Online Journalism

Steve Buttry-Guest Speaker

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Steve Buttry-Guest Speaker

Steve Buttry has spent nearly 40 years in the newspaper business and, having successfully crossed over to digital journalism, is now the the Director for Community Engagement at TBD,  a site that focuses on DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia news. Throughout his lecture today, he engaged the class with several sites that took a news story to another level of online journalism. There were interactive maps, additional video/photo footage, and links that let the reader navigate the story  for themselves.

Helpful tips from Buttry:

  • When you get a story, imagine the best way you could report. Change the reporting process and think of the possible ways the reader can get engaged with the story. As a writer of traditional journalism, we have control of what the viewer reads and in what order. With digital journalism, the reader navigates the story for themselves.
  • Cut and paste your lead from a story and tweet it out for everyone to see, gauge the reaction and if your lead won’t fit into a tweet, then it’s too long.
  • Best rule of journalism: never say no for somebody else. Always interview, gather information because there are some people, even though they have tragic stories, that want to share what’s happened with them to the world.

*A great example of letting your a reader navigate themselves through a story was is The New York Times’ online story about the Japanese nuclear crisis. They have interactive photos that combines before and after shots of certain landscapes in Japan, and the reader can click on an arrow that reveals the after-tsunami photos right over the before shot. You can automatically spot the devastation with this tool, which makes the story that much more shocking.

*Another example of interactive journalism is The Des-Moines Register’s story on the Parkersburg, Iowa tornado that hit May 25 back in 2008. The site has an interactive map of the town that shows all the buildings that were effected. Not only do they map out the damaged buildings and areas, but when you click on them, additional videos,information and pictures pop up about the building. The reader can literally jump from place to place whenever they want, and not have to read through a bunch of paragraphs to get the information they seek.

*This last article, by The Star Tribune about the aftermath of the 35W bridge collapse in central Minneapolis, is perhaps the best interactive story in my opinion that Buttry showed us. The audio especially in the opening video, a mashup of 911 calls and emergency dispatch calls, was the best and most moving part of the story. On the left, you get a scrolling image of the entire bridge, in all its collapsed and crumpled state, that is littered with cars. Each car has a tag that you can click on and on the right hand side, you get information and the story about the individuals in that car. This is the most clever way I can think of to give this story the catastrophic chaos it deserves. It lets the reader decide who he/she wants to feel for and wants to read more about.

This visit from Steve Buttry showed me that journalism is evolving as fast as you can click the button on your mouse. With each new interactive story, reporters find ways to suck the audience into the news. These gave me great ideas for our final project, and I think our group is definitely doing something with an interactive map, where you click on the icon and it gives you the story behind a person or an event.

You can find more of Buttry’s insights on his blog.

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts

Briggs 9: Dealing with data

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs 9: Dealing with data

MORE AND MORE information becomes available online all the time, so more organization of the information is needed as well. The formula to find out what you need to do to organize is this:

“what you need to manage + the right tools to manage it = personal productivity.”

The best place to start getting organized is your e-mail:

-Make folders, like a ‘read this’ and ‘waiting on’ folder

-Take no more than 2 minutes to look at each e-mail.

-Look at an e-mail only once to save time

Journalists and freelance writers also need to organize things like to-do lists, calenders, images, documents, and notes. The best thing you can do for yourself is use fewer tools/websites to organize your things as possible, so that you won’t have too many things to check at once. Using web-based programs are the best option so that you can share your material with anyone and access it from anywhere.Some free programs include Google Docs and Zoho. Some services you do have to pay for, but there are many free programs/services available online.

As for organizing the information itself, databases and spreadsheets can be useful tools for a journalist: Databases and spreadsheets are useful for keeping contacts’ information (name, address, phone number, etc.), as well as keeping stories with a lot of data organized.

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Guest speaker: Steve Buttry

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Steve Buttry

Watch this. How many different types of audio can you recognize? 10? 12?

This is how Steve Buttry, the director of community engagement for TBD, started his lecture.

Buttry talks about information gathering and storytelling challenges that organizations have to cover.

Sharing control of the story with the user has changed. In traditional journalism: you have control. In digital storytelling: we share control. How does the reader want to see the story? It changes the story and the way you report. You need to gather sounds,  file an open file request for 911 calls.

Reach out to different resources. Story used ATM cameras and bank cameras to illustrate a tornado damages.

In some cases, animation and voice-overs can tell the story in a better way. For example, the recent tsunami in Japan. Nothing is more powerful than actually seeing the destruction.

You go to a festival. They take a picture of the entire festival and put online so you can tag yourself and your friends. You like the idea? Click here to see a great example of it.

