Collaborations

An interesting innovation above: the animated New Yorker cover, in collaboration with Ira Glass.  Watch it.   The animator Chris Ware writes about the process:

So he sent me an audio story, and, after coming up with a cover image based around it, I set to work with John Kuramoto to somehow animate it. Usually, when listening to a story, one’s mind not only sees but also feels in images; you imagine and constantly revise and update entire tableaux, much the way you imagine things while reading a book. I hoped that our pictures wouldn’t interfere with that ineffable mental dance but would somehow, like my usual medium of graphic novels, complement it.

Another interesting collaborative product that has emerged this week is The Message podcast.

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Everything looks normal, but look closely.  Next to the words ‘podcast theater’, there’s a GE logo.  This podcast, which has hit no 1 on the Itunes podcast chart is actually branded content, a collaboration between General Electric and Slate’s podcast wing, Panoply.   It’s basically an ad that sounds like nothing like an ad, as Nieman Lab puts it,

“It’s like GE creating a TV show,” said Andy Goldberg, chief creative officer at GE. “I don’t consider it advertising. It’s a podcast show that just happens to be produced by a brand instead of a network. I’m not saying, ‘Hey, go out and buy a jet engine.’ It’s a science fiction story to connect listeners with what the GE brand is about, without selling the GE brand.”

Listeners might not even realise that GE has a role in the podcast, though the sound of the alien menace might be a clue, according to its writer, playwright Mac Rogers,

With The Message, I quickly realized that the alien menace had to be a sound. Badly written radio drama is absolutely rife with people shrieking “Dear God, it’s 10 feet tall and ringed with tentacles!” because listeners can’t see the ring of tentacles. But I recalled the marvelous Doctor Who audio play Scherzo, in which the doctor and his companion are stalked on a zero-visibility planet by a creature made of sound. This stroke of genius by author Robert Shearman ensured that the doctor and the listeners would have the exact same experiences of the monster. In an early meeting for The Message, I learned that our sponsor, GE, was one of several companies doing pioneering work in sound-based medical treatments. My mind immediately jumped to: If a sound can cure a person, maybe it can also make them sick? And just like that I knew I had my monster.

Branded podcasts are an interesting step further into the morass, and I just happened to listen to a podcast about a podcasting company (yes, very meta) wrestling with these very issues.

For next class, the reading is:

At Front Lines, Bearing Witness in Real Time (NYT)

Why Israel is Losing the Social Media war in Gaza (Channel 4)

How Isis Games Twitter (The Atlantic)
To Its Citizens, Isis Shows a Softer Side  (Vocativ)

If you haven’t sent me your proposals for your final projects, do so.  They will be due on Wednesday 9th December when you will give a short 5 minute presentation about your project to the class.

360 Degree Video is Literally Everywhere

News organisations are using 360 degree video a lot nowadays, from the BBC’s scenes in Paris at the Place de la Republique and outside the Bataclan cinema to reconstructions of Trayvon Martin’s shooting by George Zimmerman, rendered as 3D by Emblematic group VR.    And of course the entertainment world and advertisers are not far behind, as can be seen by recent examples of 360 video.  Make sure to use the direction buttons on your keyboard to click and drag the screen in order to change your view.

The first 360 video to debut on Facebook was the new Star Wars trailer.  If you watch it on mobile, you should be able to tilt and rotate your phone to get the same effects, though you need to check your Facebook app is up to date and your phone is a recent model.

The youtube page for this Stig experience says it’s best viewed in mobile.

There’s a good NYT article on the VR gold rush here.   For next lesson, please read The End of Big Media (When News Orgs move from Brands to Platforms for Talent.) 

Assignments:

Wednesday: Instead of class on Wednesday, I’m setting you a mobile recording assignment to be done over the Thanksgiving holiday, which will end up in the Library of Congress.   The instructions for the Great Thanksgiving Listen are here, and you should post the link to the finished interview on your blog, as well as a link to the excerpt.   The question list is:

What was your favourite toy when you were growing up?

What is your earliest memory?

What was dating like in your day?

What is your favourite memory of me?

Was there a moment at which you realised that you were old?

What is your biggest regret?

Final project:  Instructions are here. Please email me with details of your subject.  By Nov 30, you should have an outline, including a one-line summary of your subject, your interviewee (s), the media, the main questions.

Blogpost:   Profile one person who is prominent in your field – possibly a citizen journalist, but could be anyone – with extra credit if you actually interview them.   Feel free to experiment with format, so you could write a traditional blogpost, or use an email interview, twitter, storyful, an audio interview or a video interview, or a combination of formats.  (For Nov 30)

 

In Memoriam

Mashable has been gaining plaudits for its twitter feed remembering the victims of the Paris bombing.

