashy German tabloid, asks its Leser-Reporters to send in their own pictures — and pays handsomely. (I’ve been told, but haven’t verified, that some of the professional paparazzi are submitting photos this way, because they can make more money than through traditional dealings with the newspaper.)

    The business part of this is important. I’m highly skeptical of business models, typically conceived by Big Media Companies, that tell the rest of us: “You do all the work, and we’ll take all the money we make by exploiting it.” This is not just unethical.. It’s also unsustainable in the long run.

    Not every person who captures a newsworthy image or video necessarily wants to be paid. Stacey’s picture was widely distributed, including onto the front pages of many newspapers, in part because he put it out under a Creative Commons license allowing anyone else the right to use it in any way provided they attribute the picture to its creator. There were misunderstandings (including at least one use by a photo agency that apparently claimed at least partial credit for itself), but the licensing terms almost certainly helped spread it far and wide in a very short time.

    The problems this trend will create are not trivial. One is that democratized media tools also include easy and cheap ways to fake or alter reality.Fakeplane

    The picture at right circulated widely around the Net after Sept. 11. It purportedly shows an airliner about to hit a World Trade Center tower, with an unlucky tourist having his picture taken just before the moment of impact. The photo is fake — a composite created by a not-so-funny prankster. It was quickly debunked (see this Snopes urban-legends page, for example), but not before a lot of people were initially fooled. Some who saw the “photo” are probably still believing it was authentic.

    To weed out the phony stuff, we’ll need to combine traditional means of verification with new kinds of reputation systems. It won’t be easy, but the need for such methods is plain enough.

    So, back to our friends, the professional photo or video journalists. How can people who cover breaking news for a living begin to compete? They can’t possibly be everywhere at once. They can compete only on the stories where they are physically present — and, in the immediate future, by being relatively trusted sources.

    But the fact remains, there are far more newsworthy situations than pro picture takers. In the past, most of those situations never were captured. Not any longer.

    Is it so sad that the professionals will have more trouble making a living this way in coming years? To them, it must be — and I have friends in the business, which makes this painful to write in some ways.

    To the rest of us, as long as we get the trustworthy news we need, the trend is more positive.

    Remember, there was once a fairly healthy community of portrait painters. When photography came along, a lot of them had to find other work; or at least their ranks were not refilled when they retired. Professional portrait photographers, similarly, are less in demand today than a generation ago. But portraits have survived — and thrived.

    The photojournalist’s job may be history before long. But photojournalism has never been more important, or more widespread.

    UPDATE: The comments are producing some fascinating material. Please take a look.

    Some folks are misinterpreting what I’ve written. (Part of this is my fault, for not being crystal clear at the top that I’m talking about spot (breaking) news; I’ve fixed that.)

    I’m not saying all professional photojournalism will disappear. Great feature photography is a special skill that amateurs won’t match anytime soon, if ever. There will be many cases, as well, where even the pros get in place to capture the spot-news picture.

    But they won’t be able to be everywhere at once. And in an era when news organizations are whacking away at staff as fast as they can, the pressure to use what the community can provide will be irresistible given the money it will save.

    I’m not saying this evolution is an entirely positive development (though it will help in some circumstances). I am saying it’s inevitable.

    Also: I’ve corrected Nick Berg’s first name, which I got wrong in the original piece.
    source :

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Here's The News, Help Yourself

    The Danish edition of Computerworld Online ( has thrown out most of the basic journalistic tools on its new front page:Articles are no longer organized by priority, only by time stamp.Priority has been given to tagging all articles. The idea is to focus on building related content around articles.All headlines are the same size, no matter how important the story. The entire site navigation has been hidden under a link.Some ads are the same font size and type as news articles, but have been marked with a grayish "advertisement" label.All users now can blog on the site.

    Editor Mikael Lindholm argues that the new site is user-centric, whereas the old site was based on newspaper design. The site design looks more like the average blog than anything else.

    It's true that some elements of early Web design (including site navigation) seem to be used very little by users. Maybe we should look for better ways to build navigation.

    However, I personally believe that online journalists have plenty to learn from newspaper design. We still tell all our stories in the same "design," no matter what type of story it is. Why? Simply because the average content management system (CMS) is as comfortable as a coffin when it comes to bringing a story to life. To me, the new Computerworld site design looks almost like giving up before learning to use basic tools of online communication.

    Strangely, only two months ago Mikael Lindholm quoted Microsoft's anthropologist Anne Kirah: "Print media is capable of things that the online can't do. The text, the layout, the colors, the layout, and the context makes it easier to remember and understand things when we see it on paper." (I hope I have quoted her correctly, since that's a translation of a translation).

    So, why not learn a little from paper design instead of throwing it all out?

    source: poynter

    Thursday, November 30, 2006

    Pulitzer Prize to embrace Web 2.0 elements

    The Pulitzer Prize Board has established new rules allowing newspapers to submit a full array of online material such as databases, interactive graphics, and streaming video for its journalism awards.

    An assortment of Web 2.0 elements will now be permitted in all awards except for the competition's two photography categories, which will continue to restrict entries to still images.

    "This board believes that its much fuller embrace of online journalism reflects the direction of newspapers in a rapidly changing media world," said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

    "In effect, a newspaper must call out which online element it wants to be considered," Gissler said. "If an element has multiple parts, such as a graphic with various entry points, the conceptual logic linking the parts must be clear."

    The new submission criteria states that each online element has to be a single, discretely designated presentation - such as a database, blog, interactive graphic, slide show, or video presentation.

    Each of these designated elements will count as one item in the total number of items, print or online, permitted in any entry.

