A visit with CT News Junkie editor Christine Stuart

Find more videos like this on Wired Journalists

I spent last Wednesday with Christine Stuart, the editor of CT News Junkie, which covers Connecticut politics. Stuart, who’s based at the Statehouse in Hartford, posts two to four times a day, often covering hearings on important but secondary stories that the mainstream media ignore.

CT News Junkie is a media partner with the New Haven Independent, one of the more interesting experiments in non-profit, Web-based community journalism. Projects such as these are crucial as we seek to grope our way forward through the economic crisis that has befallen the news business. (CT News Junkie is technically a for-profit company, but Stuart is looking into ways of taking it non-profit.)

I visited Stuart as part of a long-range project. But while I was there, I shot some video and put together a six-minute documentary. I hope you’ll take a few moments and have a look.

Some technical notes. After spending about an hour trying to edit my video with iMovie ’08, I gave up and used iMovie 6 instead. The lack of precision for coordinating audio and B-roll with iMovie ’08 is a source of constant frustration, and I’ve finally given up. I can’t believe I subjected my students to it last semester. Maybe iMovie ’09 will be a better solution.

I also was unable to post the result to YouTube, even though the format (MP4), the length (well under 10 minutes) and the file size (under 100 MB) all meet YouTube’s guidlines. Vimeo didn’t work, either. I finally posted it successfully to Wired Journalists, which uses the Ning platform designed by Netscape founder Marc Andreesen.

If anyone out there has some thoughts as to why this proved to be YouTube-unfriendly, please drop me a line or post a comment. I’d still like to get this up on YouTube.

Inspired to be wired

If you scroll down the right-hand column of this blog, you will eventually come to a graphic I posted last week for Wired Journalists. The site, started recently by Ryan Sholin, Howard Owens and Zac Echola, is a social network for journalists who are interested and involved in changing the way news organizations do business. The mission statement opens thusly:

WiredJournalists.com was created with self-motivated, eager-to-learn reporters, editors, executives, students and faculty in mind.

Our goal is to help journalists who have few resources on hand other than their own desire to make a difference and help journalism grow into its new 21st Century role.

You don’t need the best equipment, the biggest budget or even management support to accomplish worthy goals. The only requirement is a willingness to learn and a mind open to new ways of thinking about journalism.

Wired Journalists is heavily oriented toward multimedia, with journalists invited to upload their photos and videos. But it’s open to anything, and people are already forming groups about a whole range of topics. There’s also a news feed of off-site material and a central gathering point for blog posts. I’ve created a Northeastern University group, and my students in Reinventing the News will be joining this afternoon.

As of this morning, there are already 968 members, which is pretty remarkable for a site that went live just a few weeks ago.

I find the platform for Wired Journalists to be as interesting as the content. It’s built on Ning, a DIY social-network environment created by Marc Andreessen, who helped write Mosaic and Netscape lo these many years ago. One thing I’ve never quite understood about the appeal of Facebook, MySpace et al. is that they’re semi-closed environments — it’s as though everyone suddenly started pointing to the pre-Web AOL as the cool new thing.

Ning allows anyone to create his or her own social network, which strikes me as a more promising model in the long run.