Thursday, October 02, 2008

When 'database' becomes 'storytelling'

Poynter Institute's Chip Scanlan discusses database reporting on last month's commuter train disaster.
The newspaper's Web team used a rapidly developed online database to let readers learn about casualties as they were identified. Says Chip:
"I was struck by how quickly the crash victims database appeared and impressed by the interactive demographics that let me learn information about each victim by the field of my choice. It turns out, as I learned from e-mail interviews with Times staffers involved in the project, there's an interesting tale of best practices behind this deadline database."

Scanlan interviewed Megan Garvey, the site's morning Metro assignment editor, and others at the paper to describe reporters and programmers working together.

Some of the job titles reflect the new world of online journalism -- "interactive technology editor" and "database producer."

Here's the story itself:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Taking the buyout, with ghosts watching

Reporter Dan Conover took one of those newsroom-cutback early retirement deals, and wrote this essay, which came to the attention of my friend J in Greater Boston:
Xark!: My final newspaper article... excerpt:

"This transition will require that we consider not only our values but what makes them universal. It will require that we experiment courageously with how those values are best expressed and communicated in the new context of our politics, our economy, our rapidly morphing technologies."

To get to those values, Conover invokes the spirit of Chapel Hill's Jim Shumaker, who was profiled a few years ago with a posthumously published interview, under a headline that makes a great invitation to click: Shu: The late great Jim Shumaker in his own d*%# words

Speaking of values, Conover also blogged last spring about winning a Journalist of the Year award...