Just as I was looking for a fun online course to keep my brain humming, I get word that Alberto Cairo at the University of Miami will be leading a free online course on infographic design and data visualization. The course is the first of its kind for the Knight Center, and I’m hoping there are more to come.
In the next few months, yours truly’s calendar is jam-packed with all sorts of great online media and technology events in Florida –events you should really think about attending!
A few weeks ago, I wrote about 10 things online editors can do to save their jobs. Well, attending these kinds of events is Number 10 on the list. And best of all, most of these cost the princely sum of zero dollars. You can also subscribe to worldwide dating app for continuous updates on technology.
If you know of any others, please drop me a comment. On to the list:
ts dating dublin – Saturday, Feb. 7
Altamonte Springs, Fla. (just 10-15 minutes north of Orlando)
Central Florida is getting its first-ever DrupalCamp, a day-long series of presentations revolving around the free, open-source content management system that is changing the face of online media. Drupal is being used by major media sites such as The New York Observer, Morris Digital, the Miami Herald, as well as hundreds of thousands of small companies and hobbyists.
BarCamp Miami and WordCamp Miami – Sunday, Feb. 22
Coconut Grove, Fla. (near Miami, Fla.)
Happening in conjunction with FOWA, listed next
If there’s one thing journalists often lack, it’s an understanding and appreciation for Internet and tech culture. Well, you can get a big heap of it at BarCamp, a technology and online media “un-conference” distinguished by it having absolutely no schedule! The joy of BarCamp is that everyone is encouraged to make a presentation or lead a discussion. It’s totally open to everyone in the spirit of the day. The workshop schedule is set that very morning as participants sign up to lead discussions and give presentations. While BarCamp can get uber-geeky, it’s a great place to learn from other techies, meet innovators, share your knowledge with others and get some great ideas. BarCamp will also forever change your perspective on conferences.
BarCamp is partnering with WordCamp, a workshop similar in style to BarCamp but centering around WordPress, the insanely popular and powerful blogging platform that has become the tool of choice for many bloggers, including Journalistopia. Participants will sign up for presentations on everything from how to become a popular blogger to how to hack the code that powers WordPress
Future of Web Apps Conference – Monday, Feb. 23-24
Cost: $395 (I know it’s pricey, but super early bird tickets were available for $100)
The Future of Web Apps Conference is THE premier web development event in the Southeast. FOWA will feature luminaries such as Winelibrary.TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk, 37Signals’ Jason Fried and many more. I attended last year, and it was worth every minute. This event is geared toward web developers, so it can be techy, but I truly learned a great deal about how the web is changing at this event.
Megacon – Friday, Feb. 27-March 1
Cost: $22/day or $52 for 3 days. Plus $10 parking/day
Er, this is a comic book convention. But who cares if it’s not about online journalism! I’ll be there! Onward…
Florida Society of Newspaper Editors Multimedia Workshop – Saturday, March 21
FSNE is planning a low-cost multimedia workshop for the Tampa Bay area similar to the one they recently planned in Miami. The workshop is a great opportunity to learn about blogging, online ethics, data projects, Flash and much more. I’ll be there reprising the workshop I led in Miami on new online media tools. Mark your calendar!
BarCamp Orlando – Saturday, April 18
Now in its third year, BarCamp Orlando is the Central Florida flavor of BarCamp, explained above under BarCamp Miami. The last two years were a great success, so I’ll hopefully see you there this year!
Now I’m wondering when I’ll get to spend time with my lovely wife. At least she got in some great crossword puzzle time the last time I dragged her to BarCamp. (Such a good sport. Love you, dear!)
See you in Miami, Orlando or Tampa!
Want to see how more than 100 major national and international news sites covered the inauguration of Barack Obama? Visit the Flickr photo gallery I put together to see screenshots of news sites’ home pages immediately after Obama was sworn in.Â (UPDATE: I sucked it up and bought a Flickr Pro account, so I’ve uploaded many more regional U.S. news sites.)
Here’s theÂ slideshow version:
And special thanks to the Pearl Crescent Page Saver plugin for Firefox!
Journo/developer Joe Murphy has a terrific post today with tips on how to save your online clips from disappearing into the ether. News sites often have arbitrary policies and systems regarding what gets kept and what gets thrown out, so make sure you CYA. And if your news org switches content management systems, well, heaven help your old clips.
