—Fund for Investigative Journalism with Sandy Bergo
Foundations, Funding and Investigative Journalism
The Fund For Investigative Journalism issues a number of grants each year to provide resources for “projects relating to government accountability, economic inequities, and environmental issues in the United States.”
Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Sandy Bergo, the Fund’s Executive Director, about the type of applicants they’re looking for, the role foundations play in funding investigative journalism and how younger journalists can break into the field. The interview here lasts about 10 minutes.
Today is actually the deadline for one such round (see here and here). Average grants run about $5,000 and are typically used for travel, document collection and equipment rental.
If you don’t have a proposal right now, keep an eye on their schedule. As said, they issue multiple grants a few times a year for journalists in all stages of their careers. — Michael
UPDATE: The application deadline for this round of grants has been extended to Monday, March 18 at 5pm.
Mark Golin, Editorial Director of Digital for Time Inc.’s Style & Entertainment and Lifestyle Groups, discusses the culture of creativity in large companies and what can be done to better foster innovation.
In a tumultuous publishing climate, innovation often holds the key to success, he explains. But fostering innovation in a company as large as Time is difficult, especially due to its structure; essentially, it’s a family of brands in which the communication of ideas is tricky to facilitate across divisions. For this reason, one of Golin’s biggest focuses is to come up with best practices for fostering creativity.
But not all creativity is created equal. Golan’s a believer in practical creativity rather than creativity for creativity’s sake and is not alone.
In this video, Golin shares his thoughts on the culture of brainstorming in a large company, and how to efficiently navigate the boundary between testing out new ideas and coming up with ideal solutions.
In 2011, e-book sales topped print sales for the first time, a trend that continued into 2012. Debates around this digital disruption in the book publishing industry, however, have been markedly hopeful about the survival of print. Mashable’s Josh Catone, for example, writes that ultimately, the choice between e-books and print books is not a zero-sum game. There is a cultural and aesthetic preciousness to the print book that cannot be achieved by digital volumes. In the Washington Post, Nicholas Carr argues that the e-book is merely another publishing format with its own unique benefits, just as paperback was to the hardcover (see also his debate with Clay Shirky on the matter). And according to Pew, 90% of e-book readers continue to read physical volumes as well.
Whatever the arguments may be, there seems to be an undeniable optimism among many book lovers even as the industry navigates digital disruption. In this video, James McQuivey, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, explains why the publishers too, have remained uniquely optimistic in the face of digital disruption, by distinguishing the culture of the book industry from the cultures of other media industries such as film or music. Book publishers were never in it to make large amounts of money, he says. Driven by dedication to their authors and customers, they see digital disruption as a way to get more words published and more people reading.
For reasons explained in his blog post Will Gutenberg Laugh Last?, Carr says that the transition to e-reading is a slow process–growth in e-book sales, in fact, has slowed substantially. This conceivably leaves time for publishers to prepare. In this vein, McQuivey goes on to explain that because disruption has reached the book industry later than music or film, publishers have been able to learn from the disruption they’ve witnessed in other industries and plan ahead for it.
In this video, we take advantage of Anthony De Rosa’s experience at Reuters to examine how larger news organizations struggle and hope to adapt to major shifts in the media industry.
Near the center of it at Reuters is De Rosa as Social Media Editor (and host at ReutersTV), where he helped figure out how API’s can be best used to distribute Reuters content. Here, he explains what APIs are and why they will play a more integral part of the News industry.
By consolidating content from both multiple sources and among differing mediums, APIs let organizations do more than just publish written pieces and slideshows. They allow them to make a more full use of the Internet.
For more of our videos with Anthony and others in the media industry, see TheFJP.org.
In this video, Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa describes the new position of social curation in digital newsrooms. Citing examples like Andy Carvin’s work retweeting and verifying citizen uploaded information across the Arab Spring, De Rosa describes the job of covering social networks as a vital way to keep up with breaking events when you’re sitting halfway across the world.
Breaking news, for the most part, breaks on social media. But it’s not as easy as reading a wire — there have to be people to fact check, double check, and compile the best information from the millions of other uploads that may be misleading, incorrect, or otherwise irrelevant.
See other FJP videos with Anthonyhere, and be sure to explore TheFJP.org — our new home for video and other (awesome) things.