    Last year, for the first time, the board allowed some online content in all categories. However, with the exception of the public service category, the online work was limited to written stories or still images.

    The breaking news reporting and breaking news photography categories of the awards will remain open to material published entirely on a newspaper's website.

    In all other categories an entry may contain online material but it must also contain material published in the print edition.

    The board also announced that the local reporting category would replace beat reporting as one of the 14 prizes.

    All changes will apply to work done in 2006 for prizes awarded in 2007.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006


    KENYA ONLINE JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION(KOJA) is a non-profit making organization formed to strengh the unity of local Journalists in promoting growth of ICT4D
    visit KOJA at

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Offshoring: Coming Trend for Copy Desks?

    A newsroom, bedeviled by missed deadlines, a short-handed copy desk and a lack of editing candidates, gets creative.

    It finds a company that offers editing services. The company is overseas, perhaps in India or Singapore.
    Powered by fiber-optic connections that carry data all the way around the world in less than a second, the off-shore company offers a money-back guarantee on deadline performance. In a pinch, it could throw 30 editors at an edition, three times as many as the newspaper could ever afford to deploy in its own office.

    The quality is good. Hundreds of thousands of people in India grow up in English-speaking schools, and they're working hard to build careers. The work is cheap by U.S. standards. The rate is a third less than what the American newspaper is paying. There are no health benefits, vacations or sick days, and no utility or equipment costs to the newspaper.

    Could it happen? In some respects (though not yet the copy desk), it already has.

    The Chicago Tribune is moving the work of 40 circulation customer-contact workers to APAC Customer Service in the Philippines. The newspaper reported that this follows a similar action by its sister, the Los Angeles Times.

    The New York Times reported that, in its last months, Knight Ridder considered whether it could consolidate copy editing among widespread papers. It's not that big a leap to move that desk overseas.

    Stateside copy editors, traditionally on the right side of supply-and-demand job security, are on the wrong side of offshoring. Some of the safest jobs in the newsroom are becoming the most exportable.

    One company, Hi-Tech Export, offers 40 hours of proofreading and copy editing for $295. The company, located in Ahmedabad, India, started in 1992 and did data processing for other Indian companies. It has expanded its offerings and, since 2000, has been developing markets in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Its U.S. office is in Omaha.

    Another company, Cicada Media in Bangalore, India, focuses on corporate and marketing communications. It offers to correct errors in grammar, spelling, usage and style, and to proofread. Sound familiar?

    At The DallasMorning News recently, as people awaited word on buyouts, they griped that their in-house tech questions often were handled by techies in India.

    As a recruiter, I frequently get e-mails from people in India offering to work for the Detroit Free Press. Immigration would not be an issue, as they don't plan to move. They are offering, in effect, to be trans-world telecommuters. Their pitches, naive and off-the-mark at first, are getting sharper.

    Going in the other direction, U.S. companies are advertising for copy editors now on Monster India, the overseas cousin of the job site we know here.

    Hi-Tech is not the problem. Nor is Cicada nor Monster nor any company in particular. The problem is that globalization, digitization and tight supply-chain management let all kinds of companies break down jobs, divvy up the parts, ship the components around the world to the best bidders and reassemble them all by deadline. The Newspaper Guild and others have fought offshoring, but protesting won't dent the incentives.

    The challenge of segmentation is also the key to survival.How can copy editors -- or any workers -- protect their jobs?

    The challenge of segmentation is also the key to survival. Break down the job, analyze the components and take the parts you can do best. New York Times writer Thomas L. Friedman, who laid out scenarios like this in "The World is Flat," differentiates between high-value custom work and "plain vanilla" exportable tasks. The vanilla gets gobbled up first.

    The parts of a copy editor's job that would seem most vulnerable to offshoring are also the most mundane: reading proofs and editing calendar listings. How could someone overseas have enough local knowledge to edit calendar listings? The same way someone might adopt an American name and learn a regional U.S. accent to provide more comforting service from a call center 12 time zones away. It can be done.

    How about wire stories? How much better are we in my newsroom in Detroit at editing stories from Asia than, say, a person in India? We know our market better, but we are further from the story. Wire stories, which receive a couple of edits before they ever get to us, could be vulnerable to offshoring. Recently, I have seen one newsroom run a shared-content, international-news page that is put together by a nearby neighbor. It works pretty well. And it is not a huge leap to have that page put together 10,000 miles away.

    In 1998, an American Journalism Review project on the state of American journalism titled a piece on dwindling foreign reporting as "Goodbye, World." What's next, "Goodbye, Work"?

    Anyone with a good job would fight to keep it. Fighting change may be futile. The smarter fight lies in developing the skills required to make yourself not only more essential but more satisfied and competent in the work you want to do.
    source :

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Gannett retooling its news-gathering efforts

    Gannett, the USA largest newspaper company, is making plans to roll out a nationwide initiative to gather and disseminate information across a multitude of media, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    The McLean-based company has about 90 newspapers, including USA Today, the nation's largest daily paper. Like other newspaper companies, Gannett is losing readers and advertising revenue as folks turn to the Internet and other mediums to get their information.

    Gannett executives are hoping to reverse that trend with their new initiative, dubbed the Information Center.

    "The Information Center will let us gather the very local news and information that customers want, then distribute it when, where and how our customers seek it," Gannett Chairman, President and CEO Craig Dubow wrote in a letter to employees. Company officials provided the letter to Washington Business Journal.

    Gannett executives say the Information Center concept transforms the process for providing news and information. The newsroom evolves into a place that's focused on gathering the information people want using words, images and video and then distributes it across multiple platforms from newspapers to Web sites to other non-print entities.