Always keep in mind these questions:

  • What would be the best way to try to tell the story?
  • What do I have to gather to tell that story? Not just the facts, but the images, maps.
  • Are you thinking differently about storytelling?

Tips from Buttry:

  1. Invest on your skills.
  2. Open your minds to find colleagues that know how to do different things, reach out.
  3. Be uncomfortable! You’re not going to develop a new skill if you don’t feel uncomfortable about it! It should be a red flag, you have to go ahead.
  4. Always be curious. If a question comes up to you, always ask the question. Even you don’t know the language.
  5. Never say no for somebody else. Push through the fear and resistance you might have.
  6. Don’t let obstacles become an excuse.
  7. Try new things.

Twitter changed communication forever. You are forced to get to the point. You get an instant feedback.

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts

Steve Buttry’s visit

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Steve Buttry’s visit

STEVE BUTTRY gave us some free swag, not too shabby.

He also told us to count the amount of media uses for the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. It was very intersting to see how you can creativly create an intro that captivates your audience and do it without video… an emoke a very surreal emotion. It was an incredibly interactive page.

With todays innovative opportunities…. its amazing how many different ways you can report a story… but letting the audience choose their “poison”.

” A simple map and a different way of story telling way becomes a vehicle and a self guided way to go through the story” -Buttry

Louisiana’s fate is also a great example

THIS is super sick as well, once again social media trumps all. People can write stories… but people can spread them much easier.

“Always be Curious, if a question occurs to you ask it”

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Steve Buttry

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Steve Buttry

Visual storytelling was the focus of Steve Buttry‘s talk. He shared with us his blog, The Buttry Diary.

Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry

He said he’d use some examples from his blog post  from the previous time he talked to Klein’s class. He said he’d also use some new examples.

He started with examples using maps as a gateway for storytelling. He used’s 13 Seconds in August which was about the 35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River. Then he showed Des Moines Register’s Parkersburg tornado map. Both of these stories used maps in order to present the stories, videos and pictures. Lastly, he showed us The Times-Picayune’s Last Chance, which was about Louisiana’s disappearing coastline.

Buttry showed us how satellite photographs were used in The New York Times’ Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami to show all of the destruction.

He also showed us President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address by David Bergman which Gigapan images of the Inaugural address. People can zoom in and see themselves in the picture. The Glastotag idea at The Glastonbury Festival 2010.

He mentioned Storify and using it in a hard news story. Like when TBD’s Dave Jamieson’s “Snow wreaks havoc on D.C., Virginia, Maryland roads” story.

Twitter has helped Buttry “become a better writer” and even helped his ego due to all of the user interaction.

With all the technologies out there, most of us are feeling a little nervous when trying to implement them. This was obvious by  most of the questions that were asked. Buttry said it’s good to feel that way and a sign that you should jump on it.

He says to always be curious despite any barriers. Whether they’d be language or fear,

“Ask a question, however difficult it may be,” said Buttry.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Guest Speaker: Steve Buttry

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry, Director of Community Engagement at TBD, came to speak to our Comm. 361 class today about utilizing social media and digital online tools across various platforms.


Buttry started off his presentation by giving out free goodies from TBD. Hats and iPhone 4 covers with the TBD logo on them. Smart and easy advertising!

He then showed us a website that covered the horrific 35W bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis. The article, titled “13 seconds in August”, is an interactive photo that allows viewers to scroll across the whole bridge and get individual stories and information on all the tragedies. It also has an excellent form of crowdsourcing in which readers can e-mail the StarTribune with any information regarding the disasters that are missing information.

He than made a profound statement in which he said “As a writer, YOU have control.” he then said to think of any story in this regard, “How do you want to explore this story?”

  • Gather sound, interviews, videos, pictures and anything else that’s going to effectively ADD to your story in a positive way.

He then showed us a story that was done by the DesMoinesRegister on the Parkersburg, Iowa tornado. It used an interactive map with before, after and remodeled photos of houses and buildings. There were also lots of videos that helped the story out. It basically became a vehicle for self-guided stories and opened the story up to more individual smaller stories. Check out the story here.

The coolest tool that he showed us was GlastoTag. It’s basically a website where photos are uploaded from big events and people can tag themselves in these pictures from the event. VERY COOL!

We then discussed the ever popular Twitter. When asked how Twitter has changed his journalism and he made a few great points:

  • Made him get to the point of a story faster.
  • Made him a better writer.
  • Instant feedback is better than waiting for next day responses.
  • Instead of going to a quote in a story, he can go to a Twitter tweet.