James McQuivey, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, defines a digital disruptor as someone who knows how to use digital tools to do things better, faster or cheaper than before. Digital, he explains, reduces the barriers to entry in the publishing world, which allows anyone to be an author or publisher, be it a start-up or an adjacent business that never considered publishing before.
Some digital disruptors, however, are more likely to be successful than others.
A blogger with a large following, for example, has a successful digital customer relationship that he remains engaged with, which puts him far ahead of a traditional publisher struggling to build a relationship with its customers. An app developer remains engaged with his product by continuously updating it to ensure his customers remember it’s there. In this video, James walks us through how successful disruptors think: opportunistically.
Anthony De Rosa: Why Newsrooms Should Poach Tech and Startup Talent
Anthony De Rosa is Reuters’ Social Media Editor, where he’s also a columnist and host at ReutersTV. We sat down with him to discuss where the tech and news communities meet and, increasingly, overlap.
Being that the news industry has more than a few business problems these days, Anthony suggests hiring outside help. By choosing Craigslist, Groupon and Facebook as examples of places from which to steal employees, De Rosa makes a solid point: go where the success is, and learn from the people that have done smart things in the more turbulent and burgeoning media landscapes.
Anthony also discusses what news life is like at Reuters, which we’ll dive into in more detail over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
And for more FJP videos, see our new site, theFJP.org.
Mark Golin, Editorial Director of Digital for Time Inc.’s Style & Entertainment and Lifestyle Groups, walks us through the developmental stages of magazines’ journey from print to digital. Likening the story to that of a growing person, Golin explains how–and why–magazine editors and publishers were so reluctant to post their precious print content on the internet.
This, he says, was the infancy of digital magazines. Moving into childhood meant being more open to posting more and more content online, which did happen, though that content was often selected from the editorial dustbin. Today, we’re living through the growing pains digital magazine adolescence.
Print and digital experiences work well together but there are a few more life lessons left to learn before we’re legal.
In this video, NYU Professor Mitchell Stephens tells us what’s wrong with journalism education and how his school and others around the country are fixing it.
Historically, J-School has been unimaginative and rote, but it shouldn’t be (and increasingly isn’t) that way anymore, Mitchell says. Like the experiences of people coming up in other professional fields, J-School students today study the tradition of great journalism, work with an emphasis on experimentation and problem solving, and are encouraged to focus on what interests them most.
See more videos with Professor Stephens here and, for those of us who want to think more about j-school — a video from our talk with CUNY Professor Chris Anderson.
NYU Professor Mitchell Stephens is convinced that the steady rise of non-professionals creating journalism content is a very good thing for news. We asked him to explain.
His reasons are several: to begin with, our general public is better educated today than ever before, the cost and expertise required to edit video and publish writing have dropped. And, he says, we online users, being such a large and diverse group, have a good handle on what makes good content and what doesn’t. We don’t need to teach media literacy, Stephens believes, because the competition among those making journalism sorts the good from the bad, and people know good content when they see it.
The images are from a project I’m working on about urban decay and renewal. Above are a few of them and you can read my thoughts about the how and why of it all by visiting the site.
Below is an email Q&A with Noah Rosenberg, Narratively’s founder, about what Narratively is, where he hopes it goes and why an editorial meeting can be thought of more as a soiree and less as a formal gathering. — Michael
FJP: What is Narratively? Why did you start it?
Narratively is a digital platform devoted to original, true, in-depth and untold stories. We avoid the 24/7 news cycle—and all the politics, gossip, entertainment and breaking news therein—in favor of the rich, multidimensional narratives that capture the spirit of a city. All too often those human interest stories are overlooked, especially in a bustling place like New York, where we launched our first edition in early September.
Each week Narratively explores a different theme about New York and publishes just one story a day, told in the most appropriate medium for each piece. So, Monday might yield a longform essay, followed by a short documentary film on Tuesday, a photo essay on Wednesday, and an animation on Thursday. Fridays, we run a section called the “Park Bench” where we curate meaningful responses we’ve generated from our audience throughout the week, and we publish behind-the-scenes elements from our stories; the “Park Bench” is all about featuring different perspectives on each week’s theme.
Our digital presence at www.narrative.ly, a mobile- and tablet-friendly website, is just the beginning. We’ll enrich the storytelling experience through monthly e-books, apps and events that feature live storytelling by our subjects and contributors, panel discussions, and film screenings. We’re also considering publishing a very high quality print edition.
