Site stampede: 60 web sites in 60 minutes


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A list of links to help journalists find the tools for successful online reporting, presented to the Society of Professional Journalists National Convention, Aug. 29, 2009, in Indianapolis. Developed with Jeff Cutler

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Site stampede: 60 web sites in 60 minutes

  1. 1. Where to go. What to know. Web tools for journalists.... We’re going to jump right in. I’m Jeff, my colleague is Ron. Our information is on the first two links in the list you will all have access to after this session. And you can always just Google, Bing, Mahalo or Wolfram Alpha us....what’s that? You don’t know those terms. Then we better get started! Broken into categories, here are dozens of sites that will help you do your job, learn more about the topics you cover, and also enjoy some creative downtime. First... You’re a reporter - so find out what’s going on around you. LISTEN. Use these tools... Twitter - It’s a microblogging tool that allows you to share bits of information with the world. Txt messaging to a group in 140-character chunks.
  2. 2. Good for listening to trending issues. Good for hearing about breaking news. Good for wasting time. San Antonio-based market research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a 2-week period from 11:00a to 5:00p (CST) and separated them into six categories: * News * Spam * Self-Promotion * Pointless Babble * Conversational * Pass-Along Value The firm found that "pointless babble" accounted for most of Twitter's content making up 811 tweets or 40.55 percent of the total number of messages sampled. Conversational messages accounted for 751 messages or 37.55 percent, tweets with "pass-along value" i.e. retweets -- accounted for 174 messages or 8.70 percent, self- promotion by companies made up 117 tweets or 5.85 percent, spam was 75 tweets or 3.75 percent and tweets with news from mainstream media publications accounted for 72 tweets or 3.60 percent.
  3. 3. Ron has found found great success in using this to cover trials live from the courtroom, sending periodic tweets through a trial. I've been doing this for over a year now and other news sites have begun to tweet trials, too. But there are other news uses, too. It's great for crowd-sourcing: Need someone to comment about a story you're doing? Post a request on Twitter. We've always gotten good response from this. Breaking news stories that have used Twitter include wild fires in California, an earthquake in China and the elections in Iran. Tweetworks - Topic-based Twitter groups. A similar organizational tool is Tweetdeck: Well, we've spent more than a minute of Twitter. Already we're behind. We're never gonna make Facebook - The do-it-all, tell-it-all gathering place for people, companies and organizations. Almost as many users as the population of the United States (220 Million or so) They’ve made two huge changes in the past year that make Facebook a player in the information world instead of just a toy.
  4. 4. ��.1They opened up their searchable content to include companies and now status updates from users. ��.2They purchased one of the largest status update aggregators - FriendFeed - giving them a true Twitter-killer component. Use it to research and listen. Journalists' guide to Facebook FriendFeed - An aggregator of content from all your various social media tools. People fill their FriendFeed feed with Tweets, status updates and other alerts. Great for listening to people and the buzz around the Web on various topics. Wikis built just for listening to social media - 74 sources - Easy to use. Some pay, some free.
  5. 5. LinkedIn - The professional site for people and companies looking to do business together. A great place to find experts. Almost as good as HARO, with a better realism element. Also has professional groups and a great Q&A section. Also a great place to keep an online resume and keep it updated. MySpace - Used to be the big player, but now caters to music lovers and indie bands. It’s where kids still go. A raw interface but a perfect place to find out the buzz on hot bands and new music. Tumblr - A microblog paradigm. See for an example. You can find more robust content here, but it’s as self-focused as Twitter in many respects. Dubious worth for research...but you might find a gem. Ning - Personalized groups. You can set them up or find them and join them. Good for networking and also for making connections. Easy to use. Meetup - Group/network site that caters to specific interests. Costs $100 a year for the organizer, but can be locked down so the group is private. Interesting model, but of dubious worth for research. Maybe good as an internal publication group that everyone can access without jumping on the company Intranet.
  6. 6. Yammer: A free private network for your company or business. Like Twitter for work Brightkite - Just a fun application that allows you to share your location with others. No real application in research unless you set up connections with sources who use Brightkite to broadcast their whereabouts. Loopt: Find out where your friends are and what they're doing. Or find the parking garage where that secret source wants to spill on the crimes that are going on ... say, in the White House FourSquare - Also a check-in tool that compels users to check in at venues around their town/city/community to gain points. Could be a business or advertising tool going forward. There are also a slew of location-based apps on the iPhone and BlackBerry and now the Android phone that let you share your presence with the world. Would be nice if Obama’s BlackBerry was online so we could follow him around.
  7. 7. Other sharing can be done via - An all-in-one site that lets you share your updates with multiple services at once. Good way to manage the growing collection of sites. Google Alerts - Use this link to get notified immediately when something you’re interested in is reported anywhere on the Web. Twitter Local - Use this to watch Twitter on a local basis. Effectively narrowing all the noise down to your state, city, town or neighborhood. Twitter Search - Use this to follow Tweets on a specific topic or keyword. You look and sound marvelous - and so does your news now that anyone, anywhere can access it. Video, audio, photos and podcasts - sharing your content.
