Tag Archives: Ben Franklin Project

Ben Franklin in a Box

Part of the Ben Franklin Project is to share the knowledge and experiences learned during the process and invite others to comment, critique and improve on the efforts.

To that end, the staff at The News-Herald (OH) prepared a step-by-step guide for some of their workflow ranging from ad tracking to billing which you can see here.



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Ben Franklin 2.0: Independence and the ideaLab

By John Paton

Our successful Ben Franklin Project ( http://bit.ly/apHRbA ) has shown the world that in an industry that can be bereft of good ideas that smart people with the willingness to take a risk can produce revolutionary results.

But like all successful revolutions we need to continue the journey. And like all successful revolutions we have a goal – independence.

On July 4th we will declare our independence.

We will declare our independence from the kind of thinking that has kept our company and industry from transforming to a multi-platform news company. And we will declare our independence from an industry that ties itself up with expensive proprietary I.T. systems and processes that are outdated almost the day they are installed.

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Piling up: A look at the Perkasie trash system

The team at Montgomery Media’s News-Herald have started reporting their story about the local trash system.

Residents pay $3.25 for each trash bag as a way to fund the program.

According to the News-Herald’s report:

… Perkasie Borough Assistant Manager Andrea Coaxum, the program is not intended to punish anyone, but to provide a cost incentive for recycling.

Borough bags are priced to cover all expenses associated with trash removal, including employee salaries, transportation, vehicles, landfill fees, leaf and bundled branch collection, and the recycling center.

Watch the video below and click here for more on this story.

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Reconnecting and finding new resources

From Tricia Ambrose, executive editor of The News-Herald (Ohio)

A few weeks ago we wrote a story about a local cartoonist who had written a comic book about our local minor league team to be given away at a game. (Full disclosure he worked as an artist here 10 or 12 years ago.) We thought he’d be a good fit for this project. Our editorial page editor found the guy on Facebook and sent him a message asking him if he’d be willing to produce an editorial cartoon for the BFP edition. The two corresponded via Facebook and the artist agreed to participate.

We are also seeking cartoon submissions through schools as well.

The unveil of the community-supplied edit cartoon will be next week.

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Town Hall meeting recap

About 25 people came out to the Sellersville Theater Tuesday evening for our Town Hall meeting.

Some great feedback and great story ideas ranging from the current trash collection and recycling programs to stories on water quality and local government.

It was also just a great opportunity for members of the community to voice concerns — and ideas — about how to improve our website and newspaper.

Thank you to all those who attended and who watched online.


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Watch the town hall meeting live @ 6 p.m.

FORT WASHINGTON – Residents of the Pennridge area are invited to attend a town hall meeting at the Sellersville Theater 1894, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville, Tuesday, April 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. Staff members of the Perkasie News-Herald will be on-hand to announce a new community-building journalism project aimed at connecting the community to its news source by asking residents and readers to become part of the news-gathering process.

Watch here


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Just look around and share what you see (News-Herald, Ohio)

By Laura Kessel

Do you ever think the world revolves around you?

Admit it. You’re just like a kid — it’s all about you.

Where you are is where it’s happening. And, if you’re not there, could it really be going on at all?

It’s easy to think that way.

When you get caught up in the many things that go on during a day, you sometimes forget the world is going on just outside your door.

Many of you think, “That’s what the news is for.”

And, in some ways you’re right. We pay attention so you don’t have to.

Every day, we let you know what’s happening around Northeast Ohio so you can focus on your jobs, your families and your lives.

It’s been that way for 131 years. And it will continue to be that way.

But there’s much that goes on each day that doesn’t garner headlines, and we’d like your help in documenting it.

We’re looking for the quintessential Lake County moments at all hours of the day.

Yes, that means 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. It’s morning, it’s afternoon, it’s overnight.

If you know them, we hope you’ll share them.

It could be 7 a.m., when construction workers start their day on state Route 2 in Willoughby. It might be a 10 a.m. coffee klatsch at Waffle House in Concord Township.

It could be a 3:30 p.m. shift change at a factory in Painesville. It might be 3:01 p.m., when the bell rings to end classes at Lake Catholic in Mentor. Is it the fellas watching the Tribe game at 9 p.m. at Panini’s in Willoughby? It could be 4 a.m. baking time at Biagio’s in Eastlake.

It’s Lake County at work, play or rest. And we’d like to document it.

We’re asking our neighbors to share those moments you might see every day — the ones that could tell the story of what happens in Lake County in a 24-hour period.

Many people don’t realize there’s an entire population of people out and about, living their lives while they’re home snuggled in bed. Now’s your chance to show them.

We hope you’ll tell us about these moments, when they occur and where they happen. Because nothing tells the story better than photos, we encourage you to send a few shots or even a short video to show us what’s going on.

If it’s important to you and your neighbors, we want to know about it.

E-mail your suggestions and other information to 24hoursoflakecounty@gmail.com. Please include your name and a contact phone number in case we need to reach you to ask any questions.

Encourage your friends to share their special moments, too. As we enjoy moments in life, no two people experience events the same way. What they share will be unique and vital to the story of 24 hours in Lake County. We look forward to seeing what each of you share and maybe even trying it out for ourselves.

