Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vying for top viewing on

Metro/Online Editor Marc Masferrer has started informative, motivating and somewhat competitive online updates throughout the day for the Herald newsroom.

He starts the day sharing which galleries and stories have been viewed the most on from the past 24 hours. And he then sends updates just before noon, mid-afternoon and then closing out the day.

It's a great tool for reporters and photographers to see how their stories and galleries are doing online, and to check for updates or additional assets. Marc sends out the Top 10 overall, and the Top 10 galleries with one caveat: He excludes the criminal mugshot galleries, because they ALWAYS are among the most-viewed (sigh).

The links are live in his emails -- here's how we're doing as of noon today:

Top 10 overall:

1. Tomato glut hurting Manatee growers

Top 10 galleries:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New column debuts: Ask the GAL

The Bradenton Herald launched a new column today: AskTheGAL. That "GAL" is Guardian ad Litem, and the "gal" behind it: Pam Hindman, director of the 12th Judicial Circuit GAL Program.

Pam proposed this column to me a few weeks ago, noting the tremendous reach of the paper and website in this community. She wants to get the word out: The need is great for volunteers to help children who live with abuse and neglect.

Pam writes in her debut column:

It could be a brother and sister in your neighborhood elementary school whose parents are hooked on prescription drugs and fail to properly feed, clothe and house their children. It could be a teenage girl who is a friend of your granddaughter who has had to change homes and schools three or four times during this school year.

Have a question? Email Pam and her experts at and she will consider your inquiries for future columns.

This volunteer group saves lives. Let's find out more about how we can help.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Want to win a $50 gas card? Here's how

Play the Bradenton Herald Golf Challenge!

That's how you can win that $50 gas card -- almost enough to fill the tank in these days of insane gas prices.

Click here to sign in and register.

Just pick the golfers you think will finish 1st through 10th in this weekend's PGA tournament, the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

You get points for the place in which your golfers finish and bonus points if you pick them to finish in the right place.

Check out our winner for the top local prize in the herald's Golf Challenge last week for the Masters. Mary Lou England of Bradenton was featured on our Sports cover today in the Herald.

That could be you next time!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A whirl through D.C. for ASNE conference

I just returned from the American Society of News Editors' annual convention -- the first time I've attended, and it was a treat. What a location for 2012: our nation's capital, in the midst of welcoming spring with cherry blossoms in full bloom.

Hundreds of editors, journalism professors, news media leaders and others gathered to talk about "What It Takes." For three days, we focused on how editors must lead the digital and mobile transformation of today's newsrooms.

The luncheon keynote speakers generated plenty of headlines, too: President Obama on Tuesday, and presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday. (My newsroom was a bit disappointed at my seating arrangement on Tuesday: Table 98 of 100. If you squint hard at my Droid photo, you can see the actual flags way, way up front...)

OK, enough of politics and back to journalism. Many of the ASNE sessions focused on the multitude of reporting and publishing tools available for seemingly endless platforms. I came back with a list of 50-plus apps we should be using based on a presentation by a leader from the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute. We had discussions with editors overseeing all sizes of newsrooms: from Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, to A.M. Sheehan, editor of the Advertiser Democrat in Norway, Maine, which has one reporter and won the George Polk Award for an indepth report on conditions of low-income housing there.

Other panels were about reporting that has changed not just our knowledge about the world, but perhaps our world itself.

War correspondents/photographers C.J. Chivers and Tyler Hicks of the New York Times, and Rodrigo Abd of the Associated Press enthralled us with their experiences and what drives them. They outlined what every editor should consider when they put their journalists at risk, whether it's being embedded with a military unit or covering dangerous and traumatic events at home.

But my favorite: the venerable Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Woodward and Bernstein: They led the way for my generation of journalists. And there they sat on the stage, flanked by other panelists but stealing the entire show. Their editor, Ben Bradlee, sat in the front row, and they paid heed to his leadership and support throughout their discussion. Their passion for finding the truth rang out powerfully, all these years later.

So here we were, 40 years after Watergate, and editors wanted to know: How would the story unfold in the digital age?

Bernstein brought down the house, quipping, "We certainly wouldn't say 'This is what we're going to tweet'!" And there were some saltier observations about what would have happened if they'd gone into Bradlee's office with one confirmed fact to blog.

But their bottom line was far more serious: They worked for a newspaper where the bottom line was the truth. Reporters should get at the best of truths using the best methodology to get them there. No matter what app or pad they're using, Woodward urged, reporters should "go out at night and knock on a door."

"The light comes out in darkness."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Welcome to the iPad world

Herald web developer William Winter suggested I blog on my first attempts on my new iPad. Well, here's that entry -- a blessedly short one!

Actually, it is going to be a blast learning this new toy. But you don't want to know how long this post took me.

More as we try out all kinds of devices for new reporting tools...