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Blogs > Ivan Lajara

Daily Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about journalism, living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Can you be a fly in the virtual reality wall?

Pretty things are pleasant to look at, but that doesn't mean they work.

For more than a decade now, I've been trying to figure out the many ways of not just how to cover the news, but how to present the news in the best way possible.

I've been doing this from my little corner of the news landscape and I've been using the tools available to me as the baseline, if you will, for what can be done. I also do this because it's fun.

In the old days, this would come in the form of developing a new type of feature for the paper. Slowly (too slowly, if you ask me) but surely, these efforts evolved into it what encompasses the digital world. That is where things really started to bloom. There's always a risk of getting carried away by the latest shiny thing, but the underlining focus is always about what is the best tool to use to cover the news as best as possible with the limited resources that we have (and limited, they are).



Anyway, there's a new virtual reality live stream function that can be shared with people in a two-dimensional format, and I decided to take it for a spin. When Facebook Spaces first came out, I gave my first impressions. Now that it has a livestream function (and beards!), I gave it another go.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

DFM chat on journalism metrics in a fragmented environment

Spike in reach or boa constrictor
digesting an elephant?


Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we are talking about metrics. What to use and how to use it in a way to further your journalistic goals. But further, how do you measure success in such a fragmented environment? How do you quantify other endeavors like alerts, newsletters, social videos or podcasts? And when do you pull the plug when something isn't quite working out?

If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.



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Friday, July 7, 2017

When national news organizations cover the Mid-Hudson Valley

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Every now and then on Facebook, an "article" pops up rating this town or that other one as the best something-something or worse whatchamacallit of the U.S. It is usually done by a marketing or real-estate agency as a rather transparent ploy to create some virality. Often, the older articles keep popping up on feeds. And we sometimes get "tips" with those articles.
Other times, a national publication writes about something related to the Hudson Valley, and the tone can range from knowledgeable to curious to condescending. Sometimes it feels like reading the same old story. Sometimes is a fresh perspective on something familiar. But it's always interesting.
How do other people in the country see us in the Hudson Valley and the Catskill regions?
Also interesting are our reactions to such pieces, which can be more revealing about ourselves than the articles themselves.

Small world.

***
Four articles from outside the area about the area:


* "Tivoli, N.Y: Authenticity on the Hudson," New York Times, June 16, 2017.
Key passage: "But it is not Brooklyn on the Hudson, she said."
Why a key phrase: This is a meme that has been used by, you guessed it, The New York Times, repeatedly. And the gray lady is not the only one.

* "My dentist's murder trial," The New Yorker, July 3, 2017.
A very New Yorker ~longread~ on the murder trial of Kingston dentist Gilberto Nunez, which we covered extensively. There was also NBC's "Dateline," and CBS's "48 Hours." 

A story about Dennis Crowley and Stockade FC, which, as you probably know, is going to the playoffs. There are some nice photos in that piece and you might know some in there. We've got some too. That story mentions how the goal is to have 1,000 people per game. The last game drew a record crowd.

* "How towns are hurt when malls run into trouble," Marketplace, June 21, 2017. 
The case of a national news organization using an example to illustrate a national issue. In this case, the example is the Hudson Valley Mall. This is also a case where the attention ended up in a story by us.  We have covered the issues surrounded the mall extensively as well. Here's a large sample from the last year. And mall photos from yesteryear.

BONUS: * "This chimp lived in a two-bedroom UWS apartment," New York Post, June 29, 2017. 
The source of this story now lives in Kingston. If you consider today's standards, this story is bananas.

***
One video:

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Short and sweet.
***

The Four:
*  Ride-sharing,
* Animals.
* Development. 
* Meat.
Cat:


http://newscatgif.tumblr.com/post/161359148822/when-your-story-gets-bigger-and-you-get-another


Yesterday's Internet, Today! comes in when you least expect it. This is what it's all about.


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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

DFM chat: Mobile hardware and software for journalist


Exciting parking lot video
Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we are learning about mobile hardware and software for journalists, beyond the basics. Sure, you have a smartphone and Facebook and Twitter. What else do you bring to the field while on assignment? What apps do you have? What do you use for video?  What's on your home screen?

