Monthly Archives: August 2013

“What Could Jeff Bezos Want With the Washington Post?” explores the Amazon founder and CEO’s purchase

Dan Pacheco, Newhouse’s Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair in Journalism Innovation, is the author of “What Could Jeff Bezos Want With the Washington Post?” The column, published on August 6, at PBS Idea Lab, discusses possible factors behind the purchase of the paper by Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “…the reality is that even Jeff Bezos probably doesn’t know what he’s getting into,” writes Pacheco.

Jeff Bezos. Image courtesy of Flickr user Steve Jurvetson and used here under the Creative Commons license.

Four New Digital Edge Opportunities

Hello! I’m Dan Pacheco, the Chair of Journalism Innovation at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I’m starting this blog on the Journovation site to keep people at Newhouse and the greater Syracuse University community up to date on things I’m working on. I will aim to post something at least once a week.

As a first post, I want to share some updates that I sent out in the Digital Edge email list, which you can join by clicking the Email List button at the top of this blog, or by clicking here.

There are three new developments at the Newhouse School through my Chair that I want to share. Students, faculty and friends are invited to stop by my office in Newhouse 2, room 494, to learn more about any of these.

1. Dan Schultz, our new programmer in residence
We’ve all seen innovative digital news packages that go beyond simple text, photos and video (for example, the New York Times’ Snow Fall). Things like data visualization, mobile apps and even cutting-edge technologies like Google Glass are always pushing the envelope for journalists, and you want to have these skills in your portfolio. But to do that you often need to know a little coding, or get the interest of a programmer. How do you get past that hump?

We’re excited to announce that Dan Schultz, an MIT-educated Knight-Mozilla fellow who spent the last year hacking together projects for the Boston Globe, is joining Newhouse as our first visiting programmer in residence, and he’s here to work with students on their projects. Newhouse students who have an idea for Dan can fill out this online form (http://bit.ly/18XX762) and we’ll get back to you with questions. Your project doesn’t need to be connected to a class, but if it is be sure to talk to the instructor first about your idea and how you’d like to involve a programmer. (Have an idea, but you’re not a student? Dan can be reached directly at slifty@gmail.com.)

2. Hacks & Hackers meetup at Syracuse Media Group next Wednesday, 9/4 @6 p.m.
A quiet revolution in journalism is underway in Syracuse and Central New York, and it’s coming from a surprising source. Citizen programmers (“hackers,” but the friendly kind) are creating online databases, crime maps and more to shed sunshine on important issues the community — all on their own, just for fun. They want to work with journalists to bring data and content together with code to create something even better. This group is called Hacks and Hackers, and you can get involved by going to http://meetup.com/hhsyracuse.

The next meetup is at the Syracuse Media Group, home to Syracuse.com, next Wednesday September 4, 2013 at 6 p.m. This is a great chance to meet editors, reporters and technology technologists at Syracuse.com, as well as some principals at the Innovation Trail that covers technology innovation for WRVO and other area public radio stations. And most importantly, meet local hackers who want to work with you to make your stories take advantage of everything digital has to offer. Note that for this event you must RSVP through Meetup (http://bit.ly/1dLz1it) so that the group can order enough munchies and drinks.

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3. Kick it Up on Kickstarter!
Crowdfunding portals like Kickstarter.com are emerging as a powerful force for helping people who have ideas get them funded and launched, and that includes journalism. A few enterprising Newhouse students have already used the platform to fund their storytelling projects, like sophomore Luke Rafferty who launched The Timeless Artisans with the help of 112 backers who collectively gave $6,321.

Now we want to help other students follow in his footsteps. “Kick it Up” is a new program to help Newhouse students who want to learn how to run a successful campaign on Kickstarter. The programs helps in two ways:

In-person and online training on how to run an effective Kickstarter campaign, which will be held on Tuesday, November 19, at 6 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. (This event will be open to the public, so if you’re not an enrolled student please plan on coming anyway!)
Monetary awards of up to $1,500 for students who post Kickstarter projects this fall under the theme of “Non-Fiction Storytelling or Services” and attract high numbers of backers.

You can learn more about Kick it Up here: http://journovation.syr.edu/kick-it-up/

4. The Digital Petting Zoo Opens Soon!
Last but not least, we’ll soon be opening an indoor zoo! If you’re allergic to furry animals, don’t worry. These animals are all digital, and they want you to try them out, play around and otherwise pet them.  pachecoglassThis fall we have Google Glass, the LeapMotion device, camera drones and some other technologies to showcase.