    Gannett's newspaper division, which has conducted a series of pilot programs to create and test the Information Center concept, organized the center around seven key information-gathering areas: digital, public service, community conversation, local, custom content, data and multimedia.

    "The Information Center, frankly, is the newsroom of the future," Dubow wrote. "It will fulfill today's needs for a more flexible, broader-based approach to the information gathering process."

    To test the process, Gannett (NYSE: GCI) has implemented the Information Center on a full-scale pilot basis at three of its papers, and partially at other sites.

    "What they found," Dubow wrote, "is remarkable: Breaking news on the Web and updating for the newspaper draws more people to both those media. Results include stronger newspapers, more popular Web sites and more opportunities to attract the customers advertisers want."

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    ICT Training workshop for Journalists ends

    The Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association, GFA, Mr Affail Monney has stressed the need for media organizations in the country to provide their journalists with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to support them in increasing their efficiency and introduction to modernity into their operations.

    He said with the changing times, it was about time that individual media organizations put in greater efforts at going ICT to be abreast with evolving events to be better placed to inform, entertain and educate the public on pertinent issues that will bring about positive change in their lives.

    Mr Monney said this on Friday at the closing ceremony of a training workshop for a cross section of Journalists in Accra. About 50 selected Journalists from both the private and state media in three batches were trained under the project funded by the Japanese Funds-in Trust (JFIT) in collaboration with UNESCO's International programme for Development of Communication (IPDC) and support by Africa On-Line and the GJA.

    The Vice President said it is encouraging news to the GJA that the participants have strengthened their capacity in ICT, improved on their capacity and understanding of internet use, the use of simple and complex search engines for research, the use of computer for page planning, layout and design as well as improving on their skills in digital age journalism and on-line journalism. Mr Monney said with the excellent ICT facilities, the Association intends to source for funds from its associate partners to undertake further training for it members, adding, 93We will adopt more flexible schedules at any future training to give more members, especially from the private press to have more friendly and conducive training programme.

    He appealed to the participants to consolidate the knowledge acquired by regularly practicing on their computers so as not to get rusty or forget what they have learnt and in that way it would go a long way in broadening the media's horizon in ICT.

    Mr Ebenezer K. Ogyiri, Programme Officer Culture and Communication of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO advised the GJA to put a management team to run an ICT centre for the benefit of its members. He advised members of the Association to patronize the ICT centre at the International Press Centre and to make frequent use of the facilities to update their skills in reportage. The General Secretary of the GJA, Mr Bright Blewu explained to the GNA that the general objectives of the project under UNESCO's IPDC, was to strengthen the human resource capacity of journalists in ICT. The participants who received certificates appealed to the Japanese government and UNESCO to assist them procure either computers or lab-top computers to facilitate their knowledge in ICT. They expressed profound gratitude to the organizers, lecturers and sponsors for initiating such a laudable training programme for journalists and asked for more of such workshops to make Ghanaian journalists compete with their counterparts from the rest of the world and to improve on their job descriptions.

    Source: GNA

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    FreeMediaOnline works to defend and advance free speech and freedom of the press worldwide through journalistic, educational, and information sharing activities

    Report: Online News Widely Accepted as Credible

    Report: Online News Widely Accepted as Credible

    By Howard I. Finberg

    Credibility. It is hard to define, hard to earn, and even harder to regain once it is lost.For decades, news organizations -- especially newspapers -- have struggled to understand why readers find the media less and less credible. Or why some news organizations, such as cable news networks, have a higher credibility rating than older and more established (and local) news outlets. It is a vexing problem.

    The task grew even more complicated eight years ago when the Internet offered the public a whole new, interactive way to obtain news and information. A question that may plague us for the next several decades is, "How do the issues of credibility and reliability play out in the online news environment?"

    Media consultant Martha Stone and I have been studying digital journalism credibility for the past year on behalf of the Online News Association. Our report, which was released Jan. 31, is based on more than 50 interviews with industry executives, dozens of case studies, several industry roundtables, and two research surveys. The ONA study, which was funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, also outlines strategies that several sites have undertaken to be more open and more transparent with their readership.

    We found that the public has largely accepted digital news as an important source of credible news. Thirteen percent of the online public saying that Internet news is their most trusted source of news.

    However, the ONA survey also shows that most of the online public surveyed remains neutral on credibility issues surrounding online news.

    This lack of strong opinion is where the online news media may have its greatest opportunity. It is a chance to move those neutral views to positive ground. Or, conversely, there is the real danger that the public will be come critical of some practices and become as critical of online news as it is of newspapers.

    The acceptance of online news is good news for digital journalists. Although the older, traditional media has been losing the public's trust, online news seems to be enjoying a credibility honeymoon, according to a national survey of 1,000 online consumers and 1,500 media workers conducted for ONA.

    Rather than vilifying digital news, the online public has largely accepted it as an important source of credible news. Journalists surveyed expected the public to be much more negative about the credibility of digital news. They also expressed more concerns about professional quality than the online public.

    The survey also indicates there appears to be a division of opinion about the credibility of digital news between those who work for traditional media organizations -- newspapers, broadcasting -- and those who work for Web sites. And there is a difference of opinion about credibility between the media workers who took the survey and the online public. Some examples from the report:

    Media workers were more likely to have made up their minds about credibility and were more likely to be critical than the online public was. Among the rankings produced by the survey's media respondents, there were five sources (local TV news, local radio stations, other news Web sites, local TV Web sites and local radio Web sites) about which more than 25 percent - and as many as 40 percent - say the source is not credible. By comparison, no more than 12 percent of the public says any particular news source is not credible.
    When asked to agree or disagree with the statement: "Online news sites are my/consumers' most trusted sources for news," 13 percent of the online public agreed, 44 percent had no opinion, and 43 percent disagreed. Media respondents predicted that 79 percent of online readers would disagree with the statement.
    The report's executive summary puts the gap in perception between media and public this way: "… (the) survey's findings should prompt journalists and the public alike to confront a critical issue: Is there something the media perceives or knows about the ethics and practices of online news organizations or operations that the public does not know? Or are traditional media just being resistant to online news?"

