Updates from March, 2013

  • KING-5 Photojournalists Dominate NPPA Awards

    2:43 pm on March 31, 2013 | 0 Comment Permalink

    The photojournalism team at King-TV has been named the nation’s best among large market stations. The National Press Photographers Association also awarded Doug Burgess of KING the 2013 Ernie Crisp Photographer of the Year.

    According to NPPA, Judge Brian Kaufman said, “He has the ability to take really complicated stories and shoot them in a way that made them conversational.” Judge Lynn French said, “He has a signature to his stories, you could easily pick them out.”

    Jeff Christian of KING-News was runner-up for photographer of the year. Galleries of work by Burgess and Christian are here.

    John Sharify of KING-News was runner-up for the NPPA photojournalism award for reporting. His work is posted here.

  • Crime News From Inside Seattle PD

    1:33 pm on March 27, 2013 | 1 Comment Permalink
    Tags: Blogs, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, Journalism, Journalism Innovation

    Crime in the Emerald City may not pay, but it is forging a career for local reporter/blogger Jonah Spangenthal-Lee. The lifelong Seattle resident found his niche in journalism almost by accident, while writing for the alt-weekly paper The Stranger as an intern from North Seattle Community College.

    “I still don’t really know how I ended up on the crime beat,” Spangenthal-Lee said in an e-mail interview. “The first few stories I wrote at The Stranger all happened to be cop or crime-related, and I started making contacts and figuring out the cops/court system through trial and error.”

    The 4-month internship led to a job covering the city’s crime beat, and for years he gained valuable experience and established many solid contacts reporting at crime scenes.  After parting ways with The Stranger, he wanted to continue crime reporting, but knew it would be difficult landing a position in a newsroom.

    Soon after, with “a ton of help” from Justin Carder, publisher of CapitolHillSeattle.com and Central District News founder Scott Durham, Spangenthal-Lee’s site Seattlecrime.com was born. “A few other blogger/reporter friends also pitched in from time to time with posts on my site,” Spangenthal-Lee said.

    Creating his own news site did have advantages.

    “The editorial freedom that comes from running a mostly one-man show was fantastic, and operating without any sort of financial safety net, attorneys–or even petty cash to pay for things like court documents–really forced me to be resourceful about how I obtained and used information.”

    Spangenthal-Lee offered stories other media outlets didn’t have, by spending more time reading through police reports and by breaking stories sooner than the competition.

    “Being a small ‘independent’ operation also meant I could be a lot more agile with how and when I published (breaking news on Twitter from a crime scene hours before I’d ever get back to a computer to churn out a traditional inverted-pyramid story, for instance) but working 18 hour days and always having one ear tuned to the police scanner can take its toll.”

    “I worked hard to make sure I had stories or details no one else had and tried to inject a bit of personality into my posts as well,” he said.

    “It helped being able to break some good scoops, and that very few other reporters were combing through police records with the regularity I was, but I think just being present on the site–both in the comments section and over emails with readers–and putting out regular updates around the clock helped give readers a reason to keep coming back.”

    Seattlecrime.com developed a small but dedicated fan base as the “go-to-place” for local crime news. Connecting with neighborhood blogs that linked to his coverage and a Seattlecrime.com iPhone app all helped his site garner more local and national media attention.

    “Crime, however, does not pay,” he concluded. “Especially if you’re blogging about it.”

    He explained, “I tried to keep myself out of the advertising side of things because I didn’t want to risk compromising any editorial content. But from what I heard from the folks who tried oh so hard to sell ads for me, nobody wants to sell their product right alongside a story about a murder, car thefts, or other generally grim news.”

    And after dedicating his life to Seattlecrime.com for more than a year, the opportunity arose to work alongside the very folks he covered, the Seattle Police Department.

    For the past year he has worked as a contractor blogging for the SPD Blotter page, a site started in 2008, which informs local residents of the crime news and information happening in the city with updated blogs and twitter feeds, also written by the detectives and officers themselves.

    Spangenthal-Lee seems like a natural fit for the blog, and he’s enjoyed the chance he’s been given.

    “It’s been a great experience working at the SPD so far. I’ve received a tremendous amount of support and freedom from the chiefs, my boss, my unit, and tons of other officers, detectives, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains throughout the department. I’ve been encouraged to keep doing things the way I’ve always done them.”

