Blogs > Ivan Lajara

Daily Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about journalism, living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

That news problem

Don't you sometimes wish, in this world of instant news where everything looks the same no matter where it comes from, that you could get a reliable, filtered summary of the day's news at some point during the day?

Thinking of a way to do this, as a sort of evolution for Yesterday's Internet, Today!, I glanced upon two emails I get daily. The first one is the epaper email in the morning, that you should be getting if you're a subscriber. It's basically the paper as it appears in print, which comes in handy if you're away (you might notice that all the pages are in color as well). 

"But those are yesterday's news!" astute Yesterday's Internet, Today! readers might say. And you would be correct! What if you want what's happening up to now, but in email form, and without a subscription maybe? Why, there's an email alert for that! And a breaking news email alert if you don't want to wait. 

There's also text alerts,  and Android and iOS apps

And you can keep up on Facebook and Twitter. Or maybe you just want to get away from it all and simply get nice photos from Instagram. And we do that too.

So perhaps the problem is not so much that we don't do this but that we haven't told you about it well?

Read more »

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The final countdown

Relive the countdown!

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Livestreaming in 360°

It begins (crudely, but hey)

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hillary Clinton at Mohonk Mountain House

If only there was a news organization that could over-analyze this.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ulster County Comptroller vs. Executive lawsuit highlights

The Ulster County Comptroller sued the executive in a bid to stop county budget from taking effect. (SPOILER ALERT: A judge said nope).

The full suit is embedded with the story, it's more than 90 pages and with more than a hundred accompanying documents, which you can see here.
We also used Documentcloud in this instance because it makes the text in the PDF file searchable, and we can also annotate parts of it that are mentioned in the story.


You can click on the tabs so you can navigate the full document. Here is a note I added, which is mentioned in the story.
Here's another one:

What else are you seeing?


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Greenkill Avenue bridge, before and after

Here's a couple of 360° images of the Greenkill Ave. Bridge over Broadway in Kingston.

The first one, at night, is when they were working on the beams, from Monday night. The drivable part of the bridge was already gone.

This next one is from almost the same spot (the sidewalk was closed so I couldn't get to the precise location, but close enough). It is from this morning.

Big difference!

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lights. Lights everywhere.

The Senate House State Historic Site on Fair Street in Uptown Kingston is hosting its Festival of Lights and Snowflake Festival on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. which is also a good reminder that the Freeman is seeking submissions for its annual Holiday Lights tour. We always try to add a few surprises and Easter Eggs to the map, and submissions are starting to come in. Submit!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

DFM chat on combating fake news

Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we're talking about what can newsrooms and users! do to combat the spread of fake and misleading news in your communities. There are lots of ~takes~ about the rise and spread and who's to blame and woe is us, but what concrete things can journalists and news organizations do when these pests appear? Bring your ideas, tools, and the Talk Such As That Is Real.

If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Worry, and be happy again

There’s an outpouring of ~feels~ permeating the American landscape, so I’ll spare you the lamentation and vindication takes. There are plenty of those on your Facebook feed, including those that say that your Facebook feed is part of the problem. But the important thing, as things are with all cycles, is not how we feel or even what does it mean, but what are you going to do with the information that you have?

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

'ULSTER COUNTY IS ALL RIGHT' and other Freeman front pages from more than 100 years ago

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Here's the Freeman front page when the Cubs won the World Series in 1908

Via Telegraph!

Also of note, 'CALF WRECKED AUTO."

Closer look:

By Telegraph to The Freeman

Chicago, Oct. 15. — Exultant over their victory in winning the world's championship the Chicago team of the National League arrived home from Detroit early today and was met at the station by an enthuastic (sic) crowd. The players, who wore accompanied by members of the national commission, reported having met with ovations wherever the train stopped on tho way home. When the train pulled into the station here a mob or baseball enthusiasts rushed through the gates and carried a "welcome home" to the individual players. Some of the players announced their intention of preparing for fishing and hunting trips, although they are scheduled for an exhibition game to be played here with the Detroit team on Sunday. In this game the players will appear an (sic) individuals and not as clubs.

Check out Hudson River Valley Heritage Historical Newspapers for that edition and others.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

360°-mapping the Mid-Hudson Valley

We have been recently (and no-so-covertly) adding 360-degree images to Google Maps, not just from streets, as the tool is usually used for, but events and inside buildings and off-road locales.
Case uses will come as we get them.

In the meantime, here's a football game.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

DFM chat: Mobile friendly ideas for Election Day coverage

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Take a 360 degree look at the O+ Festival murals

Tania took some photos of this year's murals as they were being painted for the O+ Festival in Kingston and we thought it would be fun to get them in 360 degrees as well.

