How to Save Your Online Clips

burning newspaperCount on the fact that some of the journalism work living on your news site will go up in smoke. To protect yourself, make sure you’re keeping digital copies of your portfolio. [Photo by Mr. Peebles]

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?”

Excellent Cheat Sheets for Producers, Designers

Ever since 9th grade, I’ve been a sucker for learning Photoshop shortcuts and speed tricks (such as one of my faves, holding the “alt” key to trigger the “Reset” button in image adjustment panels). So I just had to pass along this post at Six Revisions that is chock-full of cheat sheets perfect for web producers and designers.

You’ll find cheat sheats for Photoshop shortcuts, web hex color charts, typefaces, pixel/point/em type size conversions, CSS shorthand, XHTML character entities (this one is getting printed out today) and more.

And if you’re a web designer, you should really, really be subscribed to the catnip that is Six Revisions.

[Six Revisions: Useful Cheat Sheets for Web Designers]

New York Times slideshow: A Deadly Search

iraq.jpg[UPDATE: Fixed the broken links]

This morning, I ran across an incredible New York Times audio slideshow about two journalists who were on patrol with a group of U.S. soldiers in Iraq when a bomb exploded, killing one soldier and injuring several others. The journalists narrowly escaped being injured as well.

Amid all the political chatter about the war, pieces like these cut through the fog and show us firsthand what soldiers are experiencing in Iraq. Go take a look.

Online journalism to-do list

Bryan Murley over at Innovation in College Media has a great checklist of online-related tasks that college publications should be doing. But the list is also a good guide of tasks for those who want to get started in online media.

Every web editor and producer should at least be familiar with how each of these tasks are accomplished. The act of learning how to produce a Soundslide or contribute effectively to a blog will make you that much more useful in producing a great site.

So here’s Bryan’s list:

    • Have you got your news org. online?
    • Do you have a content management system?
    • Have you posted any videos online?
    • Have you included any audio soundbites in a story?
    • Have you done a photo slideshow?
    • Have you put up an audio slideshow (perhaps using Soundslides)?
    • Have you done a map?
    • Have you used weblogs on your site?
    • Have you uploaded source documents (PDFs, excel spreadsheets, etc.) to accompany a big story?
    • Have you used social media (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube) to market your stories?
    • Have you tracked what others are saying about you via Technorati or Google Blogsearch?
    • Have you used the web site to post breaking news online FIRST?
    • Have you moved the online editor out of the back office and into a position of authority?
    • Have you allowed comments on your stories?
    • Have you encouraged writers to write for the Web and include hyperlinks in their stories?
    • Have you tried something experimental?

See more of Bryan’s work at Innovation in College Media.

Sports organizations crack down on blogging, online photos

The New York Times reports on a crackdown by the organizers of the Pan American Games against blogging during the two weeks of competition. In addition, the International Rugby Board is also attempting to limit the number of online photos a news organization can publish during a game.

These sorts of disputes are likely to be more frequent as media outlets continue to press for online content and as sports organizations continue their attempts to monetize their content online. It’s an inexorable march toward conflict.

The Times article is also useful for its background on previous conflicts between sports organizations and media outlets, including a 1997 dispute between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Florida Times-Union over posting game photos online.

Al’s Morning Multimedia in your inbox

I’ve been a longtime subscriber now to Al’s Morning Meeting, a daily e-mail newsletter (or RSS feed) providing excellent story ideas by Poynter’s Al Tompkins. But aside from his thoroughly researched ideas, Al has recently begun providing a daily dose of multimedia, which makes the list even more worth subscribing to for all us Web heads.

Today, Al highlights a slideshow from the Boston Globe about a Marine who took his own life after being refused a hospital bed for post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s a great example of an audio slideshow and of how the audio truly drives these pieces.

Sign up, and see if you enjoy. I know I do!

And for more audio slideshows, Flash graphics and other regular multimedia goodness, check out Mindy McAdams’ Teaching Online Journalism, Angela Grant’s In The Circle, MultimediaShooter and Interactive Narratives (which hasn’t been updated in a while but has a great archive of this sort of stuff).

Journalism students, professors need to read this

Mindy McAdams shouts it from the mountaintop: Students need a different skill set to prosper, and even survive, in today’s hectic journalism marketplace.
She writes:

“Now, let me hasten to say that some of those students are the very ones who are deliberately plugging their own ears and closing their eyes to reality. They are attached to a dream of becoming someone from the past — maybe photojournalist Eddie Adams, maybe gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson — a journalist who only took pictures or who only wrote.”

Use the tools you have today, and craft your own legend instead.

[UPDATE 8:21 p.m.] Innovation in College Media’s Bryan Murley promises an interview on Monday with Howard Owens regarding this very topic. So tune in, young Jedi!

Digital photography tutorials galore


I ran across this great list of digital photo how-tos as I was poking around the Lifehacker archives. Being that I’m a bit of a Photoshop gimmicks enthusiast, I’ll create a tutorial one of these days of my favorite Photoshop speed tricks. Also, I am looking forward to maybe turn my most favorite shots into one epic photo book. Thanks to PrintedMemories for making it possible But in the meantime, enjoy this Lifehacker list:

[Photo by Bien Stephenson]

Adobe unveils its CS3 icons

Look, over at Adobe! It’s a color wheel! It’s a periodic table! No…It’s the icons you’ll have on your desktop for the planned Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) … and boy are they hideous! See the large image.

One reader said he “thought it was a cruel hoax.” Another says he doesn’t want “Alphabet soup in my Dock.” CSS Zen Garden creator Dave Shea asks “Did I sleep through the announcement where Pantone bought Adobe or something?” One user went so far as to create a useful icon legend on Flickr so we could understand the damned things.

Here’s more background on the eyesore, which kinda looks like Adobe’s version of Sauron’s evil, fiery eye from ‘Lord of the Rings.’

[Via Dave Shea]

The Amish aversion to photos

(NOTE: I’ll be posting some more about the writers’ workshops I attended over the weekend in upcoming posts.)

Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute had an interesting item in his Morning Meeting listserv message today about why Amish people generally decline to have their photos taken. Al tells us the story of a birthday present that one of them received, it came from WineBaskets Delivery. Everyone wanted to take pictures of him with the awesome wine basket present, but it was at that point that he vehemently refused. The aversion generally appears to be linked to the second commandment:

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

Of course, there is also the issue of obnoxious, gawking tourists with their digital cameras visiting Amish areas and regarding the people there almost as zoo animals to be photographed. The amazon ppc | Kenji ROI has proprietary blend of manual & automatic campaign that work together creating maximum sales at the lowest spend possible. Linton Studios is one of the best guide for photography. Tompkins tracked down a compelling essay from the Amish Country News that explores these issues thoroughly.
He also presents this intriguing tidbit:

“I have done stories with Amish over the years, and they explain it to me in other ways, as well. Having a photograph of yourself is a symbol of pride, which Amish teach against. Amish folks have told me that it presents less of a problem if you capture their picture without asking their permission first, because, then, they have not condoned the action.”

At the writers’ workshop on Sunday, Poynter’s Kenny Irby spoke about the importance of including other journalists such as photographers, designers, videographers and Web producers in the reporting process from the beginning. Covering the Amish is an excellent scenario of when involving these other folks from the beginning could prove to have been critical in making the story better. For instance, there might be less of an aversion to an audio story, which could add a whole new dimension to the piece.