Posted tagged ‘Columbia Daily Tribune’

Columbia Tribune joins digital news project

June 18, 2010

Test initiative focuses on ‘hyper-local’ data.

Published June 17, 2010 at 12:43 p.m.
Updated June 17, 2010 at 12:49 p.m.

The Tribune has been chosen as one of two newspapers in a pilot program to develop software that will deliver “hyper-local” news.

The John S. and James. L. Knight Foundation announced today a grant award of $458,625 to be shared by the Tribune, the Boston Globe and New York not-for-profit software company OpenPlans.

The funds will be used for three related projects that aim to make it easier for news organizations to present local data by neighborhood — even block by block — using web-based technology. The grant money includes $235,000 for OpenPlans, $90,500 for the Tribune and $133,125 for the Globe.

The project, called OpenBlock, stems from a previous Knight-funded project,, developed in 2008. EveryBlock is a website offering geographically relevant news feeds on public records, articles, blogs and photographs for 16 cities in the United States. Users can browse data for a specific area of their city or neighborhood.

“The digital age is turning journalism upside down and inside out,” said Eric Newton, vice president of journalism for the Knight Foundation. Civic data “is the clay from which the bricks of news are made, and software that media organizations everywhere can use to display it is the goal of the OpenBlock initiative.”

OpenBlock will use open source code, meaning anyone can download, install and customize it. EveryBlock comes as is, not allowing users to cater it to their needs.

Nick Grossman, OpenPlans director of civic works, said one reason the Tribune and the Globe are involved with the pilot project is “to make sure the tool is relevant and can be used in both large and small contexts.”

The project will begin in July, Grossman said. OpenPlans programmers will work with staff at each newspaper to install the program and, over about nine months, develop new features.

Andy Waters, Tribune vice president for interactive media, said he has been trying to figure out how to get public data online for years. When the software for EveryBlock was released last summer, he said the coding was “too huge and complex” to use.

Waters expressed his concerns to the president and CEO of the Knight Foundation, Alberto Ibargüen, when Ibargüen visited Stephens College in October. That got the ball rolling on the Tribune’s grant applications.

Waters said when complete, the OpenBlock software will be incorporated into the Tribune’s website to provide more personal news delivery. “Now we will be able to put that raw data online for people to see in a user-friendly format,” he said.

Grossman said OpenPlans will incorporate software innovations from the pilot into one core package, which it will offer free to all news organizations.

Although the software will compile and deliver data, Grossman said he doesn’t see it as being in competition with traditional newspapers.

“I believe that to make meaning out of that data, journalists will really play an important role,” he said. “I’m excited to see how news organizations can integrate automated, data-driven news into websites, then look at it, interpret it and make a deeper meaning for their readers.”

Dianne Lynch, the president of Stephens College, is a member of the Journalism Advisory Council for the Knight Foundation. “This program is what we call a game changer,” she said. “It will replace the stenographic function of the reporter” and open up their time “to do more meaningful work, more analysis of the data.”


Missouri Sunshine Coalition to hold inaugural meeting

February 11, 2009

Feb. 11, 2009

By Jim Robertson
Columbia Daily Tribune

A new organization for people who want to promote government openness at all levels in Missouri will hold a public reception and program on Thursday, March 12, in Columbia. The event is free.

The Missouri Sunshine Coalition is seeking individual and organization members from all areas of the public. It will hold a 2 p.m. reception and 3 p.m. program at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the School of Journalism at MU.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has been invited to speak at the 3 p.m. program. Other speakers will be Charles Davis, director of the National Freedom of Information Center, which is based at the School of Journalism; and Mike Wood, director of governmental relations for the Missouri State Teachers Association.

The group’s founders have met three times to elect a board of directors, to approve bylaws and a mission statement, and to plan the March 12 program. On Jan. 15 the group elected Jim Robertson, managing editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune, president.

Until now, Missouri was one of the few states in the country that did not have an organization whose mission is to promote government transparency. This group hopes to bring together all individuals and organizations in Missouri who want to minimize secrecy in the operations of local and state government agencies.

Following is the Mission Statement of the Missouri Sunshine Coalition, Inc.
1. Members of the Missouri Sunshine Coalition believe the best form of government is that which operates in a free and open environment, giving its citizens unfettered access to information as to its activities and the use of its public funds.
2. We believe government exists to serve its citizens and access to such information should be simple and at minimal cost.
3. The Missouri Sunshine Coalition exists to support citizens of this State in their efforts to exercise their rights under the Missouri Sunshine Law, which is premised on the foundation that “It is the public policy of this state that meetings, records, votes, actions and deliberations of public governmental bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law.”

