Enjoy paragraph-level linking!

Inspired by Alexis Madrigal’s story on how nytimes.com has implemented paragraph-level linking on its articles, I decided to install Daniel Bachhuber’s WordPress plugin WinerLinks. And because WordPress now works so well, it took less than a minute to introduce this major innovation to my blog. Of course, it also means that all the old posts have been enhanced with this feature as well. Wonderful.

How to find the link: First, you need to be on post/article level (not on the home page, archive pages or tag pages). Hover at the end of the paragraph, and a # will appear with the link.

Given how useful this feature is, it’s strange that it hasn’t been developed for WordPress or other blogging tools before.

(See also: Nieman Lab on the redesign of PressThink, which also has this feature).

Advice for the multimedia journalist

Adam Westbrook has written a practical, little booklet about multimedia & freelance journalism. Among the useful tips, for me:

The worst thing a multimedia journalist can do when producing video for the web is to replicate television – unless that’s your commission of course. TV is full of rules and formulas, all designed to hide edits, look good to the eye, and sometimes decieve. Fact is, online video journalism provides the chance to escape all that. Sure it must look good, but be prepared to experiment – you’lll be amazed what people will put up with online.

And of course it’s CC-licensed.

Twingly with Solution for information overload?

Twingly gives a first description of their new tool, Twingly Channels:

A Twingly Channel acts as a social filter on top of feeds and realtime search, allowing you to set up a social memetracker for any topic or event. The underlying idea is that by aggregating feeds and realtime search results into a channel where many people sharing the same interest can discuss and vote on the content (while also providing a filter to solve the prevalent problem of information overflow) we lower the learning curve to the realtime web.

The reason I find this exciting is that the paragraph above describes with 100 percent accuracy what I have been looking for for a long time. It’s impossible to determine from the screenshots if this is it, but they definitely raise expectations. So thinks TechCrunch.

New owner and expansion for EveryBlock

MSNBC has bought EveryBlock, which means that the previously foundation-funded, innovative hyperlocal/microlocal site made by Adrian Holovaty & co can continue and even expand:

…it means that we’ll have resources to expand EveryBlock profoundly. MSNBC.com is the most-visited news Web site in the U.S. and is in solid financial shape in a time when news organizations around the world are struggling. We’re excited about the possibilities of pointing a massive audience at EveryBlock and having the resources to beef up our technological infrastructure and staff. Our site is very young — it’s only been live for about a year and a half — and we have a lot of ideas and expansion plans. I often tell friends and industry colleagues that EveryBlock in is current incarnation is only about 5 percent of what we want to do with it. We’re now in a position to make this happen.

Find those CC images


A few years ago Creative Commons licensing of photos (and other works) was mostly for geeks, but I believe use of the licenses are gaining in popularity, and slowly but surely, users will also credit photographers in the correct way. At least now that, finally, Google has launched Creative Commons filtering in their image search.

Still, so far I much prefer Peter Shanks’ flickrCC search site, which manages to combine usability with beauty — no small accomplishment. I can live with the limitation that here you “only” search through Flickr images.

And don’t forget: There’s also the Creative Commons own search page.

See more useful tools for bloggers and journalists and more about photography.

Reuters handbook online

Reuters has made its journalism handbook available online, free for everyone. Surely a very valuable resource for journalists, students, bloggers, writers all over the world. Dean Wright explains the reasoning behind the move in the following quote:

  • “Transparency: At a time when trust is an endangered commodity in the financial and media worlds, it’s important that news consumers see the guidelines our journalists follow.
  • Service: As we’ve seen over the past decade, the barriers to publishing have dropped so that anyone with an idea and a computer can be a publisher. But it’s also become clear that publishers have a varying standard of truth, fairness and style. Our handbook is a good place for budding journalists to begin.
  • Geography: Reuters serves a global audience and the handbook recognises the cultural and political differences that our journalists face in reporting for the world. This is a handbook not just for English-language journalists in the United Kingdom or the United States, but for wherever English is used.”

I found the news at the excellent journalism.co.uk. site, which also tips about one of the good Delicious features: The lists of popular bookmarks, here for the tag “journalism”, where the Reuters handbook currently is no. 1. A good tool.

Important work

By linking to what we find interesting we who publish on the web are all curators. This is important manual work while we wait for more efficient recommendation engines, or whatever they might be called. For those of us interested in culture and politics, there are quite a few good super-curators out there. Some of my favourites: Bookforum (a recent discovery), signandsight, Arts & Letters Daily, and even Huffington Post.

“Humanity connected”

That’s the motto of Tim Berners-Lee’s latest initiative, unveiled yesterday. The World Wide Web Foundation seeks:

to advance One Web that is free and open,

to expand the Web’s capability and robustness,

and to extend the Web’s benefits to all people on the planet.

Worthy goals that won’t be reached without effort and good policy choices (see for example Jonathan Zittrain’s worrying message about the future of the internet). From Berners-Lee’s opening speech:

Our success will be measured by how well we foster the creativity of our children. Whether future scientists have the tools to cure diseases. Whether people, in developed and developing economies alike, can distinguish reliable healthcare information from commercial chaff. Whether the next generation will build systems that support democracy, inform the electorate, and promote accountable debate.

This last point is expanded upon in a BBC interview. Berners-Lee is worried that the web enables effective distribution of disinformation. The web is a good tool for cults and all kinds of enemies of reason. I think this is a built-in problem, and Berners-Lee’s ideas here — “new systems that would give websites a label for trustworthiness once they had been proved reliable sources” — sound unpractical and exceedingly difficult to manage. But let’s wait until we see what that initiative is really about.

Related: An article by Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt in Scientific American: Web Science: Studying the Internet to Protect Our Future.

Citizen journalism: tools and incentives

Citizen journalism, full of promises that have been fulfilled only partly — at best. We need more time to develop good formats and practices, and here’s one good initiative: YouTube and the Pulitzer Center have joined forces in the Project:Report. Here the best contributions can win prizes, but more important, the partners provide tutorials and tips on how to become a better reporter. Clearly one promising way ahead (source: PJNet Blog).

Preemptive Wikipedia editing

Though it remains unclear if the McCain campaign or the Republican party initiated it, the editing work done on the Sarah Palin article just before she was announced as candidate again throws light on the importance of Wikipedia:

In total, YoungTrigg – whose user name is a reference to Ms. Palin’s infant son, Trig – made 30 “edits” to the article, all positive and largely unnoticed, since they came at a time when few were discussing her as a possible running mate of Senator John McCain’s.

This surely looks like a version of what I was circling in a post about the war in Georgia. Wikipedia as first stop for many users = Wikipedia will be a battleground. As the NYT articles also notes:

While ethically suspect, the idea that a politician would try to shape her Wikipedia article shouldn’t come as a surprise. In modern politics, where the struggle is to “define” yourself before your opponent “defines” you, Wikipedia has become an important part of political strategy. When news breaks, and people plug a name into a search engine to find out more, invariably Wikipedia is the first result they click through to; it is where first impressions are made.