Posts Tagged ona08

Slideshow from ONA 08

I had a great time at ONA. It is much more upbeat and progressive than other journalism conferences, although there was still the element of those who want to question all things new, without even trying. The lineup was stellar. Highlights were the Scoble talk. I love the way he expresses his enthusiasm, how he was a “nobody,” but this technology allows him to be somebody, talking about important things, and engaging folks. And, it’s even ok that I don’t agree with his politics. If you aren’t already, you should follow him on Twitter @scobleizer and read his blog.  Tina Brown was fine, but skews a bit “old media.”  I have a great deal of respect for her, though, and she certainly has had a celebrated career.  The panels were right now, good practical skills and examples from NY Times, Las Vegas Sun, MSNBC, all the ones doing cool things online.  And, the skills sessions were good, too.  The Ruby on Rails class was excellent, learned a lot over the 8 hours.  The Facebook app session could have done a bit more in terms of developing a real app, even a rudimentary one. And, the one on turning a spreadsheet into an online app was also good. I’ll definitely be using that one.  Lots about data and interactives to tell stories, and that is definitely up my alley.

And, the networking was in full schmooze.  I will definitely be making this an annual entry on my conference calendar.

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A Long Day of Coding

I got @ and : and | and {} and <% dancing in my head. The Ruby on Rails Training went quite well.  The instructor was Aron Pilhofer. He’s the editor of interactive news technology at the NY Times.  I first met him at the UT Online Journalism Symposium, and was glad to have the chance to learn from him today. He’s also presenting on a panel later this week on the NY Times Election coverage.

The class was excellent.  I learned some basics, things that I haven’t had time to delve into.  For example, the Rails part provides the framework, Ruby is the language.  It’s a Web development framework, built primarily for form-based content management. With a few commands, you can have a very rudimentary form that captures date to a database and displays it back.  I’ve done this with PHP/MySQL, and the smallest feature was very time-consuming, so much coding to get the most basic functionality.  But, with R on R, it’s a piece of cake.  You have to have Ruby running on your server and then install Rails and a few other things to get the development environment running.  After the basic coding of making the initial system, you can do lots to improve design and functionality.  Very intuitive. And, I like the separation of design from business rules, similar to the way html/css separates content and design.  The environment consists of View, Controllers, and Modules to make this happen.  I’ll definitely be incorporating next semester in the Advanced Online media course.  As legend has it (and this site), Twitter was developed into prototype in 2 weeks using Ruby on Rails.

Met some cool people, would like to spend more time chatting with, Joshua Hatch, multimedia producer, USA Today; Rich Gordon, Director of Digital Technology in Education at Medill, Northwestern; and Joshua Benton, the director of the Nieman Digital Journalism Project at Harvard University. They all had very encouraging things to say about students with a strong data perspective on the future of media.

The keynote speaker tomorrow is Tina Brown, journalist, editor, talk-show host, and author.  i’ll be interested in her take on online media. There’s a Facebook app development session and one on integrating Web journalism in college curriculum (a pretty timely topic!!!). See tomorrow’s schedule here.

I promise to take photos.

Saw Anna Tauzin today.  She graduated from TX State in August, moved straight on up to grad school at American University and immediately got a coveted internship at the J-Lab.  I’m very proud of what Anna is doing, and plan to spend some more time chatting later in the week.

And, I’m trapped here until Sunday, it’s official. Hope you are all doing well, loved ones safe and sound.

Don’t forget to watch the twitter. Some interesting things happening out there We’ll discuss next week.


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Here in dc

So, I made it to DC for the Online News Association Conference. I’m in my hotel in Adams Morgan. It’s not the conference hotel, but one I got for cheap on I can see why. It’s omni shoreham, sounds perfectly fine. But I’m sequestered in the “parkview” building, an old low rise hotel adjacent that hasn’t been updated since’68. It was already dark when I arrived, so I’ll let you know about the “park” part tomorrow.

I will probably do most coverage on Twitter. So much easier to write in 140 chars than a full blog post, particularly from the phone.

Ruby on Rails training tomorrow. Look it up? Web programming language. I think it’s what they used to make Twitter.

Then good speakers and panels on fri and sat.

If I take any pix, I’ll post here.


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