Thursday, January 26, 2012

Top 5 digital tools & techniques journalists need to know right now

One of the best discussion threads among the ranks of the Journal Register Company IdeaLab right now is on the topic of which digital tools and techniques are imperative for newsrooms to know and use, right now. While there are countless tools of awesomeness to tout and explore in the name of journalism, here are the five - in my humbly disruptive opinion - that every person in your newsroom needs to know right now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Replay: SeeClickFix workshop for newsrooms, bloggers

Very special thanks to Emma Richards from SeeClickFix for the workshop she conducted for the reporters, editors and community bloggers at the New Haven Register today. After the break is a replay of the workshop video and live blog.

If you couldn't join us or have any further questions about how to use SeeClickFix as a reporting and community engagement tool - email Emma at I'm also happy to help fellow journalists and bloggers create watch areas for your beat, custom widgets, and other areas you have questions about. So feel free to reach out to me any time as well.

Emma will be passing along help documents and cheat sheets tailored to journalists and bloggers later this week, so stay tuned for those. In the mean time, feel free to browse the general SeeClickFix help forums.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SeeClickFix workshop for journalists at New Haven Register

I’m pleased to announce that our friends at SeeClickFix have arranged to conduct a workshop at the New Haven Register on the many (many!) ways newsrooms and reporters can use the platform as a journalism tool for community engagement.

The workshop will be conducted next Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 1 p.m. and will be presented by SeeClickFix Online Community Manager Emma Richards. For more on her background, read her entry on the SeeClickFix staff page.

Reporters, editors, web producers, community bloggers and anyone else with an interest in covering or improving their community can participate in the workshop too. This workshop will be live streamed on the New Haven Register website (and here too), and I will moderate a live chat where I'll accept questions, concerns, and requests for Emma from those out there on the internets who can't join us in person.

Video streaming by Ustream

Some of the topics we've asked Emma to focus on include:
  • Suggestions, tips and examples on how SeeClickFix can be used by journalists
  • How to browse SeeClickFix reports for story ideas and news tips
  • How to upload, close or comment on community issues reported with SeeClickFix
  • Tips and suggestions for getting public officials more engaged
  • Tips and suggestions for encouraging more reports by our readers

These topics were selected by our Journal Register Company Connecticut newsrooms in a survey I sent out last week. So this is what our journalists are most interested in getting out of this workshop.

But why stop there? If you'd like to learn more about creating customized widgets and watch areas, send us your questions in the livestream. Or leave a comment on this blog post, and I'll make note of it to include in the workshop.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

6 ways to prevent crime and murder with digital tools

34 people were victims of homicide in New Haven, Conn. last year.

That's a near-record number for the city. And that's a lot for a city of this size (129,559 population, according to 2010 U.S. Census). So I was curious enough to see how New Haven's homicides compared to similarly-sized cities across the country. I looked at the recently released preliminary crime report for the first half of 2011. Of all 30 U.S. cities in the population range of 20,000 - 40,000, New Haven had the most reported homicides from January to June of last year with 18. Hartford was a close second with 17. No other city in this population range had more than 8. Six of those cities had zero homicides.

In talking about this with New Haven Register crime reporter Bill Kaempffer, he warned that the problem with viewing homicides like this - as a statistic - is the conversation shifts to how dangerous a place like New Haven is. He's right. You can't truly know a city by comparing a murder stat or crime rate to that of another community or city.

This is why Kaempffer and I created the New Haven Homicides Report - to go beyond that annual homicide statistic and individually document each victim and crime. Maybe then the New Haven community could draw more informed conclusions about the trends, neighborhoods and circumstances leading to these disheartening pockets of crime, and explore ways to help prevent more from happening.

So, instead of comparing New Haven's homicide stat to Topeka, Kan. or Simi Valley, Calif., what I should be doing is outlining ways newsrooms, police departments and community bloggers can work with their communities to help prevent crime and murder.

Read on for six things you can do now to help prevent crime and murder in your town.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Investigate This!: New Haven Register launches tool for investigative story ideas

When the New Haven Register announced the first changes from it's newsroom reorganization this past fall, one of the changes that received the warmest applause was the re-establishment of the Investigations Team for the first time in more than 20 years.

This week, we launched a new tool aimed at making it easier for the community to work with our investigations team and send us news tips.

We've created an Investigate This! submission form for readers to send us investigation tips and ideas that warrant a closer, more in-depth look. All submissions go right to the source and are reviewed by the team. The tool can be found at the bottom of every article on, below the Fact Check tool. Simply click it and fill out the form.

In addition to the tool, Investigations Editor Michelle Tuccitto Sullo will oversee our newly launched Investigations Blog (which also features the Investigate This! tool). Follow it regularly as she and our community engagement team may appeal to readers for crowdsourced information or other data on a topic currently under investigation, such as our in-depth look at missing person cases in Connecticut.

So what are you waiting for? Tell us what you want investigated in your community.

What are your thoughts on the new submission tool? What are other ways we can open up our newsroom and investigative work to you and the community?