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In the Thick of It with #TSATime

December 1, 2010 at 12:08 p.m.


Lessons from Covering the Gulf Oil Leak

July 7, 2010 at 2:56 p.m.

Cross posted at MediaShift

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has lasted more than two months now. It is the worst spill in US history, and it is likely to continue until at least August. And in covering it, the NewsHour has broken every traffic record it ever had.

So, what have we learned here?

(Quick note: A lot of the thinking behind this post comes from a debriefing at work with my colleagues Vanessa Dennis, Travis Daub and Katie Kleinman, and from conversations about the spill and our coverage with other people in and out of the ...


We Are What We've Built

March 21, 2010 at 2:59 p.m.

The Atlantic seems to be settling into its new site, despite a rocky relaunch. James Fallows is blogging again, and Andrew Sullivan and Jeffrey Goldberg are back to disagreeing over Israel and Palestine, instead of the nuances of web design and information architecture. As far as I can tell from the limited vantage point of my feed reader, things are getting back to normal.

But the brief turbulence that followed the relaunch of the rebuilt and redesigned site was interesting in the ways it failed. By most accounts, it did what it was meant to do: the diverse group of ...


Be organized. Or be mush.

August 25, 2009 at 8:01 p.m.

Talking to my colleague Dante Chinni today, he summed up my thinking on frameworks for reporting far better than I've been able to:

Without an organizing principal, all we're doing is throwing things out into the ether. It all becomes mush.

That's not an exact quote. We were in the middle of a long brainstorm and I wasn't keeping notes. But it's close enough.

Dante has been working on Patchwork Nation since its inception--it's all he does--and it shapes much of the way he looks at the news. It's his lens. When we ...


More on Frameworks for Reporting: Lessons from PolitiFact

August 3, 2009 at 1:31 a.m.

The Obameter is a key example of reporting within a framework: Journalists advance a broad story update by update, building a comprehensive database of knowledge about one subject.

In this case, the PolitiFact team developed a standard to measure the success of Barack Obama's presidency. It's not, by any stretch, the only standard, but it gives us one clear lens to use in evaluating the president's effectiveness.


A lesson from Patchwork Nation: Frameworks for Reporting

July 28, 2009 at 9:46 p.m.

In programming, frameworks help speed development by abstracting common tasks and letting us focus on things that matter. They make what's important interesting.

We can apply this approach to reporting as well, especially when we're collecting structured data and treating news as data points. Doing this means we don't have to start over with each new set of figures.

A few lessons learned from Patchwork Nation and other projects.