Looking at some of the best graphics of the year

I’m a sucker for great graphics, so it’s always a treat to see some of the roundups of the best of the year.

The Washington Post showed off some of their best, and they’re impressive.

Fast Company has a nice roundup of some of the best from all over.

And the Information is Beautiful award winners are amazing.


Telling stories with Vines

We’ve been playing with telling stories with Vines at MPR News. Here are a couple examples: Building a pond hockey tournament in 8 easy steps and 13 Vines that will make you feel like you’re at the Minnesota State Fair.

So it’s was fun to look at this post on some of the best Vines of the year. 

Interesting elections projects in multimedia and mobile

I’m compiling a list of interesting last-minute election related projects in multimedia and mobile. If you’ve got ones I should add, please put them in the comments. I’d especially love to find interesting work from local news organizations.

In no particular order:

NBC News is using Instagram tags to create Electiongrams2012. Lots of ways to explore the photos.

No surprise, a number of interesting pieces from the New York Times.

Two good ones from the Guardian:

USAToday has several interesting projects:

I like this animated video explainer from NPR on campaign spending.

The LA Times has an election results map. It’s good looking, but I found it more interesting how reporters used it in their live video coverage, much like the television networks.

The Washington Post released RUN | An American Election just after Election Day, full of photos and videos.

The Boston Globe is using Twitter hash tags to map election day reports on voting issues around Massachusetts.

Back for the second big election,the YouTube Election Hub will be interesting to keep an eye on, especially if issues arise at polling places.

Sharing! The Texas Tribune is providing an embeddable election scoreboard for anyone to use.

Find your local polling place and ballot. My local news sites don’t have it, but Google does. Sigh.

PBS NewsHour is resurrecting #hatcam for election night, originated at the conventions, and they have a page displaying Instagram photos at Look #I voted.

CNN and Google teamed up for a campaign tracker, “The 2012 presidential race: Ads, money and travel.”

On the social media front, CNN and Facebook have joined forces for Election Insights, and Twitter has released the Twitter Political Index (here’s a blog post on how to use it) and the Political Engagement Map. Foursquare is awarding “I Voted” badges, and mapping election check-ins.

Not sure this counts as multimedia, except that it has videos, but it’s funny and pointed on why you should vote: Your Excuse Sucks. Depending on the uptightedness of your workplace, may be NSFW.

On the mobile side, the New York Times is working on making their mobile apps more interactive for the election. Washington state has an iOS election app.

The Washington Post, Fox News, Hearst Television, The New York Times and others have dedicated political/election night apps, although watching the mobile sites will be interesting as well.

And when you’re ready for a break from election drama, there’s always Comedy Central‘s Indecision Election Companion apps…

My Poynter colleague Jeff Sonderman found five things he really liked on election night as well, and the folks at MediaShift had some favorites, including some citizen journalism and coverage of the media.

What am I missing? Let me know.

Web Video 2.0?

A couple of articles out this week are giving me a bit of whiplash. Newspapers rushed to start doing video a few years ago, many with little equipment, training and (most importantly) little strategy for journalism or for sales. The result? Largely amateur quality, not-terribly-interesting videos, or a few great videos that got little traffic (for a whole lot of reasons). With staff cuts, morale loss and an unclear motivation for producing video, there came a backlash — dumping video storytelling altogether.

It’s starting to look like we should have hung in there. An article this week in the New York Times highlights how a number of larger news organizations are beefing up their video efforts in both live and on-demand video. Newspapers that built up and then scaled back their video efforts are trying again, in different ways:

The Los Angeles Times, which has several regular on-demand video segments, is in the planning stages for several live video shows. The Washington Post, which streams a live sports show each week, will have “more original programming” in the next few months, said Andrew Pergam, director of video for The Post.

A post on the World Editors Forum blog has insight on how several British news organizations are beefing up their video efforts. It’s interesting to see that there still does not appear to be any one right answer for what kinds of video stories do best on all sites, but newspaper organizations seem to be getting better at understanding what works for their own particular audience.

That should be good news at a time when lots and lots of articles and research reports released in the last week or so predict a big uptick in online video ad sales, including a video (!) this week from Bloomberg talks about the growth of video advertising demand.

