Archive for the How To Series Category

Twitter for Elections Coverage

Posted in Events, How To Series, Internet, Journalism, new media, News Production, Solutions, television on October 29, 2010 by James Rowe

United States Mid-Term Elections are next week and  social media takes on a greater role than two years ago in the Presidential election.  It can be said President Barack Obama is the first POTUS to have used social media in a political campaign.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs leverages social media for his news briefings.  Gibbs uses 140-character jargon to solicit questions; a version of crowdsourcing.  His management style answers just one tweeted query on YouTube.

Civics is sociology and sociology benefits from tools of social media.  What creative utility have you considered for online social networks?

Whitney Matthews, online editor for the Lawrence Journal-World, offers a plan to use Twitter for election coverage; she writes for Poynter Online.  Matthews’ post has four points:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Get a local hashtag
  3. Tweet poll checks
  4. Add tweets to your website

Politicians and media covering them make excellent use of Twitter and other social networks.  This is the year of social media according to researchers such as Gartner, Edison and Nielsen.  Now is also the occasion we are expected to learn or begin to make money with social media according to a number of studies.

ABC News plans to anchor election night coverage from network headquarters in New York City and Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, CA.   ABC teams up with Facebook for elections coverage.  Social media for American elections is reality.

Here we’ve offered examples of using the big two social networks; Twitter and Facebook.  However there are others and more ways to use online tools to cover voting.  Google gets social with its elections center.  The search engine provides four services for voters:

  1. Polling place locations
  2. Registration instructions
  3. Ballot information
  4. State and local election office contact information

The question remains – how are you using social networks, new media and traditional media to serve voters of the United States this election?

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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Where to Find One Man Band Skills

Posted in Education, How To Series, Journalism, News Production, television, video on February 26, 2009 by James Rowe

There are a number of free video editors on the market and very expensive ones as well.  Editing is an essential skill in broadcast news production but when told you’re doing everything from planning, shooting, telling the story and publishing your piece there’s definitely more involved. 

Al Gore may not have invented The Internet but he did have a hand in Current TV, the cable channel and website for citizen journalists.  Such an enormous project relying on resources out of their control needs standards explicitly communicated to contributors.  Video journalists understand there are guidelines for news departments, stations or web sites.  Current TV has done an excellent job of providing the resources TV makers need.

Current TV explains how to develop skills anyone requires to make TV from shooting to producing and distributing.  The training site is laid out quite well and friendly and chocked full of good information.  The resources tab and sidebar offer even more guidance on copyrights and legal forms you might at least want to understand.  You will learn to shoot, edit, produce and publish with aplomb when you go through the training at Current TV.

You at least need a camcorder, computer, and video editing software to practice what you learn.  You can buy a handheld camcorder for just over $100 and even get HD.  Shop around.  You can buy a notebook computer capable of handling video editing for less than $600. 

Windows provides Moviemaker for free and it’s a reasonable and simple editor.  With some minimal skills you can make great videos with the freeware.   There are tutorials on the Microsoft site for Moviemaker.  YouTube has about 60 training videos covering Moviemaker.  It’s all free.

If you have a Mac then iMOVIE really rocks.   It’s got great features and a site filled with tutorials.  The training is free.

Most video editor manufacturers have some sort of free tutorials on their web site.  I’ve found the more expensive the editor the less free training offered.  Pinnacle which sells the really cheap, low-end but good Studio editor has lots of good information for movie-making at it’s tutorial site.  So while Studio costs around $100 it is an inexpensive way to get a better video editor for PCs.

Study all these sites in a self-paced fashion and you will certainly acquire the basic skills demanded in today’s broadcast newsroom.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing presents a new feature tomorrow – Friday’s memo.  BNC will share the week’s  intelligence on the state of newsroom computing.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company

Writing – The Foundation

Posted in Education, How To Series, Internet, Journalism on February 23, 2009 by James Rowe

The reason for all the technology Broadcast Newsroom Computing reports on is writing.  It’s the foundation of everything along the production process for news.

BNC presents  resources for honing your craft in the present time and the longstanding tradition of the free Internet.  Sometime ago I found Dr. Bob Stepno’s blog on web writing.  Dr. Stepno teaches at Radford University in Virginia.  He has updated his Web Writing in Journalism Classes post.

Dr. Stepno cites Jakob Nielsen’s commercial but useful web site on web usability.  Compare usability to whether the viewer can stand to watch the quality of picture you’re presenting or the listener the sound or the reader the text .  There’s a lot of useful free information at useit.com like Nielsen’s discussion of the most basic “inverted pyramid” writing style.  Dr. Stepno’s blog takes you to all the pertinent free information on useit.com.

