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RESOURCES

Things We Like

Help shape the news with Tipster 2.0 from VTDigger.org

Tipster
Tipster allows readers of VTDigger.org to talk to reporters, give editors feedback, contribute documents, send tips, and tell about public events.
 

A guide to make your news org a 501(c)(3) non-profit

Jeffrey Hermes of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society has created a guide to the IRS standards for establishing journalism and non-profit news organizations as 501(c)(3) tax filers. Read the guide here to begin your process!
 

The Media Map: Who's Reading What and Where

 

Forbes and Bitly partnered to provide the Media Map - an interactive map that shows which news sources are most widely read and shared by state. Users can even search popular headlines to see if they were more prominent in any given area.

 

ProPublica and NYU release music video to explain fractured gas drilling

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MediaBistro blog 10,000 Words reported today on a video released by ProPublica and New York University's Studio 20 that explains, using music and animation, the investigation into hydraulic fractured gas drilling.

St. Louis gets news at the breakfast table with "Beacon & Eggs" series

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Beacon & Eggs is a monthly event that brings the St. Louis Beacon staff into the community to meet and greet with community members and discuss local issues around St. Louis. Coffee and pastries are served, followed by a panel discussion - all for free. Anyone is welcome to attend. Check their calendar for the next meeting.


Grand Ave. News compiles photos of West Grove rebranding

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To document differences throughout historic West Grove, Grand Avenue News stitched together two scrolling panoramas of photographs from half a mile of Grand Avenue. One section is lively; the other, deserted.


Earth Hour 2011

The Atlantic features an interactive photo gallery highlighting the participation of 134 countries in Earth Hour 2011. The event, founded in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund, encourages people around the world to shut off lights in homes and businesses for one hour to bring attention to energy consumption, sustainability and climate issues. The gallery includes photos of major landmarks and cityscapes, and readers can click each photo to "turn off the lights."

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Bay Citizen Bike Accident Tracker

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Following a number of serious bike crashes in San Francisco in 2010, The Bay Citizen analyzed and mapped every bike accident reported to police. In addition to sharing the details of each incident, the Bike Accident Tracker also asks users to submit their own accidents. The Bay Citizen also made clear the methodology used in reporting and designing the project.


Gotham Gazette's Councilpedia

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In creating Councilpedia, Gotham Gazette is asking the public to help "connect those dots" to link candidates, contributions and legislation. The project uses a wiki format that allows readers to discuss and add content that is ultimately reviewed by Gotham Gazette.


Portraits from a Job-Starved City

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The New York Times presents a photographic tour with audio interviews through the stores, factories and offices of the city of Rockford, Ill. In Rockford, unemployment reached nearly 16 percent last summer, making it one of the most economically depressed places in the country.


 

Hyperlocal Advertising Tips

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Audience research can significantly help direct advertising efforts for hyperlocal sites, suggests this report from Medill students. New Voices grantee Oakland Local's effort to produce revenue-generating workshops is highlighted.


Balance the Budget Yourself

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The New York Times created a puzzle that asks users come up with their own solutions to the budget deficit. It builds off successful ideas like this Knight-Batten Award Notable Entry from Marketplace and these budget balancers from Minnesota Public Radio and Gotham Gazette. The New York Times ran theirs alongside a story, had a version in print, and followed up with an article on some of the solutions offered by users.


Veteran's Day Map

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TBD.com is inviting users to put a pin on their Google map with information on where they served in the military or where their family members were stationed. There are already many spots pinpointed on the map that span the globe. A very simple but effective way to engage their audience on Veteran's Day.


2010 Online Journalism Awards

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The 2010 Online Journalism Award for Community Collaboration went to West Seattle Blog. "The community has really participated in setting the agenda for the news we create," said Tracy Record, the site's editor, co-publisher and founder.


Innovator of the Year

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The Seattle Times won the honor at the APME conference, in part for its role in J-Lab's networked journalism project.


Migrating Michigan Mice

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Climate Change Animation: Great Lakes Echo uses a video animation to show how deer mice migrated to the Great Lakes. But the warming climate forces these mice to live in an unsuitable environment.


Crowdsourcing Subway Trouble

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Metro: D.C.-area start-up, TBD.com, is pulling together specific complaints about Metro outages and issues into a map, as the transit system has been plagued with delays and safety concerns. Previous coverage of TBD's launch.