We posted some to Google Maps.

If you have the StreetView app, you can also see them in virtual reality, which is pretty neat if you can't make it to Kingston (but you should). I always carry a Google Cardboard viewer with me, so if you see me, just ask me. You get a really good sense of the scope of the work.

The festival kicks off with a parade on Friday and runs through Sunday. 

Visit http://opositivefestival.org/kingston/ for more information.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

DFM chat: What skills will journalists need as their jobs evolve over time?

Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we're talking about the skills needed to keep up with tomorrow's journalism jobs. What skills will you need? What will newsrooms need? How do you keep up?
This is an exercise that's thinking ahead but also one that's looking at today's environment to determine where it's going, and what can we do about it now. Let's be nimble. Also, let's Daydream.

If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Take a 360-degree ride inside the Trolley in Kingston

The Kingston Trolley Museum offers rides in Downtown Kingston from the bottom of Broadway to Rotary Park (by Kingston Point) from noon to 5 on weekends through Oct. 10. It makes a stop at the museum (though passengers seem puzzled at the stop on a recent visit, because the museum doesn't look like a museum) and a 10 minute stop at the park. Rides are $6 for adults and $4 for children (ages up to 5 ride for free). Fun for kids and a nice break if you're about town. There was a bit of a smell during a small part of the ride on this particular visit, but 360 videos don't have smell-o-vision. 


Side note for journo-types looking for freebie audio files: Song is "Respira" by Jacopo Tore, used under Creative Commons license 4.0, shortened for length. You can get that for use (even commercially) and others where it came from at the Free Music Archive site.

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DFM chat on how to write for the web in the mobile age

Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

You can only add so much to a phone experience.
Today we're talking about writing for the web with a focus on the ever-growing mobile audience. Increasingly, especially during breaking news, most users will come directly into articles from social media and search via mobile devices and while within apps. What things can journalists do to maximize the value of their stories in such an environment? Even if the reporters are not the ones behind the presentation, what can they bring in to enhance those stories to keep people informed? But also, are there things that just don't work well in mobile (I'm looking at you PDFs)? What things are best left behind when we take into consideration screen sizes (and data plans). Bring your ideas, links and don't hesitate to bring a healthy dose of criticism.

If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Facebook Live Test

A simple post to test the feasibility of including a Facebook live feed with a Twitter stream.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

How to incorporate 360-degree imagery into your stories, and why

How many times have you read a story where something happens at an address and you're like, "I have no idea where that is, but, OK, sure, guy, if you say so"?


When a less-than-familiar address is available, reporters generally use a mapping tool to get a general sense of where the story happened and/or to go there.

If the reporter is mapping the place to better understand the story, why aren't those maps added to the stories?

Reporters craft stories, and whatever tools the reporter used to help craft her story could be part of them.

It's easy!

Furthermore, I would argue that reporters already did the work, only that the work is not being added to the story.

Maps are one of the easiest multimedia features that can be added to stories, Maps can make a story go from "ok whatevs" to "OMG THAT PLACE!"

Put an address in your, uh, address bar, or simply google an address like, say, "79 Hurley Ave., Kingston" and Google will return a map. Click on the map image so the full map comes in and hit share on the left. That link (or embed) can be added to stories. If you click on the little yellow guy at bottom right, you can get the Streetview image, which in Google can be older, so you'd have to be careful if you want to embed those.

Enter "Streetview" app. With a smartphone, you can take a 360-degree image (it's easier with a tethered 360-degree camera but you can also do it from a phone) and upload it to Google Maps. The rest is the same as embedding a map.

Like this:

Any police story with an address, accidents where traffic is affected, etc, can be improved with this. Further, like in the image above, If you take your own Streetview images, you can go inside places or take current images, like restaurant or travel stories, for instance, or anything that could benefit from a 'virtual tour.' We've been playing with some of these for a while, and I'm planning to start implementing these to the general workflow, whenever they help and whenever it makes sense to use them.

TL;DR: If you googled an address when working on a story, your readers would also like to know. Add that map to your story by hitting share on the map and adding the link or embedding the map, in 360-degrees when appropriate.

But you tell me, what kinds of stories can immediately benefit from a 360-degree image?

Extra: There's a way to add 360-degree images natively, but I'm focusing on Streetview here because it's extremely easy that way. The other way looks like this:

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How come nobody's done a virtual reality version of a-ha's "Take On Me" video?

Just curious. It's doable.

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