Announcing the beta launch of Multimedia Standards

After some teasing on Twitter (with the recently neglected #multimediastandards hashtag), we’re now ready to announce the beta launch of Multimedia Standards!

The site was created by 13 undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Miami as part of Rich Beckman‘s spring 2009 Seminar in Visual Storytelling class. It’s built on WordPress using a heavily modified Branford Magazine theme. The main feature is an interactive grid, which includes audio clips from the interviews with an awesome group of multimedia professionals, built with PHP, JavaScript and Flash (for the audio player).

Multimedia Standards (Beta) - A comprehensive resource for multimedia journalists
A clean and simple home page, with The Grid front and center.

We began the project in late March and launched in private beta in May. Thanks to everyone for their feedback!

Here’s a slightly tweaked description of the site that I wrote for the School of Communication:

There are plenty of Web sites and blogs devoted to multimedia journalism, and many of them are great. But there’s no single hub to discuss, share, critique, rate and learn about the field including in-depth thoughts from industry leaders. That’s the hole Multimedia Standards aims to fill.

But what about the name: Multimedia Standards? The site offers none. Instead, we offer resources and opinions on everything from “what is multimedia” to “what is good multimedia” and beyond.

Users can listen to an international group experts in an interactive grid; submit and critique projects; find other sites on our resources pages and easily subscribe to them (we provide the RSS feeds); see upcoming events on our calendar; and read about upcoming contests and recent winners. User input, from critiquing multimedia projects to saving links in our Publish2 newsgroup (which feeds to the top-right homepage widget), is key and we plan to continue updating the site with more featured links.

The team

Each student gathered and edited audio and were involved in the planning and research of the site. The class included:

The site

We spent a good deal of time early on discussing how to best organize the site’s content because of the nature of the content. The sections/navigation include:

  • Summary – a synopsis of all our research from the interviews, including an overview of the topics discussed and thoughts on the future
  • The Grid – 10 questions and answers from our interviews; links to profiles, which feature the full interviews
  • Resources – RSS feeds featuring multimedia producers, commentators and related organizations
  • Submit/Critique – submit multimedia sites and projects for critiques and star ratings by users
  • Events – a Google calender with upcoming conferences, training events, etc.
  • Awards – information about upcoming awards and recently announced winners
  • About – credits, photos and links to individual Web sites, Twitter accounts and e-mail addresses

The Grid

Unfortunately, The Matrix was taken. So we went with The Grid, which features (A-Z):

  • Alberto Cairo
  • Leo Caobelli
  • Pamela Chen
  • Andrew DeVigal
  • David Dunkley Gyimah
  • Kim Grinfeder
  • Kenny Irby
  • Gary Kebbel
  • Tom Kennedy
  • Brian Storm
  • Will Sullivan
  • Ashley Wells

What can I do?

Your interaction is key to the site being more than just a static presentation of our work. For example, submitting and critiquing projects, adding events and more.

Let me know if you’re interested in learning anything more about the site; I’ll respond via the comments or write another post, if the questions warrant. Also, please comment with feedback. How can we make the site better?

Send comments to multimediastandards [at] gmail [dot] com

Looking forward, there’s a second round of interviews in pipeline, which will be used to create a second grid. Although I’ve graduated and won’t be directly involved with that, I’ll be sure to post an update when part deux launches.

Revenue Two Point Zero and School of Communication project in DC

I’ll be in Washington, D.C. for the next few days, courtesy the University of Miami School of Communication, so the blog will probably be quiet. I’ll be working on a couple video profiles of National Park Service employees with a fellow student (I did a similar project — but as an audio slideshow — last year at Everglades National Park).

Also, as luck would have it, I’ll be in town for this shindig on Saturday:

Revenue Two Point Zero

I’m not a big fan of the redesigning Craigslist idea, but it should be a great event. As always, I’ll be wearing my CoPress hat and looking out for any takeaways that could be useful for college media. Any thoughts in that realm will appear on the CoPress blog.

I may liveblog and/or livestream parts of the event. If I do, I’ll be sure give as much notice as I can.

PS. Yay for spring break! But it’s about a week too short.

Leaving to cover Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho

I’ll be off the usual radar for 10 days as one of about 30 University of Miami students participating in the 150-student webcasting team at the Special Olympics 2009 World Winter Games in Idaho.

The games run from Feb. 7-13, but we’ll be there from Feb. 5-15. Students will be split across newsrooms in Boise, McCall and Sun Valley.

(Somehow I have a knack for taking trips that require really early flights, as evinced by the post time.)

The Job

Rich Beckman, Knight Chair of Visual Journalism at UM, is the executive producer for Special Olympics Live, a site we will update with photos and videos daily. I’m on Rich’s team in Boise and will be documenting the team’s efforts with other a couple other Miami folks and a couple students from Universidad de los Andes in Chile.

In addition, I’m in charge of social media for the site, which isn’t really “live.”