    Although, he’ll be the first to admit that in the beginning his transition wasn’t exactly smooth sailing among his new colleagues.

    “I’d be lying if I said everyone here was initially excited to have me on board, but I get that I come with some baggage and that cops have a lot of preconceived notions about reporters, much as reporters have a lot of preconceived notions about cops,” he said.

    “I’ve really had a good time here, though it was a risk for them and a risk for me, but I think it’s worked out pretty well so far.”

    Being the one contributing blogger on the Blotter site who isn’t a cop, Spangenthal-Lee provides readers with an alternative point of view on crime news. He hopes that will further build an audience and make the site the best source for crime and police news.

    “I think my background, having not been a cop, I can come at things from a different perspective than some of my co-workers, who’ve been in law enforcement for some time. I get excited to write about incidents, crimes, or police processes that might seem routine or boring to them.”

    His efforts have been written about in The Seattle Times. And he was given an award from the Washington Coalition for Open Government, which praised his philosophy that “If there’s information we can give to anyone, we should give it to everyone.”

    He got a lot of attention for a blog post entitled “Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana in Seattle.”

    If Jonah Spangenthal-Lee’s story shows other aspiring reporters anything, it’s that finding the right niche for yourself in journalism is possible by not only working hard, but also taking chances.

    His advice:

    “Get well acquainted with Twitter, learn to write quickly, function on 6 hours of sleep, and be equipped to shoot your own photos and video, even if it’s just on your iPhone.  Find something you’re interested in writing about and write about it (assuming it’s something anyone else on the planet is interested in).

    “There are tons of free publishing platforms out there right now, so if you’ve got something to say about a topic write it up, post it, and Facebook and tweet the hell out of it. The more you do it, the more feedback you’ll get, and the better you’ll get. Probably.”

    In essence, Spangenthal-Lee is reporting about the Seattle Police Department from within the institution. Asked what he would say to people who are skeptical that any public agency can report honestly about itself, he answered philosophically:

    “I guess I’d just say that I hope people remain skeptical. We need to continually work to earn and maintain public trust and a healthy dose of skepticism is just more incentive to be as open and accurate with our information as possible. That said, some acknowledgement — when we do the right thing the right way — wouldn’t kill anybody, either.”

    (Patrick Fancher is a freelance writer in Corvallis, Oregon.)

  • Direct Community action on behalf of Nourishing Networks

    1:24 pm on January 15, 2012 | 0 Comment Permalink

    Notes from Linda Benson

    From January 9 News Oasis/Nourishing Networks meeting

    The question was, “What are some ways to get individual community members to take direct action on behalf of Nourishing Networks?”

    • Plant food/seed bombs throughout the community (brand with Nourishing Network information)
    • Make mud balls filled with vegetable garden seeds that anyone can plant in their containers, gardens or yards
    • Create planter boxes or transform landscapes to grow fresh vegetables at local restaurants and municipal locations.  Invite patrons to help maintain.
    • Promote the 10% Campaign diverting food dollars to local food production.  Challenge businesses and residents to participate and to report their actions that can be used to measure impact and the new capacity for local food.
    • Create an easy way for citizens to share their needs and their stories; i.e. telephone message line, on-line tool, etc.
  • Engaging Journalists and the Public in Hunger/Nouishment

    1:20 pm on January 15, 2012 | 0 Comment Permalink

    Notes from Parker Lindner

    From January 9 News Oasis/Nourishing Networks meeting

    Our discussion covered various ways to engage people with the issue..  We talked about how to encourage participation  from journalists and the general public.

    Some ideas included:

    • Locate journalism teachers and proposing this as a writing focus.
    • Establish  points of access, collect data.
    • Share information on the hunger/nourishment issues and challenges in our community. What are the facts about hunger and nourishment or the lack of it?  Where is it? What are the causes?
    • Read ‘between the lines’ in interpreting data for example from use of  free and reduced lunch programs.
    • Ferret out underserved groups such as students, families and senior citizens.
    • Expose the network of service organizations working on the issue.
    • Use community technology centers as touch points.  This is where underserved populations come to get connected.
    • Look for existing blogs and web sites. In social networks, cross posting, commenting, sharing and search engine optimization are the way ideas are amplified.