Mapping the BP Oil Spill

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Grassroots Mapping: After the oil leak in the gulf, cartographers flew into action creating oil spill maps using weather balloons and kites.

Street Artists Across the City

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Graffiti: When the Seattle Times started reporting on graffiti in the region, they turned to their partners in the community to help tell the story and gave readers a chance to report trouble areas on a Google Map.

New WSJ New York Section Engages on Foursquare

Interactive: On the same day the Wall Street Journal launched its new local section to compete with the New York Times, it also debuted WSJ-themed badges up for grabs by Foursquare users.

Snowmageddon: The Clean Up

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Interactive: As the Washington, D.C. region digs out from the "Snowmageddon", as some took to calling it, the Washington Post partnered with PICnet and Non-Profit Soapbox to create a special digging out section. It invites users to report problems and offer solutions to their neighbors. It even points out "cleanup parties".

Online Media Legal Network

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Online Media Legal Network: a network of law firms, law school clinics, in-house counsel, and individual lawyers throughout the United States willing to provide pro bono legal assistance to qualifying online journalism ventures and other digital media creators.

Chicago Talks

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Chicago Talks: Chicago Talks is using a StoryMap from outside.in to display where their latest stories are coming from. It's easy to get one for your own site, too.
 

Stories That Fly

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3-D Video Wall: The Web site, created by a 2008 New Voices winner, features a beautiful 3-D image wall. Get yours here.

The Morning Commute

Welcome to SUBWAYblogger.com: If a funny thing happened on the way to work in Manhattan today, you might hear about it here. This site offers live blogging, news, photos and cultural commentary from the NYC city subway system.
 

CCTV's Documentary on Citizen Journalism

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Citizen Journalism: From Pamphlet to Blog: Watch this mini-documentary on the citizen media movement, produced by Cambridge Community Television. "The film is a guide to US citizen journalism through the ages - from Thomas Paine in the 18th century to the more modern hows and whys of being an anti-establishment news hound. The film features interviews with talking heads from the blogging world discussing, among other things, how newspapers have gone through major cost-cutting exercises as their revenues are leeched by sites like Craigslist."
 

'YouNews' on YouTube

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YouTube Citizen News: YouTube is now offering a great new platform for citizen journalists to help aggregate their work and give it a much bigger spotlight. The video sharing site has long allowed users to create individual channels for their work, but now it has launched the new Citizen News Channel in mid-May and has hired a new news manager to encourage citizen journalists to contribute their work, the best of which is spotlighted in a "favorites" tab or posted in a subscription area. As of the end of May, the channel already has subscribed to 87 different citmedia feeds, and has garnered more than 350 subscribers. Among recent highlighted favorites was a piece on sexual assault in the military from CollateralNews, an independent weekly news show produced in Philadelphia, and another story on the Democratic presidential campaign in Oregon from citizen journalism reporting corps UpTake.org. Editor "Olivia" is soliciting video recommendations at citizennews@youttube.com.
 

Courting Citizen Legal News

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California Blog of Appeal: There's certainly no shortage of lawyers commentating on the blogosphere, but a few may actually be practicing a unique form of citizen journalism, reporting on legal developments in their states with a level of detail and insight rarely found in traditional news organizations. A case in point is the California Blog of Appeal from Craig May. May is an appellate lawyer in Ventura, Calif., who writes extensively about legal developments in the California courts, including some uniquely California issues such as a case about who gets to be named as a producer on a Hollywood film. May also reported on a case involving on the constitutionality of the state's marriage laws, and on studies about the influence of the state's Supreme Court around the nation. Plus, he's got a blog roll of hundreds of other legal blogs, including many that also cover California law and courts.
 

'Selling' the Neighborhood

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The Boston Condo Blog: It might be easy to dismiss a blog by a real estate developer as a purely promotion tool. But done right, it can also be a good example of local citizen journalism, "selling" the neighborhood in a news sense. Such a site is The Boston Condo Blog, which concentrates on the luxury market, and features news on local real estate prices, reports on up-and-coming housing developments and new listings in the market. Plus, the site profiles neighborhoods, spotlights local landmarks and walking tours, and even has covered state legislation on energy-efficient home loans.



