Tag Web Design

Winter Break Project for Students

Over at the NPPA Visual Student blog, Brian McDermott has posted the last of a three part series on Designing a Better Portfolio Website.

So … why are you still here? Go read, then build that site. You have lots of time right now …

Cute, But Bad for Your SEO

I require my upper level students to have a Twitter account. Sometimes we use it extensively, sometimes we don’t. But, darn it, they have one.

As journalists, I also tell them that having a private account is generally a bad thing – you want to have open lines of communication, you want your knowledge to be shared. That can’t happen if it’s a closed account.

110506 goingProNow, Scott Bourne over at GoingPro points out something else – what account name you use can affect how search engines will categorize and rank you. So, if you have numbers in there, it sees you as spam.

Who knew?

Takeaway: Use your real name, or something as close to it as possible, for all of your online accounts.

Making Your Job Application Stand Out

Just stumbled over this while checking a link in the last post … Charles Apple will be doing a live chat over at the Poynter Institute at 3 p.m. (Eastern) on making job applications more visual.

Apple, if you don’t know him, is the former design director for the Virginian Pilot, one of the best designed papers in the country and writes a blog for the American Copy Editors Society that is mandatory reading, I think.

If you can’t make it at 3, you should be able to read it afterwards.

Objectifying Your Web Site

It’s likely that if you’re reading this, you have a web site. Whether it’s your personal site or your business’s store front, ask yourself this: How’s it working?

D. Bnonn Tennant has a post up over at Freelance Switch titled 10 Simple Website Changes to Increase Your Freelance Sales that you should take a look at. Many of these things you’re probably already doing or are aware of, but use it as a checklist – can you mark them all off?

Pay close attention to the first two, on knowing your site and each individual page’s objective. This comes down to a basic element in journalistic success: Know your audience.

And item seven should probably be at position three if we were to rank these. I hate sites with changing navigation schemes. Life is hard, surfing the web shouldn’t be.

Whoa … Google Docs to WordPress to Print at the Bangor Daily News

Lauren Rabaino has a post up at Mediabistro on how the Bangor Daily News has streamlined their workflow to an amazing level. It’s pretty stunning how it works together as it’s all open-source solutions and they are sharing it with anyone who wants it.

Has me thinking about whether this is something I should do for GradyJournal.com … hrmm …

(Thanks to the Future Journalism Project for the link.)

Total Geek Out: Web Stats

Steve Yelvington takes a quick look at the latest advancement from Google, Instant Pages, and why it may wreak havoc on your web metrics and your sever load.

I am not an expert on this, nor do I really have any desire to become one, but it still seems to me that selling ads based on page views is purely moronic now. What you want is latent impressions, caught by the saccadic movements of the eye, which only come from spending time on a page. Hence, advertisers should be more interested in how long someone is on a page than how many page views get served.

But what do I know …

The Lean Back Edition

I grew up in a two-newspaper home – one in the morning, one in the afternoon. (I delivered that afternoon paper, too, and later was a stringer for them, then a staff photographer and, eventually, ran one of the photo departments for the chain that owned it.)

Most purely afternoon papers tarted to get phased out years ago, but now the concept is coming back – in the form of an evening edition online or on tablets. It’s a brilliant idea, one that has been circulating for a while now, and the legendary designer Mario Garcia has take on the idea, too.

The idea of a “lean back” reading experience is one I can get behind. Usage on the iPad seems to peak during the evening hours, why not push new information out – summation, curated information – just for that audience?

Web Feature I Want: Follow This Article

110612 followThis has very little to do with visual journalism, but it’s something I want on news sites – particularly my local news site – incredibly badly. Steve Yelvington, who works for Morris Digital Works, which owns Morris Communications which owns my local newspaper, writes about a simple Follow This Article button for news stories. Click it and you can get emailed updates about the story as well as the people and businesses in it.


ICONN Conference – March 24-25

It looks like we’ve got all the pieces for the ICONN Annual Conference in place again. After getting weathered-out in January, I’m hopeful that we’ll have some nice spring weather on March 24 and 25 here in Athens.

ICONNwebsitelogo 8So why should you come? Well, Athens is a great place in spring – especially if you’re coming from the north or midwest. We’ll be turning green all over the campus with pops of color here and there. Not to brag, but the University of Georgia campus is one of the nicest I’ve ever been on.