    The report also examined the reasons consumers use news Web sites and the most important factors affecting story credibility. Some highlights include:

    When it comes to credibility, online readers are more concerned about accuracy than timeliness. In a list of 11 story characteristics affecting credibility, online readers rank "story is up to date" fifth, after accuracy, completeness, fairness and trusted source.
    Asked directly if the separation between advertising and editorial content matters to a news source's credibility, the public overwhelmingly (95.9 percent) says "Yes, it matters." But when ONA asked online readers to rank advertising-editorial independence as a variable affecting news credibility, it barely made the list (ninth of 11 attributes, ahead of audio/visual quality and entertainment value).
    About 40 percent of the online public are confident they can discriminate between advertising and editorial content, with another 30 percent expressing neutrality or a lack of opinion on the issue. That confidence is positively correlated with a reader's general trust of online news, which increases in time spent online and with the number of times a reader has visited a particular online news site. Familiarity breeds confidence.
    The issue of advertising and editorial separation has been a hot discussion topic among online and traditional journalists. The findings about the separation of advertising and editorial content should be reassuring to those site managers who are trying to find new ways of attracting revenue. However, it might be too early to relax about this finding, as poorly labeled content could have a negative affect in the long run.

    In addition to the results of its two surveys, the ONA's Digital Journalism Credibility Study presents a broader discussion of the professional experiences and insights. Among the topics covered are:

    Who is a journalist? This includes a discussion on journalistic training and experience.
    What kinds of challenges to credibility have downsizing, reorganization and retrenchment posed?
    What kinds of training or professional perspectives should media workers in online newsrooms be expected to have – practically and ideally? Technical issues have typically taken precedence over ethical concerns when it comes to newsroom training, but that may be changing in online newsrooms.
    How are online newsrooms working through the challenges presented by the pressures to produce revenue? The report sites specific ways in which various news organizations are dealing with sponsored content and presents an in-depth discussion of advertising policies and processes.
    How are online newsrooms handling the Web's two hallmark characteristics: immediacy and interactivity? While the push to get the story first remains very much a part of the online news industry culture, there's a clear recognition that getting it first is not as important as getting it right. Brand credibility is at stake.
    The issue of digital journalism credibility is broad and deep. The ONA study is a first look at many of the issues journalists -- print, broadcast, online -- will need to address if we are to take advantage of this new medium that allows almost instant publishing, unparalleled depth of content, and unique interactivity with readers.

    Just as developing online news medium continues to be an exciting challenge, so should the opportunity to secure and increase the medium's credibility with its readers.

    Copyright © 1995-2006 The Poynter Institute

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting(NICAR)

    NICAR is a program of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. and the Missouri School of Journalism. Founded in 1989, NICAR has trained thousands of journalists in the practical skills of finding, prying loose and analyzing electronic information.

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Private conversation is aim of new blog software

    Vox, Latin for voice, is an outgrowth of Trott's campaign to find a more secure way for people to express themselves.

    In its private aspects, Vox serves some of the same purposes that e-mail or instant messaging do by allowing friends to hold secure conversations away from prying eyes.

    Many features are designed for parents who want to stay connected with friends but do not have the patience or time to maintain a public blog, Six Apart officials said.

    Vox is not alone in seeking to carve out private spaces on the Web. Social sites like MySpace, owned by News Corp., and Facebook rely on creating a clubby, members-only feeling, although actual blog writing is secondary to finding new people to meet.

    Other social network sites like Piczo or iMeem have made privacy features core to their design, but they largely appeal to younger groups.

    "Clubbing every night gets old. You may want to blog, but you may not want to blog in public," Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li said of the appeal of new sites like Vox.

    Vox offers hundreds of pre-designed templates, replacing the "blank page" problem of many blogs. A conversational "question of the day" appears on Vox blogs each day to encourage users to get in the habit of writing.

    Users can pull in links to other popular sites like, Google's YouTube and Yahoo's Flickr. Mobile phone users can also publish to Vox.

    Vox initially is available in the United States, Japan and France, with new markets due to be added early next year.

    © Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    TOOLS OF OUR TRADE : Campware - free software for a free press

    See the following tools you can make use of in your news room
    1. Campsite – Open source newspaper/magazine software for web publishing
    2. Campcaster - A free and open source automation system for radio stations
    3. Cream - A free, open-source Customer Relations Management (CRM) for media organizations
    4. Dream - A distribution management system for print publications

    Campsite -
    Open Source Newspaper/Magazine Software for Web Publishing
    Campsite is a web publishing system that can bring your newspaper or magazine content to the online world. It is often used by media organizations who also have a printed version of their publication, and enables them to increase their revenues with online subscriptions and ads. There are many systems that might seem similar to Campsite, but it is the only open-source system designed to work in the same style of newspapers and magazines - for example, with multiple journalists, editor review, issue publishing, and subscription management.

