We’ve updated our website!

It took two years, but we finally got around to updating our website. We hope you enjoy it.

While the blog layout of our old website design was easy to use and gave us a place to share our work, we realized that most of our content was hidden. We wanted a website that would showcase all of our work and make it easier for our listeners to find some of our older podcast.

Let us know what you think by emailing us at editor@itsalljournalism.com.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

We’ve got big plans for the coming months, including podcasting from the Midway at the 2014 Online News Association Conference in Chicago. If you’re at the conference, come find us. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Megan Cloherty
Michael O’Connell
Julia O’Donoghue

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#109 – Robert Ray: ‘Ferguson’s story is happening all over the country’

We return to Ferguson, Missouri, for this week’s podcast to have a conversation with Robert Ray, a correspondent with the U.S. cable news channel Al Jazeera America.

“Ferguson’s story is happening all over the country,” said Ray. “There hasn’t been a spotlight by the media on it, but it’s happening everywhere.”

Robert Ray (Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera America)

Robert Ray (Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera America)

When we had this conversation, Ray had been on the story for five days. In that time, police had shot rubber bullets and tear gas at an Al Jazeera crew attempting to record a story away from the crowd of protesters.

“When I see journalists taking it like that, it’s upsetting. I don’t like it,” Ray said. “We have the right to report and document and when we’re not able to do that, we got serious problems.”

Ray talks about how he’s seen the story change and why it’s important for the media, despite the risks, to cover stories like the Michael Brown shooting and its aftermath.

“The thing is, if we don’t cover this all over the country, if we don’t actually look into it, how can the country get better?” Ray said. “And that is the most important thing that the media can do. Politicians can try to make the country be better, and certainly, some of them have that intention, but they are sometimes isolated in the bubble of bureaucracy and they have their hands tied. But what we can do in the media is go out there and show and listen and tell the stories of real people so that America’s eyes can open up better and we can become a better country.”

Michael O’Connell

Related Podcast:

Alexander Howard — Ferguson, Mo. and the First Amendment

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#108 – Alexander Howard — Ferguson, Mo. and the First Amendment

The killing of Michael Brown and the ham-handed way law enforcement officials in Ferguson, Mo., handled its aftermath angered Alexander Howard. It’s been a long time since he was that “ticked off” at a story.

“The systemic discrimination and racial bias, political powerlessness in that community, because of voting rights and people being arrested for assault and losing them, these are things that have been going on a long time but, unfortunately, because they’re kind of the fabric of American life still, they hadn’t caught fire,” he said.

Alexander Howard

Alexander Howard is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and editor. (Photo Courtesy of Alexander Howard)

Howard is a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. He’s also a columnist at TechRepublic and founder of “E Pluribus Unum,” a blog focused on open government and technology. Previously, he was a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, the Ash Center at Harvard University, the Washington correspondent for O’Reilly Media, and an associate editor at SearchCompliance.com and WhatIs.com.

While the brutality of the shooting and the disenfranchisement of the populace provided more than enough reasons for a rational person to be angry, the treatment of the members of the media trying to cover the unfolding events should raise the concerns of journalists and the public, alike, both of whom benefit from the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment:

“When media who went in there, trying to document how people were upset and why they were upset, were raising up the voices and faces and pain of people who have been living in that environment but not being heard, were targeted, roughed up or in this case arrested, I got angry about it,” Howard said.
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#107 – Popping the culture — Yakking with NPR’s Glen Weldon

It all started with Jacques Cousteau.

“I knew that I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t follow that for a long time,” said Glen Weldon, a panelist on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. “For the longest time, I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist. At age 4, I knew I wanted to be a marine biologist.”

NPR's Glen Weldon joined IAJ producers Megan Cloherty and Michael O'Connell in studio. (Photo by Megan Cloherty)

NPR’s Glen Weldon joined IAJ producers Megan Cloherty and Michael O’Connell in studio. (Photo by Megan Cloherty)

In pursuit of his dream, a young Weldon memorized the Latin names of every whale and dolphin, watched the talking cetacean flick “Day of the Dolphin” and even became a competitive swimmer.

Thankfully for fans of his NPR work, though, Weldon realized in college that writing was a better fit for his temperament.

“The marine biology station at the school was just aquariums and tubes and plastic buckets and it smelled like rotting fish on a dock,” he said. “And every time I would take an elective course in the fine arts building, it’s like I would walk in and smell the chalk, the books and leather. And it’d be like peacocks walking down the hallways and people playing harps. It just felt like this is where I belong.”

Over his career, Weldon has worn many hats. He’s been a theater critic, a science writer and a bookstore clerk. His fiction and criticism has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and many other publications.
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#106 – How to market to and break-down content for mobile

WASHINGTON – Last year was supposed to be the year of mobile. This year is also supposed to be the year of mobile. But taking it beyond the buzz the phrase is generating, two speakers at the 2014 Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s annual conference spoke directly to the user breakdown and how companies are monetizing mobile.

Justin Ellis, left, of Nieman Lab and Wouter Vermeulen, with Opera Mediaworks. (Photos by Michael O'Connell)

Justin Ellis, left, of Nieman Lab and Wouter Vermeulen, with Opera Mediaworks. (Photos by Michael O’Connell)

Justin Ellis, a writer with Nieman Lab, spoke more about the a major shift in the way people are accessing news. For the first time, people are turning to digital sources in greater numbers than television for their news, but beyond that, he says more are ditching the desktop and using their phones as their access to the Internet.

