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Journalism Daily: AutoTrader tips, Technorati’s ‘original content’ and the online anonymity debate

September 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism Daily

A daily round-up of all the content published on the site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

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Ryan Sholin’s five tips for hiring developers

Ryan Sholin, of ReportingOn and WiredJournalists, shares five tips on the Knight News Challenge blog: “How to hire developers and make technology decisions without even trying in five easy steps.”

Tips at this link…

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Wired Journalists: The #followwomenjournas movement

In response to a blog post by Kevin Sablan that suggested male journalists were three times more followed than their female counterparts (in the sample of 37 news organisations he looked at), a hashtag movement built up: ‘#followwomenjournas’, with suggestions for the best female journalists to follow.

Wired Journalist’s Ryan Sholin has gathered some in this post, and suggests that users of the link journalism application Publish2 use the ‘followwomenjournas’ tag when they save a related link, tweet, or video, to show up in the post’s stream.

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ReportingOn – end of Knight News funding and the next stage

Back in February last year, caught up with Ryan Sholin, director of News Innovation at Publish2, about his project ReportingOn, which had received funding from the Knight News Challenge.

“I call ReportingOn ‘the backchannel for your beat,” Sholin told us.

“This isn’t about the craft of journalism – this is about the nuts and bolts of finding angles, sources, and data to bolster local news reporting.”

Today the funding from the initiative comes to an end, but that doesn’t mean ReportingOn will – in fact Sholin is gearing up for the launch of version 2.0, which will see the base of the platform, built using Django, go OpenSource

You can follow developments with the project on its blog or Twitter account. But we thought it was time for an update from the man himself:

What changes are being made that will affect the user?
[Sholin] It’s an absolute re-imagining of the network.  The first time out, I built it to be quite Twitter-esque in the hopes that journalists would use it like Twitter, asking questions of their followers and sharing ideas about stories they were working on.  That didn’t happen organically, or if it was going to, it was going to take years.

So, with the help of a professional development and design team, we’ve rebuilt the site from the ground up, framed around the act of asking and answering questions.  There’s no 140-character limit, but what you will find are lots of basic features that make sense in this sort of social network.  You can ‘watch’ users, beats, or a particular question, viewing everything in an activity feed that brings you the latest questions and answers from the journalists, topics, and particular issues you’re interested in. [See Sholin’s demo of the service as it stood on June 17 below]

Why was it necessary to make these changes?
Although the first version of ReportingOn was a great proof of concept, a fun experiment, and a solid first iteration of the network, doing all the development myself didn’t produce a feature-complete, extensible codebase that I could open-source and let the community build on.  I wanted to take the next step to develop a backchannel for beat reporters that could be used as is, or reproduced as a question & answer tool for any purpose, especially by a news organization.

Has this involved significant amounts of back-end work/technological change?
Most definitely.  The site has been completely rebuilt.  It’s still built on the Django platform, but rather than me teaching myself this style of programming in the middle of the night and at the crack of dawn to demonstrate what one curious journalist might be capable of, it was built by the professional team at Lion Burger, who are also responsible for tools like and recently built for the popular ‘An Event Apart’ series of Web design conferences in the US.

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Publishing 2.0: Swine flu coverage online – and how to filter information

Looking for news and information about news trend as big as the swine flue outbreak can be a daunting task – while the introduction of hashtags, for example, can make this easier online, how can readers and journalists filter the facts from the disinformation, asks Ryan Sholin.

Full post at this link…

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Similar posts: Wired Journalists creator on how to get to grips with Ning

January 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

A podcast in which the creator of the Wired Journalists network, Ryan Sholin, talks about getting to grips with Ning, the social network site.

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Invisible Inkling: Why the Philadelphia Inquirier is moving away from web-first publishing

Ryan Sholin speaks to Chris Krewson, executive editor of online and news at the Philadelphia Inquirer, about why the paper is shifting away from a web-first publishing strategy.

Feature pieces, big name critics and restaurant reviews, for example, will be published in print first, as part of changes aimed at understanding the differences between the paper’s print and online audience.

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Innovations in Journalism – MediaGeeks

July 18th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Search

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. So how about a search engine for the media? Welcome

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
I’m Howard Owens, I’ve been doing online media for 13 years and am a bit of a geek about it.

When I first started thinking about launching a site like [the journalism social network], I registered the domain I wanted to create a social network for media geeks just like me.

When Ryan Sholin and Zac Echola and I started talking about the concept that became, they weren’t so sold on “media geeks,” so I had this domain sitting around … and I had been wanting to play with building niche/vertical search engines with Google. I launched my first vertical search engine for in 1998 (with the help of now defunct WaveShift), so this is a concept of long-standing interest.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?

Because it allows you to have a search filtered to just media/journalistic topics. Let’s say you’re curious about what media people say about coverage of Paris Hilton … well, a general Google search for ‘Paris Hilton and media’ won’t be fruitful, because of the gazzillion of non-media hits.This search filters out all the non-media sites, so you can get right to the heart of what media publications and media bloggers might be saying about PH and coverage of her.

That’s just an example, but it should point the way to how you can leverage a more filtered search of just media-related sites.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?

It probably won’t get any more attention, except for adding more media sites as they came along. Google has upgraded the API for the Business Edition of its search product, but not the free version. I’m not sure I’ll have time to do any fancy programming to improve the search engine should those upgrades become available to the free version.

4) Why are you doing this?

Because I thought it would be useful to me (and it has been, though not as useful a I had hoped because even Google search doesn’t always work as well as it should), so I hoped it would be useful to others. Not many people use it, though – I’m not sure if that’s because it’s a bad idea, or a lack of publicity.

I suppose you could argue in a networked world, if it were a good idea, it would have caught on by now. But it’s free to me, essentially, so right now I see no reason to take it down. Maybe it will catch on yet.

5) What does it cost to use it?
It’s free.

6) How will you make it pay?
I don’t need to make it pay, but I would love it if people started using it and some of those Google ads got clicked on once in a while (all out of legitimate interest in the advertiser’s message, of course), and I got to make a little extra money each month. That would be great, but not required.

There is an aspect, too, of giving back to the community, which isn’t something you hear online journalists talk about much these days, but used to be a big concept of being a Netizen a decade ago or so. So, even while the site hasn’t caught on, it is at some level an attempt to give back for all the goodness I get from the web and the online media community.

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Fake, but funny, tweets from CNN

January 8th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

Someone has spoofed breaking CNN news headlines on twitter – [thanks to Ryan Sholin for the tip].

In case it gets pulled, my favourite is: “Democrat Hillary Clinton cries. Nobody buys it.”

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