FJP: What’s your future goal? I hear you want to expand into different cities?
The big-picture goal is to have a network of Narratively editions in cities across the world. We’re learning that people thousands of miles from New York are interested in our stories—in part because New York is a one-of-a-kind town, but also because Narratively stories are timeless in a way, and they resonate regardless of geography.
Our vision is to be able to cross-promote stories between our editions so that, say, someone in New York can read a really colorful tale about an 80-year-old tugboat captain in Beirut, while someone in Beirut might be presented with a similarly engaging and high-quality narrative about that captain’s NYC counterpart.
FJP: Do you consider it a “local news” endeavor?
On the face of it, Narratively is devoted to local stories, though I wouldn’t say they’re “news.” There are so many outlets devoted to covering the next big headline, and there’s some interesting longform innovation happening on the national and international stage, but not enough happening on the local, city-by-city level—and that’s where we figure in. But while Narratively produces stories that have some geographic connection, they’re bigger than just local news; we’re crafting stories that have a very long shelf life, stories that you can pluck from our archive a year or three years from now and still find meaning and value in.
FJP: What’s been the hardest thing to do as a startup?
The startup process has been exhausting but also incredibly fulfilling. Discovering that there are people out there, and lots of them, who believe in what we’re doing has been a validation of all of our hard work and “crazy” ideas. But it’s also a slow process, especially as we get off the ground and need to ensure that everything is running smoothly. There are so many possibilities for us—I just wish there were more hours in the day. But I’m confident that, with time, we’ll continue to push Narratively further and further.
FJP: The easiest?
We’ve been very fortunate to have a big, active network of supporters—from our generous backers on Kickstarter to the bloggers and journalists who’ve covered us along our journey. It’s so exciting and rewarding to receive the emails and tweets of encouragement that we’ve been getting from all over the world. The startup process would be a lot more tiring if we’d been doing this all alone. But social media and Kickstarter have turned it into a communal effort.
FJP: The most unexpected?
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by Narratively’s appeal beyond New York City. Our dream has always been to create a network of editions across the world and we’d imagined and hoped that we’d someday generate a global appeal, but the fact that it’s happened so quickly and so soon is a tremendous relief and a huge encouragement.
FJP: When I met you for your weekly editorial meeting you held it at an outdoor bar in Brooklyn. How does beer lubricate the editorial process?
We like to refer to our weekly editorial gatherings as more “soiree” and less “meeting.” They’re very informal affairs that are as much about story-generation and feedback as they are about forming bonds within our passionate group of contributors. I’ve always loved bringing new people together and it’s been so rewarding to help foster friendships and connections all in the name of good times and great storytelling. The beer and the bar snacks are just a backdrop to some energizing discussions about important stories that would otherwise remain untold.
We sat down with Rest of the World Media founder and Stanford regular Gabriel Sama to talk about newsrooms, and how they should organize themselves and their content. Newspapers have only so much space, Sama told us, and you can only fill so much of it with news. But when newsrooms publish online, they face something very different — they’re dealing with infinity.
That’s not to say they should try to fill infinite space, Sama says. Journalists should focus on what’s important today — whether it’s an oil spill or an attack in Gaza, a journalist’s work shouldn’t necessarily be confined to their beat. He emphasizes the strength of teaming up with other journalists and bringing multimedia into the picture at the planning stage as a way to utilize the infinite space we’re given online to publish timely, meaningful content.
The latest from our conversation with Farai Chideya, journalist, novelist, and entrepreneur. Here she discusses net neutrality and connectivity. Should content providers also determine data delivery speeds? Should some degree of access to broadband be guaranteed despite a person or community’s means to afford it? How does this impact journalism? How does it impact an individual’s ability to participate in democracy?
Background: For newbies to this-issue-that-affects-all-of-us-internet-reliant-people-in-the-world, catch up on what’s going on here. Free Press does a lot of great work on this issue, so check out their research and resources here.
On the Importance of Journalists Understanding Technology
The latest in our conversation with Farai Chideya, in which she discusses her own experiences learning new technologies and how—especially as an entrepreneur in the journalism world—knowing the tech side of things has helped her collaborate, innovate, and pursue great journalism.