A few weeks ago, I introduced the Digital Draw, a box in the newsroom containing colorful strips of paper with various technology tools listed to produce journalism. Every Friday, my staff draws from the box and has a week to incorporate one of the suggestions in their work such as crowdsource a story from Twitter, create a Storify or timeline using Dipity, live Tweet a meeting or produce a photo slideshow using user-generated photos.
We’ve had success with this effort, and I wanted to share with readers some of our work and seek feedback on what else we could be doing or exploring.
Cops and courts reporter Ben Baird selected “create a Google map“ to incorporate in his reporting. He applied it to a story he wrote on a series of retail thefts in Saline. A week earlier, he picked “post to a blog,” and did so, writing about a ridealong with a sheriff’s deputy and incorporated a video.
Chelsea/Dexter copy editor Erica McClain chose “create a Storify,” and covered the arrival of University of Michigan football players in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, based on chatter on Twitter.
Online Coordinator David Veselenak also drew “create a Storify,” and did so on the topic “Washtenaw County preps for New Year’s Eve,” compiling Tweets from area residents talking about their plans. He also had “live Tweet a meeting.”
Manchester/Ypsilanti copy editor Tanya Wildt picked “find a story on social media and pursue it,” and found the perfect topic as our publication’s agriculture reporter and Washtenaw County Farm Bureau’s 2011 Ag Communicator of the Year, “Michigan places 10th in USDA’s winter farmers market list.”
The first week, I drew “create a sound slideshow,” creating a photo slideshow and incorporating the voices of residents weighing in on cuts proposed to the Humane Society of Huron Valley and the second week I picked “create a photo slideshow using user-generated photos,” using photos submitted by the Milan Public Library depicting their holiday activities.
County government and entertainment reporter Sean Dalton selected “hold a live chat” and “crowdsource photos for a slideshow.” He’s still working on both, but says he has sent out Tweets asking for participation. In the meantime, he crowdsourced a story on Twitter.
Education reporter James David Dickson had “find a story lead on social media and pursue it” writing about a children’s author offering to design a new University of Michigan mascot. He also found a lead on Twitter about Lake Superior State University’s banished word list. Next up for him is “crowdsource photos for a slideshow.”
City government, health and environment reporter Amy Bell selected “create a Google map” to complement a story and “crowdsource a story using social media,” which she did after seeing The Bling Thing in Saline bragging on Facebook about its holiday sales.