Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘Web’

An important reminder about photos

In Photography on 13 Oct 2016 at 2:03 pm


Say something happens. It’s not photogenic. Maybe your city decides it’s going to replace a water line. You put together a web update so you can get the news out quickly. How do you illustrate that story?

The answer is that no art is better than stolen art. Running your story as text-only is a better idea than stealing a photo of water pipes that you find on the web. I know that flies in the face of what you may understand about creating greater web traffic, but things that aren’t ours, aren’t ours. To be clear: You are not free to Google around and drag just any photo into our content management system.

This week, I had a chat with Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association. We talked generally about fair use and copyright and photographs and he noted a couple of important distinctions between things we might publish online and in print.

Things we post online are covered under the Digital Millennial Copyright Act. If you should receive notice from someone saying they own the rights to a photo that you accidentally ran online, the prudent action is to take that photo down while you research ownership. If it turns out to be a photo you own or one that you have express permission to run, put it back up.

Other key points:

Fair use: This doctrine of free speech protections is difficult to claim with photos. That is because you almost always use the entire image. Fair use applies to using a snippet of copyrighted material as part of your larger piece. You might quote from a Bob Dylan song, for example, as part of your story about his Nobel Prize. While you are free to do that, you are not free to copy and paste his entire memoir nor a copyrighted image of him you found online. … Read the rest of this entry »


Opting for slow journalism

In journalism on 6 May 2016 at 8:28 am

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I wanted to thank Wick CEO Francis Wick for passing along this story in Editor & Publisher that provides evidence of a resurgence of interest in print newspapers. It postulates that we all suffer from a digital overload and also that the rise of ad-blocker technology is proof that “audiences are unhappy with their digital experiences, and as digital fatigue sets in among consumers, the newspaper industry—and print—is poised for a revival.”

To be honest, I’m not sure I buy the assumption that a consumer using an ad-blocker her cellphone is necessarily voting for print. For one thing, readers just don’t have the ability to block ads in the print newspaper. If they could, would they?

Regardless, I was intrigued by a new term – new to me, anyway – that I read in the story: “slow journalism.”

It’s a play on some other popular back-to-the-future kinds of movements, such as “slow food.” The idea is that some things are better when given the time to marinate. We all know that journalism is one of those things. Some people are actively promoting that fact and reaping some rewards.

The makers of Delayed Gratification magazine note that the speed with which digital news is shared allows for what happened but rarely why or what it means. “Delayed Gratification revisits the news after the dust has settled to give the final analysis on the stories that mattered.” I think that is a well-articulated vision for something that can be delivered in print.

For Delayed Gratification, the answer comes in a beautiful presentation, telling data visualization, and relaxed, long-form writing. It is not the first to tell you about the Paris terrorist attacks; it promises to tell you something you hadn’t fully considered about the Paris terrorist attacks. Is the Delayed Gratification model a Buzzfeed killer? Probably not. Could it co-exist? … Read the rest of this entry »

Taking the ‘I’ out of internet

In Associated Press on 7 Apr 2016 at 11:14 am

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Beginning June 1, AP style calls for an end to uppercase Internet and Web. So, enjoy your stature while you still can, 20th century terms for the digital future.

I don’t know how you feel about these changes, but I guess I’m agnostic, though leaning a bit toward support of the new rule. It makes sense to me. These are much more generic and certainly ubiquitous terms than they used to be. They are not proper nouns any longer, I don’t think, at least not in the common usage.

Most of the digital punditry about these changes suggest that it is about time. The know-it-alls say AP is just old-school and slow to adopt standard usage. I say that is a good thing. I appreciate that the keepers of the style are reflective and not reactive.

And another thing: It has been suggested that capital letters themselves are archaic. They are just too hard to read, apparently. To this, I say, “nay!”

From Susan C. Herring’s really interesting and well-researched column in Wired last year:

The fact is, decapitalizing internet is part of a universal linguistic tendency to reduce the amount of effort required to produce and process commonly-used words. Not only does decapitalization save a click of the shift key, but, as one marketing website put it, “Capital letters are speed bumps for the eyes when reading. They should be eliminated where possible.” …
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This week’s missed opportunity

In Ideas on 16 Jul 2015 at 1:07 pm

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Sometimes I worry that this blog comes off smug, as if I have the answer to turning a legacy media outfit into a digital superhero. That I deign to come down from the mount each Friday to present The Word on a self-satisfied platter.

Hardy, har, har. What a laugh.

Truth is, I learn more of what I don’t know every week. And a week doesn’t go by that I don’t think of something we could have done better at Wick generally, or at the Half Moon Bay Review more specifically.

Take this week. A beloved bookstore announced it was closing after 30-something years in town. Where once we had five or six independent bookstores in town, soon we will have only two. The store-closing was the talk of the town. … Read the rest of this entry »

Link in to more sources

In Social media on 4 Sep 2014 at 1:40 pm

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Are you on LinkedIn? Many of us are. And if you aren’t allow me to introduce you to a tool that every professional should use in the year 2014.

One incomplete way to think of LinkedIn is as an online database of resumes. The company thinks of itself as much more than that. It wants to be a social network on par with Facebook and Twitter and a place where working people connect and interact. So let’s say it’s both of those things, each useful in its own way.