The editorial decisions behind the twitter feed are chronicled by Nieman Lab.

“The part that I really like about this is its simplicity,” [Executive Editor Jim] Roberts said. “The simplicity of the idea; the simplicity of the execution; being able to capture, in 140 characters, a life. While that doesn’t truly explore all of the contours of these people’s lives, it’s amazing how powerful 140 characters can be. There was just something about that simple format that was really appealing.”

In other news, Gawker is turning itself into a political website.   Really.  According to a memo, it “will ride the circus of the 2016 campaign cycle, seizing the opportunity to reorient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire.”  And its feminist site, Jezebel, is becoming a celebrity and pop culture site. Thanks to Carly Colonnese for pointing this out.

Another interesting article about how a radio host tweeted how two passengers were removed from a plane from Dara Portnoi.   It brought to mind an interesting piece  I recently read about how live-tweeters are unwittingly putting police lives in danger by over-tweeting information.

READING: 1) )  Harvests of Change (Des Moines Register)

2) How the NYTimes is Sparking the VR Journalism Revolution (Wired)

3) An Ethical Reality Check for Virtual Reality Journalism (Medium)

BLOGPOST ASSIGNMENT   Profile one person who is prominent in your field – possibly a citizen journalist, but could be anyone – with extra credit if you actually interview them.   Feel free to experiment with format, so you could write a traditional blogpost, or use an email interview, twitter, storyful, an audio interview or a video interview.  (For November 30)

Final project: Students must complete a final project on the theme of “Future”.  I would like to allow for as much flexibility as possible when it comes to the medium used to deliver the project and the content, so the topic could refer to developments in the student’s chosen beat, or a specific technological innovation regarding news delivery, or even the future of one particular news organization.   The project will take the form of a blogpost but should also use at least two different forms of media that we have experimented with over the semester, for example a blogpost embedding a gallery of photos with an example of data visualization.  There should also be a component of original reporting within the project, where relevant people who can give insight into the topic are interviewed.  I would welcome students discussing their ideas with me at an early date to develop a suitable project.   Students will give short presentations to the class introducing their work.   (The topic should have been chosen by Nov 24, an outline should have been prepared by Nov 30 and the project deadline will be Dec 8).

Humans of Ann Arbor

Here are some of the photos from today. There are lots more – all worth a few minutes of your time – are here

Reading
1) The Next Stage in the Battle for Information is On Our Wrists

2) Why Wearable Tech Will Be as Big as the Smartphone

3) Why Google Glass Broke

4) The Man Who Wants to Turn Our Clothes into Modular Gadgets

Assignment: Photo Story for Nov 18th.   Tell a story through photos, using more than 5 pictures.  Ideally you will use between 8 to 10 photos, but do not use more than 12.  You can write a simple caption for the whole series.

Blogpost: Profile one person who is prominent in your field – possibly a citizen journalist or a reporter who is doing innovative coverage, with extra credit if you actually interview them.  Feel free to experiment with format, so you could write a traditional blogpost, or use an email interview, twitter, storyful, an audio interview or a combination of formats.  (For Nov 30).

Watching Missouri

This tweet was the game-changer in Missouri’s football revolt that precipitated the resignation of the university’s president, according to the Los Angeles Times.  As the protests about racism morphed into a tussle over freedom of speech, both sides used social media to voice their views.

Do take the time to look at the photographs taken by Tim Tai, the photographer in this video.

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Tim Tai/ESPN

In the last day, campus police asked students to report ‘hurtful speech’ in a development that concerned the ACLU.  But Yikyak was used to post anonymous threats, and the police have now apprehended a suspect.

The student newspaper, the Maneater, has done a good job of covering developments, including an interactive timeline.   Final piece of food for thought:  this chart, from the University of Missouri‘s website.

 

Reading:

1) News in Your Pocket:  Mobile-first journalism at WSJ
2) Tips on Mobile Journalism

3) Ferguson’s Citizen Journalists revealed the Value of Undeniable Video

ASSIGNMENT:

1)PHOTO STORY ASSIGNMENT: Tell a story relating to your beat through a photo gallery, a series of at least five photos that tell a story, through preferably seven or eight.   Something should happen in your photo story, and there should be a person in at least one of your pictures.  (FOR NOV 18TH)

  • There must be a narrative – a beginning, a middle and an end – or some kind of plot development.
  • Think about the story before shooting. How will you set the scene?  What is the storyline?  Is there a story behind the story?  Why should we care about this story?
  • Who is the main character in my story? How am I illustrating their personality through my pictures?
  • Make sure that shots are not all taken from the same spot. You need wide shots, mid shots and close-ups
  • There should be plot development, rather than a number of photos of the same thing from different angles.
  • The photo story should be freestanding, so it should not require captions of any sort to be understood.
  • Emotion is key to creating a strong story

Photo story is due on Nov 18.