    Here are a few of its main features:
    1. Journalist/user-friendly. The interface is made to be simple and require as few clicks as possible to get the job done.
    2. Supports multi-lingual content. This means you can publish your articles in multiple languages at once - for example, have the same article in English, French, and Spanish. All content in Campsite can be translated.
    3. Content management designed for newspapers: issue publishing, exclusive content for subscribers, multi-media content, content categories, subscriber comments, WYSIWYG editor, article locking (so only one journalist can work on an article at a time), and timed release of articles or issues.
    4. Subscription management with fine-grain control over what content your subscribers have access to.
    5. Total design freedom over the look and layout of your site. Campsite does not impose any sort of predefined "block" layout to the structure of your site.
    A free and open source automation system for radio stations
    Campcaster is the first free and open radio management software that provides live studio broadcast capabilities as well as remote automation in one integrated system.
    A free, open-source CRM for media organizations
    Cream is a multilingual customer relationship management (CRM) system for media organizations that features powerful modules for sales automation, customer service, subscription management, incoming and outgoing email, template-based HTML newsletters, and a WYSIWYG editor.
    A distribution management system for print publications
    Dream is a powerful and user-friendly system for tracking print distribution and circulation. It uses many principles from customer relationship management (CRM) systems, but in a way specific to print publishers

    To download your free copy of campsite go to

    How to make money on your news content website

    How to make money on your news content website
    This article is designed to help journalists learn how to make extra money, or even a full-time wage, by publishing independently online. It is not intended to provide an online revenue model for established news organizations. Heck, they've got business managers. They shouldn't need a wiki to show them what to do.
    Content websites typically earn money through one of four ways:



    Paid content


    Affiliate programs, such as's Associates Program, provided the first ways for early solo and small Web publishers to make a few bucks on their websites. In these programs, an online retailer will pay you, the publisher, a percentage on sales made after customers click through from your website to the retailer's site. Links can include traditional banner ads, search forms and links to individual products.
    Because you only earn money when sales are made, affiliate programs will work best for you if your site's readers are consistently looking to make high-priced purchases -- for example, if you run a product review site. If you're interested in affiliate program, browse through merchant directories like Commission Junction to find retailers that offer products that fit your site's topic and audience.

    Once registered with a merchant's program, you can create an ad or product link on your site using a snippet of Web code downloaded from the retailer. Some merchants go further and allow you to create virtual storefronts that match the design of your site, but where the retailer still handles all the inventory and commerce. Be careful setting up such arrangements -- unless you want customers coming to you for return and refund questions instead of to the retailer.

    You'll want to note what percentage of a sale the retailer pays back to you, as well as the length of time after a sale that you get credit for the purchase. Some retailers limit credit to sales made on the initial click-through, but others will give credit for any sales made within a day or so. Also, some retailers will pay a commission on purchases you personally make after clicking your own links; others may kick you out of the program for doing that. Check a retailer's affiliate agreement and shop around for what you consider the best deal before putting links on your site.

    Many publishers have found that links to individual products return more commissions than banner ads going to a retailer's home page. But the additional money those links earn might not be enough to justify the extra time that selecting and maintaining them requires.

    Most news websites earn the bulk of their money through advertising. But you don't need a sales staff to attract advertisers to your site. Ad networks can handle the sale and display of ads on your site. All you need do is drop a few lines of code into your Web pages where you want the ads to appear.
    The most popular ad network for independent publishers is Google's AdSense program. AdSense is a "pay per click" (PPC) program, where you earn money each time one of your readers clicks on a Google-served ad. Since you earn money on clicks, rather than completed sales, PPC ad networks can provide a more reliable source of income for sites whose readers are not looking to make a purchase right away. Other notable PPC ad networks include the Yahoo! Publisher Network and Ad Voyager.

    Most PPC ads are text, but some PPC networks also sell image and Flash ads. Ads are sold and displayed based on an auction system, where advertisers bid on selected keywords and phrases that appear on network websites. The ad network looks for webpages displaying its ad code, then matches what it determines the content of a webpage to be with the most appropriate keywords and phrases that advertisers have bid upon. The network then automatically weighs several factors in determining which ads to serve on the page, including the value of those bids; advertisers' remaining budgets for those bids; what percentage of readers have clicked on those ads in the past; and, in Google's case, the percentage of those readers who have made a purchase or read a designated number of pages on the advertiser's site.

    Google's "Smart Pricing" program will adjust the amount paid to you for each click based on your readers' track record of making a purchase, or viewing a certain number of pages, on that particular advertiser's website. So if your site attracts motivated buyers, you remain in the best position to earn money.

    Since PPC ad networks target their ads primarily by topic, rather than geography or demographics, that makes these networks work better with niche topic websites than with sites that target their readers by geography or other demographics, such as gender, education, income or political affiliation.

    For the system to work well for you, the PPC network's spiders must be able to determine a topic for each of your webpages and then must match keywords or phrases that advertisers have bid upon. That means the advantage goes to websites where each page covers a distinct and easily identifiable subject. So if you have a blog that covers a mishmash of topics on a single URL, you won't elicit the targeted ads that lead to high-paying clicks.

    If you want to use PPC ad networks, organize your content to limit individual URLs to a specific topic. Break long blogs into individual entries. Archive old posts and stories by subject matter, not just by date and author. Stay active on discussion boards, keeping threads on topic and directing folks to more relevant pages should they stray toward other subjects. Use keywords in headlines, decks and URLs whenever possible. And spell out keywords, phrases and proper names on first reference, rather than using acronyms throughout the piece. (See, old fashioned copy editing rules *can* help you make money!)

    Well-organized pages on individual topics also show up better in search engine results, attracting Web surfers curious about a specific keyword, who are more likely to click on a targeted ad. Publishers who create evergreen articles that are likely to attract a high number of links and clicks over time will do best in attracting search engine traffic to their ad-supported webpages. If you publish time-sensitive articles, which are not likely to have a long-enough shelf life to attract significant search engine traffic, consider swapping out or archiving articles on the same topic to a single URL, so that URL can get linked to and picked up in search results.