    We also discussed the notion that the stories must be able to grab attention.  They must be brief. We don’t think people will read long tomes.  Instead we could build a simple structure for exposing personal stories – both of people with needs and of people/groups who are inventing (taking responsibility for)  providing  solutions.

    Also, consider the ‘master birder’ model. Train a set of individuals who then commit to training others.

  • News Oasis/Nourishing Networks January 9 Meeting

    3:14 pm on January 11, 2012 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: Hopelink, , nourishing networks

    Quick Summary of Outcomes
    January 10, 2012

    Anne, with her fabulous ability to find the essence of story named the throughline of the story we want told:
    At every level, how do we take responsibility for nourishing ourselves and others?

    Others supplemented with:
    • We start with food and why there’s urgency.
    • We tell the “big” story — context, policy, etc., and the “small” stories — the actions happening everywhere to address the need.
    • We tell stories of possibility that highlight strengths and opportunities because they inspire people to get involved in solving the challenges they face.

    Next steps for the core team:
    • Connect everyone and get out the notes. (This quick summary from Peggy, edited by Anne, will be followed by a story from Jacob)
    • Follow up with those who were interested but couldn’t attend. (Peggy, Anne, Karma)
    • Convene the core team shortly — Karma, Anne, Peggy, David Ortiz, and Parker Lindner have volunteered. If you are interested, please let me know.
    • Follow up on the KCLS bus with the Issaquah Nourishing Network idea – a bus with computer equipment, a nutritionist, food, and a journalist. In a sense, an omnibus, with whatever is needed. (Karma, Jo)

    Some other activities people stepped up to pursue:

    • Cori Benson blogging (perhaps with Seattle Journalism Commons and/or the Seattle Times)
    • Convening stakeholders with reporters at the Seattle Times (Anne and Peggy will explore with Carole)
    • Jacob Caggiano and Karma Ruder working on an app to connect surplus food to those who need it.
    • Linda Benson will organize an effort to support community storytelling in her five areas of community activity.
    Any other items others want to add?

    Focus of the news oasis:
    Connecting community and journalists around issues of community need/civic importance to:
    • Tell stories that matter because they link to felt need in community.
    • Support community members to tell their own stories (create, disseminate and use their own stories) and link them to the “big” stories about the whole system.
    • Reach out to professional journalists to amplify the stories, big and small (strategy: bring stakeholders to them).

    The connection between the News Oasis and the idea of nourishing ourselves and others:
    A news oasis transforms the community story (narrative) about food and hunger from consuming & unequal distribution (lack) to the gift exchanges happening in:
    • the food system
    • human capacity building initiatives for change that are linked to needed policy changes
    • the evolution of community interdependence

  • Seattle Journalism Commons Project Report

    1:30 pm on October 20, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink

    Thanks to support from The Patterson Foundation, the Seattle Journalism Commons, in partnership with Lisa Skube — creator of the Journalism Accelerator, ran a 6-month experiment in supporting the people in the Puget Sound region’s emergning news and information network.  The executive overview is below.  The full report is attached: SJC Final Project Report



    The intent of the project was to cultivate a robust, collaborative regional network of people in the news and information community by sharing resources, learning from one another, and documenting area activities – doing journalism on journalism.

    What did we do?

    We reached out to understand what the local journalism community wanted.   They told us that they would like:

    • The means to connect in person and online
    • An online space to share resources and learn from each other
    • A simple means to know what’s happening in the area – a shared calendar and reporting on activities

    We organized to meet these needs and took action.  We brought people together face-to-face and online, curated a calendar, and did “journalism on journalism”.  For example, we have original coverage of local journalism activities not found elsewhere: https://journalismthatmatters.org/seattlejournalismcommons/category/events-2/.

    We reflected on the experience and made plans for our next steps (see “What’s next” below).

    One team member analyzed the online information flow among food organizations in the Puget Sound region.

    How did it go?

    We took a nebulous concept – a “journalism commons” and gave it form.  We drew people in, formed a great working team, and found wonderful partners – notably Lisa Skube and the Journalism Accelerator.  Our biggest obstacle was technology. The site wasn’t as user friendly as we hoped and our technical support person took a full time job just as we were getting started.

    What did we learn?