I’ll post some updates on my @greglinch Twitter account, but I’ve created @soilive to handle our general webcasting team coverage.

You can follow the hashtag #soi and/or subscribe to the RSS feed for a Twitter search of #soi. If you’re interested, you can also join the official Special Olympics community, where fans post blogs, photos and videos.

The Tech

I’m bringing my Canon Rebel XT (15-55mm and 75-300mm lenses), in addition to one of the broadcast department’s Sony DSR-PD150 to use for the video work. Other UM students will use thePanasonic AG-DVX100, which are shared between the visual journalism and motion pictures programs.

I typically use the Panasonic, but have a good amount of experience with the Sony, so I’ll be ready to rock once we’re wheels down in Idaho.

The Sony kit is in a huge Pelican case and comes with:

  • It’s standard shotgun mic
  • Sennheiser ME-66 shotgun mic
  • Sony ECM-44B wired lavalier mic
  • Electro Voice EV-50 hand mic
  • Sennheiser headphones
  • 50-foot XLR cable
  • Spare battery
  • DC charger

As you may remember, I was also part of a volunteer team from the UM School of Communication that shot the Special Olympics torch run in Miami in January.

Full disclosure: Special Olympics is covering all of our travel and lodging expenses for the World Winter Games, but we are not being paid.

BarCamp NewsInnovation Miami planning update and dilemma

It’s been awhile since I mentioned my desire to host a local BarCamp NewsInnovation in Miami, but it’s never been far from my mind.

It’s going to happen, for sure, and I’ve considered a number of options for when and where it should take place.

After much thought and discussion with a few people (special thanks to Alex de Carvalho), I see two good possibilities. I would greatly appreciate any feedback, particularly from locals who would like to attend.

Here’s the dilemma: To link with BarCamp Miami 2009 + WordCamp (RSVP) OR to link with Communication Week 2009 at the University of Miami’s School of Communication.

Pros of Feb. 21 (Comm Week)

  • Three built-in cameras for Web streaming
  • Mics in the ceiling so everyone in audience can be heard online
  • Wireless lavs for session leaders
  • Free Wi-Fi and outlets for everyone (~100 seats in the room I’ve tentatively reserved. We could go to a bigger room, but we’d lose outlets)
  • Higher student and professor turnout likely*
  • BCNI Portland will be on Feb. 21 and Daniel Bachhuber has proposed having the two hook up via the interwebs to discuss a topic

Pros of Feb. 22 (BarCamp Miami + WordCamp)

  • People will already be there, including some news folks
  • Non-journos will be there, allowing for different perspectives
  • The Arsht Center is a bigger venue
  • There’s already a ton of South Florida buzz about this, whereas Comm Week buzz is isolated to UM

Even though fewer pros are listed for Feb. 22, it seems to be a better option for BCNIM because of the type of people who already plan to attend and the fact that it’s already a well-known event. All that would be needed now is a push to get more news people to attend.

Also, I figure we could always do a follow-up version at UM if there’s enough interest.

*If it were at UM, there would be efforts to promote it local news organization and other schools.

WEIGH IN: What should we do? BCNI Miami during Comm Week or as part of BarCamp Miami?

For more info on BarCamp NewsInnovation, check out the wiki.

Updates, plus Beyond Bootcamp ethics panel video clips on Knight Foundation blog

I’ve been going almost non-stop since Beyond Bootcamp ended Saturday night, so I haven’t had much time to reflect completely or summarize my thoughts yet.

Me riding in the back of pick-up while taping the Special Olympics torch run on Jan. 13. We were driving on the McArthur Causeway over Biscayne Bay. Photo by Andrea Ballocchi
Lauren Whiddon, a photographer and me riding in the back of pick-up while shooting video of the Special Olympics torch run on Jan. 13. Here we are driving on the McArthur Causeway over Biscayne Bay. Photo by Andrea Ballocchi.

So, what have I been up to and what’s coming up?

  • Monday: GRE
  • Tuesday: shooting the Special Olympics torch run on Miami Beach and in downtown Miami, cutting footage back at UM
  • Wednesday: conference calls about CoPress (two; one by phone and one by Skype) and ONA (phone), as well as being interviewed on Skype for a non-UM journalism professor/newspaper adviser’s master’s thesis
  • Thursday: working on getting my ideas added to a new undergraduate journalism class starting in the fall; livestreaming a panel discussion after a screening of One Water (the screening and panel are part the University of Miami’s Global Business Forum)
  • Friday: Bryan Murley and I are recording a CoPress podcast with Publish2 co-founder and CEO Scott Karp (@scottkarp)

Also, an update on the videos from my Beyond Bootcamp livestreaming: the School of Communication post them soon and, hopefully, offer them as video podcasts on iTunes. I’ll be sure to blog and tweet the link when they’re online.

In the mean time, check out the videos Kristen Taylor (@kthread), online community manager at the Knight Foundation, posted: