Journalism graduate students from four campuses will experiment this summer “to develop multiple stories revolving around a single topic” a Poynter commentary reminds us, adding: “They also are being challenged to use the unique capabilities offered by Web publishing to tell these stories in novel, engaging ways.”
Students from the Medill School at Northwestern University have chosen “Privacy, Civil Liberties and Homeland Security,” as their topic and have started a blog to collect and note developments in this area.
Are similar experiments underway in daily news gathering as opposed to projects? Today’s journalists need to integrate multimedia into daily practice on mundane news. That’s the business of current media — investigative journalism is the privilege but it doesn’t pay the bills.
On that score the media democracy group PJNet.org compliments the Gannett-owned News-Press in Fort Myers, Florida, for equipping “mojos or mobile journalists (with) digital cameras, MP3 recorders and wireless laptops … (They) hang out in neighborhoods, teach potential contributors and file stories throughout the day to their community website.”
PJNet.org quotes a Gannett newsletter article on the experiment:
“Mojos are devoting up to half of each workweek to educating residents about the site through one-on-one demonstrations. They offer personal training to anyone who wants to share information — Little League coaches, Neighborhood Watch leaders, civic activists, etc. We have streamlined the process for the public to post information, and the mojos can easily teach someone to do it … This experiment sprang from two related beliefs: 1. Deep, useful ultra-local neighborhood Web sites can be lively gathering places of people online. 2. We must have the help of residents to build these sites, but they won’t know how to contribute unless we help them.”
Fortune Favors the Brave: Fortune Magazine writer David Kirkpatrick writes a glowing profile of Hubert Burda, ceo of Hubert Burda Media. Kirkpatrick describes the “family-controlled company, with about $2.4 billion in annual revenues and 7,300 employees” as “Germany’s largest magazine publisher” and lauds its approach to online publishing. Burda’s art seems to be tailoring the material to the media. Here is an excerpt that begins with a Kirkpatrick asking whether “Burda give(s) away the entire content of his magazines online?” Burda responds:
“Never … You create the attention through traditional media, and then you bring it to the web. Then you can of course get others — the bloggers — to comment on this. But it is another kind of content. The main mistake publishers are making is believing that ‘I own content and now I distribute it on other surfaces and interfaces.’ No. Every interface is another aesthetic dimension … Many people just believe we take the magazine to the Web. My god. No. If you have not the understanding about aesthetics that a sculpture is a sculpture, oil is oil, and fresco is yet another interface, then you make these mistakes.”
Hmmnnn. I guess if the secret sauce were simple it would be neither rare nor secret. But others sing his praises even if insular Americans (such as me) are late to recognize his accomplishments. Edge.org offers this synopsis of Burda’s publishing accomplishments:
“Hubert Burda’s most dramatic achievement to date, is the creation of Focus, one of Germany’s leading news magazines. First launched on January 18th, 1993, Focus sold out of issues after only two hours on the news stands. Today the magazine boasts 5.8 million readers, the most advertising in Germany and the largest editorial section in a weekly publication. Before Focus’ explosion onto the German media scene, Der Spiegel maintained a more than 40 year monopoly in the market. There have been almost 50 attempts made in the last four decades to launch a second news magazine in Germany. Focus is the only success story.”
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media