Monthly Archives: January 2008

Filtering, networking and reverse publishing — in science

The 2008 N.C. Science Blogging Conference was last weekend. The conference highlighted amazing free information on the web, linked and shared through a variety of ways, including the conference’s wiki.

The conference has a heavy dose of participation from Science Blogs, supported in part by Seed magazine. The networked circle of science represents one new way of aggregating and filtering information beyond the traditional methods of big-company media sites. NYU media professor Jeff Jarvis has pointed to Glam for doing the same thing. I think Science Blogs serves as a better model for distributing, sifting and making findable strong content than sites like Glam. Ads play a supporting role, rather than being the goal.

And conference organizers are also demonstrating a new model of sharing strong content with “reverse publishing,” creating a downloadable or paperback book of the best science blog posts of 2007. You can read the background of how the idea came to be at Bora Zivkovic’s A Blog Around the Clock. The “publisher” of the compilation is Lulu, and the editors are Zivkovic and Reed Cartright, with input from the readers of Zivkovic’s blog.

More interesting links from the conference here.
A quick look at one of the science blogs for an earlier class assignment here.

Citizen reporting from Kenya

Ushahidi.com offers a simple, clean, visual map and gives people on the streets the ability to report from their cellphones on current conditions.
It’s a beautiful idea with broad applications for many kinds of geographically specific stories, from traffic updates in U.S. cities to election polling place information and crisis conditions in natural disasters. Ethan Zuckerman explains the project and gives background and broad thinking to how such technology can be used in other ways.

Zuckerman also links to a Jeff Jarvis blog posting from 2005 after Katrina, calling for people to convene, collaborate and use technology to share information and help those in need.
Jarvis said in September 2005: “This is about more than just technology and disasters. This is about technology and society, about empowering the people to run their lives and about how we in the web community can come together to help do that.”
H/T to Nancy White of Full Circle.

Making money and going local

Just a quick note flagging a new place for ideas on how to make money with journalism:
Journalism Enterprise, a spinoff of the Online Journalism Blog from the UK, has launched.
On its About page, it says it’s a shared blog that “reviews websites that are attempting to make money from journalism in the new media age. That may be a mainstream organisation launching a new media spin-off, an internet startup looking to make millions, a non-profit news venture, or an entrepreneur setting up a solo project. In short, if they’re trying to make money from journalism – or launching a journalism project – we’ll cover it.”
They do nonprofits too, and are seeking helpers. See details at the Online Journalism Blog from the UK.

So while I’m dumping links, check out a post by Mark Glaser at MediaShift updating local online news efforts. One of the most intriguing sites comes from the comments: RVA News, an aggregator of local blogs in the Richmond area.

One more order of business: The Center for Citizen Media has a comprehensive survey of online advertising tools, by Ryan McGrady. It almost serves as a how-to document.

Reverse publishing from MinnPost

MinnPost in Print

An update and an idea from MinnPost:

Two people interviewed Joel Kramer of MinnPost in December. MinnPost is a nonprofit online newspaper startup that launched in late fall.

The most interesting idea from the interviews, I found, was creating Partners in Print, described by Kramer as “organizations that agree to print at least 10 copies a day of MinnPost in print and distribute them free to customers and/or employees.” In the Dec. 11 interview with Dave Kaufman, Kramer said Minnpost had 10 partners. Less than a month later, the website lists 54 partners, including coffee shops and government and academic institutions.

The print version is designed for eight 8.5 x 11 pages, in newspaper format, using InDesign, and available through the website in .pdf format in black and white or color. If a partner agrees to print more than 250 copies, the partner gets a message on the front page. All partners get their names on the website. I’d go a step further, and give them free, unobtrusive (read: not pop-up), well-designed display ads on the site.

The Dec. 4 interview with Kramer, from Bob Ingrassia at the State of Local, deals mostly in numbers. An interesting Kramer quote: “Biggest surprise is how many people are reading the site on the weekend – more than 8,000 page views almost every weekend day, even though we’re not publishing new content on the weekend. I guess busy people are using the weekend to catch up on all the stories we published during the week.”

Sidenote: Early East Coast time after the Iowa caucuses, MinnPost’s lead political story was an analysis saying McCain was still hopeful. If site editors decided they would not try to compete with live caucus coverage, perhaps a link to live quality coverage elsewhere would have been useful for readers.

More background on MinnPost:
At Global Vue.
At Content Bridges by Ken Doctor.
At MinnPost’s “About” page.