  8. 8. No matter what it’s called in the newsroom, people are now becoming familiar with the word content to describe everything that’s delivered via new media tools. Sound, images and even words. Here are some sites that make sharing your work easy. Vimeo - Good quality video sharing service. Flickr - Flickr now lets you share videos as well as photos. You can share your albums and videos with the world or keep them private. Many bloggers search the Flickr Creative Common’s images for use in their latest posts. (Creative Commons discussion after the session) Piknic: Who needs to spend money on PhotoShop? This is free and works in your browser. YouTube - It’s the original and still the biggest. People are making money off videos of people dancing on treadmills or sharing how their son behaves after tooth surgery. It’s a time waster but also is in the popular vernacular - so learn what’s here to keep up with cocktail party chatter.
  9. 9. Viddler - Another video site. Ustream - A video storage site that also lets you create your own video show and air it in real time with a live audience participating. Livestream - Similar to Ustream. Create a channel and then broadcast. Easy as that. Livestream and Ustream would be a great way to "go live" at a press conference or a live event, especially if your news organization has a channel, you could stream it right onto your web site. Seesmic - Bridges the gap between microblogging and videocasting. Record videos and share them. Then there are the micro versions of that - is one. It's like video Twitter, and it even has an interface where you can post your 12-second videos to Twitter.
  10. 10. TubeMogul - Uploads your video to multiple sites so you don’t have to do it manually. ClipMoon - DailyMotion - And most broadcast stations have set up channels for their content. UReport, iReport and others also allow citizen journalists to contribute right from their mobile devices. Qik - Live streaming from your phone. These solutions all let you create embed codes that allow others to use your video on their sites. Or you can keep your content private in most cases. What about collaborative content creation? Get in touch for free.
  11. 11. SKYPE - Audio, video and VOIP for reaching people from anywhere cheaply. FRING - An app that allows you to use your smartphone as a Wifi phone or text messaging device for no money. Adium - An instant messaging client that lets you collect all your chats in one spot. AIM, GoogleChat, YahooChat and others. Free Conference Call - Just what it sounds like. Cover It Live - Team based reporting. All can contribute. YOUSENDit - Great way to send very large files without having an FTP site.
  12. 12. - an office toolkit Google docs : Free: collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Like we did with this. Self Publishing. If we’re headed that way, here’s what you need to know. Blogging Platforms and Resources - How do I get started? - Free, easy, the original (other than HTML blogs of the late 1990’s.) Owned by Google. WordPress - and The ORG site is free and allows you to host your blog there. Similar to Blogger in approach and use. Better designs and functions, but still locked into a set or rules. If you want to run your own blog - see or - those are both WP blogs hosted on another site. I have complete freedom to adjust the images and the widgets and other content as I see fit.
  13. 13. There’s also TypePad (paid service) and LiveJournal, and a few other minor blogging platforms. Google Analytics - is one of the best ways to see what’s happening. Technorati - another blog-focused way to track your site’s popularity. SiteMeter - An alternative to Google. I use both on my site. Google Analytics isn't real time. SiteMeter is and, for a bit more, is even more robust. - is another choice when looking for realtime stats on your blog traffic. Pull information together: Yahoo Pipes: Pull together multiple feeds into one source.
  14. 14. Place blogger: Find blogs based on location. Sites that may put your boss out of business (or who you may be working for in the future) AKA: New and experimental news web sites The Batavian: AnnArbor.com N.J. and Conn. The Daily Dust: All British all the time.
  15. 15. Know it all. Seriously. Tools to help you dig deep into the Web and some resources that you should know. Got a question? Someone has probably already answered it here. A community blog with tons of information. - Protect and acquire your name on most new media services - if they can’t teach you how to do something, you can’t be taught - ditto - all the crap on any topic you want to search for. It’s AWESOME - Magazine and info aggregator courtesy of Guy Kawasaki
  16. 16. - Comprehensive search - News - URL Shortener with analytics and stats - News - News - News - Popular topics and news Popular topics and news Popular topics, blogs and news - Technology and social media topics of the day - Popular topics and news
  17. 17. Popular topics and news - Food reviews for nearly any restaurant in any area - Event signup and listing service. Great to see what professional events are happening where. - Microsoft's latest foray into the search engine marketplace. It's good, but as the acronym connotes.... Bing Is Not Google (BING). - Semantic Web Search - Other Semantic Web Search - Human-powered Web Search
  18. 18. Traditional Sources....all the rest. Library of Congress Centers for Disease Control Census Bureau CIA Library Bureau of Labor Statistics Bureau of Justice Statistics Drug Enforcement Administration
  19. 19. ICE Criminal Searches Supreme Court of the U.S. Edgar Google Maps Google Earth Google Alerts The Smoking Gun WhoIS Wikipedia (Use with caution. Great starting point)
  20. 20. Newspaper Association of America (great way to find local papers) Thanks for listening and watching and trying to keep up. Send your comments and great sites you’ve found to us... Jeff Cutler or @jeffcutler on Twitter Ron Sylvester or @rsylvester on Twitter