There’s an excellent comparison of the differences and similarities in writing styles across platforms – broadcasting, print, video and the Internet – in Dr. Stepno’s blog and then he takes you to the ultimate in storytelling.  He points you to sites offering basics in multi-media journalism.

When you look at the dates on some sources Dr. Stepno cites you’ll think the material is old but it’s relevant because finally the expectations in the workplace match the technology available.  Sometimes the workplace desires even go beyond what technology offers.

So despite its almost four year old dateline the Knight Digital Media Center’s “Flash journalism: Professional Practice Today” is right on for understanding the place of multi-media content in journalism.  If PowerPoint is the reporting tool of many public school students then Flash is the storytelling tool of higher education today.  Watch out because Flash is making way into the mainstream at breakneck speed and I suspect your news desk before you expect.

Look over the tutorial offerings at the Digital Media Center and you’ll find some basic knowledge resources.  These are good starting places.  Education or training is ongoing these days as there will always be a better tool coming to market.  Acquiring the basics that vendor training often omits is easy.

The suggestions Broadcast Newsroom Computing offers hopefully will assist you telling better and more compelling stories.

I hope you read Jonathan Rosenberg’s email to Googlers last week.  If you missed Google’s Vice-president’s treatise please read it.  He offered an explanation of how news will be consumed and produced henceforth.

Check in tomorrow for ways to meet the news consumers expectations and where to find resources on the Internet.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company

State of the Industry 2.09

Posted in Education, How To Series, Jobs, Journalism, Products, software, Solutions on February 19, 2009 by James Rowe

I can tell you there is constant buzz in offices and conference rooms and executives suites about the state of television and broadcasting.  What that means to you is determined by your individual circumstances and desires.  Broadcast Newsroom Computing is taking a stab at helping with the basics for you to make informed decisions.

It’s a completely new world that is moving at the fastest pace I’ve witnessed in a long time and that means there’s going to be a lot of stumbling.  You must first accept there is no perfect technology.  Some find that daunting when there’s software claiming to do everything for broadcasters and journalists are being asked to do everything in the production process.  It is discouraging. Let’s try to make less so.

The best free resource I’ve found is Adobe’s list of primers and their page to pitch broadcasters gives you a good idea of the state of the industry.  You may work with another production system as there are a number of vendors offering what’s called end-to-end solutions like Adobe’s pitch. BNC started yesterday with “Reporting in the New Millennium” to prepare for the change to doing it all.  We only want to point to sources with basics. 

Video is television’s strength and editing is the process gone digital.  Dvmoviemaking.com offers an online Beginners Guide to DV Editing.    Videomaker.com has tips for one man bands.  Shooting video requires some basic knowledge of photography and no one beats National Geographic in that regard today.  Their tip site provides a good refresher on what the eye needs to search for in pictures. So when you’re unexpectedly handed some gear and told you’re now shooting you have some resources.

The new world, the current state of the industry, demands journalists at least understand the process from planning to multi-platform distribution. 

Broadcast Newsroom Computing plans other looks at specific areas of digital news production the journalist in the new millennia has to comprehend.  Check in tomorrow for an assessment on the future of journalism.

Remember Broadcast Newsroom Computing’s Skills and Talent for Hire page.  If you’ve been laid off, you may have an elevator pitch and contact information posted on the page for free.  Email bnc@roweandcompany.biz.   You can get the background in our post “Colleagues Laid Off – Jobs Need.” 

James Rowe

Rowe and Company

Reporting in the New Millennium

Posted in Education, How To Series, Internet, Journalism, News Production on February 18, 2009 by James Rowe

Here’s another in the Learnin’ To Earn posts. 

So you’re asked if you know how to report on television, radio, Internet OR in print?  You should answer all of them.

Here’s how you can hold true to the claim.  You can do this now and in less than 30 minutes at News University.  I wrote about the Poynter Institute e-learning project yesterday. 

Surf to News U, get and register an account, and immediately take the “Reporting Across Platforms” course.  Download their list of self-paced courses to discover how much they really have to offer to help journalists keep up.  The class is described on the second page of the PDF.

You’ll learn concepts from Victoria Lim; she practices content convergence, an area of journalism under discussion for over a decade that is now truly reality.  Learn story development and presentation across television, radio, Internet and print.  Learning to use the tools involved is the province of your employer.  If you decide to freelance the tools you need are reasonable. With a budget you could probably buy everything you need at an electronics store or online.

Completing the News U course will certainly prepare you with the basics and concepts needed to comprehend the use of the tools you or your newsroom deploys.   The course itself is a demonstration in non-linear storytelling.