Finally, he ended his presentation with some great quotes for aspiring journalists.

“Always be curious. If a question occurs to you, ASK somebody.”

“Never say no for somebody else. Try it out first.”

“Curiosity and trying new things will make you stand out when applying for jobs.”

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts

Guest speaker: Steve Buttry

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry, Director of Community Engagement at TBD, spoke to our Comm 371 class about the abilities and effects of video storytelling and how important of a tool it is to help show and explain events.

As a writer, you have control of the story. The user can browse to the page they want to read, skim over certain information, etc.

But with video storytelling, there is shared control of the story with the user. There are pictures, videos, graphics, interviews, keep the reader engaged and able to find out as much of the story as possible — things that wouldn’t be able to be seen or found in a print article.

Nothing is as impactful as being able to scroll your mouse over an image or play a video that gives more meaning and more detail about what is being reported. It doesn’t matter how many pictures you have in a print newspaper to compensate.

Think of how the story will affect somebody and what needs to be gathered to tell the story beyond the facts. The images, the context, the maps are all extremely important tools to interest the viewer.

Developing storytelling skills will:

  • Create a comfort level with working with all the tools necessary to create a story through video
  • Allow you to do videos in less time and it will become less of an issue as time goes on
  • Help learn a lot and be able to apply certain aspects to the next story you do

The ever-changing world social media is a new concept but it can even help you become a better writer.

Always be curious. If you don’t know the answer to something, ask somebody. Push through any fear or resistance to get what you want.

A very interesting idea that Steve mentioned was to copy and paste your lead into Twitter — if it doesn’t fit, it’s probably too long!

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts

Steve Buttry’s visit

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Steve Buttry’s visit

Steve Buttry

Reporting has changed with innovation.

                -Can’t just interview people. You need to gather sounds and video.

Many websites work on innovative ways to present stories.


Example 2

-“You can sometimes tell a story with words in audio than written words”

Innovations give control to the users


“Thinking of all the possibilities on how to present a story changes the reporting of a story.”

Q: What makes a story important enough to take the time to create these kinds of stories?

A: For example the story in MN about the bridge was the towns story of the year. Now it is also important to understand creating these stories now makes it easier to recreate similar stories or formatting for the next stories. Next time around it will not take as long to create the story.

A lot of good information from Steve Buttry’s presentation. What is to be taken away is possibilities are endless. There are always interesting ways to present various types of stories. The goal is to interest the consumers, and tell the story with the most accuracy and detail as possible.

“Feeling uncomfortable should be a red flag which urges you to jump in it might be good for you”

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Guest Speaker: Steve Buttry from TBD

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: Steve Buttry from TBD

“Don’t let obstacles become excuses

Always be a curious journalist.

Even if you do not speak the language, find a way.

If your lead does not fit in a Twitter status, it’s too long.

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts

Tech Blog #9: Guest Speaker Steve Buttry

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #9: Guest Speaker Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry, Director of Community Engagement for TBD, joined our class today for a presentation on cross-platform journalism and the different tools and techniques that are applied to many articles and stories today.

Check out his Bio, personal Twitter account, and blog, The Buttry Diary, here.

Professor Klein noted that Buttry understands the social web as well as cross-platform journalism– a skill that journalists really need to focus on.


Buttry showed us a compilation of audio, video and pictures done by The Minneapolis Star Tribune on their wesbite covering the collapse of the 35W bridge into the Mississippi River in August 2007 . Titled “13 Seconds in August,” reporters at the Star Tribune tried to find the story of every single vehicle on the bridge. Within one story, there are dozens of stories featured. This type of cross-platform journalism is the way of the future.


As a writer in traditonal journalism, there is contol. However, in digital journalism multiple tools are used to let the reader view the story how they want. This in turn changes the style of reporting. There needs to be much more than just interviews- audio and video play a large part in the story telling process.


Buttry also showed us a website from The Des Moines Register in Iowa, titled Parkersburg Tornado: The Aftermath. The website features a virtual map of the town of Parkersburg where you can view video of the tornado in addition to before and after pictures of houses hit by the tornado.


Buttry stresses to think of the tools you can use when reporting to cover the story in a new, unique way.


By using certain tools like taking large scale panoramic photos, as seen with this picture of the Glastonbury Music Festival in England, average citizens are able to tag themselves and add in their own stories, further adding to the main idea of the article.


Buttry says, “Think of what would be the best way to tell this story.” Then use the appropriate tools or find a new way and think outside of the box.

When asked what the one thing he could take away from his years of journalism experience was, Buttry replied, “Always be curious.”

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts