Engaging readers in New Orleans 1/23/18

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

The last line of Editor Mark Lorando's first column on how The Times-Picayune works was this: "The floor is yours."

His readers took it.

Here's a sample of the detailed, thoughtful comments readers made: This headline, published today: "Battles over abortion heat up as House Republicans pass ban" reads as if the House Republicans passed a ban on abortion, when the article's content instructs that the House Republicans banned federal funding for abortion. The word "ban" in the headline would seem to refer to the word abortion, but, after reading the article, that is not the case.

Perhaps I would find this less disturbing were this in print, given the finite size of a newspaper, but, this was online, and it appears geared only to draw clicks to the article. And, this was a T-P reporter, not Reuters, the WaPo, the NYT, or the AP.

That first column on Jan. 25, 2017, (http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2017/01/to_readers_from_the_editor_re.html) drew 277 comments, some of them from staffers who jumped in to join Lorando's conversation with readers. In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, it was clear that New Orleanians held their hometown newspaper accountable regardless of platform.

"It created the need for a different level of transparency about our journalism," said Lorando, vice-president of content for NOLA Media Group, the Advance Local property that operates The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com. "It felt like the only way to combat a lot of the rancor we were experiencing was to talk it through. I think local news organizations have not been particularly good at this historically."

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New 'Innovation in Focus' series will show journalists how to tell stories using emerging tech 1/16/18


By Jennifer Nelson, Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

The proliferation of new storytelling technologies can overwhelm journalists as they wonder which tools are worth the investment of time and money. Even the time to investigate can be a drain on budgets and staffing.

A team at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute's Futures Lab is stepping in to help with its new video series "Innovation in Focus," which launched Jan. 15. The series is designed to teach, by example, how to tell a story using various emerging technologies. It also highlights challenges and opportunities, tips and tricks, and equipment costs.

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Nitty-gritty design Top 10 1/16/18

By Ed Henninger

A client recently asked me to put together a presentation for his newspapers on nitty-gritty details that can make or break a design.

I came up with just a bit more than a couple dozen. But thinking about them more, I've now narrowed them down to a Top 10.

My thinking is that any one of these can make your design better, but leave one out and your design suffers.

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Cox Communications launches Converge, a new storytelling platform 1/2/18

Cox Communications has announced the launch of Converge, the company's new storytelling platform designed to inform, inspire and connect people to the things they enjoy through technology. Stories on Converge are organized into three categories:

  • Community: Stories that illuminate the lasting changes Cox is making for the people that live and work in Cox's communities.
  • Entertainment: Stories that connect people to the hottest shows, movies, sports, places and names in today's culture.
  • Technology: Stories that inform and connect people to enable moments that matter.

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Rookies make mistakes 12/12/17

By Ed Henninger

Let's face it: If you have a "new kid" doing design on your staff ... well, you'll have some design mistakes in your paper from time to time.

It takes a while – perhaps months – for the design rookie to learn what works and what doesn't. And during that time, he'll do some things that may make you cringe. It's OK – as long as you work with him to make sure he doesn't repeat them.

Here are "Top 10" mistakes you can watch for – and correct:

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Is your 'designer' a designer? 11/14/17

By Ed Henninger

How do you tell if your "designer" really is a designer? Here are some of the things I'd look for.

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Design is: How it works 10/10/17

By Ed Henninger

Readers want a newspaper that looks right ... and feels right. They want the look and feel of their paper to reflect their community.

But what they want most of all is for their newspaper to work right for them.

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PolitiFact, Alabama Media Group find plenty of work to do 9/26/17

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

As Republicans head to the polls today for the nationally watched runoff election between U.S. Senate candidates Luther Strange and Roy Moore, PolitiFact has focused its Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking forces on Alabama.

But its mission isn't only about sorting out who's telling the truth and who isn't in the primary contest to replace Jeff Sessions, now U.S. attorney general. PolitiFact is researching what people think about the organization itself and other news media outlets in some of the politically reddest places in the country: Mobile, Ala.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Charleston, W.Va. The goal is to improve credibility all around.

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What they said 9/26/17

By Ed Henninger

During the past few years, I've used quotes about newspapers to lead off my weekly blog updates. Those of you who follow the blog will recognize some of these. Those of you who don't ... well, here's what some people say about who we are and what we do!

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Taking a closer look at your design: Part 2 8/22/17

By Ed Henninger
Last month's column focused on design critiques: working at improving your design by taking a look at what you've recently done.

I suggested then that those critiques be done every quarter ... at least every six months.

In that column, I offered a laundry list of those elements that need to be reviewed during the critiques. This column focuses on how to conduct the critiques. How do they work? Who's in charge? MORE