Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

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From The Undertone

Dating Ideas by Megan Taylor

I created a map using Atlas for this article. Due to some limitations of the CMS, the map is kinda small and you have to scroll through it. Here’s a better version:

Edit: OK, this is pretty cool. The article I wrote for The Undertone just showed up in my Gainesville Sun rss feed.

Yet another edit: Got the map fixed.

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Mapping in online journalism

My editor has been pushing hard to get photos along with our stories for The Undertone. And rightly so.

When I was assigned to write an article, (which won’t appear for a couple of weeks) the first thing that popped into my head was to use Atlas and embed it on the Web site. It appeared we might have some trouble with the content management system that we’re using, so I sent her the code along with some still pictures just in case. I haven’t heard back from her yet. But if all goes well, mine might be the second use of Atlas in college media.

Bryan at Innovation in College Media wrote today about the first (as far as he knows) use of the Atlas mapping tool.

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From The Undertone

What NOT to do with your Computer by Megan Taylor

Last week I was made on-call photographer as well as an editor for the UF Newsies.

This weekend I released my new Web site and blog.

Tomorrow I’ll learn how to create graphic type in Photoshop. I’ll be writing about that as well as any interesting tidbits that dive-bomb into my lap.

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From The Undertone

Where were you when UF became National Champions in football?

Megan Taylor: I was enjoying a self-absorbed evening at home until my father called to tell me that the Gators were losing. He was watching the game on TV at the gym. Shrug. I’m the first to say that I’m not a fan of American football. A little later, a friend of the family called to tell me the Gators were winning. Darn. Now I’ll be up all night listening to fireworks, car horns and yahoos, instead of getting some desperately needed sleep before my 7:25 a.m. class. Around midnight, I knew the Gators had indeed won the game. Well done. Now shut up out there so I can sleep!

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Saving Newspapers

Last night, one of the topics discussed at the UF Newsies meeting was the future of journalism and newspapers. The obvious concern is that I’ll have worked my butt off through college and not be able to get a job when I graduate.

So, what will save the newspaper business? The fogies will always prefer the printed page. But my generation has gotten used to the constant eye-fatigue that comes from reading long documents off a computer screen. We like the pretty pictures and moving images and click-y things. The ability to interact with an environment while sprawled in the comfort of my leather desk chair, where just the slight movement of my index finger can transport me…OK, personally, I miss books.

A new feature that the Newsies will have to accommodate to is multimedia. The editor is actually in my Communications for the Internet class, so she and I toss words like “package,” “format,” and “multi-media” over the heads of some of the others.

I have to write three articles over Winter Break, to have as stock at the beginning of the semester. These will be accompanied by photos, video and audio where applicable. I could even make a Google Map for one of them.

So the transition from print to Internet doesn’t seem like a problem in terms of accommodating stories to a new medium. The problem appears to be in making money off of it. I’m a writer, an observer, a reporter, a dreamer. A business woman I’m not. But I might have to learn to be that, too.

What are you doing that’s new and exciting? What ideas do you have for the business of journalism?

5/4/2009 Update: I think it’s really funny that I realized the need for business skills three years ago. Not that I bothered to do anything about it. And only now are j-schools adding business/entrepreneurial classes to the curriculum.

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To Keep on Writing

After this semester, I’ll have finished most of the hardcore writing classes for my journalism major.
After this semester, I won’t be writing on a weekly basis anymore.

As soon as those two thoughts slid through the grey matter between my ears, I panicked. I sat down in the middle of the sidewalk in front of the journalism building and tried not to think about the sleepless nights, the incessant butterflies, the paranoia (does that comma need to be there?!), and the feeling of supreme satisfaction at the churning sound of the printer spitting out a decent bit of wordsmithing.

And so I made a decision. I joined the UF Newsies. It appears that it was a decision well-made. The small group produces campus-oriented articles, and as of January will be hooking up with the Gainesville Sun, where I’ll get to implement my newly hard-earned AP Style while maintaining my own voice.

After this semester, the writing don’t stop.

P.S. I swear the A-grafs were unintentional.

5/4/2009 Update: I wrote for the UF Newsies for a semester and then started working at The Independent Florida Alligator, where I was new media staff and eventually online managing editor. The writing slowed to a molasses crawl, except for on this blog.