Serving the Coalition with Robertson are Vice President Jo Sapp, Columbia, League of Women Voters; Secretary Jean Maneke, Kansas City, an attorney who is an expert on the Missouri Sunshine Law; and Treasurer Mike Sherry, Kansas City, Kansas City Business Journal.

Members of the Board of Directors are Jean Buchanan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Jack Whitaker, Hannibal Courier-Post; Don Hicks, Jefferson City, Missouri Broadcasters Association; Brenda Jones, St Louis, American Civil Liberties Union of eastern Missouri; and Randy Picht, Kansas City, The Associated Press.

The officers and directors were chosen from among those who attended the organizational meetings of the Coalition.

Membership in the coalition costs $25 for an organization or individual.

For more information on membership or to RSVP for the March 12 event, please contact Kristie Williams,, 573-449-4167.

MPA welcomes new President

January 5, 2009

At midnight, Dec. 31, did you celebrate the arrival of 2009 or, blessedly, the conclusion of 2008? Was that
not the year that just wouldn’t end?
As we tread carefully into the New Year, unsure of what might befall our economy next, we are faced with enormous
challenges, certainly. Now, more than ever, we must collectively become more discerning about defining and explaining those problems.
I was astonished by the many news stories last year, often published in major dailies, reporting matter-of-factly that our industry is in the last throes of death. Those of you who were doing just fine, thank you, prior to the economic
meltdown, surely winced along with me at our virtual obituaries.
Unfortunately, the message is filtering down and the public is beginning to believe it. If we don’t react appropriately, we could be talked out of business.
Yes, many newspaper companies are in trouble, but that trouble was brewing long before the financial markets collapsed. Specifically, the problem is debt.
I’ve lost track of how many times some nearby Missouri newspapers have been bought and sold. You can bet there was new debt piling up with each transaction, and the situation is made worse by the economy.
Nonetheless, many newspapers in this state were finding ways to meet increasing competition prior to the
economic collapse, and they will — as newspapers have done through other Dark Eras — fight their way through
the current one.
Without going into too much analysis here and now, I think it’s high time for our industry to stop leaving the reporting of our “condition” to others and to start providing the bigger picture. If we don’t stand up for us, who will?
In the coming months, with the help of various entities, I hope to help craft ready-to-use talking points, marketing
materials, revenue-generating ideas and other tools for our members.
Newspapers doing their jobs properly continue to enjoy community loyalty and trust at levels that make our competitors salivate. Most of us have a great story to tell. (And don’t forget: The economic and competitive pressures we face are similarly tough for our broadcast and electronic counterparts. Yahoo announced a big layoff at the end of 2008; a number of broadcast media companies are swimming in debt while competition grows.)
As I tiptoe into my new role as the president of this organization, I hope to bring our members together in new and creative ways to help our industry thrive. We need each other and our country needs us more than ever. So let’s
get to ’splainin.’
And speaking of needing each other … My hat’s off to Jack Whitaker, publisher of the Hannibal Courier-Post, for his intrepid leadership as president of Missouri Press in 2008. He set the bar high for his successors.
Please remember to make time for regional association meetings this year, where we will be developing
and sharing some of our tools for newspapers. We need all the muscle we can get, and your ideas are critical. The first regional meeting is the Northwest Press Association, Jan. 22 and 23.
Make reservations promptly.
Judging of the Nebraska Press Association contest will be Feb. 6 in Columbia. We want the Nebraskans to do a good job judging our contest entries, and this is our part of the bargain. Judges have been harder to come by in recent years, so please recruit some fellow members and join us. There’s a bonus:
Maybe you’ll find some good ideas to “borrow.”

Missourian asks for operating proposals

October 7, 2008

A group representing the Columbia Missourian, the daily newspaper produced by students in the Missouri
School of Journalism, is requesting proposals from publishers interested in forming a partnership with the Missourian.
The Missourian has been operating at a deficit for a number of years, and the university wants it to come up with a way to cut losses.
The Columbia Daily Tribune and the company that owns the Jefferson City News Tribune, WEHCO Media of Arkansas, have expressed an interest in trying to work out a partnership with the Missourian.
The Missourian Publishing Association board of directors met in early September, but no decisions were made regarding a partnership.


