Looser than average ends

Let’s just dig into the bucket of links I’ve been mailing myself from Tweetie, er, Twitter for the iPhone, and see what we can tie together here…

  • There is now a “Share on Twitter” bookmarklet for your Web browser that pairs rather nicely with the recently released “Tweet” button for your website. (An aside: There should be no such thing as a “retweet” button for your website. If the user is mashing the button to craft their own tweet about it, it’s not much of a retweet, is it? The old Tweetmeme method of making the user retweeting @tweetmeme seemed backwards to me, although I can certainly understand their motivation.)
  • Seth Lewis recently completed his Ph.D. dissertation on the Knight News Challenge. Judging by the abstract, it looks like an interesting academic take on how the News Challenge program has expanded the boundaries of “journalism” and the limits on who might be a participant in that sort of activity. (Obvious disclosure: Hey, I won a KNC grant a couple years back, so I’m extra-interested.)
  • Speaking of research, if you’ve written anything academic about online journalism in the last five years or so, you probably cited Pablo Boczkowski’s work. Lucky for you, he has a new book out, called News at Work. Read it, cite it, rock it.
  • This fascinates me: TimeFlow, a visual reporting/analysis tool for reporters. Less about visualizing conventional “data,” more about visualizing what you know about a story. Better than a pile of notepads? Surely. (via Mark Schaver)
  • USA Today’s Josh Hatch talks about that great Hurricane Katrina project they launched for the fifth anniversary of the storm, released on the Web, but designed for the iPad. I complained pretty adamantly about a recent Washington Post package that was clearly designed for the iPad, to the detriment of readability on the Web. The USA Today package, on the other hand, is the heir to the “Flash package of videos-as-chapters story” multimedia presentation. There’s no Flash, of course, in either the video players, or cool-trick-of-the-moment “Then and Now” image gallery. The USA Today package wisely doesn’t attempt to squeeze a massive text story into a mobile-friendly format. I’d like to believe that this is the beginning of a trend: The cool interactive built with just enough attention to the mobile browser. The user experience carries over across platforms without any missing pieces.
  • And, filed under a mix of fun, music, and historical information visualized as a map, the Rap Map, which maps and explains locations mentioned in the lyrics of popular hip-hop compositions. Spotted this via Kottke, who highlights the Club New York entry, which includes the Shyne/Puffy/J-Lo incident that inadvertently led to me quitting the movie/tv/commercial business. Long story.

So what’s the common thread?

When I look at these links, what jumps out at me are the layers of systemization and optimization that we layer on top of the Web of information available to us as journalists (and to consumers of news.)

Make sense of your social media workflow, impose order on your notes on a story, gather, catalog, and cross-reference otherwise independent locations…

Maybe this is one of the important parts about the shift from existing as a newspaper to a news organization: The end product is no longer, naturally, ink-on-paper. The end product is the organization of information into something useful to the audience.

But that’s obvious, right?

(A few other sources of origin, from my point of view, for the above information presented as a bulleted list: @amandabee, @chanders, @niemanlab)

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