“According to Pew Research, 34 percent of cell users use their phones specifically for the purpose of going online,” Ellis said.

And a majority of users are spending time on their phones in apps, which Ellis calls surprising.

“Even though they’re spending more time with their phones, the individual sessions are small,” he said.

The bite-sized Internet use of smartphone users lends itself well to easily digestible content like that found on the app, Circa, Ellis said. He also cites personalization and location-based news as paramount for marketing content to mobile users.

Wouter Vermeulen, with Opera Mediaworks addressed mobile from a slightly different angle, in how newsrooms like “The Washington Post,” “Bloomberg” and “The Wall Street Journal” are selling ads on mobile.
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#105 – At Speakeasy, the content goes down smooth

WASHINGTON —— Generating content for companies for profit rather than news outlets, the Dallas Morning News’ content marketing and social media agency Speakeasy is taking off. It has already generated $1.5 million in revenue since its start in late 2012.

Grant Moise, the senior vice president of the Dallas Morning News, joined us on the podcast via phone to talk about the idea that’s creating a profit center with more than 50 clients so far.

Grant Moise is senior vice president, business development and niche products at The Dallas Morning News

Grant Moise is senior vice president, business development and niche products at The Dallas Morning News (DMN photo)

Depending on the size of the client, Moise said they generate content and in some cases handle the social media to start a conversation and drive interest.

“We are helping them create all their own content. We do editorial calendars at the beginning of each month and come up with unique things that can be relevant, depending on the audience they are trying to reach,” Moise said.

The Dallas Morning News partners with ad agency Sling Shot on Speakeasy, which can be found on every social outlet @YourSpeakEasy
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#104 – What does an older, more diverse America mean for the media?

America is changing. The U.S. is facing two major shifts over the next 50 years.

“We are on route to becoming a majority non-white country,” Paul Taylor said. “At the same time, a record share of our population, like me, is going gray.”

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor is a senior fellow at the Pew Research Center. (Photo by Michael O’Connell)

Taylor is a senior fellow at the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think tank that uses demographic research, media content analysis and public opinion polling to examine a variety of topics affecting America. He is also the author of the recent book, The Next America, which looks in greater detail at the looming generational showdown.

“Demographic change is a drama in slow motion,” Taylor said, during a presentation at the 2014 Association of Alternative Newsmedia conference in Nashville. “It unfolds, tick by tock, incrementally, but it changes society in fundamental ways.”

Either of the shifts Taylor described would be a significant demographic story, but because they are happening simultaneously, they are having major impacts on everything from politics to entitlement programs to marriage.
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#103 – Penny Muse Abernathy — It’s not too late to save community journalism

Penny Muse Abernathy likes to think in ledes.

The lede she’d write for alternative news weeklies would have something to do with how the decline of print publication and the rise of digital journalism are changing the traditional role of the alternative press.

“What struck me is that many of you are at an inflection point,” she said, during her keynote address at the 2014 Association of Alternative Newsmedia conference in Nashville. “It’s driven by the fact that you have the decline of traditional media, most especially the decline of the longstanding, major newspaper in your market. And in many ways, you are becoming the community newspaper.”

Abernathy is a Knight chair in digital media economics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to that, she was a business executive at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Harvard Business Review. She’s also the author of the new book Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability.

Penny Abernathy

Penny Abernathy signs copies of her new book, Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability. (Photo by Michael O’Connell)

The challenge she sees for alternative newspapers is how to be the source for community journalism while maintaining their “alternative” edge.

“You go from being the attacker, the entrepreneur, to being the one who is attacked,” Abernathy said.

This week’s podcast is a recording of Abernathy’s presentation at the 2014 AAN conference. She discusses the economic shift taking place in the journalism industry and what business decisions publishers need to make in order to remain competitive.

Michael O’Connell

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#102 – Comic satire with the Bob Woodward seal of approval

Winning the 2014 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning was a big deal for Jen Sorensen, whose work can be found in 20 alternative weeklies across the country.

Jen Sorensen

Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist whose political/cultural strip appears in 20 alternative weeklies around the country. Here, she’s talking to visitor to her booth at the 2014 AAN convention in Nashville. (Photo by Michael O’Connell)

“It was a big deal,” said Sorensen, who was the first woman to receive the honor. “It was possibly the thrill of my career.”

It also turned out to be a bit of an intimidating experience too.

“I had to give a speech at the Library of Congress, and that was a big deal,” she said. “Even though the weather was atrocious — there was a weeklong deluge in D.C. that week — there was still a lot of people there. Although I suspect it’s because Bob Woodward was the guest lecturer.”

The famed Washington Post editor, author and Watergate reporter told Sorensen that he admired her work.

“He told me I had an edge,” she said. “Take that as you will.”

Sorensen’s strip began its life with the title “Slowpoke.” Even though some of the alternative weeklies that carry the strip still call it that, the strips generally appear just under her byline.

“The strip is in the tradition of ‘This Modern World’ and ‘Life in Hell,’” she said. “It’s definitely an alt-weekly strip, you know, multi-panel, a little wordier than a traditional political cartoon.”

As far as subject matter of the strip goes, Sorensen tries to create a mix of cultural and political content that leverages her sardonic sense of angst.
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#101 – Going Down to Nashville — AAN Convention 2014

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia is hosting the AAN Convention 2014, July 10-12, at the Downtown Sheraton in Nashville, Tennessee.

Featured speakers include:
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