ONA12 conference: I’ll be at the board candidate session, impact measurement talk and karaoke!

It’s almost time for the Online News Association 2012 conference, yay!

As I mentioned before, I’m running for the ONA board (read more about all of the candidates). All of the candidates will discuss their visions for the organization and answer questions at Decision 2013: The Lightning Round session. If we’ve never met before, please say hi at the conference. I’d also be glad to answer any questions about my thoughts for ONA — ask away in the comments below!

Also, Wendy Levy (@twendywendy) and I will be discussing how we can better measure the impact of journalism on Friday at 11:30 a.m. Here’s the session description:

Measuring your audience is one thing. Measuring your impact as a journalist is definitely another. Modern technology enables better quantitative and analytical tools, conceivably offering better ways to evaluate the results of journalism. But it’s possible to devise a way to more concretely — albeit still imperfectly — define what impact means. We could borrow from, use, adapt or learn from science, baseball, non-profits, social entrepreneurship, even car manufacturer websites and pharmaceutical drug trials.

I have a few more interesting examples, so be sure to join us for this conversation!

Some background on the discussions so far:

Finally — and perhaps the most important part of all this! — is that karaoke is returning this year! RSVP here.

P.S. What must I do/see in San Francisco after the conference? I’ll be around on Sunday and Monday before going to Seattle for a couple days and then Portland. Recommendations for those cities are also welcome!

New role at The Washington Post: Special projects and news applications producer

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be starting a new role here at The Washington Post, news about which was just sent to the newsroom:

We are excited to announce that Greg Linch will be moving into a new hybrid technology / newsroom role starting June 1.  Since coming to the Post in December 2010, he has desk-pedaled his way across a few sections.

Greg began by producing for the health, science and environment team.  Those months rekindled a childhood interest by feeding and growing his natural curiosity about the world.  He then put both halves of his journalism-political science double major to use during a short stint with the politics team before starting an exciting year working with the foreign and national security desks.

All the while he’s been improving his technical knowledge with the ultimate goal of doing better journalism, such as creating a few handy tools and helping to make some production tasks more efficient.  That’s no surprise, of course, considering the two start-ups he previously worked on — one for college media when he was at the University of Miami and one that made tools for newsrooms before he joined the Post.

At the Post we have section producers who primarily work in a CMS and engineers who build news applications, but nothing in between.  Greg will pioneer an experimental role to straddle web production and web development — a special projects and applications producer position that will focus on more technical and medium to long-term projects and solutions.

We see Greg as a person who can look beyond standard journalism forms to help develop technology that pushes the boundaries of storytelling alongside the newsroom.  He will partner with editors and technologists to conceive and create tools that engage users with our journalism; current examples of apps in development include a polling interface and our new live blogging platform.  He will work with the entire newsroom, from producers to reporters to designers to find places where development can come together to create new technology that serves our users and our journalism.

Greg will spend the first 3 – 6 months of this new role training exclusively with engineers: honing his development skills.  After he completes this initial embedding in web development, he’ll be working in the newsroom through Cory Haik and be deployed on projects within news and alongside the embedded engineering group run by Washington Post Chief Architect Greg Franczyk.

Update: The world producer role has been filled.


New role at Washington Post: world/national security producer

Quick update from the The Washington Post newsroom: starting July 1, I will join the foreign desk as the world and national security producer. Anup Kaphle (who has been the world/national security web editor on the Universal News Desk) and I will be moving from the UND to work directly with the world and national security teams.

I’ve had a great experience working with the health, science, environment and wellness reporters and editors since I joined the Post in December and am very excited at this new opportunity be a full member of the foreign editing team — truly integrated with the section.

Stay tuned!

Notes from Happy Cog event on web design process and practice

On the evening of Nov. 18, I attended An Army of One or a Nation of Millions? Web Design Process and Practice with Happy Cog, presented by the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington and hosted at the building of my soon-to-be employer, The Washington Post.

Collaborative design process can be...
"Collaborative design process can be..."

(Disclosure: I attended as a guest of the Post; I am not — yet? — an ADCMW member.)

I’ve included my chronological livetweets from the #adcmwhappycog event (P.S. not my idea for a hashtag), plus some tweets with photos by @AnneLikesRedChris Cashdollar (@ccashdollar) and Kevin Hoffman (@kevinmhoffman) gave the presentation, which I will embed or link here after it’s posted online.

Read their great insights and comment below with your thoughts:

greglinch: #happycog is different from other shops bc everyone works on a project. Also, everyone works in more than just their speciality.

greglinch: The official hashtag for the @happycog event is #adcmwhappycog. They’ll be discussing their processes and more.

greglinch: .@happycog processes generally include: project definition, IA, viz design (design systems for ease in future), programming #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Process values at @happycog: collaborative, iterative and flexible. #adcmwhappycog

