Blogs

  • Jul 72016

    Secure Messaging Apps: The Pros and Cons of Each Platform

    Communicating with a sensitive source has always been difficult for journalists. Sources who reach out to the media are potentially putting themselves into dangerous situations, breaking contracts, breaking laws, breaking promises and breaking trust.

  • Mar 242016

    Push App Helps Azerbaijan's Meydan TV Go Mobile

    Azerbaijan is a pretty terrible country to be a journalist in these days. The Committee to Protect Journalists named it last year as one of the 10 countries iin the world where the media face the most restrictions.

    Meydan TV, the last independent news outlet in the country, is trying to do something about that. According to their internal statistics, Meydan TV reached one-sixth of the country's population last month. One-third of every person in Azerbaijan on Facebook has "liked" them.

  • Feb 42016

    The Biggest Mistake a News Startup Can Make: Not Hiring a Web Editor

    There has been a surge in news organizations over the last 10 years. The advent of digital publishing has led to startups covering everything from general news to the smallest of niches you can imagine. For years, these new organizations have tried to model themselves after their big brothers. This works out, sometimes. Other times budget constraints, inexperience and sheer practicality overwhelm and undercut important structural and business decisions.

    The biggest and most oft-repeated mistake that I see these new groups making is ignoring the desperate role of a web editor.

  • Nov 162015

    New Mobile App "Push" Helps Media Organizations Get Their Work Out

    It's hard to get people to read your work. That's been the thorn in the side of editors and publishers since Martin Luther figured out that taking a hammer to the church door would get his point across. It hasn't gotten much easier.

    This is doubly true if you’re a small organization. The options out there are limited to a small range of social media sites and your own website. The drawbacks on these options are well-known, wide-ranging and infuriating.

  • Aug 72015

    Why Wearables Are The News Platform Of The Future

    It’s often said that pornography is every technology’s first adopter. It’s also said that the Internet wouldn’t exist without porn to make the download speeds faster, the video players easier to use and the browsers quicker. The same logic applies to full-color magazines, VHS, cable TV and so many others (I don’t think I need to explain why these technologies were advantageous to the seedier side of the media).

    Now there’s a new tech frontier emerging, and for once, newspapers and other news media are actually in a better position than smut dealers to take full advantage of it.

  • Jun 292015

    ICFJ Knight Fellow: Let Journalism Be Weird

    Journalism has always been obsessed with perfection. The story has to be dead to rights, the copy desk better make sure it’s a semicolon, not an em-dash. If a headline’s wrong there will be hell to pay come the news meeting tomorrow morning.

    There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s fantastic. Papers of record should, and must, be held to the most stringent and reliable quality. My issue is when this mentality of perfection crawls from the editor’s desk to the business desk and the production line.

  • Apr 302015

    Raising the Bar for 'Innovation'

    Words and terms are prone to periods of popularity. These turn of phrases rise, get inevitably coopted, overused and diluted and eventually fall far from grace.

    This has happened many times before, whether it’s “synergy” or “paradigm shift,” the words begin with value and then ring hollow after only a few short years. The most recent of these words to follow in this grand tradition is the star-child of the tech crowd, “innovate.”

    Like many of the high-flying terms over the years, “innovate” (and its brethren “innovation,” “innovating” and “innovative”) is a catch all.

  • Apr 12015

    On Assignment? Improve Your Digital Safety With These Simple Steps

    Over the last few years, computer security has finally become a discussion for more than just system administrators. These days one of the main concerns, understandably, is the security of data once it's left your machine. Once the data is out of your hands, it seems to be uncommonly easy to intercept.

    Encryption goes a long way to prevent "across the air" surveillance, but there’s also a mentality in the computer security world: If someone has physical access to your machine, nothing can stop them.

    When at home, most of these concerns can be managed.

  • Jan 142015

    How to Encrypt Emails Using Digital Plugin Mailvelope

    Encryption is important. There are very few people that would doubt that, especially in media.

    Too often the places we work in and the people we seek to expose are in a position to intercept, listen and read our communications. There are many tools available, but they are frequently difficult to understand, much less use.

    There are many levels of efforts to assuage paranoia, from fully encrypted VPN-only communication to air-gapped laptops.