As a former manager I like this useful feature of News U course planning.  Once you complete the course you can have the time you spent studying tabulated and sent to anyone you wish.  Maybe the person who asked you the question if you could report on either of the multi-mediums. You could also make a PDF of the web page and use it as documentation or certification of your skill set.

Another in the string of Learnin’ To Earn suggestions comes tomorrow when BNC offers more free online education resources to cover the basics of new media.

Remember Broadcast Newsroom Computing’s Skills and Talent for Hire page.  If you’ve been laid off, you may have an elevator pitch and contact information posted on the page for free.  Email bnc@roweandcompany.biz.   You can get the background in our post “Colleagues Laid Off – Jobs Need.”  

James Rowe

Rowe and Company 

Learnin’ To Earn

Posted in Economy, Education, How To Series, Internet, Jobs, Journalism on February 17, 2009 by James Rowe

We continue the Broadcast Newsroom Computing mission of trying to offer you something to take away each time you visit.  We decided to address the issue of astronomical unemployment in the United States and a global economic slump.   So I know this will not be a single post.  I’m unsure, as everyone is about the economy, as to how many posts on “Learnin’ To Earn” we will offer in coming days.

I heard Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman speak on ABC’s Good Morning America where he explained 20,000 people are losing their jobs everyday and the average unemployment check is $300 a week. 

So what are those without work to do with these days besides look for employment?  How about gaining some education?  How about learning the new skills required for journalism in this millennium?

The best source of education for mid-career journalists (many of those losing their jobs), in my opinion, is the Poynter Institute which has created an e-learning site called News University.  Many of the courses there are free and some have minimal costs.  All of the training I examined was of tremendous benefit to keeping a job in the Web 2.0 world.

You’ll need to register and that’s free.  Once registered you can enroll in and take what appears to be as many courses as you wish.

There is one new course I believe of particular interest in light of some recent events that have required some journalists to re-apply for jobs that have changed.   Broadcast journalists in particular are becoming media generalists.  They must know how to handle all if not most of the productions steps involved in digital storytelling.  Check out News U’s course – Reporting Across Platforms.  It’s free with registration so what do you have to lose.

I’ve known about and been associated with Poynter Institute grads for the last 20-years.  I’ve taken some of their seminars as well.  Everyone I know, including a couple of my best friends, who has taken Poynter courses has had high praise for the institute.  It is my recommendation for a good start on learning how to keep earning.

Please review BNC’s Skills and Talent for Hire page where you can post an elevator pitch and contact information for free if you have been laid off.  Contact us at bnc@roweandcompany.biz.  Read the post “Colleagues Laid Off – Jobs Needed” to get all the details on how you can use the Skills and Talent page.  Broadcast Newsroom Computing tries to offer you as many free resources as we can find since we have empirical knowledge of the economy.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company 

Very Simple Project Management 5

Posted in Education, How To Series, Internet, IT, Managed Service, Management, Project Management, Solutions on February 12, 2009 by James Rowe

This is the final post in Broadcast Newsroom Computing’s Very Simple Project Management series.  We defined a project and discussed the project management triangle in some detail.  Remember the three sides – time, cost, scope.

This was the part of my certification class I liked because most had yet to experience the concept the instructor was subtly trying to introduce.  It is an underlying and unrevealed but most significant tenant of project management. 

You’ll hear the term stakeholder mentioned and it refers to anyone who has something, anything at all at stake in relation to the project; even people invisible to you.  The skill of the project manager is to rank stakeholders (unseen ones too) and combine that with the project management triangle to administer resources.  This is where the simplicity really wears off.  You’ve got to become political and bend and hold steady all at the same time.  The skill is when to do which.

So let’s for a moment violate the KISS rule we touted so much in this series of posts.  Take a look at Project Smart’s quick start guide and steps to project management to get started and I know you’ll have problems trying to honor the keep it simple silly rule but put this in your files.

I liked the resources offered at Mind Tools where I found this quote  about the site "…some of the specific skills you will need to plan and run projects, helping you to complete them successfully and with minimum waste."  A little beyond very simple but loaded with resources.

If you think Microsoft has the answer to everything then you can check the latest version of MS Project I was once pushed to at least learn about.  Microsoft has a lot of excellent solutions for business.

The latest tool I’m excited about and learning to use is part of my cloud computing study as well.  Action Method Online is a web site that promotes itself as simple project management.  An easy way of using SaaS (Software as a Service) to manage simple projects.  Check it out, there’s a free version.  I found it to be very simple project management.

Well BNC hopes we’ve given you some simple ways to manage projects and offered you enough tools to make your work easier and more successful.

 

James Rowe

Rowe and Company