ONA12 (no reuse)

The Hyatt Regency near Embarcadero, which was home to #ONA12

Credit: Image by Greg Linch (www.greglinch.com)
The Online News Association's annual conference took place at the end of last week and over the weekend in San Francisco.

Journalism.co.uk has been trawling through the thousands of tweets, blog posts, audio and video to bring you 10 lessons from #ONA12.

Social media

1. Twitter chief executive promises no more API restrictions

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo gave a keynote speech which has been helpfully summarised by Amy Friedenberger.

According to Friedenberger, Costolo was questioned on "the recent – and controversial – changes made to the social networking service’s interface".

"Users took to their accounts to complain about Twitter’s new API (application programming interface) restricting third-party developers from copying their applications," according to Friedenberger.

The post states that Jeff Jarvis, professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, "bolted for the microphone when the Q&A session started, inquiring further about the new API".

"'Are there any more shoes you’re going to drop?' Jarvis asked."

"'More restrictions? No,' Costolo said."

2. Journalists promised the ability to download past tweets "by the end of the year".

Twitter's chief executive Dick Costolo talked about "upcoming changes, including the ability to download past tweets, which he said would roll out by the end of the year", according to this post.

Costolo also promised changes that could assist journalists, "such as improving TweetDeck".

“We want to make TweetDeck … more powerful for research and investigation purposes,” Costelo said, according to the post.

3. Always credit your source. And consider linking to a tweet rather than simply retweeting.

This piece of advice came from Liz Heron, director of social media and engagement at the Wall Street Journal.

According to this blog post by Casey Capachi, Heron said: "The biggest etiquette tip I can give about tweeting is credit your source".

"Number one, it's just the polite thing to do, but number two, it's just transparent. I do it all the time and I don’t think it constitutes endorsements. Depending on the story, you may want to link to a tweet instead of retweeting it and kind of put a little bit more in context instead of just retweeting it."

The full Q&A with Heron on the dos and don'ts of using social media as a journalist is at this link.

4. Give one person ownership of a new social media platform

In a session called 'Pinterest, Instragram, Google+: Keep up, keep sane' Stephanie Clary from Breaking News warned journalists "against dismissing a network like Google+ for work, even if you don't use it in your personal life".

According to the liveblog of the session, for Breaking News, its Google+ page is the third biggest traffic driver to its main site.

Clary told the session that it helps to have one person, in this case Amy Duncan, to own and keep track of an emerging platform


5. Want UGC? These are the 17 places to check

In a session on user-generated content and the 'ethics of the community newsroom' Jennifer Preston, staff writer, New York Times shared this valuable list of sites that the New York Times checks for UGC:

Topsy, Search.Twitter.com, Google Images, Ustream, Bambuser, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Reddit, Facebook, Bing.com/social, YouTube, Storyful, Storify, Spokeo, blogs (Tumblr etc) and chatrooms.

6. No UGC? Maybe it didn't happen

During the 'ethics of the community newsroom' session Fergus Bell, senior producer and digital newsgatherer at Associated press shared AP's verification process (see photo).

And according to the liveblog and tweets, Jennifer Preston from the New York Times said if there is no UGC to support a rumour, maybe the event didn't actually happen.

Mobile reporting

7. Ditch the default camera application on your smartphone

In this post 'five tips for mobile photography', Brandon Weight has taken lessons from a session called #NOFILTER: How social photography is changing news and journalism.

One is to ditch the default camera app on your smartphone and advises downloading one of the following:

"DSLR photography options on an iPhone are possible, thanks to ProCamera ($2.99 at the App Store). Toss in Filterstorm plus Hisptamatic ($3.99 and $1.99 at the App Store) for a pocket sized light room. Android users fret not. Koci suggests Camera ICS (Free at Google Play) as an upgrade for shooting.

Other tips detailed on the liveblog of the session advise journalists to "avoid zooming on the iPhone if at all possible" and to make use of the 'double tap' feature in the Hipstamatic app and to "hold down volume + button for continuous shooting".

The liveblog shows some interesting debate around using filters on photos in digital journalism.

Multiplatform design

8. NPR is thinking 'mobile first' and maybe one of the first news sites to have more mobile than desktop traffic

The session on design looked particularly interesting. One of the speakers, David Wright, digital design director at NPR, talked on designing storytelling for mobile.

NPR, National Public Radio, is also thinking in terms of "mobile first" design, according to this blog post by Casey Capachi.

"For NPR, the saying 'mobile first' already applies to the way many of their listeners access stories. And, according to David Wright, digital design director at NPR, they may someday emerge as one of the first news organisations among their competitors to have more mobile than desktop traffic."

9. Get print designers to help on iPad apps

In a session on tablets, Joey Marburger, mobile design director at the Washington Post explained that the Post's print designers help on the news outlets iPad app on a daily basis.

It was in this session that a curious phrase 'lasagne design' was used to to describe designing news sites for tablets. "It's all about what you hide," the liveblog explains.

And another tip from Marburger suggests making design intuitive. "If you give a tablet to a toddler, they'll figure it out faster than you can."


10. Use Tweetreach to track Twitter analytics

One of the workshops was aimed at hyperlocals and small sites which don't have a "Google Analytics jockey on staff".

During the session, Susan Mernit, editor and publisher, Oakland Local, talked about how much time she spends on looking at Google Analytics and includes tips.

"A good bounce rate is 62 percent," she reportedly said.

She also advised using Tweetreach, which "tracks the size of your network but also who the top tweeters are and what tweets were most retweeted", according to liveblogger Catherine Cloutier.

Journalism.co.uk organises a one-day conference on the latest trends on digital journalism. You can find out more about the next news:rewired event, which will be on 6 December, at this link.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).