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#ONA11: Essential lessons from the Online News Association conference

September 26th, 2011Posted by in Editors' pick, Handy tools and technology

The Online News Association’s annual conference and awards took place in Boston at the end of last week.

Here is a round-up of the must-read blog posts which will help you sort though the noise of an event that saw 21,000 tweets sent by around 1,200 journalists.

A two-part post by university lecturer Sue Newhook on the top 10 tech trends is one to read and bookmark. It has links to handy tools and news of developing technologies. Part two of the post is here.

There is also a must-read Storify created by Craig Kanalley, an editor at the Huffington Post, with 13 key takeaways told in 13 tweets.

The 10,000 Words blogs has a series of posts, including on how to find and create an awesome web apps team and be a rockstar data developer, on verifying images and information from social media and this guide explaining how to create visual interactives In news time.

One session heard how ESPN and the New York Times build a second screen for readers, which has been documented on the 10,000 Words blog. The post explains the concept of a second screen:

The second screen is literally what it sounds like — the screen readers look at in addition to the TV. This could be an iPad, a laptop or a phone.

According to [Patrick Stiegman of ESPN] stats about Internet consumers, 85 million Americans consume both TV and the web simultaneously. This provides a huge opportunity for news organisations to serve fans in real time, alongside live events.

One particularly interesting area for UK news sites to consider is how the New York Times, which doesn’t control the first screen, competes with eyes for the second screen.

The post explains how Brian Hamman and Tyson Evans of the New York Times  have observed and outlined the cycle for event coverage online:

1.    Event cycle: What’s happening, how much can I get about the event before it happens?

2.    Analysis cycle: When event is started, what does it all mean

3.    Conversation cycle: What are other people and my social circle saying and how can I chime in?
To accomodate for all three cycles of these major events, the best project to point at is The New York Times’ Oscars coverage, which was a dashboard built with three streams.

And the post explains how you can do it all for free:

If you don’t have a team of developers to spend three months building these tools (as Evans and Hammans spent on the Oscars site), there are free tools you can use to achieve the same thing:

  1. Cover it live widget for the realtime analysis
  2. Free Twitter and Facebook widgets for the conversation elements.
  • If you were unable to take a trip to the US to attend #ONA11, you can learn about key developments in journalism at news:rewired – connected journalism, which takes place in London on 6 October.

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