    • Fertile soil makes for healthy growth.
    • Partners help!
    • A trusted agent on the team provides access.
    • Diversity is a good thing.
    • Face to face matters.
    • Technical expertise is a precious and essential resource.
    • Dedicate adequate time.
    • Keep evolving.

    What’s next?

    We’re reaching out to the leaders of the local chapters of:

    • Society for Professional Journalists
    • Asian American Journalism Association,
    • Online News Association, and
    • Hacks and Hackers

    We believe that we share goals and expect that partners can help with technology, infrastructure, and funding support.

    We are investigating an alternative technology route: integrating tools people already use, such as Google Groups and Twitter, into the site.

    The mapping of the food network may inform another initiative of Journalism That Matters: identifying and addressing “media deserts” – areas of limited news coverage.

    How does our work connect with others in the field?

    Given a healthy local news and information ecosystem is essential to a healthy community, this project has helped to shed light on how to foster a spirit of collaboration among people of the local news and information ecosystem. 

    What’s our advice to others?

    • Get clear about who your community is and what they need
    • Focus on delivering on a few pivotal needs
    • Seek partners that, together, bring expertise, adequate time, funding, infrastructure, and access to key people in the community
    • Keep experimenting and adjusting as you learn
  • Seattle couple completes 50-state newspaper tour

    4:37 pm on August 16, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: AEJMC, Frank Blethen, Paul Steinle, Sara Brown, , Who Needs Newspapers?

    Seattleites Paul Steinle and Sara Brown have completed a year-long road trip to answer the question, “Who needs newspapers?” They presented their findings last week at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC) national convention in St. Louis.

    The findings of their 50-state tour are available on the Who Needs Newspapers? website. The bottom line, Steinle told the AEJMC audience, is “Newspapers are not sitting in hospice.” They are transforming themselves for the digital world with multimedia content on multiple platforms.

    The husband and wife drove a truck pulling a fifth-wheel trailer across the country. They visited one newspaper in each state with three goals:

    1. Provide the newspaper industry fresh information about how change is being managed — with an emphasis on what works and what doesn’t work;
    2. Clarify the value of local newspapers for the public; and
    3. Collect useful insights for students considering journalism careers.

    The WNN website includes reports from each state. In Washington, Steinle and Brown interviewed Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen, Executive Editor David Boardman andother  senior editors. Videotapes of the interviews are on the site.

    Each state report includes a large amount of data about the publication, including staff size, circulation, web traffic and key contacts. The project is an amazing accomplishment.

    As for who needs newspapers, the website acknowledges it is an ironic rhetorical question. “But the fact is, since 1704 when the Boston News-Letter hit the streets, the news agenda in the United States has been largely dictated by the local newspaper industry. Newspapers play a critical civic role: local newspaper reporters are the source of most of the original enterprise reporting in the USA.”

    Brown, Ph.D., is a veteran of the newspaper industry as a human resource professional, management trainer, columnist and educator. She was vice president of human resources at The Columbian in Vancouver, Washington, and manager of organization development at the Los Angeles Times. She holds an M.S. from the University of San Francisco and a doctorate in human and organization systems from the Fielding Graduate Institute.

    Steinle is a veteran journalist, news media manager and journalism educator. He was the president of UPI and the Financial News Network; a news director at KING-TV in Seattle, and associate provost at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Steinle has an M.B.A. from Harvard and an M.S. from Syracuse University.

    WNN is an initiative of Valid Sources, a Seattle-based non-profit organization formed to “identify and promote excellent, ethically-balanced journalism.” The organization says of itself:

    Our mission is to identify models of excellence, which aspire to seek the truth and report it, to document these activities and to raise these profiles. This organization seeks to fulfill two goals:

    • Elevate the public’s understanding of the value of ethically-balanced journalism, and
    • Inform the journalism community of best journalism practices.
  • 2:06 pm on March 22, 2011 | 3 comments Permalink

    Something like this might be a cool journalism commons logo, whaddya think?

  • How to post your event

    6:37 pm on March 1, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink

    After signing up for JTM Online and joining the Seattle Journalism Commons group, you’re ready to be an author, where you can write stories and publish events. Here’s how to publish your event through a blog post.

    STEP 1: Make a new post



    STEP 2: Write your post



    Step 3: Add calendar information



    Step 4: Tag, Categorize, Publish!

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