 

 

InterstateQ: Day of Silence

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Interstate Q: Ordinarily, it's what citizen media sites say that make them memorable. But in this case, it's what one site is not saying. InterstateQ, a North Carolina-based site, is generally an outspoken source of news and opinion for the lesbian, gay, bi and transgender youth community. On April 25 of this year, however, its publishers effectively shut down the blog site in observance of a National Day of Silence held each year to protest anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. This year's event was held in memory of Lawrence King, a California 8th-grader who was shot and killed Feb. 12 by a classmate, allegedly because of his sexual orientation. "Think about the voices you are not hearing," asks the site. "What can you do to end the silence?"

 

Musings on Birmingham: One in a Million

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Musings on Birmingham: What's a community but the people in it. And the Birmingham, Ala., blog Musings on Birmingham makes that explicit with a feature launched late last year it labels "One in a Million," about the people it says make Birmingham great. Its one://B'HAM subsite regularly showcases extraordinary individuals from among the million-plus in the Birmingham region. Recent examples include an award-winning Fred Astaire dance instructor, a former naval nurse, and an author of a urban fantasy vampire novel. The site offers an RSS feed for the updates and invites users to nominate others.

 

Rethink College Park: Interactive Maps

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Rethink College Park: For a site that focuses on development news in and around its community, maps make smart navigational devices, as shown by Rethink College Park, a Maryland-based project that focuses on the area surrounding the University of Maryland in College Park. A roll-over map on the site's upper right corner gives users a quick grounding in issues for half-a-dozen distinct areas around the university, while a quick click of the map takes you to stories sorted by location. Another interactive project on the site is a College Park development map, which uses a Google map-based approach to pinpointing projects, with links back to relevant posts.

 

 

Okiedoke: Pioneer Spirit

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Okiedoke: Sometimes bringing attention to yourself means focusing the spotlight on others. And that's something Oklahoma's Okiedoke blog does with homespun style through its annual Okie Blog Awards. The winners and runners up in such categories as best overall blog ("Confessions of a Pioneer Woman -- City girl Ree plows through country life with style"), best political blog, best family blog, best humor blog, and best unusual blog ("BackyardBirdCamBlog -- Pat Velte has many friends, feathered or not"), are selected by fellow Oklahoma bloggers, though the final call belongs to Okiedoke.
 

Mel's Internet Universe: Hawaiian Twitter

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Mel's Internet Universe: Mel's Internet Universe, a solo blog on Hawaiian issues, features everything from news of proposed tax packages to local car shows, along with commentary on local transit and the politics of grazing rights. But when there's no news to post, Mel updates users on his goings-on via a Twitter feed on his home page. Mel is also a talented photographer and the site includes his extensive photo work, which is fed onto the site via Flickr and also featured on a separate photo blog that spotlights not just the obligatory gorgeous sunsets, but images of local store closings, politicians, memorial services and museum openings. Aloha!

 

BlogHouston: Tracking Traffic

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BlogHouston: blogHouston is a hyperlocal site focusing on Houston-area media, politics, and life, not to mention that bane of urban existence -- traffic. One of blogHouston's more useful features is a map widget providing a local traffic map from the Greater Houston Transportation and Emergency Management Center (Transtar). Once in, you can also access traffic cams and check road closures and construction updates. blogHouston also squeezes onto its far right column a nice hotlinked feed of "accolades" for (and criticism of) its site from local bloggers, a step up from the usual blog honor roll approach.
 

15211: Survey Says ...

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15211: Sometimes simply asking people to register their view has real appeal. And when it comes to such online surveys, the nicely designed 15211 Wordpress blog from Pittsburgh's Mt. Washington neighborhood has its prominently displayed on the upper right side of all its pages, along with a poll archive for its dozen or so past polls. Some of the results are a little lopsided, but no one said they were scientific, just entertaining!



 

Perfect Duluth Day: Where's My WiFi?

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Perfect Duluth Day: If it takes a sense of humor to live in Duluth, then the Perfect Duluth community blog has what it takes, with an amusing array of links, photos, videos and some citizen journalism-style Duluth News in the mix. But the site has a smart, practical bent too - witness its Wiki list of free WiFi hot spots in the Duluth area so its contributors can more easily post their entries. The hot spot list can also be viewed via Google Maps.






