Hi. My name is Adam.

Make your work matter: 7 priorities for journalists in 2010

Posted in blogging, convergence, journalism, news, twitter by adambsullivan on January 7, 2010

Individualism — Reporters need to be more self-sufficient than ever. Editors exist to assist reporters and to be a resource. However, reporters ought to think of ways to expand their coverage with technology without being told to do so. Just as reporters don’t wait for the command from an editor to call a certain source or look up a bit of information, reporters shouldn’t wait for orders to shoot video, engage their audience via social media, or put links into their stories. Additionally, while newsroom leadership is there to teach and guide you, it’s the reporters responsibility to seek advice and to learn new skills.

Branding — Journalists should make sure their web presence provides a flattering picture of their work. When you apply for jobs or internships, your employer is going to Google your name. If what shows up is bad (or, worse, if nothing shows up at all), you’re not going to get hired. Write stories that get a lot of hits, start a blog, and use social networking.
(See also: Your digital profile tells people a lot, by Steve Buttry)

Promotion — The web is an excellent place to promote your work. Your friends and family (facebook!) want to see what you’re doing, but they need to be reminded to look. People you don’t know (twitter!) also want to see your work, they just don’t know it yet. Use the web to reach out.

Engagement — Simply put, you need to be tuned into your community and your community needs to be tuned into you. Your “community” includes the local area as well as people elsewhere who are interested in the beat you cover. If your community is engaged in your work, it’ll be a huge asset: They’ll alert you of story ideas, promote your work for you, and provide valuable feedback.

Content — People don’t want to be told what they already know. And the Internet allows people to know a lot. You have to bring something new to the table. Daily Iowan display advertising was up last year, while other papers had to lay off reporters or shut down because of low ad revenue. Why are we ahead? Our advertisers say we provide more unique and original content than any other publication.

Media — Always be cognizant of what medium best conveys what information. We have lots of technology at our disposal. We can create text, photos, video, audio, graphics, interactive graphics, conversations, and more. Think about what message you want to send and then consider what medium will best allow you to do that. Having the skills to create all of those things will make you extremely employable. Additionally, always offer your reader something extra. Usually when we cover hard news, we’ll have the same information as our competitors. But if we have the same information plus a multimedia piece, we’ve done a better job.

Report smarter — This extends far beyond Googling the name of a source. Crowdsource your social networks, examine your source’s web presence, and read non-traditional news clips.

Tweeting from BCS football bowl games is probably against the rules…but that’s okay

Posted in BCS, football, hawkeyes, Orange Bowl, sports journalism, twitter by adambsullivan on December 24, 2009

The BCS doesn’t want news outlets to compete with television broadcasts. Accordingly, the list of media guidelines for covering bowl games is miles long and very direct. As far as I can tell, the rules say reporters cannot tweet from inside the stadium. But I’m no legal expert (not a sports reporter, either) so I was a bit fuzzy on what the rules meant.

To confirm, I tried to get in touch with someone at BCS or the Orange Bowl, but wasn’t successful. Instead, I did some twitter crowd-sourcing. The verdict: The rules say no tweeting, but most news orgs are probably going to do it anyway.

Mike Hlas, Gazette sports columnist: Looks problematic. Let’s see what happens at the Rose and Sugar bowls to see if they disobeyed the BCS like we will.
Jamie Kelly, Gazette social media guide: I’d say limited Tweeting, for sure.
Laura Bergus, tech-enthusiast and uiowa law student:
Just b/c it violates their terms doesn’t mean it’s *legal* to keep you from doing it, but then again, u wanna go to court? 😛
Laura Bergus, tech-enthusiast and uiowa law student: Well, folks sure live-tweet game descriptions from home all the time. Haven’t heard of anyone getting dinged…yet.

The BCS doesn’t want people following their favorite sports reporter on twitter instead of tuning in to the game on TV. However, if a reporter is good at twitter, his or her posts will be a supplement to the game, not a replacement for it. My football reporters don’t just tweet the score and the big plays; they add unique commentary that (hopefully) no other human is capable of providing.

All reporters — sports or not — should be adding something to the discussion, not just posting facts and information. If that’s the case, they won’t be stealing viewers away from the game.

Related: Can sports journalists tweet from BCS football games?

Can sports journalists tweet from BCS football games?

Posted in BCS, college, football, journalism, live updates, twitter by adambsullivan on December 8, 2009

My senior sports reporter and I were just looking over the BCS media regulations. Understandably, the BCS a long list of stringent guidelines regarding coverage of bowl football games. I’m no legal expert and I’ve never covered a sporting event, but it seems to me the media rules disallow journalists from tweeting about the game.