2) BLOGPOST Write a blogpost about a technological innovation that is transforming your beat or the reporting on your beat.  It could be a new device for recording or broadcasting (gopro, drone, optimus prime), or it could be a new type of wearable technology (smartclothes, fitbit, smartwatch), or other smart device which has.  Try to find a device to write about, rather than an app, but if you really can’t find anything that works with your topic, then it would still be acceptable to write about an innovative app.  Due on Nov 15th Sunday 9pm.

Welcome to the Future of Storytelling!

That was the sentiment that was all over Twitter this weekend, as one million New York Times readers broke out their free Google cardboards, and experienced virtual reality journalism for the first time.

You too will be able to come to your own conclusions.  We’ll look at the project in a later class.  If any of you can get your hands on a Google cardboard, please try to do so – I know a lot of you have parents who are NYT subscribers – so we can use them in the classroom.

NEXT CLASS:  On Wednesday’s class, we’ll be doing a geotagging workshop at the library.  Come to Shapiro Room 4041.

READING

The Upshot, Vox and 538: Data Journalism’s Golden Age or TMI?  (The Guardian)

Photo story assignment:  due on your blogs before November 18th

 

Race and Crime at the University of Michigan

Here’s how to see the same dataset three different ways:  the most recent University of Michigan statistics on enrolment by ethnicity between 2006 and 2014.

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And here are three different ways of visualising crime at the university.

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IMG_5191

Thanks all for your hard work!   The group presentations are below, if anyone is interested in checking them out.   We looked at Gawker, ViceBleacher ReportsThe InterceptBuzzfeed and the Skimm.

ASSIGNMENTS

READING

1)The Counted (The Guardian)

2) Crowdsourcing the Counted: How the Guardian aims to put the audience at the heart of its journalism (Nieman Lab)

3) Crowdsourcing Done Right (CJR)

Photo story assignment:  due on your blogs before November 18th.

Instagram On the Front Page

On November 22, 2010, the New York Times published a series of instagram photos taken with Hipstamatic on its front page.  They were by photographer Damon Winter, and went on to win a number of prizes.

Another instagram photo that hit the Times’ front page was in 2013, of Alex Rodriguez.

original

The portrait  was by photographer Nick Laham, who described how he got the locker room shot,

“This was not my choice, I wasn’t given the option of studio or bathroom stall and decided on the latter. I joined the chain of photographers at 6 a.m. in the confines of the New York Yankees Spring Training facility in Tampa, and took what space I could get and worked with it.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 08.28.01

According to the Huffington Post, there were concerns that the Times’ decision to publish an Instagram photothreatened traditional photography, though others say it’s the remaking of photography.

But photographers such as David Guttenfelder, formerly of the AP and now at National Geographic, have built a new following for their instagram shots, in his case most famouslyof North Korea.

READING:

1 ) John Snow’s Data Journalism: The Cholera Map that Changed the World (Guardian)  

2)   Visual Literacy in the Age of Data (Source)

BLOGPOST ASSIGNMENT: Write a short 300 word blogpost on a data visualization project on your subject which you believe is effective, and why it is effective.  What kinds of visual tools are used to present ideas, and how different is it from traditional journalism? What are the shortcomings?  (FOR WEDS 4TH NOV)

PHOTO STORY ASSIGNMENT: Tell a story relating to your beat through a photo gallery, a series of at least five photos that tell a story, through preferably seven or eight.   Something should happen in your photo story, and there should be a person in at least one of your pictures.  (FOR NOV 18TH)

  • There must be a narrative – a beginning, a middle and an end – or some kind of plot development.
  • Think about the story before shooting. How will you set the scene?  What is the storyline?  Is there a story behind the story?  Why should we care about this story?
  • Who is the main character in my story? How am I illustrating their personality through my pictures?
  • Make sure that shots are not all taken from the same spot. You need wide shots, mid shots and close-ups
  • There should be plot development, rather than a number of photos of the same thing from different angles.
  • The photo story should be freestanding, so it should not require captions of any sort to be understood.
  • Emotion is key to creating a strong story

 

  • (for Nov 18)