 

Outside.In: Local, Local, Local

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Outside.In: Neighborhood discussion boards taken to the extreme is the M.O. of Outside.In, an aggregator looking to initiate local online chat while indexing posts to all relevant geographic levels. The site says it's tracking news, views and conversations in nearly 12,000 towns and neighborhoods, and its home page lists more than five dozen communities being mapped. One example is Madison, Wisc., which features discussion threads on overhyped neighborhoods, best bars and restaurants and a half-dozen more, as well as more serious news about local crime, including the recent murder of a local resident. Also, Outside.In uses a nice graphic to show spikes in posts by category, and it occasionally poses ice-breaker questions to all cities to help along the process of building online community. (Update: Outside.In has recently been taken over by Patch.com)

 

FreshDaily Network of City Sites

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FreshDaily: Freshdaily is a small Canadian network of metro hyperlocal sites that smartly covers arts, music, film, fashion, food and news in

 

Wicked Local

Wicked Local: The award-winning WickedLocal.com is an especially well-designed community news site, affiliated with local newspapers, that does many things right, particularly when it comes to bridging the gaps in professional coverage with user contributions. A great example is the site's Spotted photo page, which allows users to store and share unlimited photos, then organizes the contributions by category, galleries and various favorites, with side-by-side filtering of community and staff images, and "editor's picks" of best user images. Also, each WickedLocal subsite has a smartly organized "Be a Citizen Journalist" module that encourages users by grouping links to submit a story, join a forum, publish a picture, post an event, or request administrative authorities.
 

New Haven Independent

New Haven Independent

New Haven Independent: Inspired by the award-winning Chicago Crime web site, a local journalist in New Haven, Conn., has created a great local crime database called New Haven Crime Log. Users can sort crimes in a wide variety of ways, by type, description, count and date, and then view incidents on a map. The map shows details of each incident, severity of the crime and a time scale, as well as by individual streets or areas ranging from one-tenth of a mile to three-quarters of a mile. It's enough to keep you home all day (whether to fiddle with the site, or just to avoid the criminal element).
 

McHenry County Blog

McHenry County Blog

McHenry County Blog:"Folksy" works well for Illinois-based McHenry County Blog's Message of the Day feature. Local users are lured back not just by cute photos, usually of a tee shirt, a street sign, a bumper sticker or a local geographic or architectural feature, but also by the simple commentary that tells us almost as much about the writer (he's colorblind, has an annoyed teenager and a fondness for outdoor movie theaters) as the topic.



 

iTalkNews

iTalk NewsiTalkNews, a start-up outside San Francisco. iTalk uses a point system to track privileges for contributors, basing it on page views, recommendations, speed of posting. The more points the more prominently the author is featured. Another unusual aspect is allowing for, actually encouraging collaborative editing of each other's articles. And site users can make donations to their favorite authors via Paypal. Plus, it's easy to see who the Top iTalkers are, searchable by most postings, most links, most comments, most recommendations, etc.

 
 

Roundrock Journal

Roundrock Journal

Roundrock Journal: Sometimes all the fancy interactive footwork just can't compare to good writing and photography, like those of outdoors rambles found on Roundrock Journal, a site that calls itself "about a little bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks." Who would have thought tales of getting stuck in the mud or of digging in search of a cave could be so compelling.





 

Daily Newarker

Daily Newarker archive

Daily Newarker: Blog archives can sometimes be tedious affairs, that require multiple links and back-tracking. The New Jersey blog, The Daily Newarker, has an innovative "live archive" that reloads the archive page with a click on date or category, saving time and hassle.
 

Austinist

Austinist SXSW map

Austinist: Mashups aren't only for covering long-term crime and teardown trends. The Austinist uses a great Google mashup to cover the annual South by Southwest film, music and arts festival in March. The Interactive Guide to SXSW provides a day-by-day visual of events, with lots of info, graphics and links.







 

KevinFreitas.net

KevinFreitas.net

KevinFreitas.net: The journal-style site of Washington state web developer Kevin Freitas allows for a nice touch of serendipity with the more than 7,000 photos on the site -- a "photo shuffle" function that mixes up the dozen photos on the site's home page photo panel. A nice way to utilize extensive photo archives, and generate genuine curiosity.
 

Gotham Gazette

Gotham Gazette map

Gotham Gazette: For large communities rich in data, sometimes nothing tells the story so well as a map.