Thursday Buzz: Journalists Get Some Visual Help

Thanks to the largest grant in its history, the Society for News Design has big plans to expand its education and event offerings for journalists. Also: How to make panel discussions less annoying.

The Society for News Design has a little extra funding to spread its mission to underserved parts of the news community.

With the help of a new grant from the Knight Foundation, SND—which represents graphic artists, newspaper designers, and interactive developers focused on journalism—plans to expand its education offerings for those in newsrooms who lack design and technical skills.

(Disclosure: As a former newspaper designer, I was once an active member of SND and have won awards from the organization.)

The $130,000 grant—the largest in SND’s 36-year history—is an important strategy for ensuring that journalists can keep up with the fast-moving trends in technology and visual design, say SND Executive Director Stephen Komives and Digital Director Kyle Ellis.

“Journalism has undergone tremendous upheaval in recent years,” Ellis and Komives wrote in a blog post on the Knight Foundation website. “The tools of the trade have changed incredibly fast and continue to do so. It’s difficult enough for the technically minded to keep pace. It’s easy to feel hopelessly behind. It can be incredibly intimidating to even apply for technical training. Or to return to work after an event and figure out ways to apply newly learned skills.”

The two programs that the Knight Foundation will help fund include SNDMakes, a set of periodic events that use “principles of human-centered design to prototype solutions,” and SNDExperience, which will focus on storytelling and design education for nonprofit organizations, small newsrooms, and academic institutions.

Panel Inception

Panel discussions are a fact of life for events, but they come with a lot of downsides. One of the worst is the potential for one panelist to commandeer the discussion.

At IMEX America earlier this week, panel discussion expert Kristin Arnold said that the moderator is the most important determinant of the success of a panel.

“You need to have a really strong moderator who knows how to moderate,” MeetingsNet‘s Sue Pelletier noted in a roundup of the talk. “It’s not enough to have a great content expert, you need someone who can ask insightful, probing questions, engage all the panelists equally, gracefully short-circuit stage hogs, and bring in the audience. Of course, if you can hire a professional, so much the better.”

Check out Pelletier’s full blog post for more ideas.

Other Links of Note

According to the Event Manager Blog, the one piece of event tech you have to keep an eye on these days comes from Crowd Mics, which turns phones into wireless microphones for events. The company was the winner of the inaugural Event Tech of the Year Awards.

How close is the post-password era? Well, Yahoo Mail’s new app allows users to log in without passwords, instead using push notifications for verification. Here’s how it works.

Is Twitter dying? Perhaps that might seem a little overblown, but this Medium post by Umair Haque posits that abusive users are deeply harming the social web—an issue he says is hurting Twitter at the moment.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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