Illuminations Blog, JTM News

The Weekly Illumination — Issue 15

Welcome to the the Weekly Illumination, a JTM newsletter offering a quick look at the week in journalism with a focus on what’s working in today’s news ecology. In this week’s Illumination we’ll explore the New York Times redesign, new tools for social networks to do reporting and offer a few of the best tips posted online this week.

New York Times New Look

The New York Times redesign has been described as subtle, and it’s true that I can barely notice the differences on the home page, but the minimal design of the article pages feels like a major departure to me.

Jeff Jarvis offered a mostly glowing review of the redesign for The Guardian, but suggests that the Times should’ve taken a personalized approach to curating the news. He also teased that the Guardian is deep into its own redesign.

But the big news is the introduction of native advertising, a move that left Andrew Sullivan comparing the Times to Buzzfeed. The first campaign the New York Times launched is one with Dell computers, and the newspaper went out of its way to highlight its sponsored status. In fact, an article in Adweek suggests that the Times may have gone too far in labeling the content as advertising.

“If, at the end of the day (and whether publishers and advertisers want to admit it or not), native advertising is meant to trick readers into thinking it’s actual editorial content, the Times’ overt labeling might seem to defeat the purpose,” writes Lucia Moses for Adweek.

Tricks of the Trade

News Tools

The Knightlab has launched Untangled, a set of tools to help reporters analyze social networks. The service lists a number of tools to examine how people are connected to each other and is curating stories produced using its tools. Another useful tool to help journalists navigate social networks is Pipl, which can be used to help verify the identity of account owners.


When JTM-alum David Cohn launched crowdfunding hadn’t entered the lexicon and the best way he had to describe his new start-up was to call it Kiva for journalists. A few years later Kickstarter was raising millions to finance blockbuster video games and movies and was on life support. Now the Guardian is launching a new crowdfunding endeavor for journalism called Contributoria and Cohn, who is now at, has tweeted his interest in the project.

Odds and ends & odd ends

Another look at First Look

First Look media, the company financed by Pierre Omidyar has announced its this past week. Bill Gannon, who has worked as the editor of Entertainment Weekly and taught at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, participated in an interview with Jay Rosen, another member of the First Look team, to discuss the role Gannon envisions holding at the new company.

Glenn Greenwald also shared new details about his own involvement with First Look Media after one of his supporters sent an e-mail expressing concern about the new project.

Jobs of the week

Billionaires, a Bloomberg publication, is looking for an editor.

St. Cloud State University in Minnesota is now hiring someone to chair its new media convergence department and to teach multimedia journalism.

NBC News has an opening in its investigative unit for a supervising producer.

KJRH-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma is looking for a multimedia journalist to join its investigative unit.

The Missouri School of Journalism is seeking an assistant professor to teach magazine writing on a temporary basis.

The deadline to apply for a Nieman Fellowship is January 31.

JTM is looking for freelancers to write about successful journalism initiatives and is paying up to $250 per story.


The Illumination is a curated collection of stories about journalism innovation, notable job opportunities, grants and updates about Journalism that Matters. It is distributed to e-mail subscribers, through the JTM Google Group, and posted to the Illuminations blog.