Head over to Joe’s post for his complete tips, but here’s a shortlist of tips with some of my own thrown in:
-Firstly, you SHOULD be saving your stuff! Trust someone who knows: You absolutely cannot rely on your organization to keep your stuff around. And, if you suddenly get laid off, you can forget about having free access to the text archive.
-Save the text of your article in document files. Make sure your file names are descriptive and contain the date the work published.
-Know that database-backed applications, such as the tools on many site’s “data pages,” cannot be easily saved. For these apps, take various screenshots that demonstrate the tool’s functionality, such as shots of the search interface, individual records, comments features and how it was promoted on the site.
-Keep notes on how a project you worked on contributed to the site in terms of page views and unique visitors (i.e. “The New Jersey dog names database resulted in 1.2 million page views and 350,000 unique visitors over a one-month period.”)
-Make screenshots of your online work using the free Pearl Crescent Page Saver plugin for Firefox. This is an incredible little tool. Or, you can use Scrapbook, which saves a copy of the entire Web page with its images intact (hat tip to Ryan Sholin).
-Become pals with the page design crew to get PDFs of your work that was published in the newspaper (Ryan again). Better yet, get them to tell you where and how to access the PDF archive. If this is unfeasible, invest in an inexpensive flatbed scanner to digitize the pages.
-Keep a backup of your portfolio. Like any important file, you might back it up to an extra hard drive and/or store it on a web server somewhere. I do both.
-Aside from your clips, career experts frequently recommend maintaining a list of key accomplishments. Sometimes, achievements in the newsroom don’t take the tangible form of a “clip.” Keeping a list up to date makes sure you remember what you’ve done and keeps the list fresh in your mind should an opportunity spontaneously present itself. You might have to suddenly answer the question: “So what interesting things have you done during your time at the Poughkeepsie Herald-Tribune-Picayune?”
Want to see the best online information design the news industry is producing? Then you might want to tune into the SND Update Blog for the next few days as SND highlights entries from their worldwide Best of Multimedia Design competition.
There’s more awesome design here than you can shake a t-square at, so make sure to take a look!
Check out the entries from:
Entertainment/Lifestyle Off Deadline (The category with the most entries)
Breaking News (Most of the entries here seem to allow advance time to produce, but really nice work nevertheless.)
Lifestyle On Deadline (Only one survivor here)
Sports Off Deadline
[More at the SND Update Blog]
Just catching up on my pile of RSS feeds after getting hitched and spotted an important item: Google has improved its ability to crawl Flash content.
Google has historically had trouble “seeing” any Flash content (.SWF files). This means anything you built in Flash was completely invisible to the search engine. However, Google is now able to crawl those Flash graphics to read text content. Be warned: This does not mean Flash web sites will be indexed like normal pages. Building pages in Flash, while pretty, is still a piss-poor search engine optimization strategy.
Here’s the nutshell on Google’s announcement:
-Google will only read the text in a Flash file. It cannot “see” any of the images in the Flash.
-Google will not index individual screens inside the Flash content. It will only index that main page.
-Google still doesn’t index .FLV (Flash video) files.
-If you’re using SWFObject to embed Flash, the Google spider won’t find it (Yet. They’re working on it).
-If your Flash file makes use of external items, such as XML files, Google may index those files.
For the nitty-gritty details, visit the announcement at the Google Webmaster Center Blog.
Have you ever tried to simulate a Google Maps-style map in Flash? I hope you haven’t because you’d still be waking up screaming in the middle of the night after that experience.
So say hello to the new Google Maps API for Flash. The new API allows Flash developers to integrate Google Maps into their Flash applications. This goes beyond simply embedding SWF files in Google Maps info windows; it’s full-blown integration at a programmatic level.
If you want the nitty gritty of how to get started, check out the Flash API documentation.
I can’t wait to see what creative news designers are going to do with this…
Just announced: 2008’s Webby Award winners! The Webby Awards picks through the best of the Web and grants awards in more categories than you can shake a stick at.
