WordPress Workshop for Journalists: Setup & Run your Own Website like a Pro

Wordpress

As readers increasingly consume news and journalism online, it has become important for journalists to be able to publish and be discovered on the Internet. It isn’t hard to setup and run a website and publish your stories or blogs. One of the best and easy to use tools out there to setup and run a website of your own is WordPress.

It started as a blogging platform but now it’s much bigger than that. Its versatile enough to be a blog or a content management system. It has become one of the most preferred platform for independent, community and even commercial journalism efforts. Some of the well known journalism sites that use WordPress are

Suffice to say that it’s a really powerful platform. Even with all this, WordPress is extremely user friendly to set up and run. Its theme is easy to design and play around. Its plugin system makes it easy to add or remove functionality.

In this workshop we will aim to setup a WordPress Content Management System to run a online journalism site. As part of the workshop we will learn to

  • Search and Buy Domain
  • Setup WordPress hosting
  • Setup a clean theme
  • Customize themes with headers, sidebars and footers
  • Setup some essential plugins for SEO, Twitter Cards, FB Open Graphs, Google SiteMap, Newsletters, Simple polls and forms etc
  • Setup a podcast if interested (we can even submit to iTunes)
  • How to backup your site & save your data
  • Set up your own e-mail accounts
  • Caching for higher traffic

What do you need to bring

  • Laptop
  • Firefox browser
  • Credit card or bank account for buying the domain and hosting
  • Interest to learn

Date: July 18 and half of 19.
Location: Winjit Technologies, Phoenix Crescent, Rest House Road, Off Museum Road, Bangalore- 560001

About the Trainer

Thejesh G N is a Bengaluru based independent technologist and the co-founder of DataMeet, a community of data science and open data enthusiasts. He has conducted many training sessions for data enthusiasts, journalists and fellow technologists over the last few years.

Book your Tickets now!

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Hindustan Times to Launch Accelerator for Media & Ad:Tech Startups

Delhi headquartered HT Media Ltd which publishes The Hindustan Times will launch an accelerator for media and ad:tech companies in partnership with North Base Media, VCCircle reports.

I spoke to someone earlier this week who will be involved in the process. The company is still ironing out the details.

Former WaPo editor Marcus Brauchli founded North Base Media. HT is said to have sent out invites for a press conference to announce the launch this Friday.

Update: More details from the press conference.

The accelerator will be launched as a 50:50 joint venture to invite ideas from entrepreneurs. Seven ideas focused on content creation and advertising based technology will be selected.

The accelerator will invest nearly $50,000 – $100,000 in startups and is open to investing more in exchange of a 10-30% stake in the company.

Website: Mediahack.

Siddharth Varadarajan to Launch The Wire, a New Media Startup

Former editor of The Hindu, Siddharth Varadarajan is planning to launch a new news website called The Wire. Veradarajan is the latest to join ranks with Indian media veterans like Shekhar Gupta, Raghav Bahl and Barkha Dutt  to launch new media ventures recently.

Varadarajan’s startup has tied up with news agencies for content and wants to raise Rs 10-12 cr in the next six months, reports Mint. He will team up with Sidharth Bhatia, an Asian Age columnist and dramatist Girish Karnad’s son Raghu Karnad to launch the site.

He told Mint:

We want to build a platform for independent journalism. The decline in editorial standards in our country is closely linked with the business model of the Indian media that often leads to editorial compromises. We want to be a mainstream news platform free of commercial and political pressures.

We want to be a news site that publishes original content and is reporter driven. But that’s a long-term idea that kicks in once we have the monetary aspect worked out. (source)

From his interviews, three a few things are clear. The venture will be funded by grants and charity. The site will be a mix of reportage and original content. Site wants to come to non commercial agreement with writers based on their interests.

While I’m happy to read this, I’m worried how many of these new generation media companies set out without a clear business model in their mind. A truly independent media house is a myth and at best a delusion.  Grant/ philanthropic funding has its own pitfalls.  Non commercial agreement with writers will mostly attract the worst of them.

That we are journalists doesn’t exempt us from asking ourselves why should people come to me? As a digital product, why is my site different and what’s defensible about it? Varadarajan is quite obviously a very smart person and I’m really hoping the venture takes off. There is much scope for innovation.

Update: The site is already active here.

Call for Applications 10th ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium [Crisis Reporting]

The ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium, now on its 10th edition since 1998, will gather some 25 practicing journalists and experts from Asia and Europe for a closed-door, informal meeting to discuss important issues of common concern and its related media challenges.

ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium

The 10th ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium will focus on crisis reporting and what Asian and European journalists can learn from each other.