Petting Zoo hours will be posted on the Journovation.syr.edu web site so check back there for more details soon.

It’s gearing up to be a fun semester. Thanks for your interest in the Digital Edge!

– Dan

Dan Schultz

Dan Schultz joins Newshouse as First Visiting Programmer in Residence

As digital technology becomes increasingly important to media and journalism, so does knowing how to work with programmers and perform simple coding. You can only learn these skills by doing them, but where does a journalist or storyteller start?

Programmer-journalist Dan Schultz, who holds a degree from the MIT Media Lab, will help answer that question when he joins the Newhouse School as its first Visiting Programmer in Residence. Schultz, who spoke at Newhouse through the Digtial Edge Journalism series in the spring, comes straight from the Boston Globe, where he spent a year as a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow. He is known for work on innovative projects such as Truth Goggles, which identifies and checks facts in news stories in real time, and NewsJack, which lets people rewrite and publish headlines as a form of digital satire.

At The Boston Globe, Schultz worked with the Globe Labs to employ new innovative ways to tell stories that go beyond text, photos and video. In A Night in the Life of a Cabbie, he connected detailed transcripts of a cab driver’s evening shift to a maps that shows the driver’s pay and expenses through the night. The interactive shows how difficult it is for cab drivers to make money when only a few companies can issue the expensive “medallions” that cab drivers must purchase in order to legally provide service. Interative features like this often require journalists to work closely with software developers, and even know a little code themselves. Programmers in residence like Schultz will give Newhouse students that critical experience.

“Dan will help Newhouse students take their ideas from the drawing board to working prototypes and more,” says Dean Lorraine Branham. “We also hope that he can provide technical assistance for students who have ideas for new products, but lack the programming and coding skills to make them happen.”

While Schultz’s background is in journalism and civic media, he will work with students from all majors. Newhouse Chair of Journalism Innovation Dan Pacheco will serve as Schultz’s host in the Newspaper and Online Journalism department. Students or faculty who are interested in working with Schultz should fill out this online form, or contact Pacheco at drpachec@syr.edu.

“We already have a list of student project ideas from faculty from across the school that can leverage Dan’s expertise,” says Pacheco. “But it will be really fun to see what students dream up that none of us have thought of yet. We know students have big digital ideas, but often get stuck when they want to do something that requires a little coding. Now we can help them cross that barrier and in the process learn that coding isn’t as mysterious or scary as they may think.”

kickitup_feature

New Newhouse program “Kick it Up!” offers crowdfunding training, financial support to student entrepreneurs

Training will take place November 19; application period is November 20 – December 9

Attention, Newhouse students! Do you have a storytelling idea or project that could use some monetary support? Are you using Kickstarter or another similar service to crowdfund but would like some guidance?

That’s where Kick it Up! comes in. A new program offered by the Newhouse School, “Kick it Up!” can help in two ways:

  • In-person and online training on how to run an effective Kickstarter campaign, which will be held on Tuesday, November 19, at 6 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3.
  • Monetary awards of up to $1,500 for students who post Kickstarter projects this fall under the theme of “Non-Fiction Storytelling or Services” and attract high numbers of backers. Funding is based on the number of backers—projects with 50 or more backers will receive $150; projects with 100 or more backers will receive $450; and those with 150 or more backers will receive $900. Students receive 100 percent of this funding.

To apply, submit your project via the online form at http://journovation.syr.edu/kick-it-up/  any time between November 20 and December 9. Applications during this round must be non-fiction storytelling projects or services—anything factual in nature with an intent to inform rather than to persuade or entertain—from currently enrolled Newhouse students. Ten projects will be chosen in the first round, and select projects will also be featured on a Newhouse Kickstarter page and promoted by the school.

Newhouse will also feature projects from Newhouse students whose projects go beyond the “non-fiction” definition, as well as from alumni who have graduated within the last five years. These kinds of projects are not directly eligible for matching funds, but if a current Newhouse student is working on them, he or she may enter the project. Any Newhouse student or alumnus interested in being featured is invited to join Newhouse’s network on Kickstarter by following this link: http://kck.st/14vpggl.

“Kick it Up!” is sponsored by Dan Pacheco, Newhouse’s Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair of Journalism Innovation, with additional financial support from Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham and Syracuse University Provost Eric Spina. Contact Pacheco with questions at drpachec@syr.edu.