I’ve pored through the list and extracted the winners from news-related categories, as well as news organizations that won in other categories, such as science or best practices. Here’s the Journalistopia-edited list. Apologies in advance if I missed anyone:
(Also nominated: HowStuffWorks, Design Observer, NYTimes.com and Slate)
Best Use of Photography
Your Shot – National Geographic Magazine
Blog – Business
Blog – Political
The Huffington Post
ABC.com Full Episode Player
National Geographic Magazine Online
(Also nominated: Dwell.com, Makezine, NYMag, Yoga Journal Yoga Journal)
BBC Radio 1 Meet the DJs
(Also nominated: BBC News, Wired, CNN and Discovery News)
(Also nominated: The Guardian, the Independent, the Wall Street Journal and Variety)
BBC World Service channel site
(Also nominated: ESPN.com, Nike Skateboarding, Spyker F1 Magazine, Sweet Spots)
Best Use of Animation/Motion Graphics
The New York Times/T: The New York TImes Style Magazine “Circle Squared”
Onion News Network
Documentary: Individual Episode
Coney Island: An Uncertain Future
News and Politics: Individual Episode
Finding the Way Home
Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip – NYTimes.com/Video
Cosmo Mobile: 100 Hot Cities, Fake Calls, Dude Decoder & Cocktails!
Listing and Updates (mobile)
The New York Times Mobile Real Estate Listings
ALSO: Shoutouts to NYTimes.com for their best practices and best visual design/function nominations, Mama Trib’s Swamp blog for best political blog nomination, National Geographic for their best home page People’s Voice award, Consumer Reports for their Guides/Ratings/Review People’s Voice award, the Guardian and Onion for their podcasts nominations, NPR for their politics nomination, NPR and the BBC for their religion and spirituality nominations, Frontline World for their Documentary: Series and Documentray: Individual nominations, U.S. News and World Report for their Best Writing (video) nomination, the New Yorker’s animated cartoons for their animation nomination, CBS for their sports (video) nomination and many more.
Yep, no news site nominees in the navigation and structure categories. We’ll have to work on that…
Head on over to the conference site for South by Southwest (SXSW) for free video from the media and entertainment conference. You’ll want to particularly peruse the Interactive Coverage. And yes, the much-maligned Zuckerberg/Lacy interview is there too.
I wasn’t one of the fortunate souls who made it out to Texas for the conference, so if you have any specific recommendations on what to watch, do share in the comments.
And to think I just got Netflix this weekend, and I’ll be spending a couple of hours watching tiny pixelated videos of guys talking about media nerd stuff…
Adobe is offering up its Adobe Flex Builder application for free to students and educators. If you’re at all interested in the future of interactive features, don’t pass this up! The Flex platform uses the ubiquitous Flash player, making it a sure-fire way to create a rich application that the overwhelming majority of your users can access.
Hat tip to Download Squad.
Smashing Magazine has produced an excellent list of some of the best data visualization examples on the Web today (hat tip to Melissa Worden). Examine each of these visualizations closely because you’re looking at the first step in the future of your news site’s Flash graphics. Though these particular graphics are a little trippy for your average reader, such experimentation should yield sweet results for mainstream design. You’ll see many of the same principles at work in this New York Times‘ campaign finance graphic.
Now I’m going to make a prediction here that news sites will somewhat move away from using Flash as a tool for packaging different story elements (video, slideshows, text, photos, the kitchen sink, etc.) and more toward using the data manipulation capabilities of Flash to produce rich infographics.
What I love about these data-backed graphics is that a reader can “play” with the graphic and truly interact with it. The more the graphic allows manipulation from the user, the longer she’ll stick around. If you’re a designer who has only been using Flash as a shell to hold content, push the envelope with some XML files powering your Flash graphics.
What the heck are you waiting for? Here’s a good video tutorial from Flashmastah Ray Villalobos on how to use XML and Flash, as well as many more Flash and XML resources at Kirupa and advice from Mindy McAdams. Gowan, getouttahere!
Below is a roundup of links to interesting infographics, maps, databases and other types of interactive coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. Also, IRE has an excellent set of bridge-related resources.
(NOTE: I’ve updated the list a few times with more links from people who’ve written in; many thanks.)
Interactive graphic analyzing each portion of the destruction
Palm Beach Post
Searchable database of Florida bridges
Des Moines Register
Searchable database of Iowa bridges
Interactive mashup map of Central Florida bridges in poor condition
St. Petersburg Times
Flash graphic with map, statistics and bridge construction graphics
Guest book for Minneapolis bridge victims
GIS-based map of all Brevard County bridges