If you don’t have an account, make one. Go to LinkedIn.com and follow the prompts. It will be a trip down memory lane as you attempt to remember when you worked where, the date that you graduated college and all the rest. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know all that stuff now. Get it started and come back and add stuff. (While you are there, search for me and ask me to add you to my connections!)

If that was the end of it, it would be useful enough for journalists. You could develop an endless Rolodex full of contacts. Once you connect with friends and colleagues, the experience deepens. You can recommend each other, endorse peers for certain skills, and find others based on current connections. … Read the rest of this entry »

Planning for the big one

In Innovation on 5 Jun 2014 at 4:08 pm

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Spurred by what he saw as a less-than fully realized effort to report breaking news on one of our news sites, Wick Digital Sales Manager Jim Keyes sent an email to some of us the other day. It was an urgent plea for better planning before we are pulled in a thousand directions by some big news event.

It was an impassioned plea that offered a litany of best practices for getting news up quickly and digitally, and I nodded along with him.

Before I pass along his tips, I wanted to make a couple points, about our digital opportunities and planning for Some Big Thing.

First, if you consider the Web to be an afterthought or think you don’t have time for digital reporting, allow me to retort. We got into this business because we believe in the power of information. We all want to reach as many people as we can as quickly as possible. Lord knows, I love having a newspaper in my hands, but the newspaper itself is not the thing. It’s what’s inside. The digital universe is vast. Using digital tools is relatively inexpensive. You can post a story or photo much, much more quickly than you can print it, and you can conjure maps from thin air, publish videos, share comments – all within moments of the news breaking. More and more (and more and more) readers are migrating to devices. The days of being solely a “newspaper editor” are over. … Read the rest of this entry »

Blox training begins next week

In Online media on 1 May 2014 at 3:29 pm

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As many of you know, we’ve embarked on a fairly intensive appraisal of our relationship with Town News, the provider of our website infrastructure. The reason is that we need to have the most robust, interesting, engaging digital production we can have in the 21st century.

We launched a task force last year and a bunch of things have come from that effort so far. We’ve surveyed our papers to see how we’re using those products. We’ve had face-to-face and many phone meetings with Town News executives. We’ve considered other providers. But, for my money, one of the most important things to come from that naval-gazing is the understanding that we need to take the bull by the horns. Too many of us on the editorial side are blissfully ignorant of all the tools at our disposal and that simply has to change.

With that in mind, Christian Ramirez and the Wick Digital team have designed a series of BLOX tutorials aimed at teaching both the fundamentals and some of the extras you need to make Wick websites work for you. (If you work at the Sierra Vista Herald, and you’ve read this far, you are free to go since you don’t use Town News. The rest of you, please read on.)

The webinars are only 30 minutes long and set for 11 a.m. pacific time over the next three Tuesdays, May 6, 13 and 20. You should have gotten an email with the dial-in number, password and also how to follow along on your computer. Christian will be sending that information again in an email on Monday.

On May 6, the topics include creating an asset on Blox, as well as posting, sizing and other manipulations of images. He will also discuss tags and how to post videos. … Read the rest of this entry »

Things you have to know

In Innovation on 18 Jan 2012 at 11:49 am

Last week, I read a post on Steve Yelvington’s blog that noted the job skills required of reporters today have shifted. Steve is a sort of Internet savant at Morris Digital Works, which I believe is a division of the newspaper and news publisher Morris Communications.

He rightly notes that today’s job applicants are asked to shoot video and stills with a smartphone, to use multiple storytelling platforms, to embrace blogging and social media and to be able to mine data on the Web. When he and I graduated from school, we didn’t even have to know how to work a camera. If we could write a sentence without making fools of ourselves and exhibit an interest in the world, we could get a job with a newspaper.

Those days are gone and good riddance. We are all infinitely better off for the tools of the digital age. You know it’s true, even if, like me, you sometimes try to tell yourself otherwise.

Let me give you an example of the way new technology can improve your journalism, your reach in the community, even your understanding of the place you live.

Say you have an annual event that you always play up big in your community. You know what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s the county fair or the Fourth of July parade or a rodeo. I’ll bet you that your coverage from year to year is much the same. You tell folks what is going on beforehand, maybe in a special section, then you recap it in print afterward. Lots of photos… a couple stories. And done for another year. Of course, you may also be posting a video by now and you should be inviting conversation about it on Facebook. … Read the rest of this entry »

Reynolds wraps its survey

In Innovation on 4 Aug 2011 at 2:46 pm

The folks at the Reynolds Journalism Institute recently surveyed newspaper editors to gauge their level of engagement with the audience they purport to serve. In short, newspaper editors overwhelmingly say that engaging with the community – through social media and comments, for example – is very important. However, they cop to not putting much effort into it.

Joy Mayer, an associate professor of Journalism at the University of Missouri and herself a former editor, said that she interviewed more than 500 newspaper editors earlier this year. Elsewhere, she argues persuasively that we need to engage our community, that it’s not enough to simply deliver the news any more.

She defines engagement as encompassing three concepts: Outreach, conversation and collaboration. You may find that you are reaching out – through booths at local fairs, calls to area pastors, etc. – but not really seeking to enter the conversation with them, on Twitter or in your comments section, for instance.

Mayer found that:

  • 86 percent of editors say they are talking in the newsroom about how to make their product more social or participatory;