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.

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.


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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.
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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.





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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.

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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.





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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.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Facebook news feed changes


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


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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!

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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.
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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.


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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.

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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.




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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!


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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

360 sampler

A small experiment with Metta, still in beta mode.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

If you could mail a piece of advice to everyone, what would it be?


Today's entry is a simple piece of advice from me: Listen to others.

And thus, it's my turn to listen to you! So if you had a newsletter and wanted to share a piece of advice, what would that be?

I know at least one of your replies is not getting to my inbox, so I'm making the call a public document. 

I would very much like to include your answers.




One cat, because cats:




Yesterday's Internet, Today! because Yesterday's Internet, Today!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DFM chat: The pros and cons of Facebook Live

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 Facebook Live videos. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using that platform for live video? Does it fulfill your mission? How can you use it to your advantage? What kinds of videos should news organizations do live? Bring your ideas, links 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.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Facebook's influence in the era of content


As a purported professional observer and chronicler and arranger of ~things that happen~ (and sometimes effusive emoter of excessive euphemisms), I enjoy taking note when ephemeral news gets entangled in ethereal virality.
And Monday was one such day, in which, like many other days before it, news happened.
But as big as those big things that happened were, I kept thinking about those other things, the ones that matter long past traffic inconveniences and web traffic spikes, like the schools elections that we care so little about even though we know better.
Or should know better.
Or, do we even know?
And, if you don't know, then how is it that we professional chroniclers of things that happen failed at informing those who needed to know?
For many a year, information mongers have arrogantly clung to the idea that it is the mythical citizen's duty to stay informed (it is, but whatevs). All of this is happening in an environment where the real citizens struggle with the day-to-day while enduring an incessant bombardment of all kinds of information.

So it is no wonder that nobody can hear the tree falling.
The forest is full of explosions.
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Monday, May 9, 2016

About that 'Spanish looking' suspect

Thursday, May 5, 2016

We have to taco about this


I was in the hospital today because of some chest pains and I spent all day there to find out that I am a healthy human person, actually, and that is most excellent. That's me there in the ER, trying to get some work done in between medical tests. It's a bit tricky to type with a gigantic thing on your finger while on morphine. They even did an extensive sonogram, but they could not find problems or a demonic beast or a chest-bursting alien. Such is life.


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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

DFM chat on digital strategies for small newsrooms

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 digital strategies for smaller-sized newsrooms. As more and more channels of distribution open and social platforms multiply, how can a spartan newsroom adapt to them? What should be prioritized? We all know what's ideal when it comes to publishing high production values, time-consuming engaging Facebook-only videos. But is it realistic? What IS realistic?
Not realistic

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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