Digital Publishing is one of the five levels of the Digital Ninja School.
CORE REQUIREMENTS: You must master the following five core areas to earn a belt in this category.
- Digital First Workflow. How does a “digital first” approach change the process of reporting, photography, editing, and even the production of the print edition? From breaking news protocol to seeing regular assignments as a transparent, ongoing process instead of a one-way draft and finished product, we’ll explore how “digital first” changes the nature of every job in the newsroom. Training links.
- Linking. Failing to link to other sources of information and failing to attribute and link to other media when referencing in a story are two areas in which most newspapers manage to be “on the web” without being “of the web.” The web is a literal “web” of connections between people and information sources, and we should use it that way. Training links.
- Metrics. How do you measure the impact of the story you’ve written or edited? How can you tell if a headline is effective? Whether placement on the home page, or timing of when a story is promoted affects the size and engagement of the audience? Learn how to use Omniture and other tools to understand the reach of your work and how to extend it. Training links.
- Search Engine Optimization. Fewer and fewer people are accessing our content via the home page. If readers can’t find your content through search engine or social media, they might not find it at all. Learn best practices of search engine optimization in headlines, story text, key words and linking, and become aware of harmful practices that could negatively affect our SEO ranking. Training links.
- Reader Engagement. The why and how of involving the audience at every step of the process of local journalism, including bringing transparency to story assignments, reporting, editing and follow-up, engaging via online story comments and following best practices with corrections. Training links.
ELECTIVES: You must master at least five (of your choosing) of the following areas, in addition to core requirements, to earn a belt in this category:
- Embedding Tools, Video, etc. Enrich story pages on the web by embedding source documents, social media feeds or curation, photo galleries, video, interactive graphics and more. Learn the basics and standards of embed codes, and about the importance of placement. Training links.
- User-Generated Content. From community emergencies such as a hurricane or blizzard, to niche or hyperlocal interests that we’ve never had the resources to cover, there are many opportunities to engage our audience to fill gaps or enrich our coverage. Training links.
- Website Management (Mastery of NewSys). Learn everything you need to know about working with the Town News platform that powers our websites in Connecticut, including posting and updating stories, uploading photos, embedding video and documents, positioning stories on the home page and in topical sections, and working with archives. Training links.
- Basic HTML. Learn the basics of the language of the web, something that you’ll be able to use across any website backend or blogging platform. Basic knowledge of HTML will also give you a great advantage over others in mastering certain areas of the other belts in Ninja School. Training links.
- Story Comment Moderation. We’ve all seen how online story comments can become a toxic cesspool off hate, snark and irrelevance. But with strong moderation policies and true engagement by reporters and editors, they also hold the promise of filling a big void in community dialogue, in advancing our stories and in helping us catch errors, inaccuracies and missed context. Training links.
- Live Chats. Learn best practices for administering and participating in live chats with newsmakers and/or readers to supplement or highlight coverage of a particular topic or event. Training links.
- Breaking News Workflow. When breaking news happens, what should a reporter, photographer or editor do first in a digital first process? How do we balance speed of breaking news against concerns about accuracy? How can we enlist the public’s help in verifying details of breaking news reports? Training links.
- Mobile Reporting. Gather information, communicate with editors and readers, take photos, shoot and edit video, Tweet and post to Facebook, record an interview, file a story, live blog a breaking news event, all from your phone? Training links.
- Publishing Photos. Same as with the textual reporting of a story, what you publish in print often does not work or read the same online. Pictures on the web need to be sized differently, and often cropped and touched a little differently. Learn the photo workflow of your newsroom, how to resize & crop photos and how to publish to your website, blogs and social media accounts. Training links.
- Independent Study. Work with your supervisor to identify a different area of training related to this category you want to pursue. Training links.