The schedule is below, and you can register online for the cheap price of $25 for professionals and academics and $15 for students. We’ve reserved a block of rooms at the Georgia Center, which is right on campus and a (free) five minute bus ride from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, where all the sessions will be. (When you call the hotel at 800-884-1381, make sure you give them this code: 72592 for the discounted rate.) Included in your fee is a Thursday evening banquet and lunch on Friday.

And, as we announced, you should stick around for an extra day to attend the Bluejeans Workshop on Saturday. If you’re going to come all this way, why not hang out a little longer and get more knowledge, right?


Thursday, March 24

    12:30-1:15 Registration

    1:30-2:00 Mark E. Johnson, University of Georgia: Fail Faster

    How do we learn to learn when everything we know changes so fast? A welcoming note followed by a charge to fail. Fast. And then move on to the next possible option.

    2:00-3:00 Victor Hernandez, CNN: Next Generation Journalism

    Where is online journalism going? What do we need to know?

    3:15-4:00 Steven Padgett, Troy University: Across Departments to a New Platform

    At Troy University, the Journalism Department is working with the Computer Science Department to build an iPhone App.

    4:15-5:00 Jim Stovall, University of Tennessee: Writing for the Web

    6:30 Joel Sucherman from NPR: The Argo Network

    Tying together the resources of the 12 largest NPR affiliates, this project is designed to strengthen the role public media plays in journalism. (This will be a banquet dinner at the Georgia Center.)

Friday, March 25

    8:15-9:00 Mark E. Johnson, University of Georgia: Multimedia on the Cheap

    You want to teach this stuff, you want to learn this stuff, but how do you get past the cost barrier? Can you do it with low-cost hardware? And can you do it without taking over your entire curriculum?

    9:00-9:45 Jim Stovall, University of Tennessee: JeffersonNet

    The new platform for developing online news sites using WordPress.

    10:00-10:45 Dean Littleton, WVLT-TV: Advertising and the Web

    11:00-11:45 Dave Tulis, Athens Banner-Herald: Multimedia – What Worked, What Didn’t in 2010

    Every wonder what multimedia pieces work and which don’t? A close look at one year’s worth of online efforts and reader responses to them.

    11:45-12:00 Krista Kapralos, UPIU – Mini-internships Around the World

    UPIU is the journalism training arm of United Press International, offering mini-internships for journalism students around the world. We offer hands-on, practical experience, a shot at a UPI.com byline, and opportunities for students to work as paid freelancers for UPI.

    11:45-1:00 Lunch & Geek Out

    It’s campfire story time – we’re looking for six, five-minute presentations on some tool, technique or tip that helps you tell online stories. What do you know that we should know?

    1:00-2:00 Mark Schlabach, ESPN and Steve Klein, George Mason University: Sports Journalism

    Sports journalism has moved and morphed. It’s no longer enough to be a great writer or a great broadcaster or make a great connection with your audience. Now you need to do all of it. And faster.

Support for the ICONN Annual Conference is being provided by the James M. Cox Institute for Newspaper Management Studies and the Journalism Department of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Goodbye to Google

Or so insinuates Rupert Murdoch, who claims he’ll start blocking Google from indexing his paper’s web sites. Why? Because he thinks they’re stealing revenue – and we all know how much revenue there is to be stolen. (Hint: Not much.)

He has a point – if all you’re going to read is the first few grafs of a story, and they’re available for free or easily by doing a quick search, that will cut into your revenue. So blocking Google – and Bing, Yahoo and all the rest – makes perfect sense.

The flip side, though, is then you’re only going to have your dedicated readers, your subscribers, reading your pieces. Which is pretty much the way newspapers (and magazines, excepting those left in doctor’s offices for 13-27 months) have operated for years, giving up the casual reader or someone looking for a specific piece of information.

So is there a compromise? Maybe, and maybe it already exists. (Web gurus, fill in my gaps, if you will.) How about building some code that allows search engines to index page information (as they do now) but only display a specific bit of information, like a headline and subhead or a bit of a summary. All of the content gets used to find the page, but only info decided upon by the creator gets displayed in the search results.

An online equivalent to the sky box, anyone?