Travel to and from Luxembourg, accommodations, and conference meals will be covered by the organisers. Interested journalists can apply at http://bit.ly/ASEFJC10.

News Shows That Will Work for the New Generation Indian Viewer

Although I occasionally watch news on television and have a few friends who work for major news channels, I know very little of how TV news works. But nothing I’ve seen on television news has been exciting at least for the last 10 years.

Since we have a lot of television veterans like Shekhar Gupta, Raghav Bahl and Barkha Dutt starting new companies here’s an idea: how about making edgy and investigative television news? It would be different from the boring documentaries and shouting matches that we are tired of watching.

I’d like to see extremely well produced newscasts that are a little more subtle (understated, if you will) and dark. Immersive and investigative. Sort of how Marvel Comics has been making their comics into serials these days. You know, the difference between watching a Bollywood horror flick and reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula when you are a child.

Will it work? I think it will. Because there are so many compelling and strong stories to tell in India. Also, a strong indication that this kind of content is liked by the new generation viewer is the growing popularity of Vice.

Last month Vice Media announced a news programming deal with HBO. Vice will have a daily news show and a channel on HBO’s new Internet streaming service HBO Now. I recently came across a documentary on UK’s deadliest debt collector they made and ended up binge watching hours of their documentary.

Another show I’d like to see on a news channel is intelligent satire on current affairs (I don’t mean Cyrus Brocha*). Something like what John Oliver does. Again, there is a fair bit of investigative journalism that goes into producing a show like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

* Suggestion: Keep the comedy but turn up the journalism a bit.

Data Journalists, Education Reporters Do Attend Bangalore Open Data Camp

Bangalore Open Data Camp (ODCBLR) is an annual un-conference that provides a space to discuss the challenges and experiences of using data in India with the aim of promoting an open-data culture in government, private and the not-for-profit sector.

The 2015 edition of  ODCBLR will be an Education Special. With the growth of data and analytics in education, and the organizations working to demystify government data, the time is right to create a space for data enthusiasts to come together to work through issues unique to this sector.

This year’s event will have representatives from NCERT, NAS, ASER and KLP in attendance, along with members of our ever-growing DataMeet community.

Tentative Schedule

Day 1: Keynote by Prof. Rajaram S. Sharma who heads Central Institute of Educational Technology, NCERT. He talk will be about NROER – A Plugin into the School System; Opportunities for Open Data Enthusiasts. Day 1 will also feature other eminent speakers from the sector. Keep an eye on the event wiki page for the updates.

Day 2: Education Hackathon based on DICE and NAS data for those who want to explore, visualize and hack this data. For beginners, we will also have dedicated workshops on education data exploration (DICE, NAS), GIS mapping etc.

Since there are limited slots, please register asap

Location: Google India Bangalore, RMZ Infinity

Dates: April 11 and 12th 2015

If you would like to speak at the event or hold a hackathon based on education data or share ideas related to the event, email us at thej@datameet.org or nisha@datameet.org.

New Media Jobs Be Like

I’ve been preaching about the skills required for new newsrooms for a while now. They are easy to acquire if you put some effort into it but even the best journalism schools in India can’t teach you most of these skills.

Traditional newsroom jobs are dying. Or they are getting a heavy makeover. New kinds of journalism (or rather content) jobs are being created by new companies like Upworthy and Buzzfeed or even old media houses that are trying to come to terms with the Internet.

I’ve been meaning to write a more detailed post about what would a typical new newsroom job look like. So when Pankaj shared this job description for a writer at Upworthy, it just made my job very easy.

Here’s a quick summary of what they are looking for. I’ve made some comments in italics.

Writer, Trending Team- at Upworthy (View all jobs)

Location: Anywhere (Teams are more global these days and are writing for a global audience.)

As a completely virtual workplace, our staff is spread out all over the country, and we’re looking for candidates from diverse backgrounds.

You’re fast. You have incredible instincts for how the Internet will respond to the conversation of the moment, and believe that together, we can move that conversation in a direction that makes the world a better place.

You have a sharp eye for storytelling in all forms on the Internet including writing, visual communication, and savvy packaging. You are flexible in your voice and writing style, and can jump into trending topics to highlight the most important angles and ideas with ease.

A fantastic trending writer is self-motivated and accountable, thrives on teamwork in an online environment, is focused on the big picture but can break it down into actionable pieces, and is passionate about furthering Upworthy’s mission.

What A Trending Writer Does At Upworthy

– Monitors the Internet for trending topics, events and ideas that Upworthy can uniquely elevate, or respond to

– Pitches ideas for original stories and angles on current trends that help elevate the public conversation

– Fearlessly takes on any story assignment from their editor (This is the same in all newsrooms, new or old)

– Quickly builds story packages on trending topics

– Dreams up and builds basic graphics and/or visual story components (You’ll be lucky to have a separate design team). 

