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.

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"?

Same.

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:



Labels: ,

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.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Watch a drone video of the Viking ship Draken leaving Kingston




Pete Kennedy shared another video from a drone focusing on the Viking ship Draken, which had been docked at the Hudson River Maritime Museum on the Rondout in Kingston since Friday. The boat was open for tours on Friday, Saturday and Monday, and on a Saturday visit, many people could be seen taking tours (along with the John J. Harvey 1930s-era fireboat, which came back on service on 9/11).


Kennedy had previously posted a drone video on Friday, when the ship arrived.

"The crew of the Draken Harald Hårfagre left Kingston this morning to begin their trip down to New York City," Kennedy wrote. "The weather was beautiful and cool, a perfect fall day for the trip. I wish them good luck on their voyage and thank you for making us a part of it."





The ship was a sight. I hope you had a chance to see it.


A photo posted by Daily Freeman (@dailyfreeman) on

I didn't take the tour myself on Saturday. We had other priorities.





Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DFM chat: What to prioritize during breaking news when you have to 'do it all'


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 are going to talk about what to prioritize when covering breaking news, when you have to 'do it all' (and it's ridiculously obvious that such a thing is not really realistic). What are the right tools to bring to such a story, when there's only one person to cover it, with a smartphone and a notepad? What's a proper workflow? What things become optional ('nice to have' but not really necessary). Bring your tools, ideas and #realtalk.

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.
Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 9, 2016

Drone captures Viking ship in Kingston


Pete Kennedy shared this video of the Viking ship Draken docked at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Downtown Kingston today, shot from a drone.

The ship will be open for tours this weekend at the museum, except for Sunday (9/11) and on Monday. It will be docked in Kingston until Thursday, when it will resume its world voyage, ending in New York City.

The Maritime Museum's Lanna Chassman told the Freeman that people are very excited about the visit, and that sounds about right, if all your shares on Facebook on the stories we've done are any
indication.

Deck tours take place today, from noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Monday from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Tours are $10, $5 for children.



Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DFM chat on improving online conversations


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 are going to try (again!) to find novel but sustainable ways to improve online conversations. How much time and resources should be devoted to this effort? How can news orgs efficiently harness the conversations happening around them, in social media, forums (reddit?), etc? Can the tone be improved? How can the audience be involved in this effort? What about the best commenting platform as things are more and more mobile-centric?

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.
Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 22, 2016

Worry, and be happy



Look into the disorganized collection of sad and happy moments that is our very existence and consider that the collection is guaranteed to have both kinds of moments, but which ones we maintain and cherish are up to us. This is hardly an original idea, but it popped into my head today again and I wanted to finally settle it in some form or writing, so I can put it in my own collection.


Read more »

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

DFM chat on the ideal news product

AR dreams

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 are going to take things from the user's side. What do you want in a news product?  What would it look like? And what things would you actually click on? Note —as shown from research and surveys — that people tend to respond on an idealized basis (everybody wants 10,000-word investigations!), but metrics show how news consumers actually behave. Is there a sweet spot? With that caveat, how do you currently consume the news and how would that be better? AND, what steps, if any, can newsrooms take today to get to that point. Is this sustainable?

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.
Read more »

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Paved ideas at the intersection of raccoon cats and journalism


The first Smorgasburg Upstate weekend came and went and people mingled and ate and browsed crafts and funky furniture and old toys and tried to park. It was a well-attended affair and I'm curious to see how it fares on subsequent Saturdays. There were lots of familiar Kingston faces and venues at the event, and the food part of the fair had most of the attention from attendees. If you are interested, Brian has the deets. 
It was a bit too hot for my little one, so we ended up going to Kingston Point shortly afterward, where you could see the Hutton Brickyard while bathing. It is a great little beach on the Hudson and its water quality is fine, and I suspect, from my anecdotal conversations, that some locals avoid it out of fear of either water quality or mingling with the proles. More beach for us.





Read more »

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

DFM chat: Fail fast, sure. But what did you learn? And what's working?



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 are are talking about news experimentation and emerging technologies. We're all for trying new things and failing fast and all that. So what's working and what needs tweaking? What have news organizations learned from 'failed' experiments? How are those experiments better serving the story and its intended audience? Bring your tips, links and VR goggles. Let's take a ride.


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.

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 1, 2016

Write. Write. Write


"Write. Write. Write" is the sort of all-encompassing and kind-of-lazy advice that feels OK to dole out or tweet when you have nothing better to say to fellow scribes who are having writer's block, or are frustrated with the news or their Facebook feeds or are having some sort of dilemmas.
But for ~writers~ it also is good advice and one that I'm currently following.

So there's that.





Read more »

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

DFM chat on what Facebook changes means for news organizations

*part [insert number here]


Digital First Media 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 are are talking about Facebook's recent algorithm changes and what it means for news organizations. What does it mean? How is it going to impact your news organization's impact, distribution and/or traffic goals? Does it change an individual journalist's equation of having a page vs. an open profile? What strategies can newsrooms implement?

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.


Read more »

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Facebook news feed changes


Facebook Just Gave The Finger To Millions Of People Who Use It For News - Huffington Post


O

    O
     o
     o
      o
     o
     。
    。
   .
   .
    .
           💩

DFM chat on the real value of video for small to mid-sized news organizations

Did you know? Nobody wants to watch a video of a dude sitting on a desk.


