Monday, October 31, 2011

Herald's 2011-12 'Journalism Next' launched

The Herald launched our 'Journalism Next' project for 2011-12 today. For several years, we have published weekly articles written by Manatee County high school students. Most of the student writers are working on their school newspaper and/or taking a journalism class at school.

The survival of both of those endeavors is vital, we believe, to keep journalism alive. And from the representation in our schools this year, we believe the effort is alive and thriving.

East Manatee Editor Jim Jones and I met with several high school journalism teachers last week to prepare for Journalism Next. They talked about the budget cuts they had endured, the tough year ahead, and of their diligence to their students. And then we were told this testimonial: Nelson Lopez, Palmetto High's teacher, said one of the key reasons his journalism class had survived the cuts was "Journalism Next." Supervisors and budget-makers could see the results.

And there are some mighty promising high school journalists in our community. Today's lead-off writer is a shining example.

Aiste Zalepuga, a senior at Saint Stephens Episcopal School, contacted me a few weeks ago for a "favor." She was chosen to represent all of Florida this summer at the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Journalism Conference. Upon her return, she was asked to try getting her essay about the conference published locally.

Aiste's essay is phenomenal, and fits right in with Journalism Next. (Saint Stephens has always been a great contributor, as well.) She came to the Herald last week, and her unbridled joy at being in our newsroom for the first time was contagious. Wow. (Oh, she also is a pianist, a swimmer, president of the National Honor Society and wants to teach yoga.)

Aiste is a first-born American; her parents are Lithuanian. Her passion for journalism stems from their passion for freedom. Will she pursue this as her career? We hope 'Journalism Next' has helped hook her for a while.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm only a tweet away -- finally

Never say never. I'm tweeting. Baby steps, admittedly, and with a bit of trepidation. My love of words just doesn't fit in 140 characters. But we've asked everyone in the newsroom to launch a Twitter account, so here goes: Follow me at @JEKrauter

Friday, October 21, 2011

How we chose Gadhafi photographs

McClatchy editors have an "editor-to-editor" email that we use for instant "roundtable" discussions without the pains of coordinating times, phone numbers and meeting places. We use it for alerts, but more often reach out for ideas, problem-solvers and strategies.

As photographs and videos began flooding our news services yesterday after Gadhafi was killed, one editor quickly jumped in to ask about using images of a bloodied body, or of the photo showing Gadhafi's head -- a screen grab without any blood.

For most of us, the photos were already populating galleries online. Should they stay there? Anders Gyllenhaal, McClatchy's vice president of news, stressed "the difference between the expectations in print and online, where you're never more than a few clicks away from the most graphic versions of photos like these. But many of our print readers have different expectations, which flows from the fact that we are invited into their homes, onto the breakfast table. Also, some communities are different than others, which is why this is a decision each of us makes and reflects our own sensibilities."

On, we posted galleries with all the photos available, but we added this warning screen shot indicating that they contained graphic material. And we also decided that there was no compelling reason to display that on 1A in the Bradenton Herald's print editions.

Our editors chose the print photos from AP wisely, focusing on the jubilant Libyan people and revolutionary fighters who spent the past four decades under a dictator's tyranny. Inside, we published a black-and-white photograph that captured the image of Gadhafi's head being shown on TVs around the world.

The element of “is he really dead” was strong enough to warrant documenting the dictator's death. But we let you choose whether you wanted to see it, with a 1A editor's note: GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: This story contains vivid language and a photo of Moammar Gadhafi's body appears on 7A.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We're capturing high school bands in photos

It's October, the month for baseball playoffs, high school football and...

Marching bands! Manatee County's high school bands are in full swing, with demanding practices in the days before Game Time interspersed with kids' good-hearted shenanigans.

Bradenton Herald photojournalists kicked off a new photo gallery series this weekend -- Strike Up the Band! -- to showcase these local band wonders. Tiffany Tompkins-Condie compiled 50 fun-filled photographs for our first gallery featuring the Southeast High Marching Band.

You can almost hear that tuba umpah-pah-ing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Investigative team launches anthrax series

McClatchy, the Bradenton Herald/'s parent company, has partnered with ProPublica and PBS's Frontline on a sweeping project that examines newly available documents and testimony in the case against Bruce Ivins, the accused "anthrax killer" who committed suicide.

We launched the series today, both in print and online. Almost a decade to the date of the anthrax mailings that terrorized the nation in 2001,some scientists wonder whether the real killer is still at large even as prosecutors continue to vehemently defend their case. In this wide-reaching investigative partnership, the McClatchy-ProPublica-Frontline series also examines the scientific aspects of the most expensive federal investigation in history.

One story in the series explores one of their findings: New, more powerful technologies already had overtaken the methods used to pinpoint the flask as the murder weapon when prosecutors revealed their case in August 2008.

The Herald will continue this series in print Tuesday and Wednesday, and will post updates online. The series coincides with Frontline's documentary on PBS tonight.

All of this was coordinated through McClatchy's Washington bureau with powerful results.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's a dog's world on

We pitted dogs against cats for the past week -- and the dogs won, paws down.

Each week, the Bradenton Herald posts a photo gallery with images of the new cats and dogs held at Manatee County Animal Services that must find a new home. And those galleries draw a lot of traffic.

So which is more popular? We separated the dogs from the cats in these two galleries for a week to see.
Cats available for adoption
Dogs available for adoption viewers weighed in by the thousands on both galleries. But the competition wasn't even close: Our barking friends garnered 71 percent of the page views, leaving their meowing pals with only 29 percent of your cherished clicks.

In the name of all dog lovers, is donating $50 to help Manatee County Animal Services. (And we won't complain if that goes toward a bit of catnip, too.)