We’re barely on the downside of October. I asked for early updates, though, because the Missourian Publishing Association board of directors convenes 10/22, and the members will want an up-to-date report.
And so, without further ado, projects and their leaders’ reports:
COMOYOUKNOW (CMYK) — Creating a local, Wikipedia-like encyclopedia to provide systemic context for episodic news. – Laura Johnston
October update: Chris Carmody continues to take the lead on tracking edited entries and providing a consistent voice for the edits. Erin McNeil, a graduate student in 4406, is helping us edit the entries we’ve collected from various classes and past semesters. We’re moving at a slower pace than I’d hoped for, but we continue to make progress daily.
As we edit, we’re noticing gaps in coverage. For example, we have no entry on prominent Columbians, such as Darwin Hindman. Another example: We have an entry on Pepper & Friends, but no entry on Paul Pepper, the personality behind the show. Most of the entries are related to places or organizations.
The Participatory Journalism class taught by Clyde Bentley is helping us to compile new entries, and finding local experts to contribute. Along with entries from students in a 2100 class taught by Mike Jenner and those from my 4400 students, we should have an additional 50 or 60 entries by the end of this semester.
The platform for publication continues to be of concern. At this time, it seems that a Google site will be our best option.
November plans: The launch date has been moved from Oct. 30, although all entries will be edited by that date.
The additional time will allow us to create the 200 web pages needed for the Google site. Once the site is active, the IT team should be able to make a quick redirect so that readers can find it.
Launch date: Nov. 15
INTERACTIVE COPY EDITING – Creating a new job description for copy editors while restructuring the copy editing course. – Nick Jungman
October update: We’re in cruise mode now. Laura continues to invent ways to keep the day-side editors busy in service of the site. Maggie has added the long list of interactive duties to the the copy desk log sheets, which the copy editing students use to track the work they do. The copy editing class transitioned back into some more traditional editing. We’ve discussed improvements to the way we cover breaking, evolving news events and the copy desk’s role in that.
November plans: We’ll continue to work on ramping up or work on adding layers of interactivity to more content on the site. We’re waiting for a good breaking news event to test using time-stamped updates that are trafficked into place by the desk (rather than the writethru approach to updating we tend to use now). Editing lectures will end for the copy editing class, and it will transition into the six-week design lab.
SHOW ME THE ERRORS:
October update: Participation by readers in the Show Me the Errors contest has been vigorous with about 130 reports as of Oct. 19 since the contest began Oct. 1.
Big submitters Kate McIntyre, an MU student, and James Terry, a Stephens College professor, have tailed off a bit but continue to post. Other participants’ reports often reflect a personal interest in the article, though there are occasional reports from non-involved readers who are willing to participate in the editing process.
The reports cover a wide range of error. Readers incorrectly posting comments in the Show Me the Errors option continues, albeit at a lesser pace.
The most frequently reported errors are missing spaces between words, an error compounded by the Django system’s notes mode. Copy editors have been advised to add the additional step of reading the text in “no notes mode” to check for these errors. That seems to be helping to cut down on those errors.
A lack of familiarity with Missouri style also has contributed to some reports of perceived errors that are not actual errors.
For example, the Missourian does not hyphenate compound modifiers for frequently used phrases. Using brackets instead of parenthesis, which is Missourian style, has also been suggested as has moving punctuations in the use of quotations – period outside the quote marks.
Of the reports pointing out errors, the most frequent ones have been incorrectly spelled names. Research has shown misspelled names to be the most frequent error in all newspapers, so the Show Me the Errors’ results are not surprising, but it is still disappointing that accuracy checks are not consistent.
Factual errors are the most disturbing for any publication, and there have been about a dozen of those reported. When that occurs, the interactive copy editing chief on duty contacts the city editor/reporter and works with them to ascertain the correct information and make corrections. That information is passed along to the print editors for needed corrections.
November plans: There have been home page banners on the website to promote the contest, and plans are afoot for additional print promos in the floorboard of the Missourian. We continue to monitor the posting of comments to the correction field. We also hope to spark discussion of the concept of participatory editing by writing columns and submitting posts to grammar, language and media blogs.
