What’s going on here?

About a year ago, I noticed something about the professional company I kept.

After nearly a decade as a reporter, I’d taken a job as the first-ever online editor for the Concord Monitor, a daily paper in central New Hampshire. I joined all sorts of groups — real and virtual — to learn about the practice and theory of digital news. What content management systems were best suited to the needs of a community publication? How could we best use social media to engage our audience and tell great stories? How could technology help us hold government accountable?

My new mentors had answers to these questions and many more, but it wasn’t long before I realized that most of those answers were coming from men. The gender disparity was even more apparent at conferences, where I’d often be the only woman participating in a conversation about digital news.

These observations led to this blog, which is an inquiry into the role of women in emerging news organizations. I also hope it becomes an important tool as I research a thesis on the same subject.

Existing work on the subject is limited, but there are a few good resources that I’ll consult frequently.

  • The Gender Report, a site that monitors gender representation by conducting byline surveys of online news orgs.
  • The Women’s Media Center doesn’t limit its work to the digital realm — or journalism, for that matter — but its blog is frequently updated with useful information.
  • I’ll also be consulting two databases of online news organizations, one maintained by Columbia Journalsim Review and the other by LION — the Local, Independent Online News Producers.

Any other sites I should include? You can post suggestions in the comment section below this post or send them to me on Twitter.

Visualizing the state budget

Like many states, New Hampshire is in the thick of a high-stakes, high-profile budget season, with jobs, programs and political careers hanging in the balance. Imagining $10 billion is tough, so I decided to help our readers with this interactive graphic, which is built using an IBM program called Many Eyes.

Click the image below to see the graphic on Many Eyes. And here it is again, anchoring a special budget section on ConcordMonitor.com.

Proposed 2012-2013 state spending in New Hampshire

VuVox: My new best friend

Last month, I heard about VuVox… and it’s kind of changed my life.

VuVox is a free product that allows users to layer photos, text, videos, audio slide shows and links in a lovely, linear format. The finished product can be embedded pretty much anywhere. It was the perfect tool to tell the story of the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

The Monitor has a comprehensive archive of Christa McAuliffe’s rise to fame and the aftermath of the disaster that ended her life. VuVox allowed me to tell the story in what I hope is a new and sensitive way:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Fun with weather

The storm that barreled up the East Coast kept ConcordMonitor.com plenty busy the Monday after Christmas.

We started our coverage Sunday night with a live map of the system, links to cancellations and a rolling feed of weather-related tweets from our staff and readers.

The home page this morning

As the morning went on — and snow continued to fall — I curated a feed of blog posts, tweets and wire bulletins:

Storm feed
More storm feed

Around lunchtime, our photographers returned to the newsroom. I rearranged the home page to feature a slide show of their work and a Storify piece I pulled together during the morning.

The home page after lunch

Not bad, especially considering that most of our reporters were stuck in airports out of state.

Overwhelming response

Logo by Clay Wirestone

E-mails, phone calls, tweets and Facebook posts continue to pour in from people who have read My Epidemic, a serial narrative I wrote for the Monitor. The stories chronicle my struggle with hepatitis C, or HCV, a common but little-known virus that afflicts millions of Americans.

The Monitor published the series during the week of Dec. 12. The Union Leader and the Valley News are running the stories this week.

I designed the web page devoted to the project, and the always-talented Clay Wirestone designed the logos and print pages. I hope to upload PDFs of his work here soon.