    Whatever you do, do not even think about clicking the ads on your site, or encouraging your readers to do the same. All PPC ad networks prohibit click fraud, and will boot from their program any publisher found to be inflating their number of clicks. Even well-intentioned discussion board participants can get a publisher booted from the program by encouraging other readers to click the ads to support the site. Google, for example, has suggested publishers concerned about their readers' conduct add this disclaimer to their site:

    "Your postings to this site may not include incentives of any kind for other users to click on ads which are displayed on the site. This includes encouraging other readers to click on the ads or to visit the advertisers' sites, as well as drawing any undue attention to the ads. This activity is strictly prohibited in order to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs."
    If you don't think PPC ad networks will work for you because your site's target audience is defined by demographics, such as geography or a religious or political affiliation -- don't worry. Traditional ad networks such as BlogAds provide an alternative to the PPC networks. BlogAds sells its ads on a more traditional site-targeted model. Advertisers do not bid on keywords or phrases, but instead pay for their ads to be displayed a certain number of times on selected websites or groups of websites. BlogAds has become especially popular on political blogs, where advertisers can buy across a group of liberal or conservative weblogs.


    Where you place ads on a page affects how many of your users see them, and click. According to recent Google research, top performing ad formats include:

    Large box ads placed in the middle of your main content column;

    Skyscraper ads placed in a left-side column;

    Leaderboard ads placed at the top and the bottom of the main content column.
    Customize the ads' colors to match the background, type and navigational colors of your site, too, to eliminate "banner blindness" and maximize their visibility to your readers.
    Then keep an eye on your ads to make sure that they remain relevant to your site. To a reader, ads -- like anything else on your pages -- are part of the content of your website. If an ad network fails to deliver consistently relevant ads, dump it and try something else. Respect your readers by not bombarding them with irrelevant advertising and they will respect you by continuing to read your site.

    Think twice before installing pop-up, pop-under and screen "take-over" ads, too. Many readers steer clear of sites that block their access to the content they're looking for with aggressive advertising. Keep your website a safe haven for these ad-weary readers and you can build its audience over time.

    How much traffic do you need?

    With advertising, the more readers you have and page views you serve, the more money you can make. But how much traffic do you need to make a living from your website?

    To make $36,500 a year, you'd need to earn $100 a day on your site (plus whatever expenses you incur). Let's assume your site is attractive to advertisers and earns $10 in ad revenue for every thousand page views. That would mean you'd need to serve 10,000 page views a day to meet this target. (And more if your site earns less than $10 per thousand page views.)

    How can you attract that much traffic? If you are writing one article a day on subjects that will be out of date within 24 hours, it's going to be tough. You'll need to attract nearly 10,000 views each day for that's day article, since few people will bother reading your old, out-of-date work. If you write a fair number of “evergreen” features, which keep attracting page views long after they are written, you'll find the task much easier. If your site naturally deals with “perishable” news content, at least publish each day's new news to the same URL, overwriting or pushing down the old content, so that URL can build the in-bound links and search engine traffic that will help you attract new readers you need each day.

    Reader-contributed content can also help you meet your page view goals. Well-managed, thoughtfully organized discussion boards and wikis can add dozens of new content pages a day to your site, with much less effort on your part than writing that many original articles.

    Paid content
    Given the variety and depth of information available on the Web, you have to provide truly unique content of high value to specific readers to get those readers to pay for it. The fact that a paid journalist wrote an article for you does not mean it's worth paying for to a reader. Detail-oriented publications such as Consumer Reports and Cook's Illustrated have had success selling the results of their independent testing online. And, of course, porn sites have been earning big bucks from paid content since the Web's earliest days. But general-interest publications, such as the Los Angeles Times, have found that walling off content to paid subscribers has generated less revenue than the company could have earned by selling advertising on freely available pages.
    If you are certain that your content is unique and valuable enough that readers would be willing to pay for it, you'll need to select a way to handle payments from your readers. The system could be as easy as asking readers mail you a check in exchange for your putting them on e-mail content distribution list -- a method which offers the advantage of not requiring any advanced Web server security set-up. Or you could restrict access to certain folders on your website to readers whom you assign log-ins after they buy a subscription. Such restrictions are relatively easy to set up on Apache webservers. Payment can be handled manually via postal mail or phone, or automatically through an e-commerce storefront. (Many Web hosting packages include e-commerce storefronts.)

    Supporting a website through sponsorship or grants requires the least technical skill of these options, but the most interpersonal skills. You'll need to play the role of a salesperson, in addition to journalist and editor, in convincing a individual or organization to give you money to put up your site.
    In either case, you'll need to identify individuals, or individuals within organizations, who might be willing to commit their money, or their organization's money, to your site. You'll need to make a written proposal, and often, an in-person pitch, and follow through until you secure your funding. Grants typically require a more structured application process than sponsorships, which can be sold through a formal solicitation or over drinks at the dinner table, depending upon whom you are working with.

    The University of Iowa provides some guidance and a collection of links on grant writing in general, including links to many organizations which grant funds to researchers and publishers.

    © Online Journalism Review

    From Online Journalism Review,
    Annenberg School of Journalism, University of Southern California

    Knight News Challenge offers millions for online news innovation

    Knight News Challenge offers millions for online news innovation
    A new initiative offers up to $5 million in funding this year for new ideas and websites that help improve the quality of life in physical communities.
    By Robert Niles
    Posted: 2006-09-28
    Have you been kicking around an idea for a new community news website? The Knight Foundation has a few million reasons why you ought to give it a go.