If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.

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Friday, June 9, 2017

RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary, in 360 degrees and virtual reality




Yet another cool hike around the area is the Ramshorn-Livingston Sanctuary in Catskill, a pleasant hike with neat sights and sounds and a marsh overlook that's fantastic (and shakes a bit on top, which makes it better in my view).

As with previous tours posted here, The Street View map below constitutes many 360-degree images, all connected so that you can 'walk' around the trails. I did a big loop so I ended up touching on all trails. There are more than 30 images, all taken on June 3.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

DFM chat: How do you learn new journalism skills?

I like to break things. With cats.
Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.


Today we are learning about learning! What are the best ways to acquire skills in today's constantly evolving news environment? What's the best way to share them? Where do you go to learn new things outside of your newsroom or workplace? Grab your tools and bring your links!



If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.



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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Take a virtual tour of Falling Waters Preserve in Saugerties



Another one of my favorite hikes around the area is the Falling Waters Preserve in Saugerties, an easy hike with some rewarding views of the Hudson River and the falls, two of them, that give the preserve its name.

As with the previous tour of Shaupeneak Ridge The Street View map below constitutes many 360-degree images, all connected so that you can 'walk' around the pond. This time, there are more than 40 images, all taken on May 29.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Let's take a virtual reality hike around Louisa Pond at Shaupeneak Ridge



One of my favorite hikes around the area is located at Shaupeneak Ridge in the town of Esopus, an amazing park kept by Scenic Hudson. The tour you see below is the park's easy blue trail, a 1.18-mile trek around the pond.


The Street View map below constitutes more than 30 360-degree images from May 14, all connected, so that you can 'walk' around the pond.
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Friday, May 12, 2017

Virtual reality and emerging technologies for small news organizations




The following are more (long) excerpts from a Slack chat with members of The Little Rebellion. part of Nancy Heiz's SUNY New Paltz's advance editing journalism class. Here's part I.

In this follow-up post, I'll explore immersive storytelling and emerging technologies, specifically virtual reality and 360-degree content as they relate to journalism and small newsrooms.

Let's get right to it!



Will virtual reality have a transformative role in journalism?

Virtual reality is not going to fundamentally affect journalism in a revolutionary way, for a number of reasons, which include its limitations (too expensive, blocks your view or reality); and penetration (not many people have it and nobody has it at all times).

It is, currently, another tool that helps tell stories in a new way.

However! Some of virtual reality's parts and other technologies are starting to form a new paradigm, which I do believe will change the way we consume information in a fundamental way, which could shake and disrupt journalism's forms and distribution, just as the Internet and social media have done before.

Because with these new technologies, everything's a platform.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The modern journalist



Let's talk about journalism.

The following are excerpts from a Slack chat with members of The Little Rebellion. part of Nancy Heiz's SUNY New Paltz's advance editing journalism class.

The purpose of the chat was to explore:
  • Reporting skills and the role of the journalist in the newsroom of the future;
  • Real-time live reporting and the platforms that enable it; and
  • Immersive storytelling, specifically virtual reality and 360-degree content.

The chat took place over a number of days at sometimes at some funky hours, which allow me to not-so-much wax poetically but hopefully comprehensively elaborate on these topics. I thought it could be of use to the larger audience, including consumers, aspiring journalists and journalists at large. I've added some extra notes here and there and a totally irrelevant image or two to break the gray. I'm also breaking the chat in two. It was long!

In this post, I deal with the modern newsroom, digital tools and multitasking.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What skills do you need as a modern journalist?

This photo was taken with Google Glass lol

Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we're talking about a recurring favorite that changes with the times, as technology changes and newsrooms continue their permanent evolution (disruption, alas, is forever): What are, currently, the necessary skills for a journalist looking for a job or reporters or editors aiming to upgrade their skills? Is it better to be a jack-of-all-trades or a specialist in a niche? But even within a niche, what basic digital tools must a journalist possess or be familiar with? What resources can a journalist use (for free, preferably)? Bring your links and #realtalk.



