Chuck's Q Blog

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Just another ICM blog

News in the age of augmented reality

In the last 30 years, the newspaper industry has moved from typewriters to laptops, from “hot” type to “cold” and from black and white to color photos. It’s now in the process of moving from print to digital, which is what I intend to make my primary topic for this course.

I’ve experienced the other changes over the last three decades and I’m on the front line of the next change.

During the recent economic downturn, many newspapers shed jobs to keep the doors open. It didn’t always work. Many closed; others cut staff and tried to make a living online.

One thing they all tried to do was keep their content in front of as many readers as possible. That meant expanding online operations, going mobile and getting into social media.

As part of the Web team at Dispatch.com, I’ve encountered all of those aspects. I’m constantly trying to learn about new tools and how they might be applied in our operation.

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a knack for spotting interesting digital trends.

I didn’t invent podcasting, but I saw its value in the early days and launched a show — a first for any newspaper. I set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for the paper as experiments long before most of my peers became interested in them. They’ve both slowly gained a following.

Many publications are using these tools today as alternate avenues to deliver news or bring more readers to their websites.

So, what’s on the horizon?

I’m still trying to figure out how to get us involved in foursquare, I think QR codes could be an overlooked gem and augmented reality seems like it could a transformative engine. I hope we’ll finally decide to adopt CoveritLive soon and I wonder if there’s a place for a Tumblr or Posterous blog in our toolbox. I’m also really excited about the prospects of using the iPad in publishing — maybe not for the daily product, but certainly for niche publications our company produces.

Our company doesn’t have someone assigned to “bird-dog” new tools. As we grow, I’d like to be that guy and I hope my blog entries will help make that happen.

Lifelogging vs. lifestreaming

Lifelogging and lifestreaming (or storystreaming as some news outlets are calling it) are basically two versions of the same idea. Both are used to capture and store memories, but while lifelogging is geared more towards storing information in private, lifestreaming shares your information through a blog.

The Old Media, New Tricks blog has been talking about lifestreaming or storystreaming for a while. The first piece I saw about it talked about how the Austin American-Statesman used a service called Posterous to gather photos from readers on a specific topic. As Austin approached a record for 100-degree days last summer, the editors set up a Posterous account where readers could submit photos for a weekend that showed how they were coping with the heat. They then ran a story about this in the paper and used the photos that were collected for a slideshow on the site.

Like other blogging sites, Posterous is only as good as what’s being sent to it. It’s really designed for mobile photo posts, but I see people using it as a regular blog as well. (“Office” fans might want to check out Rainn Wilson’s blog.)

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