    The Knight Foundation is putting up $25 million over the next five years to encourage journalists and Web developers to find new ways to use the Internet to help improve the quality of life in geographic communities. The Knight Brothers 21st Century News Challenge will award up to $5 million this year “to fund new ideas, prototypes, products and leadership initiatives that use innovative news methods to help citizens better connect within their communities."

    Anyone can apply: individual journalists, news companies, hackers with a dream. The deadline for submitting a letter of inquiry is December 1.

    Gary Kebbel is the Journalism Initiatives Program Officer for the Knight Foundation. He spoke on the phone with OJR about the Challenge.

    OJR: What kind of thinking, or action, are you hoping to encourage with this initiative?

    Kebbel: I think a lot of what we think of as not getting traction is research and development in the news industry. We want to help spur that. But we're also looking at non-news industry companies that are doing research and development and creating new products. But they're not necessarily being created by people who have news values and principles and ethics. We want to make sure that we can help those in the news industry with the values of seeking the fair, accurate, contextual search for truth and to help them develop new products that help them stay strong.

    Sort of a genesis for this was looking around and realizing that there was a time period when the publisher of a paper – and we're saying, particularly the publisher of a Knight newspaper – was the glue of the community. In the way that, they not only were good citizens, they participated in community life. But by presenting the news, they helped identify problems, and they helped bring people together for common solutions. Now, as people transfer their news seeking or information seeking to cyberspace, who is doing in cyberspace what a Knight publisher used to do in real space? Who is performing that function of bringing the community together, and helping them solve problems? And improve their lives? So, with those sort of questions in mind, and in the idea that we felt that the news industry needed some help, we created this news challenge.

    OJR: One of the distinguishing characteristics of online publishing that we've seen at this point, is that there are a lot of vibrant communities out there. But they're organized around topics, subjects, rather than geography. Talk a little bit about that, and what the implications for that might be for this endeavor.

    Kebbel: Obviously the requirement that the communities effect people in physical space in real life, is an addition requirement. Because we don't feel that online communities need our help. Virtual communities spring up every day. But using digital communities to enhance physical communities, we think does need our help. And the reason we're focusing on physical communities is because we simply want to perform the functions that a good news organization should, we think. Which is, to help improve the lives of people where they live and work. And it boils down to physically getting people together and trying to improve their actual, real lives.

    OJR: But might it not be possible that some people or organizations putting together these virtual communities might develop some type of technology that then could be applied to the physical geographic community that would then be worthy of consideration?

    Kebbel: Oh, yes. If a digital community helps people get together in real life, that qualifies. We're just saying, for example, a community of model railroaders around the world is not one that we've designed this news challenge for. But something that might bring together Detroit teachers, that would work.

    OJR: Let's talk a little bit more about specifically who you're looking for to apply for this. Are you looking for individuals in their home office? Are you looking for a corporate IT department, or something in between?

    Kebbel: Everything. We would love it if a brilliant high school kid submits an idea and we get the chance to recognize it for its potential. Typically, foundations give money to other non-profit organizations. And what we're doing that's different with this, is that we're giving money – or saying that we are able to and planning to – give money to individuals, to other non-profits, or to commercial entities or to for-profit companies. It could be a company with two employees, who are trying to get off the ground. It could be an arm of a much more established company, if indeed what that arm is doing is creating a product that helps improve life in physical communities.

    OJR: Looking through the website that you've set up for this – one of the first things that struck me is that the criteria here is vague. And, as you say, purposely so. But one of the interesting things I saw in there was, you did get a little bit more specific when you're talking about what you're not looking for.

    Kebbel: You know, you're the second person to say that.

    Well, what we're not looking for are things that are already there, obviously. A new way to use a blog is probably not going to make it. Or – it's sort of difficult to say what we're not looking for, because overall, the thing is so broad. One thing, though, is the training program thing is important. This foundation has supported journalism training very heavily, since its founding in 1950. And so, we really wanted to point out that what we're looking for here is probably so new that it's not possible to have a training program for it yet.

    OJR: Another one of the issues that comes up to this sort of thing is – it's great when you've got something like this happening. You get a little initial source of funding for it, but what about the long term sustainability? Tell me a little bit about the awards process. Will people be able to renew them, or is there an expectation that this will get you up to the level where something is sustainable?

    Kebbel: Well, we've broken it into various categories. And let's take the very first one, ideas. And these categories we thought sort of mimicked a product creation stage, or process. Let's say that someone wins the idea award in year one. We would love it if they would come back in year two, and try to get a pilot project award for the same program. And then the thing about the pilot project or field test is that we do want there to be a sustainability plan, as part of that. We don't have any set limit on either the number of grants, or the amount of grants that we're going to make in each of these categories. We're literally going to judge it against the number of the quality of proposals that we have in. And some of these proposals might be for $30,000, and some might be for $300,000. We're not going to say that one is better than the other, until we look at the proposal and what we think it has the chance of accomplishing. But you're right. Obviously, I think we will give preference to those that seem to have the best sustainability possibilities.

    OJR: One of the things I saw that was alluded to on the site, that's always interesting, and maybe you can expand on it a little bit, was the concept of, if something looks fundable, that not only could there be an award, but also you could help network to introduce people to venture capitalists.

