Monthly Archives: February 2011

How to increase the number of news sources

Dave Cohn of Spot.Us asks this question as part of the blogging Carnival of Journalism for this month:

Considering your unique circumstances what steps can be taken to increase the number of news sources?

For me, the first small steps will be more links, to primary and secondary sources, in fact boxes with stories for community sections in The Charlotte Observer.

One specific example:
Cabarrus News is following the story of a charter school. Some parents are concerned about oversight, a concern reflected in debate about a N.C. General Assembly bill that would raise the state’s cap on the number of charter schools.

Finding background ain’t easy. Quality curation ain’t easy. For some stories, it can add 15 minutes to half an hour to the reporting or editing process.

But for the full news ecosystem, it’s important to create and curate quality pointers that let readers choose to go deeper, on government sites, community sites, legacy media sites or blogs. It’s the old-school layering concept from design. It’s the academic concept of citing sources. It’s a technique I admired when used by David Boraks, spouse of a professor, on some of his early stories at DavidsonNews.net.

It’s not new, but it has become exceeding rare, especially when details about things like state legislative bills get buried in sites seeking traffic with sexier stories. Google’s cluttered search results, influenced by SEO, make it tougher as well.

It’s one small step. But each step counts.

Using Storify to gather information

Here’s a quick test of Storify, using a quick Twitter meme that popped up in Charlotte on Saturday.

A group of local folks launched a meme about advice for the Democratic National Convention, being held in Charlotte in September 2012.

Storify is getting lots of attention because of some people’s use of it to gather information from social media out of Egypt.

Another similar tool, Intersect, out of the Seattle area, is out there as well. Both tools look promising; I hope both tools keep in mind the importance of visuals as well as words.

For searches out of Storify for specific images in Flickr, I was a little frustrated. I could find specific, Creative Commons images from a Flickr contact within Flickr, but couldn’t find the same image quickly in Storify’s search. Still too early to tell what was going on there: my unfamiliarity with the Storify tool, or perhaps an incomplete database of available Flickr images.

One more note: Storify gives an embed script. A quick trial in WordPress.com shows the script getting stripped out. Perhaps it works in WordPress.org.