If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

With Facebook Spaces, all your 360 content is now in VR, but is that a good thing?

Lot’s of people, or #foreveralone?
First impressions about Facebook Spaces for Oculus Rift:

TL;DR: Facebook Spaces, the recently released virtual reality app for Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, is basically a bit like AltspaceVR, but with Facebook bolted in.

That is to say, you get to go to a ‘space’ where you can hang out with your Facebook friends in virtual reality with an avatar.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How and why to do 360-degree video: DFM chat

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Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.


Today we're talking about what the why, how of 360-degree (and VR) video. Should small newsrooms invest on such tech? What kind of stories would benefit from this? How would you go about it? What are the best tools to use for 360/VR video for a newsroom with limited resources? What about live-streaming?



If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The cloud is broken



How dependent are we on technology? How do we act when we lose access to television or the Internet or our cell phones? It's a question I like to return often, especially when we lose power or services and the only input I get is the turbulence of my thoughts.

I also remember having to go to the library and having to physically comb through index cards and rows and rows of books to find things. You might be nostalgic about the process, but it wasn't an optimal search experience, in that it took a long time to find what you were looking for.

So I'm a fan of technology, but I also try to be in touch with what it means to us, and how it shapes what we do and who we are.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Journalism lessons from Steve Buttry

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Floating cats in the age of dogs



There's a hidden gem on Hurley Mountain Road, but if you get too close and are not careful, you might hurt yourself. Such is seemingly the current state of online discourse.

There is a difference between staying informed and driving yourself crazy, and information overload can result in unbearable stress and unnecessary and unproductive conversations, if you can even call them that.

So limit your social media consumption if you're finding yourself engaging with things that are not the original purpose of your visit to the networks. I get paid to do all news all the time and it can be exhausting.

What can you do? Glad you asked.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

DFM chat on the why and how of live video during breaking news


Digital First Media friends and other journalists, members of the community and fans of journalism are invited to take part in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we're talking about what the why, how of live video during breaking news. What are the best tools to cover breaking news with video? What do you do when reception is spotty when there are large crowds? How do you repurpose those videos for later viewing? Are there circumstances where live video is not recommended? How do you juggle ALL THE THINGS when you're the only one doing story/video/photos/etc.?

If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.




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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Then and now, a center

I went through the old library earlier today, looking for some old images and testing some new technologies.

 I was able to live-stream video in 360° to Periscope while moving around and was also able to do a static live-stream for more than 30 minutes without the need for a battery. These are developing technologies that can be useful during a potential breaking news situation, and I want us to be ready for when that happens.



Nothing exciting, other than the ability to do it (and getting tangled in my own cables).

***

After that successful experiment, I was also able to find a collection of quintessential anti-war protests from way back when, containing local demonstrations about Vietnam, the draft and the Contra affair.

One particular image's location was instantaneously recognizable for me (and I imagine for many others).

So I went ahead and did a slide in case you couldn't place it. 


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Thursday, January 5, 2017

That news problem

Don't you sometimes wish, in this world of instant news where everything looks the same no matter where it comes from, that you could get a reliable, filtered summary of the day's news at some point during the day?

Thinking of a way to do this, as a sort of evolution for Yesterday's Internet, Today!, I glanced upon two emails I get daily. The first one is the epaper email in the morning, that you should be getting if you're a subscriber. It's basically the paper as it appears in print, which comes in handy if you're away (you might notice that all the pages are in color as well). 

"But those are yesterday's news!" astute Yesterday's Internet, Today! readers might say. And you would be correct! What if you want what's happening up to now, but in email form, and without a subscription maybe? Why, there's an email alert for that! And a breaking news email alert if you don't want to wait. 

There's also text alerts,  and Android and iOS apps

And you can keep up on Facebook and Twitter. Or maybe you just want to get away from it all and simply get nice photos from Instagram. And we do that too.

So perhaps the problem is not so much that we don't do this but that we haven't told you about it well?


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The final countdown


Relive the countdown!

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