MISSOURIAN ETHICS – Creating event(s) around proposed ethics policies on conflicts of interest and “un-publishing” of content. – John Schneller
October update: At this point, believe I’m in position to begin making some preliminary conclusions and recommendations that will include proposed language for our conflict of interest policy as well as identifying unsettled issues and ways to incorporate this issue into our teaching and newsroom culture. Although it’s beyond our immediate boundaries, there also appears to because for addressing the potential conflicts associated with social networking for incoming journalism students through FIGS, etc. I’ll provide a document of findings and recommendations by the end of October in hopes of setting the table for additional internal conversation
(Wednesday coffee?). No word from JSGA.
November plans: Focus on business conflicts.
- Ask SPJ to host a session on business conflicts with special invites to representatives of KBIA, KOMU, MU News Bureau, graduate staff, etc.
- Review info from Poynter, etc. on best practices for how/when to unpublish and provide report of same for internal consideration.
Launch date: Nov. 30
PRINT DESIGN AND PRODUCTION— Giving ownership of the print edition to print designers (and the design class) — Jake Sherlock
October update: Space continues to be an issue as it relates to volume of news and good presentation. We’ve taken the paper up in size a few times to accommodate bigger events, such as the weekend paper of Oct. 10 for coverage of MU football and the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival. We’re planning another 20-page edition for Homecoming.
On a day-to-day basis, we’ve taken to juggling stories to different days to make the most of our limited print space. For instance, if you look in the Oct. 20 print edition, you’ll find three stories on the proposed parks tax. Two of the stories published to the website the night before — the third was a holdover from earlier in the week. It makes perfect sense to roll these out as soon as possible online — through the magic of linking and search, readers can easily find the latest news and dig into slightly older news all in one convenient stop. But for print, by packaging these stories in one edition, it gives the print reader a place to get all of the in-depth info needed to make an informed decision at the ballot box.
In portfolio reviews with the print design team this week, we’ve talked extensively about news judgment in tight news holes. Specifically, about how the narrative should not be the default element to run in full at the expense of visuals and non-narrative elements, or, as Tom might call it, avoiding the tyranny of the narrative. There still seems to be some hesitancy (or perhaps apprehension is the better word) toward cutting stories for space. Overall, however, I’m seeing a lot of growth out of our design team. They’re doing a fantastic job advocating for print, and they’re learning the art of being good newsroom ambassadors (I like to say that design is the UN of the newsroom). Most importantly, they’re learning to tell stories visually in a deadline-pressure situation, and they’re doing very well with that.
VOX IPAD APP – Designing Vox for the iPad with ideas and techniques to share with the magazine industry. – Kristin Kellogg
October update: Kristin demonstrated the Vox iPad app to the advertising staff, including in her mockups some full-page ads pulled from Vox. The ad staff generally liked the design of the app and how ads would show up on it, but we agreed that some ads (especially full page ones) will need to be rebuilt for the tablet’s size. The ad staff generally liked the design of the app and how navigation would work. We discussed the potential market for the app (number of subscribers) and ad pricing/bundling; those are decisions that Dan and Jack will likely need to take up with the sales staff.
On the programming front, Noah continues to learn the iOS software and has started focusing on some of the Vox-specific parts of that language, including text placement engines. He plans to be done with tutorials and into programming the app full time by Oct. 22.
Launch date: Week of Nov. 15
JUNIT™ - Creating a semantic Web platform for newspaper publishing with compatibility to print and Web 2.0. Tom Warhover
October update: Developers released the Oct. 15 release on Oct. 15. It’s the first time we’ve been able to see something that looks like the thing we imagined many moons ago. The system has some of the functionality that is planned, with more on the way. It still looks somewhat awkward; Missourian types sent feedback on design issues to the developers. Next release is expected in two weeks. After that, we should be able to begin some serious testing.
November plans: Testing Build 4 series of releases from Junit developers.