All Posts Filed in ‘Journalism


What’s Next for Journalists? Hear Me Guess @ NextUp NYC

I’ll be on a panel Tuesday, Feb. 8th at 6:30pm (EST) talking about what journalists need to know today and tomorrow to remain useful, relevant and employed.

I’d bet we’ll also talk about media companies and people doing things right, and how to train for whats next.

I’ll be joining Jay Rosen of NYU, Vadim Lavrusik of Mashable, Jenna Wortham of the NYT tech section and Laurie Segall, a reporter at CNN. A pretty decent cast of characters for this subject, actually.

Why should you believe us? I’m not certain you should, but here are the perspectives you will get:


Installing in 10 slides and 8 minutes

The following tutorial was designed for and presented as part of the curriculum for Stanford University’s Comm 217: Digital Journalism class.

It only covers installing (the self-hosted, single user WordPress variant) on a Cpanel-based hosting platform. In this case, we are using

In later tutorials, we will be covering basic web-development tools and WordPress administration, such as theme, widget and plug-in selection. This is just about installing and getting things running. It has been pared down to only the necessary steps.


Twitter 201 for Journalists- Twitter Etiquette, or Joining the Cocktail Party

Leave a reply

Now that you’ve posted your first messages to twitter, and made use of best practices from the Twitter 101 Cheat Sheet, take your tweeting to the next level by learning some twitter specific language, adding multimedia to your tweets and beginning to engage with twitter, rather than publish to it.

To take this next step, I’ll share a metaphor that I often used while teaching New York Times journalists about the dynamics of twitter. When you hear twitter, think instead of a cocktail party within your beat or interest area. You populate it mostly with interesting people, some impresarios who just need to be there, a few outsiders and some wild cards. Following more people means more conversations at your party, but also makes it harder to hear everyone.

To torture the metaphor further, posting to twitter is like being at the party too. You are trying to be the best version of yourself. You endeavor to be good natured, clever, and topical, all in 120ish characters.

Twitter Etiquette

How to share links to your own work with out sounding like a self-promoting dirtbag.

Twitter is great for sharing links. Links to articles, links to images, and links to funny pictures. Sometimes we want to share links to our own work but want to be gracious and helpful- here are some ways.

Give a shout out to the people on twitter who were quoted in your article, or who contributed to the reporting. Something like,

“Just posted this piece on the new thai restaurant in Green Point. Big thanks to @thaifoodnut for the great background info.”

Retweet someone who tweets a link to your piece, and thank them. For this, first retweet their tweet, then tweet your own post with something like,

“thanks @journalismlover, hope the piece on artificial sweeteners was useful.”

How to take a conversation out of Twitter to another medium.

Many Journalists use Twitter to find sources. Once you’ve found someone, its great to take the conversation into e-mail land. Here’s how.

@withdrake: people of earth- I’m looking for anyone who has noticed that their iPad has been getting way too warm. Tweet me back.

@ipatty: Hey @withdrake, mine got so hot it left a mark on my plastic outdoor table.

@withdrake: @ipatty, Interesting. Would you shoot me an email at withdrake [at] withdrake [dot] com? would love to hear more.

See what happened there? At the end I put my email in that funny human-only format because there are computers out there that scour twitter for email addresses to do nasty things to them. Another way to accoplish the same task would be to use the Direct Message.

A Direct Message is like a private “mini-email” between two people on twitter. The trick there is that you have to follow the person you wish to message, and they have to follow you as well. Once that reciprocal relationship is established, the “DM” feature can be used. That exchange would look something like,

@withdrake: Greetings tweeps, I’m looking for anyone who has noticed that their iPad has been getting way too warm. Tweet me back.

@ipatty: Hey @withdrake, mine got so hot it left a mark on my plastic outdoor table.

@withdrake: @ipatty, Interesting. I just followed you, would you mind following me back so we can DM about it?

DMs are used for short info exchanges, and often are frustrating if you are trying to get rea info. They can be great for trading phone numbers when you’d prefer them not to be public, but dont want to get email involved. Also they enable periodic private communication between you and the other party- occasionally useful.

Final Thought.

Twitter is immediate and asynchronous. Make your tweets stand alone when you can. In journalism speak, the best tweets are often a lede+nutgraph+action(link) all in 120 characters, so that others may retweet. It’s an exercise in brevity and word economy, and occasionally, its fun.


The election will be tweeted- My surprise byline in The New York Times

Leave a reply

I went about my normal wake-up routine this morning of drowsily perusing twitter while in bed, on my back, with my iPhone myopically close to my face.

I clicked a link from my friend @lheron that promised tos end me to one of those awesome interactives put together by the various teams at The New York Times.

I found a cool little interactive infographic and thought to myself, “Hmm, this looks like an awesome use for the sort of database I was putting together while I was working for the social media editor @NYT_JenPreston this summer.”

Lo and behold, right there, just below the graphic, was my byline. Not too many things will get a young journalist out of bed quite like a surprise byline like that.


Google’s Autonomous Prius in 2009

Leave a reply

Didn’t know what it was back then, but I shot a quick video of one of Google’s autonomous Prius (Prii?) before it drove away from in front of Joya in Downtown Palo Alto.

Looks like the sensor pod on top has a fixed and rotating component, as well as what I’m guessing is a stepper-motor style rotation counter on the left rear wheel. I also see what appears to be a GPS antenna (no surprise there) on the rear dorsal section of the roof.

I’m going to talk to some friends at Stanford’s vehicle lab and ee if I can pull apart what sensors are actually bolted on here.


Twitter for iPhone 101 – In 5 Minutes

Leave a reply

Twitter for iPhone 101

Turn your device sideways if it helps you see the images.

Next, go to my ‘Twitter 101 for Journalists’ Cheat Sheet

Then, take it to the next level. Wan’t to post a picture, share a link, add your location or look up recent #hashtags you’ve used? It’s all easy. Click the ‘Extras’ arrow adjacent to the character count on the ‘compose a tweet’ screen. It will give you oodles of fun options to try.


Twitter 101 for Journalists- Cheat Sheet

Leave a reply

Tweeting Guidelines

    1. Confirm you are tweeting from the correct account.

    2. Keep it to < 120 characters 3. Get others’ @usernames to mention in tweets. Ask for their “twitter name” or “twitter handle.” 4. Lead with the important info. 5. Finish with only one correct #hashtag 6. When tweeting from a shared account, finish the tweet with your initials, like this... ^DM (after the #hashtag.)


    1. The audience is different for each account.

    2. Add value by tweeting the fun bits that wont be covered elsewhere.

    3. If you make a factual mistake, just tweet again with a correction. (The twitterverse loves honesty)

    4. If you begin a tweet with an @username, only followers of you and that person will see it. To hit all your followers, instead tweet “.@username says….”

    5. Retain your own voice.


Also check out Twitter for iPhone in 5 Minutes.


Covering the Waterfront: Shoot Photos for The New York Times

Leave a reply

UPDATE: Use THIS form to submit your photos to the City Room waterfront project (sometime Sunday, please). Also, you’ll find their blog post about the project here. Only minor changes.

Have a look at this interactive map of the city’s waterfront. Great for planning where you might like to shoot.

ORIGINAL POST: The weekend of July 31, The New York Times’ City Room blog is asking you to help them cover New York’s waterfront, in a crowd-sourced storytelling adventure.

Below you’ll find all the info needed to submit some images and descriptions. Some of the best will be featured at and likley in the print edition of the paper.

They don’t have a post with instructions about it up yet, so I’ve pasted most of the email sent out about the project here so everyone can join in the fun.