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Ben Franklin Project Town Hall Meeting in Sellersville, PA

From the Montgomery Media Staff Staff

Sellersville Theater asks you to participate in a town hall meeting on the future of the Perkasie News-Herald Tuesday

FORT WASHINGTON – Residents of the Pennridge area are invited to attend a town hall meeting at the Sellersville Theater 1894, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville, Tuesday, April 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. Staff members of the Perkasie News-Herald will be on-hand to announce a new community-building journalism project aimed at connecting the community to its news source by asking residents and readers to become part of the news-gathering process.

The Perkasie News-Herald, which covers the eight municipality-region of the Pennridge School District, was selected to be one of only two sites in the country for the initial launch of The Ben Franklin Project, created by the Journal Register Company, parent company of the News-Herald.

The Ben Franklin Project challenges the community to come together to decide what information it would like to see covered and further encourages readers to become active members of the news gathering process by submitting tips, personal stories, photos, videos and more using tools found for free on the Internet. Part of the project’s mission is to create a web and print publication for one week that uses only free tools widely available on the Internet to show residents just how easy it is to become part of the process and help participate in the creation of their local news coverage.

Although it is not required, attendees can RSVP at Facebook at www.facebook.com/PerkasieNewsHerald.

Since announcing the project in early April, Journal Register Company has launched a blog, https://jrcbenfranklinproject.wordpress.com, to track the progress of the project over time and to make sure the readers know that the process is completely open and transparent. Since the launch, interested readers of Journal Register Company newspapers across the country and those interested in the changing face of journalism have commented on everything from how to execute the project to what tools to use to make it a success. The project has received attention from several blogs within the journalism industry. Jeff Jarvis, author of “What Would Google Do?” and a member of Journal Register Company’s advisory board, has also written about how the project came to be (http://bit.ly/b8Nst1).

The town hall meeting at the Sellersville Theater 1894 will serve to better explain the project and begin the process of seeking ideas for stories, tools and more from you, the community. We will provide an overview of the project, seek guidance on what stories you’d like to see covered as part of the project and how you envision that coverage coming together. From there, we’ll begin the process of gathering those stories, keeping it entirely public every step of the way via a WordPress blog that will be announced and launched Monday, April 26.

The town hall meeting will be streamed live on our website www.PerkasieNewsHerald.com those with high-speed Internet to be able to participate from home if necessary and will also be recorded and provided on the above website for public review and further comment.

The Sellersville Theatre is generously hosting this event to the public. The Sellersville Theatre 1894 is an intimate, welcoming, live music and comedy venue in Bucks County, offering an ambitious year-round schedule of top name performers and raising new talent in many genres: blues, singer songwriter, rock, Celtic, folk, bluegrass, country, jazz and oldies.

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Start the clock!

From the blog of Journal Register Company CEO John Paton:

The Ben Franklin Project – We Are On Our Way

Folks, I am happy to tell you we have two teams who are taking on The Ben Franklin Project.

In the next 30 days, the News-Herald, one of our dailies in Ohio, and Montgomery Media, one of our weekly groups in Pennsylvania, will, from assigning to editing – create, publish and distribute news content on the web and print, using only free tools available on the Internet. You will find a complete description of the project here: http://tinyurl.com/y5chfkp.

The News-Herald team will be led by Executive Editor Tricia Ambrose and Managing Editor Laura Kessel. At Montgomery Media the effort will be led by Managing Editor Emily Morris and Online Editor Andy Stettler. The teams will work on separate projects. We want to highlight that in the new news ecology it isn’t just the size of the newsroom that counts but how well it harnesses the power of the web and the audience.

You can read the rest of his post here.


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Video, photo and other tools still needed

Since the announcement of the Ben Franklin Project by Journal Register’s CEO John Paton, we have received some tremendous interest and some wonderful feedback spurred by those watching and those helping.

To date we’ve received suggestions of about 100 tools — free tools — we can use to carry out the digital first, print last transformation of Journal Register. Even with that list we’re still short. In some cases we have a tool in mind — using ShareThis is an obvious choice for content sharing — but we don’t want to overlook another option because we are choosing one we find familiar and/or comfortable.

JRC advisor Jeff Jarvis — who offered WordPress, Google Docs, and Flickr as editorial options when he blogged about the Ben Franklin Project — wrote:

… The rest of the process of publishing a newspaper is more complicated — at least to me, as I don’t know the tools. I’m not sure all that can be done with free tools but I’ll bet it can all be done in the cloud …

The beauty of this process is that it’s a collective effort to find the right tools. We’re not claiming  we have the right ones on our list — which we’ll post in the coming days after another round of feedback — we just want to make sure we do as much as we can to find the right ones.

That said, here are a number of the spots where we are still looking for strong feedback including:

  • Video editing — Journal Register bought the Flip cameras so the FlipShare software doesn’t make the “free” list. Other ideas?
  • Video streaming — Is YouTube our answer or are we better looking at Vimeo, Blip.tv or others?
  • Photo editing — Color correction, sizing, etc.
  • Accounting — Primarily ad placement, tracking and billing

We’ll continue with the crow-sourcing of story assignments on another day. Again, we have a few ideas but we’d like to hear how you think they’ll work.

As always, thanks for the help, the feedback and support.


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