    Kebbel: You're absolutely right. Because we're a foundation, and are legally set up to give money to other nonprofits, there are different legal hoops that we would have to jump through to give money to a for-profit. Now, there are ways to do it legally. That's one possibility: A flat out “we want to invest in your company." Either as an angel investor, or a second-round investor. But we also thought there are other ways to serve this function of bringing new products to the market. When young companies go up in front of VCs—you know, VCs are always trying to hit a home run. And home run usually means the potential for 100 percent profit in three months. Well, we would be fine with 40 percent profit. I think there's a lot of good companies that get dropped off of the VC table because they're not going to guarantee 100 percent profit.

    Our interest is in what they call the double bottom line investing. Which is something that will be profitable, and socially responsible, and serve a social need. So in doing that, we would be glad to take the companies that fell off the VC's home run list. And match them up with our financial advisor, who is also a VC, or people that our financial advisors know. We've been talking to various other foundations that do the work of bringing entrepreneurs together. Because we think it would serve the networking not only of an individual to a group of Vcs, but entrepreneurs to one another.

    OJR: Twelve of the 24 months after you announce the winners, the initial winners of these awards, how are you going to be judging the success or the failure of this program?

    Kebbel: Because what we're doing is so new in the first year, we're actually going to be using it as our guinea pig, and our baseline. So, I'm glad you said 24 months. Because in the year after we're doing this, we don't know precisely yet how to judge this. Depending on how new or unique or creative the ideas are, there may not be traditional measures of measurement, at the moment. So, one thing that we're gonna do is just do it for a year. Let's see what we get. And then use that as a baseline for trying to start judging what's out there after it's been there.

    For more information about the Knight Brothers 21st Century News Challenge, or to apply, visit

    © Online Journalism Review
    From Online Journalism Review,
    Annenberg School of Journalism, University of Southern California

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    Upgrading of Ghana International Press Centre Internet Cafe completed

    The upgrading and renovation works of the internet cafe at the Ghana International Press Centre have been completed in preparation for a basic ICT training for selected journalists throughout the country.

    Fifteen new ultra-modern flat screen computers and other state of the art accessories have been installed at the cafe, bringing the number of computers in to 20, according to a statement signed in Accra on Thursday by Mr Bright Blewu, General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

    It said the facility and training were provided by UNESCO/IPDC/Japanese Funds-in Trust (JFIT) Project. It said about 60 journalists were expected to benefit from the training with each group spending five days.

    The statement said the main objective of the Project by UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) was to strengthen the human resource capacity of journalists in ICT, and improve understanding of internet use and their ability to use simple and complex search engines for research.

    It also gives an opportunity to improve the capacity of the trainees to use the computer for page planning, layout and design and improve on their skills in digital age journalism/on-line-journalism.

    The total cost of the project including procurement and installation equipment, ICT needs assessment study and the training of participants is estimated at 66,670 dollars.
    Source : GNA

    Presse en ligne - Barthélémy Kouamé, premier président du réseau/online journlaists in Ivory Coast elects president

    quick english summary below

    Presse en ligne - Barthélémy Kouamé, premier président du réseau

    Les professionnels du secteur de la presse en ligne de Côte d'Ivoire, ont créé leur association. Il s'agit du Réseau des professionnels de la presse en ligne de Côte d'Ivoire (REPPRELCI), qui a organisé son assemblée générale (AG) constitutive samedi dernier, à l'hôtel Ivoire, à Cocody. Au sortir de celle-ci, Barthélémy Kouamé, journaliste web à, seul candidat en lice, a été élu par acclamation président du réseau, pour un mandat de trois ans.

    Ce dernier entend au nombre des actions à mener pour "élever le réseau au rang des associations qui comptent", privilégier la formation de ses membres. Le REPPRELCI, a-t-il souligné, se veut le creuset de la promotion du journalisme en ligne. Il regroupe les journalistes, les photographes, les correcteurs, les commerciaux et les techniciens qui évoluent dans cette sphère d'activité. Mme Martine Coffi-Studer, ministre délégué auprès du Premier ministre, chargée de la Communication, a été représentée à cette cérémonie par M. K ouman Alexis. Celui-ci a attiré l'attention des journalistes web sur le contenu des informations qu'ils transmettent sur l'internet qui est leur support de travail. Il leur a recommandé de veiller à en faire un véritable instrument de paix.

    M. Alfred Dan Moussa, le directeur des rédactions de Fraternité Matin qui a fait une communication sur la place des journaux web dans le monde des médias, a relevé lui aussi le problème que pose souvent la source des informations diffusées sur Internet. Il a déploré le fait que "la circulation des messages sur la toile ne réponde à aucun code de conduite". Un autre point qu'il a relevé est la différence que les lecteurs ne font pas toujours entre le contenu d'un journal sur support écrit et celui en ligne qui est le travail d'une rédaction autonome, comme c'est le cas de Fraternité Matin.

    Pour imposer, le directeur général de Fraternité Matin, M. Honorat Dé Yédagne, a annoncé que ce groupe est en train de signer un contrat ave c les opérateurs de mobiles pour qu'on puisse le lire sur les portables. Pour leurs actions en faveur de l'émergence d'un journalisme web, MM. Honorat Dé Yédagne, Richard Assamoi, conseiller technique à la communication à la Présidence de la république, Déby Dalli, directeur central de l'AIP, et Ibrahima Sy Savané, coordinateur national du projet panafricain des services en ligne, ont reçu des diplômes d'honneur du REPPRELCI.

    Source : Fraternité Matin (Abidjan)


    online journlaists in Ivory elects president
    - Online journalists in Ivory Coast have created their own association, known as the Réseau des professionnels de la presse en ligne de Côte d'Ivoire (REPPRELCI). The association organised its founding general assembly recently and elected by acclamation online journalist Barthélémy Kouamé working with as president, with a three-year mandate.