Digital First Media and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are going to participate (or lurk) in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we are are talking about video, especially as it pertains to mid-size to smaller news organizations. Should small news organizations even bother with videos that likely are only going to get modest views? Are you shooting video for the sake of doing video? What is the real goal? How are you accomplishing those goals? As a user, what kinds of video do you watch and want to watch online?

In a news environment of limited resources and staff, how can those efforts be refocused? Is there such a thing as a cost-effective and easy-to-produce-and-publish mobile-friendly video?

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. Bring your videos!

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 20, 2016

Uncertain symbols on a fixed trajectory



Look up. It's the summer of the state of news media reports doom and gloom, the best and worst time to be a news consumer/producer and everything old is new again etc., etc., but this time in a smaller circle, like water going down a drain.
There will be many metaphors and takes and algorithm tweaks and hopes to change that, but the only way to stop this sorry state in the industry is to break the sink and throw it out the window.
Read more »

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DFM chat on the use of animated gifs in journalism


Journalists, Digital First Media peeps, anyone who wants to are going to participate in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we are revisiting gifs! Their use (and misuse) in journalism. How to do them (and do them fast) and what tools to use; When not to do them; And what about copyright?

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.


Read more »

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

DFM chat: How to be a user friendly journalist



Journalists, Digital First Media peeps, anyone who wants to are going to participate in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we are talking about how to be a user-friendly journalist, meaning how to produce and distribute your stuff to all sorts of audiences in whatever device (or app!) they are in. Let's talk about how the news finds its audience, and what you can do to help. And, of course, let's talk about what are the challenges, pro-tips, and #realtalk.

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.

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 27, 2016

Your advice counts


I asked you on Monday for some general advice, and I received 5 responses, which is 5 more responses that I expected.

So here they are:

 "Love your family and friends as if it's your last day on earth," wrote Jim Gibbons.

 Lowell Thing wrote, "Well, it's that threadworn advice we're all familiar with that always still applies: Whatever that important thing in your life is that you've been putting off, start doing it today - but just do some little something to get it off the ground. Ideally that something should be visible to you tomorrow to encourage you to keep going. (The fundamental assumption of this advice is that doing something you really want to do (that is, the doing of it) is - a form of happiness.)"


"Don't forget to check in with yourself (myself) to observe what you need to work on personally. It's much easier (for me) to just keep the focus on everyone else's work...! I've found it's more obvious with a bit of alone time," wrote Emily.

"If you wish good advice, consult an old man (or woman)," wrote 'mean.'

And finally, Zagger wrote, "eat pizza upside down....(as in the slice, not you)...then re-evaluate your future choices."

I love all of these. And I thank you.




***







Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Six lessons from producing 360-degree videos



A recent post by Facebook media on 360-degree efforts by ABC News using many devices caught my attention:

"Interestingly, it was a $400 Ricoh Theta S that captured the most popular 360 video of 2016 so far"

For those of us producing 360 degree and virtual reality videos in the lower end of budgets, this is an encouraging sign. No, I'm not expecting to get 18 million views from Daily Freeman videos (or my own page, which I have, for some reason).

After all the early experiments and trials, some things are, in my view, becoming apparent when it comes to the production and delivery of 360-degree videos, especially if you have a lower quality (1920x960 for video) Theta S like we do:

* You're better off with Facebook video. Most of the audience there is in mobile, so people will see videos in 360 on a smaller screen. Processing is minimal and you have a built-in audience. YouTube or Vrideo will take longer and will display big, which will show the low quality (1920x960), not really good for true VR anyway. Furthermore, on mobile, for any of these to work, users have to inside the app (the Facebook video above won't play if you see this post in mobile). In terms of just to get this to work seamlessly, Facebook provides the best experience. YouTube just got iOS support,, but Facebook has the audience.

* Content is king: The ABC News video is from January and the 360 novelty might have worn off by now. The key here is to have a video that's attractive and that works best in 360. So it's important to choose the right stories or events. I think any weather-related event is an easy story idea. Rallies and festivals also work well.


* Videos on FB should be standalone posts. I have found that if you try to add links to the text in the post, the reach will dramatically decrease. I don't know if this is just us, but it makes sense in the larger Facebook algorithm sense (Facebook displaying stand-alone video more prominently). This presents a challenge when you have a written narrative or other elements other than a 360 video that you want to highlight on your website (lMOAR journalism!), but I have found that making another post for those elements doesn't hurt either one.


* For metrics, not all views are created equal. So your FB views should be separate from Youtube views or Vrideo views, because 3 seconds on autofeed counts as a view. Look at the metrics on Facebook Insights on your page to see how deep people saw your videos and how many dropped at 10 seconds or less.


* The first three seconds are crucial because that's going to be the preview of your video. Make it count.


* If your goal is to increase unique visitors, time on site or pageviews to your website, you're going to have a fun conversation with your bosses. I mean this in a good way. We're all new at this, and this is all still in the experimental, volatile stage. But remember that increasing views, reach and likes on FB will increase your potential audience for everything else.

Your feedback is welcome!


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

360 sampler

A small experiment with Metta, still in beta mode.

Labels: