links for 2008-01-25

Get my favorite news headline podcasts via MediaFly

My Mediafly profile currently contains these news headline podcasts.

Yesterday I offered some tips about making news podcasts smart. Today, Contentious reader Carson commented, “You should create a public profile on to allow people easy access to those feeds. Or, take their public RSS aggregated feed and put it on your blog, then people just need to sign up for one feed instead of all of them.”

Great idea, Carson! Thanks!

I hadn’t known about MediaFly, so I just checked it out. It is indeed a really useful tool for sharing podcasts. (Yet another example of my community collectively being much smarter and better connected than I am — perhaps my main motivation for blogging.)

So I just created a public profile on MediaFly and moved all my news headline podcast subscriptions over there. It seems to work well with my iTunes.

Anyway, here’s the feed for my collection of favorite news headline podcasts, if you want to check them out: feed://

That’s probably the easiest way to get them all at once. Keep in mind that I try out new podcasts periodically, so the shows in that feed will vary somewhat over time.

Whadya think? Does this work for you?

J-Schools: Don’t waste precious time on Dreamweaver!

Axel Rouvin, via Flickr (CC license)
Dreamweaver class for journalists? Might as well be…

A colleague is teaching an interactive storytelling course at a big-name and very, very expensive journalism school. I asked him which tool they’ll use to build the class project, a webzine (really a package of online feature stories, it sounds like, not a periodical). His answer: Dreamweaver.

This stuns me. Why, why, why use Dreamweaver for a journalism project?

I’m serious. Look over the feature list on the Dreamweaver site. Dreamweaver is a great Web design and development tool. It’s fine if you want to create a slick corporate site, or a site to support an ad or advocacy campaign, or a free-standing, fairly static micro-site.

But Dreamweaver is NOT a content management system. From what I understand it doesn’t even play nicely with content management systems. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s almost totally irrelevant to the practice of journalism. Here’s why…

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Getting Smart About News Podcasts
See how simple podcast show notes can be?

(NOTE: I just published this on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits, which is mainly read by mainstream journalists and journalism educators, but I thought Contentious readers might find it interesting, too.)

Like many net users, I get a lot of my news via podcasts. I’ve sampled several news podcasts and have settled on a few favorites as my current primary daily heads-up on the top stories: AP Newsbeat (1 min.), Denver Post All News (8-10 min.), NYT Front Page (5 min.), NPR News (5 min.), WSJ What’s News (3-4 min.) — and, of course, The Onion Radio News (1 min., a complete story, not a summary). Occasionally I also listen to BBC Newspod but that’s rare, since it typically runs 35-40 min.

(UPDATE Jan 24: If you want to subscribe to my favorite news headline podcasts all at once, I created a Mediafly public feed for them.)

That may sound like a lot, but since I listen to them while I’m doing other things (cleaning, cooking, e-mail, exercising, etc.). It’s actually pretty efficient, especially since I like to see how different news orgs are choosing stories on any given day. And I’m not alone in that — most news junkies follow multiple news venues daily.

There is a problem, though: None of my favorite news podcasts exercise their full potential for engagement. But used wisely, a good headlines podcast can support any news org’s bottom line.

If you want to get more direct benefit and mileage from your news podcasts, here’s my advice…

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links for 2008-01-23

links for 2008-01-22

links for 2008-01-21

Finding local Tweetups: A humble proposal

The search tool Tweetscan may be one way to find spontaneous gatherings of local Twitter users.

A few days ago, it occurred to me that it might be nice if there was an online tool or service that would facilitate local “tweetups” (informal, spontaneous gatherings of local Twitter users). Right now, tweetups start when one person in a town or city proposes one — like: “How about a Tweetup at The Cup in downtown Boulder this afternoon, 2pm?”

…But this approach mostly works to assemble Twitter users who already know or follow each other. What about if you want to get together with local Twitter users you don’t already know, or who don’t follow you? Since I’m a big believer in serendipity, I’d love a tool like that. Knowing that there’s no such thing as a truly original idea, I checked on the logical domain for such a tool,

There’s nothing there yet, just a placeholder page. I e-mailed the domain owner to ask of their plans for this domain, and here’s the response I received this morning…

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