AnneLikesRed: http://twitpic.com/380xjq #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: All of the things I’ve mentioned in the past few tweets is more of a framework then part of a rigid process. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: For each project, @happycog asks: What is the design challenge at hand & what is the culture of the org they’re working with? #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: What the @happycog process could be like. RT @AnneLikesRed: http://twitpic.com/380xjq #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: .@happycog will sometimes disconnect and completely focus on the work — sometimes working on paper to start. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Sample sketches from Build-a-Bear project, which never launched but, bc of that, they learned a lot #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/28jgmfj

greglinch: At wireframe stage, they focused on the upsell and the call to action — the two fundamental reqs. #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/mn3wqj

greglinch: Another view of #adcmwhappycog event. RT @robleto: Happy Cog speaking at ADCMW @ Washington Post http://instagr.am/p/Srh1/

greglinch: “Fast results have a cost.” Also, they have no-meeting zones to focus on work — and those are disconnected from email, etc. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Where are all the #ONADC tweets, peeps? Share the love! Read about @happycog event with: #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Project definition/IA when working with clients: Early, open discussion with focused meetings #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Wireframes at @happycog focus on hierarchy + persistence, *not* visual design #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: When you’ve worked with a wireframe for weeks and need to scrap it, it can be hard to get out the thinking of that wireframe. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: “Rules need to be understood to be broken” #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: At @happycog, they’re great at generating ideas — they need to improve at removing ideas. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Photo of @HappyCog commenting system that’s character-limited and can be tweeted. #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/0le4ifj

greglinch: They put ideas on the @HappyCog blog that are incomplete so people can weigh in and build on them. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: .@HappyCog is mostly waterfall, with only a bit of agile, for their process. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: “Use deliverables for discussion” — @HappyCog. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Mental Models is a book about “aligning design with human behavior” they recommend http://j.mp/bPBZIK #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Use “existing research and design team as guinea pigs” for project. For Philly tourism site, asked what they’d do on weekend. #adcmwhappycog

AnneLikesRed: http://twitpic.com/381br2 #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: “Balance classification with context” — make sure info is where it needs be, not just like indexes in a library card catalog #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Roughy 80 people attending #adcmwhappycog event.

AnneLikesRed: So true! http://twitpic.com/381fal #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: “The actual dynamic of group decision making” — You need convergent and divergent thinking #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/jau2rzj

greglinch: Book recs: Rework http://j.mp/c1PlYh and Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making http://j.mp/af7oqi #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Core Values: full participation, mutual understanding, inclusive solutions, shared responsibility #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/9fvddnj

greglinch: “Pathways to Action Model” — process design, vision space, problem space, solution space, make it real #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Collaborative Design Process: creative concepts, client review, single concept iteration #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/17izxqj

greglinch: Techniques they use w/ clients to learn more include a scale for balancing site’s feeling & MadLibs #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/c95s9bj

greglinch: “Being dogmatic is for the birds” — find the unique process needs for each project. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: During Q&A: “People who tell you CMSes are separate from design is lying to you” — it does impact design decisions #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Quite a coincidence that an attendee mentioned Edward de Bono + his book — I just discovered him on Tues http://j.mp/bCF2Pe #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: .@happycog looks for models — such as from other industries — that can solve specific interaction problems. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: And that’s a wrap! Hope you all enjoyed the #adcmwhappycog tweets. My fingers (and iPhone) get the rest of the night off.

Joining The Washington Post as a web producer

I’m excited to announce that, beginning Dec. 6, I will be joining The Washington Post as a web producer on the Universal News Desk.

I’m thrilled at the opportunity to work with Cory Haik (I’ll be reporting directly to her), the UND team and other awesome journalists throughout the newsroom. My focus will be on breaking news and working with the national desk to produce their health and environmental coverage, with engagement tied at the heart of everything.

My perspective as a journalist has evolved immensely since I graduated from the University of Miami in May 2009 (read my reflections on those four years) and last worked in a newsroom (Dallas Morning News internship in the summer of 2009). I’ve rethought my thinking and how we can better inform our work with computational thinking and programming concepts, began exploring innovation and ideas through different lenses, and — overall — continued expanding my mind (get a taste with my commonplace book). I look forward to bringing all that to the Post, along with the additional coding and technical skills I’ve taught myself in the past 18 months — and continue to learn (Python and Django next!).

Overall, I can’t wait to get back into the newsroom, collaborate with other areas I have experience or interest in (such as the programming, design, video, engagement and other teams) and do awesome work. I’ll be sure to let you all know more about the job after I start and see how the role evolves.

Why the job change?

Publish2 is moving to Los Angeles and, after a serious decision-making process, I decided for personal reasons that I wanted to stay in the D.C. area. Thus, we have amicably parted ways. The move is good news for Publish2 (stay tuned for more details on that soon), but L.A. is not for me at this time.

I want to emphasize that this was a personal decision to stay. Publish2 has been a unique and invaluable experience for me since I began in September 2009. My first full-time job out of college (see Publish2’s announcement), I learned many things about technology and business first-hand while working at a small start-up. My co-workers have been great and I’ve enjoyed working on tools that help journalists and news organizations.

Northern Virginia has been my physical home for the past year and the D.C. journalism-technology community has become my family here. From friends and acquaintances to meetups and conferences, deep down I know this is right place for me at this point in my life.

With that in mind, I’m also moving from Ashburn, Va. to Arlington, Va. (orange line on the metro, w00t!). No longer will I need to drive to the metro to get into D.C. I’ll leave it to you to imagine how many more meetups it will be possible for me to attend…