Visualizations

The Laval University Rouge et Or and the Montreal University Carabins have somewhat of a rivalry going on since the latter saw its football program spring back to life in 2002. Twelve years later, the Carabins seem to have finally figured out their Quebec City rivals.

Here are some numbers that show how far the Carabins football program has come in recent years.

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Mapping for Dummies

Maps are useful. That’s hardly news. But how useful are they?

Millions of people use maps as a means to ease travel. They help us reach our destinations efficiently. Some interactive maps even show us several paths so we can choose the best. Maps save us time and energy. What if they could also provide us with perspective?

The use of interactive maps has become somewhat of a staple of web-based journalism. Platforms like La Presse +, or the Guardian’s Data Blog, push storytelling further by making sense of large data with maps. Often powered by fusion tables (Google can help you there), maps can turn a story on its head and show some of those uncovered angles journalists are scrambling for.

Being able to interact with web-based maps is also a huge plus. Readers can then focus on the data that affects them personally. A news story’s reach can suddenly multiply since it is now tailored to anyone manipulating the map.

At a time when newsrooms are desperately trying to reach and maintain a steady readership, maps provide the insight and the personalization necessary to make a splash on the contemporary news media scene.

More of this might actually be the key to securing journalism’s place in the 21st century.

 

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Ottawa Shootings “Storified”

Breaking news is a matter of speed and split-second updates. While traditional reporting methods require time and resources to deliver information to the public, social media provides easy to use interfaces and links between various sources of information almost instantaneously.

The recent shootings in Ottawa prompted countless tweets, posts, videos and pictures of the events before traditional broadcasts and articles started to get underway. However, the information available can sometimes be overwhelming or confusing.

This is where the web app Storify come into play.

By aggregating information and organizing it as breaking news unfolds, a Storify user can paint a clear and very complete picture of an otherwise complicated event. It can delve in many directions and provide varied information, opinions and media in ways a traditional broadcast or article can’t.

Here’s a glimpse of what can Storify can bring to storytelling.

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To be or not to be stupid

Humans can get so worked up about certain issues before eventually realizing that the simplest of answers was floating right under their nose. Are large emotion-less organizations any better? Hardly.

Actually, overthinking has become a common trait amongst some of the world’s most renowned news entities. At a time when information and opinion are flying around willy-nilly on social media, media moguls around the world are pressing the conservative button with both hands.

Restricting social media policies keep shackling journalists and reporters in a virtual 20th century prison. It’s as if editors and broadcasters can’t keep up with recent history. Wake up people, the Internet happened!

With the information landscape evolving at a furious pace in recent years, journalism can only find certainty in it’s uncertain future.

“Anyone who says they know what the media is going to do is a liar,” said Dennis Swibold, a University of Montana journalism professor. “We have to be prepared for wherever it may go. Our students are going to build the next evolution.”

The daunting next evolution…

However, to reach that hallowed next step in journalism, reporters are going to need more lists of dos than don’ts.

Simple, no?

Nevertheless, many social media policies forbid journalists from engaging in a conversation with their readers. Be it via Twitter, Facebook or blogs, this non-presence can eventually lead to distrust between the public and the news provider as well as foster the presence of trolls.

Long gone are the days when newspapers worked in their ivory towers far from the public’s gaze. The general public is now the most influential media mogul on the planet. That immense power now wielded by the masses has changed the way most newspapers and broadcasters go about their business.

Here are three social media guidelines journalists (and their organizations) should follow in order to nurture a healthy relationship with their readers, their followers and their subscribers.

  •  Interact with others as much as possible. Reply to your followers, acknowledge comments and explore the comments section of your blog.
  • Share other people’s work at least as much as you promote your own work. You’re not the only brilliant journalist out there. Act like it.
  • BE HUMAN. You’re not a machine and the general public tends to forget that. Remind your followers that you’ re just like them. Show some emotion.

Basically, don’t be stupid.

Blogging 101… Really?

If journalism is currently undergoing a massive face-lift then so is the modern journalism student. Long gone are the days when print was the glorious goal all would-be storytellers aspired to. Now, it’s all about the Interweb. You now? That weird place that’s not really a place but actually all around us? Yes, that’s were journalism is headed.

And to make matters worse (or better, depending on which side of 50 you’re reading this from), blogging has become instrumental in covering news. Really, Blogging 101 classes are just around the corner for eager journalism students. Meanwhile, if you’re still toiling under a pile of books in a dim-lit recess of you’re school library, stop. Seriously. Wake up and smell the coffee. Then drink it, grab a laptop and start blogging.

Need more incentive?

Here are the top 4 reasons a journalism student should be blogging. ASAP.

  • It helps you study. Stop laughing because I’m dead serious. The more you do something, the better you become at it  and writing is no exception. After you’ve churned out a couple dozen blog posts, those 10 page essays will seem far less daunting than they do now. It’s all about flow. Once you open the creative valves, it’s kind of hard to stop.

 

  • Blogs get you hired. More and more employers in the journalism arena are looking for battle-tested young guns who’ve explored self-publishing. Not only does a blog provide a great portfolio, it shows you’re willing to go beyond the assignments you are given at school. Nothing shows you’re passionate about writing like blogging regularly.

 

  • It builds your audience. No readers, no journalists. The correlation is quite primary. To find those elusive readers, blogging helps. By interacting with readers, listening to feedback and analyzing website stats, it is possible to grasp what truly interests a future audience and how to capture it. Remember, your very own massive readership is just waiting to be conquered.

 

  • Blogs help you become more knowledgeable. Writing regularly about a specific subject forces one not only to constantly gather the most up to date information but also to create a plethora of useful contacts. By blogging, a journalism student gets acquainted with “beat writing” in its simplest form. Quick, concise and updated information. Exactly what the modern news reader is looking for.

 

Looking for some inspiration?

If you’re a hockey fan (and who isn’t), you’ll enjoy Mathias Brunet’s quirky and insightful posts on his La Presse blog. The comments section, which hides some of the business’ most knowledgeable pundits, is a great example of value added.

Critical about the whole communications and journalism business? Give Craig Silverman’s Regret the Error blog a tour. A stickler for fact verification, he points out the blatant miscues that plague today’s publications.

Looking for a young local talent to emulate? Alex Turp and his Turp Territory is a good place to start. An alumnus from Concordia University’s journalism program, he speaks his mind about a wide variety of subjects including politics, arts, media and sports.