July 15, 2008

€ Park Hills ‹ Jim York, publisher of the Park Hills Daily Journal for the past five years, has taken an executive management position in Cincinnati with The E.W. Scripps Co. He will lead the information technology group for Scripps’ 15 newspapers.
Before being named publisher in Park Hills, York was vice president of information technology for the former Pulitzer Newspapers, Inc. Lee Enterprises now owns the Pulitzer publications, including the Daily Journal.
Gary Berblinger, controller, has been named interim publisher in Park Hills.

€ Independence ‹ Sports reporter Dick Puhr, 75, and community reporter Frank Haight, 72, have spent nearly a half century each at The Examiner writing stories about local people. They retired this spring.
The Examiner held a public reception for the two on May 29.
Both of the reporters continue to work as correspondents, writing stories and weekly columns. Puhr started writing about local sports in 1959. Haight has been writing for The Examiner since 1961.
Puhr didn’t miss a day of work in 44 years until a kidney stone operation laid him up for a bit.

€ Concordia ‹ Chris Post was named interim editor of The Concordian in May. He is on summer break from Missouri Valley College in Marshall, where he is a professor of mass communications. He served as senior staff writer of The Marshall Democrat-News for eight years.
Post and his wife, Callie, live on a small farm outside Marshall with their four children. Post has a journalism degree from the University of Central Missouri and is working on a master’s degree through Eastern Michigan University.
Shelly Arth, owner/publisher of The Concordian, said she is searching for an editor for the weekly.

€ Dexter ‹ Mike McCoy has joined the news staff of the Daily Statesman. He is a native of Dexter and attended Westminster College in Fulton.
McCoy worked at the Statesman in the mid-1970s before moving to Arkansas. He has worked as editor and city editor for Graves Publishing Co. in Nashville, Ark., since 1982.
McCoy replaced Sacha Champion, who accepted a position nearer her Poplar Bluff home. He joins Corey Noles as a full-time writer for the Statesman.

€ Columbia ‹ Caroline Dohack has been hired as lifestyles editor at the Columbia Daily Tribune. She manages the Sunday section that carries fashion, fitness, travel, home décor and society news.
Dohack is a graduate of Doniphan High School. She attended Cottey College in Nevada, then transferred to the School of Journalism at MU.

€ Carrollton ‹ Klarissa Olvera, Carrollton, a junior at the Missouri School of Journalism, is working as a summer intern at the Carrollton Democrat.

€ Elsberry ‹ Mariah Suddarth, Elsberry, is working as a summer intern at The Elsberry Democrat. She’ll be a junior this fall at the Missouri School of Journalism.

€ King City ‹ King City High School student Megan Saeidi is interning at the Tri-County News for the third consecutive summer. She’ll be a senior this fall.

€ Springfield ‹ Cheryl Lindus, ad director for the Springfield News-Leader since July 2005, has been named president and publisher of the Montgomery Advertiser in Montgomery, Ala.
The News-Leader and the Advertiser are owned by Gannett Co. Inc.
Before joining the News-Leader Lindus was the ad director of the Hunting, W.Va., Herald-Dispatch and ad director of the Star Press in Muncie, Ind.
Gannett presented her with a President’s Ring in 2007 in recognition of her achievements.

2 from Columbia Daily Tribune visit Ukraine to teach news management

June 3, 2008

Managing editor Jim Robertson and web editor David Farre of the Columbia Daily Tribune visited April 11-19
at the newspaper Molodyy Bukovynetsin in Chernivtsi, Ukraine.
The program, sponsored by the International Research & Exchanges Board and funded by the Media Development Fund of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, matches U.S. newspapers with Ukrainian partners for training of journalists in the former Soviet republic’s emerging free-press environment.
Aided by interpreters, Robertson and Farre led sessions on newsroom organization and management, story
development and selection, website development and other newsroom topics.
As part of the program, two Ukrainian journalists from Molodyy Bukovynetsin will visit the Tribune for a week in June.
In September, members of the Tribune marketing and advertising departments will participate in another exchange with the same Ukrainean newspaper.

Off wins environmental award

December 13, 2007

• Columbia — Gavin Off, a master’s degree student in the Missouri School of Journalism, has won the Student Environmental Journalism Award from the Missouri Coalition for the Environment for an article published May 6 in the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Off ’s story recounted the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ history of reducing penalties filed against large farms for pollution violations.
The award was announced in October at the group’s annual awards dinner in St. Louis.