Let’s do it right this time. Let’s start with a goal in mind, train our news staffs to do video, train our sales staffs to sell it, and be flexible as we watch what our audience wants.

Mobile video continues to grow

An interesting article on ESPN’s mobile efforts highlights a couple important ideas: how fast mobile video is growing, and the importance of “mobile first” thinking. I was particularly struck by the YouTube stats:

[Luke] Wroblewski points out that now, “YouTube’s fastest growing channel is mobile. They’re doing 400 million daily video views on mobile devices. It’s already 15% of their traffic. … So if you look at the things that people generally assume nobody will do on mobile, ‘nobody’s going to watch video, the screen’s too small, the experience is going to be totally crappy.’  And here you have the world’s largest video site saying within a year, the dominant use case will be mobile.”

This meshes with Ooyala’s report from last November on video use on tablets and mobile devices. Consumption and completion of video was much higher on tablets than the desktop, and phones topped desktops for time spent and completion rates as well.

Which leads to the big question: is your video mobile friendly? If you’re trying to figure out HTML5 video, here’s a very useful report, “The State of HTML5 Video” which lays out some of the issues of browser and tag support.

Improving your tweets, FB posts

Three new pieces of research in as many days provide useful information on how journalists (and others) can do better with connecting with people on Twitter and Facebook. Today, from Facebook, some intriguing data (based on an analysis of 25 journalists) on what kind of posts get the most feedback. They are:

  • Commentary and analysis
  • Reader shout-outs
  • In-depth analyses on global issues
  • Powerful photos
  • Humor

More good stuff in the post.

On the flip side, Jim Romenesko’s post points out some of the problems with Facebook Subscribe. I’m relieved to see it’s not just me getting a lot of international subscribers unrelated to the journalism biz.

Edgerank Checker, a social media metrics company, put up an interesting discussion on a Facebook post’s “lifetime,” and how you can use that information to plan the timing of your posts.

From Dan Zarella, some analysis on what drives click through on tweets. Some is expected (active vs. passive verbs), some not as much (tweet on the weekends). Worth a read.

All of these are good reminders that being thoughtful and strategic in your use of social media is more effective than just running as fast as you can.

Related: The New York Times’ 8 steps for holding engaging live chats on Facebook

Creating the digital book

Smart take from Nieman Labs on what the new iBooks Author software might mean to journalism organizations. One of my favorite comments is one that I think applies to a lot of new media forms.

It looks, at very first glance, that iBooks Author does a good job of making it all user friendly, but it’s a reminder that “publishing,” as an act and as a field, pulls together a full liberal-arts curriculum’s worth of skills. Those whose abilities cover a wider range of those skills will do well; those who stick to one part of the process had better be really good at it.

Two other interesting things about the new software: you can only build them for sale in iTunes, and they’re only readable on mobile devices.Which is a pretty big statement, if you think about it.

So here’s one more data point: Apple’s investing big in a creating a new kind of reading experience for a new kind of content, and they’re completely ignoring every desktop and laptop computer in the universe.

On the flip side, there’s a new study that says teens aren’t taking to e-books because they’re not social enough, and difficult, if not impossible, to share.

Related: iBooks 2 Is ‘A Huge Missed Opportunity’, Publisher’s Developer Says

Catching up on the best multimedia of the year

I love “best of” lists, although some make me feel like I’ve missed too much good work.  The Innovative Interactivity Top 50 multimedia packages of 2011 is one of those. I’ll be spending Christmas break trying to catch up on all the cool things out there I haven’t seen. Fortunately, they’re not all new, or I’d never get through them! A couple of my own favorites of the year that made the list: Battles and casualties of the Civil War, from the Washington Post, and the Arab Spring timeline from the Guardian. Two others I really like that are not on Tracy’s list: Which Generation Do You Belong To? from USA Today (just for sheer fun), and the Wall Street Journal’s comprehensive package on digital privacy, What They Know.

Multimedia journalism

In these days of media turmoil, some question whether there is room for doing multimedia journalism, given how resource intensive it is. I would argue that it’s now more important than ever, if we’re going to retain and grow an audience for news, and serve the public in a way that they can appreciate and enjoy.