An excerpt:

  • Except for those originated by the rightsholders, live text, audio or video play-by-play accounts originating from the stadium are prohibited.
  • Score updates are permitted.
  • The use of textual statistical information must be time-delayed and limited in amount (e.g., the score, injuries, record-breaking performances, scoring summaries at the end quarters, a condensed halftime story) so that an organization’s game coverage on the Internet does not conflict with the electronic media rightsholder’s rights to play-by-play accounts of the game And/or exclusivity as to such rights.

Does anyone know if tweeting/facebook updating are restricted? Any insight would be much appreciated.

Suggested list of twitter users to follow

Posted in daily news, Eastern Iowa, Iowa City, social media, social networking, twitter by adambsullivan on December 2, 2009

I’ve organized my favorite twitter users into my primary niches so you can easily determine which ones would be helpful for you to follow.

Iowa City:
@DrDaily is The Daily Iowan’s personable web presence. He’s modeled after The Chicago Tribune’s @ColonelTribune. (Full disclosure: I’m Dr. Daily’s primary muse).
@bergus is one of my primary web/journalism mentors. In addition to being a great media and food critic, Nick offers lots of fun commentary about Eastern Iowa.
@thebstiles is, without exaggeration, probably the very best Hawkeye football reporter in the nation right now.
@hidama and @sebhar are delightfully social and exceedingly friendly…usually.
@seanathompson is an IC native, UI employee, runner, Hawkeye sports fan, and all around good guy. Sean knows what’s going on; he’s very involved in the community.

Journalism nerds:
@bergus gets double-mentioned. He’s one of my primary web/journalism mentors. In addition to being a great media and food critic, Nick offers lots of fun commentary about Eastern Iowa.
@stevebuttry is The Gazette’s 3C’s innovation coach. In addition to “getting” how communication works, Steve touches on the business side of the news business.
@mashable is seldom more than a feed of headlines from Mashable, but it still offers useful info on social networking and how it pertains to news.
@ryansholin is the Director of News Innovation at Publish2. He knows a lot about journalism innovation, but isn’t out of touch with regular people like most newsies who know as much as he does. Ryan is also very accessible; he’s responded to my tweets more than once.
@10000words does a great job of aggregating lots of the hot topics in the journalism discussion.
@NYT_JenPreston is The New York Time’s Social-Media Editor. She doesn’t have all the answers, but she does a decent job of collaborating/discussing with other twitter users.

Weekly email: Be cognisant of what medium best conveys what information

Posted in convergence, daily news, The Daily Iowan, twitter by adambsullivan on October 25, 2009

By Adam B Sullivan
Here’s an excerpt of my weekly staff email:

This week’s goal:

Have something with every story: a video, a graphic, a list of related links, audio of your interview. Be cognisant of what medium best conveys what ideas/information — being able to do that will get you a job someday.

This week’s best:
1. Lots of you have really excelled at putting links in your stories. Ops’ Shawn Gude and Justin Sugg stood out this week. They both put useful links in their Point/Counterpoint.
2. Photogs Julie Koehn and David Scrivner did an excellent job shooting and updating from the road this weekend at the Michigan State game.
3. Metro reporter Katie Stinsom did some good live tweeting from the City Council forum last week. Check her out on twitter.
Something from the pros:
Check out these local twitter users:
METRO: Nick Bergus
OPINIONS: John Deeth
ARTS: Don McLeese
SPORTS: Dave Schwartz
TV: Joe Winters
PHOTO: Todd Adamson
DESIGN/GRAPHICS: Nelle Dunlap

Twitter tips for journalists

Posted in social networking, The Daily Iowan, twitter by adambsullivan on September 2, 2009

1. Gain followers:

• Follow lots of real people: students, local residents, and people who are interested in your area of coverage. Don’t follow lots famous people (@johncmayer and @the_real_shaq) or automated accounts (@nytimes and @andersoncooper).

• Interact with people. Respond to people who way interesting things.

2. Get story ideas:

• Do searches for “Iowa City,” “University of Iowa,” “Hawkeyes,” etc. Tune into what your communities are talking about.

• Read tweets from Iowa Citians. If something is interesting, ask them to tell you more and get their contact information.

• Once you’ve earned a decent number of local followers, ask things like “What should I write about this week?”

3. Promote your stories:

• Good tweets resemble good web heds. Be descriptive and be specific.

• Mention that your story has extras: “Check out this video about…” or “Vote on this poll about…”

4. Be interesting:

• Be a real person. Don’t tweet the same way you write. Let your personality show.

contributing to the discussion, instead of regurgitating what everyone else is saying. You should say things that no other human could say.