– Develops thumbnails, headlines, and other clickable, shareable visual and verbal clues for each story (Again, you’ll be luck to have a rewrite desk or copy desk). 

The Ideal Candidate

– Is fast but detail oriented. Responds quickly. Writes clean copy.

– Willing to take on any story and make it soar. (This is where you’ll need to learn how to distribute your stories smartly).

– Flexible. Willing to roll with changes to processes or goals, and eager to learn and employ new skills (Processes change very often in startups and new media companies).

– Has a vibrant, active presence on social media, specifically Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. (If you don’t have one, start now).

– This is a writing position, so show us your writing talents: please include a cover letter showing us that you can write in a voice that would shine at Upworthy. (When blogging, or working for one of these companies, finding your voice is the first thing you will have to work on).

FoundingFuel, a New Media Venture to Watch Out For

The same day Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion media launched its website The Quint, former Forbes India editors Indrajit Gupta & Charles Assisi launched their own website FoundingFuel.

Ah..another site! Not really.

FoundingFuel

The site has some of the best writers on business and technology. Rohin (ex-forbes) & Ramnath (ex-forbes) and a few others have started writing for the site. There are a whole bunch of contributors as well. Assisi has had a long stint in journalism  and that probably makes it easy for him to fire up great pieces like this: Ankit Fadia Revealed. I’m so looking forward to reading them.

So another site with great writers & contributors?

I haven’t had a chance to catch up with anyone at FoundingFuel yet. But I can see glimpses of a business model here. One of the co-founders at the company is CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson’s online learning venture. From its About us section, it looks like there will be an attempt to create a “curated marketplace for entrepreneurial products and services.”

Couple of things about the site.

Some articles have comments and some don’t. It’s probably an attempt to find a middle path to the ‘should we have comments at all’ or not debate. Or maybe someone just forgot to turn them on!

Reuters phased out comments on news stories last year (Read: Editor’s note: Reader comments in the age of social media). That’s after Popular Science said comments can be bad for science and shut off its comments section. I for one, love comments (so don’t forget to leave one below).

I’m not sure how this will play out for FoundingFuel– there are many things that aren’t there or we don’t know about yet. But it holds promise!

Aside, I’d love to see someone to take an approach that the guys at Wait But Why have taken. It’s long form content yet primed for web and their posts absolutely go viral just because of the great content they create.

Gigaom Shutdown

I’m not planning to do a lot of news on this site. But this is big and sad at the same time. Gigaom is shutting down. And I’m sure tech bloggers around the world are trying to make sense of this.

Apparently, the company isn’t able to pay its debts anymore. Readers of the tech blog were greeted with the following message this morning

Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along.

Om Malik’s Gigaom was one of the earliest tech blogs in the US and much respected. But it seems there isn’t enough money in the business.

Om Malik, who many call the father of tech blogging Tweeted a few minutes ago that he just walked out of Gigaom for the last time.

Malik’s personal blog has a thank you note for readers but no postmortem reports yet. I’m still wondering if this is an early April fool prank. It’s unbelievable and very sad!

Last year, Om Malik , the founder Gigaom had stepped down and become a partner at True Ventures. At the time, the company founded in 2006 employed 70 people.

News Corp Acquires VCCircle

Media conglomerate News Corp is acquiring VCCircle Network, which includes web properties VCCircle, Techcircle, subscription based VCCEdge, VCCircle Training and its conference business.

The company did not disclose size of the deal but said that it’s expected to close in March.

News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson said

This significant investment is a sign of our faith in India’s future and our enthusiasm for working with and building up emerging talents in the country,” said . “India is an increasingly meaningful part of our portfolio, which is itself increasingly digital and global.

 

Noida based VCCircle was founded by Sahad PV and has about 100 employees. Sahad will report to Raju Narisetti, News Corp Senior Vice President, Strategy.

In November, News Corp acquired a 25% stake in PropTiger.com, India’s leading online residential real estate platform. In December, News Corp acquired BigDecisions.com, which aims to help Indian consumers make smarter financial decisions through interactive, decision-making tools powered by sophisticated algorithms and data. News Corp also runs  Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins Publishers.

Nikhil of Medianama had an interesting take on Vccircle’s business. Read it here.

Indian media has seen a fair bit of action last year. Nearly half a dozen new media startups in India raised funding and some media veterans like Raghav Bahl and Shekhar Gupta have started new ventures. Recently, television anchor Barkha Dutt also said that she is trying to “push the envelope in the non-TV space“.